Philips Hue Issue – Older Bulbs Can’t Be Found by new Philips Hue Bridge

A typical Philips Hue personal wireless LED lighting setup consists of a Philips Hue bridge and one or more Philips Hue bulbs. The devices connect to each other via the ZigBee communication protocol and therefore should be backwards compatible.
Over the years there have been 3 generations of Philips Hue released:

  • Generation 1 (2012)
  • Generation 2 (2015)
  • Generation 3 (2016)

There are 2 variants of the Hue Bridge. The new version has a number of improvements such as support for Apple HomeKit.

Philips Hue Bridge 2.0

Philips Hue Bridge 2.0

If you own(ed) an original Hue Bridge and wish to install a new Hue Bridge you will likely wish to continue to use the older bulbs possibly with some additional new bulbs if you avail of one of the starter kits.
The old bulbs and new Hue Bridge are compatible however you may experience some issues when using standard methods to try to find the old bulbs from the new Hue Bridge.
Read on for more information on the standard methods then alternative method to detect and connect to the old bulbs.

Standard Methods

Using the Philips Hue app, navigate to the Light Setup > Add Lights screen and start a search

Searching For Lamp

Searching For Lamp

To assist, you can specify the serial number of the bulb you wish to connect to. You find the serial number written on the bulb.

Add Serial Number

Add Serial Number

From experience, this seems to only have the effect of filtering out unwanted bulbs and not making the search more likely to find a bulb. However it is worth a try.

Alternative Method

The alternative method involves a third party software application “Hue Lamp Finder”, for MAC, Windows, and Linux found here :

Note, Hue Lamp Finder requires Java to be installed so if you don’t have Java or the JAR file won’t open, you will need to install it from :

Steps to Connect:

  1. Install Hue Lamp Finder on your computer
  2. Run Hue Lamp Finder
  3. Tick “I Have Read This”, then Click Start
  4. You may receive a waring form you OS that this application require access to your local network. In this case you should allow access.

    Allow Access

    Allow Access

  5. The application will start searching for your Hue Bridge. Note the machine where you run the application and Hue Bridge must be on the same network for this to work.
  6. When prompted Press the Connect Button on your Hue Bridge
  7. Click Find Light.
    Searching For Lamps

    Searching For Lamps


    • Make sure the light is on (has power)
    • Try to get your light as close to the Hue Bridge as you can
    • Switch off any other Hue lights or devices
    • Find one light at a time if you aim to reconnect to multiple Hue lights.
    • If a bulb cannot be found, switch off any power, wait 5 seconds then turn it on.
    • If a bulb cannot be found, get it very close to the Hue Bridge, even if this means a temporary setup of moving the bridge to the bulb just to get it connected.
    • Once a bulb is found it will flash and then possibly remain switched on with a random colour. This is fine and a good sign than the bulb has been found.

    Found a Lamp

    Found a Lamp

  8. Repeat step 7 as many times as required.
  9. That’s it; you can close the Hue Lamp Finder application. All Hue lights that have been found will be recognised and remembered by the Hue Bridge therefore will be listed in your Hue app with a default lamp name.


4 thoughts on “Philips Hue Issue – Older Bulbs Can’t Be Found by new Philips Hue Bridge

  1. It is right Phillips released a new Hue bridge with support for Apple’s new HomeKit bridge. Philips Hue lights are the great wireless lighting system. By connecting Hue lights to new Apple home kit, you can easily control hue lights with your voice commands.

  2. My lights work almost perfect, except that about 30 minutes before time for them to shut off (I keep them dimmed almost always), they get very bright, but they do shut off at the right time. Any ideas how I can keep them from getting BRIGHT on us? Thanks!

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