Recently I picked up an Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave LED Light Bulb, Gen5 on sale from Amazon just to check out and compare to my Hue bulbs. I like Zwave as it’s generally easier to control from my HS system and I don’t have to kludge it or control from a 3rd party plugin or through IFTTT which means it’s going to be quicker to respond.

The included directions tell you how to pair it to your controller (and remove if you need to) and that’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of stuff that’s not particularly understandable to any normal human being and once I started nodding off I had to stop reading. Anyway, I paired it with HomeSeer pretty quickly and immediately set out to try and control it. All I could get it to do was turn off and on like any other regular light bulb or smart switch. Rather than being smart and looking around the HomeSeer forums I got pissed off and set up a return to Amazon and then ordered two more from the HomeSeer store. As always, their shipping was pretty quick and so I paired to two new ones (I still had #3 sitting on my desk) and got the same results. At that point I figured out I had to be doing something wrong and started researching.

What they don’t tell you… in the box… or on Amazon… or at the HomeSeer store…  is that you have to set warm and cold white OFF in order to be able to change colors. Oh, that’s obvious. Not. Anyway, now that I know that it’s pretty easy but there should be a “dummies Guide to…” or something for the normal dumbasses like myself.

Here's how the lamp shows up on my HomeSeer devices management page. Notice the white's are turned off.

Here’s how the lamp shows up on my HomeSeer devices management page. Notice the whites are turned off.

The light bulbs themselves are comparable to Hue and using Homeseer events I can control them through my Amazon Echo’s in the house.  They, and the Hue bulbs for that matter, can be controlled by telling Alexa to “turn on the…” but unfortunately you can’t change colors that way. Hue of course has their own app and you can use the color wheel. You can control the Hue bulbs as well as these with an RGB picker on the devices page as well. That’s fine for a geek but what about the wife and kids? For that I had to set up a series of events. One for each color. Then I use an IFTTT trigger so all they have to do is say “Alexa, trigger living room blue” or whatever. The downside of that is that I have to manually set up an event for each color I think they might want. Meh. It’s cool but nothing we could live without.

Here’s what one of them looks like…

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The lighting is nice. They give off enough brightness to see but not so much glare that it interrupts while watching a movie.

There is really only one thing I truly dislike about the bulbs and it makes it almost impossible to use in most of my lamps. It’s the damned size. These things are fucking HUGE.

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On the left is a standard old light bulb like you would purchase anywhere. On the right is the Aeon Labs bulb. It’s a good inch and a half taller. Length definitely isn’t everything, at least in this case. It just so happens that my two living room lamps have tall thingamajigs that hold my lamp shades on so it worked out perfectly. I don’t have a single other lamp in the house that the third one will fit in. I thought about putting it in my bathroom over the tub and the glass cover wouldn’t fit. Rather than replace lamps in the house I’ll be buying Hue bulbs next time even though I have to work a little harder to include them in my Home Automation network.

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