Smart Bulb / Smart switches clarification

Hi guys, sorry but I was not able to find a similar request, probably because I am too newbie?

My need is to integrate a full smart light in the house, but I have a big doubt.

Example: Buying only smart bulbs, keeping the existing switches:

in this case, if I turn off the light from switches, the light will not be possible to be controlled remotely, since the current is not available with the switch turned off.

How do you solve this issue, usually?
Then I was thinking, probably it is better FIRST to replace the existing switches, with the smart model. Then I will be able to turn on/off the light, manually by switches, but also remotely, from the same switches. And this is fine.

BUT, If I'd like to have also the dimmer function, I think it is needed to add smart bulb too.

Then here is the question. Is this the right solution? I mean, having a smart switch that will control the light, but at the same time the light is connected to the system by itself?

This is not creating confusion? What I am missing, please?

Thanks for help

Elisa

@elisarossi280
Switches for switch controlled lights, bulbs for table lamps (for table lamps I also add pico controllers on a pedestal for manual off on) I recommend Lutron Caseta because they're tanks and they just work. Have not had a failure in 10 years

3 Likes

There are a bunch of switch options that sit over typical paddle type switches -- therefore you leave them on and dont have to play with electricity ... YMMV, and their aesthetics are a bit off

The only issue with this

Switches for switch controlled lights

is when when you want to have smart lights in ceiling cans/etc ... so you have to figure out how you want to approach not having the switch turn off

1 Like

Like @rlithgow1 , I recommend replacing any dumb wall switch with a smart wall switch, and leaving the bulbs connected to those switches as dumb bulbs. Replace any dumb bulbs that are in table lamps with smart bulbs. You can also use a smart wall switch to control your smart bulbs in the table lamps. The easiest way is to get a smart switch that detects double taps, in which case the single taps will control the dumb bulb connected to the load of the switch and the double taps can control the smart bulb in your table lamp.

2 Likes

I agree with others here - start with the smart switch/dimmer. Smart Bulbs for table lamps etc - any fixture where you switch on/off at the base rather than a switch.

Lutron is always the go to except it's very expensive and to get the right look might cost even more.

Also consider what you really need/want to do.. having color changing bulbs everywhere sounds cool and is fun for a bit but at least in my case I never really use it other than to show off for like 10 seconds.

If going the non-Lutron smartswitch route make sure your switches have a "Smart Bulb" capability - it's a feature that can disable the physical relay to the light in the case you want to add smartbulbs on that switch in the future. I like either Inovelli or Zooz.

3 Likes

This is exaclty what I need I think. Because with smart light, I can also choose which lite to turn on with each switch I think. Also the color (and white intensity) is interesting.
So does exist smart switch that communicate with the lamps, by sending signal? And not with the relay. I think this is the best option in terms of flexibility, not?

Yes! You are effectively decoupling the actual light action from the switch itself and controlling it all through HE..

It's really kind of cool because then you could use any switch anywhere to control any light anywhere.. I also am using the button events rather than on/off - works great.

One of the big drawbacks though is your HE has to be online at all times. If it goes down then you lose the ability to control your lights. Having a UPS for the hub is critical.

Understood, right. It is cool that it can't work even if without internet connection.
Now, the critical point is: how can I understand what is the right switch for this need? There are tons of switch, but how can I understand which one has got this functionality?

1 Like

Most modern switches have this capability (smartbulb or disable internal relay) I think but you should check the specs..

Zooz

Inovelli
https://inovelli.com/products/switches/

1 Like

Consider buying one switch and a set smart bulbs that will be controlled by it first to see how it will work that way if it does not meet your expectations you aren't all-in.

Some examples from my setup:

  • In my living room my smart dimmer (Zooz Zen24v4) directly controls the fireplace sconces which are not smart (single pole). However I have 2 sets of lamps that have smart bulbs in them. I have it set so one tap up turns the sconces on as expected and a double-tap up turns on the lamp smart bulbs on.. one tap down turns sconces off and two taps turns the lamps off. If I "hold" the switch up or down then all lights turn off or on..

  • In my den I have 8 recessed Sengled BR30s that are controlled by a Zooz switch (Zen23v4) - I have smart bulb mode turned on and use rules for turning/on off. Also have table lamps that I can control via double tap up or down like the Living Room.

  • My upstairs hallway has 3 smart switches (Zooz Zen23v4s) that are "no load" - not connected to any light but also have smart bulb mode on. On my stairs leading up I have a single pole smart switch ( Zen24v4 which controls the non-smart hallway light. I use button taps to turn stairs light switch on or off.. The cool thing here is no syncing needed and no relay clicking sounds when turning on/off.

I get the initial attractiveness of the whole "best of both worlds - smart bulb & switch" thing, but I think it's worth thinking more about... I can't speak for everyone here, but I think many of us have found that fancy colors (and even routinely varying whites) all tends to lose its novelty pretty quick - it's a lot of overhead in additional programming, maintenance and upfront $$$.

I'm not saying don't do it, but is that capability you really need everywhere or maybe just a couple key areas (if at all)? Food for thought...

3 Likes

Yeah I agree about the color changing thing.. the decoupling of switch function with light control is very interesting however. Like doing what I mentioned in my examples.. one thing I didn't say was we had a Christmas tree in our living room on a smart plug and I used 3 taps up/down of the sconces switch to turn it on/off. Also had it automated on at sunset etc so rarely did this but it was there.

YAE - yet another example...
My teenager loves color bulbs in her room. While she does not change them all that often the room is generally red and her table lamp blue at various points never white. However us parents / cleaning people need to go in there to see things from time to time so I have her main switch single up set the bulbs color temp to soft white and 2 taps up restores the colors (actually hard coded right now, not dynamic).

1 Like

You're right on about the decoupling-load-for-scenes-etc thing - that's absolutely cool, and I've recently started getting into that myself lately with a couple Zen 71 switches - it's pretty great!

I don't want to totally poo-poo the other combinations, but I realize the siren-song of colored lights is what drew many of us to begin our HA journey, and I'd just caution newcomers to think that through before diving all-in (mostly because of pure $ cost!)

I'm a big fan of Hue and I still have a few active colored bulbs I bought way-back-when as a newb - they've long been fixed at a set white since I decided KISS is easier than wow-factor :wink:

1 Like

I have done the opposite and gone further down the Hue rabbit hole. Mostly because I like the Warm lighting in the morning and night (using Adaptive Lighting). I am using around 10 Zen77s, a Zen30, and a couple Zen34s along with around 60 color bulbs. I have the dimmers uncoupled and use them as button controllers in some areas, and use the Aurora rotary dimmers in others.

2 Likes

I have a combination of smart switches/dimmers and also have smart bulbs (mostly for color). A couple of things to consider:

If you use smart bulbs plan on ALWAYS having power to them as turning them on and off from a switch causes havoc with the zigbee mesh. It also defeats the ability to smart control them when off. I use a traditional wall switch and a Lutron pico remote mounted next to the traditional switch. I tape the traditional switch (which is labelled master switch) in the on position because people have a tendency to try to turn it off and that prevents it.

Then I have remote rules that control the lights from the remote much like a wall switch but better. Another thing to consider, especially on zigbee fan controllers is to always have the traditional switch in play should you need to factory reset the device by pulling power in a sequence. Some people choose to remove the switch and hardwire the mains to the light when using smart bulbs. There are many cases where you may need to control the power locally and a switch is a must. Using a remote mounted next to the traditional switch gives you total control over the bulbs. You can use the remote to control multiple lights in the same room or just that one. I use different buttons for different purposes. The 5 button Pico remote I use the top and bottom switches for traditional on/off. I use the middle button for all off in that room for all smart lights. I use the second set of paddles either for dimming or on/off of a group.

There are obviously many ways to do this but through trial and error, I have found that this combination works well. Here is a picture of one of my setups.

The Lutron Pico is just surface mounted on the wall and does not need a box. For about $7 Lutron has a mount for the Pico that holds it in place nicely. I also use a double wall plate cover in some rooms but I kind of like the Lutron mounting plates because they stand out a little from the wall.

Thanks everyone for the suggestion. First of all, I think I will have a test in my actual house, right. I have all the time to do that.

For this purpose, I think that Tuya smart switch (4 gangs) looks fine. I notice that it is supported from Hubitat, right? I see it is made from different company, Moes and Zemismart, etc.
For example this one below looks good, isn't it?

The Tuya 4 gangs smart switch is partially supported in HE using a custom driver, look for 'Tuya Scene Switch TS004F' in the Hubitat Package Manager app.

What doesn't work in Hubitat with these Tuya devices is the dimming function / dimmer operation mode. So, these switches are not the ideal solution.

1 Like

Download the Hubitat app