Chef40

Automation for Garden lighting - systems?

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I'd value any input please - looking at a medium sized lighting installation as part of a re-landscaping project. It'll involve different areas of garden and different lighting styles.

 

I'd like to be able to control it all from an App because switches will drive me MAD ūüôā¬†

 

Does anyone have any experience or recommendation in terms of the best system to use behind such a project?

 

Thanks!!

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Posted (edited)

You could go with something like Phillips Hue. Leave all the bulbs powered on and then control it from their app. You can create different zones, and different routines e.g. light things automatically at 7pm. It's probably the least technical solution, but it gets pricey, especially if you buy their own bulb enclosures. What's also nice about this is that you can set different bulb colours or brightness. 

 

What I have done for my outside lights is divide the house exterior into a number of zones, then wire each zone back to the consumer unit. I then use an app controlled wifi switch to turn these on or off. This means I can use cheaper bulbs, but they are all on or off in a particular zone. 

Edited by James Newport
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Posted (edited)

If (when) I build from scratch I will install a bespoke system in plant room, but in my present place I use Hive plugs for driveway lighting, Christmas lights etc.

A ring of sockets around the garden/perimeter proved power for the hive plugs.

very easy to programme different effects via motion sensors etc.

Edited by markc

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Thanks folks... this will be a sizeable installation, it will needs to cover lights over about .25 acre... I was envisaging a system that ties back to central controllers and WiFi somewhere. It won't be manageable using smart plugs unfortunately.

 

I'll take a look at Philips Hue, my concern is that system is going be pretty prescriptive over bulbs and fittings, which won't work - we need total flexibility in terms of fittings/bulbs...

 

I had had a quick look at Loxone systems or maybe Wise controls??? Was hoping someone may have done similar.

 

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, Chef40 said:

I'll take a look at Philips Hue, my concern is that system is going be pretty prescriptive over bulbs and fittings, which won't work - we need total flexibility in terms of fittings/bulbs...

There are automation systems (e.g. Home assistant) that acts as a unified control system for different types of smart bulb. You can pick and choose which hardware you want for whatever requirements you have and then use home assistant to tie it all together. 

 

The barrier to entry with something like Hue is low, so long as your pocket can stand the hit. 

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If you can, wait a year for "Matter" to become widespread standard for home automation.

 

It uses Thread as a communication protocol for lighting, which is superior Z-wave/Zigbee, etc., and I think will be widely adopted. With Matter, you can use Google, Apple, whatever ecosystem you like. It is what I am going to use for my build, inside and out. And I have stopped buying any other home-automation kit for now (despite my natural instincts) while await the Matter roll out.

 

Future proof.

 

The Matter standard: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matter_(standard), https://buildwithmatter.com, https://csa-iot.org

The Thread protocol: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thread_(network_protocol), https://www.threadgroup.org

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19 hours ago, Chef40 said:

I had had a quick look at Loxone systems

Fair number of people on forum have installed, or are installing, Loxone for home  automation. Loxone can do heating, security audio and lighting and I've personally found it to be sweet spot between more closed systems and more DIY approaches.

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44 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

If you can, wait a year for "Matter" to become widespread standard for home automation.

Sound great, but these things take longer than a year to become a widespread standard.

 

Standards

(https://xkcd.com/927/)

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37 minutes ago, James Newport said:

Sound great, but these things take longer than a year to become a widespread standard.

 

Standards

(https://xkcd.com/927/)

Have to agree . You can wait forever . Until Apple/Google etc. Bother to Chuck large amounts of cash into this it will be a while . Home automation I think in the U.K. is still viewed as hobbyist/ nerdy apart from the absolute basics - like turning a light on from your phone .

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Members of Matter (and many others):

image.thumb.png.cace5bc589717be085f093f8be3e7391.png

Members of Thread (and many others):

image.png.46844ddd80e5e89ebeb9df5771467d04.png

 

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Posted (edited)

(Note that Signify, above, owns Philips Hue).

(Both Google and Apple are already selling Matter-based products).

Edited by Dreadnaught

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1 hour ago, Dreadnaught said:

(Note that Signify, above, owns Philips Hue).

(Both Google and Apple are already selling Matter-based products).

Fair enough . Tbh I had forgot about matter - read about it a while ago . That‚Äôs one of the reasons I choose a HA system that can use all technologies- though Of course Apple etc. May not want you going outside their eco system . Whilst I‚Äôm mainly zwave I‚Äôd happily add new devices via another method once it‚Äôs proven . I remember trying to do stuff with x10 ‚Ķ ūü§£ūüôĄ

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Not sure if anyone here is old enough to remember MSX . Once that failed they then tried MSX2 which failed . Admittedly the entire market is somewhat different today . But even with z wave different manufacturers devices ( supposedly adhering to the same standard ) can cause issues . I’ll certainly keep an eye on matter - and see where it is 12 months from now .

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Dreadnaught said:

Members of Matter (and many others):

image.thumb.png.cace5bc589717be085f093f8be3e7391.png

Members of Thread (and many others):

image.png.46844ddd80e5e89ebeb9df5771467d04.png

 

 

The Bluetooth  standard was published in 1998, and the SIG had 1000 backers by the year 2000 *. 

Yet it didn't really get significant market take up until 2010-15 (with the most significant inflection point being Apple dropping the 3.5mm stereo jack in 2016).

 

 

Matter have delayed publication of their full SDK until sometime in 2022, so the odds of getting a thriving market of interoperable devices this side of 2025 seems slim.

 

 

* - (I was at the first "Bluetooth World congress" in Monte Carlo in 2000, when they announced this milestone, just before the dot com bubble burst.  It was absolutely nuts).

 

 

Edited by joth
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On 26/08/2021 at 09:27, Dan F said:

Fair number of people on forum have installed, or are installing, Loxone for home  automation. Loxone can do heating, security audio and lighting and I've personally found it to be sweet spot between more closed systems and more DIY approaches.

Of course, being a Loxone partner I couldn't agree more..........ūüėĀ

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On the subject of Matter/Thread and interoperability...

 

Home assistant have launched a crowd funding campaign for a new smart hub that will run Home Assistant, has built in support for Zigbee (so no more Hue hub or Ikea hub as well) and it will also support Matter in the future. 

 

Quote

Home Assistant Amber includes the latest and greatest Zigbee radio chip from Silicon Labs to communicate with smart devices in your home. The chip is forward-compatible with the upcoming Matter smart home connectivity standard, in which Silicon Labs is heavily involved. Home Assistant Amber will be compatible with Matter as soon as the Silicon Labs Matter SDK is released.

 

More info here: https://www.crowdsupply.com/nabu-casa/home-assistant-amber

 

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Hi

 

I have installed lights in a few of my gardens and I ended up using quinetic wireless switch, they either do standard wireless or wifi controlled.

 

The wifi controlled can link to its own app and/or be linked to alexa for example so can set up scenes and control from phone

 

Very easy to install no complicated wiring, they also do wireless switches/fobs if you want a manual control also

 

I have found these to work well and simple/cost effective solution to outdoor lighting control

 

https://www.quinetic.co.uk/

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