Random Thoughts – Randocity!

How to reset Philips Illuminate Lights

Posted in holiday, Household Tips, howto, repair by commorancy on December 1, 2018

img_4242When trying to connect to my Philips Illuminate strand of lights this year, for whatever reason the Philips Illuminate iOS app is no longer finding them. It took me a while to find these instructions to reset the control box. Here’s how I solved the problem. Let’s explore.

Philips Illuminate

This product had great beginnings, but unfortunately Philips has decided not to continue developing and improving either the app or the product. It is an expensive product which required the purchase of a control box and a strand of lights (startup kit)… the control box being the most costly item to buy. Typical strands of LED lights cost around half or less (even cheaper if you pick them up on clearance) compared to the Illuminate strands. However, the Illuminate strands of lights offered chasing lights and many colors, similar to Philips Hue. I think I may have spent $60-$75 or so to buy into the starter kit product with a small strand of lights. Pricey for the strand size. It also offers the ability to chain light strands together making the system expandable.

At the time, I invested into the Illuminate product because Philips had also created the Philips Hue system and I thought they might eventually merge the two product lines together. No such luck. Worse, the light programming options of the strand is far less programmable than one might hope. I was expecting improvements that just never materialized.

Improvements and Features

If you’re just hearing about Illuminate lights this year, then let me explain some of the gripes for this product. While the starter kit does come with the control box, the control box does not offer any kind of networking interface with IFTTT, Amazon Alexa or any other similar control systems. The control box is just a “dumb” box. Its purpose is only to allow for connectivity for the Illuminate app and to provide light effects for the connected strand(s) . The control box has no ability to turn the lights on or off. When power is applied, the lights always turn on.

You can still find the Illuminate lighting on sale at Target. However, the add-on strands themselves cost around $30-$50 per strand. If you need a starter kit, expect to spend about $75 or more.

To add the ability to control the power to the lights remotely, you’ll need to purchase a WeMo smart plug or similar networked plug sold separately. These plugs support Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and other networking features. Adding a smart plug lets you control the lights on a schedule via their apps or by voice via a home assistant like Alexa.

Control Box

The control box itself is the heart of this system and allows for WiFi connectivity so the Illuminate app can control the light programming. It also handles the LED light sequencing. When the app was first released, they offered 17 different light patterns which include a variety of chasing options, fading options, twinkling and steady options. Today, we still have those same 17. There is a customize option, but it’s limited to Twinkle, Fade and Chasing.

Unfortunately, the one light programming option I wanted doesn’t exist. Specifically, I want the lights to each change from one color to the next individually and randomly rather than all at once. This one doesn’t exist. A small problem compared to what I faced when attempting to reprogram my strand this year.

For the last two years, I have been able to launch the iOS app and have it find and see the control box just fine on WiFi. For whatever reason, this year it no longer works. As a result, I can no longer program the lighting strand from my phone. I had also lost the instruction guide for this product long ago. Here’s what I saw when I attempted to control my light strand:

img_4243

I’m all, WTF? Rescanning does nothing. As there is no physical reset button on the control box to factory reset with a paperclip or similar method, I had to resort to scouring the Internet to find a solution. Unfortunately, the search engines didn’t turn up much right at the top for how to factory reset the Illuminate lights.

If you have run into the issue where your control box can no longer be found by your iOS or Android app, it’s likely that the control box is not registering itself properly on WiFi. Because there’s no troubleshooting as to why this is happening and after finding the reset instructions, I decided to use the Direct connection approach to control my lights. At least it works for the few times I need to make changes. It’s not handy for the audio/music feature, but it works for the standard light programming.

Resetting the System

To reset a Philips Illuminate control box, you’ll need to perform the following actions:

  1. Turn off or disconnect the power to the control box… wait 3-5 seconds
  2. Apply power to the control box… wait 3-5 seconds
  3. Perform steps 1 and 2 three or four times successively until the light strand begins flashing on and off. This signals that the control box has factory reset and you can stop this process.

If you find that after performing steps 1 and 2 multiple times doesn’t cause the strand to flash on and off, keep performing it until it does. If you can’t get the lights to flash, then you may not be waiting long enough or you are waiting too long between power off and on. Try waiting longer or shorter intervals between power toggling.

Note that factory resetting the device loses its knowledge of any WiFi devices it knew about including passwords. This means you’ll need to set this up again from the Illuminate app (instructions below).

Factory Reset

At this step, you’ll want to make sure you have the Philips Illuminate app installed on whatever device you’re wanting to use to control your lights. For Android, go to Google Play and search for and install Philips Illuminate. For Apple, navigate to the App store and install it. You’ll need this app for the next steps.

Once the control box is factory reset, it no longer attempts to connect to whatever previous WiFi network it once knew. The control box now goes back into initial setup mode and it creates an access point of its own. The new access point SSID will look like PhilipsACCF235B6838 or similar. For this article, I will assume the access point ID to be named PhilipsACCF235B6838. When you are performing this on yours, it will obviously be named something different. You can rename this SSID if you want, but I left it as it is because it doesn’t identify what the product is. It also doesn’t broadcast this SSID very far anyway, which is why you need to be close to it.

If you have installed multiple control boxes all handling different strands of lights around your property, then it would make sense to rename each SSID to a name that identifies which strand it is and where it is located. Renaming in this instance makes sense. For a single control box handling a single strand like mine, renaming is not important.

At this point, you’ll want to open your iOS or Android phone and navigate to the Android or iOS settings area where you can connect to a WiFi access point. Once in settings, wait for your device to scan looking for new access points. Once it finds PhilipsACCF235B6838 (or however yours is numbered), click on the it to connect. Note that you may need to be within a few feet of the control box for this to work. Don’t try to do this from a different room in the house.

Once connected, it will prompt you for a password. The default password is 12345678. Depending on which method you choose to try next will determine if you need to change that password.

WiFi Network Setup vs Direct Setup

There are two ways to go at this point. You can have your Illuminate control box connect to your local WiFi lan network or you can use a direct connection. I couldn’t get mine to connect to my local WiFi network for whatever reason. I think someone has set something up in my complex causing massive interference. I fill in the correct WiFi network details, but the app is never able to find the control box on my local WiFi network. So, I reset it again and this time I chose the Direct connection method to manage the lights. Slightly more of a hassle, but it at least works.

Network Setup

After connecting your phone to the WiFi access point PhilipsACCF235B6838 from your device settings, launch the Illuminate app. Once the app loads, it should find control box, the app may show you the control box screen (below) or it may jump into the setup screen. This screen below is what you should see each time you start the Illuminate app regardless of whether you choose Direct WiFi or connect the control box to your local lan via WiFi.

control-box

If not in the setup screen already, select the menu icon in the upper left of the screen and choose ‘Setup Wizard’. From here you can either setup the device for Direct connection or WiFi lan connection like so:

img_4237

If you want to use a WiFi lan connection, then click CONNECT CONTROL BOX TO LOCAL WI-FI. On the next screen, scroll the screen to find the access point you want to connect to and click it.

Illuminate-WiFi

Next, enter the password for the SSID you’ve chosen.

img_4240-1

Make sure the password you enter is correct. The Illuminate App should verify the correctness of the password you enter in this field, but if the password changes on the access point, it will no longer work. I can’t guarantee that the app will verify the password you enter here, so make sure it’s correct.

If you want to use the direct connect method to manage your light strands, then click USE A DIRECT CONNECTION and then follow the screen prompt that comes next:

direct-connect-control-box

From here, you’ll need to change the password you want to use on your control box going forward. This is the password change screen. It changes the password on the WiFi password you will use to connect to the SSID WiFi access point in the control box. You can also change your SSID for your control box on this screen, but I left mine as it is. After you CONFIRM the password, as the screen states, the control box will restart. Once the control box restarts, you’ll need to reconnect to your Philips SSID via WiFi settings on iOS or Android. You may need to forget the old network as it may have remembered the older 12345678 password. Then, reconnect and enter the new password you just entered in the screen above.

