Select Page
Motion activated LED stairs lights with voice control

Motion activated LED stairs lights with voice control

Walking up or down the stairs at night can be made to an experience by using LED lights. Being able to have different animations or LED patterns makes this even more exciting. How do you achieve such a thing?

By using motion activated LED stairs lighting integrated into Alexa and Home Assistant based on Dig-Quad LED Controller using ESP32 with HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensors and UHP-350-12 Mean Well power supply. 

This project can be completed in many ways from just buying the components or going the extra mile and buying LED channels, diffusers and 3D printing the casings for the distance sensors. 

Let’s start with the core, which is the Dig-Quad LED controller from Dr ZZs 

This controller comes with an ESP32 board already, fuses for extra protection and pre-flashed with WLED. 

You could build this yourself with an ESP32 Dev board but the ease of install and the additional protection including Youtube videos on how to install, makes this a no-brainer.


Which power supply to use will depend on the LEDs you chose e.g. 5V vs 12V vs 24V and how long and how many LED strips you want to install. There are plenty of websites and calculators out there to enable you to make the math how much WATT you need for what length and voltage. 

In my case, I went with 12V LEDs and given my length, I went with the 350W power supply. Another important aspect is the cooling method of the power supply. Having deployed various solutions like this, I can only recommend to avoid any fan based solution.

Those can be very loud and mechanical fans will fail. So the question is not if but when they will fail. This model here with the Mean Well UHP-350-12 is fanless and zero noise.

The fanless models might be a little bit more expensive but having a higher MTBF (meantime before failure) and no noise is certainly worth this price.


The type of motion sensor is important from a distance, false positive, price and reliability perspective. 

You could go overboard with mmwave doppler motion sensor like the LD2410 in which case you have to ensure the proper voltage, etc or simply go with the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor.

This sensor is extremely affordable and you can actually specify the distance parameters in the WLED UI to fine tune your detection radius. 

I did try the HC-SR501 motion sensor as well, but the detection reliability was not even close compared to the ultrasonic sensor, so I opted for the HC-SR04 module for the top and the bottom of the stairs.

The home assistant integration is extremely easy by installing the WLED integration. Once you enable this integration it will auto-discover all your WLED instances in your home.

As you can see in this screenshot, you can conduct firmware updates, control the intensity of the lights, you can define the segments, etc. 

You could go as far as having an ESPhome Bluetooth tracker mapped to your Samsung or Apple watch and create conditions to show different patterns depending on who is going up or down the stairs. 

I opted for the stairs integration natively within WLED as this integration, while being outside of home assistant, allows you to fine tune your motion sensor parameters and set the pins for the upstairs and downstairs motion sensors via the UI. 

I should point out though, that this stairs integration is NOT natively in WLED. There are some binaries out there which include that integration or you can compile your own WLED binary with Visual Studio, which is what I did. 

Again, you don’t have to go down that route. You can simply use home assistant to do the animations for you and you could use your own motion sensors based on Zigbee or Z-wave to trigger the lights. The possibilities are endless.

Within the WLED settings in the UI, you can specify if you want that device to be discoverable by Alexa or you can use home assistant and go into the device settings and click on voice assistant and you can decide there, if you want to expose this device to Alexa and/or Google. 

A very interesting question to ask is what wins if you turn on those lights via voice and then walk up or down the stairs with the motion sensors. Will they turn off based on your timer of the motion sensors or will they stay on?

I will give you a hint… if you just use home assistant you control and decide the behavior, while using the stairs integration of WLED will do its own thing. 


Unleash your full Unify Dream machine Wifi 6 Speeds

Unleash your full Unify Dream machine Wifi 6 Speeds

With Wifi 6 and Wifi 6e and the just announced Wifi 7 standards rolling out, you want to ensure that you have the latest and greatest speeds at your home. 

There are some gotchas on the path to achieve the highest performance and I will also address the most economical vs the “Unify ONLY” method.

With the release of the Wifi 6 Access Points of Ubiquity you will notice the speed requirements of 2.5Gb/E POE to ensure the optimal performance for your network.



The UDM-Pro Dream Machine is a great device but if you look closely you will find 2 x 10G SFP+ ports, 1 x 1G RJ45 WAN and 8 x 1G RJ45 ports for a total of 11 ports. 

The first scenario is using the 1G RJ45 WAN port connected to your Xfinity, ATT, etc modem/router (hopefully is pass-through mode), which leaves 2 x 10G SFP+ ports to connect to your new Wifi 6 Access Points.

You would have enough ports to direct connect them to your UDM-Pro but you don’t get POE assuming you want to connect 2 Access points for redundancy reasons.


The new U6-IW Access Point, which is an In Wall Access Point powered by POE. The Access Point has additional network ports at the bottom and you will need to power this access point with POE+, if you want to have POE out.

POE+ is not required but recommended as this access point and the U6-LR (Long Range) consume about 15W on average. 

The challenge comes with the POE+ part. You have to purchase a switch with POE+, which also support 2.5Gb/E or you use the existing 10G SFP+ ports but then you need a POE injector.

You can go with the Ubiquity POE adapters or buy no-name POE adapters, but the best path of action would also be the priciest path as Ubiquity recommends their enterprise 24 Port POE+ switch for $800 all the way to their enterprise 48 Port POE+ switch for $1,600.  


With those prices for those POE+ switches the POE injectors look suddenly much more attractive than before!

With that said, you need to be careful as not all POE injectors support the speeds you need. Some of them only support 10/100, while others support gigabit speeds which you can recognize in their part number with the G at the end.

If you go with the cheaper model like you see here on Amazon with only 10/100 saving $5, you will get a message in your Unify dashboard stating “Poor Ethernet Link Speed Try replacing your AP’s cable”. It is obviously not the cable as it is the POE injector slowing you down assuming you have the proper CAT cable for your Access Points.



The most economical way of achieving the overall goal of best performance would be a switch. In this case an unmanaged switch which supports POE+ for 2.5Gb/E ports and has a 10G SFP+ port. There are some affordable models on Amazon and I tried 3 of them.

The first one from Yanley did not work as advertised and actually died during the install and there was no mention of that model on the manufacturer website and the manual was the wrong manual. I sent that switch back for a full refund.

The second one got delayed during shipment from China, so I ended up with the Binardata switch. 

This switch comes with 8 x 2.5Gb/E ports POE+ and 1 x 10 SFP+ port. You connect this switch using a 1M SFP+ DAC cable and you connect your access points directly to the POE+ powered ports.

What nobody tells you though is that once you introduce a 3rd party switch into an ubiquity network, you will lose your ability to look at your topology map to see your Wifi clients. Given that all your Wifi clients will be connected to both or more of your access points, you will not see a single client in your topology map.

I emailed Ubiquity about that issue and their response was that 3rd party vendors incorrectly forward LLDP traffic causing this.

After emailing Binardata, they replied that this is an unmanaged switch and they don’t have a way to block LLDP forwarding. 

If you look carefully though, you will see a dip switch for VLAN support and what this dip switch does, it forces all communication from all 2.5Gb/E ports to the 10G SFP+ port blocking all communications between the 2.5Gb/E ports and this includes forwarding of all LLDP traffic. 

As a result, once you flip that dip switch your topology map will start working again and you will see your access points directly connected to your UDM-Pro and given that this is an unmanaged switch, this is totally acceptable.

Now you have a switch with 8 x 2.5Gb/E ports allowing you to connect up to 8 access points with up to 150W of total POE+ power.  


Another reason why it makes sense to use 1 of the two 10G SFP+ ports to connect to one unmanaged switch is that you most likely won’t have more than 4 x 2.5Gb/E access points in your home and given that you use the 1G port for WAN connectivity you have one more 10G SFP+ port left, which in my case talks to my Synology RS1221+ model hosting VMs, network shares, BlueIris and Home Assistant. Having one dedicated 10G ethernet connection to that device is more than appropriate. 

In summary, you can upgrade your UDM-Pro from Wifi 5 to Wifi 6 or Wifi 6e by either investing in the proper Ubiquity POE+ switch family, which will cost you at least $800 and you will get 24 POE ports while you might only need 2 or 3 of them…


You purchase this affordable unmanaged switch no-name brand on Amazon Link  for $166 (and I want to make it clear that I have zero affiliation with that company and I found them on Amazon and I purchased that device at the full price).

Use the dip switch for VLAN isolating and blocking LLDP traffic giving you the ability to scale your access points with POE+ to up to 8 at a very affordable price unlocking the full speed in your home network.

I hope you found this article helpful and you will be able to break out and join the high speed highway.

New Philips Hue LED multi-color strips for a hefty new price

New Philips Hue LED multi-color strips for a hefty new price

Philips announced today a series of new products ranging from new light strips, Hue Iris, new low-cost white bulbs, etc. 

The new Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip is designed to integrate seemlessly with the Philie Hue Play HDMI Sync Box. Any HDMI device will be able to be connected to the new light strip.

This new light strip comes in three lengths, as it was built with TV sets in mind and you will be able to order it in 55 inch, 65 inch and 75 inch.

The previous light strips were limited to a single color and did not support multi-color, which has now been addressed with individually addressable LEDs to provide quote “immerse home theater experience”.

You will be able to order this light strip on October 16th 2020 for a price of $199. Yes, this is correct. Philips is asking for $200 for the 55 inch version, $220 for the 65 inch and $240 for the 75 inch version. This is more than twice the price of the previous light strip version resulting in a 250% price increase. 

I would like to point out that LIFX has been offering multi-color light strips for under $100 for over 4 years now. But it doesn’t stop there. You will have to pay another $230 for the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box bringing your total price to $430. 

Let’s compare the new light strip with the cheapest version of strip you can find today on Amazon. There are hundreds of TV backlight LED products on Amazon.

The first one I could find supporting music sync without having to use an App on your phone or a remote to run scenes and has a built-in microphone to sync with the TV sound is the one on the right. It is currently priced at $26.59. This is 6.2% of the price for the Hue Strip and HDMI sync box combined.

The lighting experience is certainly not the same as they don’t come with individual addressable LEDs, so if you care about different fading colors at the same time behind the TV, then you could invest $89,99 for the LIFX Z TV strip, which is 21% in comparison to Philips.

The downside with LIFX Z TV strip is that you will have to use an app on your phone, a raspberry PI running proxy software, or a mac pc running the proxy software to synchronize with the sound of the TV.

Granted, Philips has the most elegant solution with the HDMI sync box and no sound interference from other sources and sound sync in real-time, but that price is simply too high.

Let’s compare value. On the left side you see my installation of 64 feet 16 million colors LED strip with remote control, built-in microphone on the switch and app control on your phone. This setup will cost you on Amazon $48,59. Yes, 64 feet of LEDs for less than $50 and it works in conjunction with your TV sound as long as you have no other sound interference in the room. 

It does not offer the individual addressable LED sections to provide multi-color fading, so you can only face from one color into the other or when the sound changes the colors fade and change, but it is always one color for the strip and in different brightness depending on your sound.

 With that said, the new Philips Hue strip has certainly benefits compared to all the other options outlined here, but the price is not justified. Let’s see how the market will adopt those new LED strips from Hue. Time will tell.

LIFX plans to attack Corona Virus Covid-19 with new “LIFX clean” bulbs

LIFX plans to attack Corona Virus Covid-19 with new “LIFX clean” bulbs

LIFX is planning to help the fight against Corona Virus Covid-19. Buddy Technologies, the mother company of LIFX announced their latest innovation by the name of “LIFX clean”. Those new bulbs are going to be released in Australia, New Zealand and Europe once they passed all safety and regulatory testing. This new product is also already in the Covid-19 testing queue. 

