Things Gateway, Part 7 - IKEA TRÅDFRI

In this series of postings, I've been setting up, configuring, and playing with IoT devices through the experimental Things Gateway from Mozilla.  I've covered the generic Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, the Philips Hue devices, and the TP-Link WiFi devices.  Today, I add IKEA TRÅDFRI to this circus.

Of course, in this series, I've also been doing a bit of editorializing.  I was critical of the TP-Link devices because their security model requires the end user to just trust them.  I'm critical of the IKEA TRÅDFRI for a physical safety reason.  What does the word TRÅDFRI mean?  I'm assuming it is a Swedish word that means "severe blood loss from slashed wrists" because that is what is likely to happen when opening the package.  The clamshell plastic that entombs their products is difficult to open with anything short of a chainsaw.  My kitchen scissors wouldn't do the job and I had to resort to garden pruning shears and that left dangerously sharp pieces that drew blood.  Be careful.

However, the products themselves have a lot of positive aspects once you manage to liberate them from their packaging.  IKEA's decision to not implement their own method of remote access from outside the home is great.  The Android and iOS apps cannot operate the IKEA devices remotely.  That is a big plus for data security.  It also means that the IKEA corporation is apparently not monitoring the use of your light bulbs.

Another advantage to IKEA TRÅDFRI is affordability.  These are currently the least expensive Zigbee compatible lights out there.

For this demonstration, I'm only going to use the TRÅDFRI light bulbs.  Because of an idiosyncrasy in how the dimmers, switches and motion detectors work, they are not currently compatible with the Things Gateway.  I'm assuming that will change in the future.

Goal: demonstrate the use of IKEA TRÅDFRI bulbs with the Things Gateway.

Item What's it for? Where I got it
The Raspberry Pi and associated hardware from Part 2 of this series. This is the base platform that we'll be adding onto From Part 2 of this series
DIGI XStick This allows the Raspberry Pi to talk the ZigBee protocol - there are several models, make sure you get the XU-Z11 model. The only place that I could find this was Mouser Electronics
IKEA TRÅDFRI 980 lumen bulb To demonstrate use of the bulb without the TRÅDFRI gateway, dimmer or switch. IKEA TRÅDFRI 980 lumen

Step 1: setup the Raspberry Pi and the DIGI XStick in the manner specified in Part 2 of this series.

Step 2:  Plug in your IKEA TRÅDFRI bulbs.  If they came with a kit, like the one shown in the unpackaging photo above, they need to be factory reset.  Factory reset is fairly easy: using a manual power switch, turn the bulb on and off rapidly at least six times (more seems ok). It will do no harm to do the factory reset even if the bulbs did not come in a bundled package.  Once they've reset, they wink once in acknowledgement.  You can see that wink at the end of the video.

Step 3: Pair the bulbs with the Things Gateway by pressing the "+" button on the Things screen.  Then apply power to the bulbs.  I found that the IKEA bulbs take a bit longer to be recognized than other Zigbee compatible bulbs.  Select Save on each bulb and then press "Done".  That is all there is to it.

While these IKEA bulbs are the least expensive Zigbee bulbs that I have found, there may be a reason behind that.  I noticed that the bulb that I've labeled I02 seems to have a problem.  After being on for about five minutes, it'll just spontaneously blink out.  Thereafter it will not respond to the Things Gateway until the bulb is power cycled.  I factory reset the bulb, paired it with the IKEA dimmer and repeated the test.  The bulb just fails after about five minutes.  These may be inexpensive because they are cheaply made.  I'll report later after seeing how long these bulbs last.