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Help with increasing the power of a Philips hue bulb Frankenstein "hack"

Discussion in 'LEDs and Optoelectronics' started by billyboy12, Aug 11, 2017.

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  1. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    Hi guys,
    I recently got into Philips hue, but one of the first problems I noticed is that they mainly sell E26 bulbs, but only half the sockets in my apartment use these bulbs. The remaining sockets are those ceiling florescent tube type style outlets which I've converted to take LED replacements.

    But i got to thinking, and I figured that the hue bulbs are nothing but normal LED bulbs with an additional control chip inside them to make them controllable via the hue bridge. So what I did was pull apart a hue bulb, removed the stock LED board and soldered it to my ceiling bulb. It worked great! Now the bulb is fully controllable in hue, which is non the wiser!

    But there's a problem that I kinda expected: the bulb is kinda dull. I figured this would happen, since I've got it soldered to a board that uses MANY more LED diodes then the stock bulb used. So I was wondering if someone knew a way of increasing the juice from the hue control board to the LED bulb.

    To give some background, I honestly have no electronics training, save for playing with electronics kits as a kid. But, I do have years of experience I've gained from following console modding guides on the internet. That's how I was able to work out that my "hack" for the hue bulb would probably work. But increasing the voltage/current/watts coming from the hue control board to boost the LED bulb is kinda beyond me, so I thought I'd ask here.

    Here's a bit more information. The stock socket has two florescent-style LED tube bulbs, one is 18W and the other is 9W and they are connected to a little connector which snaps into a socket in the ceiling which connects the socket to the 100v mains. Right now, I've only got one bulb soldered to hue bulb since it doesn't have enough power to light up two bulbs.

    Here's the original board that the 18W LED bulb used:
    https://i.imgur.com/QMTsWgA.jpg

    Do you see any parts or circuits that could be re-purposed to boost the output of the hue control board to feed these LED bulbs the correct amount of juice?

    Thanks!
     
  2. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    There's no practical or easy way to do that. The transformers at the end of the board will have to be redesigned to fit with the increased control current/voltage that will be required.

    Indeed, running a higher load than the board was designed for will eventually cause it to fail.
     
  3. BobK

    BobK

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    1,684
    Jan 5, 2010
    Assuning this bulb screws into a normal lamp socket, just like a mormal incandescent bulb.

    If that is so, then you can power the bulb by eliminating the old controller board. Wire a nomal lamp socket to the incoming AC lines and just screw it in. If you have no experience with AC line work, hire an electrician to do this.

    Bob
     
  4. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    Might there be a way to increase the current/voltage after the control board? Or could the hue control board be used as some kind of switch? Like, when it tries to send power to turn on the LED board the LED bulbs get the normal 100v delivered from mains?
    I could indeed just swap the florescent tube style socket with a normal E26 style screw-in socket. But this comes back to the issue of brightness. A single E26 bulb won't be able to provide the same brightness that the old florescent style bulb did!
     
  5. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    No one has anything to add?
     
  6. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    That is because it became clear you wanted to increase the brightness of a bulb beyond what it is designed for. You cannot do that without severely shortening it's life and perhaps causing an safely issue.

    Bob
     
  7. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Similarly, the cost and trouble of making such a modification would exceed the cost of a second system anyway....
     
  8. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    No no no, the problem is the bulb is getting LESS than what it was designed for! When connected to it's stock control board, it's very bright, but with the stock control board swapped out for the control board from a Phillips hue, it's much dimmer.

    As I said before, the LED board the hue bulbs use have far less LED diodes, so obviously the cause of my problem is the hue board isn't putting out of juice. That's why I figured that there must be some way to boost the output of the hue control board to bring it in line with what the LED board I've transplanted it into is expecting.

    Maybe I've explained it poorly, so here's some photos of the Franken-bulb:
    http://imgur.com/a/swQQa
     
  9. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    I have no idea what control board you are talking about. I looked up Phillips hue bulbs and they are designed to replace a normal bulb. The controller is inside the bulb.

    Edited:

    OK, I reread your original post and now I understand what you are trying to do.

    You have taken the controller board out of a hue bulb and are using it to drive a different RGB LED device. But it does not produce enough current to bring the new device to full brightness.

    You cannot likely get more current out of the hue bulb contrller since it was only designed for the current it produces. It would not be simple to do this. What you would need is to use the signals (R,G,B) from the new controller to control the old controller. With schematics of both it might be possible, but not simple.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
  10. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Precisely. The driver boards are designed to deliver the appropriate voltage at the correct current. Increasing the voltage and/or current might not be possible by modification alone but may require a complete redesign.

    This is not easy to determine from just pictures. You would have to reverse-engineer the schematic to see how the units work and discover if they can be adapted to other voltages/currents.

    We 'might' get some indication of the possibility if you can tell us the part numbers of the control IC's and the power devices.
     
