Cooper Aspire RF syncing master and auxiliary switches


(Lawrence) #1

I have some Cooper Aspire Z-wave dimmer switches (RF-9540 master switches and RF-9542 auxiliary switches). I got the Aeon Minimote to associate the auxiliary switches with the master switches, and that worked fine. Now both the auxiliary and the master switches will turn the same light on and off or dim it up and down.

Also, the auxiliary will update the master’s state correctly. If I turn the light off with the auxiliary, the master switch shows as off. If I dim the light with the auxiliary, the master’s level changes to match

Problems arise with the master switch updating the auxiliary’s on/off state and dim levels. If I turn the light off with the master, the auxiliary still shows its state as on, and I have to physically push the auxiliary button twice to get it back in sync. Same thing with dim levels.

I have 3 different 3-way circuits in my house and they all display this behavior. I found this issue discussed on the Vera forum, so it’s an issue on other platforms as well, but I haven’t found it discussed here. Anyone else run into this? Any thoughts on solutions?


Are there any published Device Types for Aspire RF Dimmers? If not, how does one connect them to ST Hub?
GE 12722 doesn't fit-too deep
(Todd Whitehead) #2

I have the same issue. I just hide the slave switch in a folder and don’t look at it. Not the best solution, but the master swtich should be correct, so the slave isn’t really pertinent.

-Todd


(Lawrence) #3

Well, that only helps in the SmartThing app. The really frustrating aspect of this is that someone can physically press the accessory switch and nothing happens. Then they have to press again to get the light to turn on or off.

Worse, you can set a desired dim level on the accessory and then turn the switch off. When you turn it on with the master, your dim level has disappeared! It goes to the last level set by the master.

It makes the switches behave in a way that seems unpredictable and arbitrary.


(Todd Whitehead) #4

Weird. I do not have these issues with the Linear switches.

-Todd


(Ash Raj) #5

I think you need a remote capable of setting two-way associations, like Cooper or Leviton’s remotes. Lutron has a patent on two-way communication between switches and controllers, and Cooper and Leviton are the only companies that pay to license that patent. When I create a virtual 3-way with my Leviton remote, first it associates the auxiliary switch with the master switch, and then it asks me to set a reverse association. I don’t think the Aeon Minimote is capable of doing that second part.

Other than this issue (which I hopefully just solved), what do you think about your Cooper dimmer switches? Like, what are the pros and cons? On paper, they seem like the best Z-Wave dimmers available, but I’ve never actually tried one. I started a thread to figure out who makes the best dimmers, but no one has chimed in about Cooper.

Thanks!


(Lawrence) #6

Argh, another device I have to buy. I was under the mistaken impression that the SmartThings hub would be all I needed to set up and control the Z-Wave network. I’ll see if I can return the MiniMote. Neither the Cooper or Leviton controller options are reasonably priced.

I can’t really pass judgement on the switches since I haven’t been able to successfully associate the masters with the accessories. The switches are responsive - lights turn on quickly when the button is pressed, the dimmers work fine. The physical switch feels a little cheap - the on-off button is a single panel, but you have to press on the right 2/3 of the panel for the switch to turn on. Pressing on the left third of the button does nothing.

There are some configurations on the switches (instant on, max/min dimming) that I haven’t been able to mess with yet due to time constraints. I’ll let you know once I’m able to play with them more.


(Ash Raj) #7

What’s worse is that they feel ancient compared to all of the other technology we use today. The Leviton controller came out in 2007, and it still costs $150 eight years later. (It reminds me of the price of TI graphing calculators.) I imagine this is because Lutron is getting a cut of every sale. Thankfully, their patent expires next year.

That sounds like a pretty annoying design decision. Do you have the “Designer” version (left) or the “Decorator” version (right)?:


(Jaimey Sapp) #8

From what I know about Cooper, the Auxillary switches/dimmers and the 5 button scene controllers are “dumb” controllers. Simply put, the send a signal but do not receive a command. I had the same problem with a current project.


(Ash Raj) #9

Based on Cooper’s FAQ, accessory switches/dimmers communicate bi-directionally with master switches/dimmers.

An association is required to create a 3-way between 2 RF switches or dimmers. In such a case, 2 associations must be programmed; the first would be from the Master to the Accessory; the second from the Accessory to the Master.

As far as I know, you need a Leviton or Cooper Z-Wave controller to set reverse associations — cheaper controllers can’t do this.


(Ash Raj) #10

I purchased all of the same devices you have. Turns out you don’t need the Cooper remote!
The Minimote is capable of setting bi-directional associations:

  1. Enter association mode
  2. Press the master switch
  3. Press the accessory switch
  4. Exit association mode
  5. Enter association mode
  6. Press the accessory switch
  7. Press the master switch
  8. Exist association mode

You’ve already done steps 1-4, so you just need to do steps 5-8. This should solve your problem :smile:


(Lawrence) #11

I just haven’t had time to play with this stuff til now - sorry to be such an infrequent poster. But here’s some feedback.

I tried Ashwin’s suggestion with the Minimote and it works! Mostly, that is. The auxiliary and master switches update each other’s on/off state’s consistently, and when the light is on, they update each other’s dim states consistently. Where it’s not working is when the light’s off. If I turn the light off, then change the dim state on one switch, the other switch’s dim state does not update. Doesn’t matter which direction (master -> accessory or vice versa). So if I dim a light that’s on to 5%, both switches will go to 5%. If I then turn the light off and set one switch to 100% , the other switch will stay at 5%.

Is this a limitation of the Cooper switch? Will the Cooper controller fix this?

Ashwin, I have the Decorator version throughout my house. I bought one Designer switch and showed it to my wife, and she hated it. She’s the one with taste. So take that for what it’s worth. Now that we have them everywhere, I like the look a lot - the Designer switches draw attention to themselves, and would be jarring, I think, to always have them pulling at your attention. I like the way the Decorator switches look good but blend in.

Generally, the switches have been fine. Durable, functional. They have some limited programmability, and it’s a pain to do because you have to go to each switch and perform these complicated set of steps, so that’s not fun. But do it once and it’s done, and they perform great otherwise. The Z-Wave functionality has been really smooth.

Ashwin, apparently you’ve gone ahead and bought the Coopers. What do you think of them?

Lawrence


(Lawrence) #12

Another point: the SmartThings app does not seem to interact properly with auxiliary switches.

Say I first add both the master and auxiliary switches to the SmartThings app (which I have to do to add them both to the Z-Wave network).

Then I set up 2-way association between the two switches using the Minimote. Turning the auxiliary switch on and off now switches the light on and off and updates the master switch.

Then I go into the SmartThings app and turn on the auxiliary switch in the app. Nothing happens! The light doesn’t turn on and the master switch doesn’t update its state (i.e. the master switch continues to show that it’s off).

Bug? Seems like a bug to me.

On solution: in the ST app, put all the auxiliary switches into a folder which I then ignore. Problem is, turning on the master switch via the ST app will also not update the auxiliary switch. So any usage of SmartThings will cause my Master/auxiliary switch associations to go out of sync.


(Ash Raj) #13

I just received my Cooper controller (they were backordered for weeks), so I can finally answer these questions.

Unfortunately, even after being associated by the Cooper controller, dim states do not update between switches when they are off. This seems to be a limitation of the Cooper dimmer, and Z-Wave dimmers in general.

I think the problem is that switches don’t obey associations when they are turned on and off via Z-Wave. If you look at the blue indicator on your auxiliary switch when you turn it on from SmartThings, you’ll see that it is indeed turning on — it just isn’t turning anything else on. SmartThings thinks the auxiliary switch is the same as any other switch, so you can use The Big Switch smart app to keep it in sync with the master.

(Btw, if you didn’t already know, you can also use the Minimote to associate master switches together! I use this to turn on/off all of my backyard lights when I turn on/off any of them.)

I’ve spent almost a year testing out dimmers: Lutron Maestro, Lutron Caseta, Leviton Vizia RF+, Wink Relay, Quirky Tapt, GE/Jasco, Enerwave/Linear, and Cooper Aspire RF (Designer and Decorator). At this point, I could probably write a short book about wireless light switches, but suffice it to say that the Coopers won out.

+Easy to use dimming buttons
+Dim level indicator
+Programmable max and min settings
+Rapid start to “kick” on LEDs at low dim levels
+Two-way association between switches
+Instant SmartThings status updates
—On/off button cannot be pressed from the left
—Dim state does not sync between switches that are off
—My LED bulbs hum louder than with other dimmers

Like your wife, I vastly prefer the Decorator style. It’s very similar to the Lutron Maestro, but I wish Cooper figured out how to copy Lutron’s button mechanism. Cooper’s button seems to be hinged on left and pushes in like a door, whereas Lutron’s button pushes straight in without any hinge.

Oh and if you’re wondering about the controller, it’s okay. The screen makes it a lot easier to use than the Minimote, e.g., you can create and delete associations without having to walk up to each switch to identify it, but I don’t think that justifies the cost. The only reason you would buy one is if you want to change your switch’s configuration parameters, e.g. ramp on and ramp off times, max and min brightness, etc.


Looking For Info on Automating My Lights
(Lawrence) #14

That’s too bad that two way association doesn’t update when the switches are off. It sounds like this is a limitation of the Z-Wave spec, not just of Cooper switches, from what you said. I often find myself adjusting the dim level before turning a light on.

Glad to hear it! I didn’t do nearly the research you did, but I’m happy to hear I chose the best. I agree about the hinges, but after being initially annoyed by it, I’m pretty used to it now, and barely notice it anymore.

I haven’t noticed any buzzing with any of my LEDs at all. Maybe it’s the brand of LED bulb? Are yours rated by Cooper to work with the dimmers?

