HomeKit lighting decision making process

A big part of home automation for me is lighting for my house.  The first Homekit lighting accessory that I got was the Philips Hue Starter kit with 3 Colored bulbs and the Philips Hue hub.

The illustration below shows my initial ideas for the house.  I wanted to use the bulbs to light up my living room with the recessed ceiling lights.  Honestly, that was done without thinking of the consequences.  I didn’t really think about the utilization plus more importantly how my family will use it or complain about using it.

Ceiling lamp HomeKit bulb only

So here are the issues I had with this setup:

  • If someone swithes of the ceiling Light main switch, the bulb is turned off, and I wouldn’t be able to use the Home app to control it.
  • My family kept complaining that they don’t want to use the iPhone/iPad to control the lights.  They wanted a physical switch.
  • Just having 1 light source for a large area was not bright enough.

So with this initial setback, I decided to think about the options below, which may help you in your Home Automation journey.

Step 1: Swap put the Philips Hue bulb from the ceiling light with a normal light bulb, and replace it with the Koogeek Smart Light Switch.  I bought it of Lazada, and it came relatively fast.

HomeKit light switch

So here are the issues I had with the Koogeek Light Swithes:

  • You need to have a Neutral electrical cable for the switch.  If you look at the Specifications page from the site, you’ll see this “note” : Neutral wire is required.  I turned of the main, and removed my existing light switch and realized that it doesn’t. So I had to call in an electrician to set it up for me.  Easy.
  • Another issue I had was the the Koogeek Light Switch has a depth of about an inch.  My house is made from concrete walls, so the current switches are pretty shallowly recessed into the walls.  Because of this I had to install a switch box.  But, as all the light switches are hidden in a cabinet, there’s no issues.
Koogeek light switch in a switch box as the depth of the switch was too deep.

With this installed, I resolved the family issues on needing a physical switch for the light.

I could have just left the Philips Hue bulb in the ceiling lamp like the setup in the image below, but the light at the living room is set to the brightest setting all the time, so this wasn’t necessary.

Both HomeKit bulb, and light switch

Next was to get more light in the room.  After making the mistake for the Ceiling lights I had to put some thought into the next light source.

Below are the 2 options that I had for a lamp that is in the room.  Option 1 was to use a Philips Hue in the lamp.  The same issue would arise where my family would want to have a physical switch for the lamp.

HomeKit bulb in Lamp shade

Below would be the second option which was to use the power point switch that I got from Elgato.  The Elgato Eve Energy is a simple plug that is so easy to use, but a little bulky.

HomeKit Power Plug

In the end of the day, I realised that as the lamp can easily be controlled with a timer to switch on at 7pm, and turned off at 11pm.  So I wouldn’t have any complaints from family members.  With that in mind, I decided to just go with a Philips Hue bulb instead of the power point switch.

In my opinion, this is the best configuration

So, in the end, the above was what I ended up with, with 1 more addition, the Philips Hue Motion Sensor (Click here to read my article on how I set up the motion sensor in my house).  With the motion sensor whenever someone comes downstairs around 12pm till 7pm the lights in the Living room turns on automatically.

Not a perfect set up, as I wished I had HomeKit access control to the Philips Hue Motion Controls light level sensor.  This way even the Koogeek with swith could be turned on automatically when the lights in the living room drops to a low level.

Hope this article gives you an idea on how you can kick start your Home Automation for your home.