Philips redesigns LivingColors, breaks compatibility

Philips has recently introduced a new generation of the LivingColors lamps called “LivingColors 2nd Generation“. These lamps are incompatible with existing remotes and the new remotes cannot be used with “old” lamps (as described in the manual on page 3).

This also means kits like the CC2500 Arduino shield can not control the new “LivingColors 2nd Generation”.

The exterior and user interface of the LivingColors has not been changed as far as I can see. Internally, a lot has changed.

Instead of the CC2500 + MSP430 combo (shown here) :

Philips has used a CC2530 which is a 8051-alike and a IEEE 802.15.4 RF :

Notes: 2

(you can see the PCB here)

The CC2500 and CC2530 are entirely different devices.

9 thoughts on “Philips redesigns LivingColors, breaks compatibility”

  1. Thanks for your work with the cc2500.
    Do you have any idea whether others are working on gen2 or any information that is not in the manual? I would be interested to get started on it, am working on 802.15.4 anyway but lacking a living colors set (yet). Are you interested in cooperations or a follow up on your project? (I am thinking about a 802.15.4 + cc2500 board with the ATMEGA128RFA1 to control both gens of lamps :)


  2. The protocol between the lamp and the remote has been reverse engineered (by Jeroen Domburg aka Sprite) by evesdropping on the communication between the CC2500 and the MSP430 in the original LivingColors. In the 2nd Generation that is no longer an option.

    Philips is expanding the LivingColors line and a logical addition would be for them to add a controller with a USB or network interface. This would all be a lot easier if they just used Zigbee.

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines but with a Microchip microcontroller, Sure electronics on eBay sells a nice kit.

  3. Yes, you can see the traffic between the lamp and remote with the CC2531. The software included with the CC2531 can even decode the zigbee parts of the messages. The problem seems to that the actual messages are encrypted.

  4. juls, I’m loving that someone is still interested in figuring this out. Please email me at somebody at notnobody com if you make any progress!

  5. Would it be an option to use a genuine Philips 2nd generation remote combined with an arduino based circuit? This way there would be no need to hassle with the protocol and encryption but a rather simple interface to control the remote could do the trick. I’m thinking this because if you want to control the Living Colors with a computer you will most likely have more remotes than needed as every lamp comes with one remote anyway.

  6. hi everyone something new about this topic? … I wold like control this Second Generation, something new for do it..

    Or know somebody where can i buy some fisrt generation Living Color Lamp ??

  7. Not really into electronics, but curious on controlling my Gen 2 lamps, it looks like that pin 5 to 9 (defined as P1_5 to P1_1 on the datasheet of the CC2530 on the remote control are connected to the Keypad controller. I don’t have the tools to look into the signals (at this moment) but might it be possible to hack a Adruino onto these lines.
    I also got one of the round Gen 2 controllers, when i have time i might open one of them.

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