This post is composed of a short introduction about the advantages of using TRÅDFRI bulbs with the Hue bridge, and then the tutorial.
Introduction: Why would I want to connect TRÅDFRI bulbs to a Philips Hue bridge?
Why would I want to connect TRÅDFRI bulbs to a Philips Hue bridge if the IKEA Gateway is perfectly good?
If you are already reading this tutorial, you may have already made your decision but we will still look at the advantages. The first advantage to the Philips bridge is compatibility. The three main voice controls are Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant (Google Home), and Amazon Alexa. While Philips hue is compatible with all three, IKEA has not added support for Google Assistant yet.
The bigger advantage
By adding these bulbs to your Hue bridge, you can use TRÅDFRI bulbs for any lights that you need to be white, and then Philips Hue bulbs for any colour to add to the room. IKEA does also sell RGB TRÅDFRI bulbs as well, but not currently in Canada. This tutorial does also work with the RGB bulbs. The white TRÅDFRI bulbs are brighter than the white Hue bulbs, and also less expensive. TRÅDFRI also offers white ambient bulbs which can change white balance, similar to the Hue White Ambience bulbs but again at a lower cost.
Step 1: Buy the right bulbs
When you’re at IKEA, you need to buy the TRÅDFRI light bulbs. Only newer versions of the software in the lightbulbs support Philips connectivity. Because of this, some of the older bulbs in the store are shipped with the older software, and some of them have updates. In the picture on the right, you see a printed number, which is the bulb’s batch. Newer bulbs have a higher batch number.
While it is hard to confirm for all of the IKEA TRÅDFRI bulbs (E26, E12, GU10), according to forum posts, any batch with a number 1721 or higher will be compatible immediately. On the right, since the batch number is 1717 on this E26 bulb, I tried connecting it to my Hue Bridge, but it just would not appear.
Step 2: Pairing with Philips Hue
This part is pretty simple and is part of most tutorials found online. All you have to do is install the bulb, then turn the light source on and off 6 times to reset the bulb. You will know it’s successful because, after a second or two, the bulb will briefly blink. When that happens, it is ready to pair.
To pair it, open your Hue app, and select: Settings > Light Setup > + (bottom right corner) > Search.
It might take some time, but it should connect after about 10-15 seconds. If you are still having trouble, try putting the bulb in a light source closer to the Hue bridge and try again. Once it’s synced, you can move it back to its permanent home.
Step 3: Syncing with Google Assistant
This third step is often skipped over in other tutorials and you have to poke around quite a bit to find how to do this, but it’s actually quite simple. Just say “Hey Google, synch Hue lights”.
That’s it. Now you may have to assign them to rooms in the assistant app, but that is an easy process in the app. If you do have problems syncing hue lights, just disconnect and reconnect the Hue bridge with Google Assistant.
Disadvantages to connecting IKEA TRÅDFRI bulbs to Philips Hue bridge
While I also have four TRÅDFRI lights connected to my Hue bridge, only my Philips-branded bulbs are recognized in HomeKit.
Currently, one disadvantage is that Apple’s HomeKit (Siri) will not support any light bulbs which are set up on a different company’s bridge. To get around this, the best method would to still have a TRÅDFRI Gateway, but I have not tested yet if you can connect bulbs to both the Gateway and Hue bridge at the same time. The other way to get around this is by using HomeBridge, but that is a bit too advanced for this tutorial.
The other disadvantage is that this will not allow for software updates on your TRÅDFRI bulbs. While we don’t see this as a current issue, it is possible that it may become one in the future. In that case, it may become time to purchase a TRÅDFRI Gateway, or just borrow one from a friend.
Thank you for reading, please check back for more home automation posts!