I'm confused, what do I need to control this smart light setup?

Ok, here’s what I currently have:

  • RPi running Home Assistant and a Z-wave/Zigbee stick
  • Lots of other working Z-wave switches (not relevant, just saying I have a working setup)
  • a set of Zigbee BR30s on a hard three-way switch

I want to replace the three way switch with a Z-wave dimmer that does the following:

  • On/off/dim/bright all four Zigbee BR30s like a normal dimmer
  • Toggle one specific BR30 on/off when the config button is pressed

Do I need a red series dimmer for this or will a black work? I’m not sure how the dimming gets programmed in relay-off smart bulb mode, and I’m not sure if I need central scene control to toggle the individual bulb.

I believe I saw somewhere that Inovelli was working on Black Series firmware that would still give you a Z-Wave CentralScene event with single pushes, holds, and releases, though I don’t remember if that includes the config button. (Or maybe it’s already been released; if it is, I can’t figure out when from anything in the release notes I’ve been able to find.) However, for more than one tap, and possibly for the config button to be usable at all (for anything besides actual configuration), you’ll need the Red Series. That’s probably what I’d go with anyway if you can afford it.

Beyond that, your setup is do-able, assuming you’re able to control those bulbs from Home Assistant in the desired manner. You’d respond to the Z-Wave CentralScene events and manipulate the bulbs as you wish (e.g., turn on with a “single tap up” event). You can really use either the switch or the dimmer here; the scene events are the exact same on both. The dimmer has a larger LED bar that some people like, and it’s possible they’ll add some “enhanced smart bulb” mode in the future where you may be able to internally track the dimmer level and switch state and “mirror” those out to smart bulbs (via some other automation), something some people have asked for; otherwise, right now, you’d leave the dimmer on and at level 99, disable local control (at least), and likely enable smart bulb mode (which I don’t think really does anything besides preventing you from accidentally changing the level away from 99 if the device is on). Again, the switch or dimmer would work the same with smart bulbs.

The only other tricky thing here is that three-way switch. Last I tried (which was right after the LZW31-SN was released), this didn’t work as I expected; a “dumb” three-way switch cut power to the smart bulbs, even with local control disabled on the real “smart” switch. I ended up just using a wall-mounted button device in that location instead (a Lutron Pico in my case because I already had a Lutron setup; nowadays, the Zooz ZEN34 might be a cheaper option if you don’t want to dive into Lutron, though Inovelli will probably also be coming out with something eventually). Firmware updates since that time may have addressed this, but I haven’t looked back since. :slight_smile:

To clarify, my plan is to replace both sides of the three way switch with an Inovelli or other smart switch. Thanks for the rest of the info - I’ll continue to look at options for how best to handle this.

If your goal is to control zigbee bulbs with a smart switch, the best solution would be to use the Blue Series dimmers when they come out (current estimated release in September)

You could probably accomplish something similar with the Red Series zwave dimmers, but it will heavily rely on automations to interpret scene commands. I think the biggest challenge would be getting dimming to work the way you want it. If you want to hold the buttons down to gradually dim the bulbs, you would need to figure out a way to tell your bulbs to start dimming when the button is held down, and then to stop dimming when the button is released. I dont have any zigbee devices so I dont know if it is possible (its not even easy to do with zwave). You might be able to write a loop of some sort that sends a bunch of commands to incrementally lower the brightness as long as you hold the button down, but it will never work as efficiently as a dimmer that natively supports zigbee.

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Yes either wait for the blue series or do what I do:

Smart bulb mode engaged (keeps power at 100%)
If level of dimmer changes, change lights to match.

Pretty simple, but does require going through HA. The delay is almost imperceptible except to the VERY keen eye.

Edit: The one caviat (and the last of many feature requests we have) is that if you leave the relay enabled to get the LED bar to track dimmer level, if you hit “off” it cuts power to the bulbs which renders them useless and messes with meshes. I still take that chance at this point when I am controlling my zigbee mesh as it seems to be minimally impacted, but my z-wave bulbs I use associations instead which works effectively the same.

It’s a complicated solution that a firmware update SHOULD fix.

This is possible with almost any Zigbee or (modern) Z-Wave bulb. How easy it is for you to do might depend on your hub; I don’t have any of these paired to Home Assistant, but I’m using a Hue Bridge where the API exposes commands that can do this and have Z-Wave on Hubitat, where most devices have drivers that also support these commands (startLevelChange() and stopLevelChange() – which are also basically the names of these commands in the Z-Wave Switch Mutlilevel command class, and Zigbee has similar capabilities in the level control cluster, 0x0008 … though with Hue or a hub that abstracts this away for any device, you really don’t need to know these details).

But, yes, you certainly can wait for the Blue Series; you might be able to Touchlink the dimmer to the bulb and bypass the hub (just like with the Red Series or even Black Series, you can use Z-Wave Association with Z-Wave bulbs). I’m not sure how they’ll work yet — if they know — or if that will prevent you from using them with a hub at all (I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do both at the same time with any of my current Zigbee devices). But if you trust your hub, in my opinion, there’s no reason to wait. :slight_smile: