Philips HUE and Fibaro Dimmer


(Mitch Turner) #1

Hi All,

I know this has probably been asked before but I cannot find any thread discussing exactly what im after. Basically I have brought the Philips HUE starter kit with the normal E27 bulbs. Now one thing I have noticed that they bulbs cannot be controlled by ST if the wall light switch is off, it seems the bulbs need a perm live.

Now if i insert a Fibaro Dimmer behind the switch will this work as i assume the Fibaro is always perm live. I already have a Fibaro dimmer controlling my hall lights, and if i turn the Light Switch off from the wall i can also turn it back on from ST, so i assume that Fibaro is always live in that case. Does anyone know if the Fibaro would work with HUE in this circumstance?


#2

Never control the current to smart bulbs with a dimmer, smart or not. The two devices will confuse each other, and you can either shorten the life of the bulb or even burn out the switch. They work differently. The bulb needs to always have full power available to it and then it will control its draw level.

In the case of the Fibaro, the Fibaro itself is always live, but it does cut current to the fitting where the bulbs reside. So it’s exactly the same issue from the bulb’s point of view as a dumb switch. Since the fibaro controls the amount of current fed to the bulbs, it creates the same problem. Smart bulbs need to always have full power available to them, and then the bulb itself will decide how much to draw.

People approach this in a number of different ways. See options 2, 3a, 3b, and 5 in the UK lighting FAQ.


(Mitch Turner) #3

Hi - Thank you so much for your reply. The issue I then have is that the HUE bulb is located in the dinning room which is connected to a Two gang dimmer switch which in turn controls the Lounge lights. Its basically an open Lounge/Dinner and the HUE bulb is hanging above the dining table (1 bulb).

If i purchase the POPp Z wave switch which you mentioned would this have the ability to control both sets of lights like the current two gang dimmer? and cover up the existing dimmer switch.

I love the idea of the HUE bulbs with choosing colour themes etc, but didnt know how restrictive they are with regarding switches. Using the HUE switch just makes it look messy as I will have a wall switch which will basically become redundant in this case.


#4

So the Lounge lights are not hues? Just a regular switch?

That does make it tricky.

There are some people who have designed nice cases that fit over an existing switch, but you would have to add network control for the lounge lights as well. It’s possible, but a little complicated.


(Mitch Turner) #5

No they are just normal LED E14 bulbs, 7 wall lights and the one HUE bulb in the dinning room. They are controlled by the TWO way dimmer at present.

Could this work. Using Fibaro dimmer to control the 7 normal LEDs bulbs, and leaving the HUE wiring permanently live if it could be done and replace the switch with a Blank Switch like below?


#6

I don’t know if that kind of setup is legal in the UK. It’s actually fairly common in the US in those jurisdictions that allow it.

But there are some jurisdictions that are concerned if the fitting is wired to be always hot that then someone who needed to do repair work on the fitting or replace it might think it had been turned off at the wall switch and injure themselves.

If it is legal to wire the bulbs as always on in your jurisdiction, though, understand that if for any reason your home automation system is not working you will have no way to turn those lights on or off.

That’s why personally I prefer the set ups where you put a case over the existing switch and then put the controller on top of it. That way the original switch is still available if needed. But different people go with different things in this situation.


(Mitch Turner) #7

Ok i see what you mean, that does make sense not to make it perm live. The covers are a great idea, but have they actually been made, couldnt tell from the link you gave.

Thank you again for your time.


#8

Yes, he has made prototypes and they are available on a print to order site, although as he says they’re still pretty expensive. Full discussion in the other thread and you should ask any detail questions there. The designer is very particular about the exact look and dimensions.

I have to admit, for myself I would just find a nice looking wooden box lid and fit it over that way, I wouldn’t try to get so fancy with it. But I’m more about the practical than the aesthetic. :sunglasses:


(Mitch Turner) #9

Thanks so much for your help regarding this matter. I think the best solution would to be only use the HUE or LIFX bulbs in side lamps or floor lamps for background effect etc until they invent a wall switch which could control the bulbs correctly. Im quite surprised that no one or even philips have created a typical wall switch to replace the current switches.

Would something like Lutron work or is that the same case.


#10

Philips has two battery-operated light switches, the Tap and the Dimmer Switch. Both work well, they just don’t look like conventional switches. And they don’t fit over existing switches, Perhaps in part to keep the cost down as they sell the same device in both the US and the UK. These work very well as long as you are OK with the aesthetics. The Remotec 8 button panel is another option. And of course in the UK the Devolo battery operated switch looks just like a conventional UK switch, you just have to figure out where to put it and how to cover the existing switch.

For the US market, just this year there is a new device class which has been introduced, the smart switch cover. There is one for Zigbee and one for Z wave. These do fit right over an existing US style light switch and again, work very well. So we can hope that those will be introduced for the UK market eventually, but it is hard to say as that market is much smaller.

The issue as a whole is discussed at length in the UK lighting FAQ. Many people are OK with using a handheld minimote or The wooden cube for lighting control.

So there are many lighting control options for smart bulbs. The one thing that is missing for the UK market is the smart switch cover. Time will tell on that one as to whether the market is big enough to support a UK version.


#11

As for Lutron, it’s the same issue-- any dimmer which controls the current to a fitting that has smart bulbs is a bad idea. They do offer a battery operated switch which works the same way as the Hue battery operated switch but is slimmer and has a slightly different look. That would be a possibility, but I don’t know if it’s available in the UK yet. And it doesn’t work with SmartThings.