FAQ: Philips Hue and Other Smart Bulbs - What sort of light switches to use with them? (Long FAQ)

Thanks for the confirmation! I’m not too concerned with the ‘always on’ piece… Considering that I’m leveraging Smartthings, HomeKit, Echo and the Hue App itself…unless the Hue Bridge dies on me, I’ll always have a way to kill the bulbs. It just may not be through Smartthings vis the switch!

On a side note, I read that the controller requires two buttons, one for on and another for off? Could this not be configured via a Virtual Toggle switch so it does a toggle on press? This way you don’t burn two buttons for one light?

Sure, as long as you’re using it with a button controller smartapp. As long as smartthings sees it that way, you can have any recognized button activity trigger pretty much anything SmartThings can do, including a virtual toggle. :sunglasses:

Hi, can you please let me know the details of implementing “8) networked switch that does not cut power to the bulb” ? Is it to use something like the Dim with Me app?

Yes, exactly. :sunglasses:

If it’s just for on and off, you can use the official smart lighting feature. Most people really only want the manual switch for the convenience of guests or kids so that there is an intuitive switch. But they do color changes or other more complex scenes with automation or with a multi button switch like the Remotec. In that case you’re just using the capabilities of the bulbs, the switch isn’t involved at all in the same. The remotec is popular because each of its eight buttons can recognize a tap, double tap, or long press, giving you 24 possible scenes in all.

Or they go all in and mount a wall tablet or inexpensive Wi-Fi phone on the wall so they get a color dial.

Just depends on your specific requirements. :sunglasses:

thank you so much for the quick reply!
what i would ideally like to do is control the dimming using a separate physical switches. Specifically, Homeseer WD100+ Dimmer or WS100+ switch (using up and down button taps). What is best way to do this?

Just use any of the custom lighting smart apps that you like. There are several new versions of dim and dimmer, and there’s trendsetter, which is very popular. Or just core which gives you the most options of all.

You can find the others on the quick browse lists for lighting in the smartapp section in the community – created wiki:


And of course you’ll need a device type handler for the homeseer switch:

Ask any additional follow-up questions specific to the homeseer switch in that thread.

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None of the “dimmer following” apps worked for me. Not Trendsetter or Dim With Me and later versions of Dim with Me. Is there a specific CORE dimmer following app guideline?

The core experts hang out in their peer assistance thread. Ask there and they’ll be glad to help. :sunglasses:

I really like the looks and reported operation of these cooper witches, but the Amazon listing specifically notes that they are NOT for LED’s and that this auxiliary requires a master switch - it is incapable of dimming without one. Can anyone with direct experience comment on this? Also, the listing simply says “RF.” Am I to conclude this is z-wave or zigbee RF, and how exactly does ST communicate with them?
EDIT: Just noticed much of the discussion of this solution got moved to a separate wiring thread, but, as this is about features and not wiring, I chose to leave this here. Please advise if y’all think I should move this. Cheers!

This particular thread is about switches to use with smart bulbs. In this case, we are not using the switch to control the current flow to the bulb at all. So the type of bulb is not going to make any difference.

Instead, we are setting up the switch to send a message to the hub and the hub to send a message to the bulb.

Again, for this reason it won’t make any difference what protocol either the bulb or the switch are using as long as SmartThings can talk to both. It’s quite common to set up a Z wave switch to control a zigbee bulb in this fashion. In the case of Hue, there’s actually a third protocol involved, as Z wave switch will talk to the SmartThings hub, the SmartThings hub will use an official integration over LAN to talk to the hue bridge, and the hue bridge will use ZLL to talk to the bulb. :sunglasses:

So all you need is a switch that can send a message to the hub in the same way that it would send a message to a master switch. The hub will get the on/off/dim request and then convert it to a format that the bulb understands through the use of a smart app.

So when you select a switch for this purpose, what you’re looking for is a switch that can be recognized by the SmartThings hub and can communicate with it.

The GE add on switches don’t work for this, because they’re actually invisible to SmartThings and communicate with their own master switch by a physical traveler wire.

But the add on switches of other brands which are Z wave devices in their own right can be used.

I hope that cleared up the “features” issue. :sunglasses:

I’m also looking to implemented a hard-wired solution, using a networked switch to trigger the bulbs via ST. I really like the look of one of the switches noted in the OP (specifically https://community.smartthings.com/uploads/short-url/mIUog0PM9WZuOcU9RPKM6mL9ZFY.jpeg). Can someone point me in the right direction for where to get one? Right now, I have a Lutron Connected Bulb Remote (which I have paired as a secondary controller of my Philips Hue bulbs). It works for the most part, but I don’t like that when I turn off the bulbs via the switch (remote), it first dims the lights down to 10% before turning off. If I then turn them back on via a different control (such as Alexa, the Hue app or ST) it is set to the lowest dim level (I’m guessing the smart bulb remote just sends a bunch of decreasing dimming levels in sequence, so when when I turn it back on it goes to the prior state, which is at 10% dim level). So that is the main thing I’m looking to get around. Would one of the networked switches be able to handle this correctly (auto turn back on to 100% when switched on regardless of trigger) . and also allow dimming control like I have right now w/ the Lutron? Any help or advice would be great!

That’s the cooper 9500 “anywhere” battery operated switch. They should be widely available from the specialty Z wave retailers. Amazon also carries it.

Shop around, as prices vary a lot and Amazon isn’t always the least expensive.

( Eaton is the company, Cooper is the division, and aspire is the model line. You may find it listed under any of those three names.)

Do you know offhand if that type of switch would be able to dim/turn off the lights, while allowing another trigger source (Alexa or Hue) to turn on the lights to full brightness afterwards? If I manually dim the lights, I don’t have a problem w/ Alexa or Hue app turning them back on at the prior state, but if I just toggle the lights to off, I was wondering if there would be a way in ST to go straight from on to off, without any fancy dimming down. I believe that if I turn off the bulbs that way, their last state would be the actual state that they were in when the OFF command was sent (thus avoiding Alex/Hue turning the bulbs back on but leaving them at the lowest dim level). Hope that makes sense, but if anyone needs more details on my setup/desired outcomes please let me know. And thanks again for the assistance!

It depends in part on the exact brand of the bulb, because different bulbs have different behaviors in this regard. That’s getting a little off topic for this particular thread, though, so I would suggest starting a new topic under connected devices for smart bulb behavior for the particular brand you’re interested in.

Also note that there’s definitely a difference between an actual power cut, which is not what we’re talking about in this thread, and a switch which sends an off request to the bulb and the bulb itself turns itself dark.

So there’s definitely a lot to talk about, just not in this particular FAQ.

Thanks! For questions regarding my Hue bulbs I’ll definitely look into creating a new thread. I think primarily what I wanted to know was if these particular cooper switches were able to execute arbitrary commands (such as having the switch’s OFF command trigger a single OFF command to a device, rather than the switch sending a bunch of dimming commands to the device first.) I guess really what I want to know is if this switch will be able to completely bypass normal functionality and allow me to program my own commands to send to my devices.

[quote=“breakthestatic, post:45, topic:28984, full:true”]. I think primarily what I wanted to know was if these particular cooper switches were able to execute arbitrary commands (such as having the switch’s OFF command trigger a single OFF command to a device, rather than the switch sending a bunch of dimming commands to the device first.) I guess really what I want to know is if this switch will be able to completely bypass normal functionality and allow me to program my own commands to send to my devices.

Short answer: most of the devices in this thread talk to the hub, not directly to the bulbs. They talk to the hub and then the hub sends a command to the bulb–but that can be whatever command you want. This is one of the advantages of the SmartThings platform, and that’s why you could use a Z wave switch with a zigbee bulb, something you can’t do on most platforms.

So you can have the hub send any command you want through the use of custom code, Which is why the only thing that matters is the bulb brand and how it handles the commands it receives.

But you could have one press on the switch turn a specific set of bulbs orange, if you want. The switch just reports the press to the hub and then the code you have running in the cloud causes the hub to send the appropriate request to the bulbs.

This is very different than a switch that controls the current to a dumb bulb, or even to a switch designed for a specific platform, which may have its own rules.

But if you are using a device from this thread which communicates directly to the hub like the Cooper and the hub then sends a request to the bulb, you have the opportunity to modify the request to work the way you want. :sunglasses:

Perfect, that’s exactly what I need. Thanks again for the info regarding this switch. I’ll be picking some up shortly to test.


Be aware that while the battery powered one @JDRoberts is referring to is probably the best option for wiring, the picture you showed has LEDs for the dimmer level which makes it look like the ones I use. They look great, but note that the switch actually pivots on the left side unlike normal paddle switches that rock on the center. Pushing the righ-top or the right-bottom of this switch is merely pushing on the right side to activate it. You will find it strange and awkward until you get used to it. But as you noticed, they look great!

And yes, these are the dimmers that I haven’t gotten to talk to each other in my 4-way virtual circuit yet with ST.

BTW, what is this app? I really like it!

There are several dashboard apps developed by community members. The most popular is probably action tiles, but you do have to pay a license fee for that one. It Lets you customize colors, size of tiles, Devices shown, etc. it’s the newest generation of what used to be called smartTiles.

You can find other dashboard apps, most of them free, by using the quick browse list in the community – created wiki and looking in the project reports section for the dashboard list:


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