Adding a physical switch that doesn’t require a SmartThings hub?

Hi. This is all very new to me but thanks to the guidelines here I’ve been able to create a virtual switch within ST app to put my tp link smart plug on a timer to switch off after set time of being turned on.

What I’m wondering is if there is a wireless switch/remote that can be integrated to the app (no hub) to control that virtual switch, and therefore turn the plug on for a set period, without having to ask google or use my phone?

Many thanks

You want something physical you can tap to initiate the automation? You can use a SmartThings button, and use it as a trigger to turn on the virtual switch. If going via the virtual switch doesn’t work reliably, then you can do the same automation as the switch just using the button as the trigger. But I don’t see why it shouldn’t work.

Will a SmartThings button work without a hub?

Sorry I missed the smallprint (no hub). No I doubt if it would. So you need to find a wifi button or something I suppose and I can’t help you there. Is there a reason you don’t want a hub? I love mine, it’s not very expensive and is quite small, and it means a lot of stuff can work locally. Does your automation even run at all when your internet is down?

I haven’t tried it with the internet down. I have a hue hub but am now wondering if that was unnecessary. Maybe having two hubs isn’t so bad especially with the tp link smart plugs around the house.

With a hub are there cheaper alternatives to the SmartThings button? Or could I add the same automation as the virtual switch using Philips hue?

I have both hubs. The hue is almost totally cloud-free unless you want to control it from outside the house, whereas the ST hub is kind of mix-and-match local and cloud. One thing I have read many times is that ST is not able to use triggers from Hue sensors and controllers - mostly all the control is only from ST->Hue. So if you’re going to use a hybrid system, you probably want to make sure all your buttons etc are directly compatible with the ST hub, and that control by Hue switches and sensors will pretty much remain within the Hue circle.

I believe that the Hue hub comes into its own if you want to update firmware of the devices. Which mine wanted to do as soon as I bought them! Also I am trying to make my system as local-only as possible and therefore may invest even more heavily in Hue system in the future.

I don’t know what all buttons there are and their prices but I didn’t think the ST button was unreasonable considering it does temperature as well

That’s definitely food for thought. I think you’re right about the cost of the button as the hue buttons are similarly priced. And knowing that you have both hubs makes me realise it’s not a bad idea to have both.

Does that mean the within the home, google will be able to talk to my tp link plugs even without internet? If so, it’s worth getting the hub for that reason alone!

No, unfortunately your TPlink plugs will always need the cloud for anything other than schedules you have set up directly via the Kasa app which seem to be stored on the plug (not 100% sure but it seems that way) or when you tap their buttons. For absolutely everything else, the control has to be authenticated via the TPLink cloud service. Mostly this applies to all wifi devices, as they are designed to work from the manufacturers’ cloud services.

Oh - and if you go via Google Assistant everything goes via the cloud, even if you use a Nest Hub instead of your mobile. This actually doesn’t bother most people as they mostly appreciate the remote access as they go out to work etc. I am mostly home-based and am working on the assumption any intruder will cut my phone line before intruding - in which case internet will be down. So my priorities are different from many other people’s

So now I’m unsure what to do. At this stage it doesn’t seem worth it to get the hub simply to run one switch. I guess I’ll need to learn its other uses first and see if it’ll be relevant.

Many thanks for you help.

If you have a raspberry pi laying around, you can explore other options. Home Assistant, Node Red, mqtt etc. I would strongly recommend a ST hub as a very good starting point since it’s much more user friendly than the others and a good starting point if you’re just getting into home automation. But if you’re not looking for true automation, and just want a few WiFi enabled devices, then it isn’t for you. Good luck!

You would need a button which is using either WiFi or Bluetooth or has its own cloud to cloud integration with SmartThings. Or with the free IFTTT service.

There are only a couple of these, but they do exist. However, they may require their own bridge so the cost could get high.

Before getting into those, though, do you by any chance use Amazon Echo? You can use an Alexa routine and that might be the simplest and easiest method.

Ok, some options. None of these require an ST hub.

1) Echo Button with Alexa Dot

Wait for sales and you should be able to get two Echo buttons for $15 and an echo dot for $30. So $45 for two buttons.

Integration with ST is through Alexa routines.

However, the buttons go in and out of stock all the time, which is frustrating.

2) Logitech Pop Button with its bridge

Has its own ST integration or use IFTTT.

These work better on the wall than the echo buttons, but cost three times as much. Available in multiple colors, including white and black.

3) Flic buttons

Flic are much smaller buttons, about the size of a US quarter coin. They have an integration with Ifttt, so that’s how you would get integration with either smartthings or TP link.

You don’t have to have their hub: you can just use your own phone. But then the buttons will only work when your phone is at home. That might be fine for a single person household.

Alternatively, they do offer their own hub as well.

These buttons are pretty expensive, $30 for just a button and another $99 Or so if you want their hub. They often go on sale around big holidays or are sold in bundles which brings the per button price down. but unquestionably an expensive choice. Great size, though, a lot of people like them.

image

I think those three are the best established IOT buttons that don’t require a SmartThings hub. But you could use anything that has an Ifttt channel.