Newcomer questions / verification

So where do I start, well, Home Depot and the $5 Ecomart A19. I saw these posted on Slickdeals and a bunch of people going on about SmartThings this, SmartThings that, Hubitat this and so on. So I picked up a few on a whim and started playing with them with just the remote. I did some more digging into a hub, what they do, what they don't and got hooked on the idea of the automation of lighting, plugs and so on. So I picked myself up a SmartThings hub, enjoyed the use of it but along side research into it I also wanted to look into Hubitat. Needless to say the ST hub did what it should have but I wasn't entirely satisfied with it. So I picked up a Hubitat and honestly haven't looked back. There are multiple reasons for the switch but I won't get into that as I'm sure they're the same most of you are here.

Skipping forward, more A19s were purchased, along with a Hue v1 hub and 5 gen 1 downlights (dirt cheap so couldn't resist), and spread throughout the house. I linked Alexa so voice control and things were working as expected. My daughter loves it, my wife, not so much. Her primary reason is that there's no switch. When she gets up in the morning she has to either have her phone available or whisper to Alexa and hope she doesn't wake up our daughter. What she does like about it is the ability to control the dimmer level. She gets up, sets the kitchen lights to 20%, moves about then after the kiddo wakes up sets them to 100%. So I start digging around again and find that the Aqara switch has a driver. I order 2 of the switches, started adding some things to RM and to me it seemed OK. To the wife, it's too slow interacting with the Hue lights in the kitchen.

After a bit more lurking, reading and thinking I have to ask myself if I went about this the wrong way. I started researching switches, realizing I needed a 3 way switch in the dinning area due to the second switch controlling the same lights. That got me looking into the new Inovelli Red LZW31-SN.

So, here are my questions. Some fairly easy yes / no for most of you and one is mainly asking for an opinion.

  1. The new Inovelli Red, based on my findings, will work with a dumb switch in a 3 way configuration as long as the dumb switch is utilizing the common neutral in a 3 post configuration. Hopefully I said that right, not an electrician. Is that correct?

  2. The Inovelli referenced, being a dimmer, would allow for dimming of the bank of lights it is controlling as long as the lights support it, correct?

  3. What uses are the A19s that I have if I were to switch to a smart switch vs light? I have a few of them do actually like having the ability to control the color of white light they produce. If I went with a smart switch like the Inovelli, could I still use them and still control the color?

  4. So now for the opinion piece, would I have been better off going with a smart switch controlling dumb lights?

So, that's my personal experience so far. Hopefully I wasn't too scattered about with my thoughts.

Great community Hubitat has here, glad to be a very, very small part of it.

Welcome to the forum. It's a great place.

I think most of us have a box full of devices of various flavors that we started out with but later abandoned. Personally, I have about $300 worth of HE-compatible zwave that I ditched after I decided zigbee was the platform for me. As for bulbs, I decided I was going to go with switches even before I decided to go with a hub ...that was about $200, IIRC.

That said, I'm not into colors or even dimming. When I flip a switch I want eye-searing brightness.

What made you decide to stick with Zigbee over Z-Wave?

Off topic, but curious. If this isn't allowed, please let me know... is there anything against selling/buying used equipment on here? Like if someone had a bunch of stuff, like yourself, and someone like me came along looking to buy, does the forum allow it?

Yup! Check out /Lounge :slight_smile:

For switches, the hue system has RGBGenie — awesome product and they’ve got a great presence on the forums here. Lutron Aurora is also another good alternative—no wiring needed for that.

After a relatively short period, I decided to leave wifi-driven devices because the array of vendor apps it took to manage it was driving me crazy. Prior to that, I'd been watching Vera and Smartthings but they moved further and further AWAY from local. Someone on reddit mentioned HE as a new-sh device that was local only. The local problem was solved, but I was unfamiliar with the protocols and -particularly- the mesh. Given the size of my house, I first thought that the stronger zwave would be the best way to go. But I kept seeing knowledgeable members here posting about exclusion problems, motion detector lag, moving zw devices, etc. Meanwhile, the zigbee guys were all playing cards and drinking beer (a.k.a. no problems). The debate still goes on; see post after this one

So I built out my zigbee mesh. My zigbee HE has been rock-solid. So much so, that sometimes weeks go by without me even looking at a dashboard.

re: For Sale
I see FS stuff posted in the Lounge fairly frequently.


Oh yeah, forgot to add that somewhere in there Amazon's Echo hub came out with zigbee. I figured it would be the 800# gorilla in the protocol room.

If your smart switch location has a neutral, the Inovelli dimmer will work with a dumb switch in the other locations. This wiring guide may help:

The Inovelli dimmer will work like most dimmers: if your bulb supports it (and they must if connected to a dimmer), it will dim them. I'm not sure if I'm missing anything else from your question. It does sound like you're using smart bulbs, though. You'd either want to replace those with dimmable "regular" bulbs of your choice, or you could use the Inovelli with those, too--the local control "feature" can be disabled, then it will only be a button device that you can assign actions to (like turning on/off smart bulbs) via Hubitat, or you could use Z-Wave Association if your bulbs are Z-Wave (yours currently aren't) and you're OK with the tradeoffs (fast execution, no hub needed, but less flexibility). Not cheap and a bit more work if you don't need the feature smart bulbs offer, but (unlike my wallet) I happen to like this setup myself. If you do swap out your existing smart bulbs, some people still like smart bulbs in lamps or places without accessible switches, so perhaps you could find another use for them (or sell them on eBay and recover some cost).

If you want my opinion: I'd say go with smart switches unless you know you need smart bulbs. If you go with smart bulbs, make sure you still have something switch-like to manually manipulate the bulbs if needed (the Hue Dimmer or Lutron Aurora are examples of this that work with Hue or Hubitat, but with just Hubitat you get a lot more options too), or at the very least have automation (e.g., motion and/or time) set up so that you don't need to. Nobody wants to use an app or voice assistant to turn bulbs on/off all the time, and if you use a physical switch, the smart bulbs become dumb.

I've gone against the norm here. I like to set all sorts of scenes based on the current mode and desired lighting. As a result I use RGBW bulbs all over. Lately I have been moving to Inovelli Red and Black Series switches (not dimmers).

You can disconnect the relay from the switch so that it is only controlled remotely. This way I can leave the power on to the smart bulbs and use the buttons on the switch to trigger rules. I can run then all my automations but visitors can still use the paddle switch to turn things on and off as expected.

It is twice the price but works well for me.

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I appreciate all the feedback from everyone. It sounds like I have a pretty solid plan moving forward with the Inovelli Red/Black switches.

Back to lurking!

What about just adding in some motion sensors and have the lights turn on/off automatically? No talking to Alexa required. Your wife can then use voice to dim/brighten if she wants. Or just setup the lights to be preset to 20% in the morning and have a spare motion sensor setup in your daughter's room that can't see her while in bed. Set the automation up where when your daughter is up and about, then the other lights automatically brighten.