Monitor a motorized damper being open or closed?

Thanks Paul! Let’s see if I have this straight - basically the three wires from an electric plug - “hot” goes to “line”, neutral goes to neutral and ground to ground. Then one end of my existing 24v feed goes to one of the blue wires, and the other end goes to the other. That’s it yes?

What’s a good way to wrap all this up in a pretty little box so there are not wires and this GoControl device just dangling around?

Yes I understand what you are saying - I’ll only be able to detect if the dry contact is sending power or not. That makes sense as there’s no way for it to know if the damper actually opened vs got stuck etc.

Am I correct to assume that SmartThings and or IFTTT can keep track of whether its open or not (its state) and changes so that I can send an alert like “Opening damper”, “Closing damper”, “Damper open for more than 4 hours” etc?

I see that the MEMOlite is indeed more expensive. Is there any additional flexibility or features I would get out of it? Clearly its designed to do more than I need - but I’m wondering, what type of use case would someone need that over this GoControl device?

Part 2: I’m planning on using IFTTT with a motion sensor that when it sees motion it will send a Z-Wave signal to the GoControl and have it open the relay. And another rule that says if it hasn’t seen motion after X hours to send a Z-Wave signal to close the relay. However I’m not sure if a Z-Wave motion sensor will have the range I need which is 30+ feet. I have a hardwired motion sensor that runs off of 12-24V AC or DC that will do it. The motion sensor works as a “normally closed” circuit.

What’s the best way for me to wire this up so that a) it gets power from something, and b) its change of state from open to close and close to open can trigger the dry contact. I’d like to be able to trigger with the non-Z-Wave motion detector as well as a Z-Wave command from SmartThings/IFTTT. Thank you!!

You got it.

You can put it all in a plastic surface-mount junction box with a blank cover, and attach that box wherever is handy.

The relay shows up as a switch in SmartThings. No different than a light switch. You can send all of the alerts and performa all of the automations that you can send for any other switch.

I use a MIMOlite to intercept my doorbell button (contact input) and then pass along that signal to my doorbell buzzer (dry contact relay) based on time of day and presence. Anywhere you need both an input and an output, a MIMOlite is a good option.

Why are you using IFTTT for this? You can integrate motion detection and switch (relay) control in Smartthings.

30 feet should not be a problem for a z-wave motion detector. Much better to keep this all in one system. I could tell you how to wire your hardwired motion sensor to a MIMOlite or other contact input device, but that’s just reinventing the wheel.

If you have range problems, just add another z-wave device as a repeater. Repeater devices must be plugged in (not battery powered).

1 Like

The room for the motion detector will usually be very dark. Are there Z-Wave motion detectors that are very sensitive and will pick up movement within a 30 foot range? Just to clarify I meant the range of the motion detector being able to see movement, not the range of the Z-Wave signal. I couldn’t tell which range you were referring to? Any particular Z-Wave motion detector that you’d recommend?

Why is that reinventing the wheel? Do you mean mixing old-school (non-Z-Wave device) with new school?

Do you think this approach of using the GoControl like we’ve talked about here is superior to doing something like getting a smart electric outlet and plugging a 24VAC 10A power adapter into it and feeding that directly to the damper - then just sending the power on/off signal to the smart outlet? I’m definitely leaning to the GoControl approach but just wondering if there are any differences in terms of reliability or programming or efficiency. Thanks again Paul I really appreciate the great help and advice! :smiley:

Most home automation motion sensors are actually heat detectors. These are the PIR (passive infrared) sensors. They work just fine in the dark, which is why they’re used to turn a light on when the sensor detects “motion.” For example, I have one on my nightstand pointing towards the bed and when i wave my hand over it, even in the middle of the night, a light comes on. It’s also why they’re used for home security systems. So darkness won’t be an issue. :sunglasses:

OK thanks again guys. Now I am on to part 3 of this automation - which is to make my stand alone (whole house) dehumidifier start / stop dehumidifying. The dehumidifier has its own humidistat but of course it’s hard wired and who wants that. :smiley:.

I talking with the manufacturer, it is very simple to make the unit start dehumidifying. Essentially what their wired humidistat does is effectively jumper two terminals together when it calls for dehumidification, and then opens that circuit up when the unit should stop dehumdifiying. They said there is some trivial amount of power like 2.5v on that circuit.

So in summary, there are two terminals on their dehumidifier. If I was to place a paper clip between them the unit would start dehumdififying and if I was to remove it then it would stop.

So here’s what I am looking to do… I want to get one of the various Z-Wave humidity sensors and when the humidity reaches a certain level I want to send a Z-Wave signal to SOME device that will serve the purpose of connecting those two terminals on the dehumidifier together. And when the humdidity drops below a certain level, likewise I would send a signal to that device so it would open up that circuit and then the “jumper” between those terminals is opened and it stops.

The question is - what is that SOME device I mention above that can do this? I have some multi purpose sensors that came in the SmartThings starter kit. But I think those just monitor whether a circuit is open or not, rather than serving the purpose to make a circuit open or not. Can someone please point me to the best type of device for what I need? Thank you!!

You need a dry contact, or isolated contact.

Here is one


1 Like

You will need one device to act as the jumper, like those Paul suggested.

Then you will have a separate device which is a humidity sensor. several are available that work with SmartThings. You can place it anywhere you want to, even in another room if that’s appropriate.

What you have both devices in place and reporting to smart things, you can set up a rule that will cause the jumper to open or close based on the humidity reporting from the sensor.

Paul - Thanks I have looked at these two devices. I like the GoControl because its readily available for quick shipping via Amazon and its cheaper. But installation-wise it seems like overkill to have to wire a Z-Wave control to 120VAC like the GoControl just to have it control a 2.4v contact. MIMOLite is more appealing in this case since it is powered via a simply transformer you plug in the wall. Tho its nearly twice as expensive and not on Amazon at least for Prime delivery.

Does anyone know of a device like the MIMOLite that will do the job just using a plug-in transformer like the MIMO?

Thanks JD - Yes that is exactly what I’m looking to do. Is there an easy way to set the humdity threshold and change it. For example I may want to trigger the damper when its at 50% or other times I may want 45%. I realize I can just edit the rule, but it would be nice if there was a UI of sorts where I could enter a humidity level or use up/down arrows to change the current setting, and the rule would automatically pick up on the set threshold from that UI location (rather than hard coding it into the rule). Can that be done?

It just depends on the specific smartapp you use to set the rule. :sunglasses:

Any recommendations please? Thanks!

Sorry, I haven’t investigated any of these, hopefully others will respond. Do you use an iPhone or android or Windows?

I use an iPhone. Thanks!

SmartApps don’t have any UI beyond what’s available in setup. They can’t do what you’re asking. The best thing you could do would be to build a virtual humidistat device, and then link that device to your setup with a SmartApp. That’s going to take a lot of custom code and time in the IDE.

Perhaps someone here has done something like that and will chime in.

The MIMOlite is the only dry contact relay I’m familiar with that can run on low voltage without modification. It’s crazy expensive for what you’re asking for… but it would work.

If it were me, I’d just use the GoControl device.

1 Like

It’s true most smartapps use the regular UI, but since you have an iPhone, you might look into the thirdparty app SmartRules. It has its own UI and while you would be changing the rule each time, you might find it easier to do there. There’s a free version that lets you set up one rule to try it out. The full version costs $7, which many people, including me, find well worth it. Anyway, Just another option to consider for iPhone users. :sunglasses:

1 Like

I took your advice Paul and got the GoControl. Really like it a lot. Very easy and basic when it comes down to it like you said.

I have a question about the little green LED on the front. The instructions say that by default the green light is on when the unit is latched and powering the devices its attached to, and off otherwise. And goes on to say that you can change this to be reversed (so the light is off when giving power and on when not). Oddly enough, my unit came with it in this reversed scenario where it lights up to indicate its not providing power. Do you know how to put it into the other setting? I’m not sure how to do this and the instructions do not say, nor are there any jumpers on it. Thanks!

There are probably z-wave parameter changes that you can send to the relay to reverse the LED behavior. These are little packets of data that you can send to a device to changes its physical behavior.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what parameter to change on that device. Doubly unfortunately, SmartThings can’t send parameter changes without writing a custom device handler for your device.

Do some google searching and see if the information is listed, or call the manufacturer. Once you have that information, someone here might be able to write the code for you.

Thanks Paul. I tried calling the manufacturer but was on hold for a long time and then they closed. Will try again tomorrow. I would think there would be a generic smartapp where you can pick a device and give it a parameter name and a value and have it send that data to the device. I’ll let you guys know what I hear. Thanks again.

Unfortunately, SmartApps can’t send parameter changes. Only device handers can.

Many other home automation hubs have a utility that can send parameter changes directly to devices, but SmartThings has no such utility.