With all the Black Friday sales and pre-sales, I thought now would be the perfect time to pick up some Philips Hue lights. I’d done research on a number of related products and thought I knew what I was getting into. But there are one or two things I wish I’d known beforehand. Nothing major, but good to knows.
The Philips Hue light bulbs operate on the Zigbee wireless protocol. So to communicate with them, you’re required to purchase a hub. The hub connects to the internet through your home internet, and the bulbs connect through the hub. This is straight forward. So I made sure to purchase a kit, that came with four lightbulbs and a hub. So I pull out the hub and spend about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to connect it to my Wi-Fi.
Spoiler alert, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. I console myself with the ambiguous wording on the box “Plug in the Hue bridge and connect to your Wi-Fi Router”. But alas, the included ethernet cable is required to connect to your Wi-Fi router. Once it’s on your router you are then able to connect to it from your phone or other device via Wi-Fi.
The step before connecting the bridge also proved challenging. Having recently moved to a new apartment, I had not taken much note of the lightbulbs already installed. The Philips Hue kit comes with standard A19 lightbulbs with Edison 26 size fittings. Excluding the bathroom, there are 12 individual lightbulbs in the apartment. Only one of them uses an Edison 26 size fitting. The rest use candelabra size fittings, either Edison 12 or Edison 17.
So I installed one lightbulb and set it up while placing some 12 to 26 and 17 to 26 converters on order. Philips do also sell a candelabra sized lightbulb, however they are considerably more expensive than the full-size A19 lightbulbs.
Thereafter things were pretty straightforward. I downloaded the Philips Hue app and quickly had things up and running. Overall I’ve been quite happy with the kit and the app. I’ve managed to easily integrate with IFTTT and Google Assistant and am planning on getting some more bulbs in the future.
tl;dr: The Hue hub only has an ethernet port, and many light fixtures in a US house have non-compatible fittings. Otherwise good.
For more info on the full Hue range, read our article here.