Security Tip: you should always change default passwords included with devices because anyone can easily find the default password on the Internet.

Once your WiFi has connected to the access point, relaunch the Illuminate app and it should take you to the screen that looks like so which should immediately find your control box:

control-box

Click the check box like above and press Enter to manage your light strands like normal.

Failure is not an option

If after going through the above steps to reconnect the control box to your local WiFi network, you find that your Illuminate app still cannot locate the control box on your local WiFi network on startup (what happened to mine), you’ll need to use the direct connection to control your lights. If you cannot connect to the control box after a factory reset, your control box may be damaged.

As always, if this article was helpful to you, please consider leaving a comment and following my blog for future helpful advice. If you could please share this article on Twitter and other social media, it would help me out 👍.

↩︎

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Milk: Does it really do a body good?

Posted in Health, health and beauty, Household Tips by commorancy on May 22, 2010

Let’s consider milk for a moment. I know, we all think of the advertisements with some celebrity wearing a milk mustache. Yah, yah, whatever. It’s an ad, it takes up space. But, what does it really say about milk? I mean, really. Just because ‘insert famous celebrity here’ allegedly drinks milk, we’re supposed to too? Has that celebrity somehow become the authority on milk? No. It’s just a gimmick to make you think that because they drink milk, everyone should. Blah blah blah. It’s all rhetoric.

What exactly is milk?

Milk is an infant food. It was designed for unweened babies to help them grow. After all, babies cannot eat solid food right away. So, milk is designed as an interim food until the baby reaches the point where it can be weened from milk and eat solid food. To prove this point, female animals and human women only lactate (produce milk) for a short period of time after pregnancy to feed the baby and aid its growth. How does milk aid a baby’s growth? With hormones.

So, what about cow milk, that’s ok right? Wrong. Humans are the only known animal that intentionally drink the milk from other animal species. Milk is specifically designed for growing babies. I’ll repeat that. Milk is a food designed for growing babies, not adults. As such, it contains proteins and sugars, like most foods, but it also contains hormones to help the baby grow (hormones that the baby may not yet be producing) it also contains additional ingredients that help the baby’s immune system grow. So, cow milk contains cow hormones to help calves grow. These hormones were not designed for the human body. Yet, the milk and dairy industry would have us believe that these products are ‘good’ for the human body. How can they be? They contain hormones designed for calves. So, unless humans have somehow become cows, cow milk isn’t designed for human consumption. Let alone adult human consumption.

Infant food

As I stated, milk is a food designed for infants. It is not designed nor is it necessary for adults. After we’ve been weened from milk, we should eat solid foods for nutrition. For example, would any human today consider drinking female breast milk as an adult? Granted, there are probably a few people who would (and do), but most people are likely repulsed by that thought. So, why is it that no one is repulsed by the thought of drinking cow or goat milk? I mean, these aren’t even the same species as humans. Milk from human mothers is at least designed for human consumption where cow and goat milk are not. Human breast milk has the necessary nutrients for human infants and contains the proper human hormones to stimulate growth in a human infant. So, this type of milk is designed for human consumption. Yet, you don’t find the dairy industry milking lactating human mothers for cartons of milk. No, instead we exploit the infant food from other animals.

Cows and Goats

In order for any animal to give milk, it must be kept pregnant (or at least, given hormones so the animal’s body thinks that it’s pregnant). The hormones in the pregnancy tell the animal’s body to produce milk. So, whenever you buy cow’s milk, this milk is obviously from a cow who’s pregnant. This also means there is a measure of growth hormones in the milk itself. These are natural hormones that exist in the milk to aid growth of the calves. So, milk at the store also contains these hormones. So, even if ‘organic’ milk claims to be rBGH free, the milk still contains calve hormones that naturally occur to help calves grow. Because these hormones do not aid in human growth, they are unnecessary for (and possibly harmful to) the human body.

