How to? In-Wall Switch, Smart Bulb


(Rob Lindberg) #1

I want to control a floor lamp from a traditional in-wall switch. What products are needed to install an in-wall switch and controls a smart bulb in the lamp?

Power already exists where the switch will be installed. It is not on an independent circuit to the lamp. The lamp will have continuous power through a normal outlet.

I see the value in smart home devices, but do not want to control this particular setup exclusively with a device-based app. A switch is more practical.

We do not now own a SmartThings hub. I’m open to solutions that require or do not require it.


(Robin) #2

You could fit a Fibaro Dimmer 2 behind and existing single switch, and change the single switch faceplate to be a double (2-gang) switch.

The first switch will toggle the load connected to the original switch.

The second switch will tell the Fibaro to toggle the floor lamp in one of two ways:

  • Communicate with the bulb via a SmartThings hub and basic Smartthings smartapp (CoRE or webCoRE)

  • Direct association between bulb and Fibaro. But this will require the bulb to be Zwave Plus and to support association. (What bulb do you have?). It will also require a hub for initial setup.


#3

The full FAQ for those using SmartThings

There’s an FAQ for this question which should help. It details the various alternatives for people using the smartthings hub.

It’s definitely worth reading as it covers many different approaches. :sunglasses::bulb::level_slider:

Other single room switch/Bulb options

That said, if you really don’t care whether you have The smart Bulb hooked into your SmartThings set up and you just want a smart bulb with a wall switch, several companies that make smart bulbs now also make their own battery operated wall switch that can go with it.

Philips Hue Dimmer Switch or Tap

So you can use a Hue bulb with either the hue dimmer switch or the hue tap Switch. Those work very well, although they don’t look like a traditional wall switch. We have several of these at our house for use by guests and everyone has found them very easy to understand and use. The dimmer switch also happens to be one of the least expensive options. So I think many people would just use this one.

https://www.amazon.com/Philips-458141-Hue-Dimmer-Switch/dp/B0167Z0P3I

The Tap has the advantage of requiring neither mains power nor batteries, but it’s a more unusual design. Also, it doesn’t do dimming, just 3 preset levels.

https://www.amazon.com/Philips-452532-Hue-Tap-Switch/dp/B00ME9CD28/

Lutron Connected Bulb Remote

If you want a somewhat different form factor, Lutron makes their “connected bulb remote” which can work with a number of different zigbee bulbs. Although this device looks very similar to Lutron’s “pico,” it is using a different frequency, so you have to make sure you get the right one. When mounted on the wall in a wall plate, it fits the same size as a regular light switch. It is battery operated. This will work with many different zigbee bulbs, including Cree connected. This can also be used with Hue bulbs attached to a Hue bridge, but you need to pair this switch to the Hue bridge before you associate it to the bulbs. ( this will also work with GE link bulbs, but I do not recommend those bulbs – – they have a firmware problem that causes them to lose connection about once a month, which I find very annoying.)

The list price on these is $29.99, but you can sometimes find it for less.

https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-LZL-4B-WH-L01-Connected-Bulb-Remote/dp/B014STZASK

Here you can see the Lutron connected bulb remote on the left and Phillips hue dimmer switch on the right.

Osram/Sylvania Dimmer Smart Switch Cover

The only real problem with the two Phillips options is that they don’t cover the existing light switch. Of course that might be a plus if you wanted to put it in place where you didn’t have a switch, such as your example of a plug-in table lamp. But otherwise, you need to put a switch lock on the existing switch to people keep people from turning it off.

One alternative that solves this problem is to use a Sylvania/Osram Lightify Bulb with the Sylvania dimmer switch. This one is battery operated, but fits over the existing wall switch.

https://www.amazon.com/SYLVANIA-LIGHTIFY-Osram-Dimming-Products/dp/B0196M620Y/

For Zwave: the Linear/GoControl Smart switch cover

You can use the linear/GoControl zwave smart bulb with their smart switch cover, which also fits over existing wall switch.

https://www.amazon.com/GoControl-WA00Z-1-Z-Wave-Scene-Controller-Switch/dp/B01BKWG9XS/

Other zwave Devices to control zwave bulbs

There are also a number of other Z wave devices which can be “directly associated” with a Z wave bulb, even from another brand. (Note that most smart bulbs, though, use zigbee, including Phillips hue.) This is the category that would cover the in wall micros that @RobinWinbourne mentions above.

