HomeKit Philips Hue Unreliable

Itinj24

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Nov 8, 2017
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I have a total of about 55 Light bulbs, 22 Dimmer switches and four motion sensors working over three Hue bridges. Most of the bulbs are grouped together depending on the room or the light fixture. I have some simple automations. One for example is if I arm the security system, the automation should turn the two bulbs over my fireplace red and at 100% (these two are grouped together) and two of my dining room lights to turn red at 100%. More often, one of them will only light to 1% or a couple of them won’t light up at all and I’d have to re-initiate the automation for it to work. Very rarely does the automation fire as scripted with the Hue lights. Does anyone else see issues like this. For the prices, they should be flawless. Even the dimmers require multiple presses sometimes before turning the lights on or off. I get a red LED and I’d have to reset by holding all four buttons down.
 

waw74

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May 27, 2008
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I've got 10 bulbs on one bridge, no switches.

I will occasionally see one light that doesn't go when i play a scene from homekit. probably less than once a month though.

Hue uses ZigBee, which uses the 2.4 spectrum
The wifi in your house (both from you and possibly your neighbors) can interfere with the hue signal.

You can change the ZigBee channel used in the hue app, under the bridge settings. It will walk you through what you have to do.

Not sure if hue takes care of this automatically or not, but you should make sure your bridges are all on different channels, so they aren't competing with each other.
If the fireplace and dining room lights are on separate bridges, this might be part of it, because both of those bridges will start "screaming" commands at about the same time, and could drown each other out.

If the bridges are physically close to each other, separation might help.
same thing for the bridges and wifi antennas, 2.4g cordless phones, or any other wireless gear, as the signals from those could drown out the signal coming back from your switches.
and the less metal between things the better. A house with plaster walls with metal lath can kill signals pretty quickly.

If the hue channel thing doesn't help, changing your wifi channel can also help.
 
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zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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I have about 45 bulbs, a dozen or so dimmers (mostly Lutron Aurora). Still on one bridge. 99% of the time things work as they should. Occasionally I will have a routine or switch that doesn't quite do what I want, but resetting it to factory fixes it. Most of the time it's because I've made a small change to one of the routines that impacts it.

How are you managing the multiple bridges? Since the native Hue app doesn't allow for this you must have at least 3 layers interacting at the moment - native Hue app, some 3rd party app to allow multiple bridges, plus HomeKit. Lots of possibilities for errors to occur in such a setup.

Hopefully Philips will release a bridge soon that handles more devices...
 
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Itinj24

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 8, 2017
923
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New York
I've got 10 bulbs on one bridge, no switches.

I will occasionally see one light that doesn't go when i play a scene from homekit. probably less than once a month though.

Hue uses ZigBee, which uses the 2.4 spectrum
The wifi in your house (both from you and possibly your neighbors) can interfere with the hue signal.

You can change the ZigBee channel used in the hue app, under the bridge settings. It will walk you through what you have to do.

Not sure if hue takes care of this automatically or not, but you should make sure your bridges are all on different channels, so they aren't competing with each other.
If the fireplace and dining room lights are on separate bridges, this might be part of it, because both of those bridges will start "screaming" commands at about the same time, and could drown each other out.

If the bridges are physically close to each other, separation might help.
same thing for the bridges and wifi antennas, 2.4g cordless phones, or any other wireless gear, as the signals from those could drown out the signal coming back from your switches.
and the less metal between things the better. A house with plaster walls with metal lath can kill signals pretty quickly.

If the hue channel thing doesn't help, changing your wifi channel can also help.
Thanks for the info. I do have all three bridges close to each other going to the same Ethernet network switch. They’re about 2” apart mounted to the wall. Wonder if that’s causing my woes. All the lights mentioned are on the same bridge. I have each bridge controlling a different level of the house. Main level, upstairs bedrooms and basement/garage/outdoor lighting. Started with one bridge and loaded it to the point that everything was failing. As I added more accessories, more bridges were needed I’m sure I got a little carried away lol. Not sure Hue was meant to light a whole house. Probably just some needed bulbs here and there. Most of the time though, the lights are going on, just not per the automation. Usually only 1% brightness when 100% was specified or the color would be different. Can that be the result of interference?
- - Post merged: - -

I have about 45 bulbs, a dozen or so dimmers (mostly Lutron Aurora). Still on one bridge. 99% of the time things work as they should. Occasionally I will have a routine or switch that doesn't quite do what I want, but resetting it to factory fixes it. Most of the time it's because I've made a small change to one of the routines that impacts it.

