Automating lights at home is probably the coolest thing you could do. It looks impressive, it’s practical, but infuriating at the same time. Yeelight is trying to close the gap between the Philips Hue by providing a well-explained API as well as Google Assistant, Alexa and… TASKER integration. This alone gets my interest. Should you be interested? Read on!
I gave up on smart bulbs some time ago, as very poor integration with other systems (or the high price of Hue) made it nearly impossible to work with what I’m creating at home. This was the main reason I started to work on my own smart light switch. Yeelight’s key selling point for me was a very well documented API. This is something I’m looking forward to as I want to integrate the bulb into my NodeRED environment.
The Yeelight App
The Yeelight app is well fleshed out and has the local network support if you are not happy with sharing your info with a server in China/Singapore. People get a little fussy about that stuff, but it’s hard to imagine the same functionality and support level without server/client communication.
The app comes with the usual RGB LED controls including hue, brightness, scenes, groups, but on top of that, we have some extra settings like automatic rules, timers, Bluetooth support (sic!) and responding to noise levels.
Overall, the setup was easy, although included instructions were in Chinese only (the app is in English) and it took me only a few seconds to get this sorted.
There has been a major overhaul of the app. The interface has changed, and an additional US server is available for Yeelight users. apart from GUI improvement, the app features scenes which are macros for light’s behaviours. You can now record how you want the light to behave and execute the scene with a single click.
Simply select in the scene preset ‘Select Customized Light’ to start creating your own behaviour.
This would allow you to create a predefined display of colours, previously not available outside of the ready-made presets. It’s a very cool feature!
The Yeelight smart bulb is bright, I’m able to light up my office with a single bulb pointing at the white wall. The colours are nice and vivid with greens being the weakest of the bunch.
I was very surprised to learn that Yeelight has Tasker integration. I was expecting some complicated hack, but it turns out – the lightbulb controls are present in the plugin section of the Tasker. You can toggle the state, change the theme of light or brightness. The only thing is missing is the colour picker as such, as it would make the changes so much quicker to do rather than setting up the scenes instead. Querying the light state would be another great information to receive via Tasker. Fortunately, you can do this using API.
The app went through some major changes, and support for Tasker changed as well a little. While the direct support for predefined scenes is still not available (feedback submitted). Lights offer you a significant improvement in how Tasker can control it.
The control modes include:
- Power Toggle
- Brightness slider/Variable
- Colour variable
- Temperature variable
- Scene support
I’d like to talk about the scenes more. Yeelight app allows you to ‘record’ a predefined behaviour. Let’s say you want the light/group/room to turn on as an orange, dim colour, wait 10 min then change the colour to blue, then flash 3 times in red. This could be programmed as a scene, saved and then executed from Tasker as a single action.
For now, the default (predefined) scenes I used in my tutorials have to be manually recreated, but I hope the fix is coming up soon.
Alexa and Google Assistant
Both assistants had no issues linking to the Yeelight and toggling it, changing the brightness or colour is easily done by calling out the name assigned to the smart bulb. The device is responsive and there is no lag.
So far there is no bayonet version of the fitting. I hope the extra mount will be available soon, as here in the UK that’s the assumed standard. I can’t wait to add this to my Raspberry Pi and NodeRED so I could control it from anything I want. Stay tuned for the tutorials as they are coming soon.
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