About this blog

This blog is just a few random musings about my interests: technology, science and software. It's also a place for me to put random information so it's accessible to anyone who might find it useful. If you want, you can contact me here. --Andy Jenkinson

Zigbee Compatibility: Lighting Controls

In this the second article in my mini Zigbee compatibility series, I thought I would cover the specific topic of the different types of lighting controls.

ZigBee switches and remotes explained

After a few years of my addiction to interest in home automation, the issue that I have found most problematic for users is that of compatibility. This causes a lot of confusion, and unforunately affects even devices using "standards" such as ZigBee, which in theory should facilitate multi-vendor compatibility. One of the areas of most divergence is that of ZigBee lighting controls, so I thought I'd collate what I know to try to explain what works, what doesn't work, and why.

Pairing IKEA Tradfri plug with Hue bridge

Recently IKEA updated the firmware on a number of their devices to support ZigBee 3.0, including their smart plug as of firmware 2.0.022. Turns out it will now happily pair with the Hue bridge and be controlled in the Hue app.

Hacking Parrot FreeFlight Pro to stop update nags

I've been experiencing issues after updating the firmware of my Parrot Disco to 1.7.0 - flight data is not being uploaded to My.Parrot so I can't review flights. So I downgraded to 1.4.1.

IKEA Tradfri 24V transformers work with Hue

I was out shopping in IKEA this week (Milton Keynes, UK) when I happened across a few new additions to the Tradfri range of smart lighting: LED drivers!

Using IKEA Tradfri remote or dimmer with Hue

There are a number of articles around the web about how to use the (cheaper) IKEA Tradfri bulbs with the Philips Hue hub after a firmware update. However, after doing this they will no longer be controllable by any Tradfri equipment. I have not come across anybody who has been able to use Tradfri remotes and dimmers with the Hue hub (or any lights paired with it).

IKEA Tradfri colour bulbs now available

IKEA have now made their new "colour and white spectrum" bulbs available to buy more widely. They have been available in some locations around Europe, but now they are available online. At the moment they are only available in a dimmer set containing one E27 bulb and one remote control. They were on display but out of stock in the Reading store today, with more due to arrive next week.

Using Amazon Dash buttons to make Google Home say something

I've been spending some time researching the confusing world of home automation and in particular smart lighting. In the UK it is in a rather confused state - lots of bulbs with nifty features, but quite poor human interface usability, because of the complete lack of compatible available retrofit solutions for light fittings that can't have their bulbs changed (or use a large number of bulbs), and existing UK switch fittings and wiring. But that's another story...

Google Home Mini has no audio out

Over the past couple of years my household has become more and more invested in the Google ecosystem. It hasn't always been this way, it's simply because products came along that were the best solutions to my tech desires. Android, Shield TV, Google Photos, and Chromecast audios. Unlike on phones, Voice at home is genuinely useful, so I could hardly pass up it finally being adopted by the 'big guys'. But I did not take the plunge with Amazon's Alexa because my educated bet is that Google is naturally inclined to have the better solution - for two reasons:

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