Switches questions

Obviously Mike knows, but to see for yourself, the basis of my comment was this:

...where you can see that flash() basically just repeatedly sends on and off commands to the device at the specified interval.

FWIW, in CoCoHue, I used the Hue API's lselect feature on the bulbs. This is really just an extension of select that is used in the Hue app to quickly blink a bulb for the purpose of identification (e.g., to know which is which if you tap on the device in the Hue mobile app), but the effect it creates is a flash--with the caveat that it stops after 15 cycles. This is an example of how a device might include, to some extent, hardware support for this. (I don't like that it's not indefinite, but considering flash() isn't a standard command and I've documented the behavior, I'm also not too worried about it.)


Thanks! I wonder what this means from a Z-Wave Mesh stability standpoint. :thinking: If a user selects all of their switches to respond to an HSM alarm event to start flashing, that Z-Wave mesh is going to get very chatty very quickly, eh? Something to consider.

Thank you for the link to the driver code.

In terms of your question: Lutron Vs. Zwave Vs. Zigbee
I'd like to point out that one of the strongest advantages that Hubitat has over many other Home Automation devices is that HE can easily handle all 3 protocols with ease. (For example, I have around 50+ Zwave devices, 40+ Zigbee, and 5 Lutron). No problem.
The only issue that I see is that you have to have a strong mesh in order to get good results. There is good documentation on how to put together a good mesh. (Zigbee and Zwave).
In other words, you must think tactically if you want to mix and match - in other words, try and visualize the path to your hub via zwave or zigbee or both.
As others have mentioned in other posts, the efficacy of Lutron is without comparison. They seem to always work, without any issues. Unfortunately, they are more expensive than other switches, and many don't like the way they look.
In terms of Zwave switches, I personally have Zooz, Leviton, Inovelli, and GE, and they are all "quality" makes. Some of them have special features. For example, the new Inovelli switches have a built in LED, which you can program as to colour and effect. Some switches have a "double tap" feature. This requires some research as to what you really need.
In terms of Zigbee switches the field is somewhat more limited. GE has a line, (and they are coming out shortly with an even better line: Enbrighten Zigbee under the Jasco banner).There are also others as well. Sinope is coming out shortly.
There is also one other alternative, which I haven't yet checked out. It is possible to keep your existing switches, and use a "micro controller" for your smart home control via HE. Such devices are made by RGBGenie, and Aeotec, and Fibaro, and others. They may be Zigbee, or Zwave. Prices are competitive, but this is not a "low cost" option.
Have lots of fun deciding! - It's not an easy decision.

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Both of these companies are already producing these devices in zigbee, and both have been tested compatable.

It is very, very bad for it. Basically like hitting refresh on every device included every second (actually worse).

I would have thought they would have not implemented that function to 'save us from ourselves'... Like they do with the custom 'refresh' buttons on some devices (to prevent users from en masse refreshing lots of devices).

Granted, the odds of en masse flashing bulbs regularly would be low - for obvious optical reasons - whereas refresh en masse could definitely happen.

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This is the only negative thing I can say about Lutron. Not that is their "fault", but I did have to augment my Z-wave network with some outlets after replacing all my leviton switches. That and price aside, I love the Keypad options, and Pico selection of Lutron Radio RA2. The night stand Picos are prefect for guest room nights stand and we get comments about them with every new visitor.

I have a bunch of Zigbee bulb in my setup. The nice thing about Zigbee is that you can setup group messaging. 20 Zigbee's in a group should be less demanding than 20 Z-wave devices being polled separately.

Of course that changes things up a bit. It doesn't really fit well with your assorted switches, and Zigbee bulbs can be problematic. For example, I have all my Zigbee bulbs on their own hub so the other Zigbee traffic (eg: motion sensors) don't confuse the bulbs. Or you can go with bulbs that are not repeaters like the Sengleds.

It all depends on how you want to implement everything.

I much rather use wall switches or I will be replacing all those Zigbee bulb in 12 years at once heh

Easier to replace a standard led bulb in house fixture than replacing a bulb with zigbee which probably cannot be gotten locally

After reading most of everyone feedbacks. Look like Zwave is out due to sending off/on command to every switches on the mesh

So that leave Lutron or Zigbee switches it seems

To be fair, I don't think Lutron supports that natively either (though it's likely repeated commands sent over the LAN would fare better than Z-Wave given the higher bandwidth and general reliability of Lutron), nor do any Zigbee switches I'm aware of (and unlike Z-Wave, Hubitat's drivers don't even try to fake it here; not sure why the difference). Many Zigbee bulbs do to some extent, but those come with their own concerns.

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But in 12 years will Zigbee even be a thing? :wink:

I get it. Like I said, it isn't really your use case. I actually use both a switch and a smart bulb so I end up paying double for each device. That's just the way I'm designing my system.

Consumer Caseta does not support flashing lights. RadioRa 2 does. Not sure if "select" does but I know RR2 does.

