Yet another "new to ST" thread: need device and setup recommendations

Hi all,

I’m new here and got my first ST hub for the holidays. I’ve been reading a lot of posts over the past few weeks trying to get a good grasp of my options and what equipment I need but I’m quite confused still :frowning:

Basically, I wanted to replace all my recessed (BR30) lights (~28 bulbs) with LED bulbs but at the same time I would like them connected to ST in some way. I don’t particularly need control over each individual light but at the very least the zones that they belong to. I was initially thinking that the GE Link bulbs sounded the best but I’ve been reading about quite a few issues with them. Is it also true that if you keep standard light switches/dimmers with them you would need to leave them always on and control the bulbs solely through the app?

My next thought was to just use connected dimmers with dumb LED bulbs. This will allow the other people in my house to control the lights as they normally would with the added benefit of app and remote interaction. (I believe this allows me to setup scenes too?) Something to note is that I have a couple areas that have 3 and 4 way switches.

I know that that’s a bit to ingest but I want to make sure I understand what I’m dealing with before making purchases. Can anyone recommend devices and device combinations for what I’m looking for?

Thanks in advance!

I was like you a year ago! Personally, I use the GE bulbs only in lamps because putting them everywhere would be a PITA. While these bulbs can be difficult, mine are working great.

All my switches have been replaced by GE/Jasco ones to still allow manual control of groups of lights, like the ceiling can lights in certain rooms, but also control through ST. I use dimmers, single, and 3 way switches all over the house. The GE devices have been rock solid for me, and their price point is great (from Lowe’s). I’m now getting ready to install a couple of the zwave fan control switches.

All my door and window sensors are Ecolink’s, with the exception of a few Philio PSM01 3 in 1’s. Both of these brands seem to have great battery life so far.

Lastly, I have a few of ST’s presence tags and multisensors that work well, but consume batteries quickly - especially the presence tags.

Congrats on getting your new hub, welcome to the ST community, and Happy Holidays!

Welcome my friend! This Christmas we promise to help you at whatever level of expertise we are at, lead you to the right direction, confuse you and play mind games with your head, but we will be there…

I’ve tested a fair number of LED bulbs.

By far the best of the bunch are the Sunset Effects series from Lowes. Like regular incandescent lights, they become warmer as they dim. Additionally, the build quality is surprisingly robust.

Pair them with the linear wd500z dimmer for a fabulous setup.

I am not a handy person but playing mostly with hues, luxes and GE links. Veterans will be able to help you with dimmers and stuff.

Thanks for the replies!

It looks like the GE/Masco switches has a common problem of not working too well with LED bulbs. Is this strictly because some people aren’t putting enough load on the circuit or is it because some LED bulbs are just finicky with it? What LED bulbs have people used that works solidly?

I couldn’t find the “Sunset Effects” bulbs you were referring to on Lowe’s site, could you share a link? Also, I don’t see Linear switches as supported on the ST site. How did you get those working?

The Linear dimmers just work with ST as a Z-wave switch, no magic needed. In my home I have use GE switches for ON/OFF and 3-way ON/OFF and Linear for dimmers. The GE dimmer doesn’t dim LED bulbs (I’ve tried). The Linear dims most LED bulbs just fine. The Best price on the GE switches has been Lowes. They have them for $34 for on/off, and $44 for 3-way. I also use the GE Link bulbs in a few lamps and outdoor sconces. They have worked great for me. The only problem with them is that the “things” object doesn’t usually update if someone turns the bulb on/off manually with a switch.
Welcome to the addiction…

@EeriePhen0men0n, All my bulbs are LED (except for dimmers - those are halogen), and are either the original Lowe’s Ulilitech, or their new Sylvania bulbs. They’re all switched by the GE switches I mentioned. My other LED’s are the GE Link bulbs I mentioned above.

@bpetersen59, have you seen the thread on using a different device type for the GE bulb to get status updates when the bulb is manually turned on? Using Pollster with this device type works quite well too.

Sorry, I guess I should’ve mentioned that I would like all of my recessed lights to be dimmable if possible. Not because I would actually dim all of them but at least so they would be consistent with a fade in effect which I think would be quite elegant.

Do you have any dimmers in a 3 or 4way situation? I hear that there’s been some trouble getting that to work properly.

The linear accessory dimmers work just fine.

However, I’ve switched to using a variety of motion sensors to turn lights on/off in most places. Walking around without touching switches pretty much ever is magic.

Just installed the new GE dimmer 12724 with my LED bulbs and they work good. A little slow updating the dashboard but other than that no issues.

No, I hadn’t heard that there was a different device type to try on the GE Link bulb. Post a link to the thread if you can find it. :smile: I really like the light that comes from the link bulbs. I have a few of them that are connected to a GE switch, but I use the GE bulb because it gives off a nice color light.

@bpetersen59, sorry for not including it earlier!

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I’ve got 2 Linear switches in 3 way. (I don’t have any 4-way). You will need a device like the Aeon minimote to pair the 2 Linear switches. However, the remote can be found for $30, and makes a very handy way to do things like:

  1. All lights off
  2. Goodnight
  3. holiday lights on/off
    You probably already figured out, but it is worth repeating that you will need one Linear load controlling switch and one (or more) accessory switch to make the pair. The accessory connects to a line and neutral wire, but not to a load. You’ll end up capping off the old traveler wire. You could put the accessory switch anywhere in the house!

Could you explain to me a little how adding the minimote fixes the issue? Is it acting as a pseudo hub of some sort?

I’m also assuming that this will allow you to setup scenes with all your connected devices? E.g. 2 taps to turn off all light and turn down the temperature? Is this the only way to setup scenes? If not, how else?

The minimote just sends association commands. It’s part of the zwave spec that smartthings has chosen to pretty much ignore in an attempt to create parity between zwave, ip, zigbee, etc devices.

I think you can actually do it programmatically, but it’s easier to click a button.

After your switches are configured, you could actually toss the remote.

The minimote creates a partnership between the load control and accessory switch. This allows the aux switch to control the load control switch even if there was no hub in your house, or if the hub was powered off. You pair them by pressing the “associate” button on the minimote (the bottom left button under the cover), then turning on each of the switches, then pressing any button on the minimote to exit pairing mode. Done!