Apple HomeKit

If you use an iPad or Apple TV to set up apple’s HomeKit you can use any HomeKit – compatible light switch to control Phillips hue bulbs (via the generation 2 HomeKit – compatible Phillips hue bridge). This method is very simple to set up and use if you already have the hue bridge and an iOS device. The HomeKit method also allows you to put the switch and the bulb farther apart from each other than the other methods mentioned above. Any HomeKit switch can control any combination of bulbs/switches/outlets that are on your HomeKit setup.

However, if you want to eventually add SmartThings, the only combination which works with both SmartThings and HomeKit at the present time is the Lutron Caseta switch and the Philips Hue bridge.

But if for this particular room, you don’t care about eventual SmartThings compatibility, HomeKit will actually give you the widest choice of switches at the present time. With very easy set up.

So any of the options above would solve the case that you described: a single wall switch in a room with a few smart bulbs to be controlled by that switch. (Most of these options can control up to 10 bulbs as a group with one switch.)

If you really want the switch to be mains powered, then the HomeKit option will give you the most choices in switches and be the easiest to set up.

If you want to eventually be able to use the same switch with a SmartThings set up, then It comes down to the exact brand and model of the devices that you choose. :sunglasses:


GE Zwave switches - Disable Relay
Z wave switch with smart bulbs
(Rob Lindberg) #4

Thanks JD. I was hoping you would reply as I caught that thread before asking my question and respected your analysis.

I’d be interested in a stand-alone solution but haven’t found a solution that has a switch that fits into the normal decorator switch place and in the electrical box.

Maybe to clarify a bit…the wireless switch will be mounted in a double box that currently has two decorator switches. These two control only three recessed lights in a ~14x14 room (silly), so I’m combining the circuits and want to fill the resulting hole/missing switch with a bulb-controlling switch for the floor lamp.

I have seen a number of switches / systems that mount outside of the electrical box, but those are outside my preference. Fit is more of a factor than cost in this application. (Buying a SmartThings hub is OK.)

This is my first foray into wireless control and I could use a little help with the exact products to buy. As long as the switch goes the box and it makes the light turn on, I’m happy. I appreciate your suggestions for a few products that will make this happen. In fact, I’ll probably buy exactly what you recommend.


#5

If you want a regular switch, then either a Z wave switch that supports direct association and a zwave bulb, both of which could eventually be used with SmartThings but could also be set up with just a minimote initially, or a Leviton homekit Switch Used with The Phillips hue bridge would work. The HomeKit solution is a little easier to set up, but you’d have to swap it out for a Z wave version if you eventually wanted SmartThings control.

Option A: zwave switch plus zwave bulb. Plus either SmartThings hub or a Minimote to associate the bulb and the switch.

( shop around, prices vary a lot on all three of these. The particular bulb I’ve linked to is white only, there are some are RGBW zwave bulbs as well.)

https://www.amazon.com/Aeon-Labs-DSA03202-v1-Minimote/dp/B00KU7ERAW/

https://www.amazon.com/GoControl-Z-Wave-Dimmable-Light-LB60Z-1/dp/B00PJH16UC/

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

Option B: HomeKit Switch plus Philips Hue bridge

(Again, I’ve linked to an option that only has white bulbs, but you can get RGBW instead if you want)

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-DH15S-1BZ-Decora-HomeKit-Required/dp/B06XKKRLNP/

https://www.amazon.com/Philips-White-Starter-light-bridge/dp/B014H2OZAC/

The switch in this option cannot work with SmartThings, but the hue bridge can. One Hue bridge will support up to 40 Bulbs/Hue switches. Additional white bulbs should cost about $15 each at Best Buy.


(Rob Lindberg) #6

Thanks JD. Perfect guide. This spiraled out of control and we added lighting in another room as well.


(Robin) #7

Welcome to SmartThings LOL