Hormones

What are hormones? They are lock and key molecules that stimulate some specific part of an animal (or human). For example, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) stimulates cellular growth in humans. Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin in the presence of UV. These are but two hormones that drive specific body functions. Milk contains growth hormones necessary to help babies grow. So, feeding an infant cow milk instead of human milk, overlooking casein and other potential allergens, may not have the appropriate lock and key effect on a human child. So, a human baby fed cow milk instead of human milk might not grow properly in the same way as a human breast milk fed baby.

Milk does a body good?

Considering that milk is an infant food and the fact that it contains hormones to stimulate growth, adults don’t need these. Adult human bodies produce their own hormones in the necessary levels. Consider that cow hormones might, in fact, interfere with the absorption of human hormones by fitting the keyhole of human receptors. But, instead of producing the necessary stimulation to do what’s necessary in a human, it might do nothing at all. So, this bovine hormone key blocks the lock from human hormone keys and prevents the human hormone from functioning. That’s at least one potential scenario with cow hormones. It has also been theorized that these hormones may even be responsible for interfering with the functioning of the pancreas eyelet cells that produce insulin. The human body produces insulin to counter blood sugar levels. However, drinking cow milk could introduce bovine hormones that key into these locks in the pancreas and interfere with the workings of the human hormone to stimulate insulin production. This interference could result in lower or less production of insulin than is necessary for proper bodily functions. This could then leave higher blood sugar levels leading to diabetes. It might further produce altered insulin that’s ineffective at reducing blood glucose levels. There are any number of ways that bovine hormones could interfere with human body functions. So, with that in mind, it’s quite possible that milk is at least partially responsible for diabetes. Drink enough milk often enough with enough hormones and it’s possible.

Other dairy products

Milk is only part of the problem here. Cheese and other dairy products made from milk are just as problematic. For example, cheese requires gallons of milk to produce a much smaller amount of cheese. The reason is that the milk solids separate from the whey and leave the solid cheese. Because the whey liquid is pulled out, the cheese condenses into a smaller more compact space. Because cheese is, then, concentrated, so are any hormones present in the cheese. Again, milk is an infant food. Thus, it follows that because cheese is made from an infant food, it is also and still an infant food. I know this may seem contrary, but think about it for about 2 minutes logically and you will come to this same realization.

This issue exists with yogurt, kefir, butter, cream and cottage cheese (to name a few). Anything that is made from milk (and specifically cow or goat milk) is still a problematic food.

Avoiding dairy

Some advertisements claim that milk is the perfect food. Yes, it’s perfect… perfect for babies. They need this formula to help them grow. It is not perfect for adults. Adults need solid food to survive. After infancy, we need to give up milk. That’s why the mother stops producing milk. But, humans have used their knowledge and engineering skills to take the cow and keep her continually pregnant so that she’ll give off milk. Because cows produce a lot of milk, it seemed a no brainer. I’m not sure, though, who first thought up the idea of adult humans drinking cow milk or why. But, someone did and here we are today. We have an industry that is based solely on stocking grocery store shelves with something we should have long given up past infancy.

If you are concerned about health issues, you might want to consider giving up dairy products. Above and beyond the hormone issues that can interfere with the adult body, there are also allergy issues because of casein (among other ingredients). Giving up milk and milk products may help you in your own personal health goals. Certainly, the two primary substances in milk that the industry harps on is calcium and vitamin D. You can get the same amount or more calcium from eating green vegetables such as Broccoli, Spinach, Collard Greens and even Kelp (seaweed). You can get vitamin D from sunlight. There are also questions about how bio-available both the calcium and vitamin D are within milk.

Alternatives

If not cow or goat milk, what alternatives are there? There are several. Those that come to mind include soy milk, coconut milk and almond milk. I’ve tried all three and of the three I prefer almond milk for flavor and consistency. It doesn’t really taste a whole lot like cow milk, but it’s still creamy enough that for baking or cereal, it works fine. Since these milks are produced from plant products rather than other animals, it won’t contain stray animal hormones… especially not related to growing babies. As far as I know, though, you may not be able to produce cheeses from any of these milks. Although, in the process of producing almond milk, the leftovers can be turned into an almond cheese and soy produces tofu.

