Advice needed on some devices

I’m looking for some recommendations on 3 types of sensors that I can use with SmartThings and Webcore.

  1. Door/Window sensors

  2. Smart switches

  3. Sirens - kind of like from an alarm company.

Any particular models?

There’s no one right answer. Different things will work with for different people. :sunglasses: so we’re going to need a few more details on what you are looking for.

For one thing your budget will make a big difference. For example, It’s hard to beat the Sensative strips for open/close sensors, but they are among the most expensive.

Another question is if you have a preference for protocol. Some people do, some people don’t, it doesn’t matter if you don’t, but we just need to know. In particular, we need to know whether you have existing devices that can work as repeaters. Z wave repeats only for Z wave and zigbee repeats only for zigbee, so if you already have a bunch of Z wave devices that can repeat and no zigbee devices that can repeat you might want to go with zwave sensors just so you don’t have to also buy additional zigbee repeaters.

The physical construction of your house can make a difference if it’s something other than usual US residential wood frame type. In particular, if you live in a cement or adobe house, or a plaster house with chicken wire leading inside the walls, that could make a difference in the recommendations.

Have you had a chance to look at the device class features FAQ? It covers a number of other issues that you might want to think about first before looking at specific models:

Bulbs, switches and sensors, oh my....what to buy (device class features FAQ)


Oh, and I almost forgot the most important question: what country are you in? The device selection does vary somewhat. :sunglasses:

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Hi there, and thanks for the quick response.

For the outlets, I really only want them for Christmas lights, but would like for them to last more than 6 months… I couldn’t say how much, as I’m not sure what will work with SmartThings. Maybe $20 each?

For the door/window sensors, I guess around the same.

Construction - wood studs, 1/2 drywall.

I have other z-wave modules, mostly from my Caseta switches.

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Hi there. I’m in the US.

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Lutron Caseta are not zwave devices, they use their own proprietary protocol, “clearconnect,” which is in an entirely different frequency band. It doesn’t repeat for anything, it’s not a mesh network. are those the ones you have? :thinking:

Yup- good to know! The other devices I use (maybe they’re zwave) are August connect (for Yale) Amazon Echoes, and a Ring doorbell chime.

The Yale Lock might be. (But locks don’t act as repeaters so it doesn’t make any difference if it is or isn’t)

The echoes and the Ring are WiFi, not zwave. :sunglasses:

So that means that you may need some repeating devices to support whatever battery operated sensors you get.

Did you want the siren for indoors or outdoors? Battery operated or plug-in or solar?

Actually, I’m thinking the Yale is not z-wave. It has a z-wave module, but I’m not using it. I’m using the August connect instead.

So I guess I have none!!

The lock Has to have some kind of radio or it can’t communicate with the app. But it could be zwave, Zigbee, or Bluetooth, they all work with the August bridge.

I couldn’t get my August bridge to work with the z-wave module.

I had to use the supplied August Connect module to talk to the bridge/connect.

Either way- do I need other zwave devices to get the door/window sensors or outlets?

How big is your house? What’s the farthest distance from the hub that you would place a sensor?

The hub is in the basement, right in the middle of the house though. Furthest distance is probably 35’

Stick to devices on this list for the fewest issues.

Thanks. I got some Sensative strips from eBay, but they had 25% battery for ‘new’ items… I returned them.

I also have 2 metal doors, which won’t work with this.

I am looking at bulbs that do not have a hub, that I can natively use with SmartThings.

Any recommendations on bulbs with dimmers? Not Caseta/Lutron, but something that I can use with the bulb… If that makes sense.

I don’t want to remove the existing wall switch, but simply add a ‘remote’ type that mounts to the wall…

Lutron Aurora makes something like this, but it is for Zigbee 3.0 devices, which I don’t think my v3 ST hub is.

Lots of great options available for door/window sensors. A quick search of the forum will turn up lots of results.

I use Visonic MCT-340E sensors for my doors and windows and have been really happy with them. They’re really slim profile, have great range, great battery life, and can sometimes be found on sale for as little as $10/ea.

Pretty much any z-wave or zigbee smart bulb can be used natively with SmartThings. While Hue bulbs can be used with their own Hue bridge, they can also be connected directly to SmartThings (or connected to a Hue bridge and then the bridge connected to SmartThings).

I’m personally a fan of smart switches with dumb bulbs rather than the other way around for a variety of reasons, but also understand the appeal of tunable color temperature and RGB bulbs.

By “bulbs with dimmers” do you mean bulbs that can connect to physical dimmer remotes? Pretty much any smart bulb will have dimming capability, and any button/remote you can pair with SmartThings can be used to control your devices, including bulbs. In other words, if this is what you’re looking for, you can shop for bulbs and dimmers separately.

The Ikea Tradfri bulbs can be bought with dimmer remotes. They’re relatively inexpensive, reliable, and work well as repeaters for other zigbee devices (which a lot of other smart bulbs don’t). Hue bulbs have a great reputation and are popular here. I would personally stay away from some of the Sylvania Lightify bulbs, as they’ve been known to cause mesh network issues by acting as repeaters to end devices but then not forwarding messages to the hub. I have a few Sengled RGBW bulbs I’ve been happy with (they don’t perform as zigbee repeaters).

Be aware that if someone turns off the physical switch to your smart light bulb you won’t be able to turn the light back on until the physical switch gets turned back on.

I believe the current firmware for all SmartThings hubs supports Zigbee 3.0 devices. I think the only aspect missing for the older hubs is joining Zigbee 3.0 devices via QR code. I hadn’t seen the Aurora before now, looks like a promising device.

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I really like the Lutron Aurora switches, we have 4 of them now. But we are using them with a hue bridge and also with HomeKit as a parallel means of control, not directly with smartthings.

The community FAQ discusses multiple options for using smart bulbs with a smart switch:

FAQ: Looking at a good Wall Switch for my Hue Bulbs (2018 Short FAQ) ( also applies to other brands of smart bulbs)

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I ended up chatting with Sengled.

I personally like dumb bulbs w/ smart switches/dimmers, but for this application I cannot use it.

The wall box has only 2 wires. A load coming into the switch, and a line also attached to the switch.

There is also a fan on this light, so I can’t use a dimmer…

What I can do is wire nut the wires together so there is always power. The fan won’t be affected (pull chain), but the bulbs can be dimmed.

Sengled makes a wall dimmer :

Not bad for $15. 4 pack of bulbs were only $31.00.

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There are numerous other ways to solve this problem, many of which offer more functionality such as separate control of the fan and lights.

I had a similar situation and ended up getting the Hampton Bay/Wink zigbee fan controller which installs inside the fan canopy, as well as an in wall RF remote to install where the wall switch had been previously. Info on that can be found here:

This enables me to control the fan and light separately (including dimming the lights) both from the wall and from the SmartThings app and with automations. If I were to do it over again based on currently available devices and the current state of the SmartThings apps I would do it differently, but I also have more options than you because I have a neutral in the switch box.

One option would be to install a dual relay rated for fan load in the fan canopy, and a smart switch in the wall. Some switches don’t require a neutral, and also have a feature that allows the relay in the switch to be bypassed. With the switch relay bypassed, the relays in the canopy will always have power and you can set up rules to allow the switch to control them, such as single tap on top turns the lights on, single tap on bottom turns the lights off, double tap on top turns the fan on, and double tap on bottom turns the fan off. This would give you separate control of the fan and lights, but wouldn’t allow dimming of the lights.

Are you saying I can install some type of controller into the fan box in the ceiling, that can be controlled using ST?

They way I have it wired right now is that the fan box is the junction for the line.

One 12/2 wire is run from the fan box to the switch. The black is used as the line and the white is used as the load. In the box there is no ground wire either (1950s home).

I didn’t think to connect the blue/fan wire to anything, but if there is a ST device I can attach it to, that would be great.