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.


25 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!

  3. If anyone else has this, my issue was a confusion.. when you add the lights and they blink they were actually adding – but they got renamed from “Hue color 3 lamp” and “Hue color 4 lamp” to “Hue color 1 lamp” and “Hue color 2 lamp”. This happened because my original #1 and #2 color bulbs were currently turned off while I was scanning. So, it seemed like they wern’t being added – but really they were already added it just looked like they were the original 2 bulbs that I had configured yesterday but were currently off. Good luck!

  4. IMPORTANT NOTE for cases when you are replacing your old Philips Hue bridge by a new one. In order to find lights – old or new by a new HUE bridge, you have to MIGRATE old bridge first. Otherwise all paired lights are blocked by the old bridge and the new one fill not find anything. The process is easy and is described here:

    Hope this will help you.

  5. Why!!! First in order to use the Hue features that allow you to sync with movies, it tells me I need a new hub. We purchase the new hub, and it doesn’t find any lights. The original hub found everything in seconds. None of this bring the lights close or type in serial numbers. Stupid POS!!!

  6. I have hue strip lighting I cannot find lights it asked for serial number on lights I tried everything I could not have the lights come on and off it asked for six characters and light strip please let me know where to find that

  7. If you are unable to connect your Philips Hue Light Bulb or Phillips Hue Bridge or Philips Hue LED Light Strip, you can do the following easy steps. You can use this method if you Lost Serial on Phillips Hue Light Strip, or Missing Phillips Hue Light Strip Serial.  Use this method if you have exercised all other options.

    1. Philips Hue Dimmer Switch Accessory Hack – Use the dimmer switch hardware by holding it 1 to 5cm (1/4″ to 1″) to the bulb with missing serial. Hold both buttons at the same time, and the light will flash.  The light is now hard-reset and ready to be detected. Use this same method with Philips Hue LED Light Strip by holding it near the small plastic encasement attached the light strip it self.

    2. Lamp Finder – This software runs on your laptop and requires Javascript to be downloaded and running.  This is the easiest and BEST method to identifying Philips Hue LED Light Strip lost serial and to perform hard-reset.  Follow the instructions at this link: (This is unofficial software, so proceed at own risk.)

  8. This is the most awesome tip I’ve ever read thus far on the internet. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this up!!!

    My hue lights will connect and all of that until i got to the “light setup” I click “Add light” & click “Add serial number” & type the lights code in ofc. But when i click “Search” it will search for 2-5 mins & still never works. I already tried doing the PC method & the “Light Finder” for me keeps saying “404 Error Found”. Can anyone help?

      • hi i have the same problem do u find a solution , after moving to new appartment .my no lights are detacting by the hub bridge. i was using them last three year in my old appartment.

  10. After installing hue light finder v1.0; I was able to find my light. I have two light installed on a single switch. The second light can’t be found. I have switched them on/off several times, and the first is the only one found. My output from hue gem:

    Philips hue
    Button pressed: false
    Timestamp: 2021-06-05T19:47:27
    Network configuration:
    DHCP: true
    MAC: ec:b5:fa:34:44:71
    Proxy: none:0
    1b411e4b-26cb-4d6a-9d9e-f8e2ab22a244 : Hue Beta#iPhone
    jf5e8aiFQYyrA9hg7ndSdaZtx8KoZA6AiiZ7BWGm : hue-cli@aerie.local
    7b44f0f8-84ec-438c-aa52-4c19337824b8 : Hue Light Finder#PC
    ed4d106f-79d8-49ab-b04d-7d38e135ae14 : Hue Light Finder#PC
    1. Hue ambiance pendant 1 ON LTP008 – Color temperature light

    Both lights are identical otherwise.

    Is there any hope?

  11. Lifesaver! My gen-1 Hue bridge broken unexpectedly and “locked up” all the light bulbs. My newly installed gen-2 couldn’t find any light bulbs (even with the serial number method on the Hue too). The Hue Lamp Finder app (described above) found all the light bulbs and linked them to my new gen-2 bridge correctly. Amazing and thanks a ton!

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