Philips Hue, Scenes, and SmartThings - A request to the community

Dear SmartThings community,

I’m here to ask for your help. I purchased ST for one primary reason (knowing that I could explore its other functions later): I wanted a simple solution for automating my Philips Hue scenes.

I have about 45 Hue bulbs/strips. The Philips Hue software manages to change all the bulbs’ settings/levels immediately and simultaneously, whether using its app, or using its physical switches.

I’ve tried so many smartapps on ST and none have been able to replicate that. They have two flaws - least troublesome is that It takes significant time for them all to respond (5-15 seconds). More troublesome, several will always be left out, either not responding at all (not turning on when told to, or off when told to) or not responding fully (ie. a bulb will come on to the right color, but the level will stay dim, or vice versa). It’s not always the same bulbs. It’s sometimes just one or two, more often, it’s more.

Does anyone know of a way around this? Is there a way to have SmartThings just send a command to the Philips Hue hub and say to it, “Hey, turn on that Scene 001 you have on file,” and allow it to do its processing since it’s so good at it? (I tried Hue (Re)Connect for that, but it snarled my system.) Alternatively, is there a way to get SmartThings to reliably handle a request to manage 45 different bulbs where each one has its own individual settings (different colors/levels)?

I’ve spent a full month tinkering with this almost every day, and I feel at a loss. Is it a fool’s errand? Or does anyone have a brilliant stroke of genius for what might work?

Thank you all,

p.s. - a huge shout out to Michael S., who has made the incredible Alexa Helper. He wrote a super simple code for me, as I hoped that the more stripped down it was, the more reliable it would be. He’s been great, and I was glad that I could help a bit with his Alexa Helper documentation in return for his generosity, but it still suffers from the same issues with this many lights.

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What all Smart Apps have you tried?

I don’t have anywhere near as many lights (I think its currently at 9 bulbs and a light strip) , but Rule Machine doesn’t leave lights out for me and responds as quickly as can be.

Smart Lighting did give me problems so I immediately switched away from it.
I do still use the dimmer switch and Hue Tap I have (dimmer switch is in the bathroom in case of an ST outage/issue) and the Tap is in the hallway, centrally located.


Which version hub do you have? When I had V1 reliability was poor. Since switching to V2 I don’t get any lights that don’t automate. The response is better but not perfect but much more reliable

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Thank you both. I have the V2 hub.

Regarding Rule Machine, it’s an amazing piece of magic, but it too will miss some lights more often than not.

That said, scenes for individual rooms (and therefore, fewer lights) get much better results. Which makes me think it’s just latency in the cloud (did I phrase that correctly? Basically, I mean I think it may just be the time it takes for processing the request and delivering it back to me from far away) when requesting that many changes at once.

Which actually just prompted an idea. Rule Machine has the delay function. For setting light levels, I don’t think I can use the millisecond option, but perhaps I can have all my overhead and main lights turn on immediately, and then call for a 1 second delay for the secondary/accent lights. Perhaps breaking it up will let it process more efficiently? I will test it and see.

Update: Even with the built in delay for half the bulbs, I’m still having some not respond. I feel like a solution might be to use Rule Machine to send the backup requests immediately following the first request, since those that are missed get picked up with a second (or rarely, third) throwing of the switch. I’m going to post in that topic to ask for thoughts on the most logical way to do this.

How many bulbs are you talking about? Hue API suggests no more than 10 “light” commands per second. Is it possible ST is performing fine, but making too many calls to Hue? If you’re changing Color and Dim Level, that’d be 2 commands for each bulb using basic commands. You can set level and color at the same time with a custom setColor() command that includes the level in the parameter map.

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Hi, Scott… it’s 48 bulbs, and yes, calling for color, sat, and level for each.

Using the Hue app and Hue physical switches (the Tap hockey puck things), it works without a hitch. Is the Hue API something different? Does that mean 3rd party apps that send commands to Hue?

Activating a scene is only one command, so in the Hue app or via a Hue Tap, you’re really triggering a single command. That’s why the Hue (Re)Connect is such a great app if it works for you. Since ST addresses each bulb separately, the commands add up fast. From ST, hue/sat is one and level is one (you can send level with hue/sat, so it would be one per bulb). The Hue app also will have better management of commands, so they don’t get dropped even if you make a bunch really fast.

If you want to change 48 bulbs at once, you might want to consider adding a delay to space out every 4-5 bulbs. I don’t know if that will be an acceptable user experience, though.

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Thanks so much, Scott,
I’ll be spending a lot of time today trying different things to see what works. I’ll try Hue (Re)Connect again and see if I can get it this time.

Regarding the IFTTT option, can you elaborate a bit more on how I’d make that work, and if you think it would be more reliable?

Sorry, I absentmindedly thought the IFTTT channel for Hue allowed you to activate a scene, but it doesn’t. I’ll edit my post, so others aren’t confused.

Ah, no worries at all. If only it did, I’d be thrilled.

Hue Re-connect is definitely the way forward, especially now you can delete unwanted scenes from the hub. I use it to control about 40 hue bulbs. Works really well


Just posted exactly what you’re looking for:

You mention being able to delete scenes from your hue hub, how do you do this, using both (re)connect and hue lights,groups and scenes OH MY, smart apps I still see all the duplicates. And neither seem to update if I change the name of the scenes.

I just wanted to link here to the solution I found to my particular problem; I consider it perfectly solved!

the way scenes work is messy, if you change the scene name it doesn’t in fact change the name, it creates a new copy with the new name. So you would need to add that new one into ST and remove the existing one.
If you look at the philips API documentation there is an addition that allows you to delete scenes. I just collared one of the powershell hue modules and modified with that info to delete all my unwanted scenes. I now make sure I do the scene and naming accurate so I don’t end up with many.

I really should get around to writing a little .net program to manage the scenes on the hub

Appreciate the response Fuzzyligic, is there any chance you could PM me or post how you removed your scenes (some simple steps?) I’m not a coder but have no problems getting stuck in.

On a different note, When I changed the name of one of my scenes it didn’t make a duplicate nore did it show up in “scenes” within smartthings ((re)connect and/or hue OH MY smart apps) a new scene created showed up but not the renamed one. Just to clarify I uninstalled/removed each other smartapp and linked device handles before testing either one.
Also I have the original hue bridge not the v2

Cheers in advance to any responses or advice.

yes i have the original v1 hue bridge also.

I will need to rerun through everything again to figure it out again :blush: i didn’t keep the powershell as it was on my desktop and i did a cleanupm if you can wait a week or so until i’ve finished programming my Tado stuff i can knock together a little program to do just this.

The behavior is see is that i change the name in the hue app then rerun through the hue re-connect app i can see the new named scene. i am now not creating any new ones as i have enough to work with

Thanks appreciate it. The app would be great, I think I’ll see if I can factory reset the bridge on the weekend so it’s clean. I’m not overly attached to any particular scene so don’t mind starting again.
Would definitely be good to have a tool to reset/remove them going forward though.

Again appreciate your response.


May I know, Why you do not use hue original APP or switch?