Google Home + SmartThings project idea + help

Hey Guys,

I am about to buy my ST today, and I will be purchasing a Google Home by the end of the week as well.
There are a few other devices that I will also be purchasing, but I am good regarding those.

What I really need help with is Light Switches/Outlets. I have read many, many, many forum topics on that subject as well as done some research, but I am still a little in the dark, thus, I created this topic.

For starters, I would like 3 things that I can control remotely/by voice:

  1. Being able to turn on/off my tv;
  2. Being able to turn on/off my kitchen lights;
  3. Being able to turn on/off my living room lights;

First of all, I should say that I am more inclined to go with a smart Light Switch than with bulbs because I have 6 lights in my kitchen and a light fixture with 3 in my living room.

So, yes, I do need suggestions on what would be the best product based on my needs, but I would like to find something that would fit my needs but also no break the bank.

Let me give you guys some more insight on the situation and why I am so lost. Hopefully someone will be able to help!

#Living Room

A) In the living room I have a light fixture that has 3 light bulbs and a fan. Currently the fan is turned on/off by pulling a little cord on the fixture when the light switch is turned on.

B) There are 3 different switches that can turn that light fixture on. All 3 of those switches is a double plate with one switch for the living room and one switch to a different area (3 different areas).

With that being said, can someone please help with

  1. A suggestion of how I can make at least one of those double plates a triple plate and be able to control the lights independently from the fan [I will also use voice for that]?
  2. Suggest a smart switch with double/triple plates that would work for a light fixture with 3 different light switches?


This one is simpler. I have 6 recess lights in the kitchen, but they are all controlled by one light switch. This one is a single switch, and that’s it. So I think I just want to be consistent and get the same switch that I got for the living room. Suggestions would be extremely appreciated.


This one should be easier too.
I think I would prefer a smart outlet that I can just put in the place of my dumb outlet. I have 0 electrical experience, but I do think those look nicer and are more seamless. I won’t turn down a great “plug in” option though, as long as it has the right price and works well.

So, I think that’s it for now, hahaha.

Please feel free to ask any other questions you might have.

All suggestions are welcome and thank you in advance!

For the living room, it sounds as if you have a four-way switch setup (three switches controlling one fixture). Here is a picture of how that can be wired using Z-Wave switches (two Z-Wave 45610 and one Z-Wave 45609).

I don’t see how you can control the lights independently of the fan because it sounds as if you are only supplying power to the fan with a switch, not power to the lights or to the fan itself. That would require rewiring the fan circuit (assuming the fan is even capable of being configured that way).

For the kitchen, you could just use another Z-Wave 45609 like the one referenced in the four-way switch setup.

For the outlet, this one is just preference. I would recommend the Z-Wave 12721 in-wall receptacle.


What most people have done with a similar fan/light set up where the light is controlled by a pull cord on the fan is to replace the switch that controls the fan itself with a fan switch. There’s one from GE and one from Leviton, so if you are using other GE switches The one from GE will match nicely.

Then they put a in wall microcontroller up near the fan that only controls the lights. So essentially you are just replacing the pull cord with this other device.

Finally, they will put a battery operated switch or a handheld remote elsewhere in the room that can tell the microcontroller to turn the lights on or off.

So that gives you separate control of the fan and the light.

@dalec did exactly this and describes the equipment he used:

Some other community members have just put a smart light bulb in the fan and then again controlled that with a battery operated device. That can work well depending on the style of the fan. There aren’t any chandelier size smart bulbs that are compatible with SmartThings. But some fans use the regular A19 bulbs, and then you can use any of the smart bulbs that work with SmartThings.

Obviously using an In wallmicro requires some wiring but since it’s just for the lights, not the fan motor, it’s pretty simple for an electrician to do.

There aren’t any micros that I can think of that handle A variable speed ceiling fan well – – the fan switches are a better fit for that piece of the project. The GE model is the 12730.

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BTW, GE has a brand-new line of switches that have a Z wave plus radio instead of the previous Z wave classic. Otherwise the switches are identical to the older models. Same look, same wiring. But you will get much longer range with them as well as a slightly easier pairing method. So if you can wait a few weeks, I would wait and get the new models. They will all start with the number 14. ( they have not announced an update for the 12730 fan switch, though. Just the light switches.)

You can see the new models on the manufacturer’s site, and they should show up on Amazon any day now where they will probably be a little cheaper. Home Depot should carry them eventually, although they may want to sell down the stock of the older models first.

Here’s the list of battery operated buttons and remotes that work with smart things if you want to go with the option for putting a micro at the fan to control the fan lights. Lots of different styles, although unfortunately nothing that matches the GE switches exactly.

As far as outlets, they’re all about the same in both looks and features . The Leviton, GE, and enerwave are all on the official “works with SmartThings” list.

But any certified Z wave outlet should work fine, including Cooper, go control, evolve, etc.

Leviton announced a Z wave plus model early this year but they haven’t brought it to market yet. I’m sure there will be some out from several brands by March, but Nothing specific yet.

As far as the plug-ins, which we usually refer to as “pocket sockets” just to make it clear which device class were talking about, there’s a lot more variation with those in style and features. The following thread has a good discussion:

Thanks for all the responses!
The ceiling fan sound a bit complicated when taking into consideration everything else I have to do now. I might hold on on the fan and just do the light for now.

I will save this for when I am ready for that though. I wish there was a simpler way. But again, thanks.

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Hey, thanks for the details diagram.

Is there a difference between 45610 and 45610WB?

So, based on that diagram, both 45610 will be connected to a White Neutral, Green (Ground) and a Traveler - Colored (Note Green) cable, right? And the 45609 to the same 3 cables and the extra Black (Load)?

My house is very new, do you think there’s a chance that one of those cables will be missing?
I should be able to figure out how to install it using my good ol’ friend Google + Youtube, but if there is a wiring missing, I might need to get some help.

Again, thanks a lot!

In the US, most wire colors are not mandated by code, so you really need to check every segment of every circuit to make sure that you know what you’re doing before replacing switches.

If your house is new in the US it should have a neutral wires at each switch box, which makes everything easier.

The GE switch series starting with a 45 have been discontinued. They were replaced by model series which started with a 12. And those will shortly be replaced by the Z wave plus models that I mentioned which will start with a 14.

If you want to start the project immediately, the 45610 add on switch was replaced by the 12723.

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The GE 45609, the master switch, was replaced in 2015 by the GE 12722.

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My house was built in the mid-70s here in the US and I had a neutral wire at every switch that I’ve switched out so far, so I’d say there is a pretty good chance all the wires are there (except, like I mentioned, for the independent fan controller).

You might do a bit of Youtube-ing to understand three and four way switches a bit better. Once you get into that realm the color of the wire is less important than where the wire is coming from and some research up front will save you a lot of debug and headache down the road.

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Three-way switches can definitely be confusing, but when you do your research you need to look for networked versions.

There are at least eight different ways to wire a nonnetworked three-way setup, but many of those do not work for networked switches.

The reason is that it’s pretty common to wire nonnetworked three-way switches in a kind of figure eight so that throwing one switch runs the current through its loop and cuts off the current through the other switch’s loop. That works fine for non-network switches.

However, it doesn’t work for networked switches, like Z wave switches, because a network switch needs to always have some power or it can’t hear the next “on” command from the network even when it looks like it is off.

That’s why it’s quite common to have to change the wiring a little bit when you are going from a non-networked three-way to a networked three-way.

There’s more discussion in the add on switch FAQ:

Got it. Thanks @JDRoberts and @Gainondorf.