SmartThings Community

Finding the right hardware for Lighting Control in two rooms

(Frank ) #1

Hi. I am trying to find the right hardware for my project. I included two pictures of what I have and what I am trying to achieve. I do not mind having to use WebCoRe to do what I need. The black boxes represent the switch plates. Suggestions?

(Jimmy) #2

Not sure what you mean by multi button dimmer, but is there a reason the GE dimmer wouldn’t work for item A? I use Aeon Minimotes for item B.

(Frank ) #3

Well I had envisioned this for item A, but people I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to purchase something without knowing. I need it to directly control and dim the physical connection while also remotely controlling the other items I have listed.

Do those remotes have the ability to dim? I need to be able to control 2-4 items on a single remote.

GE 45631 Z-Wave Wireless Keypad Controller


Are you asking for something that fits in a single gang box? Your drawing seems to imply a triple gang width for the spot where the fan Switch is.

If you’re asking for a multibutton device that controls multiple circuit branches, there really isn’t anything that matches your requirements. They’re all “remotes” or “scene controllers,” which means they just send a command to the hub and then the hub sends the command to some other smart device which controls the actual circuit branch. That would be very different than your drawing.

There are certainly multibutton wall units, but not multibutton wall units that directly control multiple branches. And they don’t do dimming, so you have to create set scenes for the different dim level combinations that you want.


So are you asking for something that goes in a triple gang box next to the 2 GE switches you have indicated? That could work as long as you also put an in wall micro or smart bulbs where your recessed lights are.

Or are you asking for something with the same functionality as the GE switches but with everything to fit in a single gang box?


As far as the 45631, search the forum for discussions on it. That’s very old technology, two generations back, and it has a lot of limitations. It can only be used to control other zwave devices and only ones within one hop, typically in the same room. And it won’t update the status in the mobile app. That’s because it doesn’t send information to the hub at all, it just communicates directly to another Z wave device nearby. So there are some community members using it, but usually because they already had them installed before they switched to a SmartThings hub. Most people prefer devices which can handle more situations and also update the hub with the status changes.

(Frank ) #6

Let me approach this differently:

When I walk into the living room, I have a triple gang to my left that I want to be able to controlled what is physically wired (recessed lighting w/ dimming, fan light w/ dimming, and fan w/ fan speed) along with remotely controlling my lamps.

When i walk into the master bedroom, I have a triple gang to my right that I want to be able to controlled what is physically wired (recessed lighting w/ dimming, fan light w/ dimming, and fan w/ fan speed) along with the following remote items in order of importance - a zwave switch that is near the closet that controls a single light (dimming) and either both the lamps simultaneously or each lamp individually (dimming).

To answer your other questions, I don’t mind if it is buttons because I figured I can use webCore to do preset dimming levels.



Thanks for the clarification. In that case any of the multibutton Devices that work with SmartThings should work for you, including the one pictured in my previous post.

You can take a look at the thread that I linked to there, as well as the buttons FAQ, to see if there’s anything you like:

You could even use the 45631 as long as all of the devices being controlled are Z wave and are within one hop as long as you’re OK with the app not knowing if the devices are on or off since the actions of the wall controller will not be reported to the hub.

(Edward Niedziejko) #8

If you don’t mind a mess of button controllers, nano remotes are easy to add on to a bank of switches by just attaching them to the faceplate.

Of course there’s some caveats. You’ll need a smartbridge and a RPI server to translate for direct control of the remotes.

(Jimmy) #9

You won’t find a single gang dimmer and button controller in one. If your wanting a control panel type solution to manually control other items in the room, then something like ActionTiles may work best.

(Frank ) #10

Most of what I found though don’t support both buttons and switching. It’s either a controller or a switch, not both. The Inovelli dimming switch with scene control is close, but not great as it is complicated to control.

(Edward Niedziejko) #11

I use my picos as direct control of a single dimmer with short presses, then have long presses turn on/off banks of lights.

(Frank ) #12

I like this because adding another gang is hard and is preventing me from finding a good solution with zwave and smartthings.


That’s true, which is why you need to have an additional smart device for the recessed lights, either an in wall micro or smart bulbs.

In this set up:

When I walk into the living room, I have a triple gang to my left that I want to be able to controlled what is physically wired (recessed lighting w/ dimming, fan light w/ dimming, and fan w/ fan speed) along with remotely controlling my lamps.

You would have a GE dimmer switch for the fan light, a GE fan switch for the fan speed control, probably a micro at the fixture for the recessed lighting ( or you could use smart bulbs but that would likely cost more), and then a button controller that would control the recessed lighting via scenes as well as the other combinations that you wanted.

Same idea with The bedroom, although you would likely need more buttons to handle the additional remote lamps. But in order to get control of three wired devices plus buttons in a triple gang switch, you need to give one of those wired devices a smart controller in a different location so you free up the third space in the switchbox for the button controller.

As you noted, at present there aren’t any devices that both control circuit branch directly and give you the button options.

There are rocker switches like the Inovelli that have single tap and double tap options, and in the case of the Homeseer, even triple tap, but they do tend to be nonintuitive for guests and it didn’t look like they would handle as many scenarios as you were trying to do. They can be really nice for zone lighting in a basement or other large room, where are you tap once for an individual light to come on and you tap twice to have all the lights in the room come on, but They do get confusing if you are trying to do other types of scene control with them. And I think the rockers where you have to do a long hold for some options get especially confusing.

(Frank ) #14

I wonder if we can convince someone like Inovelli to produce.


Never hurts to ask. :sunglasses:



Hey guys,

We’re always down for a challenge :slight_smile:

I’m not sure whether or not the big lunch hit me or if I’m just completely lost in what’s trying to be accomplished here, so bear with me as I ask some follow up questions (also, unfortunately, my background is not in electrical, so I may have to pull in our VP of Engineering who is a licensed electrician to try to explain it):

  • I guess let’s start with something I can easily understand as a marketing guy… pictures… if you could design the switch to do what you want, how would you draw it?
  • If I’m understanding correctly, you’d want something that controls the light/load but also can send out scene commands, but instead of the traditional rocker style, you’d like separate buttons to push, is that correct (ie: up/down for load, other buttons for scenes)?

Hopefully I hit that somewhat on the head!

(Frank ) #17


I am relatively knew to home automation and Z-Wave has always felt like the right answer to me. I have some of your smart plugs. One thing I have had a problem finding are finding combined dimming switch and scene controllers AND associated remotes that are supported to the level that your products are. If I had to name two products that do exactly what I referring to after some searching this morning, I would say the 6 button dimmer switch and the 8 button remote from Insteon. Simple On/Off, A-D, would work great and not break the bank. I can think of four other places to use this. You could easily count me in for 2 remotes, six switches.



(Frank ) #18

Hi Eric. Thanks for the reply. Here is what I think we need… both the switch and remote that they sell, but Zwave Inovelli all the way. :wink:



If it helps any, we get a forum request for a device like the Insteon one that @xlt_frank Linked to several times a year.

Before the introduction of Central Scene Commands in Zwave, this would have been a much trickier engineering project, but now it should be pretty straightforward. Basically you want the functionality of your current switch with scene control, but put into a button format with one button for each scene and one for the on/off function of the switch that it is replacing. :sunglasses:


Ah, ok, that makes perfect sense. I can explore that for sure. We’re currently working on a remote version that’s close to that (obviously doesn’t control a load, but it’s essentially a Pico except Z-Wave) which will be out next month.

What you could do if you’re impatient (we all are, trust me) is when the remote comes out is directly associate it with your other lights that are already hardwired.

I’ll have to check with our VP of Tech, but he was showing me how the remotes were directly associated to another in-wall switch of ours to setup a virtual 3-Way setting and when you dimmed on the remote, it dimmed the in-wall, wired switch in realtime, which was cool.

So, what you could essentially do is associate the remote to your in-wall switch and then use the other buttons on it to send a scene command to the rest of the devices you’d like to control.

I know that doesn’t solve for what you’d like, and it adds another device to the room, but it could be a good stopgap while we look to create something similar to the switch from the link as I actually think that’s a cool idea and we get that same request a lot too.

Thanks for sharing it and yeah, hopefully we can come up with something similar. We’re looking into some fan control, so that may be another product to explore while we’re doing it (ie: top/bottom buttons can control the lights and the middle buttons the speed of the fan). Not sure yet, but we could potentially use the same body to create the switch you’d like.