SmartThings Community

My Lighting plan for new house, your opinions please

(Dave Mb) #21

I tried this and set up Caseta in home kit (which i thought was a hardware based product) and it worked really well. Controlling voice with both siri and alexa… lights with homekit, ST and Lutron app. Already, even with the few lights that I have hooked up, it is really nice to be able to voice command both siri and alexa. So glad I used caseta as a base (over 30 units arriving next week) and so glad you pointed this out. I’ll test setting up homekit through an apple tv 4 tonight for remote access.
As a next step I may test Hue versus going the zwave (levinton) route for a few lights/items that go over the 50 devices for additional lighting and motion based lighting. I’m weary of losing the hard switch on/off ability or breaking the habit, so I’d probably contain hue to just a couple of “non guest” type rooms? I do like this hugh/lutron a lot though… if i’m not mistaken it takes out the cloud, provide apple and amazon voice and a small but enough device options. Wow… brilliant. By the way, I found this pre-order that ships next week it may have a place in the mix and works with siri, alexa and ST. Do you think future updates in these platforms will force you to select just one platform?
Are there any issues in your config re: guest access for my wife and family?
I may pick up a small hue kit tomorrow (with return options) to play…any other suggestions?


We use the Hue dimmer switches and put a childlock on the existing switches. Guests are fine with these, but they may not meet your aesthetic standard.

As far as future updates, more and more companies are working with all three voice assistants: Alexa, Google Home, and Siri. I expect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future.

(Dave Mb) #23

Testing it today and best of all, best buy Canada has a big sale next week with home automation as a focus! I noticed that the hue sensor set up is great with lots of control. Do you set up everything like sensitivity to light and motion in hue, the run it through homekit in combination of other lights like Caseta? Will hue settings carry over to homekit including the varied hours for day and night option? So far this is great, if i’m not mistaken, Hue in my case, is perfect for lighting without wall switches (such as table lamps) and areas where we can re-train ourselves not to use the switch if it is connected to a sensor or automated.

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Remember that you also have voice for lights control. :sunglasses::bulb:

Hue Labs have a lot of very cool Control options for the sensors, But they will only apply to devices actually attached to the hue bridge.

What you can do, and we do this in some rooms, it is use the fancy Hue sensor settings to turn on a table lamp with a Hue bulb, and then use HomeKit to have the Caseta switch in the room turn on when the bulb turns on. :sunglasses: It does sometimes have a slight delay, but people seem to get used to it really quickly when, say, the desk lamp comes on and then the ceiling fixture comes on. But you can try it and see.

As far as HomeKit itself, you’re still limited to the trigger options in a HomeKit automation.

(Dave Mb) #25

One more thing JD. I noticed that home kit is a cut and dry “on or off” without any motion for automation with the Lutron lights, whereas the hue light gives the option of 1 minute, 3- 5 minutes after no motion…then turn off, the hue seems to carry over to home kit? Is this right?


To be honest, I don’t know. You’d just have to try it and see.

(Dave Mb) #27

JD. How do you manage voice control for both alexa and siri with the mixture of hue and lutron. The goal is the ability to say " Alexa turn off office lights" which may have a mix of hue and or lutron devices, and also be able to say “siri turn off office lights”. Do you pair one hub first (say smart things for alexa) and program the same/similar scenes for siri in home kit? Kind of a redundant mix and match programing between lutron, hue, smart things and homekit to get voice control of both?


Since both of those are HomeKit compatible, I just use HomeKit. It doesn’t matter which one you pair first.

I don’t use smartthings to get Alexa control of Phillips hue or Lutron, but I never have. :sunglasses: I just use their native Alexa integrations.

So whichever wake word I use is the one which gets processed. If I ask Alexa to turn off the office lights, it’s whatever Alexa group i’ve set up.

If I ask Siri to turn off the Office lights, it’s the HomeKit office group.

(Dave Mb) #29

so you set up 2 groups?

(Dave Mb) #30

One in homekit and one in Alexa . Where does lutron or st come into the mix?

(Dave Mb) #31

By the way JD, incase you did’nt see this

this could be a game changer for some

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Lutron is in HomeKit. I don’t really use the Lutron app itself for anything except adding new devices, although there are a couple of things like a random vacation mode (to make it look like you are home when you aren’t) which is kind of cool.

If you want, you can use SmartThings for really complex logic with both the Lutron and the Phillips hue devices, both have official integrations with SmartThings.

(Dave Mb) #33

Got it working great now…thanks. I like this config, especially the ability to use Alexis (which I like more and it works with sonos which was the reason smart entered the home) and Siri which fills all the gaps well in our apple eco system. Got one of these arriving tomorrow.
So at this point, levinton zwave plus switches may be out ((to expand over the lutron 50 limit) for now because they won’t support siri/alexa in the same switch nor do they work in homekit which appears to be the main hub now. Hue may be an option in the fall with wall switches coming out to run a hue/caseta hybrid and over come the need/want for wall switches.
Seems like dimmers/wall plugs (don’t want to use the lutron to take up device limit) amay be limited in choice any recommendations there? So far my hue motion detector (thanks again) is running great and they go on sale this week.


Now that the WeMo Bridge is available, WeMo pocket sockets will work with both SmartThings and HomeKit. We have a couple of these.

The IHome pocket sockets work with HomeKit, Alexa, and officially work with SmartThings (no extra bridge needed), although the ST integration has broken a couple of times this year. So since this is a SmartThings forum, those would be the top option, I think. We had problems with the original ISP5 and ISP6 staying connected and like a lot of people ended up returning that one. But the ISP8 has been solid for us. It comes with its own handheld remote. We got ours on sale at Best Buy, I wouldn’t pay full price for it.

I like the engineering on the iDevices units better, but they don’t work with SmartThings. We have their outside-rated Switch for holiday lights.

Koogeek is a popular budget brand for HomeKit, but doesn’t work with SmartThings and blocks the second outlet, so personally I like IHome better.

(Dave Mb) #35

After a week or two of testing, we’re well into phase 1 installing a bunch of hue and lutron caseta this weekend. So far so good. Picked up a Phillips tap switch and philips wall dimmer which offered some more flexibility and fun. The combo have really addressed the siri/homekit and alexa compatibility along with extending well past the casesta limit of 50. I haven’t resolved the plugs yet, I’m leaning toward I-devices based on your comment that they are better engineered. As you mentioned they are not compatible with ST which I don’t foresee as an issue as i doubt i’ll plug in anything that may require the complexity ST can bring. For now, ST will only be used for more complex automation. If i need it ST compatible , I’ll bring in another plug. The most common use of these plugs will be a bunch of mood rope lighting controlled by a wall switch (about 8 different areas). I’ve looked at the hue led strips but it is too pricy and I’d need way too much (I have a couple of areas that stretch over 25 feet and a total of about 130 feet of rope light in different rooms.
On this basis (rope light as the primary) any preference? The isp 8 (on sale right now at 43 canadain) and the idevices are near the same price at about 40 Canadian. I like the remote option but i doubt we’d use it a lot, energy measurement not appicable in this case.
I’ll order a couple of them this weekend for a trial. Am I splitting hairs?
As far as dimmable plugs any luck with other devices other than the lutron which tested great but eats up my device limit?


(Dave Mb) #36

Hey JD. We installed a bunch of hue and lutron on the weekend. (had to get an electrician to help advise in a couple of multi gang spots 3 and 4 way spots lol ) I’m now setting things up and hoping for a few tips as I can see there are many ways to skin the cat. A few thoughts/questions

  • duplicate as much as i can in naming structure when setting up on echo and homekit and even ST? use the word “light” in light scenes so they can be distinguished from other commands IE: “office music” versus “office lights”
  • it appears when I set scenes in homekit, I have to set different scenes for on and off and they don’t have any flexibility Ie: scene = cooking lights (3 lutron lights set to 100%) also requires a “cooking off” scene and neither have dimming flexibility with siri, wheras I found that alexa let me set up a routine with the same devices but turned off, dimmed etc by voice command all on the single routine. Is this the case or did i miss something?
  • any way to back these up (a lot of work to lose?)
  • do you recommend a echo plus for the built in hub/zigbee/hue? ( I already have hue hub)
  • As it stands it seems that my best best for voice commands are 1st alexa, 2nd siri with the expectation that siri will be far more limited in scenes versus routines in echo. Therefore echo set up is ahead of homekit except for things like motion detectors? ST 3rd for special applications.
  • Any tips would be greatly appreciated.



You are correct that you don’t turn off a scene in homekit. You don’t in most home automation platforms, including SmartThings. A scene is just a snapshot of settings for various devices.

However, HomeKit offers “groups” as well as “scenes.” ( in fact, it has “rooms,” “zones,” “groups,” “scenes,” and “automations.” Each works a little differently.)

With HomeKit groups, you can dim or change color for multiple devices with one command, including one voice command. And you can also include a group in a scene or an automation. They are super easy to set up and very intuitive once you see how it’s done the first time.

I suggest you look for HomeKit tutorials for further details on all of that, there are a lot of them available. Just make sure you choose ones for iOS 11, a lot of features have changed relative to earlier versions. And the official Apple discussion forums are good for most questions.

I personally use echo first for most voice commands and use Siri for things the echo doesn’t do, or if I’m somewhere where I’m not in range of the echo. But it’s just a matter of personal choice, as you get used to both systems you’ll find which you prefer.

For your other questions, I don’t recommend the Echo Plus for anything at this time. The rules engine is just too limited. And as of this writing it can’t handle any sensors, basically just on/off devices and locks.

As far as tips, since this is a SmartThings forum, I think we should keep the discussion to tips for using both SmartThings and HomeKit, and I think I’ve already given you all the ones I have for that. :sunglasses:

(Dave Mb) #38

I think we are on the same path as far integrating multiple platforms and I’d like to thank you again for your input. So far so good with combining Caseta, hue, alexa, siri, ST and homekit. I just realized last night that my apple tv remote worked for lighting commands…very nice. So far, I have about 25 light switches on lutron (more to come) , 10 lights on hue, 3-4 wall plugs, ecobee 4, 3 hue sensors, all working with alexa and sir commands with apple tv as the remote hub. For voice, 5 echo’s and I just tried a sonos one to mix with my multi zone system, it has great sound but alexa needs some work as it is no where near as mic sensitive and is a little dwarfed in capability, so i put it in a room that will be used mostly for music and basic requests. It is a great option though and the sound, even for voice, is vastly superior to the echos. I think the foundation is set and now it will be the little things, trail and errors and tweeks on programming and keeping up with changes/new product that will keep this fun and evolving. I hope this thread helps someone else who may have similar wants and needs. For me, this all started with virtually no knowledge, and a goal to get past the 50 device limit of caseta which evolved to what seems to be a great multi facetted solution. Ironically, ST is lower in the mix but i’ll bet that it plays a bigger roles as things evolve and i’m glad I got one. Thanks again JD, you we’re very helpful. All the best.

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