Long time reader - 1st time Poster - Lighting Question

(Chad Bertelsmeier) #1

Okay. So I have a basement… with about 18 light bulbs in it. I’ve changed all of them out with the Cree connected bulbs.

One of the things I’d like to do is be able to go to lunch phone and click “basement on” and all lights turn on… and I still want to have the power to turn off individual switches.

Which would mean to replace all the light switches as well with smart ones. The problem is that the basement is made up of 8 different switches (hence why I want to click basement on or basement off)

Do I need to replace every switch ? 6 of the switches are in 2 different bundles of 3 switches… is there a smart switch that can connect all 3 switches into one? Making it so I don’t need to buy 3?.

Just looking for overall advice. Switches I’ve seen are around 45$ per switch. I don’t really want to spend $400 on light switches… but if that’s all there is then so be it I guess.

Any help is appreciated. Cheers!


In this case I would go another way. Create a routine called “Basement ON” and one called “Basement Off”. This will give you a one button push method of turning the entire basment on and off. Each of your Cree Bubs had to be paired to the hub as an individual thing so if you want to turn on or off some individual bulbs you can do that from the “Things” screen within the app.

I use the Basement On & Off approach for each room in my house so I can turn an entire room on or off with one button push in the app.

(David) #3

generally, you should have smart bulbs OR smart switches, not both. I have smart bulbs in my basement too (unfinished laundry/utility area).

I use Dim With Me and a virtual dimmer to create an “all basement” switch. You create a virtual dimmer that will be the master, then the individual bulbs will follow whatever the master does. You can also control the bulbs individually if you’d like.

(Ben W) #4

I had 2 light switches in the same gang box that I wanted a single switch to control. I spliced the wires together to run it to a single switch.

As long as you are under the load for the switch and are on the same circuit you should be fine.

I would also dump the crees and just use regular bulbs. You can re-purpose them elsewhere. I have found the zwave switches to be uber reliable and will also act as a repeater.

(Ray) #5

If that’s all you want to do then you can create a virtual switch and use SmartThings smart lighting smartapp to sync the all the lights to that switch.

(Chad Bertelsmeier) #6


The problem is I have kids and a wone that don’t utilize their phones to turn the basement lights on and off… which is why I wanted to use switches.

Correct me if in wrong… but with Cree bulbs and using the app to turn basement on or off… I have to keep every switch on… and then I turn off with the app (effectively making the switches not work for other users)


There are smart switch covers that fit over your existing switches. They are battery powered and have their own on/off buttons. This give you an intuitive wall switch while allowing you to actually keep the power on to the smart bulbs. They work very well. And you can set them up so that the on button on each of the switches turns on all the bulbs. It doesn’t matter what circuits or fixtures they are in, because the on command will be sent from the switch to the hub, and then from the hub to the bulbs. :sunglasses:

You could just buy one for each gang box as long as people know to use them. Then put childproof switch locks on the others so they stay powered on.

See the following thread:

(Ben W) #8

You are correct you need to leave the switch on. That was another driving factor for me, I wanted to still be able to control the lights the old fashioned way, which is helpful on the occasion that Internet, Router, Smart Things, Sun Spots cause the system to stop responding.

I try to go smart switches for anything that has a switch, and smart bulbs for lamps. I have a kitchen island that goes against the rule, cause it has the Hue color lights but have o a hue remote mounted on the wall.

(Dale C) #9

Unless there is some reason that you haven’t revealed , I agree with @desertblade on this and use switches that can be ganged up when possible and then switch out the Cree with “dumb” bulbs. I know $45 per switch is a lot but what did you spend on all those 18 Cree smart bulbs? I only use smart bulbs where I want individual control like bedside lamps where I can individually control either lamp and I use a minimote next to each lamp. I also did smart bulbs in my stairwell sconces so that I could turn off one totally and dim one down to 10% for night light mode.

(Jason) #10

“Your use case is not my use case”…
I don’t think this statement should read generally.

Before the smart covers were out I advocated for both (when it makes sense). My home has 100% smart switches and 30-45% smart bulbs. I had abysmal luck with the affordable smart dimmers in combination with my recessed leds. I did eventually find aome that worked, but what i learned is that i would rather control the dimming by bulb in many locations(most non bedroom areas).

Anyways my point is that, even with the multiple threads on the subject that can be found in this forum, there isnt enough (if any) conclusive evidence to make that kind of generalization.

(David) #11

I should have been more specific in my generalization. You are correct - many threads…

(Ben W) #12

Overall you should have a strategy how you will attack automation. Often people start with the smart bulbs because they are easy to install (I did with Hue). Your use case of dimming per bulb is a great example of when a smart bulb is better than a smart switch.

I was doing smart switches on my Smart Bulbs but that seemed redundant, I just installed a dumb switch and used the Hue remote mounted next to it. I should get a cover for the switch, it does get flipped occasionally and like an idiot I start troubleshooting the Hue hub and ST first before checking the switch.

In your case do you use the SmartSwitches to turn on lights then the SmartBulbs to adjust the the couple that need to be adjusted?