Wink vs. Hue: Part 1

Being the Home Automation buff that I am, I bought starter kits to the Wink and the Hue.


Each of the starter kits come with a hub and a series of lamps, at a discounted price, targeting those curious about automation. Both hubs support a variety of protocols and can be used to control lamps and appliances around the house. Both of them are compatible with Alexa devices.(Alexa will be covered in a separate post.

The Wink hub I have is the old one. I have not had an opportunity to test the new one yet. The hub can handle several protocols including blutooth, zigbee and zee wave. It can be configured and controlled through an iphone or android. I also found this site for those who want to control their wink devices devices through any browser.

One big plus point with Wink was the excellent customer service it provides. There was a time when a faulty  software  upgrade they provided damaged some of the wink hubs.  When I realized that my hub was one of those affected, I called immediately but the customer service person guided me through the process of sending it to them and having it repaired. The whole process took less than a week and I had my hub back and functioning as new.

The hub has its limitations though. One is that in my experience, it has lost connectivity with some appliances, and I have had to go through the painful process of reconfiguring my devices.

The second is that the device did not allow for local control around this time last year. This means that if you loose your internet connection, you cannot control your devices on your home network.

While using it with Openhab, one could eliminate this limitation by rooting the hub, a complex process that could void your warranty and brick your Wink if things went awry. Openhab does not have official support for Wink as of this writing

My Home assistant system, on the otehr hand had no problems detecting it and could control all the lamps and the wemo switch attached to it.  My wink hub is integrated with my Nest fire alarm which enables me to look.

The wink hub supports MyQ, a wireless protocol for controlling devices like a garage door opener. Chamberlain and Liftmaster are both compatible with MyQ. Unfortunately, though Liftmaster brand is not compatible with Wink. Through Wink, you can check if your Liftmaster door is open or closed.  You cannot open it. In an earlier post, I have covered how I was able to control my liftmaster opener using home assistant.

 

 

 

 

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The little dash button that could

The Amazon dash button is a useful gizmo available from Amazon for $5 to purchase something you use regularly from Amazon. However, with an ingenious hack, it is transformed into a WiFi switch to control devices or lights around the house. The usefulness of the dash button has been a topic of debate in the home automation community. Those who are not fans of the button cite the following criticisms.

  1. It is too expensive at $5. (Sometimes they are available on sale for $1).
  2. It has a maximum usage of about a 1000 clicks.
  3. It does not have a replaceable battery.
  4. There is a delay of about 10 seconds for the message to be sent after the button is pressed.

However, in my experience, it does have it”s uses. I bought a few of them when they were on sale at $1. I have used them around my house in several places, in conjunction with Home Assistant including

  1. Opening and closing my garage door, For this, I use two buttons, one to close it and open to open it.
  2. Staring or stopping my media player.

The 10 second delay is not a big factor for these operations as I do not use these buttons all the time. Secondly, the shelf live for the buttons are not a big factor for the same reason. Ben, of Bruh Automation has provided a useful tutorial on integrating dash buttons with Home Assistant. I also need to acknowledge Jon Maddox for providing the  code for this integration.