Nanoleaf Aurora – Unique Smart Lighting and Wall Art: Nanoleaf App, Images and video clips of Aurora in action, Installation
Overall, I’m pleased with the Nanoleaf App. If there’s one challenge it’s figuring out which color palettes and settings to go with – for now! The combinations of color palettes, speed, brightness and types motion patterns, as I think I already wrote, are pretty much infinite. And let’s not forget that you can create your own palettes from scratch or modify existing ones.
The easiest way to present the Nanoleaf App that controls the Aurora, is to use our photo player, and provide notes in the caption area. So let’s take a close look!
I took screen shots of a great menu of the menus, so that this section gives you a good idea of all the available controls. Most menus have brief captions to provide some useful hints and info.
Still, there’s nothing like setting it up, and starting to experiment. I’d say it took me about 20 minutes of just “messing around” to get a decent idea of the basic capabilities, and a couple hours more of exploring to get a feel for much of what is possible. The capabilities are extensive, and, as mentioned, you can use those provided, create your own scenes, or download additional ones from the Discover tab at the bottom of the menus.
From much of my playing around, and experimenting, here are some hopefully useful thoughts:
Even in our living room, very bright in the daytime from lots of glass doors and windows, I rarely set the overall brightness above 70 – 80 percent. In the evenings, we switch to color lighting in the room, with a mix of colors around the waterfall in the middle of the room. Other than that, the chandelier over our dining room table in the room is set to a pretty low level of white (After dinner, of course), and the one light we have on a painting on the opposite wall, also runs dimmed a good bit. This lets color dominate.
Generally at these times, the Aurora is dimmed to 30-50% brightness, since the overall lighting in the room is low. The Aurora becomes one of the central focuses of our color lighting (of course). At night I’m more likely to move away from Random, to patterns like Flow, or Wheel. Still, we do run Random a good bit, but normally 40 % brightness or lower in the evening.
One nice feature (you can spot it in one of the menus, is that if you have schedules set up, you can play around with new patterns, but quickly click to return to the normal schedule.
So far, I’ve used Siri – iPhone to turn the Aurora on and off, and to dim it. I’m still playing with the controls to figure out how to change scenes by voice control.
OK, you can scan the menus below. I suggest clicking on the enlarge icon in the upper right of one of them, to get into the larger image mode. The captions will still be there, and you can still move from one to the next using the thumbnails, or the left and right arrows to the sides of the images.
Installation of the Nanoleaf Aurora
Let’s start with what’s inside the Nanoleaf Aurora Starter Kit:
- 9 Aurora Panels
- 1 Aurora Controller
- with power supply/brick
- 9 connectors (called Linkers)
- 28 tape strips
- 9 triangular pieces of waxed type paper used as panel separators in box
- can be used to create design layouts
Optionally you can buy more panels, more accessories, including regular or Flex Linkers, adhesive tape, and ceiling mounting accessory to hold the panels to the ceiling. Apparently the adhesive tape isn’t quite up to holding them to the ceiling. It’s that pesky gravity.
What else is needed to install your new Aurora?
- Wi-Fi network
- Smartphone or tablet that can run iOS (Apple) or Android App
- Download the appropriate App
- AC power
- A large enough surface – or surfaces to place the Aurora layout you go with
- A level – or other way of making sure you mount the panels perfectly lined up horizontally or vertically (assuming, you want it that way – most will)
Nothing to it. Open box, remove everything
Designing your Aurora layout
I found the easiest way to come up with my final layout designs are three-fold
A. You can look on the Nanoleaf site, or online to see many of the nine panel configurations and choose one. But, if you buy extra panels, the combination possibilities increase exponentially, and few examples are out there, so:
B. Create layouts on a table top or on the floor. Power them up, power them down, change the configuration, power up… and repeat until you have narrowed your choices, and then finally get it down to just one.
C. There’s a Layout Assistant option in the Settings menu on the Nanoleaf App. One can select the number of panels, and it will draw you a pattern using that number. After that, one can change the number of panels, as you can see from the images below, I changed from 9 to 15. With a finger, I can drag any panel to any other location, which is how I got from one 15 panel layout to the other in the screen shots below. Easy.
Ultimately, using C – the app, is fast, but I really liked laying them out table top, so I could provide power and get a good feel what various scenes, and options would look like.
In our doing our current 15 panel Aurora design, we started with Lori’s idea that she wanted something asymmetrical (our original 9 panels were definitely symmetrical).
From there I “studied the height and width of my space, concluded that I wanted the layout to be at least 40 inches wide, and at least 30 inches vertically, to fill the space, and look well balanced in that space. I also decided that having a 6 sided circle, would look good. Finally due to the location of the AC power we wanted to use (on the right up by the ceiling, I wanted the highest part to be on the right side.
Working from that, I played with all kinds of layouts. I quickly discovered that I didn’t want any really long horizontal or vertical line of panels. For example 8 in a row. Turns out the final configuration was no wider than 4 panels horizontally, and 6 panels on a diagonal.
Figuring out the bottom few panels – which way to turn them, was where the final decisions came in.
Ultimately I ended up with seven designs, although much of them were the same.
On a table top it takes only moments to set up all the panels, plug in and fire them up.
And it takes only moments more to power down, remove some panels and connectors (Linkers), to modify the pattern and power up again.
After less than 10 minutes of consulting with Lori, we had our final configuration.
With the design settled, now it was time to mount them to the wall.
Which in my case, means calling in the professional, DaVoy, our friend and handy person.
Just as he installed our earlier configuration, he tackled putting these up with enthusiasm. (Too much, perhaps – I caught him near the end, not following my pattern, but then that’s why I was there. No harm, no foul, only minutes lost, and we weren’t in any hurry.
Most importantly, DaVoy made sure those first four panels on the top right where level. As long as that run is level, everything else connected below would be too. (Getting something perfectly level is exactly the kind of thing I have little patience for, so prefer to bring in a pro like DaVoy!)
I’m not sure how long it took him from start to finish, putting up the 15 panel configuration, but I am sure it was less than 40 minutes, possibly less than 30.
When it was done, we fired up the power, fired up the App, and everything worked. Now that’s what all smart products are supposed to do when you fire them up – work as advertised – if only that was true. After that, he spent a few more minutes neatening up the power cord, so a minimal amount would show on the wall. On his next trip by, he’ll paint the nicely thin power cord (low voltage) between the controller and the power brick, using our wall paint. With less than a foot showing, most people won’t even notice.
That pretty much was it. I already was running the app from the original installation, but if you are doing your first install, you’ll have downloaded that app, and install it. Once the app finds your Aurora you are ready to start playing around. enjoy!