Light switches to control hue lights. (UK)


#1

Hello all,

I’ve been doing some research over the last couple of weeks and still can’t find the answer to my query.

Currently in my house I have a large amount of hue bulbs which are brilliant but it means that they can’t be controlled via a normal light switch. Now whilst most of the time this is fine there are still times when I want to be able to control them in the traditional sense at the light switch.
Now I don’t really want to use the stick on hue light switches or equivalants as I think they look rubbish and want to keep a normal looking light switch.

So what I’ve found online is the Aeotec or Fibaro modules which you wire behind the light switch and they can control the current going to the light. Now whilst these work fine for non smart light bulbs they obviously don’t work with hue lights as hue needs power to be kept on permanently.

Now what I’m wondering is on either of the aeotec or fibaro modules is it possible to set them so current to the bulb is permanently on and the switch becomes a state in SmartThings. So if it changes SmartThings knows to turn the hue bulbs on or off.

Does this make sense and is it possible?


(Martin Verbeek) #2

Why should you wire them to the Hue bulb, anything that can create a switch event can act as a switch to the hue bulb. So if you have z-wave build in switch recognized by ST you can act with the switch on the Hue bulbs in that room. No need for the z-wave module (or other protocol) to really switch the current into the Hue bulb, just have them send the on and off signal, that is enough. Hope that makes sense.


#3

No apologies that doesn’t make sense.

What I’m trying to do is be able to use my normal light switch as a way to control my hue bulbs which doesn’t cut the current to them so they can be turned back on again via the app.


(Olivier) #4

I would dig there:

Find the buttons that I like, and use them to trigger an event of the ST hub


(Scott Shell) #5

I have quite a few hue bulbs in my house (29 total) and use a combination of wireless switches to control them some withing the SmartThings ecosystem and others within the Hue ecosystem.

in SmartThings I’m using one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/ZRC-90US-BW8510US-Remotec-Cert-ZC10-15100007/dp/B016YTTIVW

It has the capability of 24 unique buttons although I mostly use 16 where a single tap turns on a group of lights (like a hallway, kitchen, etc) and a double tap turns the same group back off.

I also have some of the OSRAM Dimmer switches which I usually mount on the wall and are typically tied to a standalone set of lights.

https://www.amazon.com/SYLVANIA-Smart-Dimming-Switch-Formerly/dp/B0196M620Y/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1508505503&sr=8-11&keywords=Sylvania+Smart+Home

And although it isn’t currently available I have a few of the in-wall mounted ZWN-SC7 scene controllers:

https://www.amazon.com/Enerwave-ZWN-SC7-Controller-7-Button-REQUIRED/dp/B00RY4LQDK/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

In addition to the controllers in the SmartThings ecosystem I have a few of the Hue Dimmers:

Which is useful because it bypasses SmartThings and works directly with the Hue Hub.

Finally, ,for the most part the lights throughout the house turn on and off with motion sensors that are located to most effectively control the lights in a particular group and generally work pretty well… some locations (such as bedrooms and bathrooms do not have lights controlled with motion as those locations are not ideally suited for that sort of behavior except for in isolated circumstances…)


(Joseph Fattizzi) #6

i think the answer to your question is you cant do exactly what you are looking to do. My solution to the problem has been to use the Phillips dimmer switch. I actually removed the physical switch and tied the hot wires together. Essentially the switch becomes always on (hot). Then i neatly tuck the wires into the box and mount the phillips dimmer over the box. I use this method in my bedroom and den and it works flawlessly .


#7

It’s possible, but not in the normal fashion, and the wiring is a bit tricky.

You would have to choose one of the micros which has two inputs, one of which just sends a scene command to the hub rather than actually turning the light on and off. Then you would capture that scene command and use it to turn on the smart bulbs. For the wiring, you would wire the physical switch to the input that does the scene command rather than to the input that does the on/off.

I’m pretty sure one of the Fibaros does this, @RobinWinbourne should know.

