Thursday, September 12, 2019

Winix AM90 Wi-Fi Air Purifier

Winix AM90 Wi-Fi Air Purifier, 360sq ft Room Capacity, Amazon Alexa and Dash Replenishment Enabled

I love my 2 Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology filters. Been great for going on 5 years now. Been dry enough lately that the vent that pulls in cooler outside air at night into the computer room is pulling a fair bit of dust too.  So I decided to get a third. The WAC9500 is discontinued and none of the current models use the same filters. The Winix HR900 Ultimate Pet True HEPA PlasmaWave Technology Air Purifier, 300 Sq. Ft, White is the follow up to the 9500 but as far as I can see it does not clean the air much better than the AM90. It is even rated for a larger space.  So I bought an AM90 which is $100 cheaper and is supposed to work with Alexa. It also uses the filter, Winix 115115 Replacement Filter A for C535, 5300-2, P300, 5300, 5500 which I ordered once by accident for my 9500s. The filters the 9500s use, Winix 114190 Replacement Filter B for 9500, U300 Air Purifiers are also more expensive and use a plastic cassette that each replacement comes in and so makes for more plastic waste.


The setup via the android app was so bad I almost sent it back. Note the C545 model needs it own skill and app.

To get it to finally finish I had to:

  • Get the timing right to see the direct WiFi connection. (You have to connect before unit quickly times out)
  • Have the phone forget the 5Ghz WiFi
  • Let it use the default city as the location.

Took me about 5 tries to get all the way through, having to start over from scratch even after I could see it was connected to my network.

Even trying to change the city later caused the app to completely hang during search. So I ended up leaving it on the default as useless as that is.

Note the Alexa name entered into the app (as in Bedroom) is what shows in lists in the app though in the web interface it shows as Bedroom Winix Air Purifier. You will probably want a longer name, though you can change in the Alexa app later.

Alexa integration:

For Alexa to see the instructions say you have to enable 2 skills

Since I use a password manager I find linking accounts easier in the web interface. Be sure to select Approve before clicking submit.

The Winix Custom Skill is the old "Ask Winix" style.

The Winix Smart Home Skill is supposed to let you say "Alexa, turn on WINIX", "Alexa, increase WINIX" and "Alexa, decrease WINIX" Though this did not work for me. So I looked to create a routine to alias it. After not seeing it on the list at first ( showed as a a fan named bedroom) I decided to rename it.

I tried triggers of "more air" and "increase air" to turn up the cleaner bey neither worked. The less intuitive "full power" did. I then made a matching "half power" routine to set it back to normal.

Reviews complain about WiFi connectivity so I'll have to update after I've had it online for awhile.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Smart bulbs revisited.

In The right / best way to control a light I discussed how switches vs smart bulbs depends on install. Here I'd like to update with some of the experiences I've have with smart bulbs since then. To summarize here are my note in my compare sheet.

Note you can get some crazy cheap deals on SYLVANIA / Lightify / Osram stuff right now.
Like this $9 bulb and gateway bundle still on sale. I got a bunch to sample to eval on sale. For less than $75 I got 5 bulbs, a gateway, a motion sensor and 2 dimmers. Awesome deal except only the bulbs worked OK for me. I even bought the Sylvania Smart Home 74099 Sylvania LIGHTIFY Smart Switch 8 Functions/ 4 Buttons, White, still only $10, which did at least seem to work controlling the bulbs but is not seen by Homeseer and so can't be use as a general remote. Homeseer did see the bulbs and motion detector did turn the lights on most of the time it should though seldom off. The dimmers worked for a bit then died. They were not seen by Homeseer. So all in all pretty much a waste of money and time. Too bad give a 4 pack of white Lightify bulbs is going for as low as $16 onsale versus a 4 pack of Hues which go for around $40.  Though I did stumble a 6 pack once $50 a couple years back. Which brings us to price.

I see a lot of posts saying Hue bulbs are too expensive. I think that is mainly because people seem to compare the Hue color bulbs to white version by others. If you compare a 4-pack of white bulbs they cost about the same as Sengled Smart LED Soft White A19 Bulb 4-pack.  Or Cree 60W Equivalent Daylight (5000K) A19 Dimmable LED Light Bulb in the (6 Pack) compared at a per bulb price.  You even here people going on about the new Wyze bulbs but they are about the same price and do not work with anything other than the Wyze app.

I had planned on using then instead of upgrading the Hue gateways after Hue basically cut V1 one users off.

Other than the price I'm liking the Hue motion sensors more and more. Homeseer does not always seem to get non motion event updates from them but otherwise it is nice to have them automatically turn the lights full on and off without need of setting up events. Especially after having to redo all my lighting related events after the v1 to v2 upgrade.

The Lifx bulbs seem like a good alternative if you want to avoid getting a hub though the white bulbs cost more.  And like I've said above, the one I got for eval had a lot of issues. Still the outdoor BR bulbs with IR look interesting but if you do the math, unless you want to light your yard in color, even at the $50 sale price you can get a Z-Wave switch, 2 LED bulbs and a 2 serious IR floods for about the same price.  And the IR floods turn themselves on and off as needed automatically. If you want smart flood light bulbs, Hue has new outdoor bulbs. 2 for $50.  Still cheaper to go with 2 LED floods and a switch though.

Tp-link (kasa) bulbs cost even more and they require cloud access. I have a couple of their outlets I got on Prime sales for $5. The cloud link fails way too often.

Even the TRÅDFRI bulbs are more now.

Etekcity, while I like their smart plugs for non critical stuff. Very cheap and so they have been more reliable the the TP-link ones despite being cloud based as long as you call their API directly. Going through IFTTT stopped working awhile back. I don't know if they ever fixed it because talking directly was so easy to do. But their bulbs are more than the Hues so why?

Z-wave bulbs like Aeotec LED Bulb Gen6 Multi-White are even more.

There are more of course many others, some even cheaper than Hue but one of the main things to remember is what do they works with? So in the long run you will probably end up tossing them unless remote control via your is all you ever want.