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Library

On this page, I present the actual solutions installed in the library of our smart home, with links to specific products used and how these have been set up

This room contains solutions for the following systems (notice that on phones, the table might only be displayed in landscape mode):

System Type Components
Lighting
  • Aqara Opple Wireless Scene Switcher x 2

  • Fibaro Single Switch smart relay

  • IKEA Trådfri E14 smart bulb

  • IKEA Trådfri E27 smart bulb

  • 2 IKEA Trådfri smart plug

  • IKEA Maglehult painting light

  • IKEA Trådfri Driver

  • 2 Philips Hue E14 chandelier smart bulbs

  • 2 Philips Hue Milliskin smart downlights

  • 3 Life Smart GU5.4 smart bulbs

Climate Control
  • IKEA Fyrtur blinds

Appliances
  • Xiaomi RoboRock S6

Security and Alarm
  • Aqara door sensor

  • Ring Chime

  • Verisure smoke detector

  • Verisure door sensor

Pet Care None
Control and Automation None

Description of the solutions in this room

It is arguably pretentious to call this room a library; truth be told, it is really a hallway on the first floor, but after we moved in and put two book shelves here, it ended up as the library… Despite its fairly modest physical dimensions, this room contains a good deal of components related to lighting, and like many other rooms, it has been a gradual process to find solutions (and afford them) to upgrade different light sources. The first and easiest project was a wall lamp, where the old bulb could simply be replaced by an IKEA Trådfri E14 smart bulb, see picture below. A note; this bulb is the one utilized as “condition” in the programming of the upstairs bathroom lights to decide whether they should be turned on at full brightness (the wall lamp is on) or as night light (the wall lamp is off).

Wall lamp with smart E14 bulb

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The next, relatively easy to solve, were lights in the mentioned book shelves. Each of these has a small lamp mounted in the «ceiling» of the shelf. The socket is of the E14 type, but the bulbs are very small, of the type typically used in ovens. Fortunately, there was just enough room to fit a Philips Hue E14 chandelier bulb, and even if these touch the wood of the shelf, these LED bulbs generate so little heat that this poses no problem, see picture below.

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Smart chandelier bulb in a book shelf

Next, we have a collection of four small LED spot lights installed in the window ledge of the floor-to-ceiling window, see picture below. These lights do not have changeable bulbs and replacing them would not be straightforward so the solution was a smart plug from Fibaro. However, this has proven to be so unstable, despite firmware updates, that it has been moved to a place where it does little harm if unavailable, in the office, (hopefully, additional updates will make it usable again) and replaced by an IKEA Trådfri plug.


LED lights in the window controlled by a Trådfri smart plug

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At this stage, there were still several light sources in the room without obviously easy to implement solutions, see pictures below. Two of these, a painting light and a set of spot lights (with halogen bulbs) in the ceiling, are connected to the same wall switch. For both of these, simply changing the bulbs was not possible; the painting light uses a LED strip and there are no smart versions of the small spot halogen bulbs. An option could have been to replace one or both lights with smarter versions, but at this point there were few alternative to choose among (today, I could have solved this through an IKEA Trådfri Maglehult picture light, connected to an IKEA Trådfri Driver, and a Philips Hue Runner triple spotlight, but this would have been much more expensive). Another path could have been using a smart plug, as the wall switch controlling these two lights turn on/off the power to a double wall outlet just underneath the ceiling. I could have used one smart plug to connect both lamps to this using a double expansion socket (which would result in quite an ungainly and very visible “christmas tree” of sockets and plugs).

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Painting light connected to a power outlet underneath the ceiling, with non-replaceable LED elements

Row of spot lights connected to the same power outlet as the paining light

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In the end, the solution was a Fibaro Single Switch, see picture below. This was the first of this relay switch (we now have three) I installed so I was a bit hesitant how well this would work; would there be sufficient space in the wall box behind the switch, would there be a need to reset the switch, thus requiring removing the wall switch to reach it, how stable would it be, etc. But all my concerns proved unfounded; the installation itself was fairly straightforward, especially since I could get advice from brother who is an electrician, there was not ample space, but enough, and there has not been one single instance where the relay has needed resetting.

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The wall switch where the Fibaro relay is installed behind it, to control the paining light and row of spot lights (and wireless Aqara switch above this, which is described further down)

In the Home app, the relay appears as a switch, see screenshot below, which I have defined to control lights and with a suitable icon. This allows me to turn on/off the power to the wall outlet and thus the connected lamps. There are no option to dim the lights, though, but we had no way of doing this before either. Also for this type of device, the Fibaro app presents more information about power consumption, see screen show below.

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The wall switch relay appears as one light source in the Home app, while the Fibaro app also presents power consumption data

Some years after installation of the Fibaro relay, two of the spotlight bulbs, of the type GU5.4, had to be replaced and these are quite expensive even in a “non-smart” version. This was an opportunity to check whether smart bulbs with this type of socket had been launched, which was the case, although none with HomeKit support. I landed on bulbs from Life Smart, which utilize the IoT platform Tuya, for which there are (many) plugins ni Homebridge. Thus, the three bulbs were replaced, as shown in the picture above, and these appear in the Home app just like the other light sources in the room. A major advantage of this is that not only can they be turned on/off remotely, but can also be dimmed and the color changed.

This, however, triggered a reevaluation of the solution for the painting light, as I wanted to avoid using the Fibaro relay to cut the power to the spotlights, as this would disconnect the bulbs (and in the worst case cause connection problems every time they would be turned on). The answer was to connect the painting light to a smart plug, which was more elegant than if both these light sources would have to be plugged into it, see picture above. This allows also this light to be controlled independently and the Fibaro switch is now in practice only a backup solution, which also ensures that we can still control the lights from anywhere even if someone should by accident turn off the manual wall switch.

The last two light sources in this room were two downlights mounted in the ceiling, which were quite expensive lights installed by an electrician when we built an extension to the house. These also had bulbs that could not be replaced by smart ones, and they are controlled by a wall dimmer switch. At this stage, there were no suitable smart dimmer switches that could have replaced the old wall switch (today, it would have been easier to “smarten up” these downlights by installing a Koogeek dimmer switch), but Philips Hue had launched their Milliskin recessed spot lights. These turned out to be of the right size to replace the old ones, and they were easy to install and connect, see picture below. They have worked very well, and be dimmed either using the wall dimmer or from a smart phone/tablet/etc.

Philips Hue downlights, primarily controlled using the Home app, but they can also be turned on/off and be dimmed using the wall switch

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Later, we got a desk for this room, and that got a desk lamp, see picture below. An IKEA Trådfri E27 smart bulb has been installed in the lamp, and it can be turned on/off with buttons on the wall switch described above and it is part of some scenes described below.

Smart bulb in the desk lamp

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How are these different light sources in this room controlled? First of all, they are included in different HomeKit scenes. A couple of them are included in the “Good Morning” scene that is run at 06:30 in the morning, a couple more turn on in the afternoon as part of the scene “Afternoon Lights” while the last lights come on 1 hour before sunset in the “Evening Lights” scene.

In addition to being part of scenes, all of the lights can of course be turned on/off using the Home app or Siri. Furthermore, on the wall outside the upstairs bathroom adjoining the library, we have installed (using the included double-sided tape) an Aqara Opple Wireless Scene Switcher, see picture below. This switch has four buttons that can be programmed separately and with different actions for short/long presses. In the beginning I utilized this fully by programming various light combinations/actions for all of the buttons, but after we got our HomePod, the switch saw much less usage. But sometimes it is useful to have and it is both inexpensive, very reliable, and easy to set up.

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Aqara wireless switch, installed above the existing wall switch for the lights/Heatmiser thermostat for the floor heating in the bathroom behind this door (and underneath a painting of one of our cats…)

We have an additional wireless switch here, on the wall by the door leading into the office, this is a 4-scene version, see picture further up. It partly controls the lights in the office and in the library, but a couple of the buttons have also been programmed to start the robot vacuum cleaner and run the blinds down/up.

In the library, we have a large bay window that goes from floor to ceiling. This gives us a nice view, but it also offers our German Shepherd and guard dog Ronja a perfect view to the fields and road outside. If cows, cats, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. are observed, she thinks we must be alerted to this, something that can get a little too much sometimes. It was therefore good news when IKEA’s smart blinds finally became available after several delays. These come in two versions, one that lets light through (Kadrilj) and one “blackout” version (Fyrtur), and the solution we ended up with here was the Fyrtur since the thinner one would give Ronja too much of a view. The conditions for installation were not ideal, though, partly the roof above the window is slanted and partly there are pictures on the sides of the window, both of which prevented installation one the outside of the window recess. Furthermore, the width of the window is also “wrong” at appr. 135 cm, which the blinds come in widths at intervals of 20 cm. In our case, we got the 140 cm version and shortened it (IKEA provides no instructions on how to do this, but online videos confirm that this is fairly easy), see picture below.

IKEA Fyrtur blinds, primarily installed to prevent “guard dog noise”

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In principle, the installation, both physical and app setup, should be straightforward, but it gave me some problems. First, the Zigbee range extender must be connected, next the attached remote control, and finally the blinds. Everything worked well until the last step, which simply would not complete, but after moving the range extender and keeping the pairing button depressed for more than a minute, it finally worked. The blinds can be operated using buttons on the device itself, the mentioned remote control (which we still have not put in any permanent place), and from the Smart Home app. A coupe of days later, both the blinds and the remote control showed up as “Disconnected devices” and had to be re-added.

Even if it operates in large parts of the house, the charging station for our robot vacuum cleaner, a Xiaomi RoboRock S6, is located here in the library, see picture below. Here it was easy to reach a power outlet and have sufficiently open area around the charging station, and since the animals spend much time here it is a logical room to clean first. The experiences with the robot are (this is written not too long after acquiring it) good; it made an intelligent first mapping of the rooms of the house and their obstacles, it is easy to control using either buttons on the device itself or from the Mi Home app, and it finds incredible amounts of dust. It also has a mop function, but we have so far not tested this.

Using the Mi Home app, see screenshot below, one can define rooms or zones, name these, mark no-go zones, etc. This is generally quite easy to do, even if when diving a room, it is not always possible to save the changes made. As I have mentioned in connection with other Xiaomi products we have, a problem is that they are linked to geographical areas in the world. For most of the products we have, we must use China as location, but since this robot (and the air purifier we have in the living room) were purchased in Norway, these require Singapore as location (logically enough…). One can choose only one location in the app, meaning I must split the devices between an iPhone for China and an iPad for Singapore. Undoubtedly somewhat cumbersome, but since both the robot cleaner and the air purifier mostly run automatically (after the initial setup), it doesn’t matter that much.

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Left, the RoboRock in action, heading “home” to the charging station, and right, screenshot from the Mi Home app showing the map of where the robot is working

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RoboRock does not natively offer support for neither HomeKit, SmartThings, nor Homey (but has support for Amazon Alexa), but smart people make solutions for this. As mentioned for the air purifier, it can involve some effort obtaining the so-called “device token” for each Xiaomi device (there are many recipes for this, e.g., this one), but once it is obtained (and you have the IP address), most of the work is done. I have set up the vacuum cleaner in both Homey and HomeKit via Homebridge, where especially the latter is useful as we can now simply ask Siri to start or stop “Roborob”, as he is called in HomeKit. You obviously don’t get the full functionality this way, that requires using the Mi Home app, but as shown in the screenshot at the end, it appears in the room view (with several “tiles” for respectively suction strength, whether it is docked for charging, and start/pause).

The library also has two Verisure components. One is a smoke detector that measures temperature and humidity, the other a contact door sensor that monitors whether the patio room is open or closed. Due to instability of the Verisure components integrated into HomeKit, these are in reality not in use and the door sensor was eventually supplemented with a new Aqara door sensor, see picture below. As explained for the living room, this door sensor is included in programming that ensures that the heat pump/inverter is turned off when a door or window is opened (and turned on again when all the involved doors/window are closed).

Aqara door sensor installed under the Verisure one, which is not in use beyond being part of the alarm system

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The very last device in the library is a Ring Chime, see picture below, which really is just an extra speaker, plugged directly into a wall socket, to make sound when someone rings the Ring Video Doorbell outside the front door. There is also a Homebridge plugin for Ring, which in the beginning gave little benefit, but now gives access to the signals from the built-in motion sensor in the doorbell and allows video from the camera to show up in HomeKit. And the Chime makes a nice sound.

Ring Chime, which makes sound in the living room when someone calls on the door

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The devices in the library are shown in the screenshot below.

Room view in the Home app for the library, with its light sources and various other devices

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