HomeKit Hue Bulbs + Leviton Decora

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by Itinj24, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Itinj24 macrumors regular

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    #1
    Anyone have any experience using Philips Hue bulbs with a HomeKit enabled Leviton Decora Dimmer Switch on the same circuit? Hue bulbs are already in place but was wondering about the compatibility of the two before I pull the trigger on a bunch of pricey switches. Thanks.
     
  2. dotme macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    It's really one or the other. Either plain bulbs with a smart dimmer switch, or hue bulbs on a standard switch. If you already have hue bulbs, you don't need a Leviton switch (Plus it would be incompatible with Hue bulbs).

    However, if you want to be able to control the brightness of the bulbs via a traditional wall-mounted switch (in addition to the Hue app, homekit App etc) you can purchase a Hue Dimmer Switch for about $25 US (Part number 046677473372) and mount that on the wall.
     
  3. Itinj24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thank you for the reply. I already have quite a few of the Hue Dimmer switches in my house covering my old toggle switches but I really like the plain normal switch look of the Leviton Decoras with the little LED for location in darkness. Was hoping it would work with the Hue bulbs to dim them. Also, I have a bunch of light fixtures that don’t accept Hue bulbs and I wanted a more consistent look throughout the house. Those Hue dimmer switches also eat away at my Hue Hub capacity. I’m on the cusp of needing a third hub lol.
     
  4. dotme macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I'm close to max on my first Hue hub so I get where you're coming from. So sure, you could use the Levitons in that situation - just not with the Hue bulbs. If you like Philips as a brand, they make some really nice "Dimmable" dumb led bulbs that are about 2700K full brightness, and get warmer as they get dimmer. And they're way cheaper than Hue bulbs (Like $12 or so for a 4 pack of the A19s at my local Home Depot I think) so that might be another way to go. I think the series is called "Warm Glow" and would work great with a hard-wired dimmer switch.
     
  5. Itinj24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Cool, thanks for the heads up. I’ll look into those. I’m gonna wire a Leviton Decora Dimmer to a Hue bulb for kicks and giggles just to see what the behavior will be since I have one lying around anyway.
     
  6. waw74 macrumors 68040

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    May 27, 2008
    #6
    Hue doesn't recommend using the bulbs with an external dimmer.

    and even though the bulbs may turn on with the dimmer at less than full, it's not a good plan.
    Dimming the switch won't dim the bulb, my guess is it will start to flicker at some point, and then go out completely.
    it probably won't hurt anything, but I wouldn't do it.
    It can cause the bulb to run hotter (even causing fire in extreme cases), since it has to work harder since you're giving it less power.

    AC power (what comes out of your wall) is a sine wave.
    and depending on the dimmer, it can "chop off" parts of the sine wave which can cause havoc with electronics.
    This is also why a ceiling fan buzzes when run on a regular dimmer.
    and even if the dimmer is at full, the dimmer can still be modifying the power going to the bulb.

    Source.. I work in theatrical/concert lighting, and deal with large scale dimming and electronics installs.
     
  7. Itinj24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Thanks for the heads up. Guess I won’t be wasting my time then. You surely sound knowledgeable about this subject so I’ll take your word for it.
     
  8. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #8
    There is pros and cons. As mentioned the hue bulbs work off 120v, a dimmer reduces that voltage and its not good for the bulbs electronics. You'd basically be simulating a brown out.

    The Hue (and other smart bulbs) have the smoothest dimming and largest luminance range. Normal dimmable LED's, even good ones (I recommend Philips) can have quarks like they can't get dim enough or they can flicker if too low or not fire if you try to light them at too low of a voltage (you might need to start at 15% then reduce it too 10% to get to 10% for example).

    Conversely all my switches and dimmers are Leviton Decora's and its nice because people not familiar with my automation can still turn lights, fans, bathroom fans etc on normally with the added benefit of me being about to automate their function and use Siri.

    I had a couple small issues with the Leviton switches and dimmers at first but it seemed to have sorted themselves out and has been just as reliable as the Hue system. I have two gripes, 1 Leviton doesn't use a hub, so I have 25 individual IP's on my network that are just Leviton switches. 2 They feel a little cheap (and they aren't), hallow feeling and there is a clicky microswitch in them that doesn't sound like a 40 dollar switch.
     
  9. Itinj24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Thanks for that info.

    What about a Leviton switch (Non dimmer). Would that work to power on/off a Hue bulb without messing with the voltage... and... keep the Hue bulb “always on” to be able to control with the Home app even when the Leviton switch is set to “off
     
  10. waw74 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #10
    you could use a non-dimming switch, but...
    once you turned off the switch, you wouldn't be able to control the hue bulb, and if you asked siri to "turn on all the lights" you get the annoying "some of your devices aren't responding, please check the app on your phone"

    Hue now lets you set the power on state on a bulb by bulb basis, either the last state, or a generic warm white.
    when you turn the leviton switch on, the hue bulb will go to whatever setting you have.

    as a possible way to do what you want...
    I'm not sure how the leviton switches work with home kit, but you might be able to "hot wire" the socket the bulb is in so it's always on, regardless of what position the switch is in (instead of connecting the "load" wire that runs from the socket to the switch, you would wire nut it to the hot wire in the switch box, the load connection on the switch would be unconnected) (if you're not sure what you're doing, have a handy friend, or an electrican wire this for you)

    you can then set an automation in home kit that "if x device turns on then turn on other bulbs"
    but this requires the switch to notify home kit when it changes. I'm not sure if the leviton switches do that, but they probably should.
    If you have other switches already installed in your house, you can check, open the correct room in the home app, and watch what happens when you hit the switch in the wall, if your phone screens mimics what you do on the wall, then you're good.
    This will only be good for doing certain things when the switch either turns off or on, as there's no automation for a dim event.

    you could also look at the following, i have no firsthand experience with either.
    both options support 3 actions (1 click, 2 click, or long click)
    --fibaro button, just a giant mushroom push button, works with bluetooth, so need your phone, or an appleTV somewhat close. Comes in 2 versions, make sure to get the homekit one.
    --logitech pop button, flat button, connects via a hub (hub connects to wifi) so no other devices needed to make it work.

    unfortunately on both, you'd need to do one click for on, 2 for off.
     
  11. Itinj24 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 8, 2017
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    #11
    Appreciate you taking the time to write out this reply. I have a Hue Tap that I have yet to inbox which I assume is similar to the Fibaro and Pop. I really was just hoping to be able to use a standard looking Decora Smart switch of some type with an LED locator night light. Unfortunately for me, I’m in too deep with Hue now and the Hue Dimmers are anything but standard

    On a side note, the C by GE stuff looks intriguing, if it ever gets the HomeKit treatment as promised.

    This is what I have now pretty much. Found these on Etsy in a bunch of different forms. I just leave the switch turned on behind it. Not terrible but not great when you have a 2 gang and one of them doesn’t accept Hue bulbs and they do stick out a bit. I’d probably be happy if the Hue Dimmer just had an LED night light locator. Now to figure out how to get that setup LED to stay on lol

    FCA6CBA1-06AB-4273-9A05-494543A39538.jpeg
     

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10 April 25, 2019