Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

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A440
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Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by A440 » Tue May 12, 2020 6:59 am

A couple years back I did a DIY recessed lighting project and invested in 5 GE Link WiFi BR30 bulbs, a Lutron wireless remote and a Wink Hub. I am able to control the lights with Amazon's Alexa individually or as a group through the Wink Hub. Everything works great.
I received an email a few days ago that Wink is going to a subscription based plan beginning 5/13 and my hub will no longer function unless I sign up for a subscription at the cost of $4.99/month :oops: I felt like the email was almost a ransom note.
I am not a fan of monthly fees, so I am looking for another way to control the lights. They use Zigbee technology and I believe the Echo Plus has a built in hub that works with Zigbee.
Anyone else have the Wink Hub and plan on using another platform to control their devices? If so, what are you going to use?
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

lazydavid
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by lazydavid » Tue May 12, 2020 7:15 am

Doesn't help you, but this is exactly why I avoided switches and other smart home items that require a hub. My smart dimmers are from Meross, and I chose them because they join Wifi without a hub, and interface directly with Alexa.

Echo Plus does look like it should work for you, so I would definitely look at going that route.

Warp3
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by Warp3 » Tue May 12, 2020 8:44 am

Because Wink's service had become so unreliable over the past year (often going offline for hours at a time), I recently migrated away from Wink and this change to a subscription model just reinforces that decision. I'm now using a Lutron bridge for all my Caseta switches (which is the majority of my smart lighting) and Home Assistant with a USB Zigbee radio for the rest (and Home Assistant also links to the Lutron bridge, so you can control everything through HA). Tons of users on the winkhub subreddit have already bailed on Wink over the last couple years with Hubitat, Smartthings, and Home Assistant being the most popular choices. Home Assistant is by far the most configurable but the set up is a lot more involved than other system and requires editing config files for various integrations. Hubitat is the most similar to Wink from what I've read, making it one of the more popular migration targets.

DosCommas
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by DosCommas » Tue May 12, 2020 9:36 am

If you’re using Lutron Casetta switches you will have to buy a Lutron Smart Bridge to replace Wink. That will get you control via Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. You can also connect the Lutron Smart Bridge to a SmartThings hub if you have other non Lutron devices you need to control and want to use SmartThings as a control layer, which is more similar to Wink.

DiamondplateDave
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by DiamondplateDave » Tue May 12, 2020 9:50 am

Unfortunately, I last month purchased a Wink 2 hub kit, to upgrade my old Wink 1 hub. I hadn't even installed it yet when I got this very sudden notice from Wink. Although I don't need another monthly bill, I guess I might have considered the subscription if it had been handled differently-"Nice setup you got there. Be a shame if something happened to make all that cost and effort useless..." After a little research into the alternatives, I decided to punt.
I purchased an Osram Lightify hub kit with a bulb from Amazon for $9. I already had about 10 Lightify bulbs. I had very little trouble installing the hub, pairing the bulbs, and setting up my very limited automations-"Turn outside lights and one inside light on at dusk, turn off later"- so I'm satisfied. I was able to pair some CREE and Sengled bulbs to the hub as well. The only thing I used regularly that I don't have now is a Z wave incandescent dimmer. I haven't been using my Quirky Egg Minder, so I've been checking my eggs manually, like in the Dark Ages.
Oh, the first thing I found out after buying the Osram Hub was that the server is getting shut down in about a year. :oops: I'm leaning towards moving to....Home Assistant? On Raspberry Pi? but still comparing to Hubitat. It appears Samsung Smartthings would be a good alternative to Wink, but I'm a little gun-shy about stuff that could go away at the whim of the manufacturer.

TravelGeek
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by TravelGeek » Tue May 12, 2020 10:11 am

lazydavid wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 7:15 am
Doesn't help you, but this is exactly why I avoided switches and other smart home items that require a hub. My smart dimmers are from Meross, and I chose them because they join Wifi without a hub, and interface directly with Alexa.
I chose HomeAssistant as a hub, an open source system that isn’t tied to the decisions of a single company (point of failure) and availability their servers (cloud). I use Zwave devices, but Zigbee is also supported.

I do have a few proprietary devices (Wyze and Blink wireless battery-operated cameras) where I couldn’t find a suitable “open” alternative, but it’s a limited investment where I am willing to accept the risk of facing a Belkin-style shutdown at some point.

MadHungarian
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by MadHungarian » Tue May 12, 2020 10:39 am

My old-school light switches work just fine and never need monthly payments or anti-virus software or anything.
Sometimes our brave new high-tech world really tips over the edge into insanity, me thinks!

rich126
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by rich126 » Tue May 12, 2020 10:55 am

lazydavid wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 7:15 am
Doesn't help you, but this is exactly why I avoided switches and other smart home items that require a hub. My smart dimmers are from Meross, and I chose them because they join Wifi without a hub, and interface directly with Alexa.

Echo Plus does look like it should work for you, so I would definitely look at going that route.
That is the bad part of a lot of stuff. Especially with lifetime warranties or other extended guarantees, etc. You have light bulbs that claim to last "X" years but does anyone actually date them and then try to get their money back? Probably not 99% of the customers.

And lots of online/web stuff give discounted prices to start with and either find out they can't make money and go out of business or start cranking up the fees.

A lot of web services would have received money from me but many only have the "auto renew for your convenience" as the only option, so I just move on since it is just a way to take money from me.

Although I've set up my network to handle smart home devices on a separate wifi network and vlan, I've yet to go that route because of online fees. The door bells looks interesting but I think there is only 1 company that allows local storage of data.

Good luck.

Topic Author
A440
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by A440 » Tue May 12, 2020 11:09 am

DosCommas wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 9:36 am
If you’re using Lutron Casetta switches you will have to buy a Lutron Smart Bridge to replace Wink. That will get you control via Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. You can also connect the Lutron Smart Bridge to a SmartThings hub if you have other non Lutron devices you need to control and want to use SmartThings as a control layer, which is more similar to Wink.
I considered the Samsung SmartThings hub as it does work with GE Link bulbs, but SmartThings offers no support. GE doesn't even support them any more, but have gone to C by GE bulbs that I believe use bluetooth instead of zigbee. For a little more than the cost of the SmartThings hub the EchoPlus could be purchased and used for other things as well. This is the route I'm taking for now, as it has a built-in hub that works with zigbee.
My Lutron Caseta Pico remote still works without the Wink hub, but it controls all 5 bulbs simultaneously instead of individually. I also have a good "old fashioned" on/off switch (that was mentioned in this thread) that also still works. :happy
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

zlandar
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by zlandar » Tue May 12, 2020 1:38 pm

Other thought would be to replace the 5 GE BR30 bulbs and install Smartthings-compatible bulbs. 4-pack is $27:

https://smile.amazon.com/SYLVANIA-75584 ... 509&sr=8-3

Rather invest in newer bulbs with wider compatibility than be limited by older bulbs. Smart lighting has dropped a lot in price the last few years.

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Bogle7
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light bulbs are cheap

Post by Bogle7 » Tue May 12, 2020 1:49 pm

rich126 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 10:55 am
You have light bulbs that claim to last "X" years but does anyone actually date them and then try to get their money back? Probably not 99% of the customers.
Why would you when LED light bulbs cost $1.40 each?

Topic Author
A440
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Location: NJ

Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by A440 » Tue May 12, 2020 5:18 pm

zlandar wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:38 pm
Other thought would be to replace the 5 GE BR30 bulbs and install Smartthings-compatible bulbs. 4-pack is $27:

https://smile.amazon.com/SYLVANIA-75584 ... 509&sr=8-3

Rather invest in newer bulbs with wider compatibility than be limited by older bulbs. Smart lighting has dropped a lot in price the last few years.
Thanks. I'll add it to my Amazon list in case the Echo Plus doesn't work.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

rich126
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: light bulbs are cheap

Post by rich126 » Wed May 13, 2020 1:19 pm

Bogle7 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:49 pm
rich126 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 10:55 am
You have light bulbs that claim to last "X" years but does anyone actually date them and then try to get their money back? Probably not 99% of the customers.
Why would you when LED light bulbs cost $1.40 each?
They certainly weren't $2 or less when they were first for sale. I recall much higher prices.

AnonLady
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by AnonLady » Wed May 13, 2020 2:53 pm

Wow, I'm glad I saw this thread! I didn't get that email because it went to my old email account. Wow. I got my hub only to change the lock codes on my Schlage door locks, because I was doing Airbnb. There's no way I'm going to pay $4.99 for that, especially now that I'm not doing Airbnb. So now my hub is a paperweight. How is it even legal for them to come along and make the hardware I bought from them into a papeweight?

randomguy
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Re: light bulbs are cheap

Post by randomguy » Wed May 13, 2020 2:59 pm

rich126 wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 1:19 pm
Bogle7 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 1:49 pm
rich126 wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 10:55 am
You have light bulbs that claim to last "X" years but does anyone actually date them and then try to get their money back? Probably not 99% of the customers.
Why would you when LED light bulbs cost $1.40 each?
They certainly weren't $2 or less when they were first for sale. I recall much higher prices.
I am guessing that the warranty gives them the option of replacing your bulb. So you would take out the LED that you paid 15 bucks for 8 years ago, spend 5 bucks to mail it back to them, and they would send you a 2 dollar bulb. And who knows the warranty might even be prorated.

Topic Author
A440
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Location: NJ

Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by A440 » Wed May 20, 2020 11:50 am

I got the GE Link bulbs connected to Echo Plus and made groups for controlling them. They work great.
My GE-Z smart switch uses Z-Wave, so that won't work with Echo plus. Also my Lutron Caseta pico remote doesn't work with Echo Plus, but I believe it works when the Wink Hub is not connected to the internet.
The Echo plus also has a couple new features that are nice.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

DiamondplateDave
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:23 pm

Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by DiamondplateDave » Sat May 23, 2020 10:25 pm

Update: People on Reddit r/winkhub are saying they got emails from Wink saying that Wink is now holding off on charging, due to the "overwhelming support" or something.
I had already hooked up my new Wink 2 hub, and updated the firmware, because Wink was claiming that hubs with out-of-date firmware would be unable to access anything. Then I deleted both hubs, and then deleted the Wink app.

Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the Osram Lightify hub and app. I think it will do 95% of what I need until I choose another platform.

pseudoiterative
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Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by pseudoiterative » Sat May 23, 2020 10:42 pm

I think this is reasonable life advice:
Lesson learned: If a product, in order to function, requires access to a machine that I do not own, I do not buy the product.
-- https://twitter.com/bjorn_fahller/statu ... 0021720072

If you want to keep tabs on the wonderful world of consumer internet-of-things devices, worth checking out https://twitter.com/internetofshit
MadHungarian wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 10:39 am
My old-school light switches work just fine and never need monthly payments or anti-virus software or anything.
Sometimes our brave new high-tech world really tips over the edge into insanity, me thinks!
This situation is a good non-financial example of "Efficiency or resiliency" (c.f. viewtopic.php?f=10&t=315267&newpost=527 ... ead#unread ) --- what kind of benefit can you get from coupling your home devices to some company's servers through the internet? Somewhat incremental benefits over the old school way of doing it, can save you manually flipping a few switches, etc. Which design is the most resilient? The simple dumb design that is able to operate without being coupled to an internet connection? Or the fancy IoT design that only functions correctly depending on the continuing functioning of computers you don't control that you're renting without paying for, owned by a company that pursues interests that are not aligned with your own, and may be acquired by maniacs or go bankrupt at any time.

Topic Author
A440
Posts: 537
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Location: NJ

Re: Wink moving to subscription platform. Hub will no longer work.

Post by A440 » Sun May 24, 2020 4:25 pm

DiamondplateDave wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:25 pm
Update: People on Reddit r/winkhub are saying they got emails from Wink saying that Wink is now holding off on charging, due to the "overwhelming support" or something.
I had already hooked up my new Wink 2 hub, and updated the firmware, because Wink was claiming that hubs with out-of-date firmware would be unable to access anything. Then I deleted both hubs, and then deleted the Wink app.

Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the Osram Lightify hub and app. I think it will do 95% of what I need until I choose another platform.
I'm used to my teens changing their minds at a moments notice, but this is the first time I experienced a tech company doing it. :oops:
Well, I guess it is good I kept my Z-Wave devices and the Wink Hub. So, yes, they still work, until Wink changes their mind again.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.

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