Could use a little coaching

Hello all, Wink refugee here, got my HE in the mail yesterday. After some (HE blameless) LAN tussling, I got the HE fired-up and paired easily with most of my devices. I set-up dashboards for both my wife and I, installed the built in automation apps and Alexa skill, so far so good. Where I’m struggling is with the automations. I have a couple that worked well in Wink, that are pretty critical path for the WAF, that I’m having difficulty replicating. At the heart of this post is asking for help with these two automations, but on a higher level I’m really asking about best practices, because I know there is more than one way to go about these.

They’re both basically morning/bedtime routines. In the morning my wife sleepily toggles a dumb wall switch with a single GE Link bulb attached. Wink would see the bulb turn on, and power up a couple other lights and an outlet. My issue seems to be in duplicating the trigger. I tried simple automations, rule machine, and Alexa routines to try and duplicate this. Alexa wouldn’t give the option of the bulb turning on as a trigger. Simple automations wouldn’t let you trigger the outlet, and I thought I had it set up right in rule machine, but when I toggled the switch to test it, nothing happened, and then I found the Ge link completely unresponsive and had to factory reset and re-pair it. 🤷🏻

The other is bedtime; basically turn everything off, lock the door, wait a few sec. and turn the master bedroom lamp on low. I made an Alexa routine for this, it worked middlingly well, but I think it should really be an HE automation. I set it up in RM with ‘night mode’ as the trigger, it was snappy and impressive, but not sure how to make it an Alexa command. I tried playing around with virtual buttons, but I got lost. I also think I’m making a mistake in that “all off” should be it’s own command, or group, or scene, so it can be invoked in more than one place? Wink had a prebuilt “all off” that could be called in ‘robots’ and responded to Alexa commands. Additionally, this bedtime automation could be triggered by the living room lights turning off (after a set time in the evening) at the Lutron switch (pro bridge is in the mail), which is functionality I’d like to preserve.

I have by no means given up on figuring this out myself, but the amount of time I’ve spent ignoring the toddler (and still not gotten things running just-so) is starting to frustrate the mrs, and I’d like to start out with a solid best-practices foundation to build on in the future. Any insights on what the right direction is, or pitfalls, would be much appreciated.

Welcome to the community!
I've always only exposed only what I needed to Alexa. Virtual switches work well for these kinds of things.

I would use groups and scenes to run this automation. It's native and I think that would work for your morning routine is.The same might hold true for your night routine as well. As far as I can see. If you want to tie these into alexa, then create a routine and attach it to the trigger switch that you have set up in groups and scenes.

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No, the bulb is typically powered down by zigbee at night, but its default state is on, so she toggles the power at the switch and voila.

That's going to make things unstable, to be honest. it'll turn on by default, but I, personally wouldn't trust the automation to be stable if you're toggling power like that.

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Hmmm. I just set-up a super simple kitchen sink light-on turns on living room lamp using ‘simple automation’ and again, it didn’t work. I figured I’m miss-understanding something. Then I got distracted for a few minutes and tried it again, and boom, living room lamp turns on. I wonder, is part of my issue there is a few minute delay between setting up the automation and it being ready to work? That would explain a lot.

I have an Echo in full view of my shower, which I never really gave a second thought about. But I guess I've been exposing a lot more to Alexa than I realized... :open_mouth:

FWIW I agree, cutting the power and restoring it to your GE Link bulb regularly is asking for trouble (could be true for any smart bulb, really).

But I'm also confused by this statement:

What device is this? Simple Automation Rules should be able to do that.

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Nope. It'll start working as soon as you hit done when creating the automation.

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I agree. There's an additional danger. GE Link bulbs are zigbee routers (repeaters) and not end-devices. Therefore, when power is turned off, any devices routing to the zigbee coordinator (Hubitat) via that Link bulb will drop off until the mesh heals.

Not good. How about this? Could you put a button controller - like a Pico on the wall for your wife?

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And bad ones at that! I still have 4 of them in a drawer, where they've been sitting for about three years I think? They might still work, but they are not welcome in my zigbee mesh ever again!

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MIne are in the attic, and about 10 LIghtify about to join them later today .....

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You are right. I thought the outlet wasn’t in there for some reason. Maybe I missed it, or something wasn’t set correctly, but in any event it is definitely there now!

I hear the advice about not toggling the power to the Ge link, but I think as a quick fix this is what I’ll do, then work on a better solution when I get a chance.

Yeah, as a matter of fact I bought the pro-bridge bundle (on your advice IIRC, thank-you!), so I’ll have an extra Pico remote on hand in the next few days :slight_smile:

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Not only that, but you're messing up your mesh. Don't put smart bulbs on a switch. Best bet is to put a push button over the switch so she can control it that way, or replace the switch with a smart switch and put in a dumb bulb.

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bulbs or strips?

Bulbs. You want em?

Edit - I got your address. Just say the word, and I'll put them in the mail.

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Use "Dimmers" for the Rule Machine trigger with GE Link bulbs.

If the dumb switch has the power to the bulb turned off, it will fall off the Zigbee mesh. Your automation depends upon the bulb powering up and immediately finding a mesh path, re-pairing, and indicating "on" status to the HE. That setup is really prone to failure,

Better to use a smart switch or motion detector.

Regards,

Don

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I don't mean to hijack this thread but I can't help but ask as I'm new to Home Automation;

I intended on two meshes, one HE and the other for Lighting only using Philips Hue.

For the lighting mesh, I don't plan on using smart switches. Does this mean that I should always leave the dumb switch in the on position and only turn off the light via App?

Yes

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Or even better then the app use motion sensors connected to hubitat to automate and skip buttons or apps when possible.