Teardown and Design

The Hue Bridge has two screws that you need to remove before you can pop off the back. Even with the screws out, popping the back off is tricky—it has an interesting snap-in mechanism. Here’s what the back looks look like; the two white “feet” at the bottom are covering the screws. I used tools from iFixIt to get this open.

Once you open it up, you can see the back side of the PCB, and the snap-in connecter I mentioned earlier.

The PCB is connected to the front of the Bridge using a ribbon connector. This cable provides the power and signals for the LEDs and the Link button.

The main PCB has the two primary components of the Hue Bridge, an ST Microelectronics STM32F217VE Microcontrollerand a Texas Instruments CC2530 ZigBee Controller.

There is also an RF range extender (CC2590) coupled to the CC2530. The STM MCU has an integrated Ethernet controller, but as a whole the design has very few components. It’s clear that the majority of the cost for the Starter Pack is in the bulbs and not in the Bridge. (Based on the total kit price, the Bridge is $20 more than the cost of the three bulbs, though of course that leaves plenty of room for profit margins.) The image below shows the antenna for ZigBee:

I’ll cover the technology behind the Hue Bridge in a moment, but the choice of microcontroller for this design is a clear indication that this is primarily a purpose-built device. That is, it does not have the horsepower to extend to different types of applications due to the limitations of the CPU and the amount of memory. Nonetheless, it is well suited for the function at hand; let’s look at the specifics of the technology behind Hue before we get into a discussion of what it can and cannot do.

Philips Hue Setup Technology
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  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure how I feel about Anandtech and Ashu Joshi taking what is essentially a 5 week old blog post http://allthingscc.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/philip... adding inline pictures from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashuj/sets/7215763258... doing some edition/revision/expansion work and posting it as an article.

    I don't see Brian Klug posting his reviews on his blog.

    (Note: I am not alleging AnandTech took this without permission. But rather that they're repacking content the author already released.)

    On one hand, both AnandTech and Ashu Joshi are perfectly within their rights to do so. On the other, it's a bit deceptive, and certainly unlike the rest of Anandtech's journalism.

    (Typo: "experience of this lighting system *if* is quite the change from your everyday lights")

    Regarding the content itself, this is incredible niche. I would never use colored lights in my home. I can see them having some business applications, but $60/light is a bit steep.

    Also, for anyone whose interest was piqued by the disclaimer, according to http://www.linkedin.com/in/ashujoshi, Ashu works for Cisco. Tangentially related to this article. Nothing to be concerned about, in my opinion.
    Reply
  • Doken44 - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I see your point, but I for one, would never have seen the blog, and am interested to see home automation making bigger steps into the mainstream. Reply
  • ilihijan - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Weekly payments! Here is what I've been doing Epic2.c(om) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I'm not quite sure who contacted whom, but his initial blog post was far less detailed than what we've posted here. Yes, he had the photos, but there's additional information and the text has been heavily edited (mostly by me). It's definitely a niche product, at least from my perspective, but it's also not something we would have normally covered. Since Ashu had the hardware and the knowledge to write about it, and I'm sure most of our readers haven't ever seen his personal blog, I don't really see it as a problem. Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Agreed.
    I doubt his blog had anywhere near the readership as Anandtech.
    So he detailed the paint job and polished it to bring it in line with Anandtech's standards, then posted the rewrite here where it would reach a much broader audience.

    No legal issue.
    No conflict of interest.
    Plenty of reason to rewrite.
    A subject one wouldn't be surprised to see on a site like Anandtech.
    I find nothing objectionable about this particular situation.
    Reply
  • 2kfire - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Haters gonna hate... Reply
  • Samus - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    people act as if Anandtech is the New York fucking Times... Reply
  • This Guy - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    Na bro, if they were given a Tesla they would actually test it. Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I didn't see his blog before this email. I found it on his LinkedIn profile. Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Oops, article, not email. Reply

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