Smart VS Dumb Control

I have four zigbee overhead ceiling rgbw lights.
There is a dumb switch that controls power (120ac) to the lights.
They are grouped using the Room Lighting app.
I can smartly control on/off and dim.

However, the following situations arise:

  1. if the dumb switch is used to turn off the lights; I cannot smartly turn them back on. I have to use the switch.
  2. If I smartly turn off the light; and someone goes to the dumb switch, it basically doesn't work. You have to ensure the switch is "on"; and then smartly turn the lights back on.

What is the solution to have a dumb switch that will always work (toggle on/off), but also allow smart control?

Should I be telling the switch to dim and turn on/off; or the room lighting group? Maybe I have it backwards in my mind, by grouping them and using the group to toggle and dim?

I'm sure I can't help, but anyway...

I'm not a lighting guy. These four bulbs are so great you wanted to have them individually controlled, or something, to give wild lighting effects? Why didn't you just smartify the dumb switch?

I guess it's not too late to smartify it.

Just make sure that whatever you do works in a hub outage, lol.


Just having smart bulbs with no local control isn't the best idea. How about a button or smart switch that controls these devices via a rule?

A button like the Zooz Zen37 or Zen34 would be easy to implement and not disturb your existing switch or wiring. Use a switch guard (sometimes listed as a Shabbat or Kosher switch cover) to prevent people from accidentally using the smart switch.

Edit: You can mount this switch next to the existing one, no switch box is needed.


I don't know if that was addressed to me, but I was talking in the parlance of the OP. I have GE Enbrighten toggle switches exclusively. I'd put in a smart switch in place of the existing dumb switch. It would still work as a normal switch during a hub outage.

Lmao... thanks. It's getting later here (for me, anyway).. and I needed a good laugh.
Yes, exactly. I like having "movie" mode... or as my younger friend with low-level Asperger's calls it; "Unicorn Vomit".

Yes, when they are on, I want to be able to switch between movie and normal mode.
I can use voice controls for all things when the lights are on at the switch, and that works great.
It's when someone turns the lights out at the switch (my cleaner today), that I have to go back and flip it again.

Don't use a dumb switch alone.

  1. You can put a relay in the wall behing the dumb switch, but I'm not sure if any of them have a "bulb" mode so the load isn't interrupted, the relay talks to the smart bulbs. Someone else will have to opine on that.

  2. Get a Zooz or Innoveli switch to replace your dumb switch and set it to "bulb" mode so it only talks to the hub, doesn't actually cut power.

  3. As @neonturbo says, cover the dumb switch and put an obvious Smart button right next to it that only talks to the HE hub. That's the quickest/easiest solution IMHO.

The covers I great, don't look bad, easy to install.


Thanks. Yeah, I have an aqara cube and a four button controller that do various things also.
It's when someone flips that dang switch.

I want to keep everything; but I want the switch to know if the lights were turned off smartly, turn them back on dumbly (new word??).

Then you want a switch with "smart bulb mode".

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How do these things work during a hub outage?

Interesting.. haven't seen these before. Reminds me of child-proofing.. lol. Oh, you have kids here??

I have to maintain on/off if the hub is down via the switch.

I think you'll be best off, if you must keep a switch at the original location, to use option 2 that I offered above, as @neonturbo suggested. Doing above is going to be a pain to set up and potential hassle to maintain.


They don't. That is why smart bulbs are about the worst thing you can do to a home as far as making it smart and intuitive to use. That is why almost everyone says to use smart switches and dumb bulbs.

The only exception would be if you could do a binding between the bulb and switch, but that is a fairly obscure way to do things, and both switch and bulb would have to be the same protocol (Z-wave or Zigbee) and support binding.


In this case, you should pull the smart bulbs and use a smart switch instead...I don't know of a way to have bulb mode but automagically go back to load mode if the hub is down. Just doesn't exist AFAIK. This is why many of us try to avoid smart bulbs...


BOOM. This just made a lot of sense.
I think I have over-complicated things....
But man... I really like movie mode :cry:

Okay... I think I need to check out one of these $7,200 switches... lol.
Anyone have a quick link?

Below is Zooz:

Both of them are very good and offer features you may like.

I use the GE/UltraPro/Jasco switches/dimmers, available on Amazon. Less feature-rich, but I find them reliable/no-issue devices.

I know for Z-wave, you can't get fancy. It's either on or off.

If you replaced the dumb switch with a smart switch, you could write rules to control it to do what you want, no?
The GE Enbrighten toggles have a lighted toggle that you can control, like, if it's on, the light is on or vice versa. Can't tell by looking at the switch if it's on or off without a light, unlike a dumb switch.

These are probably less expensive than your bulbs.

The Inovelli that Dana linked above are a good choice as well, but cost a bit more.

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Thanks. I'm looking now.

That isn't true as far as I know. With Z-wave association, you can make a pair of devices act upon each other, even for dimming.

Except for the whole "hub outage" issue. Unless as previously noted they support some type of binding or associations, which seems to be fairly rare.

If you want a toggle, then I think Jasco might be one of the last making those. But it would be quite rare to have toggles in most smart homes nowadays. I made the mistake of using toggles in a few places, and when these devices go bad they are getting Decora style switches. The reason I did so is dumb, the switch plates were metal and matched the other expensive plates in the room. I should have bought a new switchplate instead of being locked into the toggle format.

Many paddles like the Zooz and Inovelli have indicator lights on them, and some of these switches can be used for status of the light as well as for button presses, scenes, and other warning indicators.

As already noted the Inovelli switches are very effective. I use both Inovelli switches and Zigbee RGBW bulbs. The switches are setup in smart bulb mode so that power is never cut to the bulbs. For the most part my lighting is hands off.

Recently I started binding the switches to the bulbs. This way using the switch directly controls the bulb. That way if the hub goes down the switch can still turn the light on and off.

Even with the binding the hub commands work. So eventually I'll use the switches to set scenes when the hub is running and turn on/off the lights if the hub is down for some reason.

It is definitely a more expensive solution but it works for me.