Philips Hue system - Questions for those who own these

First of all let me thank you ahead of time for all that respond.

  • I was wondering what where the Pro’s and Cons of owning this system.
  • In what ways are you finding the Hue bulbs to be worth the difference
    in price for standard LED and HA Switch,
  • Are you satisfied with how ST works with Hue?
  • After purchasing Hue, what is the most unexpected benefit that you
    have enjoyed from using their system?

I am thinking about purchasing a system, but I am not sure that it will fit in my plan for HA

I love hue. It is very reliable, color and transition times are cool, RESTful API is great. Plus I don’t find them much more expensive than a quality LED and switch.

I have multiple scenes on my server that are called at random in some settings/times. It’s nice to have things changed up automatically.

Deep red is perfect for lighting your way in the middle of the night. Love changing color for reminders. Long transitions make great timers; I have one that transitions from blue to orange in the time it takes my shower to heat up.

The hue app is nice, with home screen widgets for scenes, and there are a number 3rd party apps for animated scenes and sound/music sync. I have a couple around the jacuzzi (they’re better than candles with these apps).

Cons… There aren’t any IMHO. Some may want more light output and I could use a little more in my shower, but I think I can rectify that by replacing the translucent diffuser in the shower fixture with a transparent one. The Hues are already beautifully diffused.

The SmartThings integration (as with quite a number of things) is bare bones at best, with transition times and groups unsupported, and you’ll need to add hue’s additional settings into every SmartApp if you want control over brightness/color. I prefer to create scenes with shell scripts on my server that call the hue api, and just sending a command from SmartThings to it. Makes it simpler to record/edit them.

Would do it again in a heartbeat.

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What happens when the hue is connected to a 3way switch? Does turning either off disable the bulbs ? Same question on a standard switch.

I don’t own a hue yet. I am trying to decide between going with switches or the hue.
I assume with the hue, you can control each bulb individually. Is that assumption correct? If it is, that would be another benefit over a switch.

While you can use Hues with a physical switch, once power is interrupted and reapplied, they will simply come on full bright white.

I rarely use a light switch, but have installed several non-load-bearing switches to tell SmartThings to control them.

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Do you mean you used switches to control the hue bulbs or just your standard bulbs?

I guess if you want to prevent people from switching the power off you could always get a bunch of these:

The switches I’m using don’t control the load (which I hard wired to the line); they simply send on & off events to SmartThings.

The switches I’m using don’t control the load (which I hard wired to the line); they simply send on & off events to SmartThings.

What kind of switches can you use to do this? Does it involve a special way of wiring a zwave switch? I have similar questions as the OP, and I haven’t gotten any smart bulbs yet because I don’t know how to configure them while still being able to use switches, but it sounds like your setup @scottinpollock might be the solution I’m looking for.

You can use any Z-wave on/off switch that connects to a neutral. Connect the line and neutral to it, but not the load (wire nut it directly to the line).

Then just use a flavor of ‘the big switch’ SmartApp to control things via on and off events.

@scottinpollock Thanks for clarifying! Does this also work for a three-way switch?

I use the Hue Light Strips under my kitchen cabinets with SmartThings to create a white LED look at night which is triggered by my motion sensor. It looks awesome and works really well. It was expensive, but not as expensive as having an electrician wire them in my cabinets.

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This! :smile:

Hue is amazing

If you’re wiring the zwave switch already, can’t you just use smartThings to set the light to on if someone turns it off and then have hue set to some default state? With the setup you are using, don’t you run the risk of not being able to use your lights if you have an internet or network outage?

Smart 3ways can vary how they work (depending on vendor), but the short answer to your question would be that if the your 3ways get their power from a line and a neutral (meaning they don’t trickle power through the load for that), then they should work. Easiest way to test is remove the load, and check the log or the switches tile to see if it is sending ons and offs.

Beauty of Hue is that the OEM app is both remote and local. It, and the API will always work locally without internet access. But yes, my switches would stop working if anything in the SmartThings chain of things went down.

@scottinpollock - So you have this zwave switch that communicates it’s state to smartThings. I would think you could programmatically tell smartThings to turn a switch back on if the state turns to off. Then because that change in state would cause hue to turn on bright white, have smartThings set Hue to Off so the light remains off. This would allow you to still use your light switch in the case of network or internet outage.

Your setup seems to work well, so it’s not a huge hangup bypassing the switch. I just know the first time we have a network problem my wife will freak out if she needs to use her phone to turn on the lights.

The cheapest way would to just put a child proof cover over the switch, but it’s not nearly as cool. :smile:


For me, there is always a tablet or phone nearby as they are used to control the A/V systems as well. Those panels also have controls for all the lighting (hue via their API, and SmartThings via endpoints). Not too long ago I didn’t have any switches as everything was just automated. The switches I have recently installed are pretty much for the benefit of guests as I still rarely touch one.

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Yeah… the neat thing about using these virtual/physical switches is that a single switch can be used for a number of scenes. I have smartapps that rotate through a number of them:

Press on once, last scene that was set;, press off, that scene off. Press on twice in a row, or press on while switch is already on, it rotates to the next scene and remembers it for additional off/on cycles. I actually have as many as six different scenes trigger-able by a single switch. It is great for Hues for cycling through different color schemes.

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That’s a pretty interesting setup. Nice job. :slight_smile:

@scottinpollock I think I need to look into the REST API. To make my final determination. You stated that you used a server to process the scenes etc. What are you using to script the scenes? PHP?

The scenes are shell scripts calling cURL, the server that runs the scripts is HAM Bridge, although you could do it in php if you wanted to run that locally. HAM Bridge is just simpler, and has the advantage of recording scenes and creating the script for them with a single mouseclick.

You can find the Hue API here. I think they did a nice job.