Help with First Alert ZCOMBO Devices

Newbie here. I was browsing through the community looking ways to integrate my First Alert ZCOMBO Smoke/CO alarms into Smartthings and found the link below to github with code that has everything I am looking for. My issue is I’m a little lost with what to do with the code. I’ve done something like this once before when I integrated my TP-Link bulbs and outlets into Smartthings but in that case there were specific instructions to follow and everything worked great. Can someone help guide me on how to set up the code below or if there are specific instructions that I missed that can be shared I would be most appreciative.

Why do you need a custom Device Type Handler?

The automatic built-in one works fine… I believe that’s what I’m using?

Same here, Just add them and that’t that.

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Hmmm…maybe I’m not understanding how it works. I have the ZCOMBOs set up in Smartthings fine. I can see their current state and what the battery level is. And I set up an alert to my phone for when the alarm goes off. When I test each device I can see it says test in Smarthings but I didn’t see a way to trigger an alert for that to be sent to my phone as well. And then with the battery level I was looking to see if it could alert me when it dropped below a set level. In reading through the code I thought that it would give me a way to do this but I now see that it is how they work with Smartthings now with this code.

Smart Home Monitor has an option for Smoke Detection (probably also does CO … not sure). It only notifies on real alarms, not “test”. Once you have everything set up, I recommend doing a “real” test (you can buy canned test smoke and/or CO, so I hear; but I just carefully waft a little real smoke by the detector: Not a big deal if you don’t do it often!).

Low battery alerts are built into the SmartThings App, but they are definitely not reliable. I’ve had ZCOMBO battery read 77% for a long time and then suddenly start giving the annoying low-battery chirp without any further update to the battery level in SmartThings.

Perhaps 77% (or ??) is the level at which you need to consider replacing the batteries. Other sensor and locks, etc., all have different battery level % at which they still function and then, usually without warning, fail.

My Schlage Lock mis-functions at 50% or less. My original multi-sensor still works fine at 1%.

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These devices only update batteries when they check in with the hub (be it a test or an alarm). It will not monitor real time battery life.

I have resorted to hitting the test button on all smoke alarms every couple of months to force the smoke alarms to send a battery level update to Smartthings.

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Really??? :cry: :confounded: :angry: :confused:.

I do not know for sure if that is what they do, but it certainly seems that the battery level updates are very infrequent!

Yes. This is also why they cannot all trigger in the event of an alarm. They can only send data when an alarm is triggered. They don’t receive anything and are in a sleep mode. Battery conservation I’m sure.

I accept the lack of this feature. First Alert makes a different model (non Z-Wave) that offers interconnectivity.

But, gosh darnit, I have always thought that there would be at least some frequency of battery level reporting.

Oh well: I guess the only “smart” value these units have is their ability to relay Alerts to SmartThings (which can then act on them via SHM or other SmartApps). Sigh. :disappointed:

Found this out the hard way…

The ZCombos are great, but unfortunatly there is a default setting incorrect or smarthings not playing well, but the battery status in ST will only update when the alram is trigger or the test is run.

Thus, you could have a battery status show 100% forever, the unit could be in the trash and not even in the house, ST will show no history and 100% batery level. To me, this is a safety issue.

Best recomendation, test your units on a scheduled bases, and thank god the unit still chirps on low batts.

I had these for years before going a different route. These always reported battery without having to force it. Perhaps ST did something to hose that up (that would be my guess).

John, I’m looking to replace my detectors now…again after my Halo detectors are waking the family up at 3AM. What direction did you end up going? I’ve been looking at these First Alert ZCOMBO devices, but having cold feet as they aren’t totally ideal (battery and only 7.5 years life).

Does anyone know if the new zwave plus version has the same battery reporting issues?

Hi @Oingofan, sorry for the delayed reply. It’s been a very busy last few days for me.

I actually went all in with 12 Halo’s for the whole house (with 1 still in box as a backup). I had 1 completely die, but none that had any premature battery failure.

I’m hoping that in the next 5 years or so that something will come to the market that’s mains powered and interconnected (and Zigbee).

John, I have Halo, but can’t stand them waking the entire family up at 3AM warning of a low battery and to re-apply power…when they have power. I’m disappointed in the options for smart detectors. Would have chosen Nest, but Nest works with only itself now and that is no longer an option. The ZCOMBO’s are battery only…must be replaced annually…and don’t work in a wired environment. Almost thinking of saving lots of money and replacing with cheap non-smart detectors and letting Alexa alert me when they go off.

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I opened up my one halo that died and saved the battery in case this ever happens to me. These devices aren’t designed to be opened up without damaging the areas where the parts come together, but with a careful hand they can be put back together. It’s too bad a bad battery is cause this issue for you.