Viable fan controller for home with philips hue

Hi,

I recently started on my smart home project using hubitat as the backbone & philips hue to handle lights. I'm looking for suggestions on a controller for fans.

I have several ceiling fans in my home that I use pull chains to control.
They're all Hampton Bay; and I use hue bulbs on them.

I've been looking around for a compatible and still supported controller.
I haven't come across a controller that would work in my scenario yet.

I found the wink hampton bay but can't appear to find units in stock anywhere. It's also discontinued.

I saw mentions of Lutron & GE switches but none of my fans have wall switches. Not sure if this is a controller on a fan or wired switch back to the fan itself with some zwave/zigbee.

Any suggestions for a controller zigbee or zwave that can be used to control speed on hampton bay fans, that doesn't muck around w/ the lights?

My goals are
Day 1 just control fan speed remotely (what happens to my pull chain, assume i leave it at "high")
Day 2 use in-room iris temp sensors to help control when the fans run and how quickly (assuming dim level here)
Day 3 add-on wall controller to 1 fan to provide the wall switch functionality I never had

I have some of those Hampton Bay controllers and they are rubbish. When I get around to it, I will be replacing them with some standard RF controllers and hooking them up to Hubitat through a Bond Bridge.

Edit: Also, you can bypass the light control on the wireless controller by hooking up the light kit directly to the power instead of the controller. You will probably want to do this since many controllers act as dimmers.

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Do you have separate wiring for fan and light? If so, you have a lot of options: pretty much any Z-Wave or Zigbee switch/dimmer (for the lights) and fan controller (HomeSeer and GE are two of very few I know of on the market) would work, as would a dual switch/relay device like the Zooz ZEN30, but then you wouldn't get speed control of the fan (just on/off). With Hue bulbs, you'd do best getting a switch/dimmer that supports disabling local control, which many "modern" Z-Wave switches do (Zooz with current firmware or Inovelli both do; HomeSeer and GE/Jasco, despite their usually high prices, do not); that way, the switch becomes little more than a powered button (Z-Wave Central Scene, technically--so you'll see "scenes" in a lot of marketing materials) device, and you can use a Hubitat automation to do whatever you want with the bulbs in response. You don't really need a powered device for that, of course; a remote like the Eria Dimmer (I don't really like these, but they'd technically work), Lutron Pico (my favorite--but the cost of entry into Lutron can be steep, though with how cheap Picos are compared to about anything else, you may balance out), or a few others could work, as could really any button device if you don't mind that it may not fit neatly into/onto the wall.

If you don't have separate wiring for the fan and light, then maybe that's the appeal of the Hampton Bay Fan Controller for you. In that case, Inovelli's new fan/light controller (LZW36) may be of interest. It's similar in concept to the Hampton Bay unit, except it comes with a single-gang wall switch that provides both fan and light control, compared to Hampton Bay's remote. The other difference is that the Z-Wave part lives on the wall unit, unlike Hampton Bay's ceiling unit that contains the Zigbee smarts (Inovelli communicates to the fan unit wirelessly via proprietary RF, so you don't need separate fan and light wiring despite this--they can even be on different circuits; you do, however, need a neutral at the wall to power the switch).

I've used both the Hampton Bay controller and the Inovelli. I didn't mind the Hampton Bay as much after I replaced the antenna (they are otherwise notorious for falling off your network and needing a repeater or two very close), but the Inovelli is nice because--besides not having that problem--it has a wall switch, and I also like the "notification" features their LED bars provide (another topic, but a useful feature for me). It's also a good 700-series repeater for your Z-Wave network if you care about that. :slight_smile: But both can work with Hue bulbs with the right configuration--it's what I've done with both of these units. Anything should work as long as you find a way to not cut power to the bulbs (including the "scene switches/dimmers" above if you have separate wiring and don't need a product like one of these last two that accommodates your lack thereof).

Do you have remotes for these fans that you can control then with? Not sure why your using pull chains. Do you know of they have RF units built in, or is all your control via pull chain or switches on the fan?

If they don't have RF currently i'd do what @Derakkon suggests. Add RF units and get a Bond Bridge to control them via HE

Hey all thanks for the replies. Going to start looking at some of the other brands mentioned.

My personal experience with hampton bay controllers is not great either, I've had several of the old RF units just die on me a year after service. I gave up on them about 10yrs back. After replacing 4 in 3 fans in less than a year.

I'm not married to that brand at all. Just trying to keep it under $70/fan. If that's out of my price range feel free to let me know. I would likely pay the price for the simplicity vs trying to save $ and add hassle. Since I have no relative cost I just tossed out a number so I have a starting point and it's less than what I see new fans going for.

I can't complain about the mechanical reliability of the motor in the fans, I've just replaced pull chains over the years. All fans are 10yr+ old.

Reviewing the terms used. I'm looking for a wireless dimmer to control fan speed. Not just on/off. No concern about it interacting w/ lights. If you have a very cool solution after reading my notes by all means chime in on how to get light/fan control on a switch.

I don't mind a involved 1 time setup or complex integration. I do however want to avoid the scenario of trying to thread several compatibility needles at once. Ideally the solution uses things that are stable/GA and not several pieces of partially working drivers/apps to glue a solution together.

Let me knock out your questions.

No controllers today; was hunting around for the zigbee based hampton bay device hoping for simplicity. Don't mind Zwave either. Totally fine w/ another brand that "just works", from reading more about the hassles with Hampton bay native controller I'm already looking at something that's not made by them.

I currently have a few zigbee repeaters in place (v1 iris outlets), my old alarm system uses z-wave (separate project to steal parts from att digital life).

None of my fans have a functioning local wall switch.

All my switches in bedrooms only control the bottom outlets in a given room (I guess everyone in the late 70s used floor lamps).

Previously I controlled all fans via pull chains for lights & for fan speed.
Now I use Philips hue to control the light component.

My plan with the Hampton bay controllers was to simply bypass the controller for lights. I would connect the blue light kit cable directly into the input side of the controller. Then just using the controller to adjust speeds between high/medium/low.

The current light switch that doesn't control the fans is always in an "On" position to leave all outlets working, I slapped on a lutron aurora to give me dimmer & on/off control over the lights and lock the switch "on".

I figure if temp controls from hubitat don't work for some reason or I just want it on I'd rely on hubitat UI or maybe the physical remote.

I'm not against replacing the switch just didn't give it much mind as it does nothing with the fan/light in the room.

I find the Innovelli fan controller to be awesome. I replaced both my GEs with them, and will add them to two more before long.

https://inovelli.com/products/switches/fan-switches/

S.

Thanks for the details. So you have (excuse the expression) "dumb" fans. :slight_smile:

You probably can add smartness to them relatively inexpensively.

First step: At Amazon or at Home Depot or Lowes you can get fan RF/Remote kits that include an RF recevier (gets wired into your fan's upper canopy) and a remote control. Those are very inexpensive.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ceiling+fan+remote+control+kit&i=tools&crid=12E1SMSTTRL7K&sprefix=ceiling+fan%2Ctools%2C256&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-a-p_10_11

As long as you have room in your canopy to add the RF receiver and you can do the wiring, you'll have control of the fan via the remote that comes w/the kit.

To add the "smartness" and use it w/Hubitat you get a Bond Bridge (about $100). It's a hub that allows you to control all of your fans from an app on your phone, or from Hubitat using an integration. Basically the Bond Bridge can memorize the RF commands for each of your fans and then send fan commands directly from the Bond Bridge to your fans w/out you having to use your remote or an mobile app.

There is community-built Bond Bridge integration that works very well...info on that here.

I use the a Bond Bridge w/my fans w/the Bond integration and the setup is very reliable and allows me to control my fans just like I could from a full-featured remote - on/off, choose speeds, reverse/forward, etc. You can use Hubitat to set up whatever automations you want to turn the fans on/off, set speeds and direction, etc. I have ones that turn the fan on/off or different speeds based on time, motion, etc. You could also do temperature, contact sensors, anything that Hubitat supports.

What you'd want to make sure of is that the remote kits you use are compatible with your fans, and also w/the Bond Bridge. The vast majority of remotes are compatible w/the Bond Bridge, but I have no experience adding an RF kit to an older fan so can't help there.

If/when you do install the RF units in the fans you'll need to remember to set the dip switches for each RF receiver/paired remote to unique settings so one remote doesn't accidentally control multiple fans.

You might get better help w/the fan upgrade questions in the Bond Bridge forums, but you can also ask in the Bond Integration thread I provided above. Bond Bridge forums are here. Bond support is great - I was having a problem w/my 2 year old Bond Bridge controlling one of my fans, and after extensive troubleshooting they sent me a new bridge. :slight_smile:

Here’s an option that may work. It is a solution by Bond that actually fits in the fan canopy, like the old Hampton Bay Fan Controller. Some have said that it should work with the Bond integration that the community has developed for Hubitat. No Bond bridge would be required. I have no firsthand experience with this device.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Universal-Smart-Wi-Fi-4-Speed-Ceiling-Fan-Remote-Works-with-Google-Assistant-SmartThings-and-Alexa-99434/311264804?#product-overview

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The main issue for me w/that solution was $50 per fan. (Cheapskate dude here.) :slight_smile: Does save the cost of the bridge!

Does seem that would work w/the Bond integration...AFAIK the integration can work w/any fan/controller that can register w/the Bond Bridge/mobile app.

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I just bought and installed four of these (before they went on sale, of course). Before I did, I went on the Bond forums and asked whether I should go with these, vs. using dumb RF remotes with a Bond Bridge. I was advised to use these instead. Here's the reason why:

The units were easy to install and work nicely. However, I have not tried to integrate these with HE yet, as they're in a rental property and I don't yet have a HE over there.

There is a published API at Bond Local API (appbond.com) if the Bond driver for HE doesn't support the Smart by Bond remote.

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"stupid fan", yes that describes most of my previous automations. Honeywell LCD timer switches for various things around the house. Using simple mechanical or stand-alone timers to control functionality in the home.

I came across Universal Smart Wi-Fi 4-Speed Ceiling Fan Remote Works with Google Assistant, SmartThings, and Alexa after the feedback and hunting around.

I saw them come on sale, I snagged a few. Now I need to figure out if they'll work w/ my devices or be returned to HD :slight_smile:

I paid $60. Of course, now they're on sale. :rage:. I really wasn't happy spending $240 on fan remotes, but even a basic dumb fan remote is $30 and fans do not come with remote controls anymore, just pull chains.

They are nice remotes though, and I'm sure I'll be able to integrate them into HE and Alexa when that time comes. These fans are in a rental property and we decided that it was important to have a conventional remote control for the renters that are tech-challenged.

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Don't talk to me about missing good sales... I'm always a day late and paying 20% more than everyone else did. My wife once said that the reason companies can afford to have sales is that I buy everything full price. :wink: She is way too smart for me...

I had six "regular" fans w/remotes, aside from one they weren't wired up to wall switches at all. The one that was wired up to switches was annoyingly done so that fan power, both light and fan, was on/off at the same time, could not turn off just the fan or just the light from the switch. What I've done:

  1. Added all the fans to the Bond Bridge using the existing remotes
  2. Set up Bond integration in HE and added the fans so they are available in HE as devices - w/both fan and light control
  3. Replaced the orignal fan remotes with Lutron Picos. The Picos are $12 each (luckily I already had the hub) and much smaller, reliable, batteries last years, and they are much more flexible due to programmability.
  4. Replaced the two dumb switches for the one fan that had switches w/two picos mounted in the switch boxes so we can fully control that fan from the wall as well.

So we have full control of the fans with pico remotes, and full control via HE automations, (and via the Bond app if we wanted to, but really never use it). Best of all worlds for me. The fans current status is always in sync no matter how we control them, since all control (via Picos or automations) is within the HE>Bond zone. (Original remotes are safe in a box in case someting w/the mesh goes awry. :slight_smile:

Equipment arrived, and looking over the bond driver/app set.
I'm still trying to figure out if I need a the bond hub w/ the newer style of remote to try & connect it w/ hubitat.

Initial testing looks good.
Went through the bond bridge setup, and added it via app.
Let it perform an update. Finally asked to pair to wireless 2.4ghz network.
Let is proceed, grabbed it's mac address and set a reservation.
Added bond app in hubitat, pointed to new IP, added token.
Can manipulate switch and voltage multimeter shows it correctly moving through speeds.

Once I test some behavior w/ rule machine time to install the sucker.

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If you could put a philips hue smart plug in the ceiling, you could allocate it as 'Bedroom Fan', and the fan light could be 'bedroom light'.

Download the Hubitat app