Home Automation

Is this $5 Smart Bulb the Best bang for your buck??

So I was walking through Walmart the other day and on the end cap between Hardware and Electronic (a very fitting place for this) I found this little nugget of Gold!

For just $5 ($4.66 since it is Walmart) I was able to add this puppy to my collection. The Merkury Innovations Smart WI-Fi LED Bulb which appear to be made by Greeni.

You can purchase the same one on their website located here and the color one for $12 here.

Now I must admit that my expectations were really low considering the cheapest LED smart bulb I had ever encountered before was the IKEA TRADFRI which starts at $12 a bulb.

Upon first inspection the bulb itself felt like it should and is about the same weight as the TRADFRI. Upon plugging it in the light turns on like normal and then starts to blink… I assume this is a pairing mode. The instructions want you to install a smart controller app called Greeni App which looked oddly enough like the same screen that Smart Life or Tuya use.

Having a few products that work with Tuya I thought what the heck and opened my app. As soon as I did it found the smart bulb and asked if I wanted to add it to my managed devices which I did and because of that it was automatically added into my Google Home…. Bonus Point!!

From my app I was able to control the brightness and even turn it on and off which is awesome.

For now I am very happy with this decision and I think if you want to get into the smart home market this is a great way to start. All you need is the Device and WiFi. Now if you want to get fancy with automation and rules you can start to do that from the app, however there are limitations.

If you are interested in learning how to do more complex automation reach out to me using the Contact us form.

How to use IKEA TRADFRI with a Samsung Smartthings

So as you may or may not know one of my hobbies as of late has been Home Automation. My favorite platform is Home Assistant as it allows me to connect a whole plethora of products together and use them in a giant mesh throughout my house. 
I recently setup IKEA Tradfri bulbs in my Master Bedroom and the Daughters room and I was able to connect them into Home Assistant with mixed reviews. The integration with the IKEA Tradfri lights is already part of the standard build for Home Assistant, however I have to admit that it is not always reliable for me and I find myself using either the Tradfri app or the remote controls that I purchased for them. 
This weekend my Son asked if I could do the same for him so he could be cool like his sisters. So I went to IKEA and purchased a new Light bulb. Now one of the things that I have noticed from being a user of the system that no one mentions is that if you desire to use a remote for the lights, you will need to purchase one for each room your are setting up as there is no way to switch between light groups on the remote. So not only and I purchasing an $11 light bulb (because I am cheap) but I have to purchase a $20 Remote!!
I had done some research online and found that the IKEA Tradfri bulbs are actually using a form of ZigBee to communicate and that it might be possible to use it with a Samsung Smartthings Hub. 
So when I got home from IKEA I opened up my laptop and searched for a Guide and I found one listed below which I was able to follow with great ease considering I had already done a lot of this work when setting up the MQTT Bridge with Smartthings.