Smart Home Lighting Guide – Advanced Lighting Tutorial (SmartThings, Hue, Z-Wave Lighting)

Smart Home Lighting Guide – Advanced Lighting Tutorial (SmartThings, Hue, Z-Wave Lighting)


What’s up guys it’s Chris Majestic with Majestechs. I get a lot of questions about lighting when you’re dealing with things like the smartthings hub where you want to deal with automation so today I’m going to try to cover some beginner intermediate and advanced lighting options so stay tuned So I’m going to start with a disclaimer that I am NOT an electrician I’m just giving you tips and advice but you can use this video as a general guide. Now as I mentioned in my Home Automation Guide and you can go back and watch that if you haven’t already that’s got a lot of good info in it especially about lighting but I did kind of touch on some options that you have when it comes to z-wave or even zigbee lighting. So when it comes to lighting you really have four major options and i’m going to rank these in order of difficulty so let’s get started with the easiest option and that’s going to be the connected bulbs these are really really simple to work with are you going to do is replace your light bulb with it pair it with your hub and then you’re just going to control it with the hub like using your phone or your voice if you have a Alexa with SmartThings or something like that however a major downside to using bulbs is that if somebody hits the light switch you’re going to lose power to your bulb and you can’t connect to it to control it now you in that situation that’s when you kind of have to be creative and maybe put like a lock on the switch or something like that or you just use a separate switch like maybe just a push-button you get from the store or you could just tell people in your house to not turn the light off but that’s a pretty basic setup very simple to understand and easy to use and speaking of bulbs, another popular option is Philips hue so if you’re interested in buying philips hue bulbs are going to need a Phillips hue bridge so the balls actually connect directly to the bridge they don’t connect directly to SmartThings or any other smart hub however smart hubs like SmartThings and Wink do connect to the philips hue bridge and unfortunately you’re still going to have the issue with the light switches if you turn your light switch off where the bulb is plugged in, you’re not going to be able to connect to the bulb but the big advantage to Phillips who is that you get a lot of different color options so you can set different moods and scenes and things like that with your bulbs so if you’re really interested in Phillips Hue it does work really well with the Smart Hub like smartthings the second option is just as easy which is to buy an actual plug-in module, which is just going to be an outlet that you’re gonna plug into your existing wall outlet. So in the case of lighting you’re just going to plug your lamp into it and they actually do sell dimmable modules that you can plug a lamp into that will actually dim the light using the outlet so moving on to some more intermediate options and that’s going to be wall switches so when it comes to z-wave wall switches you have a lot of different options with those because so many different companies make light switches you can have an on/off switch or you can have a z-wave dimmer it’s up to you the very first thing you need to consider is whether or not you have a neutral wire in the box and the neutral wire is usually going to be a white wire or bundle of wires in the back of the box and you need those because the switch is going to be powered on all the time now there are some z-wave switches out there that don’t require a neutral wire but i don’t really recommend it because most of them don’t work with LED bulbs and if you’re in that situation we don’t have a neutral wire and you can get kind of creative using some smart bulbs along with outlets so obviously when it comes to installing light switches you’re going to have to do an actual install so another thing to consider when you’re going to install these light switches is the amperage on the switch that you’re going to buy so you have to make sure that the load of your lights in the room where you’re putting this which is not going to exceed the amperage or the wattage of that switch so if you’re ready to do one of these installs if you’ve never done it before i’ll show you the tools that i use to get these done. The very first thing in one of the most important tools is going to be a voltage tester so the voltage tester is going to be used for two different things one is going to be able to tell you which wires are powered and the other thing is gonna be used for is to keep you from being shocked so when you turn the power off you can test the wires to make sure there’s no voltage running through so you don’t actually get shocked or worse even killed you’re also going to need a flathead screwdriver phillips screwdriver I’m a small flat-head screwdriver which would be used to remove existing wires out of the back of a switch if you need to. Wire nuts, some extra wire, pliers, wire strippers, painters tape, a new wall plate if you need one and a voltmeter another thing to keep in mind if you’re going to be replacing a switch with a Z-wave switch is making sure that you’re not putting a dimmer on a ceiling fan. So there are a lot of situations where you have a dual gang box. One switch controls a light and the other switch controls the fan motor. You definitely want to make sure that the switch you’re buying for the fan is an on/off switch you will destroy the motor if you try to use in dimming switch on it. So the very first situation i want to cover when replacing switches is going to be a single-pole switch installation and that just simply means that you have a very basic light switch that’s just controlling