FAQ: GE Link Bulbs Dropped Offline


#1

GE Links are the least expensive big brand zigbee bulbs you can buy, and, for whatever reason, they seem to sometimes have trouble reconnecting to the SmartThings network after power has been cut, whether it’s from a whole house failure or just someone flipping a switch. Or even just randomly from time to time.

(SmartThings staff have confirmed in the forums that the reason the GE links are not on the official “works with SmartThings” compatibility list is that they have a firmware problem which causes them to stop responding to the Cordinator from time to time. Supposedly GE is aware of the issue and there may be a firmware update from GE in a few months, but no specific timeline and they can’t be certified as compatible yet. Meanwhile, they’re very inexpensive, but they do drop off from time to time, regardless of whether they’re connected through the hue bridge or directly to SmartThings.)

The following was in response to one of many questions on this topic, where a number of GE Links dropped off after visitors have been using dumb switches that were supposed to stay on.

STEP ONE: UNPLUG THE HUB FOR 15 MINUTES

Before you start doing that, though, the first thing to try is just unplug the smartthings hub for 15 minutes. This will be long enough that all the bulbs will panic and decide they need to find the hub. Well, technically the network but same idea. Then just plug the hub back in. This should pick up a bunch of the missing bulbs.

STEP TWO: IF ANY INDIVIDUAL BULBS ARE STILL LOST, POWER THEM OFF THEN ON JUST ONCE.

At that point the hub is online and it knows where most of the bulbs are, but there may still be some that don’t have a good connection. So the second thing to try is just to turn off the power to any lost bulb and turn it back on again. The bulb won’t flash in a pattern, you won’t see anything fancy, it will just try to reestablish the connection that it had before. This is often all you have to do to fix things.

STEP THREE: FOR THE LAST FEW ORPHANS, RESET THE BULB INDIVIDUALLY WITH THE BLINK METHOD, THEN TRY “ADD A NEW DEVICE” IN THE MOBILE APP

So that was stage two. Now the hub should be talking to almost all the links. If there are still one or two orphans, you need to try the blink method to individually reset those lights and then go through the pairing process again with the Hub, but save that for this step because it’s the most work and it’s quite likely that phase 1 (powering off the hub for 15 minutes and restarting it) or phase 2 (powering off an individual bulbs and just turn it right back on) will solve the problem for many of the bulbs.

Note that you do not need to delete the orphan bulb from the smartthings network, or remove it from any smart apps, or rename it, or anything like that. All you’re going to do is physically reset the bulb with the blink protocol and then hit the + in the mobile app to add a new device.

If you have tried step one and step two and you still have some bulbs not responding, you will need to individually reset them.

The GE link bulbs are ZHA profile bulbs. You should be able to reset any individual bulb using the blink method where you flip it on then off then on than off.

Here are the reset instructions for the GE Link. ( note that the required blink pattern may be different for other brands.)

Once the bulb is reset it will flash two or three times quickly to let you know that it’s ready to find a new network.

STEP FOUR: if the bulbs continue to drop off over the next couple of weeks, you probably have to try looking for interference or adding repeaters

If after a week or two you continue to have some bulbs drop off after you’ve gotten them all online again to the hub, then you may have to start looking at Range or repeater issues. See the range topic:

Sometimes a remodel introduces new physical barriers in the home, whether it’s new water pipes, a new refrigerator, tinted glass–there are a lot of things that can reduce signal strength that aren’t obvious. Even some kinds of in wall insulation and some kind of wallpaper.

Also because these are zigbee bulbs they can run into interference from Wi-Fi at both ends of the message transmission. Make sure your SmartThings hub is not right next to your Wi-Fi router, and preferably about 3 m away. If you have recently added Wi-Fi access points or change the Wi-Fi channel that might also be an issue, but that discussion would belong in a different thread.

But save all of that until you’ve tried the first three steps above in case the problem is just something specific to the GE links, rather then a range issue.


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(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

GE Link Bulb Reset…

Start with your GE Link bulb turned on. Then turn off the light and wait 3 seconds. Turn on the light and wait 3 seconds. Repeat turning the light off and on (approximately 5 times) until the bulb fashes once. As soon as the bulb dims and goes back to full brightness it has been reset.


