Zigbee outlet for bedside lamps

I am looking to have 2 bedside lamps (yet to be purchased) connected to SmartThings. One on each side of the bed. Been a while since I did anything other than replace an existing setup that died or just replicate a setup to a new room so wanted to see if any fresh ideas. Below are the important things I have thought of so far. Any suggestions?

  • I’m in the United States
  • Cost is a factor. . . .I am definitely frugal
  • I would prefer a plug in solution for quick/easy, but I have installed many in wall switches, so assume I could handle installing outlets as well in case in wall offers something worth while.
  • I want to be able to dim the lights.
  • Ideally would be able to control by voice and by the lamp. I have some old CentraLite switches (4257050-ZHACE) that will turn on if the switch on the lamp is turned on even if the outlet is currently off. I can’t control dimming manually, but that is ok as I suspect we won’t change dimming that often at all much less manually. Does anyone know what this feature is called? I tried to find newer switches that have this but have no idea how to search for it. As a path of least resistance I could just get more like those, but CentraLite seems to have been sold and they no longer make those original outlets.
  • I am looking to use Zigbee given the long term life of Z-wave seems a little up in the air. Willing to use Z-wave as I already have lots of those devices, but would rather stay away from Wi-Fi.
  • I use Google for voice control
  • There is an outlet on each side of the bed. I would like not to block the second plug for each outlet.
  • We already installed a Z-wave in wall dimmer switch for an overhead light, just not good for evening reading. Not sure if I will want to link the 3 of them together or not, but I would do that via ST automation or more likely webcore so not really a factor.

Just a thought . . . Why not just use smart bulbs? You can accomplish the same thing, dimming, voice control, control via scenes. Technically, that also allows on/off from the lamp switch although smart bulbs really should remain fully powered.

There are a lot of Zigbee bulbs to choose from. Some a lot less expensive than a plug-in dimmer.

An added benefit of this approach is that you can also change the color temperature or colors (if that’s desirable and an available bulb feature).

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This is called “load sensing.”

It was really common about 20 years ago in older home automation systems like Insteon, but is rare now for multiple reasons:

  1. it works MUCH better with incandescents than with LEDs.

  2. it is confusing for many people

  3. it only works well for on, not off: turning the light off at the lamp may mean you have to physically turn it on again before the radio works again.

Ok, that said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in a Zigbee model. @johnconstantelo might have seen one.

The first generation of the Leviton VRR15 zwave wall outlet had this: I don’t know if the newest version does. And some of the pre zwave plus Jasco smart dimmer plugs had this, but those only worked with incandescents and they dropped the feature from the newer models.

Load sensing option allows a lamp or other device plugged into the controlled side to be turned ON manually using the lamp’s integrated ON/OFF button

I would try writing Leviton and Jasco and asking them for specific models with this feature. :thinking:

It occurs to me that the reason these are more likely to be zwave is they usually require user-configurable parameters, which are typically easier with Zwave.

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Some older Jasco plug in ZigBee dimmers have the load sense feature. It doesn’t work for LEDs (they won’t turn fully off) and as @JDRoberts said they are confusing. I ended up moving ours to just a repeater.

I would second the suggestion of a smart bulb. We got several of the RGB Bluetooth ones and I didn’t think I’d like them. We integrated them to Echos and they work great on bedside table lamps.

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Thanks for the feedback. I’m going to do some research to see if I can dig up an outlet with load sensing that supports LEDs. The CentraLite switch has it and has worked great with my LEDs so maybe I can find another out there that still has it now that I know what it is called. I forgot to mention I originally thought about bulbs but cast them aside as I knew they couldn’t be manually controlled, but then again the switch really isn’t either, and now that I think about it if the reaction to the light not doing what you want is to just turn the switch a few times then the bulb is just as good. I have some spare Sengled bulbs stashed away so maybe I will just do that.

