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Smarthome Gotchas with Unifi Update hell, Vocolinc and Kaiterra on Wifi


Ok, today was a day of little things, of update hell and trying to keep a Smart home up and going plus some tips:

  1. Unifi. Make sure that you turn *off* automatic firmware updates. While you will be getting bug fixes, the code is pretty unstable right now. Basically, I took an update silently and suddenly yesterday, all the Unifi access points reported no Wifi clients and non of our 25 (?!) Wifi devices could connect. I rebooted the Unifi Dream Machine Pro and each APs, but no joy. I did see that I was completely up to date, but a quick troll show no problems. I finally through trial and error figure out that it was the Wifi Network settings. I had to delete our main network and recreate it. I also discovered I was not taking regular backups either. So a quick recreate and I was back. You are warned.
  2. However, doing this knocked out Kaiterra Egg off the network. It suddenly reported that it could not connect. This a little air quality monitor we got (in the age of COVID, I thought it would tell us about particulate, which we don’t have in this house with high end filters and three standalone HEPA filters for when guests arrive). The problem is that Kaiterra only speaks 2.4GHz and WPA2, so I had to go to Unifi and kick the home network back to 2.4GHZ only. It would not work if the iPhone was on 5GHz and this was the easiest way to do. The setup is pretty finicky. First I reset the whole thing by holding down the menu button (aka the Hamburger ≡ icon which is the equivalent mathematical ≡  or more horizontal … … not to be confused with the more vertical ellipsis ⋮ ⋮ ). One aside is that it takes forever (ok minutes) for the thing to pair.
  3. Similarly, we have a Vocolinc L3 light bulb. Actually two, one worked fine, but I could never get the other to pair, but with both the iPhone and the Vocolinc on the 2.4GHz network it finally worked. The reset sequence isn’t well documented, you turn it off and on three times and then it flashes a few times and turns about half brightness. You then load up the Vocolinc application and do a pairing. At some point, the lightbulb goes to 100% and then you get an Add to Apple Home message. Then it tries to connect to the Vocolinc cloud. I had this failed quite a few times with a 1003 before it finally happened and then you get an update the device menu.
  4. Then you can turn back on the 5GHZ in the house and it should all work.

Overall not the funnest experience.

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