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Brilliant(?) Smart Home

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2022

Dave!

The electrician showed up to install my new switches! I'll talk about the Eve stuff tomorrow, but first thing's first.

After INSTEON died and I knew was going to have to replace all my smart home devices, my dream scenario was originally to wire my entire home with Brilliant smart switches. They're the cat's meow because you can have controllers that are literally computers in their own right (complete with touch screen)...

Brilliant Smart Switch

They can control not only your lights, but most anything. Sonos speakers. Hue lighting. Whatever. It's seriously cool. But, alas, the screen controllers are ungodly expensive and even their "regular" smart dimmer switches were out of my price range. What I ended up doing was buying one screen controller "bundle" which included three of the non-screen dimmers. That would cover my dining room and living room, which is all I really need because they are the only ones that I want to dim anyways.

The sliders on their switches are configurable. For the lights that are Philips Hue lights, you can have the power be "always on" so the slider talks with your Hue Hub and does the dimming from there (albeit very slowly, which is massively annoying). For all other lights, Brilliant just does the dimming by controlling the power feed as usual.

So... simple, right?

Not really. Turns out that Brilliant isn't quite so brilliant after all.

It began when I first installed it. The "software update" which is supposed to take "a few minutes" took 35 minutes... and I have a super-fast fiber connection!

Then there's the boot-up time. Which is very slow. Seriously very slow. It's so slow that I am thankful I have fairly reliable power where I live. If I didn't and had to wait for Brilliant to reboot all the time, I think I might go crazy.

Configuring stuff is much harder than it has to be. For example, I was looking through their help documents to add a Hue controller to a slider and what they are describing in the document was not what I was seeing. And then it's like... oh. Primary configurations (like connecting to Hue Hub) have to be done on the controller itself, and you can't do it on the app. Except they never mention this. I only found it out when I went to the controller to just reset everything... and saw exactly what I had been looking for. Convexly, configuring the dimmer switches can't be done on the screen controller, only the app.

Ultimately, it all worked out, but I only got there by picking around for over an hour until I got it sorted. I'm still having a few integration wackiness I need to figure out, but I'll get there eventually. I hope. Don't know if Brilliant would have been my best move knowing what I know now.

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