Integrating smart lamps and existing dimmers (UK)

First of all I am new to here so I apologise if this has been asked multiple of times, I am re doing my kitchen and aiming for a smart home, I will need a triple dimmer/switch ,
circuit 1 will controll 6 gu10 downlights
Circuit 2 will control 2 pendants
Circuit 3 will control 6 gu10 downlights 3 of which will be smart lamps with rgbw Control

I would like to be able to turn the lights on and off from the switch and do fine control of colour etc from our phones but also be able to turn on and off and dim from the switches, is this possible?

It is possible, but not with your existing switches.

Smart bulbs have to be always kept on power. Otherwise there’s no power for the radio to hear the next command to turn on. So you can’t have a switch that turns off current to the bulb.

In addition, you will find that the user manual for almost all brands will tell you to always keep the bulb on power. The other reason for that is that when you turn on the current there is a rush of high power and this can damage the radio over time, reducing the lifetime of what are already quite expensive bulbs. :disappointed_relieved:

Finally, you can’t use a dumb dimmer and a smart bulb because the dimming will get out of sync. in fact, you can burn out the bulb, the switch, or both. :scream:

There is a simple solution to this issue, which is to replace the existing switch with one which does not cut current. Since it sounds like you are in Europe or the UK, based on the specifications you listed for the lamps (and the fact that you spelled colour correctly :wink:), then by far the easiest way to do this is to get the hue bridge and to use one of the batteryfree “friends of Hue” switches. In Europe, these are available from a number of different manufacturers with different looks. They all work fine.

That way when you press on the switch, it sends a message to the hue bridge which sends a message to the smart bulb. But the bulb always has current to hear the next message, whether you start from the app, the switch on the wall, a voice assistant like Alexa, or a home automation rule.

So that’s the easiest way. There are some other methods that we can talk about, but they can get quite complex and would likely require rewiring some of the circuits.

Also, what country are you in? The device selection and wiring does vary somewhat. For now I have marked this thread as UK because the smartthings hub comes in one model for the US and one model for the UK and Europe. But if that’s not correct just change it.

Should of said sorry, I am UK the UK and electrically trained, the wiring and all accessories will be new, I have been looking at the aurora Aone lamps and non smart Aurora lamps and some sort of dimmer

Yes, you can use non-smart dimmable bulbs with a smart dimmer switch. Or you can use smart bulbs with a switch that does not control current to the bulbs. You just can’t use a smart bulb with a switch that controls the current, whether that switch is smart or dumb, for the reasons I mentioned. :sunglasses:

I assume when using a smart dimmer switch you are controlling the switch and not the lamp however my aim is to use the smart dimmer to dim 3 non smart lamps and 3 RGBW smart lamps and I can’t seem to see any information on this, it also seems quite costly, is there anything you would recommend

Unfortunately, That set up isn’t going to work for the reasons discussed above. You would need the switch to control the level of current sent to the non-smart lamps and that’s exactly what you don’t want to do with the smart lamps. So you need to separate them onto different current branches with different switches. You can’t mix them all on the same branch. That’s why you haven’t been able to find anything about it.

There is one possible option, but I don’t recommend it, because people always say they will be fine with it and then they end up being very unhappy.

There is one brand of smart bulbs, Sengled, which is engineered in such a way that they do not assume that the bulb will always have current. They have built in protections against the inrush surge. So you can turn them on and off with your regular switch. However, if you have cut the power with the wall switch, the Sengled bulbs, just like any other bulb with a built-in radio, have no way to hear the next on command. So while the switch is off, you cannot control the bulbs with the app or a voice assistant or a time schedule or anything at all until you turn the power back on with the physical switch.

As I said, sometimes people say “oh, that’s fine we can live with that“ but then most of them turn out to be quite annoyed when their schedules don’t work or the voice assistant doesn’t work or they have to get back up out of bed and go downstairs to turn on the wall switch so that they can then turn off the smart bulbs.

But it is an option if you think you would be OK with that.

https://eu.sengled.com/en/products/security/element-plus/index.html

For all of the other brands, however, you just can’t mix smart bulbs and non-smart lamps all on the same circuit branch.

No I wouldn’t be happy with that, what about if I wired the 3 smart lamps on a different line , is there a command I could put in to say when this switch is activated also send a signal to these other 3

I seem to struggle finding triple switches or dimmers too, I would rather stay away from battery ones due to battery changing an be a faf and I’d like to use some decorative switches

Sure, that’s doable. You can have the bulbs “mirror“ the smart switch that is controlling the dumb lamps, so that they go on and off together. Just not if they are on the same circuit branch.

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Is there any relay device you would recommend? Or rotary dimmer?

There’s no single best choice, as different people have different preferences and needs and budgets. It also depends whether you want to go with Z wave or zigbee or you don’t care.

If this is a new build, you will have a neutral wire at every switch box, right? Not a two wire set up?

If so, the Fibaro zwave micros have been very popular in the U.K. with those who are willing to spend a little more for better engineering. They come in several different models, including relays and dimmers. They also have the “double“ models which have one controller for the load attached to the switch and it’s separate which just sends signals to the hub. That can actually be a very good way of handling a mix of smart and dumb bulbs (although again they have to be on different circuit branches so you don’t turn off the smart bulbs when you turn off the switch)

But mirroring is always another option, and that give you better control of Dimming. There are several UK members who have done an entire house or even more than one with Fibaro kit and been very happy.

That said, it’s really important to understand that you are unlikely to get a rotary dimmer in a smart device because by definition the rotary is analog and the smart device is normally digital. There aren’t any that I know of, for example, that would work with the fibaro micros. instead, most people use a retractive switch where the longer you press on it the higher the dim level. But not everybody likes that.

BTW, Vesternet is a good online retailer for the UK and often offers discounts when buying multiple units. They also have very good tech-support.

If you want a physical rotary dimmer, the only one I know of for the UK is the aurora one, which is zigbee.

Have you looked at the lightwaverf products. They do doubles tripples etc. They are a bit pricy and you have to buy the hub to control them but you can then control via the wall switch or phone or alexa, ifttt etc. etc.
Plus if you don’t want the most upto date hub you can grab a bargain off ebay.

Plus you can program as you want and much more. I have lights coming on at dusk and going off at certain times, plus others triggering via sensors running off my smartthings hub.

Plus you don’t need a negative at the switchbox.

It’s true LightwaveRF don’t require a neutral, and they are nicely engineered devices which now have an official smartThings integration, but otherwise all of the same issues that we’ve already been discussing this thread still apply. :disappointed_relieved:

They should not be used to control smart bulbs on the same circuit branch for all of the same reasons listed above. And they don’t solve the problem of keeping the power always on for smart bulbs.

They do work very well with dumb bulbs, though. And they have an additional advantage in that they also work with HomeKit.

So good devices and popular among community members in the UK, but unfortunately not a good match to the use case presented in this thread.

Unless you just meant that they should be used to control the dumb bulbs on a separate circuit branch and then use mirroring for the smart bulbs, and in that case, yes, they might be a candidate.

No rotary dimmer, though: those are the “press and hold“ type.

image

Sorry should have been clearer. Yes use them with dumb bulbs as you’ve said.
Is rotary dimmer a must? Press and hold is easy, plus even better just shout to alexa and tell her you want kitchen 1 at 75% and it’s done automatically.

As far as the RGB smart bulbs as long as you turn on the lightwave circuit first you can then select whatever colour you want.

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I ultimately want to stay away from extra hubs,bridges , cloud to cloud etc. I would like to keep it all locally controlled incase of Internet drop outs, this sint a new build its a full house that I will be refurbing (currently doing the kitchen) so my plan is downlighys in kitchen area x6 (dumb bulbs -smart dimmer) 2 pendants over the breakfast bar (dumb bulbs - smart switch ) and 6 downlights in the dining area (3 dumb bulbs , 3 smart rgb bulbs by the patio door) controlled by a 3 gang switch, wiring isn’t an issue as the ceilings are down and I am about to start chasing walls out, I will also be putting data points in for the TV and sonos , I just want a reliable system that I can use decorative switches , don’t really want to be limited to “a manufacturer” hence why I’m thinking the fibaro or the aerco (I think that’s the manufacturer of them anyway!) Relay devices, for wiring I will probably run a 3 core and earth to each fitting so I can ata a later date change to smart bulbs or dumb bulbs at my leisure , do you have any thoughts or advice?

Probably Aeotec. Qubino also makes good Z wave micros for the UK market. :sunglasses:

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Thats the badger!

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All 3 are good brands. Vesternet carries all of them, So you can check reviews there and their tech-support should be able to answer any questions that you have. :sunglasses:

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Thank you, haven’t ventured down the route of anything yet but wanting to make sure I get things right first time!

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