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Bond Home Smart Ceiling Fan Controller
Author: Bill Lepse
Manufacturer: Olibra
Source: Olibra
Purchase: Amazon.com
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 3 of 4 [ 1 2 3 4 ]
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August 09, 2018

Performance

So as you can see it really is quite easy to get this up and running and connected to your other smart home platforms. In short time it was installed, paired to a fan, IFTTT and Amazon Alexa enabled, as well as a bunch of testing done and moving the device around the house to check the range. I was pleased to see that the range of this device is at least as good as the original remote if not better. I was able to locate this device at the far end of the house from the fan in question and it still worked through three walls.

Using the Bond app I was a bit disappointed to find out my dimming was no longer working. As it turns out, either the bulbs installed are not dimmable or my receiver is no longer working. I tried the original remote and still nothing. But then I also noticed that I had two buttons for Light but only one seemed to function. By selecting the Edit on the right side you can choose to remove certain buttons, so in this case I removed the nonfunctional button. For now I have left the dimming buttons until I clear up what the cause of this issue is. Other than that the only other control/customization you can do is going into the settings. Here you can change the name of the device to anything you want and select its location via pre-configured options.

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IFTTT: As mentioned previously I set this device up to turn the fan on whenever the temperature goes over 77F based on my ecobee thermostat. While this is not a fault of Bond; I was disappointed to find out you can't use the ecobee room sensors for the trigger. This to me would have made more sense, then I could turn the fans on only in the rooms where the temp was high. The way it works now, if I had multiple fans running on this they would all turn on regardless of the respective room conditions. Not the smartest. Also keep in mind this only turns the fan on, if you want it to go off when the temp drops you have to set up another applet. But with this limitation aside the operation of the fan using this trigger worked well and reliably.

Amazon Alexa: As mentioned previously I do find it odd and not terribly intuitive that the light is separated from the fan in the manual controls. But beyond this quirk, the switches for the light just don't work right. You can tap the On button all day and nothing will happen. But hitting the Off button will toggle the light on and off. So the functionality is there but for whatever reason the controls don't line up. Maybe this has something to do with that extra light switch I removed from the Bond app.

An odd quirk that they should be able to fix with firmware is the inability to make a custom name for your Bond device. Currently it's called My Bond with the serial number in parenthesis. I can see custom names being helpful for those that have more than one residence. For instance; a friend of ours has a beach house, I think it would be more intuitive to call that device Beach House and the other unit Home. This way it is clear what devices you are controlling and where. By selecting edit for the Bond unit you can set a location but these are pre-configured and are all locations around your home. In this Settings page you can also check your firmware, set LED brightness, auto reboot on Wi-Fi failure and see ID and current firmware. Surprisingly there does not seem to be a place to change your Wi-Fi settings. So it seems if you need to change your password or SSID you'll have to start the install process all over again.

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After getting comfortable with the way the Bond device was controlling one fan in the house I decided to automate another fan. I picked up a Chapter universal remote from Walmart for less than $20. Initially I was going to automate a fan in the living room but realized my ladder was not tall enough to reach the junction box so my son begged me to automate his. Within minutes the new remote receiver was installed and its remote was fully functional. So my next step was to get this connected to the Bond unit. Learning from my previous install the first button I tried was the low fan speed; and within a few seconds it pulled up three options for me. After selecting the 3 speed option you do a short testing of the buttons. I should also note; I was feeling particularly lazy and decided to train the Bond unit and test the buttons in place. YMMV, but I was about 25 feet away when I was programming and testing it. Again I found one light button that did nothing and this remote included a reverse that is not on the original remote and did not function so I removed them through the editor. I then connected this fan to Alexa and for whatever reason this one seems to work better than the first fan, both through the app and with voice commands. Though I will say, it seems Alexa is having a hard time understanding my son with 3 missing front teeth. But he has fun messing with it to turn the lights on and off and change the fans speed.

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Two quirks though; first when these devices were added to Alexa the names did not come through like before. This time the fan has no reference to fan in the name, it simply says Brayden's room. I edited this in Alexa to be Brayden's fan so it was more intuitive to him. Second, the control of the fan's speed is not very intuitive. Rather than having a % for output, it would make sense if the voice commands were low, medium and high, rather than 33%, 66% and 100%. This isn't terribly intuitive for a 7 year old.

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