Problem: Phillips Hue being preferred route for non-Hue zigbee device (UK)

(Tmp R) #1

I have a ST multisensor and I’ve been trying to get it to work outside - 5m away from the nearest ST outlet (repeater) and 10m away from the nearest Hue bulb.

However after looking at the network map its only connection is to the Hue bulb, which of course won’t pass any Hue traffic.

If I move the sensor so that its close to the repeater and further from the bulb, then it connects to the repeater and everything works.

How do I get it to stay connected to the repeater and not the Hue bulb. Is there an alternative smart bulb that just works with all ZigBee protocols as that would solve a lot of problems for me!

Or a cheap Zwave open/close sensor?


Are you using the hue bridge with that Bulb? Or do you have the hue bulb connected directly to the smart things hub?

If the Hue bulb is connected to the Hue bridge, it’s actually on an entirely different network and it won’t affect your other zigbee devices in anyway.

If the hue bulb is connected directly to the smartthings hub without using the hue bridge, they are generally reliable repeaters for other bulbs and should work fine for those. Unfortunately, as @johnr points out below, they aren’t always good at passing on messages from other devices.

Zigbee devices will choose their own message paths based on the signal strength of their neighbors, so you can’t control that once everything is on the network, but there is a trick that I will mention in post 7 below that might help.

Also, what did you use to map the network? :sunglasses:

As far as zwave, there are a lot of different brands. What country are you in, as device availability does vary.

(Tmp R) #3

The bulbs are connected directly (ZHA mode)

For mapping, I basically followed this guide… FAQ: Mapping your ZigBee network with Digi's XCTU

With the Hue bulb powered on the multisensor connects to it and it shows up on the map as a signal 1 way from repeater to endpoint. e.g. 200/?

With the bulb powered off it connects to the ST outlet as a repeater and it shows a signal the other way e.g. ?/200

The sensor is only available to ST when connected via the outlet although in either case it shows up on the map :confused:

(Tmp R) #4

Update: Since switching off all my Hue bulbs the sensor has worked perfectly.


Interesting. I’m still hoping that @johnr Will have more to add, I don’t have practical experience with this particular set up as I use the hue bridge.

(John Rucker) #6

Sorry for the delay. Head deep in my next article.

When the hue bulbs are connected directly to an HA hub like SmartThings they connect as routers with limited functionality. I have found they will route their own traffic just fine. However, when it comes to relying on them to route standard ZigBee traffic they are unreliable. Early on about 3 years ago I posted an article about using the Hue bulb as a generic ZigBee router. I have since updated that saying it’s not an effective way to go. The bulbs just don’t appear to have the horsepower.

What your seeing is what I would expect to see. If your only ZigBee path is through a hue bulb good luck. It would be better to have other routers (power plugs) for the traffic to pass through. Once the battery powered sensor connects to the power plug it will record it’s ZigBee address as its parent. It will stay connected to it until you turn the power off to the power plug or replace the batteries in your sensor. So, you should be okay now that it is connected the way you want.


Thanks for the details, @johnr . :sunglasses:

There is one trick you can use along the lines of what John mentioned when you know you have unreliable repeaters like the zigbee bulbs.

When you get ready to add a new device, take the bulbs completely off power.

Then add the new device. This will force it to choose one of your other repeaters as its parent. It will know the bulbs are on your network, but it will think they have a very weak signal since they are off power.

When you have the new device added and working, then you can power on the bulbs again.

Now as long as everything stays on power, the new device should continue to use the repeater that it chose at the time of joining. Just be aware that if you have a power outage and everything comes back it’s possible that it would switch over to trying to use the bulbs again.

And you will have to do the same process every time you do a network heal.

So it’s annoying and some extra work, but while you can’t force a zigbee device to use a specific repeater, you can make unreliable repeaters unavailable at the time that A device is selecting its parent and limit the selection that way.

(Tmp R) #8

Thanks for the info, the end result is still less than ideal though :frowning: What are the alternatives?

Option 1

How seamless is the Hue bridge? If I buy one and use that just for the bulbs I’m assuming they will work in ZLL mode and it will solve the problem? How much latency does this introduce? A few of the bulbs are tied to ST motion sensors but none are using switches (yet).

Also, how do I get my Hue bulbs back in the ZLL mode as they are currently paired directly to ST?

Option 2

If I get rid of the smart bulbs, what’s the best ZigBee or Zwave switch? I need it to meet the following criteria:

  • fits behind in socket box / does not replace existing switch plate
  • does not require a neutral wire

Option 3

Alternative smart bulbs? I believe GE, Osram & IKEA all have their issues. Has anyone tried Innr?

Cree connected seem to do the job but I can’t find them in the UK

(Barry) #9

Question: Can Hue bulbs on (say) Zigbee Channel 11 be selected by a SmartThings-controlled Zigbee device even SmartThings is using Zigbee Channel 14?


I’m not feeling well today, so I will leave this for now and hopefully others will answer The answers are going to be fairly long. Just a reminder to everyone that this is for set up in the UK, so suggested devices have to be available there.

Tagging @RobinWinbourne to help with answers on your option two. :sunglasses:

As far as option three, you could try a zwave or Wi-Fi lightbulb instead. I know domitec, Aeon Labs, and Zipato have Z wave bulbs on the UK frequency

LIFX are Wi-Fi bulbs available in both the US and UK that come in a number of different forms. But they tend to be bigger than The others and may not fit all fittings.

So that’s just another possibility. It would be cheaper to get a Hue bridge, though, if you have a lot of bulbs.

As far as others UK zigbee brands, I know the hive bulbs will work with SmartThings, but I haven’t heard one way or the other how they do as repeaters. There is more about them in the following thread:

(Robin) #11

For uk I strongly reccomend the Fibaro Dimmer 2 modules.

You can fit one module in a 32mm back box or two in a 47mm box.

If you have a double gang switch and a shallow box you can also put the modules behind the light fitting instead, and no neutral is required.

I did an entire house with them, great functionality, great reliability and I’m now fitting out my mothers new build with over 50 of them!!

They work with your regular switches but I would reccomend you change your switches for momentary switches (otherwise known as push-to-make / retractive) in order to get dimming control at the switch.