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Jebusfreek666
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2017 :  04:29:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok so I just started buying a whole bunch of philips hue bulbs. Currently have about 20 and just started 2 days ago. My plan is to cover my entire house. I am not really interested in the color changing. I would use that very little. The white bulbs are enough for my use. While looking things up online I stumbled on to the limits of the hue Bridge. I knew the 50(63) bulb limit existed, but had no idea about the accessories limit.

Here is what I want my system to be:

40-50 bulbs, 1-5 lightstrips

17-20 switches

5-10 motion sensors

I am also adding a ecobee thermostat, and would like to be able to extend the system to add some plug and other things along the way.

I found a video online about using the Luton connected bulb remote, instead of the hue dimmer switch. I would like to use these instead as they can be connected directly to the electrical box that the regular switches used to take up. I want to be able to turn on/off/dim the lights with the dimmer switches, with my voice using my whole home Alexa (echo) devices, or an app.

Now, obviously this setup is too much for one hue Bridge. And what I have read is that 2 bridges is not really the answer either as I can only control one at a time with Alexa without switching back and forth between accounts. I have also read about the echo plus with the built-in hub, but the reviews about this are kind of scary at the moment. And I can not find out what the bulb/accessories limit for the built-in hub are.

I have also considered the wink and smartthings hubs. I really just need help figuring out what the ideal way to control this all in the way I have described above is before I spend even more on something that will not work.

Thanks

Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10477 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2017 :  09:46:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Are you looking for color changing bulbs, or do you just want remote control and dimmable for most locations?

If the latter, Insteon is perhaps the most scalable, easy retrofit, remote control option you can find. Insteon modules can be programmed with 300+ device links, they automatically form a dual-band mesh network for connectivity, and they won’t require you to replace every bulb in your house with a smart bulb. Insteon connects to Alexa via use of their model 2245 Hub.

If you are clever, you can even coordinate Insteon with Hue or other brands of automation gear via the Stringify service. That offers a way to integrate color changing bulbs in select locations.

Volunteer Moderator & Home Automation Enthusiast
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Jebusfreek666
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2017 :  11:04:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sorry, just starting out. So most of what you said will require a lot of research on my part. I really have very little interest in color changing. Maybe a couple of light strips around my projection screen later on, but it is not a priority.

Forgive me if I sound naive, but I know very little about this. The main reason I wanted to go with smart bulbs instead of switches was due to the fact that I can control the individual bulbs in the fixtures. I like to be able to tell alexa to turn on my hallway light. but in my hallway and stair case there is 2 separate fixtures, each with 3 bulbs. So when I want the lights on, a say "turn on hallway lights", they all come on. But at night, when I am trying to stumble into the bathroom and not wake myself up too much, I can set up a "room" named "nightlight" and have the motion sensor trip only 1 bulb in the fixtures at a very dim level. The same goes for my other rooms. I like the control of only one bulb.
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lilyoyo1
Average Member

195 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2017 :  12:39:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The main issue with having every bulb on a controller is when the controller fails (and it will fail when you need it to work). When that happens, you'll be left in the dark until it comes back up.

There really isn't a perfect way with the way that you want to set your system up. There will be many many holes which can kill the experience for you. The more steps it takes to set something up only increases your variables to failure. With that said, I would definitely look at starting with the smartthings hub. While that would prevent you from using Insteon like Tfitzpatri8 recommended (his recommendation is a good one as well) it can lessen the amount of services you have to go through (not a fan of IFTTT nor stringify for primary use). Either way, with the amount of devices you're looking at having, you will probably have technical nightmare.

To lessen the chances of poor performance, I would cut down the hue usage to places that you truly only want 1 bulb to turn on such as hallways and your bathrooms. While that much control might sound cool right now, will you really need individual control in your livingroom, family room, kitchen, etc.? By not filling up your bridge, you can continue to use the bridge without the issues of a maxed out bridge and negate the need for a second bridge.

Edited by - lilyoyo1 on 12/06/2017 12:40:14 PM
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
15777 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2017 :  3:31:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Using Hue bulbs is a very costly way to achieve lighting control if color is not your goal.

I use Insteon in-wall switches to provide plenty of illumination for regular use. But, most lighting is set to come on at a dim level for traversing the house at night, mostly with Insteon motion sensors that set the lighting to a low level.

There's no need to control only one bulb. You can control the entire fixture to the level that you want. For example, a fixture with three 60 watt bulbs can be set to turn on at about 30%, giving 54 watts of light, the near equivalent of one 60 watt bulb.

There's no practical limit to the number of Insteon devices that you can have. Each Insteon dimmer switch can control hundreds of devices. In fact, adding devices can increase both the range and reliability of your Insteon network.

The only restriction is that each switch box requires a neutral wire, but even lacking that can be overcome with a Micro Module.

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Jebusfreek666
Starting Member

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2017 :  1:44:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bad news for me. I have been looking into replacing switches instead of the bulbs. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that I would need to have a neutral wire. I checked several switches in my home. None of them have a neutral. It appears to me that the power runs to the lights first and terminates in the switch. I only have black and white wires, and bare copper. All of which connect to the switch itself. No other wires tied together.

So I guess, this leaves me with looking for a 2 wire z-wave switch which can handle low loads if I want to use LED bulbs. Been looking for about an hour, and I am pretty sure these do not exist? So I am back to the idea that smart bulbs are the only way to go for me.

Any suggestions?
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BLH
Advanced Member

5647 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2017 :  3:10:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Two wire switches. Steal their power through the load and are used with Incandescent bulb loads.

LED bulbs don't play nice with them.
They would have to be rated for a dimmer type switch and rated as dimmable.

There is no two wire On Off type switch that I have ever seen. Only dimmers.
I have a few Z-Wave Intermatic Home Setting switches. Rated for Tungsten loads between 40 and 600 Watts.

With Insteon you can many times rewire the switch loop. To a Line and Neutral. Power the Insteon switch with the Load capped Off and link it to a micro module in the light fixture.

Edited by - BLH on 12/07/2017 3:53:18 PM
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
15777 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2017 :  6:14:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
As BLH indicated:
quote:
Originally posted by stusviews
The only restriction is that each switch box requires a neutral wire, but even lacking that can be overcome with a Micro Module.


If you choose to go that route, that is, installing a Micro Module in the ceiling box, you can choose either an On/Off module or a dimmer, the latter only if the load is dimmable.

Once you decide on the Micro Module, you can install any wired Insteon device in the switch box because it won't be connected to a load at all. On/Off devices click, dimmers don't.

In any case, you'll need two Insteon devices, 1. a controller such as a SwitchLinc or a KeypadLinc and 2. a Micro Module or an Insteon bulb.

The Micro Module, although costlier, is more flexible as you can select which bulb to use.

You can even select a keypad which will allow you to control either five or eight other Insteon devices. That's handy if you have lamps as well as a ceiling light.

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n2ocharged
Starting Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2018 :  5:12:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Actually, the white wire is the neutral, black is the load, and bare copper is the ground. They will all connect to the switch because the black and white run back to the breaker panel and the copper runs to a home ground.

Have you thought about looking into replacing some of the current light bulbs with a motion sensor light bulb (the light bulb has a motion sensor built in) so that you don't have to turn on all of the lights at once? Not sure how many rooms you have in your house, but that could eliminate 1 bulb from each room (possibly) leaving about 30 - 40 bulbs on a smart switch/hub. Going this route you wouldn't have to get all of the motion sensors in the house (unless they were outside) and could save a little money there.

This is something i'm going to do with my house so that the lighting stays on for only 90 seconds after someone leaves the room and the rest of the light bulbs will eventually be put on my Amazon Echo for automation.

I have a family member who says the ecobee works with the Echo Plus from Amazon.

quote:
Originally posted by Jebusfreek666

Bad news for me. I have been looking into replacing switches instead of the bulbs. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that I would need to have a neutral wire. I checked several switches in my home. None of them have a neutral. It appears to me that the power runs to the lights first and terminates in the switch. I only have black and white wires, and bare copper. All of which connect to the switch itself. No other wires tied together.

So I guess, this leaves me with looking for a 2 wire z-wave switch which can handle low loads if I want to use LED bulbs. Been looking for about an hour, and I am pretty sure these do not exist? So I am back to the idea that smart bulbs are the only way to go for me.

Any suggestions?

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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3630 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2018 :  7:04:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Actually, the white wire is the neutral, black is the load, and bare copper is the ground.


In some cases, white can be something other than neutral. While the white wire should be marked another color, this seems to get ignored often.

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stusviews
Moderator

USA
15777 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2018 :  8:01:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by n2ocharged

Actually, the white wire is the neutral, black is the load, and bare copper is the ground. They will all connect to the switch because the black and white run back to the breaker panel and the copper runs to a home ground.


Not possible. If that were the case, then the breaker would pop as soon as soon as you turned the switch on and nothing would ever have worked.

The white wire is line/hot. That's standard for a switch loop. It should have black tape on it, but sometimes doesn't. The black wire is the switched wire to the load. That's done so that the fixture connects to black (switch return/black) and white (neutral at the fixture).

The bare wire is ground and connects to a green screw.

Unless you have more that two wire (plus ground) in the box that you haven't described

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n2ocharged
Starting Member

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2018 :  1:32:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I see what you are saying, I was referring to the United States color code for residential electrical wiring... white *should* always be neutral (United States) and Black is always hot (again, United States) with green or bare copper being ground.

There are alternate colors being grey for neutral (instead of white) and red as a second hot (instead of black, or using both black and red).

I referred to the United States color code not thinking that there are others here in different countries.

quote:
Originally posted by oberkc

quote:
Actually, the white wire is the neutral, black is the load, and bare copper is the ground.


In some cases, white can be something other than neutral. While the white wire should be marked another color, this seems to get ignored often.



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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3630 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2018 :  3:05:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We are all talking US. Unfortunately, the discussion is not about code (yes, white should be neutral) but about whether people always re-color (tape, paint, etc) the white conductor when it is used for something other than a neutral. The problem is: they don't (or it falls off). As a result, one can see many white conductors used for things like switch loops and traveler wires. One cannot assume it is a neutral simply because it is white.
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
15777 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2018 :  3:36:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Having a white wire as the line and a black wire as the switch return (load) is in accordance with the NEC (US electric code) and was the only correct wiring for a switch loop until the NEC added the requirement that a neutral wire be installed in every switch box.

Also, in a 3-way configuration, any of black, white or red can be the line, the load or a traveler. thus, black is not always the line and white is not always the load.

As has been stated, wires should be identified if their purpose is changed, usually with "phasing" tape, but that's not always done.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
MathLandia High school mathematics learning fun.
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Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.


Please don't PM with questions that can be asked in a forum.
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