Illumin Bulbs and Zwave Associations

Hi All!!

First off, jumping into the IOT space for some work things and grabbed some Inovelli dimmers after comparing one to a Leviton Switch. Love all the features and the expandability.

Got the package with the Illumin Bulbs and want to make sure I’m seeing things that are expected, and have a couple questions.

  1. The Illumin bulbs can be used by the dimmer switch as a load - they fade in and out and turn on by default when power is applied. Is this bad for the bulbs? It works ok, the fade out is a little odd as they change color when fading down, but it is workable. Also - when using this method i can control them via homeassistant using the smartthings integration (by controlling the switch to turn them on / off).

  2. ZWave Association - I got a GE Aux Switch for the 3 way with the Illumin Bulbs and built the Zwave association. It seems to me that the Zwave association disables the fade-in / fade out (unfortunately) - that seems true right? Kind of a bummer because I was hoping the zwave association could do the fade in / fade out with the bulb dimmer instead of the power dimmer.

  3. Zwave Association seems to get the red switch out of sync quite a bit - where the hub thinks it is on but it is off or vice versa.

  4. When using Zwave association and having local / remote control turned off, the LED bar is on all the time - that’s expected right, because the switch ts on all the time?

  5. Using Home assistant with the smartthings integration - I think this breaks when Remote control is turned off. I think the hub is doing something with the zwave association app that Home assistant doesn’t do through the integration - does that sound plausible?

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Hmm, it sounds like you’re using the dimmer to actually control the smart bulbs as a “regular” load, not with Z-Wave association, or possibly you have some combination of both. Here is the recommended setup for using Illimun bulbs with Z-Wave association from an Inovelli switch:

Notably, you’ll need local control disabled, which will prevent physical manipulation of the dimmer from affecting the load, which is normally the outcome you want for smart bulbs.

The GE Aux switch is not Z-Wave, which I’m mentioning because it sounds like you’re trying to use Association there. You can configure the LZW30/31-SN to work with an aux switch (see the appropriate Z-Wave parameter for that device), dumb switch (same parameter, different value), or other smart switch (this would also be Association), but the aux/add-on switches don’t have “smarts” of their own, so Association is not an option. There are some differences between all three of these options that is probably spelled out somewhere I can’t find right now…

The LED bar is intended to stay on (or however you have the switch/dimmer set) when local control is disabled. You can manipulate its appearance (but not its apparent “level” representation; just color and brightness, with 0/off being one option) via Z-Wave parameters if you wanted. So, I’d say your interpretation is correct.

Not sure about the ST/HASS integration. Does something in particular break? Remote control would disable Z-Wave on/off and level control, so if that’s what you’re trying to do, you should find the same issue regardless of whether the change originates on ST or HASS (though I’ve never used this integration, so maybe you’re trying to do something else that you think should work).

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To add to this, generally you would setup automations in SmartThings and HASS to control the bulbs and leave the dimmer on @ 99%. If you want ST/HASS to turn off the lights, you tell it to turn off the bulbs and not the dimmer.

If you are looking for a 3-way solution in this configuration, the best option is going to be to put another Inovelli dimmer in the second location and also associate it to the bulbs.

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Wow, thanks for the great response guys, and from @EricM_Inovelli himself!!

Thanks for the clarifications, let me see if i can touch on a few things above:

To @BertABCD1234 - I know that i’m controlling the bulbs via Zwave association because the Local / Remote control is off on the dimmer, and I cannot control the dimmer with smartthings anymore. I guess that was a piece of clarification i needed, i thought that maybe the switch would interpret the smarrthings commands and relay them when in that mode (which it does PHYSICALLY) - but when remote control is disabled, it’s fully disabled.

When I push the dimmer or the aux switch, the smart bulbs go on or off - using the zwave association. They don’t do the fade, which is kind of a bummer.

The dimmer switch and aux switch DO dim the bulbs if you press them locally - and they dim them via smartbulb, not via electricity. The latter gives some odd effects and flickering, whereas dimming them via zwave commands directly works really nice.

I guess that what i really was looking for was that to “group” the smart bulbs and control them via the dimmer as smartbulbs and not a “load” requires me to treat them as a scene and to program the functions i want.

Ididn’t see a response to the earlier question - is it bad for the Illumin bulbs to treat them as a “load” (normal light bulb) and only control the smart features when they’re on??

Ah, I think I get it now. As Eric said, the best way to approach this is really to control the bulbs from SmartThings (and ignore the dimmer, which just becomes another way you could control the bulbs). I’m not sure if there’s an all-Z-Wave way to make it work like you want where any device can be manipulated to in turn manipulate all of the others, but (besides probably physically connecting line to load on the dimmer so the load isn’t actually ever electrically dimmed) you could make that work with “mirror”/“follow me”-type SmartApps. I would not recommend this in general but especially not on a cloud-centric platform like SmartThings where none of this would run locally and would be subject to inherent lag, occasional delays, and even possibly full outages.

Generally, the best advice is to leave smart bulbs powered on at all times for both practical and technical reasons. The practical one is that you, of course, lose smart control if they’re physically off, but that’s something some people are OK with. The technical one is more important: these bulbs serve as repeaters on your Z-Wave network, so other Z-Wave devices on your network might depend on them being available to route through to reach your hub. Z-Wave Plus devices should eventually figure out alternatives (assuming other routes are in range) on their own, but it’s still something I’d avoid if possible.

With a dimmer, it would be particularly bad to treat them as a load if you attempt “real” (from the dimmer not, soft/on-the-bulb) dimming, since they are meant to be used at full power. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean but thought I would mention it anyway.

I said “most” throughout because there are exceptions I’m aware of, but not in the Inovelli product line or even the Z-Wave arena at all: Sengled bulbs are Zigbee but don’t repeat (so turning them off has no effect on your network aside from the inherent loss of smarts), and Sengled also had a “hybrid” smart bulb that claimed to also work with traditional dimmers or Zigbee dimming (this type of behavior is extremely rare).

Thansk @BertABCD1234 - I actually have run the Illumin bulbs as the “load” off the dimmer and phsically dimmed the electricity to them. They “kinda work” that way - but to your point, i don’t think it’s a good idea for them. I also thought about the implications to the zwave network by turning them on and off and having the routes / repeaters change a lot. I guess i’ll need to find a way to see if i can get the fade behavior i like from a zwave automation perspective :wink:

As another note, i think i saw @EricM_Inovelli mention this somewhere, but smartthings doesn’t publish the “button number” that is pressed when activating scenes from the dimmer when looking at the integration through HomeAssistant. However, i may have found a workaround using a virtual smartthings switch that i’m trying out - i’ll report back if i get that working.

Why you ask? Well - smartthings can control the devices using the app and works well, but Home Assistant is much more powerful and can aggregate other integrations. If i can intercept the “scene call” from the dimmer switch in HA - i can make it do anything.

@Semag were you able to get your virtual switch concept to work with SmartThings and Home Assistant?