Renovating apartment and I have the following parameters I’d like to satisfy and want to find out if Inovellie 2-1 Switch in non-neutral-wire setup will work:
- No neutral wires
- I only care about single-pole setup, no 3-way or multi-way required.
- I have 95% Philips Hue lights and just the undercabinet lighting and medicine cabinet are standard, non-smart lights and I want to be able to control them both via the Philips Hub for automation (e.g. follow-the-sun white temp change, auto on-/off based on Hue motion sensor) etc but also controlled them directly via the Inovelli smart switch (only care about on-/off and dimming)
- If the Hub is down the automations will stop but I still want the smart switch to continue working (on/off and dimming from the switch)
- I want the ability to change my mind and replace the Hue lights with regular dumb lights in the future. In that case I’d want to switch to continue working (at most might require some reconfiguration but no rewiring).
- (optional) I Ideally, I’d like to only have the Philips Hue hub and avoid adding another hub. If impossible, I would be ok adding another hub.
Are those use cases covered by the 2-1 switch in single-pole non-neutral wire configuration? How difficult is to reconfigure the switch to do (5)? And is (6) possible?
Thank you very much for your help.
1 - The 2-1 will work in a non-neutral environment, probably with a bypass
2 - Single pole is fine
3 - The Hue bulbs must be powered full time, which the switch can accommodate. But to control the lights, you’ll need a Zigbee hub to either bind them or use scenes (and probably not the Hue hub, see 6)
4 - Most likely, but depending on the hub and connection technique
5 - The wiring is the same for Hue bulbs or otherwise
6 - Probably not. You’ll likely need another hub. Inovelli has applied to obtain Friends of Hue certification but hasn’t been successful as of yet. If a device isn’t certified with Friends of Hue, whether or not the device will work with the Hue hub is iffy.
Thanks for the rapid response!
- what is a bypass? is it going to involve an electrician? is it something to be done in the switch box wiring or at the apartment fuse box or (worst) at the bulb / recessed lighting fuses?
- i see, would you recommend HA or HU?
- is it possible to bind the lights directly to the switch (direct communication, no hub) but keep the lights also bound to the official Hue Hub?
- great, do i need to “reprogram” the Inovelli Blue switch somehow to tell it to stop keeping constant power but instead honor the relay and also dimming will actually lower voltage instead of sending messages? If is, does the reprogramming require an inovelli app or a Zigbee bridge or there are (hopefully) some hardware buttons on the switch itself to change between dumb mode and smart mode?
- damn i see, Friends of Hue would be amazing… I know the Hue hub actually has A TON more functionality than is exposed in their app, if you look at their API/SDK documentation it’s pretty involved…
1 - A bypass is a small device optimally placed in a light box to pass voltage in non-neutral situations, allowing the switch to be powered. Some have placed it in the switch box with varying success. YMMV
2 - I’m on SmartThings, but that may not be a good pick if you want to do Zigbee binding. I’m sure you will get recommendations for both Hubitat and HA here.
3 - I’m not a binding expert, but I’m pretty sure the bulbs have to be directly paired with the hub to bind them. i.e. no Hue hub
4 - Sort of. Some programming is available via the switch, but it’s unwieldy (IMO). Program the switch via your Hub, however you get to that.
5 - Yeah, well . . . .
1 - i have tens of lights, 18 recessed alone, there’s no way i’m going to be adding any device to each light box :(( so it seems like the Inovelli product just won’t work for me… do you know what happens if i don’t do that? which functionality breaks down? or just the entire switch doesn’t work?
3 - do you know if it’s possible for the same light to be simultaneously paired to (a) hue hub (b) HA/HU hub and (c) direct ZB binding?
4 - i see, thanks
1 - It’s one device per switch, not one in each light box. If your bulbs don’t pass sufficient power via the non-neutral configuration, the switch will not power up.
The devices can only pair to one controller, and binding requires all of devices to be on same controller.
If you have more than 1 bulb on a single switch you probably won’t need a bypass, but you won’t know until you try
Edit: link to bypass
@Bry ah got it, i thought you mentioned it’s placed in the light box. So do you place the device in the switch box, or there just isn’t enough room so you would pick ONE light box to put it in and should be enough for the entire circuit?
@stu1811 interesting, i definitely will have more than one bulb per single switch, likely a good number more than one. Thanks for the link, i’ll look into it
3 - @timrudd12 thanks a lot, got it. A followup q - is the hub only required to facilitate the pairing but i assume not used for the actual communication (otherwise it defeats the direct binding purpose). If correct, e.g. could I (A) pair hue lights and Inovelli Blue to say HA, bind, re-pair Hue lights to Hue Hub and it will work? Or is the established binding based on addresses that are somehow hub specific so this would invalidate the binding? Thanks!
The bypass is placed in the light box.
The bulbs won’t work with two different hubs simultaneously (ie paired). Keeping everything in HA it will work as you desire (directly bonded). The binding itself is managed by the coordinator (HA in this case)…In order to re-pair with Hue, you’d have to effectively reset/un-pair HA and would lose the binding.
Not sure if this is improved/possible once the switch can do thread/matter.
Ok interesting, I’m a bit confused why - once paired - anything other than the two devices (switch on one end and light(s) on other) needs to be involved if it’s supposed to be faster than going through the hub but my understanding of all this stuff is very superficial as I just plunged myself into home automation so I’m pretty ignorant (perhaps this is the controller bit and controller is faster than hub? gotta read up…).
Thanks for the help, I’ll keep in mind that the lights must stayed paired to the same hub as the switch, and that the switch cannot be paired with the Hue Hub, so that forces the lights to be paired with the non-Hue hub (and I also cannot pair them with multiple Hubs at once).
This is really so messy since I do want them on the Hue Hub which has a lot of cool features… together with the bypass I might just give up on this product. Maybe I’ll just stick with having the pure Hue wireless switches everywhere and if I ever decide against Hue, I’ll need to buy some new switches that work with dumb lights.
And maybe ask the electrician to just keep everything connected for constant power. But then only way to turn it off is via circuit breaker…
Not sure where you’re located or what rules may govern what the electrician can/should do, but the electrician may tell you they are not allowed to bypass a switch install by directly connecting the line/load (due to regulations, inspection requirement, etc).
Again, that may or may not apply in your case, but I’d at least be prepared for that answer when you ask.
Good point @hydro311 , and this might be saving me from my own stupidity as you’d like to have SOME way to cut off the power other than the circuit box. So maybe I’ll just install some dumb switch and use the Hue smart wireless ones and call it. Clearly the market isn’t mature enough for someone who doesn’t want to tinker with both software and hardware. Thanks all for the help this community is great! Who knows maybe I’ll change my mind and end up getting them lol.
Binding does allow for direct communication between the devices, but still allows the controller (hub) to issue commands/get udpates/etc… Devices will not let you pair to second hub, to do so you’d have to reset the device, which breaks the bind.
All that said… there is still the option to use both with their respective seperate hubs. The only downside being you lose the control when one of the hubs is down. I do this a few different ways (e.g. Lutron Pico remotes controlling zigbee lights, z-wave switch (red-series) controlling hue lights, etc). Everything is still talking locally, and I have all my hubs on UPS so that even when the internet is down, for example, the control happens very fast (only not as fast as directly binded/bonded/meh you get the idea).
FWIW, the Lutron Aurora are really awesome with Hue… As long as you’re cool with an old-school rotary knob look, the only kinda downside is they are battery. But the battery lasts several years, so it’s not like you go thru them fast.
The response speed of the Auroras is indistinguishable from dumb stuff in my experience. If my setup was really Hue-heavy, I’d go with Auroras everywhere.
@hydro311 I’d 100% go with auroras if I weren’t doing a large renovation. I’m basically starting from scratch so It seems a bit silly to install regular switches just so I can place Auroras on them.
We all want minimal lag, but hops are double-digit ms if local and over a strong mesh. Try it out both ways and see what works. No one is suggesting that the ONLY way is through binding, you have LOTS of options to meet your use case.