SmartThings Community

Can A Dimmer Switch Trigger Other Events?


#1

New to ST. I am converting from Wink and would like to change a few things that I see being somewhat of a problem. I don’t know if this is possible, but let me explain what I would like to do and please let me know if this is possible or how to set it up this way. Thank you ahead of time for the help.

I have 2 “light fixtures” in my kitchen coming into a switch on the wall, one I have a ceiling fan installed with light and the other is just a light fixture. How my Wink setup worked (poorly) was I wired the ceiling fan whip hot all of the time and put a smart bulb (CREE Connected) in the light fixture on the fan. Additionally, I used a GE TAPT switch configured to provide current through the load all of the time (making everything hot all of the time) and used 2 of the connected bulbs in the light fixture as well. The buttons on that switch were merely triggers to the Wink system to turn them on and off, and I would use the iPhone app to dim as I wanted (I setup automatic events and such for that, for the most part).

What I have now to replace all of that is the STv2 hub, and a Linear WD500Z. I also have a WT00Z that I will pair to this switch for a “3-way” type of setup. I also have enough CREE “dumb” LED bulbs and also the Connected version of them to do whatever I want to make this setup work.

This is what I would like to do now and am not sure if it will work.
What I was thinking was to keep the ceiling fan/light fixture wired hot all of the time again like it is now, and with a CREE Connected installed. Non-connected, LED bulbs in the other fixture and wired up to the WD500Z like normal. The dimmer will obviously dim the one fixture like normal and also “talk” to the ST hub about it’s state as the on/off/dimming changes. Is there a way to program the switch or some other way so whatever state (including dimming percentage) the WD500Z is in, the CREE Connected bulb mirrors it? I understand that there would probably be a touch of lag for the one bulb in the ceiling fan however if that could “mirror” the others in the room, that would be ideal so I don’t have to run two switches or set it up the way I had it before which quite honestly was okay at best.

Basically I want to use the WD500Z to control all 3 bulbs, 2 of them will be on the dimming circuit of the switch itself which is easy, the other will always be hot and I want to somehow mirror whatever that dimmer is doing to those two bulbs, to the one Connected bulb that is always hot.


(Ernie) #2

The Dim with Me smartapp should do what you want.


#3

Wow, thank you very much for the reply… sound pretty much exactly like what I need.

I’ll go over there and take a look at that post. Now I guess I’ll need to read up on how to program or add these apps into the ST system… all I know how to do right now is use my iPhone app which seems very limited compared to a lot of development that people discuss here.

Thanks again!


(Ernie) #4

See if this helps.


#5

Thanks… yeah, I already added it in the mix and have been playing with it. So far, it seems like I may need to figure out a way to tweak it or work with it to get it to work right. Currently, I have a huge lag and it only does on/off functionality, not dimming level for some reason.

Basically I press the top button (ON) on the WD500Z-1 and of course, it turns on the circuit with a nice 0-100% dim up effect. About 5-7 seconds later, the Cree Connected bulb turns on to 100%. If I press the bottom button on the WD500Z-1 (OFF), it does the same and turns the circuit off. That same delay happens and then the Cree bulb turns off. If I use the app to control the Cree bulb, there is no delay what-so-ever and it is instant. Also to note, the Cree bulb does NOT follow the dimming at all of the switch’s state. It’s either on or off.

In the app, I have “Dim With Me” setup like this:
Master Dimmer Switch…
Kitchen Switch (WD500Z-1)

Slave On/Off Switch(es)…
(I left this blank)

Slave Dimmer Switch(es)…
Kitchen Fan Light (Cree Connected Bulb)

This behavior is identical even if I put the Kitchen Fan Light in the Slave On/Off Switch(es) section.

I can see this same delay in the iPhone app itself too… If I go to “Things” and turn the Kitchen Switch “On”, a few seconds later, the Kitchen Fan Light turns on in the App right when it does so in the kitchen.

Any advise here? Should I post this in the developer section?


#6

Update: Looks like in the App itself, when I click on the Kitchen Fan Switch, it says “Turning On” for a period of time, then when it reports to the app “ON”, the Cree Connected bulb immediately turns on. This same thing happens when I press the switch off, or turn it off from within the app. It shows “Turning On,” or “Turning Off,” for a period of time then when it reports ON or OFF, the Cree immediately follows.

Wonder if I can edit the switches behavior as it seems like a side effect of the switch itself (the delay). I’ll play with that however I wonder how to get the Dim With Me to actually report dimming level to the bulb correctly. Regardless, even in the App, the two are never in sync when I am adjusting them.


(Bruce) #7

You can also do this with Smart Lighting. Select all you want to turn on, Turn on, trigger: your dimmer, etc.


(Ernie) #8

I thought Smart Lighting did not follow the dimming of the Master switch beyond the initial setting when turned on.

Another smartapp that could be used is the Big Switch. Don’t know if it will be any fsster than Dim With Me.


(Bruce) #9

And here is yet one more that has dimmer functionality. This one allows multiple dimmers, and any one of them can change the dimmer level for all.


#10

It’s acting exactly the same in Smart Lighting as it does with Dim With Me (delay while app reads “turning on” or “turning off”, then immediately sending the appropriate ON or OFF command to the Cree Connected bulb when the app reads ON or OFF for the switch) however allowing me to set the initial dim level and that is working.

I almost feel like the delay is actually proper behavior, just don’t know if this is from the switch itself or the programming of the switch in the ST profile for it or something. I wonder if ST is waiting for a “completed” response once the command is sent or if the delay is somehow programmed into the ST profile for this device because it has this delayed dim-to-on and dim-to-off type of behavior. For all I care, I could do without any of that all together with, not looking for cool effects, just functionality.


(Bruce) #11

Yes, this is normal. If you want faster response you have to use an “instant reporting” dimmer, such as a Leviton VRMX1 or Cooper. All other dimmers have a lag that is very noticeable. For my lighting app, where I have this situation with one dimmer being the master that turns others on, I use a VRMX1. This reduces the lag time to about 1 second.

If you use a sensor to trigger the lights turning on, instead of a switch, you get near instantaneous response of all of the lights. I use motion, you can also use contact. Depends on your use case. Hardest one to get right is using a switch.

Also, the Echo integration with a Routine that Alexa runs or virtual switch in what you are using now instead of the real switch, offers instant response.


#12

Thanks for the info… sounds like this is what is going on for the on/off delay as you stated and I suspected. I created a new device type and played around with the settings just to test and it seemed to improve the “on” delay a little however the “off” delay never changed regardless of what I changed in the device type settings.

Well, that aside (now I’m back to the “stock” device type and such and done trying to break things)… I still cannot for the life of me get the “Dim With Me” app working. In the light automation, I can tell it to turn the Cree Connected on and to a specific % and that works flawlessly, but for some reason, the Dim With Me is not working at all.

Any other suggestions on that by chance? I don’t know if the virtual dimmer mentioned in those posts will help any at all or not.


#13

Based on what you state Bruce and thinking about how the motion sensing works, I almost feel like I should just use my Quirky/GE TAPT switches to trigger routines (like the motion sensing does) and be done with it. Since these connected bulbs instantly respond to the ST hub/app, it would almost be better to just use those in just the same way that I used to with my Wink setup (however there is 0 delay with ST compared to the completely unacceptable delay of Wink). I haven’t really gotten into my other devices that are pretty Wink specific however I’m assuming others have gotten them to work somehow. I never controlled dimming using a dimmer, I always used events triggered by a time of day for the dimming, and the TAPT switches just sent an on-100% command essentially to all 3 Cree Connected bulbs in the kitchen, wiring was “hot” all of the time in this setup, similar to how I still have my ceiling fan/light now. Wondering if that’s what I do and just return these dimmers I have.


(Bruce) #14

Triggering routines, by whatever means, will give you great responsiveness, as long as the trigger itself is fast. It’s just that dimmer switches aren’t fast, especially if they aren’t instant reporting.


#15

Yeah, I’m caring less and less about the dimmer switch at this point because honestly, I could just throw a switch (not dimmer) into that wall-plate with nothing on the load side and use it as a trigger and use smart-bulbs again and be done with it. I am finding mixed information when it comes to switches (not dimmers) and instant reporting. Some say the GE/Jasco are, others say they are “near” instant, others say they are not… of course I read about the ones you mention above however I honestly am beginning to think I don’t need an actual switch that turns the circuit on and off, but rather just being used as a trigger (could I use my WT00Z-1 for this?) instead.

If I were to wire up the light fixture and ceiling fan fixture (3 bulbs total) hot all of the time… could I use something like the WT00Z-1 or a couple of them (similar to how I have it setup in a 3-way right now) to just be used as a trigger to turn the smart bulbs on and off? Seems simple enough and seems like it “should” be instant since it’s not dependent upon the state of the switch but rather just that the switch has been “triggered”. Am I on the right path to be able to do something like that? I really don’t care about being able to control dimming at the wall switch, I can deal with that in other ways… I really just care about on/off at the wall switch in some way or fashion that doesn’t actually shut the juice off to the smart bulbs so their control can be automated.

Thanks all… I’m sure this is super simple stuff to most, and I’m new to ST so the whole development aspect of this is great and I plan on doing a lot of reading and learning with that.

Side note… I have searched these forums for some of the apps to add to my hub and I cannot find them. Is there another forum or some other place some of these may be listed? I’m looking for virtual switch, the big switch, and some of the other common apps that people talk about.

Thanks again!


(Bruce) #16

These are all in the IDE. SmartApp templates (source code) can be found by going to My SmartApps, then New SmartApp, then from Template tab, there is a long list of apps there.

Similarly, in My Device Types, then New Device Type, then from Template tab has the source for many device types.

If you just need to create a device, such as a Virtual Switch, in the IDE go to My Devices, New Device. Fill out the form for Name and Device Network ID (anything), then you can select the Type from a pulldown menu. On/Off Button Tile is a virtual switch, and Momentary Button Tile is a momentary push button switch. Both are useful in uses like yours.


(Brandon De Young) #17

Is it just me or is The Big Switch not available to install from the official ST marketplace in the new app? I tap the marketplace tab at the bottom right, tap SmartApps at the top right, then tap Lights & Switches and it’s nowhere to be found. I’ve even tried looking in all the other SmartApp categories to no avail.

I know I can use the IDE to create a custom app version of it, but it’s a bunch of extra steps I’d rather not have to do.


(Bruce) #18

The Big Switch functionality is available in Smart Lighting.


(Brandon De Young) #19

Ohhh didn’t realize they rolled it into that top Smart App in the Lights & Switches category. Very nice. Thanks!


#20

Thank you again for your responses and please forgive my ignorance as I search the forums and ask these questions to learn. So I have done some testing and it seems like the WT00Z1 has about a half second delay to action which is pretty good if you ask me… so I have ordered another one to replace the dimmer switch in this location as I will just program it in Smart Lighting as an On/Off (100%) switch and install smart bulbs in the kitchen lights and be done with it. When I want dimming, I will just use scenes, modes, and routines to deal with this. I think this was exactly what I was looking for. I would like two separate WT00Z1 switches acting this way (one at each end of the room), so I’ll have some playing around with that but I don’t think it should be too bad.