GE Link Won't Reset
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#3

Wish I knew this a week ago when I had all my LED problems. However…
This problem is not unique to GE Link bulbs. Wemo LED cause as much if not more often problems after a PF. I have 7 GE and 4 Weno. Last week over the course of multiple PF I had to reset 3 wemo bulbs and 1 GE. Pretty sure that step 3 above would have worked for those wemos as well and saved me lots of aggravation. Thanks for posting.


(Brian J Lambert) #4

Even though GE Link bulbs are officially not supported by SmartThings, they remain some of my more reliable devices. Even with loss of power, they still come back up.

I had them drop off and need resetting occurred when they were manually turned on and off by a family member (instead of using SmartThings). Although, it took about a month of using it as a regular light bulb before it finally had enough.

The only other time they dropped off the network was when my Roomba unplugged the lamp and I didn’t notice for a few days. The bulb was not happy when I turned it back on. I had to do the on/off reset. Although, this happened again before I moved the cord, and it recovered after a day of power loss.

So, to avoid issues in the first place, do not manually turn them on and off repeatedly. Also, if the power is off for a prolonged period of time, there could possibly be issues.

Just a note, however, is that I’ve had supported z-wave devices fail for similar reasons (lack of power). And honestly, SmartThings,in general,is far less reliable than the GE Link Bulbs. :hushed:

I also use Cree and Osram Lightify bulbs, which are great supported alternatives to GE Wink for those still building out their system.


#5

Brilliant guide @JDRoberts! This worked for a few of my bulbs which wouldn’t respond to a motion sensor anymore or the app so at least I was able to fix a few of them. :frowning: Also noting that for at least the bulbs that I was able to fix, I had to proceed to step 3 to manually reset the bulbs (aka blink method) so my bulbs were really screwed up apparently.

As feedback for your guide, I do highly recommend the following updates…

  1. For @JDRoberts, please include the “blink” method @tgauchat mentioned into your actual post as I got slightly caught up on the wording where you mentioned “blink” method and he refers to it as “bulb reset” where again they both mean the exact same thing, but just the wording and would be nice if it’s all in one place so I don’t have to assume that the method @tgauchat mentioned is what I have to do. Minor details, I know, but just trying to make an awesome guide more awesome!!! :smile:

  2. For @tgauchat, I know you mentioned turning the light on/off approximately 5 times but I had to do mine for what felt like 10 times and was definitly not 5 times so I took your approximately 5 times as a max (which was my fault haha) but after 7 times I almost felt like my lights were broken and I was going to stop and give up but I didn’t to just keep going what the heck haha! So it might be better to increase that number to say up to “5 - 10 times approximately” just to provide more of a range to work with! Again, no biggie but luckily I kept going instead of telling you guys, I followed all steps and nadda haha!

  3. For @JDRoberts, this is extremely minor but since the software versions change all the time on the mobile app, you might want to mention the version of the app you used this guide against and also list the steps on how you can click that “+” button to add a new device. I know it’s extremely extremely minor details but just making an already great guide much better to avoid any confusion or where to go next without assuming.

  4. For @JDRoberts, also on adding a new device with that “+” button, it’s worth noting, at least ASSUMING I did it right, that for the current version of the mobile app that I have (v2.0.5) I went to the bottom toolbar and clicked the last button (aka the star) and then clicked “+ Connect New Device”. Following that, it stated searching for new devices, and almost immediately the lights did the standard new device flicker but then never showed up in the list (which of course they shouldn’t because your not readding them as new devices right) so at that point I assumed after 20 seconds that since the lights flickered at this point I was all done and I’m assuming there is nothing more to do I guess. So might need an additional instruction to state that after you click “Connect New Device” and the lights flicker to indicate they’ve been readded or whatever then they will not show up in the list (because you are not adding them as brand new) and you can now click “Back” to test out the lights!!!

Overall, fantastic guide!!! With those changes if you choose to implement them will make an amazing guide even more amazing and reduce a tiny bit of assumption or confusion! :smile:

This crap happens time after time I seem to notice and it’s not my families fault since, by habit, they are used to turning off the lights via switches so this is a learning process that will take time haha but I hate that sometimes when that happens the lights don’t respond anymore ughhhhh. I’m just going to have to buy a bunch of these switch covers to help avoid any future issues as luckily they are cheap enough until you start multiplying it by the amount of switches you need to cover haha…


#6

The switch covers with magnets tend to run five or six dollars. You can also get switch covers with screws for under two dollars each. So it just depends on what you want.

We use some of each at our house. We use the magnetic ones if I want my service dog to be able to take the cover off, and the cheaper ones elsewhere.

The one on the right in this picture came in a pack of six for five dollars at Home Depot. :sunglasses:


#7

I found these minimal design switch guards 5 for $8 and you can still swivel them out of the way to flip the switch if you want.


#8

Ahh from the looks of it, it seems you purchased the following one at home depot…

which comes in a pack of 2 for $2 so luckily the price stayed roughly the same as I couldn’t find a 6 pack one. Unfortunately I just got back from Home Depot because the GE link bulbs are 50% off at Sears and so, since I was already at Home Depot, they price matched and I got a bunch of extra bulbs!!!

Link below for the current 50% off (aka $7.49) which probably lasts only a week if anyone is interested…

http://www.sears.com/ge-link-60-watt-equivalent-a19-led-bulb/p-05739314000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

As a quick question on your picture and the picture of the switch guards that I linked above, it appears that you need screws so while screwing the wall plate in you just layer this switch guard on top it seems but I don’t want screws in case the hub/bulbs screw up again, but you did mention yours are magnetic? Your picture is a tiny bit blurry but even expanding it, it seems like there are screws?

If you have a link for a 6 pack of magnetic only switch guards then let me know ASAP as that would be awesome! Currently the ones on Amazon are crazy stupid for $5 to $6 for EACH one haha…

http://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Switch-Outlet-Switches-1007/dp/B00YW6KQ8Y/ref=pd_sim_60_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=31S8%2BG5tUkL&dpSrc=sims&preST=AC_UL160_SR160%2C160&refRID=0HGB9A5QCQHYAWQAER4Z


#9

Thanks for the link but those don’t seem very “pretty” looking hehe! I’m very fussy!

Also I replaced all my switches with the modern switches or whatever they are called (the toggle or rocker switches aka the big ones) and not the small switches shown in the preview picture from your link. :smile: however it looks like they are still compatible but look even worse from some of the pictures.


#10

I just wanted to state that I recently tried fixing another bulb with this guide and per what I mentioned above, in this case what actually happened is that the bulb did in fact show up as a brand new device then I clicked “+ Connect New Device” (even though it already existed as a device) which is a completely different outcome that I got from my comment above (where it already existed as a device but yet never showed up as a new device).

In this particular case, I proceeded to re-add it as a brand new device and I ended up with the previous device being orphaned that I then had to remove from all my SmartApps and then SmartThings which was pretty annoying.

Overall, it seems so far that the behavior you will see is very inconsistent when you click “+ Connect New Device”. Just my results!


#11

Thanks for the suggestions. It will take me a while to get the updates done. I can’t turn the bulbs on and off myself, so I’ll need to wait until I have an aide here who can do that kind of stuff.


(Steve Jackson) #14

Thanks for the guide JD. After almost 2 years, I’ve finally had my first GE bulb not come back after a power failure. Trying the steps now.

Steve J


(Paul Hoffmann) #15

I went through all the steps, but only 4 of my 6 Osram lights could be found. I went to the Wink app on my iPhone and hit the + button to “Add a Product”, like I was adding a new bulb. It found all of them and everything works like normal now. All my shortcuts and robots work.


#16

@JDRoberts I just wanted to add that normally when the GE link bulbs drop offline for me (while very rare) I usually turn off power to the bulb and then wait a few hours and then turn the power on again (which I think is your step 2 but with a longer delay haha). That usually reestablishes connection in about 95% of the time without having to do that annoying “blink” approach.

Great post though!!! :slight_smile: