Thus ends my rainbow smart bulb experiment

A while back I started converting a lot of my lights to smart bulbs. The ability to turn things on and off with my voice has been nice, but the seizure inducing side effects along with maintenance were not. Here’s what happened over the course of a couple of years with several smart bulbs that I attempted to make main replacement lights.

The Dream

I really wanted to be able to set mood lighting (including creepy Halloweeny style) and be able to turn lights on and off remotely to both safe electricity and to scare off spiders with bad intent. Also my kids absolutely loved being able to change the color of their rooms for exactly 2 days.

Also having kids who did not tell time and would wake up in the middle of the night and not know it was still time to be asleep we developed a color-coding nightlight situation – green = awake time, blue = start calming down it’s near bedtime, dark purple / pink = should be asleep. This is still in effect on two stand lamps that aren’t suffering from some of the later listed issues.

Seizure inducing?

The first thing you might not know if you’re not a smart bulb enthusiast is that when you’re trying to pair a smart bulb with a phone/wifi/whatever you turn on power, and cut it off 2-3 times in a row. The lightbulbs start blinking on and off. This is how you know they’re in pairing mode. Usually you pair one at a time and looking away is not much of an issue.

Not if you’re me and have replaced every single light in your basement with smart bulbs. This month alone we’ve had two power outages that managed to trigger 6 bulbs in the basement, 3 bulbs on the first floor. And for some reason half of them never stop blinking.

Overhead blinkouts

I have two fixtures in my kids rooms. I thought “oh, this will be cool they can change the lights whenever they want” yeah, what happens is they don’t, ever, and the lights will go out occasionally while you’re in there. I replaced a couple and the new lights went out. I thought perhaps I had a bad wire or something, no. They’re just incapable of handling the not very high heat they generate and when they overheat they shut off for safety.

Man, that’s dim

I’d gone to 150 watt equivalent on a lot of bulbs because I just was not getting the light I wanted in these rooms even when on bright/white. Two 150W style bulbs should be ~300 watt equ if I was doing the math right. Yeah no. I put one 200 Watt equ FEIT bulb in and it was brighter by far than anything in the smart bulb range.

But really, that’s a lot dimmer than it started

I wish I’d had my lumen meter when I started the project because I can only remember that when I started I marveled at how I could read under these bulbs and yesterday I was at the point where I was wondering if I was being gaslighted.

I even took to reading up on these claims of lasting years, and discovered nope, those bulbs should be a lot brighter at one to two years in, and I’m pretty sure my memory is correct. Every bulb I had in an enclosed fixture was now dim enough to notice. My youngest’s room was lit like something out of a horror movie.

And this is probably the second time this has happened. I didn’t notice with the first set because I wasn’t really looking. Didn’t get the lumen meter either until a month or two ago so yeah, going to monitor the new dumb bulbs and see how they fare.

Conclusion

Dig the concept, still will probably use these in the basement as all the sockets down there are pretty much open and they don’t run very long at any given shot, and I can make my neighbors think I have a grow operation in there. But I’m ending using rainbow/smart bulbs as primary lighting where any sort of reading or eye-intensive activities have to happen.

This doesn’t seem to be isolated to any one brand as a note.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts