Sorry if this has been asked before, but I haven’t seen what I’m hoping to find anywhere…
I’m planning on kitting out most of my flat with hue bulbs. So far for controlling them I have only found two main options.
One is to use en-ocean powered wireless battery-free switches in the friends of Hue programme, however I’ve used these in the past and find the clicky switches very unergonomic.
The other is to use battery powered Zigbee switches like the WaveLINE ones from Busch-Jaeger or similar. While flexible, these need to be maintained every few years with new batteries.
Does anyone know of any AC wired Zigbee switches that could allow me to replace existing switches with Zigbee controllers, powered by the AC and leaving the circuits as always-on so that the hue bulbs can always be controlled digitally?
First of all, which country are you from, because different markets has different products.
Second, are you planning to control these switches/bulbs through the SmartThings environment or directly connecting it to the Hue bridge. (I haven’t seen any mention in your question regarding SmartThings, so I have to ask.)
Third, some countries, states requires by law to have physical control to light fixtures, so consider that as well.
So, most people like the Hue Dimmer switches, because you can fit it on top of existing switches, with some kits.
But if you look at the Enocean website and their battery-free solutions, you can find many devices being friend of Hue.
Or you can go with the Hue Tap, to control Scenes (on/off).
Otherwise if you want to control the bulbs directly inside the Hue environment look for the friends of Hue devices with Zigbee connection. If not, if you are going to control them from SmartThings, then any Zigbee switch would do (neutral required), but look for those devices which can use stock DHs with local processing to keep control when the internet goes out.
I am based in the UK, but happy to have European format switches if that helps (as I have already tested doing with friends of hue switches from Vimar).
I am happy to control the hue bulbs either directly or via SmartThings hub.
I have used friends of hue switches or the hue dimmer and wasn’t happy with either as a long term solution, as the friends of hue are very clicky, and the hue dimmer requires batteries, thus I was hoping to find a switch solution I could wire in permanently that would allow control while leaving the circuits always on the power the hue bulbs, though I don’t know if such a product exists.
You need a version where neutral required, as you would not have load on it. Then you set up a SmartLighting rule to mirror the switch to the bulbs and the bulb to the switch as well. But this would be only on/off. All the other options above would give you dimming as well.
I don’t know the UK regulations regarding hard wiring lighting fixtures.
@jelockwood might know it. And he can advise with other UK switch options as well.
The reference to the UK regulations needing wired control of lighting circuits was based on a post by @JDRoberts but I am happy to believe this.
My own opinion is that in general wired switches should not be mixed with smart bulbs i.e. Philips Hue. Smart wired switches should therefore be used to control dumb bulbs. Whilst this definitely does apply from a technical point of view it also makes sense from a cost point of view as you are then having to pay for fewer smart devices.
Anyway, some people have used Fibaro double relays with one connection linked to the switch and the other used to send a signal to the Smartthing hub which in turn sends a signal to the smart bulb somewhat similar to the approach outlined by @GSzabados. However Fibaro only do Z-Wave products. There maybe similar Zigbee devices from other brands but I have not encountered them.
The most common approaches have been the kinetic power free switches and the Hue dimmer switch - each with options for mounting over a traditional switch plate.
The Switchbot seems to work with at least some UK light switches.
The Lutron Aurora would be legal and being wireless compatible with the UK Philips Hue but physically I can’t see it fitting on UK light switches.
Another approach would be to get the Lutron Pico wireless remote. This is another type of battery powered remote but superior to the Philips Hue one. Lutron apparently used to make a Zigbee version of this as the LZL-4B-WH-L01 but no longer do. However in theory you could get some which instead use their proprietary wireless system and use them with a Lutron hub and link that to Smartthings and again setup a virtual switch to pass the signal to Philips Hue. Clearly this approach is going to be absurdly expensive.
I have spent literally years looking for a smart lighting solution for the UK and I am still looking. Yes my criteria is demanding but as you might have gathered yourself the options here in the UK are very limited and suck.
I would say currently the best option is the LightwaveRF range. However I dislike it on two counts.
It is in my and many people’s opinion ‘aesthetically challenged’
It only has dimmers, there are no switches and hence you cannot mix switches and dimmers in the same multi gang faceplate
It does however have 1, 2, 3 and 4 gang options, does not require a neutral wire and even supports HomeKit.
Fibaro relays are extremely smart in auto detecting bulb characteristics, support standard momentary wired switches meaning the aesthetics are identical to traditional switches, allows mixing dimmers and switches, supports 1, 2, 3 and 4 gang options, supports 2-way etc. staircase style circuits and even supports pull cord momentary switches. Its problem to me is that it is Z-Wave and hence not HomeKit compatible. (Fibaro have some HomeKit options but they are only switches not dimmers.)
There are also Insteon micro modules which functionality wise are pretty much equal to Fibaro modules but there is a faint hope Insteon will release a new hub which will add HomeKit support. (This was mentioned by their CEO but they are moving incredibly slowly.)
There are some Zigbee micro modules from an Australian company called Stitchy. These are compatible with the Philips Hue hub and currently work via the Philips Hue hub for HomeKIt. However this seems to be an unofficial capability as normally only Friends of Hue products are exposed to HomeKit. They claim they are working towards becoming officially Friends of Hue and also working towards UK availability and support for momentary switches but this also is some time away.
There is another brand of Zigbee micro module which should I believe work with momentary switches and will work with Smartthings. Like Fibaro and Insteon and Stitchy it is not for controlling smart bulbs. It is rebranded by numerous companies.
There is another brand I cannot yet reveal which also uses Zigbee wired switches. This would not work with Philips Hue but would control dumb but dimmable bulbs and will when released be HomeKit and Smartthings compatible with 1, 2, 3, and 4 gang options and so on. Covid-19 has slowed this down and it sounds like it will be quite expensive - certainly compared to Fibaro, Philips etc. It should however still be much cheaper than ultra high end solutions like Lutron Homeworks QS and RadioRA and other similar systems which use proprietary digital wiring.
What is immensely annoying is Lutron’s stubborn refusal to make a European version of their Lutron Caseta range. What makes this particularly stupid is Lutron already have a UK/EU compatible hub, do sell their Homeworks QS and RadioRA2 ranges over here but refuse to do a version of their Caseta switches and dimmers. There is certainly plenty of people who would buy it including myself.
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