Can you Emulate virtual Z-Wave device on ST Hub that is controlled by secondary Z-Wave controllers? (Duwi Remote Control)

The thread linked below says you can not connect a secondary remote (i.e. The Z-Wave Duwi Remote) to a virtual device as the Smart Things hub Z-Wave radio can’t operate in Transmit and Receive mode at the same time.

I take it when you set up a secondary Z-Wave controller such as the Duwi remote, you are simply coping the Z-Wave network configuration from the ST Hub (Primary controller) to the secondary controller and that the secondary controller/remote is not talking to the ST Hub every time you use it.

Thus, If one can add devices to the ST hub but the hub can not emulate Z-Wave devices its self for the reason it is in transmit mode normally, how can the ST Hub know the status of the controllable of Z-Wave devices when they are controlled via a secondary controller?

Can some clarify how this all works, and why certain remotes like the MiniMote Remote controller from Aeon can control non Z-Wave devices though the ST Hub but the Duwi Remote cannot?

Regards: Elliott.

OK, this is mixing together a bunch of different things. So let’s see if we can pull out one at a time and we can discuss those.

If I’m understanding correctly (and if I’m not, just let me know) your primary question here is can a Z wave Duwi remote control be used with smartthings in the same way as an Aeon minimote so that pressing a button on the Duwi will communicate directly to the hub and that could in turn could initiate any smart things controlled event, not just z wave devices.

If that’s the question, the answer is it just depends on what the Duwi remote does specifically when a button is pressed.


  1. If the remote communicates with other devices through Z wave Association, then you can include the hub in the Association group and it can capture that message and do something with it.

  2. If it uses one of the newer is zwave command sets, “central scene,” then it doesn’t talk directly to the other end devices anyway – – when you press the button, it sends a scene number message to the hub, the hub Receives it, and does something with it. This is how the new Homeseer switches work.

  3. However, many older handheld remotes worked as secondary controllers where they included a device directly to themselves and when there was a button push, the handheld remote itself sent a basic command to the included zwave device. The hub never knew anything about this communication. The other device had to be zwave and had to be within one hop of the remote at the time the button was pushed. These devices include the older GE handheld remote and the GE wall mount scene controller. These are the ones that people get confused about in a smartthings environment. You can get the handheld remote to work with some Z wave devices, but you won’t get status on them, and the hub is not aware of the commands been sent. In cases like this, the status on the hub only gets updated when the hub does its own independent polling of the light. It still has no idea that there was a button press on the remote.

Back to the Duwi Remote

So, to come back to the Duwi remote… If it uses Association, it can be set up just like a minimote or the enerwave SC7 (which is a seven button controller) as what smartthings cause a “button controller.” You will probably need custom code for it, but you are likely to be able to make it work.

But if it uses the method that the GE handheld remotes use, you’re out of luck. The only thing it can do in a smartthings environment is toggle on and off some Z wave devices that are in the same room with it. And when it does that the hub will not know that that communication took place, so the statuses get out of sync.

There are a whole bunch of other issues that have to do with the IDE and the simulator and yet another whole bunch of issues that have to do with secondary controllers, but if I’m reading your post correctly you’re not actually going to be interested in any of those. You just want to figure out whether it can work like a minimote.

Did I get it right, or did I miss something?

Now having said all that, if we’re lucky and the Duwi remote can be made to use association in the same way that the Aeon minimote does (and I have to say, looking at the documentation, I believe it probably can) it’s important to understand that when you do set it up as this type of “button controller” in smartthings, that’s all you’re going to get. Pressing a button will tell smart things what button was pressed. Then you write some code in smartthings to take an action when that button was pressed, and off you go.

However, and this is really important, if you use this device in this way you will lose all of the manufacturer – intended fancy scene management with the yellow lights and the red lights and the blinking lights and whatever. The buttons will no longer mean what the manufacturer intended them to mean. They will not be operating scenes or groups in the way that the manufacturer describes in the user manual.

It’s just going to be “button one was pressed,” “button two was pressed,” etc. then it’s up to your code to do something because of those button presses. The only device that the handheld remote is going to speak to directly is a SmartThings hub. That also means that if your cloud account is not available for whatever reason, your handheld remote will not work.

On the other hand, if you use the manufacturer’s built-in functionality The scene and group lights will have meaning and the handheld remote would work with the devices it controls even if your internet cloud account is not available. But the handheld remote is going to be limited to controlling zwave devices that are in the same room with it.

I just wanted to make sure that it was understood that if you use this device successfully as a button controller you will be able to have a button change modes or runa routine or control a zigbee device. Because the remote is just going to talk to the hub and the hub is then going to take the action. But using it in this way means giving up all the zwave fanciness that the manufacturer built into it. It literally just becomes a collection of buttons. :sunglasses:

Yes that’s exactly what what I meant. Z-Wave is very new to me and have not got any Z-Wave devices yet other than the ST Hub. I did not realize there are so many ways a hand held remote can make a light come on.

I take it the hub has no way of listening in to the signal sent out by the secondary controller.

Groups, Scenes and Associations are also all new to me as I am used to the X10 type system. I assumed when you pressed a button on a secondary controller, it would send the signal wireless to all devices and then the appropriate device would respond.

You learn something every day, HomeSeer to me a is a piece of automation software from the 90’s.

From this thread, it appears the Duwi Remote is a secondary controller.

On a side note, what is the reaction time like for Z-Wave, it is 1-2 seconds for X10.

Thanks for your help on clearing this all up for me.

I just posted in the other thread you linked to, I think they jumped to an assumption there that doesn’t necessarily apply. :sunglasses:

Homeseer is indeed a home automation system that is a competitor of smart things, but because they both adhere to the third-party Z wave standard, the Z wave end devices like switches made by Homeseer can be used with SmartThings. As it happens, they make a couple of devices which are popular in the smart things community. There is a night light which can change color and has its own motion sensor and Lux sensor – – that makes a nice notifier. And they have a brand-new line of Z wave plus light switches that can do double tap and triple tap which a lot of people like. Sorry for any confusion, I was just referring to those new light switches, that’s how they communicate the double tap.

And, no, for security reasons no zwave controller can “listen in” on the messages sent by another controller to its own devices. They have to be an included recipient, which is what association can do.

As far as the lag time for SmartThings it varies a lot for different people. But most of the reports are that it is as fast or faster then most of its competitors in the same price range. If it’s slower, there’s probably a network efficiency issue that needs to be addressed. The exception would be Lutron switches that only run locally-- Lutron only does lighting, it holds a bunch of patents, and it makes response time one of its top device priorities. So it tends to run away from the field. A lot of people jumped ship from wink and came to SmartThings, because when it came to cloud-based platforms, SmartThings was a lot faster.