2 minutes

A pile of Philips Hue Dimmer SwitchesMy CC3521 Zigbee stick is doing a great job! So, I tried to connect every single Zigbee device in my house directly to the Zigbee integration, but failed miserably. It turned out that this stick can only handle about 20 devices at the same time. My 13 lights, 3 motion sensors, 5 smart switches, 2 door sensors and 1 temperature sensor were a little bit overwhelming for this CC3521 Zigbee stick. I discovered this limitation the hard way. … Yes, you may laugh at me. 😅

After I went through the process of shame of reconnecting everything to the good old Philips Hue bridge, I decided to keep the switches connected to my Zigbee stick for a faster response time. While I was busy fixing all my automations, I discovered something nice. When my dimmer switches were connected to the Hue bridge, I got 8 different types of button presses. Now, directly connected to the Zigbee integration, I got 16 possible button presses.

So, I went playing around with all the different options. At first, it was a bit confusing, since multiple options overlap each other. But I managed to recreate my old switch configuration, with a few improvements which I will tell you below.

The dimmer switch has 4 buttons. The actions for each button are the same. In the table below, I will compare the old situation to the new situation. I also describe what the different button presses mean.

Connected via Hue Bridge Connected via Zigbee stick Description of the button press
Release after short press Button released Triggers the automation when releasing the button after a short press
Release after long press Button released after long press Triggers the automation when releasing the button after a long press
Button continuously pressed Triggers the automation while press and holding the button before releasing it
Button pressed Triggers the automation as soon as the button is pressed before releasing it

Personally, I found the continuously press trigger very nice, since it will trigger the automation while pressing the button. With this new feature, I don’t have to guess how long a press and hold action has to be before releasing the button. No awkward long button presses for me any more!

The second nice thing is tricky, but when configured correctly, it will create a much more intuitive way to make use of the dimmer switch. For example, I can use the on button to turn on a nice light scene, but by press and hold the button, I can turn on that same light scene and add music to it. When configured incorrectly, my printer turned on when I activated my super quiet recording mode. 😉

For the light and music example, I used the following triggers:

  • On button released – As soon as I press the on button, the light scene will be activated.
  • On button continuously pressed – Music starts playing.

Now, as soon as I press the button, the lights turn on. If I hold the button after the lights turned on, music will start playing. So, the intensity of the scene depends on how long I’m pressing a single button. Isn’t that nice? Besides much more programmable buttons, it also means that I have to press less buttons to achieve the same result.