Frostdale Zwave switch: Works with Smartthings?


(Leonardo R Motta) #1

Hello folks,

I am about to acquire a Smartthings Hub V.2 early next year. I have been reading a lot about ST lately.

I already have eight Z-Wave (US Frequency) Light Switches from Frostdale (http://products.z-wavealliance.org/products/599) installed at home, but I do not have any Hub Controller. Unfortunately Frostdale light switches were discontnued, so these devices will never receive official support from ST.

I know this is not an easy question to answer but:

  • Can I add a Z-Wave generic light switch device to Smartthings?

  • If not, would be possible to create a driver/app to make this device compatible? Is that too complicated?

If not, what other controller would be a good match for these devices? I have been also looking to VeraEdge (but there are a some very bad reviews and it is not compatible with ZigBee) and Staples Connect by D-Link (which looks like it will be discontinued and also have some bad reviews).

And I was the guy that thought that acquiring a Z-Wave device would be nice idea, since it is an open platform and any Hub would be able to control it…

Thanks for reading this post…


(Someday my dog will be automated) #2

There is generic Zigbee switch, so I assume there must be one for Z-Wave as well. Just keep in mind that if it is not an official device type, it will run in the cloud, not locally.

There are many community device types. You could ask people for help on how to create one for your Frostdale switches if they don’t pair right away.


(Ben W) #3

Z-wave is not an open platform but a standard. The good news if it is zwave certified then it should just work. There is a generic “Z-Wave Switch”. When a device registers it tells Smartthings what it can do and Smartthings tries to find the best match.


#4

Regrettably the Zwave standard does not work the way you appear to imagine.

The standard applies only at the “basic” level (that a Zwave term), which means that a certified Zwave controller, like the SmartThings hub, will be able to send a basic command to any certified Zwave device. Essentially just an on/off.

Any features above that may or may not be supported. You have to look at the actual command sets to see what’s going on.

There are many Zwave certified devices which do not work well with SmartThings, because they require advanced features which SmartThings does not support.

It is important to understand this, particularly when you are participating in conversations about devices with which you have no personal experience, since otherwise you may be leading other community members to spend money on things that in fact will not work.

In the case of this particular device, it is not a simple on/off switch. You can see that from the conformance statement to which the original poster linked.

Not Just a Generic Switch

This is a multiple channel device, with three different switches. It also has multiple sensors.

As you get more familiar with the forums, you will discover that SmartThings does not handle multiple endpoint devices particularly gracefully. These almost always require a custom device type, and even then it can be tricky to get all the information reported correctly.

Beyond that this particular switch cannot be used as a “button controller” in the SmartThings’ terminology since it does not control association. That means at best it can be used as a multiple endpoint device, sort of like the Aeon power strip. But getting status back from it may be challenging.

Consequently, this particular device is going to take considerable work before it could be usable in a SmartThings’ set up and even then, I’m not sure you’re going to get all the manufacturer-intended features.

(Note also that the command sets in the conformance statement include “manufacturer proprietary” which may mean there’s no way to fully access its features. Zwave does allow for manufacturer proprietary features within its standard.)

Possibilities

I’m sure there are knowledgeable community members who would be happy to help try and develop a custom device type for the device, but at this point it’s not easy to say whether that would be successful or not. It’s certainly not going to be as simple as using the generic Z wave dimmer device type that applies to a single switch device.

BTW, I made the same conceptual error when I first bought SmartThings. I assumed it would work out of the box with any certified Zwave device that worked with Vera. But because ST is a multiprotocol platform, it did not implement controller-based scene management. That’s not basic level functionality, so it didn’t have to, but it means many multibutton devices require custom device types.

Submitted with respect.


#5

It may work as a generic Z-Wave switch, which would allow it to turn on or off straight from SmartThings. It looks like the device has some other functionality (temperature sensor?) that definitely wouldn’t work out of the box. The good news is that Z-Wave switches are pretty simple, so even if it didn’t work out of the box it should be pretty trivial to get it working by sharing the logs after you pair one of the devices.

edit: @JDRoberts correctly pointed out that this isn’t just a simple switch. It may be more difficult than I previously mentioned.


(Ben W) #6

At least with Smartthings you can create a custom device to add the above and beyond functionality of the devices. That is one of the draws and power of the platform. Scene management is a shortcoming but I never had it so I don’t miss it.

I many have over simplified my response, but the initial question will Smartthings handle a generic z-wave switch? The answer will most likely be yes.

I did look at the switch, it looks like 3 in one. It depends if its designed as a single zwave switch with the ability to control other switches, or is it a switch to control 3 separate circuits from the same box.

edit: Looked at the switch in question and its more complicated than a standard on/off one.


(Leonardo R Motta) #7

Hello folks,

Thanks for your replies… They were really helpful… I am really glad that I asked before buying, since I was about to push the button to acquire ST…

Yes this is not a just a regular on/off switch. It has a temperature sensor and a energy saving mode (reduce energy consumption in about 35%). There are versions with one, two, three and four keys, and also a dimmer version (and I have all of them except for the two keys switch). Also, I was supposed to be able to turn on or off light switch bips.

And you are right, these are multichannel products. I have a simple GE 45600 Z-Wave Basic Handheld Remote which is only able to control the first key of each light switch.

I was also thinking to add a Fibaro Door Sensor to my front door to create a few scenes.

ZigBee looks promising, with players like Legrand/BtCino entering the game, so I would like left the door open for ZigBee, as well.

So, do you think that Smartthings would be the best choice?

Well, I am a newbie in the Smartthings community but I am not sure that someone would help me to create drivers/app for a discontinued product… I am possibly one of the very few people in this world with Frostdale nanogrid looking for a ZWave controller… And maybe the only person in the world to use such app/drivers for Smartthings…

Any thoughts?

Thank you again for all your replies… Keep them coming…


#8

A lot of the master coders in this community have home automation as a hobby and enjoy tinkering, they like the challenge of a new device. I don’t think you’d have any trouble getting people to help trying to write a device type.

That said, the behavior you saw with the GE remote is the behavior I would initially expect in a SmartThings installation, that is that it would pair and you would get on/off control of one button and that would be it.

The problem is I just don’t know if you’ll be able to go any farther than that. Not supporting association is a big deal. They may have done it with proprietary code in which case we’re probably stuck.

As to whether SmartThings is the right choice for you or not, that’s a very individual decision. Right now it’s a system which requires a lot of tinkering and resetting every week For many people. But with great potential and an excellent developer community. It’s definitely not a “set and forget” system. So it comes down to your specific needs and preferences.


(Leonardo R Motta) #9

@JDRoberts,

Thanks again for your reply.

I have been looking for additional technical information on the internet about Frostdale nanogrid switches, and I found a very interesting post on Google Groups on the following link: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/openzwave/xWWCvhmyRmY

Since I am a newbie, I do not know if this information would be useful for someone trying to integrate Frostdale nanogrid switches with SmartThings Hub V.2. Is this information relevant?

My switches do not have Energy meter option installed.


#10

It’s useful information, but unfortunately it confirms that they are using some manufacturer proprietary code that it doesn’t look like anyone has been able to crack yet. And that it’s a multiple endpoint device but with some twists.

I won’t say it’s impossible that someone will be able to get it to work with SmartThings, but I Think it more likely that you’ll only get partial functionality with it. But I don’t see any signs that people with other controllers got it working in full either. It looks like it may have required Frostdale’s proprietary service.


(Leonardo R Motta) #11

I found some topics reporting that Frostdale nanogrid works with Vera controllers:

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=8858.0
http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=17788.0
http://wiki.mios.com/index.php/Supported_Hardware

I really do not know if I should pick a SmartThings V.2 or a Vera Edge… Both controllers cost the same… And it looks like Vera controllers offers a better compatibility out of the box…

I must add that I live in Brazil, and I will be In USA next month, so I was thinking about to buy one of the hubs and bring it back with me. I must state that my light switches work in US Z Wave frequency.

Thanks!


(Leonardo R Motta) #12

Hello everybody,

I would like to update my situation:

  • Since I was unsure if SmartThings would work with Frostdale nanogrid switches, I decided to go with Vera Edge. All my Frostdale nanogrid light switches were correctly identified and all switches are working pretty fine. Temperature sensors were identified as generic devices by Vera Edge. I just had to inform Vera that these generic devices were actually temperature sensors (device type: urn:schemas-micasaverde-com:device:TemperatureSensor:1 and device_file: D_TemperatureSensor1.xml) and bingo… They started working…

  • The only problem that I had is that my Frostdale nanogrid dimmer is presenting some disconnections due to the fact that Vera Edge was not able to obtain manufacturer information from the device. I sent a message to Vera’s customer support.

  • My Fibaro Door Sensor is working fine, also.

So I far I am happy with my choice… But I am still curious how these devices would pair with SmartThings…

Thanks everybody…


(Ross Wilson) #13

I’m wondering if your still looking at this - my Frostdales are detected as binary switches on a Vera 3 - not dimmable - they also dont detect the Watt meters - if you do see this did your VeraEdge detect these correctly?


(Leonardo R Motta) #14

Hello Ross,

I was able to add my Frostdale nanogrid dimmer as a dimmer on Vera Edge (UI7). It is working pretty fine.

My switches do not have Energy meter option installed, so I cannot comment about it.


(Patricio C alderon) #15

Hello @rjwilson01

You could share the settings you use in openzwave for frostdale or fix … , I can not control the switch

Thank