Recommendations for best switches for 3 way control of smart can lights?

My kitchen has 7 lumary can lights installed that are currently controlled by two different switches - one a simple smart switch and the other a standard switch (both paddles.)

Sometimes someone will manually switch the lights off and voice control no longer works for the kitchen lights - forcing someone to go back over and turn on a switch to bring all the lights back online and become responsive.

I’m having a hard time finding switches to replace the two I have to remedy this issue. Additionally, someone recommended that I get scene switches vs actual light switches but I am only just moving everything into SmartThings and don’t know if that means I’ll have lag issues or could just be overcomplicating things.

Does anyone have any suggestions I could consider or check out? I can do basic wall switch replacements but should let you know that I’m neither a developer nor an electrician. :slight_smile:

It sounds like you originally had two switches in a 3-way analog switch arrangement and then only replaced one of them with a smart switch.

Most of the smart switch vendors support 3-way (up to 6 way ) switch configurations.

I use Jasco/GE Enbrighten z-wave switches. The way those work is you use a standard smart switch in first position of the circuit (meaning the part of the hot circuit that connects to your breaker box). Then for all the other switches in the chain, regardless of 3-4-5-6 way configuration, you install an auxiliary or add-on switch (different companies call them different things).

Doing it this way, all of the switch locations fully support the smart switching. Typically the auxiliary switch is a little cheaper than the regular smart switch.

I did this when I retrofit my entire house with smart Zwave switches (65~ total, including dimmers, switches, motion switches and add-on switches). I have 6 separate 3-way circuits and then 1- 4-way circuit, all using the regular + add-on switch configuration.

2 Likes

Thanks for the quick response.

I’m not sure what you mean by “the part of the hot circuit that connects to your breaker box” - is this not something that is resolved by adding two new smart switches or does the double pole make this more complicated?

I’m hoping not because the house we’ve moved into has a ridiculous number of rooms with two switches controlling the same lights.

This should be an easy problem to solve just by putting the appropriate smart switch where you currently have the dumb switch. But we do need to ask a few questions first. :thinking:

What’s the brand and model of the current smart switch that you have?

What country are you in?

And are you currently using a smartthings/Aeotec hub, and if so, which model?

(by the way, you would usually only need scene Switches if you are using smart bulbs. I couldn’t tell from your description: are your current bulbs, smart bulbs? If so, Brand and model? But if they are in fact, dumb bulbs, then as @ThomasTrain described, all you need is a typical smart master with a smart auxiliary switch and you’ll be all set. There are even a few models where a smart master can work with a dumb auxiliary, although then you don’t typically get Dimming from the auxiliary, but we can talk about that once we get the other answers.)

Also… there are literally at least eight different ways that you can wire two switches to control the same light fixture, so that can mean a little more research is needed, but you should still be able to solve the problem.

The most common set up for a three-way with smart switches is that there is a “master“ switch which has the “hot“ or “line” bringing in power from the circuit box, and then a “load“ which is sending power out to the light fixture. This is how the popular GE/enbrighten switches work.

Then you have a physical “traveler” wire running between the auxiliary and the master.

So the master turns the light on and off. The auxiliary just tells the master what to do. In these kinds of set ups, the auxiliary is not wired directly to the light fixture.

In this diagram, the auxiliary is on the left, and the master is on the right. The black line shows the current coming from the circuit box into the master switch, and then up to the lightbulb.

The red line is the traveler wire from the auxiliary to the master so the auxiliary can tell the master when to turn the light on or off.

But there are lots of other ways to do it. Several other popular brands use radio communication between the auxiliary and the master rather than a physical wire.

Anyway, I just thought that basic concept might help. Again, though, your kitchen might be wired differently, so there will be a little more research to do on your specific set up.

The lights are Lumary cans and are smart lights.
I’m in the US.
I have a Smarthings hub via my Samsung Frame.
The smart switch is a GHome Smart SW6-2

Figuring out how to turn off the lights with a switch but keeping them online for voice would be super helpful.

If they are smart bulbs then, yes, a scene switch would solve the problem, but you will need to put it them in both positions.

These are switches which don’t actually change the current to the bulbs, but instead send a radio instruction either via the hub or to the lights themselves. So then the bulbs always have current which means they can hear and process the next network command initiated by a voice command or a routine

The problem with the frame is that it doesn’t support zwave, and right now the best sceneswitches are from Z with manufacturers. But there are still some options you’ll be able to use.

Unfortunately, you’re probably going to have to replace the G home or move it to a location where it’s working with damn bulbs. It’s just not suited to this use case.

Let me think for a minute, if I know of any Wi-Fi switches that work with smartthings that have a scene mode.

Otherwise, an option would be to add a hue bridge to your setup and then use one of the scene switches or smart switch covers that work with it.

So, I do happen to have a Hue bridge that is connected to my network but not doing anything (I have 3 Philips bulbs that can’t seem to be discovered.)

Would I be looking for two scene switches to add to the Hue bridge? And if I do that and the internet is out - are the lights inoperable? (just learning about scene switches!)

1 Like

Yes, two switches.

If the Internet goes out, because your lumary lights do not themselves work with the hue bridge, then the connection between your scene switch, and the lumary light would be unavailable.

Typically the option people use when they are concerned about this is to leave the dumb switch in place and put the scene switch over the top of it so that you can still get to the dumb switch if you need to.

There are several different styles, including one which looks like a regular rocker.

image
IMG_1795


(They say they “work without Internet“ because they do if your bulbs are also connected to the hue bridge, but yours will not be.)

Ahhhh, so I could revert the switches to both dumb and put two of these over that. Thanks - I’ll start digging around for some slim profiles.

2 Likes

This one is my favorite, we have five of them in our house. They are super intuitive for visitors and work very reliably with the Hue bridge. So they aren’t a super slim profile, but they fit right over the existing dumb switch, and they look just like a regular dimmer switch.

They don’t require any wiring, you’re just unscrewing the existing face plate and replacing it. This is a battery powered device.

https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-Aurora-Dimmer-Philips-Z3-1BRL-WH-L0/dp/B07RJ14FBS

image

Super helpful, thanks. Still shopping for something like this or a paddle version with “always on.” (she’s not a fan of those dials.)
Love this as an option.

Here is a switch cover for use with the Hue Dimmer V2. Comes in rocker and toggle models.

SAMOTECH Hue Switch Cover for Philips Hue Dimmer V2 (Single Rocker V2) https://a.co/d/7ch49iR

Of course, another option would be to hot wire the fixture and put blank wall plates over the junction boxes and mount the Hue (or other brand) dimmer on the blank plate. Might provide a lower profile than a switch cover.

Yeah, but that’s for rocker underneath, not for rocker shape on top. They’re really good if you like the hue dimmer, but that’s a rectangle with multiple buttons.

The one I know of for the OP’s set up that looks exactly like a traditional rocker is, unfortunately, expensive. It’s by run less wire. It does come in a bunch of different colors. And these are kinetic switches, they don’t have batteries, they just work from the energy they capture when you physically press the rocker.

You can get a two pack for $102 with the current coupon.

switch

https://www.amazon.com/RunLessWire-Philips-Wireless-Battery-Free-Installation/dp/B0BBQ915R1/

The pictures show it as a double rocker, but each one can also be a regular looking single rocker.

comes with both a single- and double-rocker face.

This model is designed to attach directly to the wall, so if you want to retain the original switch, you’ll need to put a simple switch cover over the top of it, and then put the run less wire on top of that. You can make your own little wooden box cover, or plastic box cover or you can get one that is sold as a child guard.

child guard

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0C2T7J95J/

You may need to do some trial and error until you get a look you like, but it should be doable.

If you want something flush to the wall, you could also put the existing dumb switch into a recessed outlet such as is used for home entertainment centers, then put the run less wire switch on top of that. But that’s more work and would require some wiring.

recessed outlet box

IMG_8679

So there’s no simple perfect solution if you don’t like the Lutron Aurora or the hue dimmer switch, but there are some options.

If your 3 ‘undiscoverable’ Philips bulbs are Hue bulbs that were already paired with the Hue bridge then they may need to be reset (which is a bit trickier with Philips Hue).
My Philips Hue bulbs were the newer Zigbee/Bluetooth models that I was able to reset via Bluetooth. I read somewhere that earlier Zigbee only Hue bulbs needed to be reset using a Hue dimmer (I could be wrong).

Just to throw in another, possibly simpler option:

Zooz (@TheSmartestHouse) has smart switches that can be installed in a 3-way while retaining the dumb switch as the aux.

And I believe some of their switches can be set to not disconnect power to the fixture when switched “off” so they are suitable for use with smart fixtures.

2 Likes

As mentioned above, there’s no question that zwave offers several devices which would solve the OP’s issue in a number of alternative ways.

All Zooz devices are Z wave at the time of this writing

However, the OP’s hub is the one in the frame television. No zwave support. So the candidates have to be either Wi-Fi, zigbee, matter, via hue bridge (which the OP has), or a cloud to cloud connection.

I have a Smarthings hub via my Samsung Frame.

This is why we now need to ask posters which model SmartThings/Aeotec hub they have. :thinking:

3 Likes

Thanks, @JDRoberts for your incredible attention to detail. I totally missed that!

2 Likes

:sunglasses:<===== engineer

Engineering is by definition a detail-oriented profession, but the field of automation requires almost fanatical attention to detail. Everything matters, which is why instrument spec sheets have so many lines on them.

Why Successful Automation Engineers Are Detail-Oriented

.

4 Likes

These arrived today, and I’ve spent about an hour just trying to get them to connect into Smartthings.
I can get them connected in the Philips Hue hub/app under Accessories where they both recognize when a button is pressed (most of the time) but where it says “Not configured in this app.”

I have linked Smartthings and Philips Hue but while those two items show up in the Accessories in PH, they do not show up after a refresh or any significant time in Smartthings.

After doing full resets and even cycling the hub after making sure everything was updated and disconnecting and reconnecting everything, I’m a bit lost and frustrated.

Any suggestions?