How can I make a G4 bulb "smart"?

(Dawn Addonizio) #1

Hi. I’ve been (unsuccessfully) looking for a way to make my light fixtures with tiny G4 size bulbs manifest some of the cool lighting effects that “smart” bulbs are capable of, and was wondering if anyone on this forum could help. I have 5 pendant lights on 1 switch and want them to slowly glow/fade at different intervals from each other. I was told that Phillips Hue bulbs can do this, but I can’t seem to find “smart bulbs” of any brand in the tiny G4 size. Does anyone know of a product that will make this happen? I am working with an electrician, so if there is a hard wired switch or box I can get, I’m sure he can install it. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

(Eric) #2

Man I’d give that one up. Unless you are willing to direct-wire each bulb to the box and home-brew 5 dimmers for 12vac. Or are these halogens?

What fixture could be worth all this hassle - please post a link.

(Dawn Addonizio) #3

Thank you for responding! The fixtures are on order, and my electrician still has to wire and place the box, so I have no pics to post. But it’s going to be 5 round pendants hanging at random placements and lengths across a high ceiling. I’d love to be able to make them slowly glow and dim at different intervals for a kind of starlight effect.

I probably should have better clarified the setup in the original post because it makes sense that having 5 separate fixtures and none of the wiring done yet would make a big difference. I just assumed they’d all be on the same switch, but I’m not used to thinking like an electrician. And yes, I think I should be able to use halogen bulbs if that makes a difference. Thanks again for any suggestions!


I don’t know any bulbs that are physically that small that include the radio antenna you need to make a smart bulb work. Smart bulbs tend to be physically a little bit larger then Dumb bulbs using the same base, just to make room for the additional hardware needed and proper heat dispersion.

Hue makes light strips with tiny bulbs that a lot of people use for special color effects, and are great for starlight scenes, but all the bulbs on one strip come on together, kind of like a Christmas tree string. Since you don’t have it wired anything yet just browse around on the Phillips site and see if there’s anything that appeals to you. Those are high-quality devices, easy to control, and have some really cool effects. Phillips list them under “ambience.” If you have three or four different strings, you can get some amazing effects.

Alternatively, if you really want five different bulbs to act independently of each other then, yes, you do this by making each one on its own switch. The switch doesn’t have to be a wall switch, especially for effects lighting, it can be a relay switch inside each fixture box. To get 5 in one room requires some complex wiring, but it can be done.

If it was my house, I would use the light strips. Total cost will probably be about a third of wiring the individual relays, you get a lot more flexibility in terms of effects (including color options), great starlight look, and way more “stars.” But everybody has different aesthetic preferences.

So I do think the project as initially described is doable, but you would do it with the wiring inside the ceiling, not with the bulbs.

(Dawn Addonizio) #5

Thanks, that’s very helpful! :slight_smile: