Using IKEA Tradfri remote or dimmer with Hue

There are a number of articles around the web about how to use the (cheaper) IKEA Tradfri bulbs with the Philips Hue hub after a firmware update. However, after doing this they will no longer be controllable by any Tradfri equipment. I have not come across anybody who has been able to use Tradfri remotes and dimmers with the Hue hub (or any lights paired with it). I have however discovered that it is possible to use an IKEA Tradfri remote or dimmer with the Hue system. This means you can use the cheap and well-designed Tradfri steering devices at the same time as the Hue app, motions sensors etc.

Step 1 - pair the Tradfri remote/dimmer with the Hue network

In this step, you must reset the remote, and then pair to the Hue hub via TouchLink. This joins the remote to the Hue's ZigBee network. There are a few different ways to do a a TouchLink search, which is not the same as a regular search. You can use the Hue Lights iOS app, Hue and Me Android appLampFinder Mac/PC/Linux app, or Hue Developers' API (the method I used).

Here's what you need to do in this step:

  1. Reset the remote or dimmer by pressing the pair button 4 times quickly.
  2. Wait 10 seconds.
  3. Hold the remote directly next to the Hue hub (as close as possible).
  4. Hold the pair button.
  5. Immediately initiate a TouchLink search.

The light (on the front for Tradfri remote and next to the button for a Tradfri dimmer) will glow a steady red, then turn out after a couple of seconds when paired. If it doesn't go out repeat steps 4-5.

If you have trouble, check that the TouchLink is not finding other ZigBee devices further away (e.g. bulbs - they will flash). During my many attempts to get this working I found that the Hue hub always preferred to steal a lamp further away (even ones registered on the Tradfri gateway) than register my remotes, but am not sure if this is because I wasn't timing the button presses properly.

Step 2 - pair the Tradfri remote/dimmer with the lights

Note that this works with any lights that are already connected to the Hue hub - I have done it with both Hue bulbs and Tradfri bulbs.

  1. Turn on the bulb at the mains.
  2. Position the remote immediately next to the bulb.
  3. Hold the pair button on the remote. The red light will come on and the bulb will start flashing.
  4. Keep the remote next to the bulb until it stops flashing, then release the button.

Repeat this process for any more lights you want the remote to control.

Success!

Check that you can control the bulb using the Hue app, and with the dimmer/remote. By comparison, here are a couple of examples of how mine are set up:

  • Two warm white Hue bulbs in the hallway, controlled by the app, Hue schedules, Hue motion sensor and a Tradfri dimmer
  • White spectrum Tradfri bulb in the bedroom, controlled by the app and a Tradfri remote. The remote supports on/off, brighten/dim, and colour temperature cycling.

Caveats

It's important to understand that the IKEA remotes work differently from Hue remotes. Hue remotes send their commands to the hub, and the hub then instructs the bulbs to take certain actions. This means the remotes can be configured to take more complex actions, a feature that 3rd party apps make good use of to allow different scenes to be programmed for 1st, 2nd, 3rd button presses etc. By contrast, the Tradfri remotes communicate directly with one or more bulbs (albeit whilst remaining part of the Hue ZigBee network). This means:

  • The buttons are not configurable - they work exactly like they work in the Tradfri system.
  • The remotes are not visible in the Hue app or any 3rd party apps.
  • The remotes do not take up any space on the Hub.

Update 2017-11-05: Unfortunately it appears with Tradfri RGBW bulbs, the remote will only control on/off and brightness; the side buttons do not cycle colours. I have put mine (bulb firmware 1.3.002) back on the Tradfri gateway.

Lutron and Osram systems

I expect this also works with the Lutron Connected Bulb Remote (though I don't have one) and Osram Lightify/Smart+ switches. I have successfully paired the Lightify four-button switch, but it is not very useful because I have not foound a way to configure the buttons to do sensible things - pairing it to the hub makes the top-left and bottom-left buttons turn ALL lights on and off respectively. I have yet to try applying the logic above to this switch; it may work but if I remember correctly, the switch only goes into pairing mode after it is reset (which wouldn't work). I don't know about the other Lightify/Smart+ switches.

Comments

I would say no. If the touchlink stays on for a few seconds and then goes out by itself when still holding it, then this should indicate it has joined the zigbee network.

It's quite hard to tell sometimes though, especially as I find that the button is sometimes hard to keep depressed when holding it at a funny angle trying to see the LED, so sometimes I think it's worked but it hasn't. Trial and error I'm afraid!

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