Light Switches - where to start? (UK)

If they use the standard switch protocol for z-wave then in theory the switch should pair as a generic z-wave switch and most if not all functionality should be there.

If it doesn’t follow the standard but it used standard clusters then a device type can easily be written.

If it uses nothing that is standard, welllllll shame on them.

I have to respectfully disagree with this statement.

First of all, certified Zwave devices do not have “clusters.” That’s a nonstandard SmartThings use of a zigbee term for their own platform.

Second, the SmartThings hub is a certified zwave controller at the “basic” level.(another Z wave term).

There are several entirely standard zwave command sets that SmartThings does not support. It’s not required to, but the fact is that it doesn’t. That’s why things like the handheld GE remote controls don’t work with it.

SmartThings also doesn’t handle multi endpoint devices well, a consistent issue that ends up requiring many different community-created device types. Again, this is a standard Z wave methodology. Many manufacturers use it. But when I see a single button Zwave switch, I feel quite confident that it will work with SmartThings out of the box.

When I see a switch that has two buttons, or four buttons, I have about 80% confidence that it’s going to require a custom device type to get access to more than one of those buttons. Not because of anything the device manufacturer did.

And when I see “scene configuration” or “multiple association groups” listed as features of a certified Zwave device, I know it’s going to require a custom device type.

The Perils of Multiple Protocols

That’s because Zwave has an entire concept, “lighting scenes,” which are not supported in the usual way in SmartThings.

I understand exactly why SmartThings made this decision. They wanted to be an open multi protocol platform. Lighting scenes as a concept are not handled identically in zigbee and in zwave.

SmartThings wants their customers to be able to use a a zigbee smart bulb in a table lamp and A zwave light switch on the wall and have everything work the same for them. And group them together to be controlled by a single motion sensor or button press on a minimote. That’s a good thing in many ways, and gives us a lot of options that single protocol platforms do not have.

But it also means that lighting scenes cannot be implemented as they are for zwave, or they would only be able to include Zwave devices, which have built-in features to support them.

Zwave Wants to be Distinct from Zigbee

However, whilst SmartThings was going in this direction, the Zwave alliance was going in a different direction. They were adding more and more unique features to their protocol. They want to be different than zigbee. They want certified zwave devices to work differently than zigbee devices in the home. So they have added additional scene command sets. And the device manufacturers scoop them up. We’re seeing more and more multibutton lighting controls. With multiple associations. And a big emphasis on “central scene” controls.

Some of these new devices can be made to work with SmartThings quite easily. Some can be made to work after some considerable effort on the part of those doing custom code. Some cannot be made to work in the way in which manufacturers intended.

This is important information for the community. I know most people do not share my level of interest in the protocols or the nitty-gritty of how devices are designed to take advantage of the differences between protocols. For most people, a light switch is a light switch.

And if that light switch has a single binary on/off button and is a certified Zwave device, I am quite sure it will work with SmartThings.

However, there are fewer and fewer of those being made. All the additional features that manufacturers are adding, the long press, the multi button press, multiple buttons on one device, etc. are all standard zwave features now. But they do not necessarily line up with SmartThings’ concept of “a light switch is a light switch” regardless of its protocol.

Submitted with respect.


@JDRoberts always come to the rescue with the detailed answer :smile:

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He should be on the payroll.


I’ve just received a Hue Dimmer switch.

Is there anything that I can do with it here in the UK?

ST doesn’t seem to recognise it at all.

Not sure about the Hue dimmer switch - but only just seen this thread.

This was the exact issue I had when I first started using Smartthings (UK as well). The Solution I found was to us Z’s wireless wall switches. They are awesome and can be fitted with loads of different faceplates and buttons in plastic, metal and glass. See here a selection of various finishes that I’ve used:

I created a device type and app (below) that can be used to make these control whatever you want.

For UK plug sockets - it’s not an easy solution but you can use the Fibaro Relay 2 x 1.5Kw to make these part of your automation system (or just use the smartthings plug socket if you don’t mind the budge)

Wall controller device type and app here:

How much are they?

I actually really like the design of the hue dimmer - if only I could do something with it other than look at it. :slight_smile:

@AdamV Where are you getting them from in the UK? I see their website only has a few options and most arent marked being suitable for UK. Also how far do they stick out?

I’d love just a simple,single button, battery operated switch I could ‘stick’ over the top of my normal light switches…problem solved.


This is discussed in post 13 above. :blush:

You can use it as a parallel means of control. That is, link SmartThings to your Hue bridge through the official integration, and add the dimmer switch to the hue bridge as well through the normal Phillips method.

You can now control the hue lights through SmartThings automations, or you can use the Hue dimmer switch to control the hue lights.

SmartThings doesn’t know that the Hue dimmer switch exists in this set up, and will take about five minutes to realize that the bulb statuses have changed when the dimmer switch is used, but it can still be practical for many households.

This is what we do at my house. We have a dimmer switch in the guestroom to provide intuitive control of those lights.

Some people have been able to get SmartThings to recognize the dimmer switch itself, but so far it will not stay paired for more than a day or so, so that is still a work in progress.

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You can get them in loads of places - try Vesternet or Amazon

They are unbelievably slim - essentially the thickness is only the thickness of the faceplate and rocker switches that you buy with them

If you want to put them over your current light switches, rather than replacing them altogether - check out @TallNHairyDave’s project do exactly that - he’s made a special cover for UK boxes that can be 3D printed very cheaply - all details on his thread

Different people try different things. More discussion in the following thread:

At our house, we wanted to make sure that there was still a switch available even if the home automation system was not working. So we use child safety locks on the existing switches. The switch is still available in an emergency, it just serves as a reminder to others not to use it most of the time. And then, as I mentioned, we use parallel means of control with the inexpensive Hue dimmer switches in a few places.

I like the look of the devolo battery switch a lot, and with Adam’s device handler it’s another good option for us, and I may add some in the future. At our house again I would be more likely to leave the original switch in place with a child lock and put the devolo next to it on the wall. Different things work for different households. We have many different people coming in and out all the time, so I need the emergency solutions to be obvious.

anyone thought of trying these?

The EnergyEgg switches only work with their own EnergyEgg controller. Not compatible with SmartThings. And they only do one thing: turn the switches off after a period of no movement in the room.

…which you can already easily do with ST…

they’ve told me they are working on a wifi solution and possible zwave integration, in the uk I dont know of a off the shelf light switch solution for 2-3 switches that works on a 2 wire house hold.

Hope you folks won’t mind a naive question. In our kitchen, we have two light switches at either end of the room, each controlling the lights in their respective half of the room. I’d like to be able to control both halves of the lights (independently) from either end of the room. I’m wondering if using some wireless solution (I’m open to any technology) would allow me to avoid having to physically join the switches - I haven’t yet counted the wires in the existing switches, if that makes any difference.
A slight complication is that one of the switches is a two-gang, controlling an outdoor light - I’m happy to partition that one off, but if there’s anything that can accommodate that as well…

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Once you have a SmartThings compatible wireless device in both switches you can do whatever you want to with them as far as grouping them or having one control the other. They don’t have to be on the same circuit. So that part’s easy.

The question is which devices to select which is what this thread is all about. :sunglasses:

Sharing my light switch findings

Continuing the discussion from VFAQ: Lighting Control Options for UK SmartThings:

I have the answer.

Well, I don’t, logitech does.


Have you seen? All we need now is for them to be able to cover the current light switches somehow, but the logitech pop seems to be exactly what the original poster, and myself, have been searching for.

Do we need the Logitech bridge that comes in the starter kit or will the switches work direct with Smartthings?

I really dont want another bridge /hub