Smart lighting options from Philips Hue are quite pricey, but perhaps nothing is more expensive than Hue LightStrips. The good news is that you can save some money by collecting multiple DIY Hue compatible strips.
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The Hue LightStrip kit costs a steep $90 and comes with two meters of light strips. You can add one meter extension for $30 each. To get the five meter Hue LightStrips, you’ll have to spend $170. However, if you’re willing to do a little assembly yourself (no special skills required), you can get the same length of Hue-compatible LED strips for just over $40.
The only downside is that your light bar won’t work with HomeKit or Hue Sync and the transitions aren’t as smooth as they really are, but if you’re still interested in saving a lot of money then keep reading.
What you need
To create Hue-compatible LED strips, you will need three main components: LED strips, a controller module, and a power supply. Unfortunately, you can only find the correct controller module on Aliexpress, so be prepared to wait a few weeks as it comes from China.
Here’s what you need:
- Gledopto ZigBee RGB + CCT LED Controller: This controller allows you to change the colors as well as the color temperature of the white spectrum.
- Five meter LED light bar: You can cut them to a shorter length if needed, or you can buy more if you want something even longer (with connectors).
- Power supply 12V, 3A: Three amplifiers will help you get the job done on five meters of light bars or less. If you add more, you will need a 5A power supply.
In total, all this cost me only $43.90. The same setup using the official Hue LightStrips will set you back $170, and that doesn’t include sales tax.
Putting it all together
You don’t have to do much to get it all up and running, and it takes about five minutes to put everything together.
To begin, take the six wires at the end of the LED strip and insert them into their respective sockets on the controller module. To do this, use a pen or a small screwdriver to push down on the terminal, insert the wire into its socket, and release the terminal to lock the wire in place.
Here is a photo of what the connections look like so you can match them to yours. Note that the white wire is not actually connected to the «W» connector, but to the «V+» connector. In addition, there are two red wires — one next to the blue wire is inserted into the «R» slot. The other red wire is inserted into the «W» slot.