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

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.

first, association changed was zwave plus, and it’s more complicated now:

Second, there’s never a situation where you need one zwave plus and one zwave classic device, I’m not sure what you were thinking of there. Per the spec, all zwave generations are backwards compatible, so it’s fine if you have some zwae plus devices and some zwave classic devices on your network. The features available will depend on the specific model. Sometimes a newer model has fewer features than the previous one, it’s just up to the manufacturer. The one consistent difference is that Z wave plus devices will have a longer range than Z wave classic and in some cases will be better at pairing in place

Third, Association isn’t applicable to this particular question, which is how do you set up a wall switch so it can control a smart bulb without curing current off to the bulb?

I understand @sbdobrescu said he hasn’t run into a problem with his particular set up, which is great, I’m happy for him. But it doesn’t change the manufacturer recommendations for these devices, which is that a smart bulb always be left on power. And it doesn’t change the fact that if you do cut the power, then you can’t communicate with the bulbs With automations or with the app until the power is restored. Obviously people have to make their own decisions on these kinds of risk factors, but the risk is still real even if one particular person hasn’t had a problem yet.

But if we go back to best practices, which is to let the bulb control its own current use, then you don’t want any master switches on that circuit except for emergencies. The whole reason for using the auxiliary/add-ons is that they don’t get wired to the load. :sunglasses:

@ok, I see now. No master switches because the bulb needs to control its own current. So I actually need (2) WTZ-001 switches then for the 3 way situation I’m speaking of?

I don’t even need to purchase any of the WS15Z-1?

Correct, if you just want them to control smart bulbs by sending a message to the hub which then send a message to the bulb, all you need are the WTZ001 accessory switches. No master. Each switch is individually recognized by SmartThings.

Just remember that in this set up, if SmartThings is not working the switch will not turn off the bulbs.


Yes and no,

communication using zwave association between zwave devices is instant.

But communication to the hub may be really really slow depending on the switch. And it sounds like you are using the switches to signal the hub which you then want to signal light bulbs.

Also, in some scenarios, a switch may communicate quicker to the hub than a dimmer.

This is a quirk of patent law.

When you click on a switch, the switch by patent law may not be allowed to communicate with the hub that it was turned on/off, but it is allowed to communicate with the hub that it was clicked because a single click is also used for zwave inclusion or exclusion.

in response to the received click event the hub can now poll the switch to determine if the state is on or off.

In the best case the response may seem very very fast.

In the case of a dimmer, in the same scenario as above, when the dimmer gets the poll command, the dimmer may not have stabilized yet, it may still be either dimming up or down, therefore whatever event that is reported to the hub is wrong and that the true state of the switch may take some time to propogate to the hub.

Ok I follow you now. That’s why you said earlier to pick up a hue dimmer or something as a backup so that I could still control the lights just in case.

So if I happen to go with this setup. Could you tell me how this is setup in smartthings. Apparently, there is a way to set a z wave switch to control a specific zigbee bulb.

Now, that I am straight on that. Could you tell me the point of “association”, it does not play a role in any of this?-- As in, there is no way to have 2 devices of differing brands communicate to each other in a 3 way setup (through “association”)-- Am I even using the word in the correct context?

In this instance, I am talking about a 3 way setup in which I have a main that would be electrically controlling the current. (Ignoring our previous conversation, as I understand that situation now)

The instant status patent only applies to dimmers. Not on/off switches. And it’s not a quirk of patent law – – it’s just a regular patent. But in any case, the whole question of association is off topic for this thread. :sunglasses:

There are many different ways to do this in SmartThings, but the easiest is just to do it with the official smart lighting feature. It doesn’t matter what protocol the devices are as long as both can talk to the smartthings hub. You could have a Z wave switch and a zigbee bulb, zigbee switch and a Wi-Fi bulb, whatever.

So in the simplest way you just set up a smartlighting automation so that the light comes on when the switch comes on. :sunglasses::level_slider::bulb:


Now, that I am straight on that. Could you tell me the point of “association”

I’m happy to discuss zwave association, but not in this thread. :sunglasses:

There are many existing forum threads which discuss direct association. If you can’t find one that answers your question, just start a new one.

That’s no problem. Thank you for clearing all of this up for me.

In the situation we are describing (utilizing 2 WT00Z-1 in a 3 way setup). Will the 2 switches remain in sync with one another? I assume using the smartlighting app, I will setup a rule that ties each of the 2 switches (seperately) to the light bulb. Then I will have to create another rule that will tie each of the switches to each other. In the end, will I have a total of 3 rules? or a total of 4 rules? Or I guess what I am asking is can a “rule” handle two directional mirroring of status.

The standard smartlighting feature does not do this. I don’t know whether webcore can or not, you should ask in their forum.

If you are using standard smart lighting, you’d need two automations:

  1. turn the bulb and switch B on when switch A turns on

  2. turn the bulb and Switch A on when Switch B turns on.


So not too bad. You can put other bulbs into the same rules as well if you want.

Yeah, that’s not bad at all. Thank you for walking me through how this can be done in a rather painless way.

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I’m looking to convert my porch lights from dumb bulbs controlled by a GE Z-wave dimmer to RGBW bulbs (probably zigbee like the Lightify I already have) for a little seasonal flair. The current setup is straightforward, the load wire of the dimmer goes to the bulbs and it works like you expect.
When I go to smart bulbs I’ll need to bypass the switch and run the bulbs always hot but I still need a wall switch to control them. The other requirement is that the wall switch look exactly like the Z-wave paddle switch next to it in the box that controls inside lights so that leaves out pretty much everything I’ve seen in this thread so far. Would these options work in my setup?

  1. Linear WT00Z-1 auxiliary switch
    This one has a z-wave radio and I understand it will send its on/off commands to the hub and I can use smart lighting to turn on/off the bulbs based on that. Does this one also expose its buttons to recognize taps? I don’t need double/triple tap but for example if I physically press Off on the switch and then the lights get turned on via a smartapp or something, will physically pressing Off again trigger the bulbs to turn off? Or would I need to do something like the mirroring routine mentioned a couple posts up like a 3 way setup?
  2. GE Z-Wave Plus 14291 switch
    Did this new generation of GE switches add instant status reporting so it’ll function like the WT00Z-1 with the load wire disconnected? I have some of the non-Plus dimmers and I know they don’t. Price is about the same as the Linear one above.
  3. Homeseer HS-WS100+
    This one does for sure expose the single taps as buttons (7 and 8) with the custom DTH but it costs more and I don’t need the load switching capability.

Really what I need is a 2 button controller that looks like a normal Decora paddle switch. Is this a thing? I haven’t found any yet.

That’s essentially exactly what the linear/gocontrol auxiliary WT00Z is. When you press on the top, it sends the on command to the hub , when you press on the bottom it sends the off command. You then use the official smart lighting feature or a smart app to have the hub send that same command onto the bulb. So it will work in the situation you described in 1) above-- no matter what method you used to turn the lights on, pressing on the bottom of the switch will turn the lights off. :sunglasses:

The mirroring method is used so that the statuses always match in your things list. For example, say you turn the bulb on on a schedule at sunset. If you also want the wall switch to have a status of “on” at that time, you could have the wall switch mirror the bulb. Or you could just have the sunset automation turn on the switch and let the regular link then turn on the bulb. Your choice. But the point of mirroring is to make sure that the statuses will always match. (If you always apply your automations to the switch rather than directly to the bulb, then you don’t have that issue. )

The other devices you mentioned are intended to be master switches and things get more complicated. I would just go with the go control unless you have some really strong reason to keep looking at the others.