a set of lights or a single light in that case you don’t have two or more light switches that are controlling that light there’s only one light switch now if you do have two or three light switches that are controlling that source that’s going to be a 3-way or 4-way situation and i’ll get to that a little bit later so the very first thing you want to do is shut your power off go ahead and pull the switch out so you can get access to the wires and then you want to determine which wires are what so the two wires that are kind of difficult to distinguish when you’re doing this for the first time is the line and the load wires and the load wires basically going to be the wire that’s going to the light and the line wire is going to be also known as the hot wire or the wire that’s hot whenever the switch has power so that’s not going to be a switched wire it’s just always going to be hot at all times so once you pull the wall switch out you can turn the power back on and very very carefully because you’re dealing with live wires very carefully test to see which wires are on and which wires are off when you flip the switch so when the switch is off you’ll have one wire that’s going to be hot that should be your line wire and when you flip the switch on you’ll see that both wires or hot the wire that’s which is going to be your load wire so that’s the wire that’s going to the light so that’s how you determine which one is which. The other wire you’re going to need is the neutral wire as i mentioned which is going to be a bundle of wires in the back of your box and then the last wire you need is the ground wire which is usually just going to be connected with a bare copper wire onto your existing switch already so you’re just going to move these wires over to your new switch another option you have when you’re doing a single-pole installation is a microswitch now these are a little bit more difficult to understand because it’s not as straightforward as wiring up a regular light switch but a microswitch is basically going to sit in between the load coming from the switch that you have there and going to the light so with a microswitch is going to share the hot wire that the switch is already using so in that case you’ll likely need to add an additional wire so that the line is being shared by the original switch and the microswitch you’re also going to add a neutral wire that’s going to wire to the existing neutral wires that you have in there then you’re going to take the load wire that’s going to your existing switch move that over to the microswitch and then on the microswitch you’ll have an aux wire that aux wire is going to replace where the load wire was on the original switch so this is a pretty basic setup for the most part once you get a grasp of how it works so micro switches are going to work really well if you just want to keep your existing wall plate and you don’t want to actually change the look of anything alright so now onto some advanced lighting now advanced lighting is going to consist of 3-way and 4-way lighting situations. So as I mentioned earlier that’s gonna be when you have two or three light switches that are controlling one light if you have like four light switches or more it’s going to pretty much be the same situation as far as wiring goes for the most part now 3 & 4 Way lighting is always difficult for people to understand and that’s just because there are several different ways that you can wire 3-way switch so I’m actually going to cover two of the most common ways that it’s done so of yours is different hopefully it wouldn’t be that much different it will give you a general understanding of how it works and the first thing you need to keep in mind when you’re going to wire up a switch into a 3-way situation is that any z-wave switch is going to require line, neutral, and load to all be in the same box now unfortunately most of the 3-way setups that i see do not have all three of these wires in one box but there are ways around it now you may get lucky if you have a two-gang box and that’s because usually a two-gang box are going to find a line wire because the other switch that’s in the box with that switch is probably getting line so you can use that line to power the microswitch so let’s start with one of the most common 3-way setups so you’re going to have line neutral and ground coming into box 1 and then you’re going to have two traveler wires which are going to be connected to switch 2 so you’re going to have a total of five wires there so on the other end you have the 2 traveler wires coming from switch 1. You’re going to have your load which is connected to the light you’re going to have you’re neutral in the back of the box and your ground wire is going to be connected to that switch as well now in this situation notice the line and the load are in two different boxes now the easiest way to tackle this situation is going to be to buy a regular z-wave switch and to buy an accessory z-wave switch so in this situation switch 1 is where you’re going to wire the accessory switch so the way that an accessory switch works if you haven’t already seen the home automation guide is that it doesn’t actually carry a load, you’re just giving it power so what you’re going to do in box 1 is disconnected all the wires from the existing switch that you have there you’re going to take the line wire and the red traveler wire that’s going to switch 2 and tie those together with a wire nut you’re going to take the black wire that’s going between both switches and cap it off on both ends because we’re not going to use it then you’re gonna take your accessory switch, wire that into the neutral also wire that into the line wire and then wire it into the ground wire as well now you can go to box 2 and box 2 is where you’re wiring the regular z-wave switch which is going to require four wires so on box 2 your going to take the red wire that’s going to be your line wire so you’re going to connect that to line on the new z-wave switch you’re going to take the black wire if you haven’t already go ahead and cap that off you’re going to take the load wire that’s coming from the light connect that to your load that you’re gonna take the neutral wire connect that and also connect a ground wire so once you have everything all wired up you can turn the power back on and you’re going to test to make sure that turning the light switch ON switch 2 is actually turning the light on and off and then you can also take this time to pair both of the switches with your hub once both of the switches are added you have two different options when it comes to linking these switches together one option is to use a minimote it’s made by Aeon Labs that’s the most common way to do this and the process for linking them together is really really simple you’re just gonna hit the button on the remote that’s going to link these devices together and you’re going to go to the regular easy way switch double tap that then go to the accessory switch and Double Tap that once you do that that’s done they’re going to be associated with each other so that way they’re linked up together so that when one switch is off the other one knows that it’s off and vice versa and if your regular switch is a dimmer you and actually use the accessory switch to dim the other light as well so they link up perfectly together this way the other alternative if you don’t have a minimote or you just need to get something up and running in the meantime is to actually let smartthings do the association for you and it’s not going to do a z-wave association but the way it works is you can simply just go into smart lighting and that’s going to allow you to just go into the app and say hey when I turn the accessory switch on, turn the main switch on as well as turning it off and that’s gonna associate both of them together that way when one’s off the other is off vice versa however there’s no way to get the accessory switch to actually dim the other switch if it’s a dimmer but it does work fairly well letting smartthings do it for you know there’s gonna be a slightly longer delay because you’re actually letting the hub do it so it’s got to talk to the hub and the hub has to tell it what to do is not going to be as fast as a direct z-wave association so that was a very first scenario when it comes to 3-way lighting which is one of the most common now that is probably the worst type of situation that you can be in just because you don’t have all three wires that you need in the same box but using z way switch along with an accessory or what is also known as an add-on switch is the best way to do it and the second situation that I want to talk about is when you actually do have line wires in both boxes so that means in one box you have line load and neutral and in the other box you have line and neutral because you don’t need load in both boxes if that’s the case you can actually use a microswitch in this situation so the way that you’re going to wire the microswitch here is very similar to the way that you are into a single pole light switch now once you know which side has the load you can go ahead and close up the other side because we’re not going to use it we’re going to actually leave the traveler wires and everything in place like they are the only thing we’re going to do in the box where the switch is it has the load is simply connect it just like we connected it to a single pole light switch so all you’re going to do is run a wire for line to your microswitch run your wire for your neutral and then you’re going to take the load wire off of the existing 3-way and connect that into the load terminal on your micro switch and then you’re going to take the aux wire and run at to where the load wire was on the original 3-way switch now you need to follow the directions that you have for your micro switch to ensure that you’re actually wiring that wire into the right terminal because it may be different from some microswitches especially one like a Aeon Labs you definitely want to double-check your wiring. Now in Scenario 2 you can still use a regular z way switch and an accessory switch is going to work the exact same way now GE does sell an add-on switch where you can actually use the traveler wires I’ve never actually done this just because I prefer having it be done wireless to Z Wave just using a regular accessory switch and having that switch pair to the other switch now these companies do make double microswitches which is basically a micro switch that allows you to control two separate loads with one switch so in that case you’re really just gonna wire it up the same way the only difference is that you’re going to have two aux wires and two load wires so you just have to make sure that they’re hooked up the right way and that will work just fine now we’re using some of these different light switches and these other devices like micro switches and things like that the actual device type does not work well natively with smartthings if you’re using smartthings however there are a lot of cool people on the forums that have actually created device types for these switches to allow them to work properly now we’ll do a separate video on how you add a custom device type and how you use virtual switches to control a double switch or how you just simply control a microswitch so stay tuned for that video Alright guys is going to be it for this video thanks for watching if you made it this far I appreciate it i know it was a long video go ahead and hit that thumbs up button for me if you found it helpful post your comments and your questions in the comments section as always I’ll respond to your questions and i’ll see you guys in the next video


