While Philips, Xiaomi, and Aqara may be the big guns in the world of Zigbee products, our unsung hero Gledopto has been quietly churning out top-quality lights and light controllers that don't break the bank. Now, I'm not saying it's the little engine that could, but its offerings, particularly the Gledopto Pro series Zigbee LED controllers, give the likes of Philips Hue a run for their money. These controllers light up my life (and my house) just as well as the Philips Hue Lightstrip while leaving my wallet significantly less light.
- Unchaining the light: Gledopto's unique strategy
- Open-source opportunities in the Zigbee playground
- Gledopto Pro series LED controllers – the Zigbee 3.0 upgrade you didn't know you needed
- A budget-friendly alternative to the Philips Hue Lightstrip
- Smart LED strips that aren't individually addressable
- The different Gledopto LED controllers explained
- Mastering functional lighting with the Gledopto CCT LED controller GL-C-006P
- Jazzing up space with the Gledopto RGBW LED controller GL-C-007P
- The Swiss Army knife: Gledopto GL-C-008P (RGB+CCT)
- The specialist: Gledopto LED Dimmer (GL-C-009P)
Unchaining the light: Gledopto's unique strategy
Gledopto has taken a different route from other companies by not tying its products to a specific hub. Rather, their Zigbee products play nicely with the Amazon Alexa Echo Plus, the Philips Hue Bridge 2, or Homee. For the Home Assistant fans out there, the Philips Hue Hub, with its local push ability, is your best bet.
Open-source opportunities in the Zigbee playground
And, for all you DIY tech aficionados, the open nature of Zigbee opens up a world of possibilities. Both Zigbee2MQTT and ZHA support nearly all of Gledopto's products, including the Pro series LED controllers. They should also get along with the most common alternatives like deCONZ and Zigate, but don't quote me on that.
Gledopto Pro series LED controllers – the Zigbee 3.0 upgrade you didn't know you needed
Now, let's shine a light on the Gledopto Zigbee LED controllers. The older non-Pro models had a hard time playing nice with other devices, but the new guys on the block, the Pro series, are the social butterflies of the Zigbee world. They can act as routers for other Zigbee devices, creating a seamlessly connected smart home mesh network. Think of them as the social glue holding your smart home together.
Even though the Pro series isn't officially certified, they support Zigbee 3.0 and can act as routers in your Zigbee network. That's why I would only recommend the Pro models – they're the cool kids on the block. You can spot them by their “P” at the end of their model ID, like a secret handshake (for example, GL-C-008P).
A budget-friendly alternative to the Philips Hue Lightstrip
Let's zoom in on one product line: The Gledopto LED Controller Pro. In my book, they're a more versatile and less pricy alternative to the popular Philips Hue Lightstrips. And who doesn't love a good bargain?
The Gledopto Pro series LED controllers can be a bit of a brain-teaser with their multiple controllers for different LED strips, further divided into 1ID and 2ID models. So, I'm here to simplify things for you. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find a budget-friendly and flexible alternative to the Philips Hue Lightstrips.
I use multiple Gledopto LED controllers, specifically the RGB+CCT (GL-C-008P) variant, in my home and they've been nothing but reliable. So, I can confidently recommend them without sounding like a salesman on a shopping network.
Smart LED strips that aren't individually addressable
Let's chat about the Gledopto Zigbee LED strip controllers. Sleek, right? But, here's the deal: they can only address the entire LED strip as a single unit. What does this mean? Well, it can't individually address LEDs on the strip. So if you're looking at models like WS2812B, WS2815, or SK9812, you're out of luck. The only tricks these LED strips can pull off are colour changes, and that's about it.
Now, before you start thinking it's a Gledopto thing, hold up. This isn't exclusive to them. In fact, every single Zigbee LED controller I've bumped into has the same limitation. Now, is this a constraint of the technology itself or because these products are designed for simple, functional, and accent lighting? That's the million-dollar question. So, while these strips might not be the life of the party with crazy light effects, they certainly can add a subtle touch of elegance to your space.
The different Gledopto LED controllers explained
Gledopto's product range can feel like a maze. Find a controller you like, and suddenly, you're faced with a slew of near-identical cousins, each with its own unique twang. Fear not, fellow tech enthusiasts! Your trusty guide is here to help you decipher the Gledopto controller conundrums. And for the bargain hunters among you, I've done some digging to find the best places to bag these tech treats. But remember, when shopping on AliExpress, double-check your product choice. And here's a pro-tip: if there's no 'P' at the end of the model name, you're not getting Zigbee 3.0 support. You can easily snag them using the affiliate links throughout this article.
Buying a Gledopto Zigbee LED controller? Remember, it's a solo act. You're getting the controller and nothing else. You'll need to shop separately for a power supply (PSU) and LED strips. Just make sure your PSU voltage is in sync with the LED strip. Gledopto controllers are versatile, they can handle 12V-24V LED strips. To make your life a bit easier, I have included links to compatible LED strips and power supplies under each controller's description.
Soldering LED strips: necessity or choice?
Wondering if you need a soldering iron to hook up your LED strips? Well, you can don your safety goggles and whip out the solder if you'd like, but it's not a must. There are a bunch of solder-less LED strip connectors out there. Just clip them onto the exposed copper pins of the LED strip, and Bob's your uncle.
Decoding IP ratings on LED strips
Choosing LED strips can feel like deciphering a secret code, thanks to IP ratings. IP30 strips aren't fans of water or high humidity, so keep them dry.
You'll also come across IP65 and IP67 strips. Both are dust-busters (that's what the leading 6 signifies). Fancy a dip? IP67 strips can survive being dunked in one meter deep water for half an hour. IP65 strips laugh in the face of water jets. They are ideal for damp environments like bathrooms. Pick the IP rating based on the wetness your strips are likely to face.
But all good things come with a catch. Higher IP ratings might resist water, but they also resist easy handling. Wiring them up involves exposing the tiny copper pads to connect the Gledopto controller. This means stripping off the thick silicone coating, which can be as stubborn as a mule. Consider this your fair warning: it's going to take longer than you think. On the other hand, IP30 rated LED strips are a breeze to handle.
Gledopto 1ID Controller vs. 2ID Controller: An issue no more
Gledopto's non-Pro Zigbee LED controllers, come in two flavours: 1ID and 2ID. A 1ID controller shows up as one light in your Philips Hue (or other) app or Home Assistant. That meant it could be controlled as one light in the same way as a regular Philips Hue light strip.
Gledopto's 2ID Zigbee LED controllers show up as two lights in your app, or as an individual RGB and CCT light in Home Assistant. With 2ID controllers, it is possible to turn on both the coloured and white LEDs on your LED strip simultaneously. This gives you more light output and full control over the colour’s saturation. When using voice control (Google Home or Amazon Alexa) this can be a bit frustrating as you need to control two separate lights.
But Gledopto's newer Pro series Zigbee LED controllers are all 1ID models, making the choice much simpler. The trade-off is that you can't use both the coloured and white LEDs at the same time. But on the bright side, the selection process just got a whole lot easier.
Mastering functional lighting with the Gledopto CCT LED controller GL-C-006P
The Gledopto CCT LED controller (GL-C-006P) controller can be attached to 4-pin LED strips. These strips typically sport two types of white LEDs: a cosy warm white and a brisk cold white, often labelled as WW/CW or CCT. They generally offer a temperature range that spans from a mellow 3000K, all the way up to a crisp, cool 6500K.
Sure, you can hook up a single temperature LED strip and use the controller as a dimmer. But in that scenario, you'd be better off with the GL-C-009P.
Fear not, if your LED strips don't utilize all the outputs on the Gledopto GL-C-006P, you don't need to use them all. Take, for instance, certain CCT LED strips that only need three pins. In that case, just leave one of the V+ outputs open – no harm done.
The GL-C-006P isn't just a one-trick pony, it can also dim your LED strip and adjust its temperature. I consider this one of Gledopto's MVPs for its versatility. Not every strip has RGB LEDs, but the ability to fine-tune an LED strip's temperature and brightness is a game changer. Imagine syncing your lighting to the natural rhythm of daylight using adaptive lighting in Home Assistant.
Jazzing up space with the Gledopto RGBW LED controller GL-C-007P
Then there's the Gledopto GL-C-007 RGBW controller, a maestro of the red, green, and blue LED spectrum, with a bonus pin to control a single white LED. You'll find LED strips that can either emit a warm or cold white light, but the warm white LED is more of a crowd-pleaser.
This controller can transform your space, offering the practicality of functional lighting (white) and the flair of accent lighting (coloured). If it's the full white spectrum you're after, I'd suggest the GL-C-008 controller instead.
The Swiss Army knife: Gledopto GL-C-008P (RGB+CCT)
The Gledopto GL-C-008P, undoubtedly, is the Swiss Army knife of LED controllers. It manages 3 pins for RGB LEDs and two extra pins for warm and cold white LEDs. With the GL-C-008P, you can bask in the full white spectrum for everyday lighting or switch on the RGB lights for mood and accent lighting – it's party time!
Gledopto does offer its own 24V RGB+CCT LED strip to match this controller, but it's not my cup of tea. The RGB and white LEDs are on separate chips, which means only half the LEDs light up in RGB or CCT mode. And since the newer Pro LED strip controllers from Gledopto lack 2ID support, the individual LEDs end up feeling rather lonely.
A better option, in my humble opinion, is the 12V RGB+CCT LED strip from BTF-LIGHTING. These strips come with 5-in-1 chips where the RGB and white LEDs share the same chip, making for a more condensed light show. BTF-LIGHTING is generally my go-to for LEDs.
The specialist: Gledopto LED Dimmer (GL-C-009P)
Finally, we have the Gledopto GL-C-009P, a dimmer designed with a single-minded focus for LED strips that don't come with RGB or colour temperature control. It's a handy tool to upgrade your existing LED strips. Be warned, though, this controller might not always be on the store shelves. But don't fret, the GL-C-006P stands as a worthy substitute.