Hueblog: The Philips Hue Wall Switch Module is now available

The Philips Hue Wall Switch Module is now available

This is my first impression

It was announced in mid-January, now the time has finally come: The new Philips Hue wall switch module can finally be ordered in Europe. At the start, it will be offered exclusively in the Philips Hue online shop for three months, after which other retailers will also be able to start selling it. I have already been able to try out the new accessory today and would like to give you my first impressions.

This problem is solved by the Philips Hue Wall Switch Module

Who does not know it? Guests, children or someone who is not familiar with the Hue system in the house has once again flicked the light switch and cut the power to the smart ceiling lights. Even Philips Hue is then no longer smart at all, no longer accessible via app or voice assistant.


The Philips Hue wall switch module aims to solve precisely this problem and also expand the range of functions of a classic light switch. Important: In contrast to “normal” ZigBee modules, no dumb lamp is made smart, but a dumb light switch is pimped.

Installation is as simple as this

Important first: If you are unsure about installing the Philips Hue wall switch module, you should ask someone with expertise for help. For rooms with only one light switch, however, the installation should not be a big challenge. In theory, it is quite simple anyway: The two cables leading to the classic light switch are connected with the supplied clamp. The lamp on the ceiling, which should be equipped with Hue technology, is then permanently supplied with power.

The compactly designed wall switch module is connected to the light switch with a thin cable and then forwards the commands of the light switch to the Hue Bridge, which controls the lamps.

Either one or two light switches or one light switch with two rockers can be connected to a module. Alternatively, one or two switches can also be connected – then you can not only control scenes, but also dim the selected lamps.

Why the button cell is not a problem

After the presentation of the wall switch module, there was a lot of discussion about the manufacturer’s decision to use a button cell to power the accessory. I can’t really share the criticism of this. After all, this way the module can also be used if there is no neutral conductor in the in-wall box leading to the light switch. In addition, the module could be kept particularly compact and the installation simplified.

Of course, the story also has a disadvantage: the button cell must be replaced at some point. But that should only be the case after five years at the earliest. In addition, you will receive an early warning in the Hue app when the battery level falls below a certain level.

This is how the scenes are controlled with the converted light switch

After installation and pairing with the Hue Bridge, the Hue Wall Switch Module can control one or more rooms or zones and also individual lamps. In simple mode, the light is only switched on and off; the scene cycle offers more options.

You have the option of activating three scenes with the wall switch module. The first press of the light switch activates the first scene. To activate the second scene, press the light switch three times (On-Off-On). The third scene is activated in the same way (On-Off-On-Off-On). Whether you press the light switch in a flash or take one or two seconds each time is irrelevant. If several seconds pass without any further input, the next press on the light switch switches the light off again.

Since the light sources installed on the ceiling in particular are permanently supplied with power, they can of course not only be controlled with the wall switch module, but also with other accessory products, by app or by voice command. Lamps that are no longer accessible are thus a thing of the past.

Soon even more options thanks to third-party apps?

As far as I know, the developers of iConnectHue and Hue Essentials are unsurprisingly busy with the new accessories. I would already have a few items on the wish list. It would be practical, for example, if you didn’t always have to switch off the light to switch through the scene. The second scene could then be activated with two instead of three presses and the third scene with three instead of five presses.

What I am also missing: a time-based control. At night, for example, I would like to activate a different scene in the bathroom with the first press of the switch than during the day.

There are currently no alternatives for the Philips Hue wall switch module.

The well-known ZigBee modules that have been on the market so far work completely differently: they are connected to the circuit of the non-smart ceiling lighting and serve as a simple on/off switch. Accordingly, they are not an alternative. With a Shelly and the necessary programming knowledge, you could certainly achieve similar functionality, but for me this is not a solution for the normal end user.

The closest thing to the wall switch module is certainly a Friends of Hue switch. At the end of the day, however, these not only have a different functionality, but also feel completely different and are nowhere near as intuitive to operate. Furthermore, Friends of Hue switches are still not available in every look.

Due to the uniqueness of the product, the price of 39.99 euros for a single module and 69.99 euros for a double pack is absolutely fine, especially when you consider that you can connect two switches per module. You can buy it on your local philips-hue.com.


In den letzten Jahren habe ich mich zu einem echten Experten in Sachen Hue & HomeKit entwickelt. Mittlerweile habe ich über 50 Lampen und zahlreiche Schalter im Einsatz. In meinem kleinen Blog teile ich meine Erfahrungen gerne mit euch.

Comments 33 replies

  1. Hey Fabian, thank you for the video. Can you confirm that the module also works with push button (retractive) type switches? Are there any additional behaviours with push buttons, such as “hold to dim”?

  2. Thanks Fabian, I was surprised that this capability is not mentioned on the product page on the Hue website. Perhaps it is in the manual (absent from the site it seems). I want to put together some new switches based on MK grid retractive rockers so that I can finally have a functional Hue light control that matches UK switch form factor – Hue dimmers and FoH all too small. Unfortunately they sold out pretty quickly so I’m waiting for them to restock!

    1. I think they did not start selling it yet. They always need a few hours or maybe days until you can order it. Don’t know what they are doing, was the same in January with the other new stuff.

  3. Hi, one question: the hue bulbs has a function that in case the bridge fai (or router fail) I can flip the wall switch on/off 3 times to have the bulbs on at 100%. What about with these wall switches in case the hue hub fail or disconnected?

    1. When the Hue Bridge has a fail, you have a problem. Only chance then is to take out the fuse.

    2. Thank you. So the best is to leave at last one switch wired so you can cut off the power in case of emergency.

  4. I don’t agree that the closest thing to this module is a Friends of Hue switch, and that there is nothing which is as intuitive.

    A good alternative is an in-wall Zigbee module to make a dumb light switch smart. A Zigbee in-wall module can be added to the Hue Bridge, so that you can operate a “dumb” light both via the Hue app and the regular switch.

    Big advantage: no vendor lock in. In-wall zigbee modules work with a lot of bridge types (including Hue), and the lamp can stay “dumb”, so you can use any light bulb instead of Hue only.
    Disadvantage for some people: no native Homekit support (only via Homebridge).

    Only scenario, besides needing native Homekit support, where I can imagine you want to use the Hue module instead, is if you want to change colors (need a smart bulb for that) or want to change scenes from the existing switch.

    Also, the installation process of an in-wall zigbee module behind an existing switch is exactly the same as that of the Hue module in terms of complexity.

    I understand that these approaches (Hue module versus Zigbee relay module) are different, but I don’t think you can say one is more intuitive than the other.

    1. You can’t compare a ZigBee Module with the Wall Switch Module, only because they are both easy to use. Because they work completely different, as you already mentioned.

      Sure, they both switching the lights on. But that’s the only thing they have in common.

      For example: With the wall switch module you can also control smart lights which are not connected to the ceiling. And of course the multiple scenes you have.

  5. >Sure, they both switching the lights on. But that’s the only thing they have in common.

    Uh, yeah, and switching the lights on is kind of the core functionality people are looking for in a switch. 🙂
    That’s quite a major thing to have in common!
    So I don’t see why you can’t draw comparisons between the two, regardless of the fact that there are also differences obviously.

    It’s about comparing two technically different approaches to the same thing: switching and/or dimming a light from a physical switch.

    If you want more than that, like connecting to multiple lights, the Hue module might be an option.

    1. Very few territories have it listed as in stock and that’s been true for the UK from early this morning. Germany store does however have it listed as ‘in stock’.

    2. Ok, thanks thought everything was sold out in just a few hours. Then maybe they will be in stock in sweden

    3. Good to know. Also in the Netherlands. Unfortunately not in Germany. Don’t know what they are doing…

  6. Fabian, in all of my inpatience and curiousity, do you have any idea if this would work with a two button push switch? Like have it turn on/off the light with a left button click and switch between scenes with a right button click?

    1. If switches or push buttons are exposed in HomeKit, you could do that by using shortcuts.

      BR!

  7. Hello Fabian and thanks for the info.

    I am not able to find the product at Spanish website of Philips Hue but I’ll keep trying 🙂 Do you know in which section of philips-hue.com this product should appear? I want to buy a couple to test. I am currently using Shelly but I agree with you that Shelly and custom firmwares are not for every one.

    And also I’m glad that finally the switch is exposed into HomeKit, at least as a “push” button. This will let you to create several shortcuts also controlling HomePods or other devices on the same room.

    One question I have, I currently have 43 Hue devices at home, I remember that the bridge supports 50 devices. Does this device count as another one? Do you know what happens when you reach the limit? I mean, would I be able to have a secondary bridge at the same home to expand the number of hue devices?

    Thanks!

    BR

    1. And one more question!

      I assume this is not for everyone, but you could install one of these modules in the distribution box of the room (I don’t know if that’s the correct name in English). So if you have two or three switches in the same room, you can plug the cable that enters the circuit and the one that leaves the circuit to this wall switch and you will be able to have the whole room (three switches) with just one wall adapter.

      Thats amazing! Even you could use one for two rooms if you can route the cables accordingly.

      I assume that the product has been deployed to install one on each switch, but installing them this way will cost more money.

      I want to buy a couple and start testing 🙂 I hope they will become available soon here in Spain!

      Thanks!

      BR.

    2. yeah! I know that it is not connected to the 230v 🙂

      when I said “circuit” I mean the circuit formed by the three switches in a multiway connection. Something like the circuits explained here:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiway_switching

      If you use the clamp to pass 230v always to the light in the registry box that is usually installed in the room, you could take both cables coming and going from the switches circuit and plug them into the hue wall adapter. So using just one, you will cover the whole circuit.

      I am sorry if I am not explaining it correctly, English is not my mother tongue and maybe I can’t explain correctly what I want to say 🙂

      I will try to draw it and link an image during the weekend!

    3. Hey Fabian,

      this is what I mean:

      https://i.ibb.co/wQvqSgx/Hue-Wall.jpg

      If you install the wall switch in the switches circuit you could have one complete room with just one wall switch. Even if you run cables to a central place, you could have two rooms for 39,90€, or 35€ if you buy the two-pack 🙂

      Instead of spending 39,90€x3 to have one wall switch on each switch.

      I hope this is clear with this image 🙂 I think it is doable and I hope I can buy one soon to try it!!!

      BR!

  8. How do you think these modules will fair from a radio perspective when enclosed in metal back boxes? In the UK these are quite common in solid walls, and some switch grid systems also use metal fascia frame, effectively creating a six faced metal enclosure. I’m pondering if this would make if challenging for the module to send/receive?

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