What's needed to dim lights in a room?

I’d like to be able to dim the lights in my family room via ST and/or my Harmony remote (and possibly Echo in the not to distant future). Right now each of the 5 light fixtures (10 bulbs total) have some dumb LED bulbs we put in there about two years ago. They are currently on a 3-way switch.

Am I correct in thinking that I only need a 3-way smart dimming switch and it’s add-on switch to integrate all of the lights into ST?

I know the bulbs we have might not function very well when dimmed, but I’ll address those if and when needed.

Yes, this should be the best approach,

you got it. This is assuming your house is somewhat recent construction that has a neutral wire available at the switch box.

House was built in 2011 and I’m pretty sure I have the neutrals wires.

A follow on question, can ST dim the LED bulbs even if the switch is not a dimmer switch?

2011 you should have a neutral. The master Switch must be a dimmer switch to dim the bulbs.

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Thanks Jimmy. It does not matter if the switch is zway or zigbee correct?

nope. But if you have more devices of one protocol in your house, it may help to get that one since it can extend the mesh.

Right now I’m kind of evenly split between the two.

Thanks for confirming this stuff for me.

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If the bulbs are not designed to be dimmable LEDs, it’s not going to work. So that’s the first thing to check. Not all LEDs are designed to dim, and you can actually fry the dimmer switch if you try with some models.

I’ll have a look at the current bulbs in the house.

If I decided to use one the Aeotec Z-Wave Micro Dimmers, would I still need an add-on switch or any thing? I was in Lowe’s today and found some dumb switches/outlets/wall plates that I really liked, the Radiant range from Legrand.

And if I went with the Micro Dimmer above, for the physical switch, would I use a normal one or a dimmer switch?

@Mike_Maxwell can say more about the LeGrand options. :sunglasses:

With the aeons, and any other micro controller you use the physical switches. You can’t use an electronic dimmer or switch to control them, which is good news since they are reasonable price wise.
Search for paddle hack if you want to implement momentary action

Thanks Mike. So it’s simple paddle switches for on and off and a hacked paddle switch if I want to be able to dim them manually at the switch.

In a 3 way setup, would I need an Aeons micro dimmer at both switch locations, or a micro dimmer at one and an normal micro at the other… or just a single micro dimmer and regular dumb paddle switch combo?

The current LEDs turn out to be Philips 1500lm bulbs that say “do not use with dimmers”. They also say don’t use in totally enclosed fixtures… which we have been for a couple of years now.

The whole reason we switched to these LED bulbs was because the wife wanted more light in the finished basement. I’m thinking she might not be to happy if I drop the lights from 1500lm down to about 800lm :frowning:

One micro per circuit, momentary can be used with the switches too. 3way with micro switches can be done with a live traveler. 3way dimmer requires wiring that most do not have, or a relay. Aeon docs explain it all, I have a solution for three way dimmer using momentary.
It’s around this forum someplace…

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If the bulbs say “do not use with dimmers” that means any kind of dimmer, whether it’s a micro or a wall switch. You can use them with a plain on/off automated switch.

So you end up with two choices. Either you get rid of the bulbs that you have and replace them with ones that can be dimmed.

Or you split up the controls so that you can only turn on some of the lights as a zone. The cost of doing it that way varies a lot depending on your existing wiring, because most people want to try to avoid having to put a micro on every single bulb. But sometimes that’s the only way to do it.

For example, it used to be common that if you had six nondimmable ceiling lights in a room, you would divide them into two zones. Then you would turn on one zone to get 50% light level and both zones to get 100% light level.

This is a different layout, obviously, then zone lighting which is based on getting 100% light level in a specific area of the room.

For this kind of use case, the zones are often interlocking, like the following.

Thanks JD. I think the only option that would work for us would be to replace the bulbs.

A Google search did turn up a few high lumen options in dimmable LEDs. Maybe you or @Mike_Maxwell can answer this next question, do I need to worry about the total wattage of all the bulbs (2 each in 5 fixtures) in regards to the Aeon micro dimmer? I see where it says it has a minimum Power of 5W, but not a max. This is the bulb I’m looking at specifically, FEIT Electric 1600 Lumen 5000K Dimmable LED.

Thanks again for all the help, you guys are the ones that put the Smart in SmartThings. lol

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You’re fine on the wattage. The dimmers can handle 300 watts…

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5000K lamps are very, very cool (blue) colored lamps. I wouldn’t recommend those for a living room.

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