Pair dimmer switches to my Echo, ST hub or Harmony hub?

I’m planning to buy an Echo 2, ST hub, Logitech Harmony Elite (which comes with its own hub) and some dimmer switches (not sure which ones, yet). Very basically, I want to be able to have Alexa commands like “Turn off the kitchen lights,” “Turn on the media lights,” etc. I’d also like to have these same lighting controls on my physical Harmony Remote Control. I’m really confused as to what the setup for this looks like.

Do i pair the dimmer switches to the harmony hub, then the harmony hub to the ST hub, then the ST hub to the Echo? Do i pair each hub directly to the Echo and then do something with the ST hub? Do i pair the dimmer switches to all 3? It’s also more confusing because some dimmer switches that i see come with their OWN hub. I have no idea how all of this works :confused:

It depends on the specific switches that you are buying.

If you are buying Z wave switches, you will need to pair them to SmartThings or similar Z wave hub, and then you use the SmartThings/Alexa integration.

If you are buying Wi-Fi switches, they would probably work directly with echo, but would not usually work with SmartThings.

If you are buying Lutron Caseta switches, then you would also need to buy their smartbridge device, and then after that you can use the direct Lutron/Alexa integration or you can use the Lutron/SmartThings integration.

So it just depends on the exact dimmer switches that you buy.

As far as harmony, it does have its own integration with many switches, including Lutron Caseta (again, using the Lutron SmartBridge). But because there is an official SmartThings/Harmony integration anything that you can control with SmartThings you can also control from Harmony. :sunglasses:

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Thanks, JD. I know this stuff will become a lot more basic when i get my hands on everything and start setting it up, but with all the different hubs from all the different manufacturers, it’s all pretty confusing to think about.

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I understand. And it is confusing.

The first thing is to just take a step back from the devices themselves and think about what you actually want to do.

Given that you want voice control, There are essentially three categories here.

  1. Voice control of groups of devices, like “turn the lights on.” Maybe with a very simple timer as well, like “have the lights come on at seven every day.”

You can meet the requirements for this category just with echo itself and The right devices.

  1. simple if/then rules. Like “if my smart phone leave the area, turn off the lights.” Or “if my smart phone comes into range of the house, turn on the lights.” Or " if my smart phone is at home and it’s after sunset, turn on the Living room lights." This is basically just one if plus maybe “home” and “away.”

This is also where you often start adding sensors, like “if the front door opens after sunset, turn on the porch light” or “if someone walks in the laundry room, turn on the lights.” The “if” in those cases is based on a sensor detecting activity. There are a lot of different kinds of sensors. The most basic are open/close sensors that you might use on a door or a cabinet, and motion sensors. But there are also light level sensors, water detection sensors, temperature and humidity sensors, etc.

Now you need to start adding smarter controllers, such as the Phillips hue bridge, the Lutron Caseta SmartBridge, or maybe Apple HomeKit. And again, the right set of devices.

  1. really complicated if/then rules. Like “if A, then B, unless C, and only if D.” Like “turn on the Livingroom lights when Michael’s smart phone gets home unless Lisa’s Smart phone is already home and the lights were switched off manually.”

Once you start getting to this level of complexity, that’s when you look at full featured home automation hubs like SmartThings or Homeseer. Hubs that have full-featured “rules engines.” And again, you’ll still have to pick the right set of devices to go with that hub.

But the first thing is just to take a step back and think about what kind of rules you actually want to set up. That will then let you know what category you’re in, and from there you can start deciding on devices. :sunglasses:

Control of the television is a whole separate decision, but these days there are basically two choices to use with Echo: either Logitech Harmony hub or fire TV. They each have pluses and minuses, they both work quite well, and some people even use both. But in both cases there is a “native” integration with echo, so you don’t really have to worry about the three categories above. This is a separate decision. :sunglasses:

Log off of this site Now! Never come back. You’ve been warned!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, welcome to the madness!

SmartThings will serve as the brains.
webCoRE can serve as the rule engine.
Harmony Devices are not controllable individually (not without an additional server) but the Activities show in SmartThings as switches.
Harmony can control SmartThing devices.
Alexa can control SmartThing devices by voice which Harmony Activities.
Alexa can control Harmony without needing SmartThings as a middleman.

Advice, if possible, get you some Z-Wave Plus Switches and Dumb Bulbs. You will not regret getting the Z-Wave Plus switches as some of them have extra virtual buttons and capabilities. I have been slowly replacing my switches with the GE 14294 models. They have built in double click off and on for 2 additional buttons that you can assign to do whatever you like in SmartThings.