We love the IKEA Besta LED light door and panel especially when you can control it with a wireless remote but we just could not bring ourselves to fork out all that money for multiple doors. So, we came up with a cheaper alternative and added voice support along the way. Here’s how we did it.
What is TRÅDFRI?
We were so impressed with the wall hanging Besta cabinets with smart LED light doors they had in the IKEA showroom until we saw the price tag. So what were we up against? Our hack needed to most if not all the functions and features that the LED light door with wireless TRÅDFRI remote control is capable of. Each TRÅDFRI remote can control up to 10 LED light doors or other TRÅDFRI products in IKEA’s smart lighting system.
These include other light LED light panels, doors and bulbs. You can use it to dim, turn off or on and switch between warm and cold light. Plus, you don’t have to stop with a remote, add a TRÅDFRI gateway and you can opt to use the TRÅDFRI app to group your light sources together and control them that way. The app is available free to download from Google Play or App Store.
To summarise, here is what our alternative system needed to do at a fraction of the cost:
- Be sufficiently bright, at least 400 lumens
- Offer a default colour temperature of 2700K
- Be sufficiently robust and energy efficient around 9W
- Be able to control individual or multiple lights remotely
- Dimmable and Colour Temperature from Warm to Cold
- App support with or without a gateway/hub
As we mentioned earlier, we did one better by adding Voice support. We used Amazon Alexa, but you can also configure our system to use Google Assistant.
- Voice support
Now, the aim was to keep cost down. With that in mind, we did all that we can to cover all the bases except for two. Our system does not support dimming nor does it support colour temperature; switching from warm to cold. Here’s how we did it with off the shelve products, and what better place to start than on Amazon and from IKEA itself…
- GLASSVIK Glass Door in White with Frosted Glass 60 x 38 cm (half height)
- GLASSVIK Glass Door in White with Frosted Glass 60 x 64 cm (full height)
- LEDBERG LED Spotlights Pack of 4
- LEDBERG LED Spotlight Singles
- Smart Plug that supports Alexa and/or Google Assistant
- Multi-way Extension Lead with suitable length
We assumed that you have an Internet connected wireless router, and where your lights needed to be controlled, there is sufficient wireless signal. For voice support, we also assumed that you already have at least an Amazon Echo or Google Home and that they are connected to the same router. To keep the cost down, we simply chose the cheapest Smart Plug there is as long as it supports Alexa. We needed two as our BESTA cabinets were set quite far apart. We also needed a couple of multi-way extension leads. To cut to the chase, here are the end results.
We have a floor to ceiling (nearly) full height BESTA based cupboard in one corner (top) and a feature or display unit in the other (bottom). Between them is a double width TV unit used as seating for two at the extendable dining table. The 4 pack LED spotlights were used for the upper most cabinets with frosted glass doors in matching white, two inside and two for the up lights. Two single LED spotlights were chosen for the feature wall cabinet below as the cabinet is of a square variety.
Here is a closer look at the half height units, the upper most cabinets both inside and out. We placed the multi socket extension lead and the smart plug at the far corner of the cupboard, tucked away from sight but not completely as the smart plug unit is quite tall. The lights are placed right in the middle of each cabinet giving the illusion of a double sided light source, one pointing down, while the other pointing up towards the ceiling.
Next, we have the square BESTA unit that we used as a feature cabinet to hold champagne glasses, crystals, tea sets and other trinkets. Here, we chose to use two single LED spotlights as no up lights were required. We also split the square unit with a glass shelf in the middle. This is important to allow light to flow through to the bottom half of the cabinet. Both LED spot lights were pointed downward. Due to the height of the square unit, you will need two of the spotlights to complete the light door. Take a peek below.
It is worth noting that as best as we can, we placed opaque items near the sides and back of the storage cabinet and only placed see through glass items such as glass and crystals in the middle and near the glass door. This is to allow the light to travel through the frosted glass door for maximum light door effect. Both power sources are fed through Smart Plugs and Extension Lead. We did have some problems getting the smart plug to work with Alexa as it was our smart plug set up. The Alexa app also lets you treat the Smart Plug as light source given that it is connected to the spotlights.
Here are the logic diagrams for the two setups:
Diagram 1: Voice activated LED Light Doors with 4-way LED cabinet lights
Diagram 2: Voice activated LED Light Doors with two single LED cabinet lights
How to Configure Your Smart Plug to Work with Alexa
Here is what you will need to do to get your Smart Plugs on Alexa:
- Connect the Smart Plug to your Wireless network following instructions from the manufacturer
- Go to the Amazon Alexa app and download the required skill for the Smart Plug (refer to manufacturer for the correct skill to add)
- Enable the Skill, account linking will be required in order for the smart plugs to work with Alexa
- Under the Skill, go to Settings then Manage Smart Home Devices to scan and add your smart plugs
- The app may ask you if you would like to dedicate the plugs as light source, once confirmed you can then rename them as you wish e.g. “dining room lights”
- Go to Smart Home in the Alexa app, then Groups tab, Add Group and drop the devices including the Echo device you wish to use with the smart plugs
- As these are foremost smart plugs and not smart bulbs, we could not simply use the voice commands to “turn on the dining room lights”, we had to first crate a routine. Go to Alexa app main menu then choose Routines.
- Add routines here, you will need one to turn on the lights and another to turn them off e.g. “Alexa, dining lights on” and “Alexa, dining light off”
We found that once you have configured the Smart Plugs to work on Alexa, you lose the use of the original App from the manufacturer. The manufacturer’s app is then unable to connect to the Smart Plugs. With that, you lose the ability to schedule the smart plugs to turn on and/or off at different times. Not sure if this only applies to our Smart Plugs. Others may behave differently or have a different configuration. Anyway, if you have a similar experience, please let us your comments below.