Light switch to run Smartthings Routines?


(Steve Main) #1

I am very new to home automation and just starting to get my feet wet. I have two smart light switches. One in my bathroom and one in my master bedroom. I have the devices setup in my Smartthings hub and i am using Google Assistant to control them with simple commands. I woudl like to know, I have read that i can use these switch as buttons also to control routines ! for instance before i go to bed i can press and hold off for 3 seconds or triple tap down to execute a routine that would turn all lights off, set house to sleep mode, turn thermostat down, lock the front door. turn on security system. Then in the morning I could triple tap up and it would turn on the hallways light to 20% and start the coffee maker etc… If i put on by my front door i could triple tap down to set my house to away mode… you get the picture.

DO i need a special light switch or can any smart light switch do this? Is this called a scene button or is it a multi function light switch. So confused and not a lot of information out there to help. Any resources that might help explain this would be awesome or peoples help. FYI i am in Canada so any product links sould be amazon.ca so that i can actually purchase them :slight_smile:


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

While “any” SmartThings compatible Switch or Sensor can be used to trigger a Routine (SmartThings is very powerful, even though some scenarios are more complicated to setup than others…)…

I would recommend a “button controller” for your situation.

The “Aeon Aeotec Minimote” is quite popular because it is very affordable, reliable, Z-Wave, rechargeable, and has 4 “easily” programmable buttons (which act as 8 buttons, by push-and-hold option).

https://www.amazon.com/Aeon-Labs-DSA03202-v1-Minimote/dp/B00KU7ERAW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505508610&sr=8-1&keywords=aeon+minimote


(Steve Main) #3

Thanks for the reply… I was aware that you can use a remote Problem is that I want to use light switches to do this if possible. I do not want to add a remote to my bedside that could be lost or the kids borrow it and leave in their room. I want a light switch in my room and by the front door that I can use as a light switch for its intended purpose that doubles as a button as well if you double or triple click it up or down.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #4

I have 2 of 4 of mine stuck up with 3M velcro tape (so I only take them down for charging); but I understand what you mean.

I don’t have personal experience with “double-tap” or “triple-tap”; I’ve read a few posts on the concept, and as far as I can tell, some brands of Switches are hopeless, some have questionable reliability, and others work “pretty well”.

I think you need a compatible Switch that has “double-tap” (and “triple-tap”) built in at the hardware because SmartThings’s latency is too slow to reliably emulate this function.

Search the Forum for “double-tap” or “double-click” (and various other search terms). Forum searches yield a lot of results, but you’ll learn a lot about the problems encountered and if you find a promising result, then you will have confidence and understanding of the scope and solution.


#5

You need a special switch. :sunglasses:

The Homeseer switches introduced last year allow for both double and triple tap on both the top and the bottom of the switch so they may be the best match to what you were looking for. I Believe they’re available for shipment to Canada, but you would have to check on that. They are available both as a dimmer and as a regular on/off switch, each with the double and triple tap functionality.

The other alternative is the very newest GE zwave switches. These allow for double tap, but not triple tap. (Models 14291 and 14293)

You will need special code for either to access these features. Check the quick browse list in the community – created wiki and look in the device type handlers section for lighting:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section

Another alternative is to get one of the battery operated multi button switches. These can be more intuitive for guests because you can label the functions. The remotec 90 is particularly popular. You can find a full list of these, both wall mount and handheld, in the buttons FAQ:

image


(Steve Main) #6

So the switch itself would have to support double tap triple tap or press and hold, okay that makes sense. It would have the smarts inside of it to determine what action was taken and then send just that one command to the SmartThings Hub. Okay so that makes sense. So now next question, are these double click, triple click and press and hold native to the SmartThings hub. Will it actually know what these are or do i have to program my Hub to interpret these signals.?Like how doe the Hub know what commands this device supports? I am assuming the switch will show up and instead of an on/off only option there will be 8 actions total it supports UP double click, UP Triple Click, Up Press and Hold, ON, then all the down position ones.

Sorry for all the newbie questions but I am just trying to under stand how it all works by throwing myself into it really. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks to all that responded and I do appreciate the dedicated buttons on the walls I want to use my existing switches to double as these buttons because why not they already there and might as well use them. I like a cleaner look and not stuff all over my walls in the bedroom and front hallway. Just my preference is all.


#7

The switches aren’t native to SmartThings in the sense that there aren’t any official device type handlers for them yet, but there are community – created device type handlers that work well. The different touch patterns are interpreted as different button numbers, so typically they work just fine with standard features like the official SmartLighting, you just have to know that “button two” is double tap on the top of the switch or whatever. But you’ll find detailed discussion of that in The thread for whichever custom code you end up using.

For example, here’s one for the homeseer Switch:


(Steve Main) #8

Why does this all have to be so hard. I honestly read these forums and have no idea what anyone is talking about. Is there any beginners section about how devices work with hubs? I am in IT and most of the time i can pick up this stuff pretty easy but this stuff is difficult to understand. Why do the products not tell the Hub what functions they support like have a list of 500 actions the hub supports like ON, OFF, DoubleClick, Lock, UnLock

Then when a device first connect to the hub it will tell the hub i support these 6 actions the hub would then allow you to tie routines or actions to those events. It seems like this should be so simple to do but i am so lost on why this is so complicated. Programming a website is easier then this! Any help would be appreciated because this is sooo confusing


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #9

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Welcome_FAQ


#10

BTW, zwave and zigbee Devices which are certified to the third-party standards do tell the hub what functions they support when they join the network. The issue is in the UI that SmartThings created for their platform.

If you limit yourself to devices that are on the official “works with SmartThings list” and just let them add themselves, which they will do using the stock device type handlers, then their features will be exposed in routines and in the official smartlighting feature.

So if you stick to those officially compatible devices and just use the very simple rule wizards in the official features, everything will appear automatically.

But the real power in the SmartThings platform is that it can do so much more than that plain vanilla version. :sunglasses: You can add a lot more devices, and you can access much more advanced feature sets. But then you have to get into custom code. The following FAQ might be of interest, but it’s pretty straightforward: basically you copy someone else’s code and paste it into your own account.

The next question is where do you find the code to copy. The fastest way is to look on the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section


(Steve Main) #11

Okay so it looks like i have got some new functionality. I added a proper device handler for my GE Z-Wave Plus switch so now I have the ability to Double tap up or down and then also change the status LED plus basic switch functionality. So silly question… why do the device manufacturers not create these device handlers? Why must some users have to dissect these devices and basically make a driver to run the interface LOL

So what i did not understand is that when I connect a device to my SmartThings hub just the basic functionality of that will be shown in the SmartThings Hub App. I am required to install a Device Handler for my specific devices i have in my house to expose the extra features of that device to my SmartThings UI.

Confusing at first not knowing that i have to have these but now that i know i need to have these I am one step further closer to understanding this all :slight_smile: now to get my nest Thermostat to work with this and my Nest carbon monoxide/smoke detectors to work. I am guessing that is not as easy as a device handler as they are not Z-Wave certified!


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #12

Creating a Device Handler and having SmartThings approve & certify it, is a non-trivial amount of effort. (I do not know if SmartThings charges any fees for approval & certification, which would be a small additional hurdle.)

Most manufacturers figure they can just make their devices conform to the applicable Z-Wave or ZigBee standards, and they expect the HA system vendor (i.e., SmartThings, Wink, Iris, …) to extrapolate the rest. When SmartThings doesn’t do it, unlike Wink & Iris, the SmartThings Community can step in.

For more obscure, less common, devices like new irrigation controllers or whatever, manufacturers might be a bit more inclined to put in the effort, as then they can claim WWST (Works with SmartThings) compatibility and that helps them sell more of their product.


#13

The zwave device manufacturers do whatever is necessary to make the device a certified Z wave device. So their devices do run out of the box with most certified Z wave controllers, including vera, fibaro, homeseer, etc. it’s SmartThings which is the odd man out, because it’s a multi protocol proprietary system and it has created its own programming language, a groovy variant. That’s what SmartThings device type handlers are written in. Nothing to do with the Z wave certification, and in fact, some of the things about it are really odd when seen from a zwave perspective.

SmartThings is a very small part of the market for these manufacturing companies. The Z wave alliance, which is the certifying body, says that 2/3 of Zwave devices are professionally installed. Those aren’t likely to be SmartThings systems. :wink: Companies Like ADT and Xfinity home have literally millions of customers, many times more than SmartThings.

Plus, SmartThings keeps changing how its platform works, changes which frequently break existing device type handlers.

So it’s just not really worth the time for a Z wave manufacturer to write custom code for a very small piece of their market, particularly when it’s code that will probably have to be updated a couple of times a year.

Several of the manufacturers have been very happy to work with individual SmartThings customer developers who have created device type handlers, and they will refer their customers to this code and often provide the developer with a new model of their device or information about it. But there’s really very little incentive for them to create something themselves that is only going to be used by SmartThings customers. Much easier for them to just create something that works to the existing third-party standard and then leave it up to SmartThings or the SmartThings customer community to provide the SmartThings – specific requirements.

So I don’t think we can fault the manufacturers for this. If you’re willing to wait until SmartThings provides an official DTH, then again you could just stick to the devices that are on the official “works with SmartThings” list.

Otherwise, check the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki to see if any community members already have code that you can use. :sunglasses: