Phillips Hue Detection Questions

I’m thinking of buying a Philips Hue hub for the integration with the Sense monitor.

I have some questions though:

  1. Will only Philips hue light bulbs be detected or can other lights be detected that connect to the Philips hub?

  2. Can I control the lights from the Sense app?

  3. Does the generation of the Hue hub matter? Can I get a 1 generation hub?

  • Only Hue bulbs + Hue hub will work because, as I understand it, only Hue bulbs will work with a Hue hub. That’s outside of any Sense-Hue issue. The Hue system is communicating wirelessly (not wifi, btw) between the Hue hub and the individual Hue bulbs.

  • First generation Hue hub works fine with Sense.

  • You can control on/off/& DIM for each Hue bulb from the Sense app but you can’t set colors and so on … for that you have to use the Hue app. A neat feature of the Sense Bubble interface is you can access the Hue bulbs (that are on) from there and adjust the dimming.

*FYI: IFTTT + Sense + Hue works well. e.g. IF Fridge goes off for too long THEN switch Hue bulbs to RED or somesuch.

That is incorrect. Below a video for linking a cree bulb to hue.

There still may be an issue. I think that Hue only has power calculation data for Philips bulb models. Hue doesn’t measure power usage. It calculates based on setting and bulb model number. Who knows what you will get for Cree bulbs - maybe 0, maybe some crazy number.

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Well, if your question is “Will whatever bulbs the Hue bridge is linked to be controllable through Sense?” then the answer I believe is yes. Seems like somebody here in the community may have tested this … if not, get a bulb and report back.

@kevin1 makes a good point … if you want the energy tracking through Sense then you’ll need to check whether the Hue bridge metric for manually added bulbs is correct.

Something else to consider: My cursory look at Cree vs Philips is that the Hue bulbs (newer ones) have more lumens/watt to comply with improving DoE code. I always start in bulb choice with the light spectrum (TM-30-18 which supersedes CRI) and then consider lumens/watt because the “nicer” a bulb is the longer it tends to last … meaning: If you don’t like the light quality you’ll probably upgrade before the bulb fails. Factor in those metrics into your choice rather than assuming that a “cheaper” bulb is going to actually be cheaper in the long term. I am in no way endorsing the Hue bulbs here btw, the older color variable ones I have imho have terrible light quality but are usable because I can set them to different alert colors. For actual “lighting” I use the Philips ExpertColor range … which isn’t a connected bulb. Switching convenience through the Hue hub may outweigh all your other factors but I prioritize light quality; efficiency and longevity … and there’s also the bonus of being forced to use the old toggle switches I like = exercise!

We have not tested integration with 3rd party bulbs and Hue. So, if you try it, let us know! In the meantime, I’ll grab a CREE bulb and see what happens.

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Others are curious too

I made that post on Reddit. I figured the Hue community might know the answer.

I thought the timing was interesting

Thinking about this further, I wonder about the integration of the Hue-determined power use vs potential Sense calculus.

If Hue is sending “ground truth” on/off signals (along with Sense-initiated Hue commands) is there a possibility of Sense using that data to then determine the specific “Hue light” power, which is potentially multiple bulbs anyway? This data could at least verify and reinforce the Hue numbers. I understand the deltas can be relatively insignificant but over time there must be instances where even an individual bulb on/off is going to reveal its wattage if Sense knows it just switched on/off.

Or is this a case of “autonomous training” that would be too complex/taxing to implement?

Of course there are parallels with thermostat signals and HVAC power tracking.

Can someone that has a Hue check something for me? What wattage does a single color light use at 1% brightness with a red color (not sure if color actually matters). I’m reading up on switches and minimum loads and it seems like I may need to be careful as to what type of switch I put the bulbs on.

Interesting, I see a bug in mine … running gen 1 Hue hub and bulbs.

If I use the Hue standard colors like “Concentrate” on 2 bulbs I get 12w so 6w/bulb.

If I set my own “red” on those same 2 bulbs I get 0w … regardless of dimming.

I think Hue (at least mine) is only working for the “standard” colors.

e.g. “Nightlight” (Hue’s color) at 0% = 1w for both bulbs so 0.5w/bulb.
Nightlight at 100% = 7w so 3.5w/bulb

Regarding switched: What you don’t want on a Hue bulb (or any networked bulb) is a dimmer of any form … and ideally you either want NO switch or a networked Hue switch so the power is always on to the bulbs … otherwise they will go offline!

I know. I will be getting a zwave switch that allows me to disable the internal relay. This will basically turn the switch into a scene controller. Tap up once for the “standard” scene that I decide, double tap up for a second scene. Hold up to brighten, hold down to dim. I might even do double tap down to manually turn the red nightlight on.

The switch I was looking at (because I already use the same switch for something similar elsewhere in my home) doesn’t list the minimum load required, but the dimmer version (which can actually have the relay disabled as well so it functions as a scene controller, but it can’t dim Hue bulbs below 10% when done this way) of the same switch does, which is 10W. I don’t know if that same minimum load is true for the switch that doesn’t have a dimmer. I’ve emailed their support to find out.

They have a newer switch and the dimmer version of it says there is no longer a minimum load requirement, but again the non-dimmer version doesn’t mention minimum loads at all. I’ve emailed their support to ask for clarification because I’d rather get the older model since it’s cheaper.

If you’re curious about the switches, It’s the Zooz line. Specifically the Zen21. The newer model is the Zen26.

I think you kind of asked/answered here … if the switch is supplying 120V and sufficient current (i.e. the “switch” is deactivated) then all the Hue control is happening electronically via zigbee. The “can’t dim below 10%” would just be some kind of Zooz/hub limitation vs what the Hue Bridge can instruct the bulb to do, e.g. “Set 1% dimming”.

BTW: I don’t know the full spec on all the Hue bulbs and controllers but even Ketra and other $100 bulbs struggle in the <10% dim range … they can go to 1% reasonably well but when you go from there to 0% it still seems to “switch off”. The internal bulb electronics is the ultimate limiter.

Does Sense work with emulated hue hubs? Would be nice if there was a way to report a device and how much power it’s using

I was very curious about this too but haven’t gotten around to trying.

So a Philips Hue user informed me that non Philips bulbs don’t appear to work with the integration. He tested with Ikea bulbs and Philips. Only the Philips showed.

I don’t know if an emulated hub would work but maybe with hue bulbs?