Understanding the Room Lighting App

I am converting from Wink. I am trying to understand the Room Lighting App, since this is what (I think) I need. I have various lights around the house that I want to automate, mostly around nighttime indoor and outdoor options. I was able to set up a schedule and get it configured - three lights with separate on and off times for each, most related to sunset/sunrise. The problem? They did not shut off as directed. Now they were all on when I set up the schedule, but I don't see how that would matter. I have set up time periods and have six lines in that table - three for on and three for off. There are six individual Device Control tables that seem to match the Act/Off settings that I want (only one selection in each).

I am guessing my problem is with the Means to Activate and Means to Turn Off lights. Lots of options here and it isn't obvious (to me) whether I should choose one or several. If I choose several is the logic "and" or "or?" Two of the options are "Switch turns off" and "Time is." I want the switch to "turn off" when the "time is" the set value. So do I select one or both? See my problem?

And a related question- can I set up a second or third schedule in this app? I tried to do that once and all it did was erase everything that I had already done. So am I missing something obvious or just trying to do the impossible?

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If all you are doing is turning lights on/off at times, you probably don't need Room Lights at all to do it. Check out Basic Rules, much simpler, or Simple Automation Rules (specifically oriented to this).


I'm doing the same thing. Turning lights indoors and outdoors on/off/dim around sunset/sunrise with some exceptions. I use a combination of Basic Rules and Machine Rules and don't use the room lighting app at all.

Thanks. I am literally just in my first hours doing this and I saw the lighting app and figured I would start there. It seemed like this was far more complex than what I needed, so thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


Since you are coming from wink, look at this post. It will help prevent some gotchas. Pay particular attention to the zll vs zha Zigbee lightbulb section. Are you new to home automation or Hubitat or coming from a different platform such as SmartThings, Vera, or Wink? This may help!

Room Lights is the giant swiss-army knife of light automation. Roughly speaking, it says that...

  • When any of these things happen...
  • Set these devices to the desired state
    • The devices and/or commands can vary based on time period
    • "Activate" in the UI is potentially a misnomer, since the commanded state might be Off
  • Then, when any of these things happen...
  • Turn off these devices, which might or might not be the same ones

And then you can stack exceptions on both directions. It's an extremely flexible app to be able to essentially describe how you want the room to behave and it handles the logic for you. That said, because it's so flexible, it can be quite daunting.

It's not a misnomer, as this verb was selected instead of Turn On. Activating may cause a device to turn off. It activates per the then applicable device table activation settings. Activation may involve changing a level or color, if the app is set up that way, not necessarily turning on or off. Activate means "apply the table to the devices in it".

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Perhaps "potentially confusing" would be more precise -- I recognize that the wording is both accurate and deliberate. But you have to get into the mindset of Room Lights before it makes sense that something could be Activated to Off.

Thanks for the link. I was informative, although what I learned was a bit disappointing. I have successfully added and configured one light switch and three other switches controlling lights. I still have three left that are problematic: a Schlage lock with a QR code for Z-Wave Plus that isn't recognized (and there are NO Schalage units in the Compatibility list), a Zigbee switch that can't be recognized despite numerous resets and approaches, and a Lutron dimmer that apparently needs a separate hub to connect to my new hub!. All three were pretty easy to add to Wink without extras, but I may have to buy new units or just go without automation. Not quite the experience I expected.

Yes, that does seem right, and I can relate that I was not in that mindset on my first attempt. But this does bring up the subject of jargon, which is part of the problem. If this technology is aimed at techophiles and advanced users, then there is no problem. But if they want to start aiming this at the larger regular user crowd, jargon becomes a big issue. Even in the Basic Rules section, there is a button for "Run Actions." Apparently you need to do this to actually get the Rule to work. How would I know whether or not that is important? I thought it was a test feature and I expected that clicking the Done button would start everything. And what does "Re-capture" mean in the Room Lights app? When do I need to use it, if ever? The documentation says to use this button to "re-capture" changes in settings (duh). Wouldn't update or save be a better choice? The UI folks just need to step back and think about how a novice user looks at the interface, and help them through it by proper design. It is really hard to do, actually, and is a big problem in many areas of the tech sector. For example, how many iPhone users can actually configure their email? How many Android users know how to change any settings. I don't think we need to sink to this level, but there is a need to move more in this direction than most interfaces are at now.

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No, this is just if you want to test it without it actually running on its own.

There is a learning curve with Hubitat Elevation, and it isn't really aimed at the "regular user crowd". The problem is that most people can't even begin to think about automation. The "regular user crowd" tends to think about control ("Hey Siri, turn on the kitchen"). The leap from control to automation is a big step. Of necessity, learning how to automate something requires some learning that most people haven't done. If there was an easy way to do this that would be fantastic. But...

We are constantly doing this. But, there is no getting around the fact that a complex tool involves complexity. That's why there are 'beginner' apps such as Basic Rules and Simple Automation Rules. Could they be made even simpler? Perhaps, but there is a diminishing return to attempting this approach. Even then, the "regular user crowd" will be thrown by having to think about something they have never thought about before.

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For that one, I'm honestly not sure what term would be better. When you're setting up the table with how various devices should be set when RL activates, Capture just means to fill the table in with how the lights are set currently. So manually adjust the lights how you want them, click Re-capture, and the RL instance will return the lights to the current settings whenever it's triggered.

A great example of how if you don't think about this, you can't do it. If you don't care about "capturing" the settings, it doesn't really matter. But how can you put that in the UI?

Room Lights is our most advanced app for controlling lights. I would never suggest a beginner at home automation start with it. But at some point, a serious user is going to run out of gas with Basic Rule or Simple Automation Rule, when they advance to wanting to do things with different time periods, or more complex settings of level or colors. There are needs for both the simple and the fully capable apps. It would not make sense to 'dumb down' Room Lights to make it simple, as it would lose all of what it's about. And it would be equally inappropriate to bake in advanced features to Basic Rules or Simple Automation Rules (when is it no longer "Simple"?).

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I understand these are complex systems and finding the right mix of simplicity and functionality is not easy. Someone will always be unhappy that it went too far one way or the other. As you mention, you have Basic Rules and Room Lights. I just went to the wrong one first.

For reference, I train people on user software for control of some chemical test equipment, and I am used to complex interfaces with lots of options. Designing an effective system that allows new users to get started and advanced users to get the most from the system is not trivial.

You can say that again. We've been doing this for several years now, and are clearly far from conquering the challenge.

In this community, our most outspoken members are advanced users. It's easy to get lulled into satisfying their needs. Recently, someone wanted a particular feature added to Basic Rule. I had to really stop to think about the cost of doing that -- not engineering time at all, but weighing it down with yet one more thing. Now that's sort of odd, because of course he could do whatever it was with Rule Machine, but he wanted it in Basic Rule. Tough calls like this come up, and we do often push back on feature requests -- but then there's one person less satisfied.

I think we need to do a better job at helping new users find the right initial steps, how to get their sea legs without getting seasick!


Just a note that Wink had a deal with Lutron to include a ClearConnect radio in the hub itself.

Very few multi-protocol hubs have ever gotten that; the only other one I’m aware of was Staples’ hub, which has been discontinued for years.

Lutron’s only openly documented integration protocol that a service like Hubitat can leverage works over Telnet. And while the Caseta bridge doesn’t support Telnet, the Caseta Pro bridge does. Along with Lutron’s other smart home systems like RadioRA 2, RA2 Select and Homeworks.

For a single Lutron branded dimmer, it may not be worth it. But even the Caseta line, Lutron’s “lowest-end” product line, is extremely impressive and Hubitat’s excellent integration is well worth the price of a Caseta Pro bridge if you’re considering getting additional Lutron dimmers and Picos.

Nice analogy!

Schlage works fine. The reason they were removed from the compatibility list is because older ones are problematic. As long as they're over 7.10 firmware they'll be fine. I have 3 of them. Simply factory reset the lock and pair it within 2 feet of the hub. (This is needed with the whisper security parsing it does for encryption) The lock will not pair without encryption. PM me and I can work with you on it.

Is it pairing and just not getting a driver? Or is it not pairing at all?

Post your z-wave details screen in it's entirety so we can check it's health.

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A rather trivial suggestion (on the plus side it'd be easy to implement!), but in the short term what about simply renaming "Room Lighting" to "Room Lighting (Advanced)"?

As a new HE user wanting to add control to a light, it's all too easy to look at the list of available tools, see "Simple Automation Rules", "Basic Rules", "Rule Machine" and "Room Lighting" and make the assumption "Room Lighting - that's the one!".