Cooper Aspire RF syncing master and auxiliary switches

I’ll add more later specific to the Cooper’s, but meanwhile, just one quick note:

Never have a dimmer, smart or not, directly control the current to a smart bulb like Phillips hue. The two devices will confuse each other and you are likely to either burn out the switch or reduce the life of the bulb. The best bulbs to use with the Coopers are dimmable dumb LEDs.

If you have a Smart dimmer. which is not directly controlling the current draw to the bulb, such as the battery operated Cooper 9500 or a dimmer on another circuit, then you can have the bulb follow the switch wirelessly by passing messages through the hub.

Smart bulbs are intended to always be on full power and then they themselves will control the current draw. You can find this information in the user manuals for the bulbs.

It may be helpful to understand what zwave association is.

Z wave association is a method included in the standard zwave protocol which is intended to allow two devices which are in the same room to talk to each other without having to talk to the hub at all.

Its purpose is really to reduce lag as much as possible for a motion sensor triggering a light switch or in some cases an auxiliary switch triggering a master switch. when both are a long way from the hub, such as in an attic room.

So it’s understandable that smartthings ignores it – – by definition, the devices will not notify the hub about anything that they have done.

You shouldn’t need association between an auxiliary switch with zwave capability and a master switch with zwave capability when you are using SmartThings. Instead, you will have both talk to the hub and the Hub will pass the messages between them.

You can use smartlighting to have one switch follow the other, or even have each follow the other, very easily.

So while you can use zwave association if you choose to, it will almost always result in synchronization issues with the hub because the hub is left out of the message communication.

Also note that if you use the hub as the middleman, the devices don’t have to be within the same room and they don’t have to even use the same protocol. You could have a Z wave switch in the living room control zigbee bulbs on the far side of the house if you want to. Or a WeMo switch up two floors.

So while zwave association is useful in a few specific situations, most people using SmartThings will use hub communications instead. It’s more flexible, it lets you include anything that the hub can talk to, and it lets you cover a much wider area.

The instruction manuals for most Zwave devices, of course, don’t have any understanding of how a multiprotocol platform like smartthings works. They’re assuming you’re using a simple Z wave only controller. So their instructions will include associations that really are not necessary when you are using SmartThings as the network controller. :sunglasses: :bulb: :level_slider: :bulb:

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If you just want on/off from the auxiliaries, don’t use association at all. Instead, use smart lighting as described in post above:

you will find the detailed instructions in the community-created wikiHow to article on how to group lights. You just have to add each of the three switches to your smartthings network, and then follow the instructions:

If you also want them to dim together, you certainly can. Unfortunately, smartthings does not provide this in the built in features, so you would have to use custom code like “dim with me” or “dim and dimmer.”

I know @Lgkahn has a custom device handler, I’m not sure if he also has a custom smart app to do the dimming.

I know this probably seems like there’s been a lot of discussion on features that just end up being confusing… Different people have different use cases, and some people do want to specifically use association. But it’s actually easier without it.

That’s great information, and I think the thread topic has been nailed with the how-to’s and the deeper explanation you just posted.

I am now moving on to “phase 2” and want to do what you suggest by configuring these switches to wireless control my always-on Hue bulbs. I assume we should take that conversation to a thread about “Cooper Aspire + Hue” where we can play with the concepts for association vs ST configuration? Do you know of a specific topic thread for this, or shall I start a new one?

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I think the use case is specific enough that you can set it up as a new thread under projects. :sunglasses:

Done. Thanks.

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Do you feel that the Cooper Aspire switches are worth the extra money and effort compared to the GE Zwave switches? I will be replacing some Control4 switches which have a nice LED indicator light that I do like, but the cost of the Aspire switches and the need for a Minimote has me thinking twice about them.

(I still haven’t addressed/completed my project, but I can answer this one)

The GE zwave switches/dimmers were very easy, affordable, and blended in nicely with “standard” toggle switches. I have several of these. If I can get the 3rd wire to other switches in the house I’ll be installing more.
The Aspire dimmers were a little complicated to setup (ex: the minimote), they were pricey, and while they look more interesting, they don’t blend well with my other switches.

The real reason I chose the Aspires was due to the community saying they were compatible with ST, and they will be controlling some smart bulbs (Hues) that cannot be controlled by the load. The switches need to act as wireless remotes, and not reduce or cut the power to the smart bulbs. Setting up the GE switch association in ST to control the lights has the light coming on maybe 4-8 seconds after hitting the switch (since the switches are polled by ST). The Aspires trigger immediately to ST that they have been pushed.

I have a single Aspire accessory dimmer controlling some Hue light strips, and it works great with the ST association… except that I don’t have the dimming working yet. I also have 3 switches 4way controlling another Hue light which I haven’t followed the advice on this thread yet. I remain hopeful that it will all work out, I’m just looking for the time to do it.

Different switches have different features. So it comes down to how you intend to use them. The following thread discusses different brands.

Thank you as always!

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So I started a thread on a similar topic and have been referred back here. However, I still haven’t seen an answer to getting full local control with the 9540/9542 pair, including dimmer control, and ST.

Has anyone figured this out yet?

For the sake of keeping things a bit less confusing with my other thread and keeping discussion here, I’ll copypasta my original thread body here:

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After exhaustive research, I settled on the Cooper Aspire 9540 & 9542 dimmer switches as I want/need full direct control at each three-way switch as well as voice control via Alexa. However, it appears that I get either one or the other and not both.

I have multiple sets of three-way switches set up with the 9540 Master and 9542-Z Accessory dimmer, and in every case I can’t get the accessory to work as intended. I’ll use my Kitchen setup as the example, but all of three-way switches appear to (not) function the same way.