How are you managing the multiple bridges? Since the native Hue app doesn't allow for this you must have at least 3 layers interacting at the moment - native Hue app, some 3rd party app to allow multiple bridges, plus HomeKit. Lots of possibilities for errors to occur in such a setup.

Hopefully Philips will release a bridge soon that handles more devices...
Really? Hmm... I started with one bridge but was having trouble adding accessories so figured I needed another one until I landed on three. I read somewhere that scenes and automations also counted towards the Max allowable and that each button press on the dimmer switch was considered a scene or automation. All I have is the Hue app and Home app. I just used the Hue app for initial setup and Home for everything else. Home allows for multiple bridge support. Wondering if there’s an issue with my bridge. The blue LEDs on it are much dimmer that the other two and this particular bridge happens to control the lights I mentioned that are giving me problems.
 
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malcky77

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2019
50
13
I was under the impression that you should only have 1 hue bridge?

My entire house is using hue bulbs, light strips, dimmers & motion sensors totalling 50 hue devices....and very rarely do I get problems....and if I do, it is usually because of a conflict between scenes or timers or set times for the motion sensors for different functions.

Thats the tricky bit....making sure nothing conflicts with something else.

You might also want to see if the current zigbee channel is close to your own house wifi channel....look at this graph:
09A3970E-391E-42DF-98B8-74A5B5719E83_1_105_c.jpeg

- - Post merged: - -


- - Post merged: - -

For reference my zigbee channel is 15 and my house 2.4g channel is 11, so they are not conflicting with each other.
 
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zhenya

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Thanks for the info. I do have all three bridges close to each other going to the same Ethernet network switch. They’re about 2” apart mounted to the wall. Wonder if that’s causing my woes. All the lights mentioned are on the same bridge. I have each bridge controlling a different level of the house. Main level, upstairs bedrooms and basement/garage/outdoor lighting. Started with one bridge and loaded it to the point that everything was failing. As I added more accessories, more bridges were needed I’m sure I got a little carried away lol. Not sure Hue was meant to light a whole house. Probably just some needed bulbs here and there. Most of the time though, the lights are going on, just not per the automation. Usually only 1% brightness when 100% was specified or the color would be different. Can that be the result of interference?
- - Post merged: - -


Really? Hmm... I started with one bridge but was having trouble adding accessories so figured I needed another one until I landed on three. I read somewhere that scenes and automations also counted towards the Max allowable and that each button press on the dimmer switch was considered a scene or automation. All I have is the Hue app and Home app. I just used the Hue app for initial setup and Home for everything else. Home allows for multiple bridge support. Wondering if there’s an issue with my bridge. The blue LEDs on it are much dimmer that the other two and this particular bridge happens to control the lights I mentioned that are giving me problems.
You have things organized in the logical way for multiple bridges, however 2 would probably do it for you at the moment. The limit is ~50 devices per bridge, but it’s not a hard rule. You are correct that additional sensors, dimmers, rules, etc. do impact this, but it’s not a direct 1:1 ratio. 3rd party apps such as iConnectHue show you how full your current bridge is and will give an error rather than allowing you to over-fill a bridge. iConnectHue also allows you to (largely) manage multiple bridges as one complete house (similar to how HomeKit sees things, but with much more control). I am showing my single bridge at 75% full with the number of devices listed above with a lot of rules/multiple button presses, a few motion sensors, etc.

I would start by 1) changing channels on each bridge so they are as far away from each other as possible. 2) physically separate the bridges by some distance, at least a foot or so. 3) consider using a more powerful app which also gives you some options for cleaning up the existing rules, switches, etc (for example, I recently bumped up against the limit of the bridge, but using the ‘remove unused animations’ option in iConnectHue gave me back 30% of my bridge’s capacity, allowing me to remain on a single bridge).

