Advice for Scene Controller


(Jeff McNeal) #1

Hey all,
I’m new to SmartThings and looking for advice on a scene controller. I’ve got a Great Room with 5 zones (kitchen, LR, DR, sink, island) that will be a combination of GE Z-Wave dimmers, switches and aux switches. I want to put in a scene controller at one end of the great room to, you know, turn on/off different scenes.

Ideally I’d want the scenes stored in SmartThings, and I’d like it to be switch plate sized. It looks like the only compatible device is the Aeon Remote, but that’s not an “installed” look. Any recommendations? Can I get one of the Levito or Enerwave devices to work even thought they’re not officially supported?

Thanks!


#2

The short answer is that because it wants customers to be able to mix zwave and zigbee devices without having to really know which is which, smartthings does not provide support for Z wave scene controllers. So there really aren’t any multibutton scene controllers that work well with the smartthings hub. There is one of the Levitons that works OK for some people, and one of the Enerwaves that works for some people and drives others crazy, but you’re just rolling the dice with both of those.

The option people seem to be happiest with is mounting an inexpensive phone or tablet on Wi-Fi and using smarttiles.click. This is a very nice customizable dashboard app. Developed by a community member, you can try it for free, and then make a contribution if you like it.

There’s a forum topic where people share different hardware mounting options they’ve used with it. That might give you some ideas.

As far as button devices, people seem to have the most luck with the Leviton VRCS4. Note that is not the Leviton VRC Z 4, which just doesn’t work with SmartThings. And The one that does work is still a bear to set up. But it probably has the look you want.

I personally really like the smartenIT 3 toggle battery-operated switch, very clean look and you can put it anywhere. But it’s only three buttons.


(Jeff McNeal) #3

Okay, good info. That VRCS4 may be an option. I’ll look at that SmartenIT switch too.

Alternatively, If was just looking for an all on/off switch, could I put in an extra z-wave switch there, or even that new Aeon labs glass switch, basically with no load, and have SmartThings listen for pushes to control the others?


#4

Sure, any switch that the hub can talk to can be put on any circuit, or even a battery operated device, and then you can use it to control anything else that the hub talks to.

Cooper has a battery-operated wall switch that a lot of people like the look of. But if you have a available switchbox and you want to wire something in you can use any switch that is smartthings compatible and that switch can talk to the hub, and then the hub can talk to any of your other devices. They don’t have to be on the same circuit.
:bulb: :sunglasses:


(Jeff McNeal) #5

JD, you’ve been very helpful. One last question, if I may? As I haven’t gotten my new SmartThings hub, I can’t research this on my own. I see that there is a GE/Jasco fan controller that has three speeds + off. Can SmartThings react to what speed that guy is set to? For instance, I could listen for a fan speed of Low and trigger a “dinner mode”, Medium for “normal mode” and high for “superbright mode”?


#6

I would think so, that’s basically how smartapps like “dim with me” work, but I don’t know the exact methods as I no longer read code. (I depend on text-to-speech software, and reading groovy with text to speech is very difficult.) @tgauchat or @bravenel or one of the other master coders should know. :sunglasses:


(Bruce) #7

In theory this will work. I say it that way because I don’t think the fan switch reports very quickly. I don’t have a GE/Jasco fan controller, all of mine are Leviton.

A smartapp could subscribe to the fan switch setLevel event, and then take actions based on the value of level that comes back, as you are thinking.

Are you thinking of trying to use one of these without a fan, just as a “scene chooser”?

EDITED TO ADD:

Any dimmer could do this, you wouldn’t need a fan controller. You can just arbitrarily say that 1 to 33 is one scene, 34 to 66 is another, and 67 to 99 is yet another, with off being off. Not sure that trying to set a dimmer from the physical switch is going to work too well. You might want to look at some of the other scene controllers (@JDRoberts has a writeup about them), as the ergonomics are probably better.