In this post, we will learn your IoT-RC-Car-With-Smart-Lamp-Remote-or-Gateway: For an unrelated project, I had been writing some Arduino code to talk to the MiLight smart lamps and lamp remotes that I have in my home.
After I succeeded in intercepting commands from the wireless remotes, I decided to make a little RC car to test out the code. It turns out the 2.4GHz remotes used in these lamps have a 360 touch ring for selecting hues and it works surprisingly well for steering an RC car! Additionally, using the MiLight gateway or the ESP8266 MiLight hub, you can control the car from a smartphone or any Internet-connected device!
Steps how to create IoT RC Car With Smart Lamp Remote or Gateway:
Step 1: The Origin of This Project
This project is based on a line of wireless smart bulbs that came to market a few years ago. They were initially sold as LimitlessLED, but have since been available under alternative names, such as EasyBulb or MiLight.
While these bulbs are often sold as being WiFi compatible, but they have no WiFi capabilities and instead rely on a gateway that takes commands sent via WiFi and translates them into a proprietary 2.4GHz wireless protocol. If you get a gateway, the bulbs can be controlled from a smartphone app, but if you don’t, you can still control these lamps using standalone wireless remotes.
These bulbs and the remotes are proprietary, but there have been efforts to reverse engineer the protocols and to build open-source alternatives to the WiFi gateway. This allows for some interesting possibilities, such as using the remotes for your own Arduino projects, as demonstrated in this Instructable.
Step 2: Getting the Right Remote
The light bulbs and remotes were never meant to be open and thus there is no official documentation on the protocols. There have been several different generations of the bulbs and they are definitely not interchangeable.
This project makes use of the remote for one of the four types of bulbs that are available and knowing how to distinguish the types visually will help you buy the right remote. The four types are:
- RGB: These bulbs have controllable hue and brightness; the remote has a color wheel and three white toggle buttons.
- RGBW: These bulbs give you a choice between a hue and a single shade of white; the remote has a color wheel, a brightness slider, three yellow effects buttons, and four yellow group toggle buttons.
- CCT: These bulbs are white light only, but allow you to vary them from warm white to cool white; the remote has a black control ring and white push buttons.
- RGB+CCT: Bulbs can show colors and can vary from warm white to cool white; the remote is the most cluttered of the four and can be distinguished by a color temperature slider, some odd crescent-shaped buttons and a blue light bar around the edges.