New to Hubitat - point me in the right direction

Hi gang, I just got my Hubitat, decided to go the z-wave route. So I installed up a couple Zooz ZEN72 dimmers, a clicky Z-wave remote, and a couple UltraPro dimmers for 3-way switches. Already had a bunch of Philips Hue lights around the house and the yard. In a couple days, I'll be receiving some motion sensors, contact sensors, smart plugs, and 36 more dimmer switches. Woohoo! Let's do dis.

So, as I start diving in to Hubitat automation, can you help point me in the right direction? Trying my best to begin with a solid foundation to build on.

  1. Fundamentally, should I set up my dimmers using Button Controller 5.1? Or Rule Machine? Or some other way? And why?

  2. Once I get the 50+ devices installed, I'm gonna attempt some fancier rules with conditions. "After someone has opened the entry door, and 10 minutes later the garage door is still open, turn the kitchen and hallway lights red." As I'm doing these, do you have any advice to make that easier?

  3. Next, I'll start building a Dashboard or two, for my phone and my wife's. Any advice on a rock solid way to go about that? Is there any reason to create virtual buttons for each dimmer switch before I start making a Dashboard?

  4. Any other pro tips, to get me started off right and reduce my need for cussing in the long

  5. Any links I should study before diving in?

Thanks so much for your tips and tricks and wisdom!

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Welcome! Sounds like you have a good plan of attack. You will likely have one or two "moments" the deeper you get into things.. the more tinkering you like to do the more "dangerous" things become! :wink:

I would start by reading up on building a solid mesh:

This community is a fantastic resource with a lot of smart people so don't be shy!

Starting out I would also consider focusing on the built in system apps first and then when you get comfortable branch out as needed. This way you will less likely run into weird issues etc, not that the community stuff isn't great - it is BUT you'll probably want to get the baseline in place first.


Depending on what you want to achieve I'd guess Motion Lighting will suit most cases. For more complicated scenarios I sometimes use Rule Machine.

With Rule Machine - practice (and failure) are your friend. Initially relatively simple tasks seem complicated but as you get stuck, ask questions on this forum, and think of more complicated things you want to do with it you'll progress.

I'm not a big fan of Hubitats own dashboard. I tend to use (the fantastic) SharpTools. It doesn't run locally like Hubitat but I find it so much easier to set up and style the way I like. SharpTools like Hubitat has a very helpful community and staff.

Not so much a pro tip but I spend a lot of time on this community. When I'm not asking questions or looking for help, I find it useful to browse the latest posts. I pick up and remember a lot of information from other community members issues, use cases, and setups which I go on to use at a later date. It's a great source for ideas for rules etc.


@derning A couple of tips

1: If at any time you have a failed z-wave pairing, STOP. Power down the device, then check your z-wave details page for ghosts (these will have nothing in the routing column) These need to be removed before continuing. Power up and factory reset the device and attempt pairing again.

2: Pair mains powered devices first, then battery devices. This will help build a strong mesh.

3: Make sure you update to the latest z-wave stack (Settings -> Z-Wave Details -> Update Firmware)

4: Do not pair Hue bulbs (or any other zll based bulbs like cree etc) to hubitat if you have other zigbee sensors. Zll bulbs make very bad repeaters/messengers. The should be isolated on a seperate hub. Either a Hue bridge or another hubitat (then use hub mesh to control). The exception to this is Sengled bulbs (they do not repeat) or zigbee 3.0 bulbs. Though at this stage of the game, Lifx bulbs are superior in every way in terms of speed, color acuracy, and brightness.

5: We're all here to help. Never fear asking questions. It's a great community.

6: Welcome to hubitat!


Check for Z-Wave firmware update on the hub… You will have a better starting off experience…

Settings -> Z-Wave Details -> Update Firmware

if there is no update available the button will not be there.


There's definitely nothing wrong with this approach. Many people end up with a combination of both zigbee and zwave and they coexist just fine. I find ZWave does require a little more care and feeding, though. I monitor the health of my mesh fairly closely and try to pick up on potential issues before they cause problems. This is important for both technologies but I find zigbee a bit more forgiving, especially if you follow @rlithgow1's advice and keep those bulbs on a separate hub.

Curious to know which Hue lights you use outdoors. Am thinking of putting up some additional flood lights.


I'm playing with my new Gledopto's and they're really nice (and cheap)

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I want to be careful not to derail OP's topic (Welcome, btw! :grinning:), but hopefully this may be relevant...

I installed a Hue Discover light on our detached garage a couple years ago along with a Hue outdoor motion sensor for it. I gotta say that combo has been flawless through all weather conditons and temps ranging from -25F to 100F (Minnesota - we see it all!). That outdoor motion sensor has really exceeded my expectations - Hue may be pricey compared to other options, but it's totally worth it IMHO.

ETA for OP - as others have recommended, I keep my Hue stuff on my Hue bridge and use the very excellent CoCoHue community app to integrate it all with Hubitat - works a treat!

Since Hue was the first home-automation ecosystem I ever bought in to way back when, I've always done (and still do) most of my Hue-specific rules/automations through Hue itself (more specifically, iConnectHue on iOS). My outdoor light setup described above is setup & managed via iConnectHue. It's nice to have options for control!


Again I would caution against jumping into Community Apps/Drivers at least at first - get your baseline established THEN start to incorporate things. Once you are good then consider the Hubitat Community Package Manager:

This can help installing and updating other community apps/drivers.. very handy. Also included with the HPM is a set of excellent advanced Zooz drivers by @jtp10181 ..


You might try using Basic Rules (under Built-In apps) first for your simple basic automations. Rule Machine is very powerful and you will probably want to learn how to use it, but I would not overlook Basic may work for many if not most of your automations. I now turn to Basic Rules first, and then use Rule Machine only if Basic Rules will not do what I want it to do.

Another suggestion is to look at the Tutorials....they helped me a lot to learn the system.


I agree with @brad5 - I've found Zigbee Locks to be easier than Z-Wave in terms of installation and overall response and control. Also Zigbee sensors seem to be faster and pairing is a lot less of a hassle. Z-Wave is better at this now thanks to the new Radio firmware though.

I have mostly Zooz switches - "toggle style" Zen23/24 in my house ranging from old V2s to V4s. Also have a few newer Zen73/74.

Pay attention to the wiring (it can be different for 700 series) and also max load... I use GE switches for the bathroom fans rather than Zooz.

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THIS :arrow_up: !!!


Many mentions of hub updates, but none so far of device firmware updates. Personally, if I had 36 Zooz switches, I'd build myself something easy and safe to do them right by my hub first, exclude them, install in their final location, and then re-pair to the hub (following instructions on how to build a solid mesh)

@derning Dunno if you have considered Lutron Caseta switches. Their ClearConnect technology uses 434mhz which is pretty good at building penetration and will often work reliably where zwave may require more work (like in my house). For that reason they require a separate hub but the integration is straightforward and reliable. They also have the added advantage (for me, anyway) of many models that do not require neutral wiring to be present at the switch.

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The downside is the expense - they are usually almost double the price of a Zooz switch and not everyone (my wife) likes the look. In order to get a more traditional look you need go up a level and spend even more money.

Having said that I agree with you Lutron works great and is very reliable although I'm not a big fan of having to deal with their hub/bridge especially since they "could" (but probably wont) decide to cut off telnet access in favor of their more modern secure protocol.

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very unlikely, they would have to contend with the fallout from some pretty large integrators.
Their way of binning telnet was to create Radio RA3...


Is it wrong to just want the "pure" HE experience? :laughing:

I am glad you have the integration you do AND I actually do have some Caseta stuff (picos, switches) I sneakily installed in our house - in the basement and for bedside light controls. :ninja:

Thanks @brad5 for the advice! For my outdoor lights, I've got a series of Hue Lily Spot Lights, either staked in the ground or mounted on vertical wooden fences. When staked in the ground and used as up lighting, I've pointed them at small trees so that they cast cool organic shadows on the wall.

Philips Hue Lily White & Color Outdoor Spot Light

To extend the distance between them, I used these 16ft extension cables buried in the ground:
Outdoor Extension Cable for Hue Calla and Lily lights

Along the deck and benches, this Hue outdoor light strip is awesome. The whole strip only does one color (no gradient multicolor abilities). So planning several strips helps achieve the color combos you're going for.
Hue Ambiance Outdoor Lightstrip


Yes! Good schtuff. Thanks and fist bump.

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Thanks @johnwill1 , solid tips. Sharptools is indeed much prettier and friendlier UI than the built-in dashboard. Definitely gonna try out their free account to measure the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). Cheers and hi-5 to you sir.

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