Last Sunday, I decided it was time for my LIFX bulb to have a real purpose instead of sitting in its box. Although I had read forums and articles that had advised against using the bulb in an enclosed fixture, I decided to try it anyway.
This was the first of the problems. Since most bulbs are very light, putting them in a socket where they are supported only by one little piece of metal is fine. However, the LIFX light is pretty heavy, so that one piece of metal wouldn’t support it. To combat this problem, I took a piece of wire and supported the rest of the bulb with a little hot glue. I 3D printed some small squares to give the glue more surface area, and the bulb stuck down fine.
Onto my controlling situation. Before using the LIFX bulb, I had a dimmer switch in my room. LIFX advises against using dimmers with their products, but since my family is very busy, there wasn’t much time to change my dimmer. So far, the bulb works fine with this dimmer, but there is one problem: The bulb is pretty dim. I’m not sure if this is caused by the dimmer or by the bulb’s relative dimness, but since I plan on putting in a non-dimming switch at some point, hopefully this problem will be solved.
To control the lights, I use two devices: My old Android Tablet that runs a slow version of Cyanogenmod Lollipop that often reboots for no reason and my dad’s old Droid Bionic that he got back on launch day a million years ago. It runs Android 4.whatever.
The tablet so far works fine, besides that the bulb crashes and needs a reboot every once-in-a-while (which is totally ok, since I can just flip the dimmer switch to reset it). I keep my tablet near my bed so I can control it at night (a feature I didn’t used to have).
The phone needs a restart every time I use it if the bulb’s panel is open, but if I am on the main screen of the LIFX app, it generally works okay. My theory for this is that when the app refreshes each time I wake the phone on the bulb panel, it marks the bulb as offline. However, since this problem don’t happen on the app’s home screen, I imagine it just notices the bulb again.
I also use Google Home to control the bulb, which is really helpful. Through an IFTTT script, I just need to say “Okay Google, Bedroom light” and the bulb turns on or off, depending on its current state. I want to make some more scripts for different brightnesses, but I still have yet to do this.
Another problem I noticed is that the bulb flickers a lot. It might only flicker a few percentage points, but it’s still annoying. I’m not sure if this is caused by using an extra phone as a controller or by the dimmer switch, but I’ll try to remember to update this article if I find out the cause. In case you were wondering, I haven’t had any issues with the bulb’s enclosed fixtures yet, but if I do, I’ll be sure to update this article.
In addition, I really wish there was a better switch for the light. A cheap WiFi button that works with IFTTT would be great! The Flic Button, linked above, needs Bluetooth to work, and it is also relatively expensive at $34.99 on Amazon.
So that’s the situation at the moment. It has only been a few days since I completed this installation, but I already have a lot of thoughts about it. Right now, I’m still gathering data, but it seems like this will be a cool and fun bulb to have, especially if I figure out some of the problems I’m having.
In the future, I want to change my dimmer switch for an on-off switch, add a WiFi switch, and make more IFTTT scripts. This has been a fun experiment so far, but I hope it turns into my permanent bedroom lighting system!
Do you have smart light bulbs? Especially if you have Philips Hue (or other systems) or have figured out a good way to use your LIFX light, I’d be interested in hearing your feedback. I’m always open to trying new smart home solutions, so also please let me know in the comments section below if you have suggestions!