Using four-button Pico remotes with Lutron Caseta Pro

One of the things that differentiates average residential home lighting and more sophisticated home lighting is the use of scene control as the primary way to control light. You work with a lighting designer in advance to spec your lighting, and then set up scenes — toggled from dedicated in-wall scene controllers — that adjust the lights to fit predefined moods and/or activity.

Now that my whole home is outfitted in Lutron Caseta, I’ve started embracing scenes. The majority of those scenes are built out in the Apple Home app, but as we upgrade lighting and add new layers of light in various parts of the house, I’ve embarked down the path of adding scene controllers so those scenes are available in physical interfaces.

Being deeply embedded in the Lutron ecosystem, dedicated Pico scene remotes are the natural path to go down, but there’s a lot of confusion and conflicting information across the Internet about how scene remotes work in Caseta.

What Works

After a lot of time — and testing — I can say that it is possible to have a dedicated remote with four buttons that can individually trigger a preset arrangement of lights, shades, and audio.

I purchased a Lutron 4-button lighting control pico (PJ2-4B-GWH-L41), and paired it with my Caseta Pro bridge. After that, the bridge displays the Pico as a “keypad” with four individually editable buttons.

Editing a Lutron PJ2-4B-GWH-L41 Pico remote in the Lutron iOS app, controlled via a Lutron Caseta Pro bridge

When managed via the Lutron app (the default and most common experience) you can set individual groups of lighting, shades, and audio (via the Lutron/Sonos integration) to be triggered by pressing one of the four buttons.

Additionally, if you use a tool like Home Assistant or HomeBridge to make your Pico remotes available as a generic button controller to the Apple Home app (or to your smart home platform of choice), all four buttons are fully editable to trigger arbitrary smart home devices, scenes, and automations.

Custom automation control for the Lutron 4-button Pico remote (PJ2-4B-GWH-L41), using HomeBridge to expose the Pico as a button accessory to Apple Home

This is my preferred way to integrate the 4-button remotes into my home. While Caseta is my primary lighting control system, I have a handful (and increasing) set of loads that are outside the Lutron ecosystem. Using the unofficial Pico integration through HomeBridge allows me to create and control scenes that include those other lighting accessories, and even non-lighting accessories (such as a “bedtime” button that not only turns off lights, but also locks doors and sets a cooler temperature on the thermostat).

Of course, there are caveats to note.

What Doesn’t Work

First, the PJ2-4B-GWH-L41 is not technically a scene controller in Lutron parlance. Consequentially, this means that if you have set up scenes using the Scene functionality in the Lutron app, you cannot directly trigger those scenes via the remote. Instead, you must reconstruct those scenes by selecting the lights/shades/etc. you wish to have controlled and set the dim levels/shade positions. If you have a lot of scenes and a lot of remotes to program, this might be frustrating; it also means if you have a scene you want triggered from multiple remotes, you have to “manually” sync any changes between the configuration for each remote.

Second, and more frustratingly, is that despite officially being labeled as a “4-Group Toggle” in Lutron documentation, the toggle functionality is not available in Caseta. (To be fair, the same documentation also says the -L41 is not available in Caseta.) This means that you cannot tap a button once to enable a lighting/shade configuration, and tap again to “undo” or revert that configuration. Of course, if you are configuring the Pico behavior outside the Lutron app, leveraging Home Assistant or HomeBridge, this is not as big a concern; you have workarounds available.

Third is that there is documentation that suggests the -L41 is not an option in normal Caseta; only Caseta Pro. I have yet to dig my old Caseta bridge out of storage to test, but I’d still recommend upgrading to the Caseta Pro Bridge regardless given its higher device count, additional device options (such as Sivoia QS shades), and Telnet interface for lower-level automation.

Finally, the -L41 remote is not available for custom engraving. There are custom-engraved Pico options that work with Caseta, but the Internet does seem to widely agree that those Picos (-L01/-EL1 and -L31/-EL2) always treat the fourth button as an “off” button when configured in Caseta, meaning there’s no true custom-engraved 4 scene controller available natively for Caseta.

The Bottom Line

Still, even with those caveats, I find the -L41 control to be a great addition to my smart home. I’m using a Brother label printer to print custom labels and getting “good enough” results (Brother, please create 15mm TZe tape!). Particularly brave folks might consider getting a custom-engraved Pico and swapping out the inner electronics between the -EL2 and -L41, but I’m not yet at that point.

Hopefully this helps those looking to upgrade their home lighting, but are not yet ready to make the jump to RadioRA3. If you’re a Lutron employee reading this, I hope you take away that there is a great opportunity in offering more options and controls to DIY-ers. Not every product makes sense to be adapted to Caseta… but I bet there are more than you might expect.