SmartThings Community

Hue light triggering a routine when turned on by a normal light switch?


(Pat) #1

What I’m trying to do is have a Philips hue light trigger a SmartThings routine when the bulb is in an “On” state being controlled by a dumb switch.

I have a Smartthings hub and most of my light switches are Z-Wave. A few light switches that I would like to replace with Z-Wave switches do not have a neutral wire so I can’t use a smart switch in those areas. For these lights I would like to install Philips Hue light bulbs that would respond to the smartthings app the same way a smart light switch would. Basically when I flip the normal dumb light switch it will turn on the smart light bulb which would then run a sequence turning on other z-wave switches or other things controlled in Smartthings. I can’t seem to find a way in Smartthings to do this.

Now if I leave the light switch turned on and I control the on-off state of the light bulb through Smartthings then I can run routines. This isn’t however what I’m looking to do, I’m looking to find a way to control lights with dumb switches as I can’t install smart switches as I have no neutral wire. In its simplest: At the moment the smart light bulb state is “on” then do something in Smartthings.

I’ve looked in the forums here and in the IFTTT apps and haven’t found anything so maybe I’m missing something simple. Any help would be appreciated.


#2

I’m afraid the simple thing you’re missing is that these bulbs are designed to be on power over all the time. If you put them on a regular light switch, the inrush current each time the switch is turned on will likely damage the bulb over time, making an expensive light bulb that much more expensive. So the manufacturers tell you not to do it, and most people choose not to. It’s OK if there’s an occasional power outage, say two or three times a year, but it’s not something you want to do every day. But obviously it’s your choice.

The next issue is that for exactly this reason, many zigbee bulbs, including Hue, do not send a message to the bridge when they are first turned on after a power loss. The assumption is that that isn’t likely to happen anyway, and the bridge will pick it up in the next “heartbeat” check which would typically be every minute or so.

There are a couple of alternatives for what you were trying to do.

Option 1: A battery powered smart switch cover

The first is to use any of a number of devices which can work in a place where you don’t have a neutral wire for a switch. The device choices do vary somewhat depending on the region that you are in. But there are a couple of “smart switch covers” which fit over your existing switches and run off of batteries. So no wiring required for those. Some leave the switch underneath in its current position, so people use those With smart bulbs so that the power does always stay on to the bulb but you still have a physical switch. Other models physically move the switch underneath, so they would be used with dumb bulbs. Either kind can be used standalone instead.

You can find a full list of these in the buttons FAQ. Each entry list whether it is for the US or the UK and whether it is battery powered or mains powered, so read the entries carefully to make sure you’re getting what you want.

Option 2: A smart switch which does not require a neutral

If you do want a mains powered switch which doesn’t require a neutral, the the Lutron caseta line in the US or the lightwave RF generation 2 in the UK are both possibilities. The Lutron has an official SmartThings integration which works well. For lightwave RF you will have to use IFTTT as well.

Option 3: a “canary” bulb

If you decide you’re OK with burning out your bulb sooner, there is a community member who has created a smart app which will recognize the “power restored” message from certain specific brands of bulbs and use that to trigger other events. in that person’s case, it was only intended to be used during an unexpected power outage/restore, and the purpose was to turn off all of the other smart bulbs which it come on at full power because of the power outage. But you could use it in the use case you’ve described, but not with Hue brand bulb and at the cost of burning out the bulb sooner.


(Pat) #3

Thank you so much for your response. I did not know that turning the bulbs on and off would burn them out quicker. I’ll take a look at the Lutron switches as that type of installation is what I was looking for to begin with (I’m currently using the GE Z-Wave switches throughout the house). Again, thanks for your guidance :slight_smile:


#4

There are also in wall micros that you can put behind a dumb switch and a couple of those, specifically the fibaro dimmer 2 and the Aeon nano do not require a neutral, although you may need to get an additional “bypass” device if the LED load on the micro is too low.

So that’s yet another option if you want to get traditional looking rocker switches to match your other GE switches. You can find lots of discussion of the micros in the forums. :sunglasses: