GE Z-Wave dimmer with Hue Bulbs


(Jamaal Okeen Ephriam) #1

Hey all,

I’m considering a hue system and placing HUE bulbs in a few places. However, some of the places where I’ll be installing hue bulbs will by that time, already have a GE Z-Wave Dimmer switch on them. I’ve gotten some mixed results in my research about putting a dimmer with a HUE bulb, but these all seemed to have applied to old dump dimmers.

Can anyone tell me any caveats to doing this, or even if my lights would work at all? From what I somewhat understand, hitting the dimmer would turn the lights to 100%, but would they dim at the switch (rather, with this switch), and if so, would they flicker?


(Cody Truscott) #2

Do not do this. Things won’t go well.


(Jamaal Okeen Ephriam) #3

Ouch. Well that’s disappointing. How about the zwave on/off switches then? This way they’d be fully on when controlled by Smarthings, then dimmed at the bulb level instead. Any caveats here? If not, I’ll return the dimmers I just bought lol.


(Cody Truscott) #4

I keep my hues perms wired and then use auxiliary switches from linear to control them via the hub.


(Jamaal Okeen Ephriam) #5

I follow.

Though, if I went this way, if for whatever reason the internet is down, I wouldn’t be able to turn on my lights right…if I understand correctly? Any info on the constant drain of an always on switch as well? Is it a violation?


#6

You have to check with your local jurisdiction. In most places it’s fine to have your lights wired to be always on, but there are a few townships that are worried that do-it-yourselfers will turn the light off at the switch and then immediately try to change out a ceiling fixture not realizing the power isn’t off. So those townships will require that the power to wired fixtures cut off at the switch. Like I say, there aren’t many of them but there are some. Usually these restrictions only apply to residential buildings, not to office buildings or commercial buildings where they figure professionals will know to cut off the power at the breaker.

And, as you know, if you do it this way and you lose control over the hub you might not be able to turn the lights on or off again until everything is restored.

Light Guards

At my house we are less about aesthetics and more about practicality, so we just use childproof locks on the existing switches to remind people to leave the power on and use the other control mechanisms, but in an emergency all the switches work as long as there is power.

These days our primary means of light control is the echo, so nobody goes near a switch anyway. :sunglasses: You can get fancy switch guards but I just use the cheap ones:

Hue dimmer switch

Another option to consider is the Hue dimmer switch. This is a very intuitive switch for guests and does give you dimmer control. Cost about $25 and is battery-operated so you can stick it on the wall anywhere. Each switch can control a group of up to 10 smart bulbs. Smartthings will not know that you turned the bulb off at the switch right away, but if the bulbs are connected through the Hue bridge, SmartThings polls the bridge about every five minutes so it does catch up again eventually. So this is a parallel means of control. It will work locally as long as the hue bridge is still working, and it’s communicating by zigbee so you don’t have to have an Internet connection, just power.

If Aesthetics are a big issue but you do you want to leave the existing switches as is, you can put them inside a nice box cover and put the Phillips switch next to it.

More options

There are some more options for smart bulb controllers under point 2 in the UK lighting FAQ. These are also all available in the US.


(Bobby) #7

Dimmers don’t work well, but on/off switches are ok. Have been using GE on/off with hue and link bulbs for over a year with no problems. The best way to keep them in sync is to use big switch feature. Meaning to set up bulbs to turn off when switch turns off.


(Jamaal Okeen Ephriam) #8

Thanks for the details JD, this was really helpful :smiley:

I like the idea that I could still use the switch as a dumb switch if I need to, so I’d rather not have the lights fully controlled by the hubs. Yes, I know that on/off states would reset the light to its default color (which I’m hoping is around 2300-3000k), but changing to a color scheme every time I turn them on at the switch shouldn’t be too arduous.

So at the moment, I ordered 3 GE Dimmers and 2 Aux controllers for them (one dimmer is not on a three way circuit) from Amazon. More than likely, I’ll be returning all five of them for on/off switches instead since I’m planning for a HUE system now.

What would have been nice is if the HUE bulbs if on a dimmer, would function as an either on or off state instead of a midway flicker state. Another improvement would be if the light detects voltage irregularity below a threshold, function as a dimmable bulb and turn the radio off, but that’s neither here nor there atm.


(Brendan) #9

Hey, I’m trying to do the exact same thing. I’ve got an existing set of Hue lights in a 3-way switch setup. I bought a GE zwave switch, along with an add on switch. So not a dimmer switch. But after wiring up the switch and turn on the breaker, the lights are just flashing on and off. I’m not sure if this means I wired it wrong or something else is going on… Anyone have advice on this?


(Bobby) #10

Are you sure you don’t have a dimmer, because that’s the behavior when the bulbs are dimmed…or at least that was my experience.


(Brendan) #11

Positive. I got the In-Wall Smart Switch (12722), along with an Add-On Switch (12723). At the moment I can get the switch to pair with ST when just a regular bulb is in a socket. With the switch in the ‘off’ I put in a Hue light and it immediately started flashing. I’m going to drop by Lowes tomorrow and look for a nice bulb to pair with this GE switch. If that goes well then I might just scrap Hue lights… because it’s been such a confusing mess for folks to control. And having Hue switches next to regular switches also makes a mess of things.


(Bobby) #12

I didn’t use hue in a 3 way, but to me it sounds like you may have wired wrong. If the switch is off and the bulbs are blinking then you still have power going to bulbs and that shouldn’t happen, in my opinion. I am not an electrician but I replaced all of my switches in the house. For some of the 3 ways I did get help, because I was missing the neutrals for some of the add-ons.


(Ray) #13

Most likely wrong wiring. There are quite a few posts about 3 ways switches. You can try the searching and see if you could find one that matches your setup.


#14

I hate to revive a really old thread, but it’s perfectly relevant to my situation. So based on what people are saying here, seems a dimmer with a hue is not good. Since I already have the GE dimmer switch in the wall anyway, could I just use it as a switch not connected to the light at all? I could setup a piston in WebCore to turn on/off, dim, and maybe even remember last color before it was turned off so I can restore it? If that seems doable, how would u wire it? My guess would be you plug the hot wire into line and also make it go out of line instead of load. Then you can plug in neutral normally and leave load empty? That way the dimmer is powered, the light is powered, but the dimmer isn’t controlling if there’s power to the light or not.