Q&A: Home Automation & LED Lighting - April 2017

This month's Q&A episode is a 2-for-1 combo, since April was pretty "light" on LED lighting questions. Here's the fun topic rundown for this edition: CFL vs LED for "daylight white", mesh Wi-Fi, 3-way smart switches/dimmers, motion sensors for home automation, smart home integration on Windows 10 Mobile, and...buttons, buttons, buttons!

In June, we're going to feature what YOU do with home automation and LED / smart lighting. Send in info about your setup and the top few daily ways you use automation in your home, along with photos and maybe a short video! The best submissions will be featured on a special episode in June! Send an email with "How I Use Home Automation" to questions@smarterhomelife.com

Start Time: 8:38
From YouTube user "WMDestroyer666"
What is the difference between cfl and led daylight spectrum? I know cfl provides a nice blue spectrum, are Phillips the same?

Start Time: 15:57
Discussion between a few audience members in the comments on the recent Q&A video: Hardwired / ethernet vs wireless, mesh networking, related topics. Joe relates his comments.

Start Time: 22:46
From Steve
My wife and I just recently bought a house the house is only five years old and I want to turn into a smart home. The problem is I am finding is the switches in the living room is a three way switch the kitchen is a three way switch hallways are two ways which utility room is a two way switch. Do you have any ideas how I can turn these switches into a smart switch
I appreciate your videos on YouTube and Thank you

Video Addendum - Leviton's new line of HomeKit dimmers and switches were accidentally left out.

Start Time: 28:50
From Robert
I'm going to soon start the process of making my home smarter. I already own a Google Home. So, I definitely want to utilize that as an input to the home automation work flow. When I first started looking into this, SmartThings was the only hub that worked with Google Home. The Wink hub does now as well. However, it doesn't seem to offer as many integrations.

The main reason for contacting you was concerning automating the lights in our house without annoying my family. ;-) I was wanting to utilize motion sensors to determine presence to turn on and off the lights. However, I didn't want to just turn on and off lights based on time of day, as Daylight Savings changes that schedule. Also, if there is a storm that causes the sky to be sufficiently dark, you would want the lights to come on, even though its not during the schedule. So, I was wondering if you knew of a motion sensor that includes a luminance sensor that works with SmartThings so that turning on lights could be based on motion and the level of natural light in a room? I then began to also think about how automating a bedroom light might not be the best idea, as I wouldn't want motion in the middle of the night, such as going to the bathroom, to cause the room light to turn on. Do youknow of any lighting automation strategies that help you think through some of these issues and what directions you can take with automating your lights?

Start Time: 34:48
From Jacob
I've seen a problem with smart home products and that problem is with companies (like SmartThings, Insteon and even X10) that don't play well together, if at all. I heard about IFTTT, but is there a better way to get them talking to each other. The only reason I see it as a problem, is that there are number of product that Insteon have made that I like and their hub is the only one I know of that will let you in a limited way make a lot of X10 Products easily compatible with modern smart home products. But SmartThings has better compatibility when it comes to third party (other companies') products. Also as a side note, I'm using a Windows 10 Mobile, so SmartThing and Insteon are the only companies I know of that have Official Smart Home Apps on Window 10 Mobile.

Windows 10 is a tough platform to be on right now for the smart home integration stuff. But with Home Hub upcoming and the Invoke smart speaker with Cortana from Harman Kardon…that could change. Don’t count out Microsoft yet, especially with Nutella in charge. But “appliances” seem to be better for home automation / smart home stuff. Just look at the amazon show!  just today, MS announced that HP would be launching a Cortana smart speaker.  new skills for Cortana just today, domino’s and dark sky. skills kit just released for developers

Start Time: 42:28
From Clell
Hey I like your content.  I am just starting to get into home automation and I'm on a budget so I am collection things adding them a little at a time.  I have a WiFi connected garage door and thermostat, but now I'm moving to lighting.  I'm not going to bulb route yet, but instead looking at some smart plugs to basically turn the lights we have on and off.  So the big question is....Is there a physical switch I can buy for the smart plug (more specifically the TP-link HS150) that I can mount on the wall to control these?  The physical outlets don't have a switch and I have 3 lamps I want to control, but I don't want to have to use my phone just to turn them on and off.  Any thoughts?  Thanks again.