Group Lights at a Specific Dim Level?

With the old SmartThings app, I had my lights configured in a manner that I had a group of lights called “All of the Lights”. It not only included all of my lights, but they were programmed to set the dimmers to 100% brightness.

If I asked Alexa to turn on all of the lights, it executed that command - all lights turned on at full brightness. I could also ask her to turn off all of the lights, and everything would turn off. It was a very natural way of speaking.

With the new app, I only saw a way to set this up as an automation. Same settings - all of my lights are included, 100% brightness.

However, now when I ask Alexa to “turn off all of the lights”, it responds “all of the lights does not support this”.

Is there a way to get similar functionality to what I had before? Maybe something like a Smartapp or a virtual switch of some sort?

I’ve had similar issues with Alexa. But I’m thinking that your voice command was actually using the Alexa category of ‘Lights’ for your Smart Devices instead of whatever you had setup in SmartThings. So you could be running into Alexa’s default category names where Alexa put something in the Alexa ‘Lights’ category that Alexa cannot control.

This is why I can’t use some natural speech voice commands because of the category assignments that Alexa puts the smart devices into. And, SmartThings device naming convention has caused me issues with Alexa’s category assignments as well.

So, I use Alexa Groups to control specific smart devices to get around this category assignment. I put all of the lights, power outlets with lamps connected, and so on in an Alexa Group named ‘Everything’. So I say, ‘Alexa, turn (Off/On) Everything’.

In your case, try creating an Alexa Group with the custom name of ‘All of the Lights’, and select all of the smart devices you want to control in it. Then try your ‘Alexa, Turn Off All of the Lights’ voice command.

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If I do that, I’m pretty sure Alexa doesn’t have the functionality to simultaneously group the lights and also set the brightness, right?

There are multiple ways for me to turn on and off a group of lights, but I haven’t found a way that turning on a group of lights also sets the brightness, while I can also turn off a group of lights using the same command.

Edit: Yeah, I just tried it and it only lets me group the lights, no brightness control in that method.

I might get some terminology wrong, but I think the old SmartThings app referred to these as “Routines”. If you said to turn on the routine, it would turn on the lights and also set the brightness. It also was able to accept a command to turn off, and it turned off all of those lights. Now that the new app changed these to “Automations”, it seems that they won’t accept a command to turn off.

I don’t know what the best way is to do this now because I can’t use the new 2021 app very well, it’s not voice navigable. But have you tried using SmartThings scenes for this? You can group a bunch of lights together and specify the dim level for each one. Then refer to that scene by name.

You can’t change the levels dynamically, but you couldn’t with the old smartthings routines, either.

So for example, at our house we have one called “bedtime scene” which turns off a bunch of lights and turns on the hallway night light to 25%.

We have another one called “good morning scene“ which turns off that nightlight and turns on a couple of other lights.

And of course the classic “movie scene” which turns off some lights and turns on some others at 25%, and the entry light at 50%.

The thing is that a scene is just a snapshot of a moment in time. So you activate them, but you don’t turn them off. You need to have a separate scene that turns everything off. Or a group.

So it’s not quite as intuitive as what you’re describing, but it can work pretty well as long as household members can remember the name of the scenes. :thinking:

To use a smartthings scene in Alexa you can say “Alexa, turn on bedtime scene“ but we prefer to say “Alexa, activate bedtime scene.“ It just seems more natural to us. And I think it helps people remember that they won’t be able to turn the scene off again.

There is a caveat:

For security reasons, Alexa will only support Scenes with lighting, switch, and thermostat devices.

What that means is that if you have a smartthings scene with a lock in it, Alexa won’t use it. But for lights, your smartthings scenes should be discovered automatically by Alexa just like your devices are.

Again, I don’t know if there’s a better way to do what you’re asking for, this is just what we use. :sunglasses:

Here’s the official support page on creating scenes, but I don’t know if it’s up-to-date:

If I understand your question, if you are talking An Alexa Group (named “Family Room“ in this example), if all of the devices in that group are dimmers, you can say

“Alexa, turn on the Family Room to 50%,”
“Alexa, turn on the Family Room to 100%”
“Alexa, make the Family Room brighter“ (goes up by about 20%)
“Alexa, turn off the Family Room”

And any of those will work fine. So that does allow for dynamically changing the level. But unlike a scene, which lets you have a different dim level for each item in the scene, using an Alexa group this Way sets all of the lights in the group to that same level. You can then individually adjust a light if you want, but of course that’s more work.

And I honestly don’t know what happens if you have a group that mixes dimmable lights and non-dimmable lights, we just don’t happen to have any. You’d have to try it and see.

So again, I don’t know if that would work for you, but it is another method that we use at our house, I thought of it because we do have one housemate (there are three of us) who never remembers the scene names, so he tends to just use the group and dim them all together as I’ve just described. Because we have a group name for each of our rooms.

Again, I don’t know if there’s a better way to do that using smartthings features, this is just something we do at our house. :sunglasses:

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