Master Switches for lights... but they don't work? Maybe a SmartApp will do it?


(Drew Finkel) #1

OK, so i have to be crazy because I feel like this should be super easy to do… but I have tried advanced lighting controls, button controller, etc… oh and searched high and low.

Here is my scenario- I have lights on all the floors in the house (so unique!)
Here is an example of a floor and what I am trying to do: Living Room, Kitchen, Breakfast room, Hallway- they all have separate switches. I set up a virtual switch for it to control them all, but if I use the virtual switch to turn all the lights on and end up manually flipping the switches, then the master switch is still set to on and I have to turn it off and then turn it on. Is there a way to have a “always turn the lights on” or “always turn the lights off” virtual switch?
Also, to note… I mostly control the lights with the hard switches (zwave switches) or through Google Home is that makes any difference.

Thanks for the help!


(Jimmy) #2

It’s Monday, so sorry if I’m not quite up to thinking speed yet, but i’m not clear exactly what your setup is or what you are asking. It sounds like you have a z-wave switch and then many smart bulbs controlled by that switch?


(Realy Living Dream) #3

Use a virtual momentary switch, instead on an on/off switch.

There is also an app or 2 that will keep a virtual switch synced with a physical switch.

It would help if we had more details as to how you are ( planning to ) using the master switch.


(Drew Finkel) #4

Reading back through that… it was Monday indeed!

So here is my setup:

Floor Basement: 4 Leviton Switches controlling the lights assigned to their specific switch
Floor One: 4 Leviton Switches, 1 Lightify Osram Flood (controlled by remote)
Floor One: 2 Leviton Switches, 1 Lightify Osram Flood (controlled by remote), 4 Hue Bulbs (controlled by remote)

The issue I am having/ am trying to solve:

I want to have “Master” switches that can turn off/on an entire floor.
I rarely go into the ST app and mostly control the lights by the switch itself or through a Google Home. I want to be able to say- “Okay Google, Turn on Floor One” or “Okay Google, Turn off Floor One”.

Right now, I have the master switches set up as Virtual Switches and if I say “Okay Google, Turn on Floor One,” it will not work if I didn’t first tell it to turn off all of the lights since it remembers the last state from my command.Same thing as if I said “Okay Google, Turn on Masterbedroom” and it was already on, it would just ignore the command.
@RLDreams- It looks like the right thing to do is to set up Virtual Momentary Switches- going to look those up now and see if i can find a customer device type.


(Drew Finkel) #5

Doh! Z-Wave Virtual Momentary

Trying that out!


(Mike) #6

If you use Amazon Echo (or want to add the same capability via voice), create a group in the Amazon Alexa app. We have a very similar setup and turn off a batch of lots via a single command with Alexa. We also have a group called “All Lights” that turns off everything (inside and out) save a few night lights.


(Drew Finkel) #7

I had an Echo, but switched to Google Home’s and that is the one thing that is missing… Hmmm… Going to have to do some investigating.


(Devin Charters) #8

Any chance you figured out what to use? I tried “Z Wave Virtual Momentary Contact”, “Simulated Switch”, “On/Off Button Tile” and a few others, and can’t get it to work properly with turning off multiple lights.


(Drew Finkel) #9

I did not figure it out sadly… if you do, please let me know!

In the mean time… I did set up only 3 rooms for what I have indoors-
Light Group 1st Floor
Light Group 2nd Floor
Light Group Basement

So, I am able to say to turn on “light Group ____” and that whole floor will turn on and off.

If I want to turn off everything, I just have to say “Turn off Light Group”… not the correct way to be doing it, but it works for now…


(Devin Charters) #10

Drew - I did get this working. There’s 2 steps, it was more the 2nd one I was missing.

1: Create Virtual Switch:
To create a Virtual Switch

Login to the IDE @ https://graph.api.smartthings.com/4.5k
Click “My Devices"
Click the “New Device” Button
Enter a “Name” for the device, this can be whatever you want.
Enter a “Label” for the device, this is optional and can be whatever you want.
Enter a “Device Network Id” This can be anything you want. I recommend short and sweet but it cannot duplicate other device ID’s. Lets say it was a virtual switch for your living room lights, maybe call it LRVD01
"Zigbee” Id should be left blank
Select a “Type” from the dropdown, this should be Simulated Switch
"Version" should be published
"Location" should be your hub location, probably “Home”
“Hub” should be your hub name.
“Group” you won’t be able to select when creating, but these are Groups you’ve created in the Things page in the SmartThings app.
Click Create

2: create a routine to do whatever you want to have happen when you flip that virtual switch

I created an Automation with all the switches I wanted to use, and set it to turn them all OFF when my Virtual Switch is flipped. This works as expected through the SmartThings app, however IFTTT doesn’t work properly for some reason. That’s not AS big a deal to me, but still tinkering.


(Drew Finkel) #11

Hey @DragonM I figured out another way too-

What is great about this way is that they are basically stateless switches… even if it was previously “on”, it will still be able to be turned on again.

Easy as this:
Create a Virtual Switch via the below…
http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Alexa_Helper#Alexa_Switch_Installation
Add all of you lights to turn on and off with the smart lighting smart app… and thats basically it!
3 new photos · Album by Drew Finkel


(Devin Charters) #12

Funny, I did pretty much exactly the same thing with the Google Home Helper (as I have GH vs. Alexa). Works as I wanted it to!


(Vineet) #13

You really made my day ! I was looking to trigger a ST routines using virtual switch, but was facing issues when trying to switch off the switch when its state was already off. Not only this Alexa switch gave me the functionality to trigger switch off when it was in already off state, as a bonus I can also use the dimming function to control my dim-able lights in the routine. - thanks.