  11. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    Damn, sounds like it's more complex than expected. I was hoping there would be some kind of component that could be soldered between the hue control board and the LED board to boost the current, a sort of reverse-resistor.

    Something like those Sonoff wi-fi switches would be better for what I'm trying to do, since they're just a switch. But the only problem is they can't be controlled by the hue app since they don't use Zigbee.

    As to schematics, all I really have are photos of the old control boards. I found a guy who did a similar thing to me, only he knows what he's doing, since he was able to work out what parts of the control board send what kind of signals. Is there something helpful to you there?
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Control-ANY-Light-With-Philips-Hue/
     
  12. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Even the linked-to article makes plenty of reference to the fact that you're playing with live AC mains voltages and that you really need to know what it is you're doing before poking around in there.

    I suppose, with such a device in my hands, I could come up with a solution - it's not impossible by any means - but the most complicated light I have in my possession, and the most complicated I'm ever likely to want/own, has an on-off switch.

    If you can get the schematic of the two devices then it will be a relative 'breeze' to sort out - but to even try to describe the tests and checks necessary for you to do this - constantly reporting back your findings so we can progress the matter - is something beyond the practicalities of a public forum.
     
  13. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    No need to worry about mains voltages! Light outlets in Japan aren't wired directly into mains. To install an outlet, you insert two prongs that stick out of the outlet into a connector in the ceiling then twist to snap into place. Think of it like standard electrical appliance, there's no electricity flowing unless it's inserted into the electrical outlet. Any electrical work I'm doing is with the light disconnected from the ceiling.

    Hmmm, in terms of schematics, probably that blog I linked would be the closest. For example, it tells you where the on/off signal comes from.

    I think what he described in the blog would solve my issue though! I've never heard of an "arduino relay" before though, but it seems like they're some kind of switch. I think I have an idea of how this would work, but if could someone confirm this would be awesome! Here's a rough Photoshop to illustrate:

    [​IMG]

    Basically, the relay is acting as a switch between the LED bulb and the mains. When the hue control board receives a command to switch on, 3.3v is sent to the relay which triggers it and allows the full 100v from the mains to the LED bulb. When the hue control board receives a switch off command, the 3.3v to the relay is cut which then cuts the 100v from the mains to the LED bulb.

    If this is correct, does the voltage rating of the relay matter? The blog suggests a 24v one.
     
  14. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Do not do that!

    The controller board is controlling the current going to the LEDs. Using a relay to directly connect the mains would cause the LEDs to go out in one bright flash and possibly set your house on fire.

    Bob
     
  15. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    Of course, the relay would be connected to the LED bulb's standard control board (which is designed to take mains), not directly to the LED board itself! Sorry if the image wasn't clear!

    So with the relay connected to the LED bulb's control board, and not directly to the LED board itself, would what I posted work?
     
  16. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Only if your LEDs are meant for 240V operation - the circuit board usually has the conversion circuitry for CC operation fitted and drives them at a much lower voltage.
     
  17. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    Well, I live in Japan, so it's actually 100v here! But yeah, the bulbs originally were made to be connected directly into mains power. In fact, part of the requirements of installing them in an old florescent socket is to remove the ballast from the circuit so mains power is going directly to the bulb.

    If my diagram looks right to you, I think that's the option I'll go for. I had to a look into getting the bulbs controllable in SmartThings with both IR blasters (for remote controlled lights) and also in using a Sonoff as a switch. But in the meantime, I also tried having SmartThings control my lights and motion detectors instead of hue. I found it was a LOT more laggy and less responsive than the hue bridge, so I'd like to stick with having hue in control of lighting.
     
  18. billyboy12

    billyboy12

    14
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    Aug 11, 2017
    Okay! I've completed the modification, but I'm having a bit of an odd problem. Even when the Philips hue bulb is set to "off" the light stays lit! It's not like I've wired it wrong or something, if I disconnect the wires coming from the 3.3v output of the hue control board to the input of the relay (or the positive wires and negative wires are mixed up) the light won't turn on. So it seems to me that the relay is indeed in control of the mains power that feeds the LED light's control board. So why would it be switched on when there should be no power flowing from the output of the hue control board when it's switched off?

    If it helps, here's the relay I used:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  19. BobK

    BobK

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    Jan 5, 2010
    What is this 3.3V output? I thought you were using the output from the controller board to the LEDs. That output is likely to be in the range of 30 to 100 V and it would be a PWM signal, which is not appropriate for controlling an SSR.

    Bob
     
  20. billyboy12

    billyboy12

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    Aug 11, 2017
    That's based on the blog I linked to before. He said the output is 3.3V output.

    *EDIT* Now that I look at it, he doesn't have the SSR connected to the output from the hue control board! I think what's he's actually done is connect the positive wire to the part on the board that generates the on/off signal! Arugh, I bet this means the SSR isn't suitable since it's input range is 4-32 volts... Might there be a way to boost the signal up 1 volt or so to bring it to the range that the SSR supports?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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