The instructions show you how to change the max/min brightness just using the switch itself, but I haven’t figured out how to change the ramp on/ramp off times with just the switch. Do you know how to do that?

I’m looking forward to finally setting up the Cooper five scene switch that I bought but haven’t been able to work on yet. Do you know if SmartThings can trigger individual scenes on that? One of my frustrations with SmartThings is that modes all have the same dim level on all lights, so it doesn’t truly set up scenes. I’m hoping that I can set up a true scene with the minimote, associate the scene with a button on the Cooper five scene controller, and trigger the scenes at different times with SmartThings.

Lawrence


#15

I don’t think vanilla smartthings will give you that kind of scene control.

However, a number of community members have written different custom smart apps which should do it.

Look at “Dim and Dimmer,” “Lighting Director,” and “scene machine” and see if any of them fit. If a particular apps topic seems too technical, just ask a question in terms of functionality and the author will usually answer. :blush:

http://community.smartthings.com/c/smartapps/created-smart-apps

(Ash Raj) #16

I’m using these Feit LED Retrofit kits from Costco. They work perfectly with most dimmers, but they’re not on Cooper’s approved list. Cooper’s own Halo LED Retrofit would probably work better, but they’re 30% less bright and 2.5x more expensive.

You can change the ramp rate by setting parameter 7 using a Z-Wave controller. This is pretty easy to do with the Copper controller or any other controller that has a screen. SmartThings is capable of doing this too, but someone would have to write a custom device type for the Cooper dimmer. (After I learn more, I’ll try to write one myself.)

Currently there isn’t a SmartThings device type for it at all, but I’m planning on making one based on the Enerwave scene controller. However, I don’t think I could implement the functionality you’re hoping for. The device type would let you trigger SmartThings from the scene controller, not the other way around. It would be similar to the Minimote.

Like @JDRoberts said, you could use a community Smart App to set up scenes with a different dim level for each light.

Ash


(Lawrence) #17

Well I’m just about on the verge of buying the Cooper desktop controller and giving up on the MiniMote. I’ve been able to set up a scene on the MiniMote, but cannot figure out for the life of me how to transfer the scene from the MiniMote to the Cooper five scene switch. Has anyone been able to do that successfully?

@JDRoberts, thanks for the mention of some apps for better scene control from SmartThings. I’ll give them a try. Anything to get me away from the SmartThings app at this point.


(Ash Raj) #18

If you decide to get the Cooper Tabletop or Handheld controller from Westway Electric Supply, make sure you check their lead time. They have the lowest prices on Cooper stuff, but my controller arrived 7 weeks after I placed the order. They don’t keep their own inventory, so everything is dropshipped directly from Cooper.


(Lawrence) #19

Do you have a preference between the tablethop or handheld controllers? There’s a numberpad on the handheld that doesn’t exist on the tabletop - does that make it easier to use?

I’m inclined to get the tabletop so I don’t have to deal with batteries.

These things are impossible to find used…


#20

I am truly sorry to have to be the one to tell you that although the regular Cooper wall switches are compatible with smartthings, there is no wall mount scene controller or tabletop controller which is compatible with SmartThings at this time. (That may change in the future.)

That includes the two Cooper scene controllers that have been mentioned, both the wall mount and the table top.

THE MISSING REPLICATION COMMANDS

The smartthings generation one is zwave certified only for basic set commands. This allows switches to turn on and off, and multi level switches like light dimmers to move through their levels.

It also supports association.

What it does not support, at least as of this writing, is the zwave controller replication or scene configuration command classes.

For this reason, you cannot set up a scene in one device, including the hub, and then transfer it to another device as you might with some other Z wave primary controllers.

You can verify this from the official zwave conformance statements for each device.

The alternative in a smartthings installation is to use one of the custom code smartapps that does scene management, like scene machine or flexi light, to name just two of a dozen or so, and then trigger those from one of the remotes that does work with smart things, or a tablet dashboard like the very popular SmartTiles.

POSSIBLE WALLMOUNT DEVICES

As you will learn from the previous link, there are two wall mount devices that look like scene controllers but are handled internally like remotes that you can also try: the 7 button Enerwave SC7 or the Leviton 4 button zone controller. But not everyone has been successful getting those to work with ST, and you still have to associate each button with a smartapp or hello home phrase.

The zigbee SmartenIT 3 toggle switch also works very well with ST and is good for either wallmount or tabletop.

You can find many of the most popular community created smartapps here:

http://community.smartthings.com/c/smartapps/created-smart-apps

WORKS WITH SMARTTHINGS?

Before investing in any switches, remote, or controllers that are not listed on the official “works with smart things” list it’s best to check in the community and make sure that that device is actually compatible.

So although this topic began by talking about simple switches which are compatible with smart things, it has veered into discussion of scene controllers, which are not even though they are from the same line.