Set Color of Hue Bulbs without turning on?

I’m trying to set my hue bulbs to change color at night, but I don’t want to switch on lights that aren’t already on.

Ideally I’d like all bulbs to switch to a warmer color at night, but in the various smartapps I’ve tried the option to set color is always coupled with turning the bulb on.

It’s there a way to set the color for all bulbs irrespective of whether they are on or off?

Many Thanks!!

If you use the HSV method of setting the color you should be able to leave level alone and change the hue and saturation level. This should work regardless of the light state, unlike Temperature, name or hex values.
Let me know how it works for you.

You may have to locate the switches that are off and set the level to 0 before changing the hue and saturation.

I am using an app called “Hue (ReConnect)” which supports groups and scenes. It replaces the SmartThings Hue app. I then use my motion sensors to trigger the lights to turn on only on motion. I also set rules using Smart Lighting to something like:

  • on motion turn on switch Scene1 only when mode is awake.
  • on motion turn on switch Scene2 only when mode is Family Bed Time
  • on motion turn on switch Scene3 only when mode is Good Night

The result is the bulbs turn on at the color I want them to.

Additionally I have the virtual switch triggered when mode changes and all of the bulbs are on. The result is the bulbs change to the correct color if they are already on.

How are you triggering the bulbs to turn on?

1 Like

Thanks for the replies.

The trigger is manual through at hue tap. So my use case is, all lights are on and at night I wasnt the color to change. But sometimes, we won’t have all lights on, I want the color of those that are on to change but not turn the ones on that are off.

How would I set the hex value for the colors? is this something best done through CoRE? Or some other smart app to manage this?


So is the Hue Tap connected to the Hue Hub or SmartThings?

Can you connect the tap to ST?

To the hue hub…

Nope. And smartthings won’t see it if it’s connected to the hue bridge, either. Only lights at the present time.

That’s what I thought.

I am not sure how you want smartThings to know you’ve initiated a light to turn on with the HUE tap if it doesn’t know it exists. When you turn the lights on via the TAP does it update the bulb state in smartThings?

Yes. SmartThings now polls the Hue bridge for the bulb state about every five seconds. ( that’s a recent change, it used to be about every five minutes.) so the Hue tap or the Hue dimmer switch connected to the hue bridge becomes a parallel means of control. Smartthings doesn’t know the tap/switch exists, but it doesn’t matter – –it gets the bulb state separately from the bridge. It’s the same thing if you use any other method for turning your Hue bulbs on and off, including another app, or an echo where the bridge is connected directly to the echo rather than through SmartThings, or harmony, etc.

So, any ideas on how I can achieve what I’m setting out to?

One suggestion was to use the hex value of the colors to set rather than the color name? how would I go about doing this?


I would just use one of the existing hue management smart apps like the “hue reconnect” that was already suggested. Otherwise you’re going to have to write your own code.

If you haven’t used custom code in smartthings before, it’s pretty straightforward. Basically you copy somebody else’s code and paste it into your account. Here’s the FAQ for that:

Then if that seems like something you’d like to try, check the quick browse lists for lighting in the community – created wiki and you’ll see a number of possibilities, including hue reconnect. :sunglasses:

Here is the only way I can think of doing this. Create Scenes in the hue app for the different bulb configurations and use the hue Reconnect app to utilize the scenes you just created within smartThings
Then using Smart Lighting I would say when bulbs 1 and 2 turn on turn on scene switch A but only when mode is {Mode Name}
You’d have to setup a rule for each scene you want to trigger.

So here is what would happen…

Hue Tap is pressed
5 seconds later the bulbs turn on and the scene virtual switch is turned on (This sets your scene)
When the bulb turns on the next time, it will turn on at the last bulb configuration set

The only problem is the first time your bulbs will come on to the previous setting and then change. You’ll only see this the first time. Each time after that will look like the bulbs turn on at the scene you want.

I know this is probably confusing, but you don’t have a way to trigger the change directly in smartThings using Hue Tap.

Even setting the the color via hex value would need a trigger. How would you set it?

If you have a lamp in the tap scene that is unique to that scene, you can trigger off of that state change.

Thinking back, you wanted the colours to change at set times right? Use the times to trigger the changes.

That’s pretty much what I was suggesting here.

Thanks for the replies. I’m not sure the suggested approaches will achieve what I’m setting out to though.

I have a large open plan kitchen/living area with 25+ hue bulbs covering the space.

Sometimes we turn all the lights on, sometimes we only want some of the lights on. For example, we have a cluster of lights near the front door and hallway which we sometimes turn off. Turning these off could happen in a number of ways, via the tap or the hue app or smart things or via a configured routine ‘turn off some of the lights’. The default color for our lights is a bright white. At night, I want to turn these to a warmer color automatically, however in the process of doing this, I don’t want to turn on lights that have been switched off - this appears to be the default behaviour, changing the color also switches on.

One way I think I can do this is using CoRE. I appear to be able to change the color but only perform the action if the light is actually on. This is a bit tedious to set up as there needs to be a rule for every single bulb. Its doable however. The downside is though, that if the color is changed automatically to the ‘evening color’ and some of the lights were off and we choose to turn them on, they will default to the last color used, which is very likely the bright white. Maybe I could build rules to say if a light is turned on and its after >Xpm in the evening switch to the evening color but again, it seems like a large number of rules to achieve something relatively straight forward. I don’t know if there are significant performance issues or other considerations in creating this many rules in CoRE?

Any other ideas? Or have I misunderstood any of the earlier suggestions?

I think you can do this using a single piston:

If any [LIGHTS] changes to ON then{
If time > sunset then {
using [LIGHTS] {
set hue to XXX
set sat to XXX
} else if …

Thanks Glenn - how do implement the [using] section? I can get as far as the If any [LIGHTS] but how do I refer back to the lights that were on via ‘using’?