Eaton Halo Recessed & Sengled Bulbs

After much, much work in diagnosing my Zigbee network, I have found an issue and a way to temporarily fix the problem, but only for a few days.

Background: My Sengled tuneable white and full color lamp bulbs have been acting strangely since moving to my new house 3 or so months ago. By strangely, I mean they’ll stop responding to commands from the app, Google, and Alexa, but show the proper status in the app. And in some cases, they’ll stop showing the proper status, but still function normally. When the bulbs start getting funky, they do it in pairs or three at a time.

There’s been nothing I can do to stop the strange events. Resetting bulbs to factory, unplugging the hub for hours to rebuild the mesh, rebooting in the IDE, nothing.

Finally I found a common link. The bulbs having issues are routing through any of my 25 Eaton Halo recessed lights.

I decided to switch off all 25 Halo lights and unplug my hub, leaving the Sengled bulbs powered. I rebuilt their mesh first, finding that even bulbs 3 feet from the hub, they’ll find a powered outlet to use for routing. Then I allowed the Halos to be powered switch by switch over a couple hours time.

My Sengled bulbs worked fantastic! Perfectly responsive…for 3 days. Then a single bulb routed through a Halo again without warning. This messed up that bulb and then the rest of my Sengled bulbs started messing up as well.

Now, I’m trying to determine if this is because these are different types of lights, Halo being ZLL repeaters and the Sengled being dead end devices? Are the Halos just amazing at finding a signal, but terrible at broadcasting? Any ideas?

My next step is to replace my 7 Sengled bulbs with something Z-Wave or move to Hue for some lights. I also have an unused and new Sengled hub I could use, but I have SmartThings Buttons I want to use and don’t know of a way to make those work with the other hub in use.

So, I’m looking for recommendations and if anyone has any similar experiences with resolutions?

A lot of ZLL bulbs and ZHA bulbs are just unreliable repeaters In a smartthings setup except for each other. I’ve seen a lot of different theories as to why, but nothing definitive. It’s just been a fact for four or five years and still seems to be true. The only ones I know that seem to be really solid repeaters for other devices are the IKEA Tradfri. This has often been discussed in the forums, there’s even an FAQ on it, but there really isn’t any resolution except what you tried, which is powering off the bulbs so your other devices will find other parents.

It’s even weirder because this is not true for Zwave: Zwave bulbs seem to be perfectly good repeaters for other Z wave devices. It’s just an issue on Zigbee networks.

So I don’t know what more to say except that it’s a known issue without a known solution. :disappointed_relieved:

FAQ: Are Smart Bulbs Repeaters? (Updated 2019: the new answer is yes, but may be inconsistent)

Tagging @johnconstantelo just in case he has any additional ideas.


Thanks for tagging me @JDRoberts, I’ve been laying low lately.

@Nameless, JD is spot on. I really wish manufacturers would not have their bulbs be repeaters, especially since these can be easily turned off and they just can’t seem to get it right. IMHO, they should just be a non sleepy end device.

Sorry I don’t have any better news for you. I’ve personally stayed away from recessed “smart” lights like these and opted for control through a switch, but I can see why these lights would be nice since you can adjust the color temp and dim them too.

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I appreciate the response and was afraid this would be the case.

I went with the Halos because I read incorrect info stating they were not repeaters and because the house was built with a requirement for this style of light. I had Sengled BR30s at my last house and loved them, but couldn’t do them here without changing the cans.

My next step will likely be to test some non-repeating Zigbee plugs I have to use with some regular bulbs. Where I need color or dimming I’ll likely look at adding Hue with bridge or Kasa WiFi. Not crazy about more WiFi, but it’s an option.

Z-Wave is also an option, but they just get expensive quick.

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I’m not aware of any Zigbee pocketsockets that are not repeaters. What’s the brand and model?

Or am I misunderstanding what you’re saying? :thinking:

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Here is one of the plugs I have. I have another knock-off cheapo that doesn’t repeat either. I didn’t realize neither were repeaters until I had them hooked up at my last house.

Edit: The other is a HIBRO brand I picked up for $12. NEW EDIT: These are repeaters after all. I dug it out and used it for a Christmas tree and it surprised me.

Edit 2: My Sengled plug may be a different model # because I don’t remember it being Zigbee 3.0.

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Wow. OK, I knew their bulbs were not repeaters, which was supposed to be because people might turn them off at the wall switch, but having a pocketsocket which is not a repeater is just lazy. IMHO of course. :wink:


I completely agree! I bought it at the time because I needed a repeater. It was a waste of money for my situation.

Now I’m curious if the Halos will mess it up, too.

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Thought I’d provide a little follow-up. I emailed Eaton about the issues I’ve had and asked if there was a firmware update to disable the repeating function of the Halos. This was their response:
“These devices do not act as repeaters. Zigbee devices can be configured at the factory to be repeaters or not: devices on switches are typically not repeaters because this causes inefficiencies when the devices are turned OFF.”

They also advised firmware updates aren’t possible with SmartThings or an Echo Hub for their lights. They provided the newest firmware#, but zero ways up updating.

I sent them an additional email with screenshots of the IDE showing their lights acting as repeaters with a ton of detail. What I got back from them, crickets. Not. One. Word.

I decided to replace the 4 Halos I had outside with Phillips WiZ multi-color bulbs + another lamp bulb. Making this change has seemingly fixed my network. I’m having no Zigbee lights drop now. Even if they’re still routing through a Halo. These lights were the farthest from the hub.

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