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RGB LED bulbs - DMX vs iDual vs Philip Hue

Discussion in 'Home and Garden' started by Pawnless Endgame, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Pawnless Endgame

    Capodecina

    Joined: May 10, 2004

    Posts: 10,965

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    Hi gang :)

    I was wondering how you're all getting on with RGB LED domestic bulbs? Sorry for the long post, but I'm here to compare 3 different systems.

    DMX - protocol used for disco and stage lights
    iDual - LED RGB bulbs
    Philips Hue - LED RBG bulbs + IOT (internet of things)

    I started out with DMX - my main weapon of choice for LEDs. Most DJs use a DMX desk (looks like a sound mixer), but I use a USB-to-DMX interface and run the lights from my laptop. They're not consumer LED products but they have lit up my house (downstairs) since 2006. With clusters of 12-watt diodes in a single fixture, you can get some pretty hefty brightness. Also good colours and colour temperatures as they have white and amber diodes on top of the usual RGB primaries and they mix together. Some diodes also have UV to accentuate certain colours.

    3 years ago, I swapped all of my white domestic LED bulbs for iDual bulbs. They are 16 watts each and they light up to the equivalent of 100 watts incandescent spot bulbs. The colour mixing is good too, plus warm to cold white. These bulbs remain powered on via the wall and you turn them on/off via the colour palette remote which takes 3 AAA batteries. The remote also has animated programs such as simulating fire (flickering and different shades of orange), and water scenes, romantic, party mode + others, all animated.

    This week, I tried Philips Hue. Started with a pair of E27's, 9 watts each, so not as bright as the iDuals, but they do look more presentable as they're normal bulb shape. In white mode, they output about 60 watts of the incandescent type which I could probably make do with if I ordered more bulbs, but the colour mode is very dark compared to the iDuals. I also didn't like that there weren't any animations in the app like the fire and water effects. All worked perfectly fine though over bluetooth. So I ordered 4 more bulbs and the Hue Bridge which acts as a network repeater. I was disappointed. The first problem I had was to get my phone and laptop to detect the bridge, which is wired to the router via a LAN cable. The router saw it fine and it had an IP address of 192.168.1.104. When I typed it into Firefox, that also resolved ok. After looking around on Reddit, it turns out that the Hue bridge conflicts with Nord VPN, which I have on both phone and laptop. In principle, I shouldn't have to disable a VPN to access the bridge/bulbs when the router can see it? When I disabled Nord, the bridge was detected ok. However, the bridge then couldn't detect my 2 bulbs. I took them out of their sockets to get their serial numbers, typed them in and tried a manual search based on those numbers. Also I made sure that the bulbs had power going to them. No joy. Tried line-of-sight (so the bridge and bulbs could see each other). Again no joy. Switched back to bluetooth and they worked again via the app.

    I have now cancelled the remaining 4 bulbs and I'm returning the original 2 bulbs + bridge as it was a lot of money, £260 all-in. I think I'll try again in a few years time when Philips issue more powerful bulbs (like 14-16W), and when they can come up with another network protocol. The 6 iDual bulbs btw were around £100 all-in in comparison.

    I also have wireless DMX which expands on wired DMX, which can be fiddly as you work with channel numbers like on a regular router. I have 1 transmitter (I guess equivalent to the Hue Bridge) and 3 receivers, and it's a piece of cake compared to the Philips system.

    So what systems are you all using? I'll still remain as a DMX kid for bright stuff, but just after some ideas on the domestic side.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
  2. ash_scotland88

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 1, 2007

    Posts: 5,208

    ETC have brought out a lime chip as some of their DMX lighting range, and possibly cyan too.

    Sure I've seen a copycat Chinese unit that was RGBAW+UV+L+C

    Wireless DMX can be exceedingly annoying and often brands and products have their own way to make it work, if they use there own transmitter and built in receiver. Wireless DMX works best as (from my experience) just to span large gaps where the cable can't run and not between several wireless units.
     
  3. Pawnless Endgame

    Capodecina

    Joined: May 10, 2004

    Posts: 10,965

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    I'm glad we've got another DMX kid on this forum!

    I've not heard of lime and cyan diodes before. I stay away from Chinese knock-off, as I learnt the lesson back in 2013 when I ordered 2 fixtures and both of them went pop after a few months! I mainly stick with ADJ and Chauvet.

    Since my OP, I have found out about Nest bulbs. I know I can use Google, but any personal feedback from here about Nest or any other systems would be great :)
     
  4. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,441

    Location: Manchester

    I guess the Hue VPN issue is that you are tunnelling out of your network and then expecting Hue to work out how to connect back.. it has a mode for this but it's disabled by default.
    Have a look at "Out of home control". As I understand it, other devices that rely on peer to peer local connections (Chromecast for example) will fail with a VPN running.

    The pairing issues sound odd, I wonder if because they'd been paired with Bluetooth that they'd need putting back into pairing mode to pair with the bridge.

    I have around 40 bulbs connected to my bridge, a mix of Hue, Osram and IKEA but have never had pairing issues with the Hue bulbs. I have 4 or so Bluetooth enabled ones but I paired them to the bridge before ever looking at Bluetooth.
     
  5. Pawnless Endgame

    Capodecina

    Joined: May 10, 2004

    Posts: 10,965

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    Thanks GeX :)

    I have been interested in getting Philips Hues for a few years and decided on doing it in the past week as I have more time at the moment, working from home etc. Thankfully, Amazon has a pretty decent return policy, so I have returned it all for now. I will be interested in trying Hue again, now you mentioned the fact that my lights/bridge may have needed to "re-train" after using bluetooth.

    As you mentioned Osram and IKEA brands, someone (who also has a Hue system) did mention that there are compatibles available and that some bulbs go higher than 9W. If that's true, then I'll definitely give it another chance as 100W equiv. is more attractive to me than 60W equiv, having poor eyesight.
     
  6. GeX

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 17, 2002

    Posts: 6,441

    Location: Manchester

    I would expect you'd need to put the bulbs into pairing mode before scanning for them from the bridge, I added another Bluetooth enabled bulb to my system yesterday but as with the others - I only paired it to the bridge. The Bluetooth control is of little use for me.

    Anything that is Zigbee compatible will work anything else that is Zigbee compatible. So you could have a Hue Bridge with IKEA and Osram bulbs - or an Ikea Gateway with with Hue bulbs. The critical thing is Zigbee. It only means that they will function, you'll not be able to use some manufacturer specific things like Hue's Entertainment Areas (I use this to sync my lounge lighting to the TV for a more immersive movie viewing experience) and the bulbs cannot access firmware updates.

    My system is mostly Hue, but I do have 4 IKEA Tradfri GU10 bulbs and (I think) 12 Osram RGB GU10s. I got them for the same reason as you, that the Hue bulbs were not bright enough where I wanted them but the IKEA and Osrams were. A couple of them were slightly more awkward to pair; but ultimately it wasn't an issue. One of my IKEA bulbs sometimes looses connection to the bridge and requires me to toggle the light switch. This is annoying and I think that changing the channel that the Zigbee network is using would fix it.

    The Osram RGB bulbs work well, but they render colour slightly different to the Hue bulbs. I wouldn't say they're wrong, just different. For this reason I'd never mix RGB brands in the same room as the colours may not render evenly.

    I started off with just a couple of bulbs, and now my whole house is covered - with motion sensors to automatically trigger the lights (with different scenes depending on time, so for example if I go downstairs in the middle of the night then only a couple of lights come on at minimum brightness) and and Hue dimmer switches mounted over the light switches in rooms.

    Hope that helps!
     
  7. Pawnless Endgame

    Capodecina

    Joined: May 10, 2004

    Posts: 10,965

    Location: Sunny Stafford

    Thanks again GeX :) I have returned everything for now and will look again at the alternatives! Weirdly enough, I've had an email from Hue to say that the Bridge that I returned last week has been registered with another Gmail address. So it means that someone else now has that Bridge and has linked it. The sender was a no-reply address and it probably got sent to me and the new person. I guess I can ignore it?

    IKEA Tradfri sounds like a good shout as I can see some 1000lm bulbs online, where most of the others are 800lm.