Using the Lutron Caseta wireless switches does not require the smartphone app or a smart bridge. You can easily pair your new wireless controller to a Pico remote control without the app.
However, if you want to control any lights automatically at set times of the day with your Caseta switch, the app and smart bridge are required. The Lutron bridge also allows you to control your lights from the comfort of your home or from anywhere.
This article takes you through how to install the Lutron Caseta app and Lutron Caseta Bridge. Both are very easy to install.
The Lutron Smart Bridge
First off, the Lutron Smart bridge is required if you want to install their smartphone application. The Caseta wireless switches use a proprietary Clear Connect wireless technology.
Clear Connect has been a proven, ultra-reliable technology in commercial projects worldwide. Caseta wireless brings this same reliable performance to your home.
The Smart Bridge communicates with the wireless devices using Clear Connect and vice-versa from the Smart Bridge's wireless devices.
For third party devices and your smartphone app to communicate with the Caseta devices, the bridge is required.
This device allows your Lutron total home control system to work with Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and the Google Assistant. It also stores any scenes, timer actions, or different programming you may have configured. It also gives you control from anywhere in the world.
The Smart Bridge Internet Connection
The Caseta Smart Bridge does require an internet connection for setup. It creates a cloud account for you as part of this setup, but the smart bridge can operate locally without being connected to the internet after completing the initial configuration.
The very first thing that the setup procedure does is to update the software on the bridge. You want this to happen before you add any devices, and it does so by default.
Once you finish configuring the smart bridge, the internet connection allows future updates to be automatically updated. It also provides for the current time setting on the Smart Bridge to be correctly configured. Also, the cloud account allows your smartphone app to control your home lighting system remotely.
However, without the internet connection, your Caseta Smart Bridge will still work with your switches. The internet is not an absolute requirement. I have learned that with an internet connection, my home can be remotely controlled. I don't have to be within WiFi distance to control the devices.
The Lutron Smart Bridge Pro
There is also a Pro version of the smart bridge, which I'll be using. It allows for controlling a higher number of Serena remote-controlled shades, something I'm not using. However, it also allows for more third party integration, including Telnet access. These features are something that I AM interested in for the future.
The physical device itself is surprisingly small. It measures 2.75 inches on each side, but the box it arrived in was large, and I guess it just surprised me how small and simple the device is.
The smart bridge has two connections:
The only other physical function is a button used for pairing with the smart bridge.
Installation of the Caseta App
I use an iPhone, so the instructions that follow will be for the iOS environment.
Open the iPhone App Store
Step 1 - App Search
Search for the Lutron Caseta app and click the GET button to install it:
Step 2 - App Installation Confirmation
The App Store will ask you to confirm the installation:
Step 3 - App Installation
The Caseta App should install like any other iPhone app. You'll see the progress icon indicating the current status of the installation:
Step 4 - App Installation Finished
Once the installation has finished, you'll have a new icon on your iPhone for the Lutron app:
Creating Your Lutron Smart Bridge Account
Step 1 - Caseta App Terms & Conditions
Open the new Lutron app you just finished installing on your iPhone. The very first step is to accept their terms and conditions. If you want to use the app, click on the "Agree & Continue" button to proceed:
Step 2 - Caseta App Getting Started
The next screen provides two options for regular users. Either "Get Started" or "Sign In." Since I don't have a cloud account yet, I will click on the Get Started option.
If, for whatever reason, you already have a cloud account, then click on the sign-in button instead. I haven't tried the Contractor Mode option yet.
Step 3 - Caseta App Create an Account
The next screen allows you to create your account for the first time. It also gives you another option to sign in if you've been at this stage of setup before.
Select your country of residence, your email address, and a password. The screen will not allow you to create the account unless it is Medium strength or higher. The "strength" of the password will display to the right, and the "Create Account" button will be enabled once you meet the requirements.
Please also note the message at the bottom of this screen. Your residential Lutron System only allows one account. You will need to share these login credentials with anyone else in your family or whoever is living with you for them to access the system. You probably don't want to use a password here that you use elsewhere.
If you need to change your email or password later, you can do so using the app's settings option. It's under the account option at the bottom of the Settings screen.
This option opens a website page at Lutron. So you could change your Lutron cloud password or get a password reset email from them directly using this site page. There is no other wireless device functionality at this site.
Installing the Lutron Smart Bridge
Step 1 - Smart Bridge Connect
The next step involves you plugging in and connecting your new Smart Bridge. The screen displays a diagram. It's super easy and requires the power cable and the ethernet cable, both of which come with the Smart Bridge device.
It's best to install this as close to the center of your house as possible. This way, you can maximize your bridge's reach with your connected devices without exceeding the distance limitations.
Step 2 - Smart Bridge Connected
After clicking the Next button, the app will automatically discover your home's Lutron system.
Step 3 - Smart Bridge Updated
Once the Smart Bridge is detected, the app will automatically begin the download and install process for software on your bridge. You do not have an option to skip this, and it's best not to if you could. It also may take some time, depending on your home's broadband connection, so be patient.
It took only several minutes for mine to finish updating.
Step 4 - Smart Bridge Paired
You must then pair your new Smart Bridge by pressing the small button on the device's backside. The button does not stick out very far, so I used my fingernail to push it.
Initial Configuration of Your New Smart Home
Step 1 - Smart Home Name
The next step requires you to give your new Lutron home wireless system a name. I replaced the word "My" with our last name.
Nothing complicated here. You can do whatever you want. As indicated on the screen, this name can be changed later using a settings option.
Step 2 - Smart Home Named
After you verify the name of your home system, tap the Next button to continue.
Step 3 - Smart Home Location Approval
The next screen will ask for your approval to access your location while using the app. I presume this is so that the smart bridge knows what time "Sunset" and "Sunrise" are for your area. These are options you will have later when configuring time schedules for your devices. I clicked "Allow" here.
Step 4 - Smart Home Location Approved
The next screen will confirm your current Time Zone and Location.
HomeKit Configuration of Keychain for Siri Functionality
Step 1 - HomeKit Setup
If you want to use Siri and other home automation apps to control your Lutron lighting devices, you need to enable iCloud Keychain. You can do this later via a Settings option (see the "Not Now" button at the bottom of the screen), but I went through the process now.
Step 2 - HomeKit Setup Code Entry
To configure Keychain, you need a unique setup code assigned to your Smart Bridge device. The next screen shows you how to find it on the bottom of the bridge device.
Step 3 - HomeKit Setup Code Bridge Device
While looking at the bottom of my bridge device, the setup code was visible and easy to find (sorry, it's blurred for you).
Step 4 - Apple HomeKit Setup Code Instructions
The app install does not tell you, though, that this same setup code is on the instructions included with your new device. So it can easily be read from there as well.
Step 5 - HomeKit Setup Code 2D Barcode
The next couple of screens were slightly more complicated. The first one suggested scanning a 2D barcode on the packaging material from your new device. I had a 2D barcode on my package, but it didn't have the little house icon in it, and more importantly, nothing happened when I tried scanning it.
I finally gave up and clicked the "Don't Have a Code or Can't Scan?" button to continue.
Step 6 - HomeKit Setup Code Manual Entry
This next screen seemed slightly redundant, but I pressed the "Enter Code..." button, which brought me to a successful conclusion.
Step 7 - HomeKit Setup Connecting
The following screen then indicated it was trying to connect, I assumed to iCloud.
Step 8 - Caseta App Getting Ready
The screen then automatically switches to "getting ready to add devices." This message is your first indication that the setup was completed correctly.
Step 9 - Caseta App Add Device
The final screen prompts you to select which device you want to add to your new Lutron home system. Installation of the Lutron Caseta App and Smart Bridge configuration was successful.
Additional Information on the Lutron Caseta App
You can find real-life examples of the Lutron Caseta App being used for new installations in the following articles: