Automated lights are a waste of time

I’ve tried many different versions of automated lights. I’ve tried RF-controllable lights, Wifi lights, Wifi switches, and relays. All of them have failed in some way or another. I think Zigbee lights could be better, Philips Hue is a bit out of my price range and others don’t seem to support 240V. I think they’re likely to fall into some of the same traps as the Wifi lights.


The latest iteration of my trials have been Shelly devices. They get installed in the wall as a bridge between the physical switch and one that appears in Home Assistant and Apple Homekit. They have worked great for the past year. But I’ve had two devices fail in the past week.

I brought a selection of Shelly 1, 1PM, 2.5, and Dimmer2’s for various different use cases. Both the 1PM’s just refused to connect to my home so they’re sitting somewhere unused. I thought I could wire them in myself but quickly realised I was out of my depth and called an electrician. Much to my relief, it was not a walk in the park for him. He spent a long time trying to understand the documenation.

Last week we had a relay in a Shelly 2.5 fail. It’s stuck in the On state, but doesn’t know. Flicking the switch on the wall and the virtual switch both show a change of state, however the light is always on. Luckily this one is in the garage and is on its own circuit so I can just flick the breaker on and off.

Last night a Dimmer2 failed. Turning on and off lights in nearby circuits changes the state of this device.

Wifi Lights

I have some Tuya lights and they work some of the time. They must have an inbuilt battery that only lasts a few days. If the lights are off for too long, they reset. Next time you turn them on you get flashing lights,

wifi switch

This one has actually been pretty reliable, but it’s Tuya, and can occasionally forget what it is paired to. Luckily it still works as an actual light switch if the connection drops. However, based on my recent experience with the shelly, the relay could fail at some point meaning a painful process to replace.

dumb lights

While the smart lights are good sometimes, they’re never much more than a gimmick. Its helpful to be able to automatically turn off lights when left on, but outside of that I cannot think of a good reason for them. I’m going to slowly remove all of the smart lights, some right now. Others I can wait until they fail. I might need a electrician though as some of the wiring is a bit beyond me.