Philips Hue and physical switch

Hi,

I’m starting my journey with intelligent home devices. I bought Aeotec smart home hub v3 and Philips Hue White ambiance GU10 bulb.

I intend to use this bulb to set ambiance and strength of the light based on daytime, but the light have to be power on / off using physical wall switch which is powering also fan.

My problem is that when I use the wall switch to power off the bulb, status off the bulb becomes unreachable, but the bulb state in smartthings app is still on. When I turn on light the bulb becomes available and its state is still on. It prevents my procedure from triggering.

Is there a way to set light device state to off when it is unavailable ? Or maybe is there another solution to the problem ? (Replacing the wall switch is not possible). Maybe there are other bulbs which behaves differently and can be used in my case ?

First, we need to ask what country you are in, as the available solutions may be different.

Second, I’m afraid that in your particular situation there may not be much you can do since you don’t want to replace the existing switch. Using the existing wall switch is the same as just cutting the power at the fuse box as far as the smart bulb is concerned. Since there’s no power to the radio inside the bulb, there’s no way for it to tell SmartThings of its change in status. :disappointed_relieved: This will be true for all brands of smart bulbs.

Third, you should be aware that Hue, Like most smart bulbs, are intended to always have power. It’s ok if power goes out a couple of times a year, but if you are regularly using a wall switch to cut power and restore it again, the “inrush current” each time you turn the light on can damage the radio and shorten the working life of what are already expensive bulbs. There’s no safety issue, so you can do this if you want to, but it means you may have to replace the bulbs much more often.

Fourth, by any chance does your fan have a handheld remote? That might give us some more options. We would still need to know the country you are in and the exact model of the fan. :thinking:

p.s. This isn’t a big deal, and it’s up to you, but you should be aware that the photo you have chosen for your avatar is one that has been used in this forum for over 6 years by one of our most active members. So it may confuse people when they see it and assume it’s him instead of you.

Oh, and just to be sure…

When you say you can’t replace the existing wall switch, does that also mean you can’t add anything to the existing wiring inside the wall? There are some devices that can be added inside the fan motor compartment or inside the switchbox that might help.

Those are sometimes possible if the issue is just wanting to keep the look/feel of the existing switch.

But of course if it doesn’t help if you are a renter and you aren’t allowed to touch the wiring.

So I just thought I’d ask.

You can add a Lutron Aurora dimmer on top of the switch if it is the toggle type

If you have US style switches. It won’t work with EU style.

And even so: that will control the smart bulbs, but would leave the fan running all the time. Probably not what they want.

The combined fan/light switch is one of the most challenging home automation projects. The wiring is different from typical switches and different fan models handle the light control differently.

If the fan already has two separate controls, even a pull chain for the lights and a wall switch for the fan, then that’s easier to automate.

Or if it already has a handheld remote, there’s usually something you can do.

But it really does come down to the details of the specific model.

I really like the Lutron Aurora devices and have three in my own home, but i’m just not sure they are a match to this specific situation.

I understand that you turn the fan on and off with the wall switch. And that when you turn the wall switch off, the light in the fan also turns off.

Is there any other way to turn the lights on when the fan is off? Maybe a pull chain on the fan?

Or is it always true that the lights can only turn on if the fan is on?

Different models do this differently. There are some where every time the fan is on the light is on and you can’t have separate controls. And there are some where you can turn the lights off when the fan is on, but you cannot turn the lights on when the fan is off. It just varies a lot. So that’s why the details matter, the automation possibilities will also vary.

You’re right. I didn’t catch the fan in my first reading :+1:

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Hi,

first of all, thank you very much for taking your time to help me. I’m from EU (Poland).
I’m aware that the bulbs lifetime can be shorter but I treat this as additional price to reach my goal :slight_smile:

Unfortunately my partner is not allowing me to replace the switch, because she wants to have all switches in the same style. And she don’t want to make any additional actions to make the fan or light to be turned on. It’s air shaft fan in my bathroom.

I have some very basic knowledge of electronics, and I could probably add some device under the switch, or near the fan. The fan is just wired to the same line as light and does not have any switch.

I removed my avatar, it was inherited from my google account. I’m also using this image for years, but I respect that on this forum the avatar is reserved :slight_smile:

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So they always turn on and off together? There is no way to turn the lights on without the fan being on?

If so, I’m afraid there really isn’t anything you can do without rewiring. When the switch cuts the power to the lights, there’s no way to send a message that that happened.

One easy thing you could try is adding a battery powered light sensor to the room. Then when the light level fell below a certain level you could have the sensor tell ST and you could adjust the switch status then. I don’t know if that would work for you. :thinking:

A more complicated project. if your existing switch has a neutral wire, you could add an in wall module to control the circuit. It will use the neutral wire to power the radio, so “off” only means the fan and lights go off, the radio stays on and can still hear and send messages. That would solve the status problem and let you automate turning the light on. However, in your case the fan and light would still turn on and off together.

This module would probably work, you would need to verify the specs. Here’s a listing at Amazon in Germany, but this module is widely available. :sunglasses:
.

Note that North America zwave and EU zwave are in different frequencies and the module you get must match your hub frequency exactly.

there are some inwall modules that don’t require a neutral wire but they are only intended for dimmable lights because they work by turning the light down very low, not off completely. They will not work with a fan motor.

@JDRoberts

Thanks a lot for those solutions. I will try to buy the Aeotec Nano Switch and install it under the light switch.
If for some reason the Nano Switch won’t work in my case, I will try the light sensor option.

I didn’t add (thought it irrelevant) that the triggered action is to set the light parameters based on time of the day. I just familiarize myself with webCoRE, and wrote piston which sets light parameters every two minutes. So if the bulb is ON for more than two minutes desired parameters will be set. The bulb remembers its previous parameters so if the light is switched on next time it will have desired parameters from the beginning.

However I don’t like triggering the action “blindly” every two minutes. Don’t know if it will have any side effects.

Again thank you a lot. Have a nice day :slight_smile: