SmartThings Smart Switch and Smart Bulb Strategy?

Hi everyone, this is my first post - fingers crossed for some help.

I am in the process of completely filling my home with Philips Hue color smart lights. I have the Philips Hue Bridge Hub added to my SmartThings and I am able to see all of my Hue lights in the SmartThings app. For reference, I use the newer SmartThings app, but I don’t know that will affect any of this.

One caveat though of smart lights is that they work best with the lights being kept on so that power does not shut off to them. So then ideally they can be turned on/off via voice assistants and smart switches without losing physical power to the smart lights.

I had been using Lutron Aurora wireless dimmer switch caps for when I have a physical wall switch (https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-Aurora-Dimmer-Philips-Z3-1BRL-WH-L0/dp/B07RJ14FBS/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=lutron+aurora&qid=1563917102&s=gateway&sr=8-1). They are simple wireless dimmer caps that just get placed over the existing switches and are only compatible with the Philips Hue Bridge Hub.

Unfortunately, I only just found out that the Philips Hue bridge hub only supports a maximum of 10 wireless dimmer switches - which I had planned to well exceed. Theoretically, I could have multiple Philips Hue Bridge Hubs, but the downside there is that I would lose voice assistant support for the additional Hue hubs as only one is supported at a time by my Google Homes.

Are there any recommendations on smart switches that work well directly with SmartThings? Ideally they would be dimmable and/or require little actual switch installation replacement. The SmartThings hub would crush the 10 wireless dimmer switch limit that the Hue hub is currently limited by. My dream case would be something like the Lutron Aurora (dimmer switches that just cap the existing standard home switches) that works directly with SmartThings. I plan to eventually resell the house and I want to limit the amount of custom installation work that would eventually need to get this work undone when I sell.

I am pretty set on using some type of smart switch, as I do not want to tape and/or completely cover the on switches and/or require anything to only be voice-operated. I would like the switches to operate in their current places so that it’s not inconvenient to guests. I am hopeful that someone here has encountered a similar situation and has suggestions.

Cheers!

Shane

It really depends on the look you’re going for and how clean you want it to be. For example, the GoControl WA00Z-1 are what I use around the house. They’re not the most pretty, but they’re zwave and work well. They have two buttons and also a long press which really takes them up to four buttons. And they’re relatively cheap. They also cover your old switch.

Another option is to bypass your current switch - tie the line to the load with a wire nut - and then the switch does nothing and there’s always power. The switch can still be flipped and it has zero effect and you can put zigbee or zwave buttons wherever you want. I do something like this where I have 4 switches in the same box. Two of them are smart but I have one gocontrol box. With it having multiple press commands I have it set to control two different sets of lights depending on how I press it. With the dining room’s true light switch being bypassed but the old dumb switch still sitting in the box to make things look as normal as possible.

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Thanks a ton for the input @OssotSromo. I looked up what you’re referring to, and it looks like I should be looking for “Smart Switch Covers” instead of actual “Smart Switches” if I don’t want to do rewiring.

This is another option that I found with SmartThings, although it also does not offer dimming features:

They also aren’t very pretty like you mention. So I may try to max out with 10 Lutron Auroras before I start using something else

There are two different device classes that physically are smart switch covers.

The go control that @OssotSromo mentioned will work well for smart bulbs because it does not Move the physical switch underneath, so it does not cut power to the bulbs.

The ecolink that you linked to will not work well for smart bulbs, because it does move the physical switch underneath. So it’s not really any different than having the original dumb switch as far as smart bulbs go. Unless you put it in a location on the wall where there is not a physical switch underneath it. Then it can work fine, but you have to put a childlock on the original switch to keep people from using it.

Back to your original question. This is a very good question and one that is frequently asked. :sunglasses: We have two separate FAQs in the forum that should help. There are a lot of different devices that can be used. It just depends on what you need.

Start with this one:

FAQ: Looking at a good Wall Switch for my Hue Bulbs (2018 Short FAQ) ( also applies to other brands of smart bulbs)

@JDRoberts Thanks for the info! That about perfectly sums up what I’m looking for.

Couple questions - you mentioned these being the two primary cover options:
Aeotec zwave smart switch cover
Sylvania Lightify zigbee version

I cannot seem to find the “Aeotec zwave smart switch cover” - do you happen to have a link you could share?

Also, on the “Sylvania Lightify zigbee version” Amazon page, it says that SmartThings does not support the dimming funtionality (https://www.amazon.com/SYLVANIA-Smart-Dimming-Switch-Formerly/dp/B0196M620Y?tag=stdisc-20). Do you know if that is truly the case? You seem quite well-versed.

Thanks for the tips!

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First rule of home automation: the model number matters.“

I’m pretty sure I never mentioned an aeotec smart switch cover, and if I did, it was an error, because they don’t make one. They make a wall mount device, but it doesn’t fit over an existing switch.

As for the Sylvania, see the following FAQ

Edited to update: you caught me. The post did indeed say “Aeotec“ I probably said “Nortek” and autocorrect “fixed“ it. (I use voice dictation software. I don’t have much use of my hands.) I’ve updated the FAQ post. Thanks for the correction!

I mentioned aeotec, but in regards to their buttons you could place where ever you wanted after bypassing your dumb switches with a wire nut. Which is rather easy, BTW. Provided they are single pole switches.

Edit - Turns out I didn’t mention aeotec but those were the buttons I had in mind. Lol

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Oh, and here’s the GoControl WA00Z. Zwave Products is a popular retailer (I’ve ordered a couple of things from them in the past) and they have a great price on that particular device, $12 right now.

https://www.zwaveproducts.com/shop/sale/gocontrol-z-wave-scene-controller-wall-switch-wa00z-1

image

Just check the returns policy, it’s not quite as generous as some other dealers. But not terrible.

It works well with smartthings, so you can ignore the part about only controlling Z wave bulbs. By using SmartThings as a “man in the middle“ you can also control your Hue bridge bulbs. Although maybe with a slight lag compared to the Lutron Aurora.

@OssotSromo @JDRoberts Ok, got it. Thank you!

So no current Z-Wave dimmable switch covers exist, with the exception of Aurora Lutron - which only pairs with Philips Hue hub and not directly to SmartThings.

So I think my tentative plan is to max out the Aurora Lutrons to the Philips Hue Bridge Hub limit (10 switches). Then I will only be able to use boolean switches (non-dimmable) that work directly with SmartThings for the remaining switches - likely via the Sylvania Dimming Switch (Model 73743) or the GoControl WA00Z

I may be mistaken, but cant you press and hold on the WA00Z to get dimming?

@JDRoberts They mentioned it briefly on their listing but don’t provide any details on the dim functionality

@OssotSromo had said that “They have two buttons and also a long press which really takes them up to four buttons.” So maybe they just have On/Off triggered by holding and then single Dim Up/Down dim modes that are just achieved by a click (or maybe the hold/click pattern is swapped). Regardless though, even having this 1 dim setting would be an advantage over all other switch covers. And it’s a great price like mentioned. I’ll go with those :slight_smile:

OK, it looks like the DTH which has been created does not check the timing on the hold, so it won’t work easily. What people are doing is using the long press as a scene indicator, typically something like so:

That’s not as good as the other dimmables (love the Lutron, obviously :heart_eyes:) but it may be better than just two buttons.

BTW, everything I’m seeing from the technical side says a max of 12 accessories on one hue bridge, not 10. For what it’s worth.

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@JDRoberts It seems like the best approach for that would be to have clicks be On 100% and Off and then a hold in either direction be On 50% (if possible). However, I will need to look into that more to even see what is possible.

Yes, I have seen Philips Hue say that 12 accessories are supported in a lot of resources. However, their current listing says 10 under their product listing - see “The bridge” section. I’m guessing that there is no exact number of supported accessories and that problems just become more and more likely the more that there are:

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Checked a little more. HomeKit does allow you to have multiple Hue bridges, which is really nice. :sunglasses:

Pretty much everything else is limited to one bridge per account, and that includes both echo and Google assistant. People get around it by using a second bridge with a different hub like wink or smartthings and then bringing that one in to the voice assistant through the second hub. But the second hub is only controlling one bridge, not two. So it gets ugly. :disappointed_relieved:

It looks like it’s going to be up to Amazon/Google to remove this limitation someday. I’m sure which ever one does it first, the other one will catch up quickly.

@JDRoberts Yeah that is cool, I am just too deep into Google Home and SmartThings world to move to HomeKit. I will need to stick with those for now :confused:

Yes, it gets ugly which I want to avoid. I’m glad these smart home things iterate quickly generally - however my expectations are not super high for something like this situation as it is definitely more of an edge-case

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That’s basically what I have. Actually, I have a ton of rules.

Quick down is always off.
Long down in the day does candlelight at 30%
Long down in the evening or night does red at 10%.

Quick top takes them at whatever color they are to 100%
Long top does bright white at 100%.

I have GoControls in three different spots - it’s a 4 way switch - so it ends up being a ton of rules in smart lighting. But I make them all identical.

Will you have precise dimming controls? No. But you can do a heck of a lot of pre-made solutions. And there’s always a few Google homes listening in case I want to go off script.

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Not sure if you are aware of this solution, but just letting you know what I have set up and it works very well:
I have 5 hue bridges, and I connected all of them to Smartthings using the Hue B Smart app (that way I don’t have hundreds of different light bulbs, I only add to smartthings the groups). From Smartthings I connected to Google Home and added those lights from Hue B Smart to Google Home.
It works perfectly, and all 5 Hue Bridges are controllable by Google Assistant and Smartthings.

tl;dr: Don’t connect Hue directly to Google Home, use Smartthings in between and you can have as many bridges as you want.

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@MrPancake Thanks for sharing, this sounds about spot-on for my situation.

Is the Hue B Smart app required for this functionality? Or is this something where I could just add multiple Hue Hubs to ST and then I could add my ST to Google Home (without using the Hue B Smart app)?

I have been trying to avoid custom code/GitHub solutions, as SmartThings seems to be iterating relatively quickly on their app and integrations. If that Hue B Smart app is required, I might just keep my fingers crossed that they eventually natively add support for this (or another App Store app does).

It’s not necessary, you can use the official integration to do that. However, if you have many light bulbs, it gets very annoying to see on Smartthings each one of the bulbs, your list of devices gets huge.
The main benefit for me with Hue B Smart is that everything is cleaner.
I don’t know how many bulbs you have, but if it’s a lot I would definetely give hue b smart a go from the start because if you want to switch over from the official integration you would have to delete all lights and set everything up again, which is a pain.

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