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The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

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  • So while not quite as hands on / DIY as some of the items discussed here but I didn't want to start a new thread...

    Any recommendations for "smart" LED light bulbs?

    I'm thinking of upgrading the lights in the living room a bit, and wanted to get "smart" lights that I might be able to dim/control via app. (If I can get Samsung Smartthings integration, the better.) They wouldn't be used often, but the ability to dim the lights in the evening intrigue me, as does the prospect of controlling the lights if I am away for vacation (to make the appearance of someone home).

    Philips Hue seems to be the leader in the smart light department, but I'm a little gun-shy to purchase them following the fiasco I went through with their Illumination branded smart Christmas lights (a story for another post). I don't *need* to have color changing lights (because I can't really think of what to use them for exactly), so I'm leaning towards Samsung's branded smart lights. I'm not a fan of the LED "cool light" look and would like to have the ability for them to have "warm light" as well, so that and the ability to control the on/off from an app would be nice. Being dimmable via the same app would be a perk.

    Anyone have luck with smart lights so far? Or should I just throw cold water on that idea and go to a wifi/smart plug to control a dumb lamp with?


    *edit* I don't have Alexa/OKGoogle/Bixby/Cortana or any of those smart speakers in my home (I think they're stupid) so having the ability to control them that way, wouldn't do me any good.
    Last edited by aparch; 12-06-2020, 09:40 PM.
    “Demolish the bridges behind you… then there is no choice but to build again.”

    Live Radio from 100.3

    Comment


    • We just started converting to Philips Hue. We won’t be going back. These things are rock fucking solid. But you’ve got to be smart about them due to their costs.

      it’s nice because they use Bluetooth and wireless. But the Bluetooth is the backbone. Which means fairly reliable compared to Wemo or other WiFi devices. We just couldn’t take the unresponsive Wemos anymore. When they work they’re awesome. But they can’t, ahem. Hold a light to the hue.

      The customization behind the hue is very nice. Waking up to the slow brightening of the lamps in the room. Going to sleep with the warming and dimming feature. Plus the power recovery feature is nice.

      you can still use your physical wall switch to turn them on and off. Which is great!!

      just make sure you get a hub. I think you need that for Alexa. Siri can learn voice commands and use Bluetooth.

      again, very expensive. Be judicious about using the color lights. They aren’t needed TBH, but we’re finding them kind of fun with Christmas. We would have stuck with ambiance but we found a killer deal at target for color starter kits and bought eight bulbs and a strip light. We’re already looking at replacing lamps as they burn out. Most of our fixtures will be getting ambiance lights if they fit. They offer several bases and shapes. I do wish they were a hair brighter.

      I didn’t think I would find “Alexa set living room to concentrate” or “relax” would be useful. But fuck if I could live without that now.
      Code:
      As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
      College Hockey 6       College Football 0
      BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
      Originally posted by SanTropez
      May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
      Originally posted by bigblue_dl
      I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
      Originally posted by Kepler
      When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
      He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

      Comment


      • Is it hard to swap out a Wemo? I have a Wemo that can’t be discoverable after a network change and I give up on fixing

        Comment


        • I mean, not terribly. But the only reliable way I’ve found is to completely delete the device from HomeKit, Alexa, and Wemo. Then add it again.

          otherwise you can try resetting the old one to factory settings and doing that same thing. Which I assume you’ve already done.
          Code:
          As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
          College Hockey 6       College Football 0
          BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
          Originally posted by SanTropez
          May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
          Originally posted by bigblue_dl
          I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
          Originally posted by Kepler
          When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
          He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

          Comment


          • Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
            I mean, not terribly. But the only reliable way I’ve found is to completely delete the device from HomeKit, Alexa, and Wemo. Then add it again.

            otherwise you can try resetting the old one to factory settings and doing that same thing. Which I assume you’ve already done.
            No, I have an iPhone and it’s always been an issue. When I moved into house, only way for my iPhone to connect to Wemo was to have an android connect and find it first. Just bizarre.
            so now if I reset, my phone can’t even find the Wemo wireless to set up

            Comment


            • I feared Philips is the #1. I got burned by them this year because they slapped their name/logo and Illuminate branding on smart Christmas lights made by a tiny operation in Eden Prairie: Seasonal Specialties, and sold them exclusively through Target. They were smart color changing lights lights app to control them and they worked great for the six weeks I had them up in 2018.

              Found out in 2019 when I went to get the lights put up that every goddammed set had an LED failure causing the whole strand to "blue screen" and be unresponsive. (Seriously, if one pixel bulb went bad, the whole strand defaulted to blue LED and wouldn't do a d*mn thing via app.) Contacted them for replacements which they helpfully offered to replace since I bought them just a year earlier, all I had to do was box them up and ship them back. Unfortunately, I had to wait until October 2020 for the replacement sets to be sent to me.

              Tested all the lights, the replacements work! Go and unbox them two weeks ago, get the lights hung, all is working great..... for two hours.... then half the replacement strands "blue screened" on me once again. On top of that, the two rolls of dumb Christmas lights from Philips that I bought as a replacement in 2019 went bad as well.

              Argh.




              tl;dr... Philips has me leery about jumping back into smart lights with them.
              “Demolish the bridges behind you… then there is no choice but to build again.”

              Live Radio from 100.3

              Comment


              • Okay, question DX (or others) for the Philips Hue lights... no issues controlling the lights via app?

                Have you done any integration into Samsung Smartthings?


                *edit* Also, for trying to make homes "smart," they're still stupid because some features don't play nice with others... *glares at Google, Samsung, and Chamberlain*
                Last edited by aparch; 12-08-2020, 01:15 PM.
                “Demolish the bridges behind you… then there is no choice but to build again.”

                Live Radio from 100.3

                Comment


                • Literally ZERO issues once I got it setup. I have been expecting some but not one. The app is bonkers good. You can tell Philips put a lot of time and effort into designing it and working through the complex functions. I prefer it over Apple's HomeKit and Alexa (but obviously use the voice commands 10x as much as the app).

                  If you get the color lights, you can create scenes within rooms. The more lights you have spread out, the better. You can use the color wheel, the temperature wheel, preset pictures, or upload your own. Hue then assigns colors from the picture's color palate and assigns them to the different lights. So if you have a sunset picture you love and you're in the mood for a nice sunset color scheme in your room while you relax, it will give you that. It's pretty incredible actually. DOn't expect the beauty of a real sunset, but it gets you closer than you'd think for a gimmicky piece of tech. Again, the more lights the better. (I have a Gophers scene in there with maroon and gold throughout the basement :-D :-D)

                  If I were to complain about the functionality at all, it would be:
                  1. The lights aren't always found automatically by the bridge. You sometimes have to type in the serial number on the light bulb itself. I know, life is hard sometimes.
                  2. I have HomeKit and Alexa. They sometimes fight when it comes to rooms I create in Hue. Amazingly, Hue's app seems to broker any fights between them. It's crazy. So the complaint is the rooms don't always sync right. But Hue notifies me and then fixes it with one click. The fix is instant too.

                  I have not done any SmartThings integration. Sorry.
                  Code:
                  As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
                  College Hockey 6       College Football 0
                  BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
                  Originally posted by SanTropez
                  May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
                  Originally posted by bigblue_dl
                  I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
                  Originally posted by Kepler
                  When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
                  He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

                  Comment


                  • My wife is a worrier. With that, when Amazon was running an early Black Friday deal, she bought a Ring Pro doorbell to feel a bit safer. We've now had three days with it, and all I can think is that it's an intrusive bit of tech. If I could disable the camera for periods of time, that would be great. I'm interested in running the thing at night or in certain circumstances. Instead, I go out to my car and the thing starts recording. I came home from the store this morning, before my shift started, and my wife asks me what I bought even though she was at work. From what I've seen, I can turn off notifications for X minutes, but the camera will still record the motion. It's also nice that you can set the boundary of your recording area since on Day 1 we received notice that motion was detected, and the neighbor two houses down was pulling into her driveway.

                    That said, they're very easy to install. Even an MBA could do it.

                    Also, I finished my shed - 10W x 12L x 11H, gambrel roof. The instructions from the vendor weren't great, they omitted a few steps that were then more difficult to place the parts after the fact. I really should have reviewed the whole instruction doc a few times prior to building it. I would have seen a few things, made notes, and everything would've been much smoother. There's about 2000 nails in this thing, if built to spec, so I bought a framing nailer otherwise I've still be out there whacking away my days.

                    Out of concern for lateral stability, after talking with some family, I added 2x4 beams in the trusses, basically forming a basic rafter. I might hang some kids bikes from them, they'd be up high enough for me and my wife to walk without ducking (she's 6'0", I'm 5'11"). I also added spacers between the trusses to aid in the construction process of the roof, it would've been a bear trying to get the roofing sheets in place while trying to keep the trusses lined up.

                    I still have to do some caulking, and thankfully there are companies that make cold weather caulk. It's about 95% painted, because you have to paint when temps are >50F, and daylight helps. I seem to have run short on one or the other most days I was working on it.

                    Overall, it's a good shed. I will never be a professional roofer. Speaking of which, I have some shingles to replace due to me. Roofing looks easy, and the process seems easy, but there are a lot of little things that can cause your roof to leak. I just hope it holds out until the spring because I broke my ladder and don't really want to fix it while the shingles will be cold and brittle.
                    "The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." George Orwell, 1984

                    "One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its Black Gates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume." Boromir

                    "Good news! We have a delivery." Professor Farnsworth

                    Comment


                    • I just did the best Middle Aged Man mic drop. Dr. Mrs. was cursing that she couldn't get fresh cut tyme off the stems. I went downstairs, came back with pliers, threaded one stem through the wire stripper, yanked once, and all the tyme fell right into her hand. I handed her the pliers, didn't say a word, and left.

                      I had no idea if it would work -- I thought the stem might not hold -- but it did. My work is done.


                      Last edited by Kepler; 12-21-2020, 04:45 PM.
                      Cornell University
                      National Champion 1967, 1970
                      ECAC Champion 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2010
                      Ivy League Champion 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020

                      Comment


                      • That’s straight out of Red Green
                        Code:
                        As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
                        College Hockey 6       College Football 0
                        BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
                        Originally posted by SanTropez
                        May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
                        Originally posted by bigblue_dl
                        I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
                        Originally posted by Kepler
                        When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
                        He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
                          That’s straight out of Red Green
                          Is that a compliment? All I know about red green is it's Canadian (right?)
                          Cornell University
                          National Champion 1967, 1970
                          ECAC Champion 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2005, 2010
                          Ivy League Champion 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Kepler View Post

                            Is that a compliment? All I know about red green is it's Canadian (right?)
                            I’m not sure myself.

                            but it’s a great show.
                            Code:
                            As of 9/21/10:         As of 9/13/10:
                            College Hockey 6       College Football 0
                            BTHC 4                 WCHA FC:  1
                            Originally posted by SanTropez
                            May your paint thinner run dry and the fleas of a thousand camels infest your dead deer.
                            Originally posted by bigblue_dl
                            I don't even know how to classify magic vagina smoke babies..
                            Originally posted by Kepler
                            When the giraffes start building radio telescopes they can join too.
                            He's probably going to be a superstar but that man has more baggage than North West

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post

                              I’m not sure myself.

                              but it’s a great show.
                              +1
                              In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, 'Au revoir, gopher'.

                              Originally posted by burd
                              I look at some people and I just know they do it doggy style. No way they're getting close to my kids.

                              Comment


                              • Well I'm not sure if it can be considered a home improvement or not but I'm doing a conversion on my garage turning it into a wood shop. I've always enjoyed wood working and in my older years I've acquired all sorts of tools including a lathe and planer among other things. Also I'm looking to get a new front door. Also I’m toying with the idea of getting a Ring doorbell like this https://allsmartcam.com/ring-doorbell-local-recording/ as I quite like the tech. Has anyone got one and, if so, why? Interested in real world experience.
                                Last edited by DonaldD; 02-03-2021, 04:35 AM.

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