Many owners of Yeelight products have been experiencing connection issues while using the Home Assistant integration for quite some time now. The last known version of Home Assistant to integrate trouble-free with Yeelight was 0.114.X. Many have gone as far as to rolling back and not updating their Home Assistant instance until a fix was implemented and reported to be working. It now finally appears that Home Assistant 0.118 will allow those users to once again update.
Developer @shenxn has hopefully fixed the Yeelight integration issues which were introduced in Home Assistant version 0.115. Does this mean that you, as an owner of Yeelight products, should update to Home Assistant 0.118 immediately? My recommendation is to wait until at least version 0.118.1, if not 0.118.2, has been released at the very least. Let me explain why that is.
Should you update Home Assistant right now to integrate with Yeelight?
Reports on whether this fix was successful or not are still rather scant. While a GitHub user has reported that the change has worked for them, a Home Assistant community member has said that this update once again broke their Yeelight integration. These reports nicely bring me to why you should wait just a little longer before updating to Home Assistant 0.118.
There are always going to be Home Assistant users who immediately update to the latest release. Many (including me) view the frequent updates to Home Assistant as rather exciting. At least a handful of those installing the latest version will almost certainly have a Yeelight product or two. Let those who are willing to do so test this fix before you hit the big update button. After all, that is why a big and active community is there for. Keep an eye on this Home Assistant community thread as reports will very likely be rolling in no time. Waiting until a maintenance release or two have been made public is generally good practice for stability’s sake. If you don’t want things to break, never update to a .0 version of Home Assistant.
If your Yeelight integration with Home Assistant is currently working, then why risk braking it by updating? While the Grid and Logbook cards sure look nice, you should be able to wait for a couple of weeks before risking your entire setup.
If you are willing to spend some time experimenting, an interesting solution to integrating Yeelight with Home Assistant has been discovered by a Reddit user. Instead of using the Yeelight integration, they have used the HomeKit Controller function in Home Assistant. If your Yeelight bulbs or LED strips ship with a pairing code in the box, you should be able to circumvent the Yeelight integration completely.
What is a Yeelight?
Yeelight is a Chinese vendor of smart lights and is, just like many other Chinese smart home brands, a part of the ever-expanding Xiaomi ecosystem. The year 2013 saw Yeelight launch their first smart LED light with money made from crowdfunding, and they’ve since bolstered their line-up with ceiling lights, desk lights, ambience lighting, LED strips, and even more LED bulbs. The appeal of Yeelight products is one shared with many other Chinese vendors: they are cheap yet good-looking and functional.
But those of us wanting smart home products that protect our privacy and can function without any cloud-connection should look elsewhere. You are required to install the Yeelight app before you can integrate Yeelight products with Home Assistant. According to reviews on the Google Play Store, the app wants permission to access your stored contacts, microphone, location, camera, and telephone records. Updates to the Yeelight app have also been known to cause frustration for many users.
What are the (better) alternatives to Yeelight for Home Assistant users?
I, personally, wouldn’t recommend you use any Yeelight products. There are better and just as cheap options available. The main issue with Yeelight products I have is that they use Wi-Fi and require an app to get set up. Making the switch from Wi-Fi to Zigbee bulbs and LED strips has countless advantages:
- You are not reliant on any cloud services, everything stays in your own four walls.
- Zigbee uses considerably less power and has meshing capabilities.
- While Zigbee does require a hub, you can build your own.
- As Zigbee devices don’t need an internet connection, the integration with Home Assistant won’t be bricked by any firmware updates.
- You can also buy many battery-powered sensors.
If you’re looking for a low-cost Zigbee option, I recommend taking a look at Gledopto, Xiaomi (Mijia and Aqara), and IKEA products.