Are these alternatives healthier than cow milk? Well, clearly, they don’t contain unnecessary animal hormones. So, from that point of view, they probably are healthier for the human body. Overall, it’s still a processed and concentrated product. The human body really does better when foods are eaten in the proportions and concentrations found in nature instead of being condensed into highly concentrated versions.

Health Issues, let’s start with milk!

While animal milk cannot be blamed on every illness out there, no one seems to point fingers at the dairy industry at all. In fact, way too many people tout the benefits of milk and few are willing to say anything negative. We are all so ready to blame soft drink, hamburger and potato chip manufacturers for society’s ills, but what about all of the alleged food staples? Why should these foods be allowed a free ticket from health reviews? They shouldn’t. Clearly, our food sources need to be examined thoroughly from top to bottom. Yes, these examinations need to not only include potato chips, hamburgers, fries and soda, but it also needs to include eggs, cheese, dairy and also processed and canned foods.

We’ve all heard the adage, “You are what you eat” and this phrase is as true as it always was. This adage also should and does include those foods we have always considered healthy and beneficial. We need to rethink foods in a more intelligent way. Unfortunately, we have agencies like the FDA, USDA and FTC that are there to help subsidize big agro-business. After all, we can’t have those farmers out of business now can we? It’s always more important to keep business humming along than help keep people healthy, or is it?

In the spirit of randomness: Oxiclean

Posted in Household Tips by commorancy on December 18, 2008

While I know that this may sound like an advertisement, it really is not intended to be. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that this product doesn’t work.  However, that’s not actually true.  The spirit of this article is intended to help people understand just how to properly use this product (and possibly other similar oxygen based laundry cleaners).

In the spirit

I’ve had some people actually ask me how I get my whites so white… and I thought that only happened in commercials. Well, after I started using OxiClean, that’s when it started happening. But, there is a trick to using this product. However, some people who’ve asked me what I use are usually also the ones who are quick to fire back, “It doesn’t work for me”. Yes, because you’re not using it correctly.

Regardless of what the commercials or packaging may tell you about this product, it really is only good at doing one thing: cleaning white cotton materials. It may work on colors to a degree, but probably no better than any other product on the market.

Ok, so what is the trick?

It’s very simple, the trick to using OxiClean effectively is hot water (the hotter the better) and time. OxiClean is most effective in hot water. In fact, it’s much more effective in hot water than bleach is in any temperature of water. OxiClean also doesn’t eat away at your clothes like bleach. But, you need to keep the water hot. Additionally, you need to give the garments adequate time to wash/soak. Running it in the shortest wash cycle will do nothing. For example, I have one of the European style front loading High Efficiency (HE) washers. When I place the dial to start on the Hot (regular) cycle, this cycle lasts at least 2 hours.

I then combine my regular tide HE detergent with about a half a cup of OxiClean and let it run the entire 2 hours with hot water. So, adding your standard detergent also helps the OxiClean.

But, but, but …

There’s no buts here. This product does work. Although, it doesn’t work without hot water. Don’t put it cold water washes. That’s a complete waste of OxiClean. So, if you have a garment that can’t tolerate hot water, there’s no point to using OxiClean as it won’t do much, if anything. This is probably why people generally think this product doesn’t work and is also the wrong way and reason to use it.

Soaking things

OxiClean works better the hotter the water is and the longer you let the garment soak. So, for heavily stained whites, you’ll want to let them soak at least 3 hours, if not overnight. For minimal to average discoloration, 1-2 hours should be sufficient to remove most stains.

Remember, use hot water and combine it with your longest hot water cycle (and your regular detergent) and your whites should whiten right up. The first time I used OxiClean like this, I realized that this would be the way I wash my whites from now on. I’ve been using OxiClean like this for at least 2 years now. No, it’s not the best product on the market for laundry overall, but it is the best product on the market for washing whites.

%d bloggers like this: