Question about Phillips Hue integration

I am wanting to add a bunch of smart lighting to my house and trying to figure out how I want to do it. The only reason I’m considering Hue lights is because of the Sense integration, and I have some questions about that.

  1. My biggest concern revolves around my experience with smart plugs. I’ve seen several people mention that the Sense monitor can only support about 20 smart plug connections before the processing load becomes to great. Does the Phillips Hue integration have any similar limit? Does it share a combined limit with smart plugs?

  2. How are lights shown in the Sense app. I don’t have any Hue lights atm, so I have no experience with the Hue app and how it’s configured. If I have 6 lights in my kitchen, will I get 6 devices, each with their own bubble in the Now tab? I don’t really care how much energy a particular bulb uses; I’d be a lot more interested in how much energy all the lights in my house are using.

  3. Unrelated to Sense; those that have Hue lights how happy are you with them? I’m wanting to pair them with motion sensors so that if my toddler (or myself/wife for that matter) get out of bed in the middle of the night, the bulbs will come on in a red color at a low brightness. Setting up some basic automations like this is my main motivation for adding smart lighting.

I would highly recommend you look closely at the actual light from the Hue bulbs (of various flavors) and see whether you like the light quality. Getting a test kit is possibly the way to go. @RyanAtSense just linked to an Amazon deal here

but remember these are the color bulbs and not all bulbs are created equal. That said if you start with the colored ones and you can live with the light quality in “white” modes then you’ll be more than happy with the “white” ones if you add them. If you dislike the “white” modes on the color bulbs then you can tread more cautiously in your adoption but eventually use the colored bulbs for alerts and whatnot, which I find very useful. Toddler + red mode seems like a perfect match!

With the Hue app you add bulbs and you can then control (switch/dim) the individual bulbs from Sense without having to launch the Hue app. You cannot do color manipulations though from within Sense. There are many options but I think Sense has struck a good balance with keeping the interaction simple. Details about the integration here

As far as the processor hit on Sense from the “smart” interaction, Hue is not like a smartplug in that Sense is not pulling a constant energy use datastream from Hue so it does not have the same impact on the Sense processor. It (periodically) has some impact but it’s minor compared to the smartplug load and not part of the “20 max”. Hue accounts for the energy load of bulbs and it’s quantified over time and this data is used by Sense as @kevin1 details here

A Hue bridge is limited to 50 bulbs and we can (currently) only integrate with a single Hue bridge. Expanding beyond this has not been prioritized as I can only think of one user who has expressed a need for additional bridge integration.

I use Hue in my home, and did so before our integration. They’ll show in the Sense app exactly as you have them set up in the Hue app. So, they can be grouped as one room or broken out as individual bulbs. For instance, I have a ceiling fan with four bulbs in my living room. I just have this combined as ‘Living Room Lights’ in both Hue and thus Sense. If I wanted to, I could have this broken out into four bulbs. This, however, does mean that I can’t control them individually in Sense. You are able to do that in the Hue app, regardless of how they’re grouped. I’ve never really run into issues with this.

Generally, I’ve had no issues. I have a couple motion sensors and they seem to work great, as well as some time-dependent automations. The only thing I don’t like is that they’re a bit more costly than some other smart lights (namely, the cheaper clones that you can easily find on Amazon). Still, they last forever and I feel a bit more comfortable buying from Phillips rather than an unknown Amazon brand.

Hope that helps!

Would be nice if there was wider integration, I am checking out the Wyze bulbs, no hub required.

A hub is probably needed since even smart bulbs don’t measure their power usage. It’s supplied by a carefully calibrated calculation from the manufacturer (if the manufacturer is Philips)

Can you go the opposite direction? I don’t really care how much energy “Master bathroom lights” vs “Guest bathroom lights” use. I would just care about “lights” and would want to see that percent in the usage tab without totaling up each individual room.

Can lights be in more than 1 group in the Hue app? So could I create a “Home” group that includes all the lights (and then add only this “room” into Sense), but then setup separate groups that make sense from a physical location perspective so I can create scenes and automations for certain rooms?

Via Hue (there may be some third party apps that allow exceptions), a light can only be in one group and you cannot select what groups get added to Sense. All of them will sync with Sense. Thus, while you could group all of your lights into one “Home” room, and see the draw of that room in Sense, that would be a pretty clunky experience and would totally mess up any control/automation aspects that you get in Hue.

In my experience, having it broken out into rooms in Sense (I hardly use the Hue app anymore, unless I need to change color) is ideal. Above that and it wouldn’t be granular enough to take action. Keep in mind that you can also control via the Sense app. I wouldn’t find it altogether useful to know that all of my lights are drawing 108W. Rather, I want to know if I accidentally left the bedroom light on when I go to work so I can shut off remotely or set an automation in Hue to do it for me.

Oh, that’s a use case I hadn’t considered. I don’t really care about controlling the lights through the Sense app (or the Hue app really) because I am planning on automating it all through my Hubitat hub.

I started with Hue as my first Smart devices. Great products and work as they should. I’ve since moved to HomeSeer as my automation hub and have added a number of Z-Wave switches and plugs. I also have a Philips Hue plugin added to HomeSeer to automate them as well. Anything we want color we do Hue and everything else is Z-Wave switches/dimmers or plugs. We’re happy with the setup. My only complaint with Hue is if someone turns off the lamp or switch.

My ugly solution. It’s always a little awkward to “train” our guests though: “Just yell to Alexa!” At least we have the bathroom on a motion sensor :grinning:

I’ve thought about doing this.

You can get zwave switches that let you disable the relay. Check out the Zooz Zen21. If I go with Hue this is what I’ll use. It basically is a scene controller that looks like a switch.

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Or get a 34¢ cover plate from Home Depot and some wire nuts and REMOVE the switch entirely. At our cabin we have a bunch of lights on motion detectors at the fixture so a guest 3D printed a few of these to keep those OUT of the know from turning the switches off: