Turning on Smartbulbs at the physical switch & behavior

A recent change in Iris resulted in purchasing SmartThings yesterday. I’ve read a lot on the forum that the con of using bulbs is that the physical device (lamp/switch) must remain on (makes sense, electricity is the foundation). What Iris used to do, and what I see with ST (Samsung Lightify bulbs) is that I can walk into a dark room without my phone, manually turn the physical switch a few times, lamp turns on, and app updates to on. I need to turn it off on the app, but otherwise it isn’t dependent upon the state of the app for the light to function the pre-HA way to turn ON.

Is this what you experience with your bulbs & ST as well? I want to validate that what I’m seeing is correct.

Being completely dependent upon an app to turn on lamps has driven me to the brink over the last few weeks. Iris is still investigating, and ST has really taken off since I last looked at it in detail (not using either for home security, strictly HA). If the bulbs with ST can turn on manually & with the app, I’m impressed enough to stay.


Thanks Robin - this is great news! I have about 100 devices. Some are smart bulbs with smart switches/buttons & rules or regular bulbs plugged into smart plugs/wall outlets, but some I like to just be able to turn on (if I have guests over, or the button fails). Iris seems to have made a change where the app has to be on for the bulb to function, period. If a bulb is set on a schedule, you’re out of luck if you don’t have your phone handy. I’m so glad to hear that ST works like it should!!

Yeah, that’s standard smart bulb behavior. Hue, Lightify, GE link and Cree all work this way. But as Robin said, it’s much more user friendly to use a smart switch for ceiling fixtures or other bulbs controlled by a regular wall switch. This way you don’t have to worry about the power being switched off to your bulbs and schedules failing to turn them on. There is also reports that repeatedly cycling power to the bulbs is bad for them and will cause them to prematurely fail…


It’s true that in general smart bulbs will come on bright when power is restored. There are a few exceptions where previous state is stored in the bulb. That’s considered a feature, because the manufacturer assumption is that the bulb will never lose power unless there was an unintended power outage. So it may depend on the exact brand and model.

The question of the app is complicated because some specific bulb models will send a message to the hub when power is restored and others will not. So in SmartThings it varies how quickly the app will catch up with a physical change at the switch if it is not a smart switch. So for that reason there’s no one single answer, it might be that you would see a similar problem with SmartThings. What’s the brand and model of the bulbs?

One more thing–If you currently have a practice of frequently turning the light off by actually cutting current to it, I recommend that you not do that. (And if you check the user manual you’ll see the manufacturer does as well.) That practice can significantly cut the life of the radio in the bulb because of the inrush current each time the switch restores the power. So you’re better off adding a smart control to those rooms.

The good news is that with SmartThings you will have many more device choices than you had with Iris, including some specifically made for the control of smart bulbs . :sunglasses:

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Thanks JD & Jimmy. I replaced light switches with Smart Switches (100 year old house so wiring prevented replacing older outlets, but luck with the single source switches). I use the Sylvania Lightify A19 bulbs (White, on/off/dim) in the lamps. I don’t make a habit of turning the bulbs on/off manually, but it had always been an option in a pinch.

Good to know about the shortened radio life! - I use Smart Buttons (not sure of the equivalent in ST terms yet) to turn them on/off, but they don’t always work, and some lamps don’t have them (rarely vary from programmed schedule, and I had been able to turn them on if needed). If it is a lamp that is used a lot or in the path of guests, it has a smart bulb and button mounted right next to the on/off switch (thus the OP). I’ve stopped short of removing the fob, which is the only way I can think of to keep someone from manually turning the lamp off, plus I need it when the button fails. With rare exception, no one else turns off the lights anyway :slight_smile:. Thanks again!

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OK, the Sylvania are the same as the Osram brand. ( and they just changed their name again to LEDvance, which I assume sounds better in German than it does in English. :wink: )

There was an Osram firmware update a little while ago which I believe was intended to have the bulbs keep their previous on/off state when power was restored. That doesn’t work with smartthings. It does work with the Osram Gateway, and maybe it works with Iris, I just don’t know.

If that is what affected you, then that would explain why you might have to hit a switch a couple of times After power had been cut and then restored. The light might be coming back on but in the dark state.

If that’s the issue, currently you won’t see that behavior in smartthings, but you might well see it in the future because a lot of people have asked for SmartThings support of that update.

So again, the long-term solution would be to find a way to address the bulbs that doesn’t involve cutting power to them.

@Sticks18 might know more, he is an expert on SmartThings and zigbee bulbs.

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Oh, and the Iris smart buttons do work with smartthings as well. Some members have reported a problem where if the button hasn’t been used for a while it is in a sleeping state and you have to tap it twice the first time you use it again. But they are very popular.

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Good to know on both accounts (Osram firmware update & the buttons!). Maybe I need to look at different bulbs going forward. I understand that reason for the change, but it’s far more common to have a guest try to flip on a lamp than it is to have the power go out. I want the lights to remain intuitive, rather than an education for guests. I have a Cree bulb I tried early on with Iris; I’ll dig it out for ST.

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