The Battery Button Alternative

As others have suggested, most people just use a different, typically battery operated switch or button such as those on the buttons FAQ that @Nepomucene linked to.

For the UK, there is a popular line of Popp battery operated controllers that look just like a regular UK light switch and work well. You can get face plates of many different finishes for these. It is listed in the buttons FAQ.

IMG_3245

Then you just have to decide what to do with your existing switch. Some people put a small box over it and then put the battery operated switch on top of the box, which can look nice and leave you access to the original switch for emergencies.

Other people just put the battery-operated switch next to The original switch on the wall, perhaps using a child safety lock on the original switch to remind people not to use it.

In all the cases with a battery-operated switch, the switch talks to the hub and then hub talks to the bulb.

What happens if the Internet is Unavailable?

So your original idea won’t work with the standard micro, but there are some that do have a scene control input, and it could work with those. In that case, though, if for any reason your hub isn’t working, the switch would not control the bulbs at all.

That’s one reason many people prefer to add a second battery operated switch. You would use the battery operated one for regular daily use, but if you were ever having problems with the hub or the SmartThings cloud or just your Internet being out, you would still have the original switch in place if needed.


(Joseph Fattizzi) #8

I have one of these installed as well:

http://www.cooperindustries.com/content/public/en/wiring_devices/products/lighting_controls/aspire_rf_wireless/anyplace.html


(Robin) #9

You could do it with a Fibaro Dimmer 2 but, in England at least, you still need a way to turn the power off to the light fitting for safety reasons (so you can’t just hard wire the fitting to permenant live).

If using a Fibaro Dimmer 2 (which has two switch inputs, one for the load, one for sending scene ID’s) you could replace the existing switch for a setup like this:

CD83C26F-2346-4B14-A9D2-2AA043B35F9E

The emergency key slot is for isolating the load during maintenance, the switch sends scene ID’s to control the smart bulb.

This setup relies on internet even when using the wall switch so not ideal… is there a particular reason why you want to keep using the hue bulbs instead of a regular bulb with a smart switch?


#10

Good point, I had wondered about the code requirements for the UK. It’s one reason I didn’t link to the switch FAQ.

In the US, in most jurisdictions as long as we are only talking about regular lighting it is legal to have them permanently powered on and then control them with an automation system. There is one common weird exception where if there is a light in the attic it has to have a working switch within about a meter of the door, that one can’t be bypassed. But the safety code does vary from place to place.

Regardless of the local code, I just personally think that light switches are such an essential feature in an emergency that it’s best to design your set up so that you have switches that work even if your hub has been damaged. But that’s just me. :sunglasses:


#11

Looks like I might have to admit defeat then and buy a battery powered switch to put over the main one.

And the reason I want to keep the hue lights is because of the colour changing and light settings it brings.


#12

Hi Robin, I’m interested to find out more about this comment.

Does the requirement for local isolation come from the BS wiring regulations, NICEIC recommendations or another source?

Thanks


(Robin) #13

No idea… just basing it off what I was told by two different electricians…


#14

Thanks Robin


(Mark) #15

Is there any nice light switch available in the UK yet?

I’m after one that ideally looks like a normal switch, Energenie have nice solutions but I don’t want another hub.

Amazon have a lot of switches like the one below, anyone using one of these with SmartThings?


(Robin) #16

Fibaro Dimmer 2 plus any regular light switch you like the look of.


(Mark) #17

This one?

Pricey though.


(Robin) #18

Yup… bit pricey, but they work really well… I have them on every light in my home and they have been maintenance free for well over a year now! (And issues in the past have been cloud related which quickly corrected themselves)

However (I think) you have linked to the original version, not the 2 (you want the 2)

Edit:

Maybe not… just not very clear on the amazon add… it’s a good price on Amazon, normally Vesternet is cheaper but not today.

http://www.vesternet.com/z-wave-fibaro-universal-dimmer-2-250w


(Ricardo Murray) #19

Are you sure Switch works with Hue lights?


(Robin) #20

Through the ST hub using scene ID’s yes.