Repurposing a Cree Connected Bulb chip for other IoT apps


What if you could use your smart lightbulb’s MCU for another IoT application? Turns out, you can. 


As the Internet of Things seemingly finds its place under our roofs, one of the many brands helping to lead the way is Cree, who recently debuted its new sub-$15 line of Internet-enabled bulbs. Unlike others on the market today, the new 60-watt replacement LED lights are compatible with both Wink and ZigBee-certified hubs, and with a super affordable price, are looking to spur more widespread adoption. Users simply sync their iOS or Android device with the bulb to to trigger a number of settings: dim or brighten, schedule, and remotely turn them for an added layer of security.

While many homeowners will outfit their homes with smart lights, what if the chip embedded inside the Cree Connected Bulb could be used for other IoT applications as well? That’s what John McAlpine set out to discover, and upon breaking apart the bulb, found out that you can indeed.

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The Maker’s teardown revealed a small board, which featured a ZigBee radio module along with an Atmel | SMART ATSAMR21E ARM Cortex-M0+based MCU that communicates over the radio to a Quirky Wink hub. With just 3V of power, McAlpine was able to command anything he wanted with PWM output. Watch the video below for a quick demo and pinout of the module.

“You can dig deeper into the hack, write your own controls for it — or, you make use of the apps already available for it — but regardless, this could be a very cheap way of adding in some reliable smart controls to your home,” Hackaday’s James Hobson writes.

Great find, Hackaday! Interested in learning more about the bulb itself? You can do so here.

1 thought on “Repurposing a Cree Connected Bulb chip for other IoT apps

  1. Pingback: IoT Embedded Blog Review – Week of Feb 15, 2015 • JB Systems Tech

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