Review: MiLight Wifi Bulbs, A Philips Hue Alternative
The MiLight, if you have not heard about it, is a Wifi controlled lighting system, similar to the popular and expensive Philips Hue. The MiLight bulbs are LED and can be controlled via a wifi-bridge which can control up to 4 bulbs (as compared to 50 bulbs for Philips Hue bridge but I’m not sure if it is a restriction imposed by the app). The bulbs come in 2 flavour, white and RGB. With any iOS/Android device, you will be able to switch the white bulb between cool and warm light and set mood lightings for the RGB bulb.
For the cost conscious consumers’ information, a standard bundle that comes with 2 bulbs and a wifi bridge cost around SGD80. Any additional white bulb cost SGD25 and an RGB bulb cost SGD28. Despite the restriction of only 4 bulbs per wifi bridge, it is a damn good deal compared to Philips Hue bundle (3 RGB bulbs and Hue bridge) at USD270.
Power up the MiLight bridge wifi and connect to the SSID “wifi -socket” using your laptop. Open your browser and go to http://192.168.1.100 and enter the username admin and password 000000
Set work type to Sta
Change SSID to the name of your existing wireless network
Set encryption to whatever encryption your existing wireless network uses
Change key format to ASCII
Enter your wifi password in the Encryption Key box
Un-tick DHCP Enable and enter the following into the boxes below (or vary for your own router settings)
Fixed IP Address: 192.168.0.1XX
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Gateway Address: 192.168.0.1
DNS Address: 126.96.36.199 (This must be done as specified)
Click system in the left menu bar
Click Restart System
The MiLight wifi bridge should connect to your wifi network within a minute. To make sure the bridge has successfully connected to your network, try keying the Fixed IP Address you had used in the setup (i.e 192.168.0.1XX). If the same setup page is loaded, you are set to go.
However, if the bridge did not join your network successfully and becomes unavailable, you’ll need to reset it by pushing a pin into the reset hole on the side of the bridge.
The next thing is to install the iOS app Wifi Controller 2 to pair the bulbs to the wifi bridge. Setup the app by specifying the IP address of the bridge. For the white bulb, simply power up the bulb and hold one of the 4 button near the bottom of the app. The bulb will flash and pairing is done. For RGB bulb, the pairing is done the same way except that you hold the middle button near the bottom of the app. There is also an Android app for MiLight here.
You can see the bulbs in action in the videos below. The video didn’t do the changing of cool white to warm white justice but I’m quite impressed by the fact that you can vary the color temperature in between. The RGB bulb is also very responsive however, I just find it not bright enough.
Now here comes the exciting part for Vera users 🙂 There is a plugin available for Vera and you can easily include and control the MiLight from your Vera box! With that you use MiLight and create scenes that changes the mood lighting of your home. Its rather straightforward to set it up and the details are in this link.
I’ve added the MiLight controls right into my Vera’s UI as shown:
You may also like to emulate these bulbs as dimmer controls with the plugins. Once you have done that, your usual iOS/Android home automation app will be tricked into believing that the bulbs are Z-Wave dimmers. These are how the emulated dimmers look like in Vera UI4.
- Cheap alternative for Philips Hue
- The RGB bulb is not bright enough
- Simple to setup
- Nothing much to complain for this kind of price
- Huge plus for being able to include into Vera