Using GE Links as dumb LEDs

(Bobby) #1

I really like the light output and directional angle of the PAR38 GE Links, but I am tired of managing them in either Hue Hub or SmartThings. I wonder how can I limit the possibility of the bulbs messing with my zigbee mesh. Any suggestions, thoughts? @JDRoberts what do you think?


If they’re attached to the Hue bridge, they are part of a zigbee mini network controlled by that bridge. They shouldn’t interfere with your SmartThings zigbee network in any way. You can change the hue bridge zigbee channel if needed.

If they’re directly attached to the SmartThings hub, there’s the potential of running into that really weird problem we’ve discussed before, where Zigbee bulbs are identified as repeaters by the hub, but seem to occasionally drop messages, which is annoying.

The best way to address that Would be to make sure that there is always a higher powered zigbee repeater in the same zone, as then it would be more likely to be selected for message routing. But since Smartthings doesn’t give us any network map and utilities at present, figuring all of that out is going to be kind of a pain.

I’d just attach them to the Hue bridge, that should give you the best network management for now.

You can’t turn off the GE bulb radios as far as I know. If you really want to use them like dumb bulbs because you already own them, you could just factory reset them and then not attach them to either the hue bridge or the smartthings hub and they should be ignored by both.


(Bobby) #3

Thank you! I’ve done that before and they reattach on their own to one or the other hub (when you run discovery for a different device). I currently have them on ST. Was wondering if I don’t reset them, but delete them from ST, would they still interfere? @Aaron do you mind checking with your engineers? I know there are other people doing this, so it would be interesting to see what the best practice would be, other than unscrewing and tossing them in the trash.

(Greg) #4

I have a pile of these I’m not using either. However, I replaced the GE links with dimmer switches. Even if you can use these as dumb LEDs isn’t it true we cannot use them as dumb dimable LEDs with a smart dimmer?

(Bobby) #5

That’s exactly what I did yesterday after they became unusable with ST app. I took them off Hue hub a week ago for pretty much same reasons. I do like the light they put out, though. I really don’t want to toss them if I can. They worked great with the dimmer…

(Aaron S) #6

[I am pretty confident] the headache is when they are serving as repeaters. The challenge is, if you leave it unpaired, it accidentally get reconnected to the Hub next time you join a device. It’s an edge case, and/or you can turn off the lights every time you pair a new device.

(Greg) #7

You will be much happier. I only have 1 Link still in service, but I have a switch waiting on my desk to replace it if it acts up. I think the Link sees that switch lying in wait so it’s been behaving.

(Aaron S) #8

Also, they are getting more difficult to find. Home Depot is pushing the Crees for the lower price range and Osram Lightify at the mid-range - which are on our (new) Works with SmartThings page

(Bobby) #9

So do you think if I remove them from ST, but NOT reset them is a bad idea?

(Aaron S) #10

Hrmmm… i didnt think about that. It “shouldn’t” be a problem, but I have a string of them in a surge protector (I don’t know if that affects it) that reset themselves once in a while

(Bobby) #11

Hmmm, I think I will put them back on Hue and then delete them from there. They never fell off Hue network but they do get the ‘unresponsive’ treatment, which makes them unusable in some applications. I hope I can minimize the inpact on ST mesh, this way…

(Greg) #12

post your findings please

ha, like I really needed to say that


If the bulb was individually factory reset, left to time out, and then powered off without ever pairing to a zigbee coordinator, it should never just attach itself to some random nearby zigbee network. That could have all sorts of bad consequences.

But then the GE links do several things they aren’t supposed to so, I can’t say it doesn’t happen. :persevere:

(Bobby) #14

Oh I can confirm it has happened to me both with ST hub and Hue

(Dan P Parker) #15

I’m still mystified by all of these reports of problems with GE Link bulbs. I don’t doubt any of the claims, but all of my bulbs…purchased over a several month period of time from multiple vendors…have been performing flawlessly for about a year now (controlled by a Hue Bridge at first, and then later directly by the ST Hub). Am I really just lucky?

(Bobby) #16

Mine are more than 2 years old and didn’t bother to go through the hoops to get them updated. That may be a problem. Plus, I have a bad habit of cutting their power off and I know that doesn’t help the situation.


Yes. :sunglasses:

Or at least, somewhat lucky.

It’s not that every bulb fails every time. But a significant percentage fail a couple times a month. Nothing to do with SmartThings – – they’re the main reason that Phillips wanted to block non-certified bulbs from their bridge. that yellow! is almost always a GE link and they were tired of their customer support having to deal with it. But if all of yours are working, that’s great. :bulb:


I’m in the same boat as @DParker. I’ve got 2 daylight bulbs that have been bullet proof, and 8 soft white bulbs that use to cause me problems (just 2 of them), but have been great for a few months now - especially since I removed my Osram bulbs from ST (which significantly helped my Zigbee mesh).

(Dan P Parker) #19

[quote=“JDRoberts, post:17, topic:57450”]
Or at least, somewhat lucky.

It’s not that every bulb fails every time. But a significant percentage fail a couple times a month.[/quote]

How “significant” a percentage (roughly speaking)? It just seems that with a dozen bulbs in use for about a year I should have had at least one or two failures by now. I’m not complaining, mind you. I mean, the Mega Millions Lottery grand prize is up to $133 million at the moment, so maybe I should just shut up and buy a few tickets on the way home tonight. :money_mouth:


I had 9 GE links and at least one would fail about once a month. Not really terrible, but since I need somebody else to do the reset required, we ended up eventually changing them all out for the $15 Hue whites.

It occurs often enough that it’s kept the GE links off the official “works with SmartThings” list, according to SmartThings staff.

And the FAQ for the problem has been read over 5000 times.