I have been poking around in the forums for quite some time and keep coming across conflicting information so I am hoping someone will offer some advice.
I have 4 insteon dimmers at the bottom of my basement stairs. There is an insteon scene controller at the top of the steps. I use the insteon controller to “turn all on” and “turn all off” and that is it. These dimmers are really old and 2 are malfunctioning and I want to replace them with new ZWave/Smartthings devices. The dimmers are a no-brainer I have a bunch of GE ones around the house. What I cannot seem to figure out is the scene controller. I simply want 2 states. All on and All off. There is no load attached to the scene controller.
Can I just get an additional Zwave switch and use it to trigger smartthings to turn all on/all off? If not is there a scene controller that actually works?
If it’s something simple like on/off you want to do, then yes, there are many devices that are treated by the SmartThings platform as a “button controller” and can be made to do what you want. You can look at the linked topic below to see what kinds of devices might meet your needs.
I saw that article but I dont see a simple, hardwired button that fits into a normal decora style faceplate. I dont want a keyfob or other battery operated button or something that looks goofy like the Aeon switch. There are two other switches (unrelated) in that box that houses this insteon controller and I just want to replace it with something zwave.
Any other ideas are welcome. Can a normal on/off switch be somehow treated as a button controller?
Sure, if that’s all you need, any two state device that can communicate with SmartThings can then be used for and “all on” and “all off.” It’s also much simpler since you don’t need load control.
In this situation, many people would just use the Linear/GoControl auxiliary switch. It looks just like a regular switch but it is not designed to control the load. When it is pressed on, that signal is sent wirelessly to the SmartThings hub, and at that point you could have it do you anything you want that SmartThings can do, including turning on any combination of other SmartThings – controlled devices. And the same thing with the off.
I wrote the following before I saw the two posts just above mine, so they don’t really apply to your situation. But I’m going to leave this text here because it might help someone else.
Alternatively, you could use a switch which allows for double tap, in which case tapping the top of the rocker once does one thing, tapping it twice does something else, and with some switches there is even the option of triple tap. So that’s another possibility, Although it’s less intuitive for guests.
You can also use any of many battery powered button devices. These work very well for scene control in SmartThings. For example, there is an eight button remote tech device which is about the same size as a regular light switch, although a lot of people mount it horizontally. Each button can be pressed, double pressed, or long hold which gives you a total of 24 scene options for the one device. It’s quite popular.
There’s also a five scene battery operated device which some people like:
Both of these and several dozen more are discussed in the buttons and remotes FAQ. That covers both battery operated and mains powered devices, and both wall mount and handheld:
I just mention all of that because I know you had asked a general question about scene controllers in another thread. To be honest, I didn’t respond in that thread because there are seven or eight different issues involving “scene controllers” and SmartThings, which is probably why you found some of the discussions confusing, but I also just didn’t want to start down that rabbit hole. There are issues involving load control and there are issues involving the fact that major manufacturers are just starting to come out with zwave plus versions of their devices, so some of the most popular ones in the past are no longer available while the new ones may not have come on the market yet. It just becomes a very long and complicated discussion right now.
However, for the situation you’re describing here, which is much simpler, just the gocontrol switch is probably all you need. I really just wanted to mention the FAQ and the battery powered options as well in case you did want to expand into more than just the two scenes of all on and all off.
OK, now we’re back to complicated again: If you want to fit this into an existing switch box next to other switches, just go with the Linear/GoControl. You can’t put a battery powered device inside the wall, there’s a fire hazard because battery devices outgas.
There is a battery powered switch from Cooper that looks just like a regular switch and it is covered in the remotes FAQ, but you still can’t put it inside the wall. It has to be a surface mount. ( The remotes FAQ doesn’t cover most of the hardwired switches because they don’t really fit that device class. )
So, since you want a device that will go inside a regular switch box next to other switches, we are rescued from complexity by the fact that you just want all on and all off. Whew! Any Zwave switch can do what you want for just two states in a SmartThings installation. The advantage of the Linear/GoControl is that it costs a little less and it’s designed for wiring where it doesn’t control the load.
I forgot to mention… Nortek is one of the largest manufacturers of zwave devices in the US, and they release their devices under many different brand names, including two gig, linear, and goControl. Same model number, usually the same user guide, just a different box. So for the switch, if you buy at Best Buy it will be labeled GoControl, if you buy it from a Z wave specialty retailer it will probably be labeled linear, if you buy it from Amazon it could be either.