Maybe I will just take a look into some battery powered buttons to control it as a backup instead. My real goal for the manual option is so that if one of us is sleeping, you can control the light without having to having to talk to the speaker and have it respond. My wife and I are both very accustomed to telling Google to adjust lights, but she definitely has a preference for manual operation when the option is available. My kids on the other hand definitely rely on the motion automation I have running and voice commands. Funny story this week, the hub went offline over night and when I came down in the morning I found both my kids eating in the dark telling me the lights wouldn’t turn on. When I asked if they tried the switch. . . . .crickets lol.

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It looks like the current Jasco Zigbee plug in dimmers no longer support load sense, likely to be compatible with LEDs.

Enbrighten-Zigbee-Plug-in-Smart-Dimmer-Dual-Controlled-Outlets-White Zigbee 3.0 model
GE ZigBee Plug-In Smart Dimmer, White Zigbee 1.2 model

Mine is an older model 35938 that I got from ebay or somewhere that supports load sense but its pre-LED bulb era. I thought it might work for Christmas lights that we use but we upgraded those to LED as well…So it makes a great repeater now. :slight_smile:

I went thru some of the same thought processes with the side lights as you are. I thought I would need buttons at some point too. Our bluetooth mesh bulbs paired to echos work so well theres been exactly zero times we’ve need a button (that will just take up space on the table/get lost/batteries are dead). And for sleeping, we just use Whisper mode on Alexa. Not over engineered and works great. Very high WAF :100:.

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Hey @farlicimo if you’re using incandescent side lamps and want to try this #35938 zigbee dimmer I’d be happy to send it to you. I can use something else as a repeater if someone could get some use out of the dimming feature. If you’re LED then it won’t be of much help.

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I’ve mentioned this before, but at our house for my own use (it probably wouldn’t work for guests) I have an inexpensive motion sensor on the side of the nightstand pointing towards the bed. I can just wave a hand over it to toggle the light. You don’t get dimming, but just for on/off it works well. And for me it’s easier to use than a button.

Nope, I’ve not seen anything like that.

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I use the SmartThings/Aeotec button on my nightstands. Works perfectly. Plus with three buttons, pressed, double pressed and held, you can control two other devices like the other nightstand lamp or a ceiling fan.

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I have one of these stuck on the headboard as a remote for the ceiling light / fan - it looks like they’re not readily available anymore, but if you can get your hands on one, they’re pretty versatile: they can be mounted over an existing toggle switch, or just taped / screwed onto a convenient surface, and they’re big enough to easily operate by feel with just up/down (tap or hold).

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I used the Sengled Element Touch bulb for bedside lamps for this very reason. It’s a ZigBee bulb with a button on the bulb. Has four dim levels.

I’m not sure it’s still available, though.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Sengled-Element-Touch-Dimmable-White-Smart-A19-Light-Bulb-60W-Equivalent-Hub-Required/52681649

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Thanks for the offer, but all LED at this point. Love me some LEDs, so energy efficient!

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Do you find these go to sleep? I have one in my guest room since the switch is wired to a wall outlet so can’t replace the light switch, but I find it goes to sleep every time I need it, so requires 2 pushes. It’s not used that often, probably max once a day. . . maybe longer. . . but usually requires 2 pushes.

Generally, no. I have 2 of these. One of them became intermittent, where it would take multiple pushes. Probably what you are describing. I removed it, excluded it and I think factory reset it and it has been functioning normally ever since.

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This is one reason I really like the Friends of Hue batteryfree switch. No battery, so no sleep dormancy issues. (It harvests the kinetic energy when you physically push it.) But ST doesn’t support zigbee green energy clusters so you have to use it with a Hue bridge. Then it works great with other devices on Hue or HomeKit devices. But not straight to ST, so may not fit what you need. Also, it’s big. But very cool engineering. :heart_eyes:


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Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I’ll try resetting it and see if that resolves it.

Thanks all for the suggestions. New lamps purchased and am going the bulb route for now. My wife was all eager to just use voice for control, which was my concern, so all good for now.

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