On our most recent IoT Podcast Andre called our IoT Voicemail Hotline with a great question. I say it’s great because it’s a situation I’ve found myself in as well: How do you make a traditional, non-connected ceiling fan smart? Sure, you can buy a connected fan but if you have older ceiling fans, does it make sense to toss them and buy an expensive replacement just for scheduling and voice control purposes?
Maybe. But you don’t have to.
The best solution we’ve found is the Bond Bridge, which is priced at $90 and can occasionally be found for around $70 on sale.
Essentially, the Bond Bridge is a Wi-Fi-connected infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF) blaster. Think of it as a connected remote for your fan, television or other appliances that use a wireless remote control. Andre specifically doesn’t want to spend $90 to make an old fan “smart” and I can’t say that I blame him.
So we did some digging and found a possible solution that’s less expensive. It’s the Broadlink RM33 RM Pro+ for $40. It too works as an IR and RF blaster, however, it supports fewer RF frequencies than the Bond Bridge. And that means you have to verify that the frequencies of your current ceiling fan remote will work with it. That can be a challenge since not all fan manufacturers use what I’d call “standard” frequencies and not all of them tell you what those frequencies are.
A third option for those with a Wink hub is the $50 Hampton Bay Universal Remote for fans. Even here though, there are no guarantees of fan compatibility as the product description says it is “Compatible with most downrod style ceiling fans.”
There’s a little bit of homework involved then since only the Bond is likely to work universally as ceiling fan remotes. It may be worth the $90 for the Bond Bridge to ensure full support for your fan to bring digital assistant voice controls and potential automations, but you do have other, less expensive options.
To hear Andre’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in below to the IoT Podcast.