New to all of this. Question about lights

Ok, so I’m new to all of this. I recently bought a ST kit and have a couple switches and presence sensors that I use to control things like my coffee machine.

Now I’m looking at lights. However, I’m confused. Can I just use a TCP light bulb (like at Home Depot) or a WINK lightbulb? Or even a Hue? Or do I need to buy the “kit” with a bridge/hub that ST can talk to?

Will WINK work w/ ST? There’s a cheap setup option @ HD: Buy two bulbs ($15ish), get the “hub” for $20. The “other” TCP lights they have are kinda spendy in kit form…

Your help is appreciated!

-Michael Dow

The GE Link bulb will work out of the box with SmartThings. You will not need the Wink hub to make them work. The TCP lights require a small hub. The starter kit is 79.00 at home depot and the bulbs are 18 after that. The hue bulbs also require a bridge, I believe.

1 Like

I also can confirm that the GE Link bulbs work well. Check into them, they have met my needs so far.

To each their own, of course, but for me I’ve gone with replacing my wall switches with Z-wave switches. Three reasons for this:

A.) If a bulb goes bad, you just replace with a cheap bulb.
B.) I can still control the lights with the wall switch if ST fails or if I want to “over ride” whatever automated setup I have without have to pull out the phone and app
C.) A more low-tech-ish wife --she’s actually relatively tech savvy, just not someone who’d rather do it the geek way if it can be done “perfectly fine” the old way–. would not approve of not having local control of things.

1 Like

Everyone is going to have their own ideal setup. For me, it is mostly connected bulbs, specifically a combination of Hue and GE Link bulbs, all connected to the Hue bridge. My reasoning is:

1.) Hue bridge works locally and from the cloud. So no problems when internet or SmartThings are down.

2.) Hue schedules are local. No problems when SmartThings scheduled events go awol.

3.) Hue Bridge connected bulbs also work seamlessly with SmartThings.

4.) There are some cool Hue apps, and a very complete and easy to use local API.

5.) SmartThings Hue integration does not support Hue transition times (up to 30 minutes), which is one of their coolest features IMHO.

6.) No issues with dimming, and groups are supported.

7.) Hue app supports widgets (if you’re on Android).

@ChrisB I also use Z-Wave Switches, but I have an unusual build of a house. Part 1954 and 2008. The Old section (affectionately called the museum section) has no neutral. So using the GE Links avoiding the electrical hassle for the moment on that side.

New with this stuff, so a question on this. But if I had a Philips Hue system with the bridge, could I use ST system (or another system) to be able to turn on and off my Hue bulbs without killing the power to them (so they can still be turned on with the app)?

For example, I’d like to replace the lights in my living room with Hue bulbs. Usually, we would just use the switch on the wall to turn on and off the lights. I still need that switch to work (for kids and wife), but don’t want it to kill power to all the bulbs. I have seen the Philips Tap, but I’d rather have something that can look like a light switch control the lights (on/off and maybe dim). Would ST works for that?

The bulbs need power 100% of the time to be controlled remotely. You can have a Zwave or Zigbee switch that do not control the load of the light, but instead send commands to SmartThings that would in turn control the lights.

This is how I have mine set up. Another advantage of this is that you can have one switch control more than one group of lights. I have one switch in the Kitchen that controls both the counter and sink lights. I have a SmartApp that when the switch gets one press it turns on the counter lights. Press it again and it turns on the sink light.

While the above setup works well, you’d have to get used to a certain amount of latency that SmartThings adds between the pressing of the switch and the lights actually turning on.

Thanks. That’s what I was looking for.

What kind of latency are we talking here? I use IFTTT for certain wemo functions and it is a good 8-10 seconds which is a bit long.

When SmartThings is responding as it should it is only a second or so.

How do you wire the switch to not control the load? Do you just wire the load to the line directly and put the neutral wire to the switch or is there another way to do this?

Nope, that’s it…

So what if I only have the Hue LUX bulbs and the bridge right now for control, but would like to add in a wall switch to control lights directly as well. No ST or other HUBS, just the HUE Bridge can I add in a z-wave or Zigbee wall switch to control or dim the light from the switch? If so what make/model is recommended that will work?

Nope. You can use a Hue Tap though.

I have Hue set up but in the same lights (they take three bulbs total) I want the other two to be GE link bulbs. Can I control the link bulbs with just the Hue hub? Or could I get rid of the Hue hub and control both bulb varieties with just a Wink hub?

I wouldn’t ditch the Hue bridge, it’s the best of the bunch, and can control GE Links. I have issues with them not reporting being reachable, but that hasn’t affected their operation.

Thanks for the reply! I haven’t been able to get GE Link bulbs to show up under the Hue app. I want to be able to turn them on and off while on vacation but can’t seem to get them to snow. Any recommendations?

Which switch do you recommend? I’m ready to move a few switches to this setup because I have an old house without ground/neutral and almost 100% LED bulbs.

I use Intermatic CA5100, mostly 'cause they’re cheap; but they require a neutral. In fact, any switch you use in this kind of set up will require a neutral because there are no electrons passed to the switch if there is neither a load or neutral connected.

1 Like

I’m also having an issue with GE link bulbs not showing up under the hue app. I’ve tried resetting the bridge and reinstalling the app. All bulbs are powered on but only hue bulbs show up, not any ge link bulbs. I also tried to “search” for them under settings with no success. Anything special that needs to be done to get them to show up?