Designing a Smart Lighting System
Designing a smart lighting system involves strategic planning. The steps include:
- Print a floor plan of your home
- Mark light fixture locations
- Determine switch placements
- Make a purchase list
- Install and test the devices
The location of the light points is determined by the use, so it is advisable to make a small sketch of the home to plan which lights will go where. In this way, you can also make a budget tailored to your needs.
Just like this, the first thing we need to do is mark the place where we need to put the light. The lamp symbols refer to the picture below:
By marking the floor plan with lights and corresponding switches, a basic blueprint for required wired switches can be established. The light symbols refer to the picture below:
Tips: If you want to set up a more comfortable lighting environment for your home, you can try to set up a light and draw a circle with a radius of 1m as the center, so that the place 1m away will be a darker place, and you can replenish the light source as needed.
After marking, mark the switch you want to control the light on the graphic design, and connect it with the corresponding light with a line, so that you have a basic planning drawing. These can help you determine how many wired switches you need to buy.
The next step is to purchase devices for installation and debugging. I have some suggestions on purchasing.
1. Try to buy products from the same manufacturer. On the one hand, the switch style will be unified and more beautiful, and on the other hand, it will reduce the problem of linkage between switches across brands.
2. When buying a switch, pay attention to what protocol it uses. Do you need a gateway? Bluetooth and Zigbee require an additional gateway.
3. Determine what type of switch to buy based on the wires in your own box.
4. Most Wi-Fi smart homes require a 2.4 GHz router, so you need to confirm it in advance. If you don’t have one, buy it in advance.
5. If you purchase a lot at one time, you can send your purchase list to customer service, and you may be able to apply for a discount with him, which can save you money.
This article simplifies the steps of setting up whole-house smart lighting system. Additionally, what follows are my personal experiences and recommendations concerning sensors, wireless switches, and smart lighting fixtures. These insights aim to optimize the smart home experience.
Sensors are incredibly versatile tools, like door/window sensors and motion sensors. They play a pivotal role in facilitating scene-based automation and smart home security setups. For instance, in an “away from home” scenario, if a door sensor detects an opening but a motion sensor detects no presence, the lights remain off. This prevents a situation where the lights turn off inadvertently while, for example, retrieving a package after opening the door.
Wireless switch is a cost-effective solution for retrofitting existing homes into smart homes. It offers an excellent and economical alternative for scenarios where rewiring or installing new electrical boxes might be impractical, particularly near sofas or bedside areas. These switches can facilitate dual-control modes through scenes, enabling convenient setups like a bedtime scene to turn off all lights. However, one common drawback is the need for power source management, often necessitating backup batteries to prevent operational interruptions.
Smart Lighting Fixtures
When considering smart lighting retrofitting solutions, my recommendation leans towards replacing conventional wall outlets and switches with smart alternatives rather than opting for smart lighting fixtures. The latter tend to be more expensive, with individual bulbs costing $2-3 more than regular bulbs. For a home with ten such bulbs, this translates to an additional $20-30 in costs. Given budget constraints and a lack of specific requirements, I don’t advocate for smart lighting fixtures.
Moreover, using smart bulbs requires specific smart wall switches since interrupting the power supply to these bulbs disconnects them from the App, rendering remote control via smartphone or voice assistants impossible. This necessitates a unique smart wall switch that ensures a continuous power supply to the bulbs. Considering the overall cost and functionality, smart lighting fixtures often present a significantly pricier option. However, if ambiance versatility is desired, multi-color smart bulbs could be a favorable choice.
Ultimately, I tend to favor a solution involving decorative lighting coupled with smart plugs. This approach allows for continued use of decorative lighting while offering occasional control via smart plugs, aligning more with a cost-effective and adaptable strategy.