Lutron switches dim?

I want on/off switches for certain places where manual control over dimming doesn't make sense (eg a closet), while having automated dimming control based on the time. I'm looking to buy a couple Lutron PD-6ANS or PD-5WS (in-wall 2 button switches).

Can these control dimming? Out of the box, or would I need a "slave" Pico remote or something like that? These would be controlling "dumb" dimmable LED bulbs.

edit: Haven't checked all the switches, but have neutral wire in every place I have messed with. Would dimming capacity affect which model to get (but I can get the 2-button neutral cheaper than non-neutral)?

not following, can they control dimming, from what perspective?, they do not present as button controllers, so if you were thinking to do press and hold then no, they won't work. These will generate on/off events like any other switch.
Are you wanting to go into a closet and be able to control dimmer levels via this switch in the main room?

I want to be able to set an automation where if the lights are turned on at night, they come on dim. So I'm thinking the process would be that the switch would tell Hubitat that it has turned on, and Hubitat tell the dimmer to dim. Am I on the wrong track entirely?

thats the correct process, however the switch being used for the trigger is a switch, so it's not dimmeable, so whatever load that's connected to that switch will simply come on...
if you're not going to place an actual load on the switch in question, then you are better off just placing a pico in that location.

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These are dumb bulbs. I could put in a smart bulb in the closet, but I'm planning to do the same thing with the guest bathroom. Five candellabra bulbs. Not going to happen :-/ (Master bath has 10, but I want manual dimming, so plan on getting putting the Lutron 4-button switch in there.)

Also, I need to maintain the load on the switch, to stay in Code. An "air gap" is acceptable, but bathrooms require a switch.

Finally, if no one will be manually dimming, then I'd rather not have extraneous buttons. Seems you're saying I don't have any choice on that (aside from using smart bulbs with a Pico and recessing the switch, as per other thread)... If no choice, then I'll live with a 4-button in-wall dimmer switch.

edit: Added then fixed link [twice]; clarified a few wordings.

I'm seriously having trouble following what you're trying to do...

I have read your thoughts on recessing the existing toggle switch behind a pico, and personally that isn't an approach I would take, If I were deploying smart bulbs, I would remove the toggle altogether and simply leave that light branch live straight to the radio bulbs.
I also don't get the whole airgap thing, AFAIK, there is no code requirement for this, and it's pretty damn hard to get shocked changing a light bulb...

The only way to achieve absolute independent programmatic physical level control of a dimmer is to separate the actuator (the dimmer device) from the controller (the paddle).

It is also possible to have an app that subscribes to a dimmers on event, then turns around and issues a setLevel command that effectively overrides the retained dimmers level setting. so you go to the dimmer, hit on, the dimmer will turn on to it's previous level, in the mean time an app has subscribed to the on event, then turns around and adjusts the dimmer to whatever level you have decided...
But even with hubitat, the dimmer will likely reach its retained level setting before executing the newly issued setLevel command.

you can also write an app that just runs around at various times of day and issues setLevel commands to all the dimmers, then immediately turns them off...

There are also a few (very few) dimmers that allow you to override the retained level setting without actually turning the dimmer on.

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"At least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room and bathroom. [...]

"Lighting outlets shall be permitted to be controlled by occupancy sensors that are in addition to wall switches, or that are located at a customary wall switch location and equipped with a manual override that will allow the sensor to function as a wall switch."

[edit: I interpret that as requiring a switch (or "air gap") in most every room, but I am not an electrician.]

My plan is that when turning off, it setLevel to 1, then turn off. When turning on, it should appear to brighten to the right level, perhaps with a momentary pause. My concern with that is the switch would turn it off, then Hubitat would need to turn it back on, setLevel 1, then turn off again. (Assuming "setLevel" is interpreted as "Turn on and set level", which I have observed is true for the Pico remotes, but that's not equivalent.)

Turning on at the preset times to dim, then turn off, would probably be worse than having it come on at full brightness before dimming. At least at my current age, I only make a mid-night bathroom trip once a week. With progressive dimming (say, 10p, 12p and midnight midnight and 2am for multiple levels of dimness), it'd come on at midnight every single night.

Without testing my plan, I can't say how well it'll work in "real life". Having the light turn off, on and back off again every time someone hits the "Off" button might be less user-friendly and more annoying.

I'm toying with the idea of using an "in-line" dimmer AND install the 2-button switch. The in-line dimmer could handle any setLevel commands, and automated on/off commands, while the Caseta handles manual on/off. In other words, I'd be spending $50 for a Caseta switch that would work just like a manual dumb switch, only to have my switches all match each other. That wouldn't solve the issue with initial light level, and not sure how the wiring works, but should be able to wire the Caseta and in-line dimmer like 3-way switches.

edit: But to confirm, a Caseta 2-button switch can not act as a Dimmable device...?

No idea what the at "least one switch controlled" refers to from an implementation perspective, and honestly I'm not going to go look into it.
I get the intent, if there's a light in a room, and there must be a light in every room, then there needs to be a way to manually turn it on, IE a physical device of some sort that by convention a normal human can interact with in order to turn the light on.
Does covering an in wall dimmer with a Pico meet this intent?, sure. Will this setup pass final electrical for new home construction?, no idea and that's not what this topic is about anyway.
Will a future buyers house inspector even ask the question on how your home automation is controlling the lights, I have yet to see this...
Is there a light in the room?, check, does that thing that looks like a switch in that room successfully control the light?, check...

I don't see this as being tenable, nor even required. You will have physical constraints in trying to fit a an inwall dimmer and a smart switch in the same junction box, then there's the issue of who's controlling the load, as only one of them can, so you now hang the load off the inwall dimmer, and simply use the expensive caseta switch as a button controller, since you can't control the load from both at the same time...
And per you're info, you can't have a switch with no load attached to it, so where does that go?, feeding that load to the line in for your in wall dimmer isn't going to work for reasons that should be very obvious.

I'm really trying to come up with an economical way for you to meed your goals, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't need to be as complex as this.

how could it?, it's a switch... If its a switch how is it going to do anything but turn on and off a load.

How it "could" would be to have the same firmware code as the dimmer [and has whatever magical bit that dims the load]. All I need is to set it as a "Dimmable" device in Hubitat, and it actually recognize a "setLevel" command. But.... If it cant, then that's that. I'll have to either use a 4-button dimmer, or get crazy creative just to have two fewer buttons.

edit: No offense, but are you sure it doesn't? If you aren't, and I get no definitive answer from anyone else, I'll write to Lutron support and ask. If you are, I trust that, but don't want to interpret a guess as a definitive answer. /edit

As always, thanks much for your help!

OK, well even if it does, what does that buy you?
So you figure out that within our Lutron integration that you can send setLevel 60 to a Lutron switch and it turns the switch on, and conversely you send setLevel 2 to that same switch and it turns the load off...
That's all its going to do, it will not "magically" convert the switch into a dimmer...
@patrick has my development Lutron kit, so I can't verify this, but I'll put $10 bucks on the Lutron switch having an internal relay that controls the load....

There is a reason that the switch has only two buttons on it and the dimmer has 4 or 5...
If you're expecting that you can re purpose the built in functions on the dimmers and switches and override how they are used within the dimmer and switch, that's not going to happen, they are not programmable.
Despite the fact that the physical form factor looks the same, the Lutron dimmers and switches are not a Hybrid device combination of an in wall dimmer or switch and a pico button controller.

Maybe I'm missing something, but why not just put in a dimmer switch. Then set up a rule so if it goes on, the dim level is set to 100 at certain times of the day and set to whatever the dim level should be at other times. Would need to make sure to get a smart dimmer that will report instant status.

What it'd buy me is for a 2-button switch that dims.

Considering the price for the 2-button switch is the same or basically the same as the 4-button dimmer, I just assumed it'd be reasonable to at least hope that it had the same stuff inside. You're absolutely right that there's no reason they wouldn't cut costs by not including the magic dimming stuff inside of it, but they certainly aren't passing those savings on to the consumer. (I'm not an electrical engineer, or play one on the internet, but I'd think the Lutron in-wall dimmer also has an internal relay to cut power,)

The "reason" for having two buttons is aesthetic user-interface. They could, hypothetically, put 10 buttons on the dimmer. That doesn't mean one way or the other that the guts "support" additional buttons, or the function of buttons it lacks. The 4-button has the capacity to set the lights to pre-set values, despite lacking the 5th button (at least, through Hubitat). As I said above, that doesn't provide them any incentive to have put the technical capacity to dim the load (which obviously isn't the same as the pre-set functionality), despite charging the same amount.

edit: But my question is... Does the 2-button switch have the technical capacity to dim the power and accept the command to do that? /edit

More to the point, you're saying the Lutron switch is not a hybrid switch and dimmer like the Lutron dimmer is, My understanding is that they can in fact be wired to be a hybrid Pico button device, as being a powered repeater, but not control the power. I currently have no use for that, so I may have misinterpreted.

I don't want extraneous buttons on controllers I don't need. If my choice is between four button dimmer or having a 3-way switch system with a 2-button switch and an in-line dimmer... I'll probably pick four buttons. But I'm not going to let a little extra expense and effort prevent me from getting what I want :wink:

Just to be clear... The Lutron in-wall 4-button dimmer "will report instant status"?

edit: Mike.Maxwell well knows by now that I'm a picky ass. I am a devout believer in the KISS principal for user interaction. If two buttons suffice, then four buttons isn't an added feature... it's making it unnecessarily complicated. Mike keeps trying to convince me I'm wrong-headed about what I want, and I gladly accept that as the price for his undeniable expertise in what I can do.


in theory, and as demonstrated by me in a few smooth dimming POC videos Ive posted...
A two button Pico can provide that level of control using zigbee or zwave bulbs and dimmers with some capability extensions that will be out in the next release...
Lutron dimmers are not supported at this time with the above.

So another layer of options have been added to your decision matrix...

I think I misunderstand your use case :smile:. I have no Lutron equipment, just regular hard-wired smart switches and smart dimmers. I only have dimmers where I have dumb lights that can be dimmed. So when you mentioned closets, I envisioned that you wanted to have the closet light come on 100% during the day and maybe 30% at night, which you can do with a dimmer but not with a switch.

I'll stay out of the Lutron discussion, as it's WAY over my head! :wink:

Appreciate it! Any guess on when that release might be?

edit: The same principal doesn't work with the Lutron switch, because the switch acts on it's own prior to any feedback from the hub? Never mind. Stupid question. Because it requires smart bulbs. And back to the issue of being a multi-light candelabra fixture that would 1) Cost lots on bulbs, and 2) Not have my fancy filament-style bulbs. But, yes, that is an option.

zwave bulbs and dimmers, and zigbee bulbs and dimmers...
NOT JUST smart bulbs

a bulb is a smart bulb, a dimmer is a device that has a dimmeable load attached to it...

The physics of a dimmer switch are different than those of a binary on/off Switch. So the hardware internals are different, it's not just a software difference. This is true regardless of brand.


Also, the interpretation of the national code given above is incorrect. There are all kinds of exceptions and overrides in various clauses of the NEC. One of these specifically allows you to use an automation system for residential lighting pretty much everywhere in a single-family home except that there must be a load-controlling switch reachable from the entrance to an attic. ( i've always thought that particular clause must've been proposed by some building inspector who had a bad experience with bats or a raccoon or something, but there it is. It's only the attic.)

Air gap. switches are definitely not a requirement. The term "air gap" also refers to other parts of an electrical system.

Local jurisdictions can adopt the NEC as written or make whatever changes they want, so you always need to check with your local jurisdiction. So I'm not saying it's impossible that there's supposed to be a load-controlling physical switch in each closet in some particular Township, but it's not common and it's not part of the national code.

BTW, for questions about code, I highly recommend Mike Holt's forum:

There are lots of electricians and building inspectors there who will be happy to drill deep into the minutia of any particular code question. :wink:


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