41 thoughts on “Smart Home Lighting Guide – Advanced Lighting Tutorial (SmartThings, Hue, Z-Wave Lighting)

  1. Nice video. It will be really helpful for beginners who are just a little scared about getting into the electrical side of things. Once they do it a couple times they will see it isn't all that hard.

  2. Dude I know how to wire all the stuff, and the animations should make a novice feel more confident. Some people will still not touch 110vac. But good stuff. I am start to get into the smartthings app. Do you know if you can setup a light to let's say trigger on a button then stay on a a certain time period for example 1hr? So light a timer switch?? I didn't see an option. Also when you turn on a light with a sch3:

  3. Sorry hit send instead of back. When you make a schedule routine for a light on, you have to make another schedule to turn it off? You can't make one routine with two times an two states?? Unless I am not seeing it.

  4. thanks for the video. I didn't even know about the micro switches. the 2 pole micro switches seem like the best deal if you have 2 sets of lights in one box. if I wanted to go with a micro switch does it matter at all if I have 2 switches in the room that control the same lights?

  5. Hey Majestech, can you please advise what's a good smart replacement for a skylinkhome sk-7 3way switch that would work with a smarthings?

    Thanks man

  6. I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks for taking the time to make all the great videos about all this tech. It's really great.

  7. my hallway lights turn on from three diffrent switches in my house how would i connect them to a z wave switch

  8. I own 6 Lifx bulbs. They change color and everything. They don't need a hub at all. You should check those out

  9. Confused… sorry I only have one room set up so far. It is my laundry room and it is a 3-way. HOWEVER I didn't have to use a minimote for pairing etc. I just installed the main switch and then the second accessory switch. Why did I not need to do everything you suggested? Pairing etc.?

  10. Thanks for taking on the difficult job of explaining 3-way wiring. You did an exemplary job and deserve a medal!

  11. A doubt, can I use just philips hue with Google home ?
    I mean, control lights ( on Philips Hue), without a smarthub ( like smartThing from Samsung), through voice command ( Google Home) ?
    Thanks for all tips 😉

  12. Sir, your videos are awesome! You explain stuff so that anyone can understand and you are super knowledgeable!

  13. Hey, Majestechs. I'm not sure if you have made a video that demonstrates how you could have your lights come on when you got within a certain distance from home? Proximity, rather than a sensor, via your cell phone location? This is something I'm very interested in. Is that something you have had any experience of so far in your home automation experiments? Thanks

  14. I have seen a number of YouTube presentations on this subject, but yours is the clearest explanation that I have seen. I have installed a Phillips Hue Hub and am controlling a number of Hue bulbs directly from my Google Home Assistant by voice. What I wish to accomplish is to control (ON and OFF) are two LED (fluorescent replacement) fixtures in my kitchen. After watching your video, it appears that two Z-Wave switches should do the trick. Thanks,

  15. I think that I spoke too soon. After watching several more of your videos, in one place you said that Zwave switches would not work with LEDs. My only objective is to be able to control my Fluorescent fixtures in the kitchen by Google voice. Please tell me if this is not feasible or if it would involve too many complications – and I shall just forget controlling the kitchen lights.

  16. Another great video of yours that i've stumbled upon. Question: Going to be purchasing all smart lights and I'd like to control them through Alexa. Should I sync them directly through Alexa or through smartthings. Correct me if i'm wrong, but seems like there'd be added delay if I connected through smartthings. Your thoughts?

  17. Maybe you might know. I have an issue with my kid turning the lights on. It's a standard lamp. What I really want to do is make it so at night if he tried to turn his lights on, hall lights on switches they won't turn on bright very low then after a specific time say 8am they would turn on full power if u flip the switch. Our Hall lights are wall switches his room is just a standard lamp. This way the light won't be too bright and he stays up. Normally he wakes go and goes to the bathroom turns on the lights and then stays up because his room is so bright.

  18. Will you post a video about how to make wall switches compatible with ST? ( I was assuming entire time that ST will natively see these devices). Are there any wall switches that are compatible with ST out of the box?

  19. What is the difference between having a ST outlet and a smart outlet compatible with Alexa? Since I have the echo dot, couldn’t I just use an outlet that is compatible with Alexa instead of using ST outlet?

  20. When you add home automation to most plans with security companies they jack up your monitoring price but I was surprised when I was quoted $35 by Armorax for smartphone app control, professional monitoring AND home automation. I’m able to control my lights, door locks, thermostat and garage door!

  21. 3-way question: How could I tell which outlet is master? I tested with meter, as follows:
    Box 1(2gang): has 2 hot wires & 1 load.

    Box 2(single box): has 1 hot wire & 2 loads.

    I have no idea which is traveler

  22. Hey.. question.. can a aeotec motion control a 3rd party outlet.. the app that controls the outlet is smart life.. i wanted to control that receptical with the aeon motion… thanks… oh yeah.. great educational video you are putting up.. keep up the great work..

  23. This was EXTREMELY Helpful. Directly to the point. Informative. Exactly what I was looking for after hours of searching. Thank you so much! Subscribed and Liked.

  24. Awesome video Chris, I do have a question though. I am installing new outdoor lighting. A post lamp, lamps on either side of my garage door and a lamp next to my side garage door. I initially wanted to use a photocell on the post light at the end of the driveway but then thought it would be cool to integrate it with my smart things hub. Everything I have seen consists of using a light switch and a relay. Is there any way to avoid having to install a light switch first? Can a relay just be inline without a switch?

  25. Do you know of any in-wall switch that could control devices on my Smartthings hub? Instead of sticking a battery powered button on the wall, I want something that looks like an actual light switch. One that doesn't physically power a light, but sends a signal to my Smartthings hub to turn on/off my Lifx lights. This way, my lights would always have power, but would be turned on'/off through Smartthings.
    Thanks in Advance

  26. I love it.⇒ t.co/La6FS72YNo   It literally took me 10 minuted to set up. My old wink was temperamental, and lost connection regularly. This one works better than expected.

  27. Maj. Have the instructions to the 3-way Z-Wave switch changed since this vid? The descriptions on 7:45 and beyond seem a bit different now? Maybe technology has made improvements ? My main point I’m unclear is where does the add on switch go now.

  28. I see this video is quite old but if anybody could help I would both do grateful. Me and a friend are desperatly looking for a wall switch with no neutral as mentioned briefly above. Here in England our lighting system does not use a neutral in the switch circuits. If anybody could be able to point us in the right direction we would be very grateful? Many thanks.

  29. Any suggestions for replacing a 4-gang set of simple switches with smart switches? Smart switches can be bulky.

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