Mi.Light Panel and classic light switches

I have been using MiLight/Limitless lights for a few months now and I’m pretty happy with them. I’m just doing one room as a trial before we do a kitchen renovation and roll them out throughout the house.

The renovation is at the lighting/switches design stage at the moment and I had been thinking of using this panel https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Milight-B3-4-Zone-RGB-RGBW-and-brightness-dimming-Smart-Panel-Remote-Controllerfor-led-strip-light/32792154227.html for the lights.

What I have realised is that the panel isn’t a real switch, and I think I still need a real switch on the lights too, to for pair the lights and also to be able to stop power running to them when swapping bulbs etc.

It’s going to look pretty messy having the panel and classic light switches.

Has anyone done something similar?

Bobjwatts, I’m a bit late spotting your query re that milight controller. I have tried these controllers.
They are very smart looking and superficially work well. The limitation of these remotes as a user friendly device is that they are not backlighted and have no tactile feedback. So if you try to use them in the dark you do not know what you are doing. So for me they are just a curiosity.
Your comments about having overriding control of a hard wired switch are also essential. But I have also had operational trouble with the power on/off switch which is required for pairing. I am using milight downlights as skylight alternatives and control them every six seconds with HA/appdaemon. If anyone happens to operate the wall switch when HA is signalling the milight it is not uncommon for the milight to unlink - very annoying.
The milights are FUT068s, very cheap and extremely effective but the associated dangling driver leaves much to be desired. I have a functional lighting control system but it is not user friendly.


I don’t understand why would you need to send commands to lights every six seconds.

If you’re using the MiLight ibox and trying to keep the lights in sync with HA then there are much better ways to achieve this (and to have HA synced not only with lights but also with handheld and wall remotes from MiLight so that it won’t matter what device was used for controlling the lights in the first place).

Petrica, Thanks for your interaction. I am sending adjustments to the milight down lights every six seconds because the downlights provide the equivalent of daylight throughout the day. This entails starting at sunrise with warmer colour temperature and shifting smoothly to a whiter temperature in the middle of the day and returning to warmer temperatures at night time. The lights ramp on gently if motion is detected and ramp off gently after a set time. If motion is detected when the lights are on, the on-time is extended. The aim is for the lights not to be noticed. This is all controlled with appdaemon and a HADashboard. The six seconds is a bit arbitrary and could possibly be 10 or more seconds. (The wall power switches are normally left permanently “on” but are needed for unlink/link when the milight controllers unilaterally shift their allegiance from one milight bridge to another!)

At present the problems I have with the milight bridge and controllers are that there is no feedback of light state and the unreliability of the link/unlink mechanism where power can be switched or can fail. On the other hand I am very pleased with the 6 W downlight itself (FUT068) both during the day and evening and as a dull amber night light.

So I am currently groping my way towards replacing the milight bridges and milight controllers with MQTT controllers interfacing to the RGB, CW and WW inputs of the downlights. The MQTT controllers could be either H801 or Magichome wifi controller with Tasmota. Purchase orders have been placed for experimentation. So far this shift to MQTT is all theory and based on no experience with MQTT or with the Arduino universe.

Does this seem to be on the right track to you and what are the “much better ways” to which you allude?


The better way is to run Milight Hub emulator on an ESP8266

Price is a fraction of an original Milight bridge but the functionality upgrade is huge, UDP communication of the original protocol being replaced by MQTT which brings more granularity and speed (and can also setup a mesh Milight network to improve reliability and range, however a single emulator can easily serve an average size house).

I’m using Milight bulbs at the moment and I wouldn’t change them in favor of wifi controlled lights (I think that hub controlled lights are way better than wifi in both terms of responsiveness and availability as wifi was not designed for smart devices). The sole upgrade I consider from Milight would be to go to Zigbee controlled lights (obviously, Hue are the top choice but they’re quite expensive :slight_smile: ). Wall remotes for Milight (B0, B4 and B8) are really nice with the glass coating, although handheld remotes attract less interest.

I have lights paired with physical wall remotes (so that even if HA is down, I can still operate the lights) and some virtual remotes (the emulator gives the possibility of using a huge number of device IDs, however each bulb/led controller cannot be paired with more than 4 remotes). I can create groups with virtual remotes outside HA so that all the lights in the group turn on/off, change color in the same time (as opposite to HA groups where commands are sent each at a time). I never have to re-pair the bulbs after initial setup and once a light is changed from the wall or handheld remote or browser, then the light is always in sync.

I use mostly RGB for the lights although all of them are RGB+CCT as colors can be defined better vs. only adjusting color temperature. I only defined 4 different setup (morning, day, sunset, night changing based on sun position with some offsets) made of different values for color and brightness (saturation is supported by Milight but not by HA; HA has White value but it is not quite the same as it requires some workarounds :slight_smile: ) but only HA automations and scripts (no Python experience whatsoever).

Any functionality of the ibox is emulated by the ESP8266 gateway so that HA can communicate with gateway either by UDP or by MQTT (no need for changing HA platform if not wanting to).


Petrica, thanks for that wealth of experience and information.
I have looked fairly closely at that reverse engineered milight hub emulator and have been considering it. It would be a simpler solution since I would not need to rework the fifteen controllers at the lights.
Given your comments about MQTT over wifi controllers at each light and your experience with the hub emulator I think that I will try the emulator first. It will be the easiest.
Regarding the wall mounted remotes, I agree that they look very nice but they are impossible to use in the dark since there is totally flat glass surface and no back lighting. I also don’t like the beep that they make when switching.
I have been using HA RGBWW to get effective colour temperature control as WHITE did not work for me.
Clearly the best approach for me to reduce the unlinking/linking problem will be to program ways to greatly reduce unnecessary commands to the lights.

I agree with the practical aspects of the wall mount remote (anyway, I disabled sound feedback). In fact I don’t use Milight wall mounted remotes in each room but only in living and bedrooms (B0) and another one (B4) near the main entry door (in order to be able to control the lights in the entire house).

Instead, in all rooms I use at the moment Zigbee type wall mount remotes from Xiaomi (previously used regular 433 Mhz) with their official Xiaomi hub but I ordered the parts to go with Zigbee2mqtt instead of the hub Xiaomi. So in living and bedrooms I have Xiaomi + Milight wall mounted remotes while in the other rooms Xiaomi only.

The nice part of HA is that it allows for all sorts of brands and technologies to be operated together :slight_smile:

Response time from Milight bulbs is immediate if using either the Xiaomi or the Milight wall mount and about a quarter of a second if triggered by the PIR sensor (these are 433 Mhz type). Due to the fact that I’ve set a script to first turn the lights to brightness 1 then to off, when turned on the lights are at the last used setting (thus brightness 1) and it takes about a tenth of a second to reach full brightness and it is pleasant transition (not to mention it is not quite scary if there is a power failure during the night as the lights won’t turn on again at full brightness :smiley:) .

Sounds like I have some way to go in understanding the range of options - Xiaomi, Zigbee, etc. I have z wave sensors but with HA that does not preclude the use of Zigbee devices. By the way, when I said I was planning to try MQTT over WiFi I think that it would have been clearer to say MQTT over TCP/IP.
Back to the drawing board / class room for me and thanks for your help.

The B3 wall panel is the battery powered unit. You can use the T3 instead.

Or use the T4 or B8 (both RGB+CCT versions but you can also control RGB and RGBW and here you can read how to do it How to disable/enable sound on Mi-Light wall panels? | Future House Store )