Configuration with Philips Hue and HE

Hi Folks,

tl;dr; Looking for advice on how to set up lighting in my home with Philips Hue bulbs and hub in conjunction with HE and possibly smart switches.

Doing some more reading, and have decided to try out Philips Hue, so I have a starter kit on the way, with their hub and 4 Ambiance White bulbs (dimmable/with a temperature range). I'm still waiting for my HE to arrive, so will play with this 'standalone' until then.

I think the easiest way to test these out is to plug them into standalone lamps, and use the Philips app to control them. I'm confident that will work, and will give me an opportunity to move them around the house to see what sort of range I can get.

Eventually, I want to be able to control a number of ceiling lights, that either have existing dimmable wall switches, or toggle wall switches (depending on the room), but I'm still working out how best to do that.

One method would be to install smart switches in each room, assuming that I have a neutral in each wall switch that I want to control (not 100% sure yet if that's the case for all of them), I could install a smart switch in each. I think this means the smart switch would control the ceiling lights via zigbee (or z-wave?) via the HE and the Hue hub. If so, what happens if either hub goes down for whatever reason? Would the smart wall switch still be able to turn on or off the ceiling lights? My guess is no.

Second method, if I'm stuck with the existing mechanical dimmers/toggles because I don't have a neutral in each switch box... In this case, it seems to me that I'd want to tape over the mechanical wall switch to disable it, as turning the light off - or dimming them - would cause power to be cut to the smart bulbs in the ceiling fixture, causing loss of control to them until the switch was flipped back on, and they reconnected to the HE and Hue hub (assuming they do - I've not played with either hub yet!) Controlling the lights in this manner would require any of either a philips remote, a smartphone app, or HE logic based on time of day or room sensors, etc.

My preference would be to try and keep costs down (i.e. not have to replace all my wall switches with smart ones) unless necessary, but I also need to make sure that the lights work 100% of the time regardless of the state of either hub.

Looking for advice from folks who have done something similar.

Thanks in advance!
Brawny

Ok... this is an age old question here...
Smart Bulbs or Smart Switches/dimmers?

Think of it this way...
If you want colour or temperature changing/control then it has to be smart bulbs as Smart switches can only turn on/off or dim
If you don’t want/need colour or temperature then I would recommend smart switches/dimmers (and yes, there are a few which will work without neutrals (if you can fit them behind switches in the wall box which is another issue)
Smart switches can generally be used even if the hub is offline.

The cheapest option is probably to go with smart bulbs and mechanically stop the switch from being turned off (either with tape or there are a number of switch covers available)

As you can tell by my correct spelling of the word colour, I’m in the UK so most of the time we don’t have neutrals in the switch boxes.
Most of my lighting (but not all) is Philips Hue Smart bulbs or led strips connected to a Hue Bridge.

I also have hue dimmer switches in each room connected to the hue bridge not my Hubitat for manual control when I want it.
But I strive for an ‘automated’ home
I.e if I walk into a room and it’s dark enough then I expect the lights to come on.
I don’t want to say anything (although I have alexa devices in every room so I could control the lights with those) and I don’t want to turn on a switch.
I don’t think I have touched a lightswitch in the kitchen, lounge etc for months!

I like Philips hue because they just work!
Even if you loose internet, the connection to Hubitat is across your local network so they will still work.

I’m sure there are lots of different opinions on this...

Andy

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Actually, the answer is YES. All smart wall switches, dimmers, and fan controllers that are actually attached to the load of the light/fan, can operate manually even if the smart home hub is down for any reason. This is exactly the reason why so many of us recommend using Smart Switches, Dimmers, and Fan Controllers - to the normal user, they work like any other 'dumb switch'. This makes it easy for guests and everyone to use these devices without you having to worry that they are 'messing up your smart bulbs' by powering them off.

I know you're in Canada...so I am not 100% sure if Lutron Caseta is an option for you or not. Here in the USA, I have converted all of my home's in-wall swictes, dimmers, and fan controllers over to Lutron Caseta. I believe Lutron Clear Connect RF protocol is much more reliable and responsive than Z-Wave or Zigbee. It just works, all of the time, every time! To use with Hubitat, it does require the Lutron Caseta Smart Bridge Pro2 device, in addition to the Caseta switches, dimmers, fan controllers, and Pico remotes. However, having the Smart Bridge Pro2, also means you get direct integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Hubitat, SmartThings, Logitech Harmony, etc...

Another advantage of Lutron Caseta is that they offer many dimmers and a few switches that do not require a Neutral wire.

Smart Bulbs are great if you need color changing bulbs. Using Philips Hue with the Hue bridge is the way to go for these bulbs. If you want to directly pair smart bulbs to the Hubitat hub, I recommend using Sengled zigbee smart bulbs, and they 'play nicely' on the Hubitat ZHA mesh network. Many of the other/older bulbs are know to be poor zigbee repeaters on a Zigbee Home Automation (ZHA) mesh network. And, powering off a zigbee bulb that is a repeater via a 'dumb switch' is certainly going to wreak havoc on your zigbee mesh network. Sengled zigbee smart bulbs are designed to not be zigbee repeaters, so powering them off, intentionally or accidetally, will not hurt your ZHA network.

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Yes the full line of Caseta is definitely available in Canada, just not at the lower prices you can get it in the US.

I’ll add another reason for smart bulbs that affects me personally, and it has nothing to do with color. I have tinnitus, which is a ringing in the ears. The last thing I want to hear is a bulb making the sound that I hear 24 hours a day. This is one of my primary reasons for moving to almost all smart bulbs in my home. The only two fixtures inside the house that are not smart bulbs, are incandescent, so they don’t make a ringing noise. But a smart dimmer with LED bulbs, I found was extremely difficult to find any LED bulbs that didn’t make some kind of high-pitched ringing at a certain dim level, or flicker, or not dim low enough before suddenly shutting off, or all three.

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By the way @Brawny, good choice for the profile pic brother :call_me_hand:t2: :skull:

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Thanks, Man. :slight_smile:

So I now have a Philips Hue Hub, and 4 ambient bulbs, the HE on the way, and based on the pointers here, I'm looking at Caseta for switches, which means a third hub. When will the madness end? :wink:

Seriously - I called a couple electrical supply shops here in London (Ontario), and Caseta is available and well recommended. No price discounts over the box stores unfortunately.

The Hue lights are fun 'Hey Siri, dim the family room lights to 30%", but I think the Caseta switches will be where the rubber hits the road as far as controlling automation, if they're as bullet-proof as I'm hearing. My concerns at this point are about making sure I have coverage for all the hubs/protocols. Philips is zigbee (I think!), Caseta is proprietary (I think!), which means I can't use them as repeaters and... I guess that's it so far, but I expect eventually I'll end up with z-wave stuff too.

Will have to get a couple Caseta switches in place - I have two overhead room lights that I want to be able to control / dim - Family Room where the tv is, and the dining room, where the coffee maker is. :slight_smile:

Once they're in place, next step will be some room sensors to allow me to program the lights on / off. Any suggestions for brands?

I'll also be looking to replace two undercabinet lighting circuits in our kitchen that are current fluorescent bulbs, with led. Will probably want caseta switches there too to allow dimming. Not sure about colours yet. Might be fun, but wouldn't use the feature much day to day. Maybe for alerts, etc I could turn them red or something...

Further down the road will be door locks with touchpads. Zigbee is better from the advice I've received, but still need to look at brands/features to find something that matches our existing doors.
Lastly, outdoor sensors and lights, and security cameras, which was what led me down the smart home bunny trail in the first place... lol. Security system will be independent though with a proper NVR, etc.

Still waiting for my hubitat to show up. Hopefully some time this week so I can start fiddling around. :slight_smile:

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Correct. Philips repeats with their bulbs, their new smart plug (have not see that for sale in the usual places yet) and Innr smart plugs (Amazon.com only at this time).

Correct again. Lutron Clear Connect. You need to have the Lutron Caséta Smart Bridge Pro. It uses a Telnet connection (not available on the non-Pro Caséta bridges you can get at places like Home Depot and Lowe's) to translate Lutron Clear Connect to IP so HE can react. I got very lucky when I bought mine back when I still had a ST hub. Found a seller on ebay that let me pickup from him in Markham. Was only $50 CAD. Once you have the bridge, their remotes are just $18 CAD on average. Sometime less on an Amazon Warehouse deal. Just got a kit recently with the Claro wall plate, wall adapter and Pico for just $23 CAD on an Amazon Warehouse deal. Had never been opened. :man_shrugging: Pico batteries supposedly last 10 years. I'm only 3 years in, but my original Pico is still going strong. Did exactly what you're talking about in the kitchen. Only time it's not the best choice is from around 2am to 2:20am or so. When the hub is doing its nightly maintenance, things like the Lutron connection especially, can slow to around 30 to 60 seconds reaction time. After the maintenance schedule completes, they're normal again. At first, when your hub doesn't have much on it, the daily backup/maintenance is only a minute or two. As your database gets bigger with more devices and rules, the maintenance time increases. Most probably never see this issue because they're asleep, but I'm a night owl and encounter it often.

Most likely. I'm not a protocol snob. Whatever works is good with me. There are a lot of cool devices you can get in Zigbee, but some stuff is only available as Z-Wave. I only had two Z-Wave devices, but recently I've added two more on HE and a Ring Alarm system (which doesn't exactly count because it's a separate Z-Wave network). More Z-Wave in my house than I originally expected, but as long as it all works and is stable, it's fine with me. I'm trying to be conservative with adding Z-Wave stuff though. Unlike Zigbee, if a Z-Wave device drops off the network for some reason, you have to Exclude it from the Z-Wave network before you can Include it back into the network. This causes it to be deleted from your rules. Huge pain to deal with. Zigbee on the other hand, can simply be reset and rejoined if it falls off the network. The hub will recognize a previously joined device and you're good to go. All your rules work as normal without being touched. Most important thing is to remember these are mesh network devices, so an AC mains powered device or dedicated repeater is needed to keep the mesh stable. Battery powered devices don't repeat the signals. If your devices are all close enough to the hub, you can get away with not having repeaters, but if you have even an inkling of trouble, get the repeaters in place and give the Zigbee mesh a few days to settle, or for Z-Wave, run a Z-Wave Repair and then give it a day to stabilize.

By room sensors, I'm assuming you mean motion sensors? One of the best available to Canadians for a reasonable price are the SmartThings 2018 motion sensors..

Definitely keep the Hue bridge and use the bulbs with the excellent Hubitat Hue Integration. It's all local and fast. You have to control the bulbs from HE if you want to see the changes reflected on HE immediately. This is a Hue API limitation. You can still use the Hue app, but changes cannot show up on HE faster than a minute if you have the polling set to a minute and make changes from the Hue app or any other app outside of HE. A dashboard or buttons like the Pico are the best way to control Hue lights from HE. The Hue accessories like the Hue outdoor motion sensor on the other hand, can be paired directly to HE and work fantastic. They are end devices and will not try to repeat. Hue bulbs will try to repeat if you put them on the HE hub with other Zigbee devices. While they do a fine job of it for other Hue bulbs, they fail miserably for everything else, and you end up with an unstable Zigbee network. So keeping them on their own separate Zigbee network as they are when pair to the Hue Bridge is imperative for stability.

Take your time, ask lots of questions, and enjoy the ride. :v:

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Can I use a Hue dimmer switch connected to a Hue Bridge to cancel an app or rule triggered by a non-Hue motion sensor attached to HE? If not, is there a way to mix Hue bulbs and accessories with non-Hue accessories with some other configuration?

Thanks in advance for any help!!!

Background - New to HE but I have a lot of Hue light bulbs, Hue Bridge, a few Hue motion sensors and a handful of Hue dimmer switches. I have historically used a 3rd party app called iConnectHue to configure my motion sensors and dimmer switches due to its enhanced capabilities compared to the native Hue app. I'm just starting the process of transitioning from SmartThings to HE (never got as far as implementing webcore but had a decent setup) including many ST buttons, motion sensors and contact sensors. I also have a handful of LIFX bulbs and some voice integrations via Alexa primarily but also HomeKit. I'm trying to figure out how I can best integrate all of this on the HE. I would gladly drop HomeKit/Siri in the name of simplification but I love its fast local execution (the reason for my move to HE).
The issue I was never able to solve without diving into webcore is the same question I'm asking here. I want to be able to override motion sensors with a button but I'm struggling to understand if it's possible with my current devices or if it would require yet another solution?

Only thing i'm not sure about is your hue dimmer switch as i don't know what they are do you have a link?

But basically very likely yes all you lamps would be connected to the hue bridge and they are just outputs. Then any buttons or motion sensors would be joined to HE directly and would become the inputs.

yes they all connect as one system of inputs and outputs.

Thanks @BorrisTheCat. I figured there must be a way to use the Hue dimmer switch as there are multiple posts about how unreliable the connection with the Hue dimmer switch and HE can be. That un-pairing and/or unreliability that has been repeatedly reported made me think that it was best to keep the Hue Dimmer Switches paired directly with the Hue Bridge (the HE integration with Hue Bridge only brings in bulbs leaving the Hue motion sensors and dimmer switches to be joined to HE individually (or not)). So based on that unreliability I was thinking I could retain my scenes and configuration of my switches back in Hue Bridge. But I am at a loss for how to even begin thinking about how to use motion sensors in this setup. I have a majority of my Hue lights powered on and off with motion triggered rules. But sometimes I need the lights to stay on after motion has stopped or just not retrigger the motion scene when I need, for example, a brighter light. So I would like to figure out how to cancel the motion sensor action on or off when a Hue Dimmer Switch button is pressed or has been pressed in a relatively short period of time surrounding the motion trigger. If the Hue Dimmer Switch cannot be used for this purpose while paired with the Hue Bridge, would it work if the Hue Dimmer Switch was directly paired to HE?
Thanks for helping me think through this.

Hi @smartishhome,

I'm also a largely hue-lit household and decided to keep my lights and accessories attached to the hue hub. This was nothing really against the HE hub, it was just that I had a few teething issues, and the more I read of other peoples experiences, I decided to go that way, and wanted some of the flexibility the hue hub gave me with using other Apps if I wanted.

In terms of your disabling of rules on the hue hub, I use the app All4Hue to control my rules and other bits and pieces, and have been able to get more fine-grained control of how to respond when a dimmer button is pressed, including disabling timers to turn off lights when motion stops. Not sure how much control you get with iConnectHue...

This is only for the lamps. Now I know what your on about this "dimmer" is just a button and would only work correctly if added to HE directly.

This will be connected to lack of a strong mesh. If you have had them on hue before with all the lamps and you move them to HE you have removed all their repeaters. So you will need to get some HE connected repeater to help with this, same with the motion sensors.

This can be done but only if connected directly. You can use the motion lighting app and use it to flip a virtual switch that disables the ON or OFF or both of the motion lighting app.

There is also another way (which I use) but it all depends on your exact set up. If I turn on the lights with my button or switch I don't want them to turn off. To put it back to auto on and off I turn the light back off from the button.