I have a 9540 Master that works correctly. The on/off and dimming functions work as intended, as well as with ST and by extension, Alexa. The problems come into play with the 9542 accessory switch. I can’t get it to work reliably, and the dimmer function doesn’t appear to work at all.

I have used Smart Lighting, with the following settings:

Which lights do you want to control?
Kitchen 9540
What do you want to do?
Turn on & set level
Dimmer Level 90%
Select trigger:
Which switch?
Kitchen 9542
Turn on & set level lights when:
Turned On
Turn off as well: Set to ‘on’

However, when utilizing this setup, here is what happens:
Start with lights off (both Kitchen 9540 & Kitchen 9542)

Press Kitchen 9542 once and lights dim ‘up’ to 90%. ST reports both 9542 & 9540 are ‘on’.
Press 2nd time and 9542 & 9540 still report on, and the lights dim up again.
Press 3rd time and nothing happens. LED’s on the dimmer count up to the ‘on’ position. 9542 & 9540 are reported ‘on’ via ST.
Press 4th time and 9542 LED’s dim ‘up’ and is reported ‘on’ via ST, but lights do not turn on and 9540 still reported as ‘off’.
Press 5th time, adn LED’s on the 9542 dim ‘up’, but are dim as though the switch is off. The lights turn on and the 9540 & 9542 on ST are both repoorted as ‘on’.
Press 6th time and 9542 LED’s dim 'up, and appear to be on, booth 9542 & 9540 are reported on via ST, and the lights remain on.
Press 7th time, and switch LED’s dim ‘up’, appear that switch is off, lights in the room dim ‘up’ from the on position back to 90%, and both 9542 & 9540 are reported ‘on’ in ST.

At this point the last two actions simply repeat and there is no way to turn off the lights in the room from the accessory switch. At no time does the dimmer function ever actually work from the accessory, either.

I’ve tried all different settings I can think of via Smart Lighting app, but this is as close as I can get to actually working, but obviously it is not acceptable.

Any ideas?

I came across a YouTube video last night that I thought would be worth sharing. It quickly shows how to associate two Aspire devices (in this case, one is a dimmer and one is an outlet) using a Minimote.

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Okay - confused as hell…

I have a Cooper 9540 on one end of the room and a 9542 on the other. I got the minimote and did the bi-directional association. They worked perfectly synchronizing both the on state as well as the dim setting no matter which switch I operated. I was thinking I could then remove them from the minimote and then add the master to my ST hub, however, removing them from the remote also removed the associations!!!

Every thread discussing these has been inconclusive… or maybe I just missed the conclusion… so WHAT’S THE ANSWER? It seems the solution is to ignore associations altogether and communicate via hub only. If that’s the case, will someone please walk me through how to set it up?

I tried a “Synchronized Dimming” app I found, but that caused my switches to start ping-ponging.


You have to add all three devices to the SmartThings network first: the master switch, the auxiliary switch, and the minimote.

At that point, the minimote is a secondary to the smartthings hub, but it can still perform association.

Now Follow the instructions to associate the two devices bidirectionally using the minimote. Everything will still be on the SmartThings network when you’re finished, and the associations will be in place. :sunglasses:

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Followed your advice and that works pretty well. Unfortunately, turning the lights on and off within the ST app gets them out of sync again.

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I have to admit that I have experienced the same thing with my 9542 accessory dimmers getting out of sync with the master. It’s a bit irritating to have to toggle the accessory dimmers twice in order to get them to respond. In my situation, I use the master more often than the two accessory dimmers so I just live with it. The master always works without having to double tap the switch panel. The lights respond correctly to all my automations so I rarely touch the switches now anyway.

I programmed my minimote to be the on/off light switch for those lights as well. It works pretty good for that.

Would this setup work if you only paired the master switch after association? I don’t see why I’d need ST to ever control an auxiliary switch.

Hi, I have the rf9540 with 2 rf9542 dimmers trying to make a virtual 4 way, but i’m having issues as soon as the Smartthing hub is part of the picture. I’m not even talking about ST controlling the switches yet, just trying to get the dimmers to associated to each other.

If i only use the Minimote to join the 3 switches together (Without ST)
I can make the A->B, B->A, A->C,C->A,B->C,C->B associations and all switches communicate fine with each other.

When i add in the SmartThings hub, i can’t make all 6 of those associations.

Below are the steps I take:

First I join the minimote to SmartThings as a secondary controller.
Then I add each of the 3 dimmers to ST.
Then i use the minimote to create the 6 associations.

Even without using the ST to control anything, i’m just trying to get the switches associated. Of those 6 associations, i can make 5, but the 6th one (Whichever one I try to do last) won’t take. I’ve tried different orders of associations, and it’s always the last one that won’t take.

A->B Works
B->A Works
A->C Works
C->A Works
B->C Works
C->B Not Work C button presses updates A, but not B. B Button presses do update C though.

Any idea why I would have this issue?

I’ve tried to the the C->B associations many times…and even the other way…and then re-do all associations…but still have issues. I’ve excluded everything, cleared everything, started over…multiple times…and it’s still not working. I can only get all 6 associations, when i skip ST.


I second everything JDRoberts said about not bothering to associate switches over z-wave if you want any control by ST that doesn’t result in syncing issues. I would add that if you want an always-on circuit for something like Hue bulbs, then you don’t want an actual switch (like the RF9540-N) to control them. You should just bypass the switches in your walls so that the circuit is always on and then use virtual switches (such as battery powered stick on anywhere switches, motion sensors, etc.) to control them. The RF9542-ZAW is one such switch and is just like the battery operated version except that 1) it installs inside an existing switch electrical box, and 2) it taps the wired power within that electrical box so it doesn’t need a battery.