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

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:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Project_Reports.2FQuestions

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I have smartthings v2, 2 hue bulbs with hue hub and 1 sengled bulb. Now what I want to know is if I buy a hue dimmer switch can I control the sengled bulb with it via smartthings? Link it with the hue bridge and have smartthings recognize it and attach a non hue bulb to it

@JDRoberts @SBDOBRESCU

Can you all help me with what I just read in this thread? JD and I have talked a small amount in another thread.

I have a 3 way circuit, and I would like to use Hue bulbs in the ceiling light fixture and a GE smart switch as a master switch and it’s corresponding auxiliary switch as the child.

Is this possible? (I would prefer not to use the switch covers that block use of the wall switch and I would prefer not to use a device that covers the actual switch but then allows button presses to send information to the hub to control the light)

I would like to actually toggle the in wall switch (physically) and have it not actually kill the power, but I would like the toggle off just to send the signal to smartthings that the toggle is off but not actually kill the power at the light)

Could you all help me understand how to deal with the wiring at the switch?-- if it is more simple to speak of a non 3 way circuit, that is fine. And then I can convert it to a 3 way situation in my mind hopefully.

It sounded like throughout this topic that the idea I explained above was not really a well received idea.

I would like my house to be “smart” without things aesthetically making it look smart at the switches. (The covers etc, aren’t aesthetically pleasing to me, just my opinion of course)

Thank you all for your help!

The easiest way to do this would be not to use a GE master switch, but instead to use a linear/go control accessory switch at each position.

Unlike the GE add on switches, This device does have a Z wave radio, so it can communicate directly to the SmartThings hub. But it is not intended to control the fixture, so it’s easy to bypass Control of the load and leave the light fixture always on power.

That would give you the look you want and give you switches that would control the smart bulbs by having the switch talk to the hub and the hub talk to the bulb. The switch is widely available including at Home Depot and Lowe’s, so shop around as the prices will vary. It is sold under both the linear and the gocontrol name.

https://www.amazon.com/Linear-Z-Wave-3-Way-Accessory-Switch/dp/B00EAY3K5Y

This is the same approach as using the Eaton Cooper auxiliary switch discussed above, it’s just that the gocontrol switch is now a little easier to find and is a standard rocker design. :sunglasses:

The biggest problem is that there is going to be no Plan B: if the SmartThings cloud is not available or your hub is not working, you will have no switch that can turn the light bulbs on or off. Whether or not that’s a problem for you just depends on your own household situation and what other lighting you have in the room.

The advantage of the smart switch covers is that the original switch is still there underneath the cover if you need it. But I agree that the look is not as nice.

There is one other Plan B option: if your Hue bulbs are connected to the hue bridge you could set up a Hue tap or hue dimmer switch just for emergencies and keep it in a drawer and it would still work to turn the lights on and off even if your Internet is out or smartthings just isn’t working. I know you don’t like the aesthetics of those, but it might be worth the $25 investment just to have the Plan B. You can control bulbs in multiple rooms if they’re all connected to the same bridge, so again, it could just be for emergency lighting control.

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Is there a specific reason that you want Hue Bulbs (smart bulbs) AND a smart switch?

The only reason I can think of using smart bulbs in a hard-wired fixture is that you want the ability to adjust color or color temperature of the light. Otherwise, a smart switch/dimmer that looks just like a standard switch can control regular light bulbs.

People like smart bulbs for several different reasons. Obviously changing either color or color temperature is the most obvious. But you can also use smart bulbs to create lighting zones in a large room where everything is on one circuit.

And there are a few integrations that may be available with Hue bulbs in particular that are not available with the switches. :sunglasses:

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@etbrown

@JDRoberts

Alot of my switches are double, triple, and quadruple gang.-- I’m not sure that philips dimmer would work in those situations (well not where the existing wall plate is at least).

No, to be honest, I went out and went a little overboard in buying smart home stuff. I bought maybe 600$ in GE Switches for the whole house.

But I didn’t realize this situation (can’t use smart bulb/ GE switch together) was going to happen when I went in to start buying my smart bulbs (because I wanted color).

Also, my house has toggle switches rather than paddle switches throughout and I wanted to maintain the same aesthetic throughout so that limited my options (to be honest, I didn’t know the ramifications of my switch purchase on my ability to use colored bulbs)

That’s why I was/ am trying my best to see if any one out there knows any options for allowing me to use the GE switches with the Hue bulbs even if I have to wire the switches up differently.-- It’s sounding like I have a pipe dream on my hands

I figured there may be a way to wire the switch to communicate with the hub but not actually affect the power at the bulb (just not hook up the "load "to the switch or something)-- the remote switches people are speaking of, never seem to have a “toggle switch” brother… and it would kind of make my house look like a hodgepodge of switches which I don’t really like the idea of.

It’s looking like I may be stuck with dumb lights in my fixtures. And leave the hues in any type of Lamp that has a mechanical on/ off.

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Since you have already bought the GE switches, this may well be the best solution for you. This is what we’ve done in our house. We do have hue bulbs in most of the rooms, but they are in table lamps. The overhead lights are dumb bulbs with smart switches. But again, different things work for different people. :sunglasses:

My house is 100% GE switches and 80% of my bulbs are Hue. Never had a problem cutting off the power to the bulbs. I have webCoRE pistons checking for switch state and if the switch is off, I first turn the switch on and then wait a second before I set the level and color of the bulbs. One advantage of cutting the power to the hue bulbs at night, for example is to ensure that in case of a power outage the bulbs don’t come on when power is restored (zibbee devices do that, whereas zwave handles power outages a lot better).

@SBDOBRESCU

I was wandering about the power outage issue. I thought I had read that somewhere and what went through my head was “surely not” but you just confirmed it.

That’s kind of dumb. Haha

Thank you for responding and giving me a little “food for thought”

If you don’t mind me asking, how long have you been running with that setup ( oldest Hue bulb, etc)

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…4 years (had the same set up with both v1 Hue hub and v1 ST hub - now I have v2 hubs).

@SBDOBRESCU

That def makes me feel a little better about my situation.

So, if I decided to go the linear 00z route. Do I have to replace the GE master and replace the GE auxiliaries. Or can I just replace the master and keep the auxiliaries as GE addons?

I’m sorry, I’m dense sometimes.

You have to replace everything. The GE add-ons use physical traveler wires for pulse communications to their own master. They don’t work with the linear/gocontrol devices. And the GE add-ons don’t have any radio inside, so they can’t be used for this kind of set up. :disappointed_relieved: You need a switch that can send a message to the hub and then The hub sends a message to the smart bulb.

If you do have any places in the house where you’d be OK with dumb bulbs combined with the GE switches you already have, or where you could move the hue bulbs off the same circuit as the switch, that’s probably going to make more sense in your particular case.

Yeah, I agree with your assessment for sure. I’m just trying to figure this whole thing out as I’m sure you can tell.

Thank you again for giving me your time and explaining things to me in a way that I can understand so that I apply/ adapt accordingly.

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Do you know of any other brands out there that have the same feature you are speaking of? (Like the gocontrol/ linear switches)

I’m just curious of my options before I go out a buy something to satisfy my situation (I kind of messed up this first time it looks like)

What feature is it that I am looking for exactly?

–An add on/ auxiliary switch with z wave radio essentially?

As mentioned above, the Eaton Cooper auxiliary Switch can also be used for this. And, yes, you just need an auxiliary switch that has its own Z wave radio and doesn’t require physical traveler wires.

So I was reading at the post below:

The GE 14292 and GE 14295 that are throughout my home both support association. So based on that, does that mean I can use a single linear device at the auxiliary position of the 3 way circuit. Or no, because the single GE master that would still be in my wall is still controlling the power at the bulb which is what we’re trying to get around?.. I think I understand now.

So what I need is a (1) WS15Z-1 which is non dimmable and zwave plus? and (1) WT00Z-1 which is not z wave plus if I understand correctly.

Would I need to get a minimote for any of the ideas expressed above?

Also, the only thing we haven’t really talked about is how do I tie the physical switch press to the operation of the hue bulb?- Since it is not being electrically driven by the press of the corresponding switch. (The operation of the light is being controlled by the signals sent to and from the hub)

I’m sorry, I know I am jumping around a bit.