I don’t think you can really blame the Hue system here at this point as you are using it way beyond its designed capacity. Hopefully Philips realizes there are a lot of us using these to light our entire house and the current bridge is way too limiting, and starts to offer something more powerful.

Good luck!
 
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Itinj24

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Very helpful stuff... Much appreciated!

I’ll start with changing the Zigbee channels and work from there 👍. I’ve contemplated the idea of selling most of my Hue equipment and going to smart switches/dimmers with a few needed colored Hue bulbs sprinkled here and there. Hopefully these tips and suggestions can save me the hassle. Thanks again!
 

malcky77

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Oct 12, 2019
50
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Has anyone actually maxed out a hue bridge? Does a message appear somewhere saying that too many devices are connected to the bridge????

Im not sure if there was a firmware update to the bridge to allow more connections, because when I look at the hue app and goto the hue labs sections, then click on the settings icon, then select the manage resources tab.....for me it appears that I have plenty room for lots more rules, routines, sensors, groups and sensors.....it just doesn't say how many devices I could still add???
 
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Itinj24

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Original poster
Nov 8, 2017
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New York
Has anyone actually maxed out a hue bridge? Does a message appear somewhere saying that too many devices are connected to the bridge????

Im not sure if there was a firmware update to the bridge to allow more connections, because when I look at the hue app and goto the hue labs sections, then click on the settings icon, then select the manage resources tab.....for me it appears that I have plenty room for lots more rules, routines, sensors, groups and sensors.....it just doesn't say how many devices I could still add???
I don’t know if I truly maxed it out but when I tried adding accessories, they would try to connect and nothing. As soon as I got another bridge, they connected no problem. Was an assumption on my part based on the circumstances.
 

malcky77

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2019
50
13
@Itinj24 Aye I wonder if your issue was to do with the channels of your 3 hubs together or even perhaps with your own house wifi channel...who knows.

It would be interesting to see if your house would behave correctly (Hue things obviously...lol) if your were to reset the whole lot and start from scratch using only 1 hub and on a zigbee channel that is nowhere near your house wifi channel.......I wouldn't ask that of you though as that would be a massive task based on the amount of devices you said you have on the 1st post.....on the other hand though, you've paid a lot of money for it all and you should really want it to work correctly.
 
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Itinj24

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Nov 8, 2017
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New York
@Itinj24 Aye I wonder if your issue was to do with the channels of your 3 hubs together or even perhaps with your own house wifi channel...who knows.

It would be interesting to see if your house would behave correctly (Hue things obviously...lol) if your were to reset the whole lot and start from scratch using only 1 hub and on a zigbee channel that is nowhere near your house wifi channel.......I wouldn't ask that of you though as that would be a massive task based on the amount of devices you said you have on the 1st post.....on the other hand though, you've paid a lot of money for it all and you should really want it to work correctly.
Good news is, I’m moving on Feb 28 (tentatively) so I will def take all this into consideration on my new smart home build 👍 😁
 

malcky77

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2019
50
13
Ah well that would be the perfect time to start from scratch that’s for sure....I would do the deletion/removal of all devices while they are still connected to your current house as and when the rooms stuff is in is no longer needed.
Remember to take a note of all hue device serial numbers too though for when your starting over....I’ve found that some items take ages to be found when trying to add things without the serial number...but as soon as you enter the number and search it’s then found within 10-15 seconds.
 
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Itinj24

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Ah well that would be the perfect time to start from scratch that’s for sure....I would do the deletion/removal of all devices while they are still connected to your current house as and when the rooms stuff is in is no longer needed.
Remember to take a note of all hue device serial numbers too though for when your starting over....I’ve found that some items take ages to be found when trying to add things without the serial number...but as soon as you enter the number and search it’s then found within 10-15 seconds.
Yes, lol I made note of all the serial numbers the last time I did my Home reset. Learned my lesson then having to run around the house to find the bulb that flashes on and off. Speaking of which, HomePass is a great app for storing HomeKit codes in general.