Reality check. There are 2 controllers on the market today that have "good" ZigBee support for consumer switches. SmartThings and Hubitat. The consumer ZigBee switches.. oh not many.. Jasco/GE, Soon Sinope... umm... not much to choose from. Probably a few others I'm not aware of a simple google search didn't really come up with many choices. PRO grade Zigbee switching would be Control4. Great stuff but expensive. I know a dealer if interested.

Lutron has been around forever almost literally.... Lutron INVENTED the Dimmer. RadioRa 2 is compatible with ALL controllers worth using and if the controller doesn't support Lutron just walk way. Downside to Lutron RR2... it's expensive upfront. BUT... you'll never have to replace it if you don't want to. It will work and just keep working. Lutron customer service and warranty is the best in the business.


Thanks for pointing out about the RR2 so I went and read up on about it. Ouch ... the prices LOL plus I would have to take classes to be able to program it! It probably an easy class but still I am sure they charge money for the classes and the dealer software to program it.

I think RR2 and RR2 select will be out of our price range however with the Caseta supporting 75 devices now and if it can at least just blink the light only one time (off then back on) it may be good enough for us to alert an event have occurred then we would probably look at tablet or our phone to see what triggered the event.

Other thought is that I thought I saw a strobe light that use zwave or zigbee online somewhere which could work for our bedroom for fire / co2 / burglar alarm to wake us up when those 3 "serious" events are triggered. I will need to search on this again.

What you all think about just a one time blink home lighting for normal event? Is that doable with Zigbee or Lutron Caseta?

I am going to laugh we have visitor over and they think we keep getting a 1 second blackout every time doorbell rings . :slight_smile:

Entry fee is steep but well worth it over time and one of the few "smart" home improvements that actually increase a home value. The "Essentials" class is a couple hours long. It's all online and it's free. You won't need to take the "Inclusive" unless you become a dealer and or just want to play with the higher end stuff or have multiple main repeaters supporting 200 devices.

If you go the Caseta route remember 2 things.

  1. Make sure you buy the Caseta PRO bridge otherwise it won't integrate
  2. Caseta switches/dimmers are NOT compatible with RadioRA 2 so if you ever decide to upgrade you have to rip/replace everything!

Don't get caught up on the end point needing to be z-wave or zigbee. If what you want is a strobe light then get a strobe light and then determine the control for it. Find one or multiple 12V strobes that you want to wire up and then use a z-wave or zigbee relay to turn them on/off with. There's hundreds of 12V zigbee light control modules out there!

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Excellent point about the strobe light! and I also just had a thought

There are 115v strobe light so maybe a zigbee outlet adapter and plug a strobe light into it so i can mount the strobe light on wall and aim it toward to our bed.

We used to have one of those plug in wall strobe light connected to a dial timer that plugs into an outlet. When that strobe light goes off .. there no ignoring it forcing us have to get out of bed to turn that damn thing off.

And yes I read about the "Pro" is a must if wanted to use with Hubitat but thank for the reminder!

I haven't read through the whole thread, but definitely Lutron for buttons. They are rock solid. They're the only thing I've never had even the slightest problem with.

Unless you want color (which in your case, would probably be very helpful, to encode different alerts), then stay with smart dimmers/switches, and use dumb bulbs, to get almost absolute guarantee of lights responding.

With color smart bulbs, I use Hue. It's pretty damn good... for my needs. One issue I have is that when a request is sent, it's the hub that will respond, even if the bulbs don't. So if I try to turn a light on (eg using a remote, a schedule, contact sensor trigger, etc.), and Hue gets the request, the light will show on. Using individual direct-connected bulbs would probably be less reliable, and yet you could get/build automations that check and re-check for failures. (but I haven't used direct-connected bulbs, so I'm guessing.)

We plan to use color bulbs on a lamp stand in some area of the house.

Our goal hopefully if we can make it to work like this is to set up that when there is an event example a doorbell pressed then whole house lighting will blink only once and return to the last state it was in. And the color bulb will come on with yellow color so we know it was the doorbell that cause the whole house to blink. Same if the fire alarm went off then whole house will keep blinking off and on for a minute and at same time the color bulb will turn red so we know what triggered the event without having to find a tablet or pull out our phone to see what triggered it.

That what we hope to be able to set it up this way.

I've got an app that did that, but the wife hated it, so we changed to voice alerts (which I hate) and I deprecated the code. But not difficult at all to do. In your case, the flashing lights are the sole notification system, where for most of us it's just a backup/alternate. So the challenge will be to approach 100% reliability. If the lights are off and it turns it on for an alert, it should wait to make sure it responds and otherwise retry (repeat), and change the color and/or brightness with yet more checks and retries.

I would think that's doable through the Rule Machine. I don't use it, so don't know for sure. I'd bet there are user-built apps that would also do it, though finding one that checks and rechecks device response might be rare or non-existent. My app does it, so if you can't find anything else, lemme know, and I'll re-add flash notifications or build another child-app.

Talking about door bell notifications is one thing. Now you're talking about fire and safety issues. With that I don't want to discourage you from Hubitat however I would strongly suggest you DO NOT use Hubitat or any other DIY automation system for anything safety related especially like fire alarms and alerting.

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