According to LIFX this new bulb is the “world’s first disinfecting anti-bacterial smart light”. The bulb will disinfect surfaces and surrounding air using High Energy Visibile (HEV) light. 

The first phase is scheduled for the 4th quarter of 2020. The second phase will be the launch in USA and Canada, which requires to pass different safety and regulatory requirements. 

With that said, the new bulbs will be priced at $99,99 Australian dollar, so we can expect a similar price range for US. 

Immediate concerns were raised about safety for humans and pets, the potential effects on skin or increasing the risk of cancer, potential impact on human or animal eyes, etc. Buddy Technologies addressed the Australian Share Market with a letter stating:

  • LiFX Clean is a fully functional white + colour smart light that also uses germicidal antibacterial light to disinfect surfaces and surrounding air
  • In a smart lighting world-first, by using 405 nanometre High Energy Visible (HEV) light that is safe for humans, pets and plants, LiFX Clean offers an effortless way to maximise the cleanliness of home environments
  • LiFX Clean has passed efficacy testing in laboratory testing conducted by the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology, as well as IEC and safety testing at UL Verification Services in Guangzhou
  • Whilst LIFX Clean is currently in the testing queue for efficacy against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which can cause the COVID-19 disease), no claim is currently being made that the product is effective in an antiviral capacity of any kind, including on SARS-CoV-2
  • Priced at A$99.99 / US$69.99 / CA$79.99 / €69.99 / £59.99, LIFX Clean is an affordable and accessible new anti-bacterial product, providing broad access to consumers in a time of enormous demand for cleaning products. It is expected to be released to the market in calendar Q4.

In summary… it is great to see that a company is thinking outside the box trying to help with the Corona Virus Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, a lot of tests have to be completed and certainly long-term studies will follow, but during desparate times need any help we can get.

Instead of cleaning all surfaces multiple times per day, having the light bulbs do the work for us and reducing our exposure to harsh chemicals is a good thing. There are so many other use cases for those bulbs ranging from public restrooms, public baths, movie theaters, etc using those bulbs with or without humans in the room.

A potential impact on plants has also been raised by various people and so far there is no indication of any impact on plants, but again time and testing will tell. Go LIFX and fight all bacteria!




LaunderPal is a smart laundry basket that takes care of your clothes and helps you manage them

LaunderPal is a smart laundry basket that takes care of your clothes and helps you manage them

An interesting idea did not get any traction. This kickstarter project didn’t get the funding needed and will probably never see the light. With that said, here are the highlights for people interested.

LaunderPal is the Smart Home Laundry Basket that recognize clothes by RFID tags and bring useful data on mobile application and server database. The idea of using washable RFID chips in combination with a laundry basked with a built-in RFID reader resulted in LaunderPal. 

The benefits outlined by the creators:

– Help you manage your clothes by indicating which clothes are inside the basket and which are not.  

– Prevent clothes from shrinking, stretching, dye bleeding, color fading, etc. by suggesting proper washing program for each clothing stack according to their Care Tag.  

– Make sure you always have clean clothes available.  

The idea of putting RFID chips on every single clothing is putting everybody off instantly. A lot of work up front to make this product functional.

The idea of the mobile app is nothing new but having to open the app, read which clothing doesn’t go with which other clothing and then finding that particular clothing in the basket is another time consuming task nobody wants to tackle. 

The idea of offering smart scan of clothing tags is a good one actually. Questionable but good. Being able to take a picture and the application knows instantly what and what is not ok with that particular clothing.

With that said, I doubt that anybody will open the app and check if that clothing piece can be put into the dryer or not. That person will probably check the label on the clothing itself.

Intesting idea of a product, but too much work for the benefits provided hence no funding goal achieved. Maybe some day someone will revolutionize this idea and bring it to the next level and to the market. 

x  Powerful Protection for WordPress, from Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security
Verified by ExactMetrics