Lutron Caseta integration do I need a smart bridge?


#1

Hi guys,

I’m new to smartthings but have been wanting to get started with this for a long time. I’ve been waiting for Lutron caseta light switches to work and I have read that they do. I have a smart things hub on the way and just purchased 3 light switches to setup for my living room setup. Now do I still need a Lutron smart bridge to make this work with my smartthings system or will my smartthings hub do all the work? I really don’t want to have to purchase another hub in order to make these work!

Thanks in advance.


(Mark) #2

Yes. Integration between lutron and ST is in the cloud. Without a ST hub and lutron smart bridge it won’t work.


#3

dagn that stinks. I thought that I would only need the ST hub! Thanks for the reply though!


#4

I’m debating on what to do here and could use some advise from people who have used multiple types of devices. I have wanted to use Lutron Caseta light dimmer switches through my home for a while. I really like they way they work, responsiveness of them etc. Also I like the pico remote idea where you can set one up on the wall that is programed to multiple caseta switches and at the push of a button turn them all on to pre determined dimming settings. Now I’m not sure if I should just scrap the idea of using Lutron all together and go with another type of switch like GE? I’m a little confused as to how lutrons work with smartthings. Seems you basically need to run both systems where as you need the full setup from Lutron IE smart bridge. I purchased 300 bucks worth of Lutron switches to do my living room but found out after buying them that you still need the smart bridge. That’s another 80 bucks I’d have to shell out. It would be cheaper for me to just return the Lutron switches and buy another brand of switch that will just work with ST hub off the bat wouldn’t it? If I did that does anyone have any reccomendations on a a good inwall and external plug in (for lamps) that are responsive and in the 50 dollar or cheaper range?

If I did stick with Lutron and just went and got the bridge how exactly does it tie in with smartthings? I’m guessing it just allows you to setup different uses for the switches and other ST devices? But when it comes to just turning lights on and off and dimming am I just simply using the Lutron smart bridge and they would behave as if I was only running lutrons setup? Can I still use the pico remotes for turning swtiches on and off?

I also would like to setup either a google home and echo dot for voice control so would the Lutron setup tied into ST work in the same way as any other zwave or ZigBee device?

Thank you in advance!


#5

I really like Lutron switches and use them in my own home. They are fast and reliable. If you think of the old good/better/best categories then the GE’s are right in the middle of the “good” category and the Lutron Casetas are at the top of the “better” category when it comes to engineering. The biggest benefit of the GEs the one you already mentioned: they’re easier on the budget.

Cost of the Lutron SmartBridge

The cost of having to use the Lutron smartBridge is somewhat mitigated by the fact that one bridge can support up to 40 Lutron devices. So if you maxed it out, you added two dollars per device. If you have five switches, You added $16 per switch. So the budget impact is different for different households, based on the total number of Lutron Devices you end up using.

On the other hand, it’s not just about the Benjamins. :wink: Most Caseta switches do not require a neutral wire and the pico is one of the least expensive auxiliary switches you can get for a three-way set up. Plus you can put it literally anywhere since it’s battery-operated. And no wiring requiring for a pico. Using a pico instead of a GE add on switch should save you at least $4 for every auxiliary, so you start to recoup the cost of the SmartBridge that way.

The official Integration

The official integration is cloud to cloud. That means that smartthings sends a request to your Lutron account and your Lutron Account passes that request over to the smartbridge which send the actual command to your Lutron devices. It sounds slow but because Lutron itself is likely faster than Zwave, most community members have reported that the Lutron integration is no slower for them than the GE switches would be, and sometimes even faster.

You will be able to set up automations in either account. If you want to have the hall light come on at 7 PM, you could set that up in the Lutron app or you could set it up in SmartThings. If you set it up in SmartThings, it means that every day at 7 PM SmartThings will ask your Lutron smartbridge to turn on that light. If you set it up in the Lutron app, it means that every day at 7 PM the Lutron SmartBridge will turn on the light and then tell smartthings that it did so. So it’s up to you how you choose to do things.

If you want to mix in non-Lutron devices into a rule, such as having a SmartThings – controlled motion sensor trigger a Lutron switch, then you would create that rule on the SmartThings side. And again every time the rule is activated, SmartThings will send a request to Lutron to perform the required action.

Also note that if your Internet goes out, you will still be able to use the Lutron app to turn your Lutron switches on/off. The SmartThings app cannot talk to its own hub if the Internet is down. This is true for for all devices, even the ones that “run locally.”

Echo, etc. integration

The Lutron smartbridge has its own native integration with echo and I recommend using that rather than going through SmartThings. It will be a tiny bit faster, it will be somewhat more reliable, it will work even if smartthings is not working, and you’ll still be able to mix Lutron devices and other devices into one echo group if you choose to.

http://www.casetawireless.com/Pages/alexa.aspx

I believe the Google Home integration works the same way.

If you just have GE switches, your SmartThings cloud account has to be working in order for echo to control the devices.

Also note that at the present time Lutron works with Apple HomeKit and smartthings does not. If you don’t have any iOS devices, obviously, that won’t matter, but if you do it gives you yet another way of using the Lutron switches.

Other Considerations

The GE switches are Z wave repeaters, so they help “strengthen the mesh” for all your other Z wave devices. The Lutron switches are an independent system. At our house, we use Z wave and zigbee plug in pocket sockets, not Lutron plug-ins. The plug-ins serve as repeaters and, again, at our house, are generally for less critical devices than the light switches so we’re not as worried about backup Control methods if the SmartThings cloud is not available. If the plug-ins were for critical use cases, we would probably use the Lutron for those as well.

Also remember that zwave repeats only for Z wave and zigbee repeats only for zigbee. So if you get a GE zwave light switch, it’s not going to strengthen the mesh for your zigbee sensors. (There is one device, the iris smart plug, which has both a Z wave radio and a zigbee radio inside and can act as a repeater for both protocols, but that’s unusual.)

So this is one of those factors where it’s going to vary a lot from one household to another as to how important having zwave switches to act as repeaters is going to be.

conclusion

Lots of people use the GE switches and are happy with them. You’ll definitely save some money, although how much depends on how many three-way set ups you have and if you have to do any additional electrical work. Most people who like Lutron switches really like them, And they do offer some additional features and integrations. Whether that’s of value to you or not is something only you can decide. :sunglasses:


#6

Wow thank you for taking the time to explain that in such a helpful way! That really did help me out a LOT!

I really wanted to go Lutron for all my lighting needs and really think now that I may just pick up a Lutron bridge. The cost isn’t that great and it’s a one time cost. This would give me maybe the best of both worlds and now that smart things and Lutron can talk I could intermesh to 2 systems. I’ll consider this but right now I’m leaning toward running with the Lutron setup. I could always get a few GE switches and add them in the mix down the road on less important devices to see how it really works together. At least now I have a much better grasp on what the deal is between the 2.

Thank you again!


#7

BTW, if you do happen to need one more three-way kit, you can get the Lutron starter kit which has the smart bridge, a dimmer switch, a pico, and one wall plate for right around $100. That way the smartbridge itself is only costing you an extra $40 instead of $80. :sunglasses:

Note however that if you get the plain smartbridge, you will only be able to use Picos as auxiliary switches to Lutron Master switches. That’s OK, they’re still valuable. For that purpose, and you can’t use a GE add on switch for anything except triggering its own master, either.

But if you do want to start going deeper down the rabbit hole, if you get the smartbridge pro you could eventually set things up so that you could use picos to trigger anything that smartthings can do. But it’s a pretty deep rabbit hole and you need some technical expertise to pull it off. And the smartbridge pro is around $150 instead of $100 for its starter kit.

Here’s the link to the project report on setting things up so you can use Picos to control other smartthings events.

Both pro and regular SmartBridge work fine with the official SmartThings integration. The pro just opens up some additional feature possibilities with other integrations.

If you want to use either with HomeKit, make sure the box says “HomeKit compatible” and that it is “generation 2.”

I think most people using SmartThings will be fine with the regular smartbridge. But I just wanted to mention the pro option so nobody says “I wish I had known about that before.” :wink:


#8

Hmm so with the smart bridge pro you can use picos to do more then just control other Lutron switches? That would be interesting. I’ll have to look into that and decide on what’s best. But thanks for that additional information! That’s good to know!


#9

You can, but you have to set up an additional device like a raspberry pi as a “man in the middle” server and it’s technically fairly complicated. But there are definitely members doing that. Just follow the link I gave in the previous post. :sunglasses:


(fightingmajor) #10

Check your local lowes. The one by my house had the starter kits on clearance for $25. Sign will say $99 or whatever, but have someone who works there check on their scanner.


#11

Thanks for the tip. I’ll take a look. 25 bucks would be perfect.


(Jeff DeWolfe) #12

I have a kit at home that has been sealed for months with a bridge inside. I can look when I get home from work to tell you exactly what kit it is. I would like to sell it, if you are interested.


#13

I would be interested. How much would you want?


(Jeff DeWolfe) #14

It should be this kit: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-Caseta-Wireless-Dimmer-Kit-with-Smart-Bridge-White-P-BDG-PKG1W/205582770

I’m not sure on price, I found a few on ebay. One was over $100 which is ridiculous and another was $75. What do you think is fair?


#15

You should take the for sale conversations to the community for sale thread. Not only will more people see it, but you may find somebody who has something you’d like in trade. :sunglasses:

As far as fair pricing, a good rule of thumb is to find the item on Amazon, then go to Camel Camel Camel and look at the current “third-party used” pricing.

If your item is brand new in the box, the camel camel camel “third party used” is a good place to start, although be aware that when buying from an individual community member people may expect the price to be about 25% below that number when buying from an unknown individual. If your item is actually used, the typical community sale price is about half of the “third-party used” Camel Camel Camel price. Again, just because of the uncertainty in buying from an unknown individual. But you never know, everybody needs to set their prices individually.

Always list the actual model number of what you are offering for sale, as there tends to be a lot of confusion if you just use a verbal description.

If there is something that you’d like in trade, definitely mention that in your post, as you can often get much more value in trade than you could in cash. :tada:


#16

Thanks for the insight. Camel camel camel shows about 80 bucks for 3rd party used. 25% off that would be 60 bucks. I would do that. Or let me know what you were thinking. I’ve never purchased from a random person on the internet so that does make me a little nervous. I’d have to check to see if my wife still has a paypal account. Not sure how else payment would be handled.


(Jeff DeWolfe) #17

Feel free to shoot me a PM. I was thinking $65 shipped. It is brand new, still sealed. Paypal would be best.


#18

I’ll send you a PM Jeff. Thanks,


(fightingmajor) #19

Again, $25 at Lowe’s for this same thing.


#20

I went to Lowes today and they checked on the starter kit for me. It was marked on the rack as 99 dollars and when they checked it also came back as 99 dollars. I told them I knew someone that got it on clearance at lowes for 25 dollars but they said they didn’t know how unless it was an older model or something. Or you just got lucky with someone that didn’t know what they were doing! Either way lucky for you! I however was not so lucky. But was worth a try.