SmartThings Community

FAQ: Creating a virtual Device

(Greg) #34

figure this is a good place for this.

I’ve always created virtual switches with the On/Off Button tile device type. They work great! What is the difference between this and simulated switch?



@slagle ?


(Tim Slagle) #36

The simulated devices don’t send any commands around :slight_smile:

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(Jeff) #37

Sorry for the amature post.

I have Smartthings hub and I have Alexa. My end game is to be able to ask Alexa to run a routine “Good Night” and it run the routine that I have set up in the smartthings app. I attempted to create a momentary switch in smartthings, I have the Alexa Helper installed, but Alexa is not discovering the switch and the “switch” inside smartthings isn’t doing anything either.

Can someone please help?



Assuming the switch was created OK and shows up on the things list in the smartthings mobile app, you have to then individually authorize it before echo can see it.

Follow the instructions in step 10 of the first post in the echo set up FAQ and see if that helps. :sunglasses:

You have to do this authorization step anytime you add a new device to SmartThings that you want echo to be able to use.

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If Alexa helper isn’t working, then you need to ask your question in that thread and people there will help you. :sunglasses:


(Jeff) #40

Thanks guys! I got it authorized and now showing up on Alexa. Now, i just need to get the virtual trigger to actually do something :frowning: It doesn’t do anything.

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For that, ask in the Alexa helper topic. They should be able to help.


(Jeff) #42

There is so much documentation out there that I am entirely confused. Is there a simple step by step on this? I am overwhelmed. I THINK i set up a switch, I THINK I set up Echo helper. Later I read somethign about need to cut/paste code for a “helper”… I dunno. There are apparently new versions of this or that — so I don’t know which instructions are the right ones. I really am just frustrated.

I just want to be able to have Echo run the “Good Night!” Routine by voice command.

Hell, I’ll pay someone to walk me through this.



If the Alexa helper thread seems too complicated to you ( that’s a smart app that has definitely become more and more complicated over time, and I understand it can get confusing), try this simpler one. It is literally a step-by-step FAQ for what you were asking. I have updated it today, so if you looked at it earlier, look at it again and I think it will help. :sunglasses:

( This is a clickable link)

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(Omojo) #46

Hi, tried creating a virtual switch but when I click on the location or hub drop down , it’s empty and this doesn’t allow the switch to be created. Do you have any idea why this happens


Virtual Device Ideas Thread

Most likely you signed into the wrong shard for your account.

Overtime, as SmartThings has added many more customers, they have added additional “shards.” ( you can think of these as database servers.)

You wouldn’t think that SmartThings would let you sign into one that’s not associated with your account, but it does, and if you do then you won’t see any of your devices or smart apps.

There are still many posts in the forums back from the time when there was only one shard and so the direct link may not work for you.

See the following FAQ to figure out which link you should be using and then try that.

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(Glen King) #48

I created a virtual switch called “Rehersal Studio”. It powers up the bass amps and PA and floor monitors in one shot, and powers them down again (two separate routines). So now with Alexa, I say “turn on Rehearsal Studio” and the virtual switch fires and powers everything up - and of course, “turn off Rehearsal Studio” turns them all off.

You have to be careful about your naming. I tried “music studio”, but Alexa thought I was asking her to play some music! lol In any event, it’s gonna be massively cool when the band comes over and I do this the first time :grin:


(Mr. Smith) #49

What is “IDE”?



“Integrated Development Environment.”

it’s the website where you can sign into your SmartThings account and view your devices and device type handlers.

Click on “community” at the top right of this page to return to the first page of the forum.

Then click on “developer tools” at the top right of that page.

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(Mr. Smith) #51

Why is this so complex? Why isn’t a virtual switch just listed in the Things list???

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You’d have to ask SmartThings that. A number of us have suggested that for a couple of years. Because virtual switches are so helpful for many different things, it would be great if SmartThings made it easy to add them. But they don’t. :disappointed_relieved:

SmartThings is very powerful and very flexible. There are usually two or three different ways to accomplish just about anything. What it isn’t is discoverable or intuitive.

Fortunately, the community is very helpful and always glad to help. But almost all of us are just other SmartThings customers-- we don’t have any inside knowledge on their design philosophy decisions.

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(Mr. Smith) #53

I’m not a developer. I just want to be able to set a scene in a routine using the app. I’m not sure how I found my way into a developer conversation. There doesnt seem to be a simple way to set a lighting scene.



I agree with you absolutely. What SmartThings offers is power, not simplicity.

Since we’re getting pretty far off topic for this thread, I suggest we take follow ups to the following:


(Joel W) #55

OK I guess I missed it but where do I find a Virtual Momentary Switch in the IDE. I see Button, Garage Door, Switch but not momentary?