The world has been waiting a long time for an echo friendly, no battery, smart light controller, that can wireless turn on or off all your Philips Hue lights. This little clicker is called the Philips Hue Tap Switch. We decided to grab one to test out its full range of functions and see if all the hype is correct. Read on for our full review.
Philips Hue Tap Switch Review
The stand out feature of this little switch is that it has no internal battery. This is because it operates using kinetic energy. Basically how it works is a magnetic core that moves between a coil of copper wire. This in-turn creates an electrical circuit which can be stored for a short period of time to send a signal to the Philips Hue Bridge which is the controller or brains of the Hue lighting network.
The Hue Tap has 4 click buttons. Each has a dot as shown above, and can be programmed with the Philips Hue App to do various functions. From the factory it comes pre-programmed with
- Tap Button No.1 turns all the lights off.
- Button No.2 is a nice evening sun down yellow light.
- Switch No.3 is a bright midday white light
- Button No.4 is an outdoor daylight blue color.
These can be changed to any of 16 million colors and brightness levels if using the RGB Gen 3 Hue Color Globes. It’s a great way to get started in the Hue ecosystem with a cheap starter kit.
Hue Tap Features
- Hue tap programmable light switch, Controls Hue lights, lamps, blooms and lightstrips. No batteries needed, No wires required.
- Use freestanding or have it wall mounted, Frequency band 2400–2483.5MHz
- Maximum of 25 hue taps per bridge, as well as the included 50 lights per bridge system. So you could have 75 Hue items.
- Range of the Hue Tap is around 15 – 30m
- 4 configurable buttons, with an amazing 50,000 lifetime warranty clicks.
- Small and lightweight.
- Gives you four button options.
- No batteries ever. The entire face of the switch is a button and the 3 other buttons press in easy. to power the device.
- Satisfying “click” sound. When you press each button.
- Buttons can be mapped to any of the 16 million colors if using the Hue gen 3 globes. Or many different preset scenes and brightness levels.
- Comes with removable sticky 3m command strip and a screw in wall mounted plate to attach the Tap to the wall if required.
- Buttons do not have a “toggle” use (there is no “tap for ON, tap again for OFF”) Unless you use a 3rd party app.
- Occasionally does not work for light presses. Make sure you push in direct and hear a click.
- Locked to the Philips Hue ecosystem.
- Must use either a gen 1 or Gen 2 Philips Hue Bridge
|Item Weight||0.3 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||3 x 3 x 0.9 inches|
|Assembled Height||0.95 inches|
|Assembled Length||2.95 inches|
|Assembled Width||2.95 inches|
Whats Inside the Philips Hue Tap Teardown
This is where the magic happens, Kinetic energy at its finest. A manual push action to an electrical wireless signal using ZigBee technology. To get the top cover off you will need a small screw driver to un-clip the 2 push clips in. the top cover will then pop off. It’s a little fiddley, so work at it slowly. The internal wireless module and toggle switch can then be removed.
As you can see below we have done a teardown and taken apart the hue tap module to see the circuit board. Underneath the circuit is the mechanical kinetic generator.
These Zigbee Tap modules seem to be manufactured by EnOcean Modules
These modules seem to be a PTM 215ZE which enables the user to push a button to activate a switch based on the 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.15.4 radio standard. PTM 215ZE is compatible with the PTM 21x form factor, which is used but a range of other switches. Some uses are wall-mounted or portable switches either with up to two rockers or up to four push buttons. After market rockers will be soon released to market.
The mechanical energy module of the ECO 200 is a power converter for linear motion. It can be used to power the PTM 535Z and the PTM 215ZE shown above. So a push down on the switch will rock a magnet within the coil to create a current flow which will power the Hue Tap circuit. Electricity is stored in capacitors for a short time.
The Hue Tap is the perfect solution for anyone who wants to control their home wireless lighting with greater control and ease of use. Its modern take on the simple wall switch but adds in smart, fun, satisfying colors of light in a world of painting with light.
Philips Hue Tap Vs Dimmer
The main difference of the Hue Tap vs Dimmer is that the Dimmer uses a battery to send the signal to your bridge. You can also use it without a bridge for up to 10 lights. Once you set up the scene associated with the Hue Dimmer Switch, if you want to change the scene, you need to do so in the app. Where as the tap can be set up for multiple scenes.
The Dimmer Switch is more of a simple solution that acts similar to a regular light switch with an integrated dimmer circuit.
- You can mount the Dimmer anywhere using adhesive strips or screws mounted on any wall; 4 Buttons: On/Off, Dim Up/Down.
- Use As Remote Control: Use the included magnet to attach to a wall, easy to remove and replace.
- Comfort Dimming: Pre set for low dimming of your lights works out of the box
- Keep on adding lights. You are able to extend your Hue lighting project by adding more Hue Lights to your Dimmer Switch. Or upgrade to a bridge for even more functions. With a Hue Bridge you can have Smartphone control, timers, alarms, motion sensors, and all the colors under the sun. 16 million to be exact.
Hue 3rd party Apps
There are some 3rd part apps that work very well to help set up the Hue Dimmer switch to act more like the Tap. One of these apps is called iConnecHue, so far its only for IOS apple devices. But it really open up the usefulness of the Hue Dimmer switch.
All4Hue is another Android app that has features to reprogram the Simmer Switch to do multiple actions on one button.
You are able to control multiple groups and lights with one button as shown above. Just add in another push button action and away you go. Your dimmer will cycle through each scene brightness and or color. Or if you hold say the on button for a certain time another action will happen. You only need to set it up once and then it will work they way you want. It’s good to see many more 3rd party apps starting to support extra features with the Philips Hue bulbs.
Check out the video on how to use All 4 Hue to set up a Dimmer Switch for a long press.
Hue Tap Double Click
As with the dimmer shown above you can set up double clicks with your Hue Tap. As we are an android family the one program I always to use is All4Hue. Using this 3rd party app I was able to set up some rules on my Hue Tap with logic, that cycles through scenes, toggles certain bulbs, etc for each button.
All 4 Hue allows the full control of up to 5 Hue Bridges. Use rules to program the Hue Tap, and Dimmer switches.
Hue Tap Not working? What to do.
If your Philips hue tap switch is not working you can try these simple steps.
- First make sure your Hue tap is added into you system and is seen by the bridge. Go to the hue app setting menu and select “switch setup”. follow the instructions on your smart phone or tablet.
- If one of the four buttons is stuck in, or pressed for a long time, this will cause the Hue tap to disconnect from the hue bridge system. You will have to make sure the button is not stuck in and then and reconnect to the bridge system. Dont worry you wont loose your settings. Go to the Hue app settings menu and select “Switch setup”. Press “+” and follow the onscreen instructions. The tap should reconnect again.
- If you want to change what button does what Go to the “Settings” menu and select “Switch setup”. Select the related tap if you have more than one, and select the button to see which setting it is programmed. Reprogram to your desired scene or setting.
- Try a different Zigbee channel. You may be getting interference from either a neighbour or another device. Go to settings in the app and select ”Hue Bridges” then press the ”i” behind the connected Bridge. Scroll down and select Zigbee. You can change the channels to see if that improves your Tap.
- Power cycle your bridge for 10 seconds. Then bring the Hue Tap to within a short-range of the bridge, about 2 meters should be fine. Open Hue app, go to Settings > Accessory setup > switches. Check that when you press a button on the tap, if the button icon briefly turns to another color for a moment. This should resolve the issue.
- Try a quick double-click Button 1 some users have reported that this fixed their unresponsive Hue Tap.
- To reset your tap try pressing button 2 for 10 seconds or if that doesnt work try button 3 for 10 seconds.
- Set your Hue Bridge to a static Ip address, this should help with dropouts.
For more information check out the Philips Hue Tap manual pdf
Lighting Hue Tap Switch for the Disabled
You can’t go wrong with the Philips Hue Tap switch for your whole house. Where it starts to shine is for the older generation, or the disabled in a wheel chair that have trouble getting to the light switches. Just have the tap next to the bed or on a wheel chair and they are good to go. My parents love using the Tap as it gives them a nice click when using it. They are not so good on smart devices like tablets and phones so they prefer the Tap.
For the Hue Tap to work, you must have power supplied to your Hue Bulbs at all times. This means that you will have to turn on the lights with the regular switches, and then use the Hue Tap to turn them all off. The Tap can now turn on all the lights and off again. We just tape the light switches in the on position with clear tape to stop people accidentally turning off the lights at the old switch.
Even though each Hue globe uses a very small amount of power in standby, we actually had our power bill go down due to the low efficient power rating of the Hue lights. We have used these Taps now for over 6 months, and we are very happy with them. We haven’t had any issues apart from the odd missed click when we are in a rush.