Indeed, yes, I will have plenty of powered switches, dimmers, and shutter switches littering the house. I should really be fine communications wise. Thanks!
I also wanted to add: I see often in forums the fact that Smartthings is cloud based, and that it won’t work unless the house is connected to the Internet at all times.
I would like to ask something else - does this mean that even a Z-wave light switch will be unable to switch on a light circuit? Let’s say the switch is connected to the hub via Z-Wave, and the hub in turn sends a message to a relay (or dimmer) switch to turn on a lighting circuit… Would this not work at all in the case of a loss of connectivity to the cloud? I find this a little too hard to swallow.
Many thanks in advance!
the switch will still manually work. it just can’t be controlled from the app or any automatons that run in the cloud.
In the above scenario, you mention one z-wave switch causing the hub to turn on another device.
We’d need more information before being able to tell you if it would work or not, including the specific models of the devices and the SmartApps you plan to use. For example, all webCoRE Pistons will run only in the ST Cloud, and thus will not be able to change anything in your home if your internet is down. Depending on the reliability of your home’s internet connection, and the reliability of the ST cloud servers, this can lead to a significant amount of frustration for you and your family. If you choose the devices and SmartApps (i.e. Smart Lighting) wisely, you can get some decent local processing. See below…
(Disclaimer - This information applies to the Classic SmartThings - I have no experience with the new flavor.)
In order for anything to ‘Run Locally’ on the ST Hub v2, a few requirements must be met. First, all of the associated devices for the automation must be ‘running locally’. Second, you pretty much have to perform any such automations using the ‘Smart Lighting’ SmartApp from ST. If your automations meet these requirements, they can run locally on the ST Hub v2 (definitely not on the v1 hub - I am not sure about the NVidia Shield+extend, ADT, or Samsung Connect WiFi hubs).
Here is the basic architecture of SmartThings. It is heavily based on the cloud. For example, your cell phone’s SmartThings Classic mobile app cannot talk directly to the hub, even if connected to the same network. The ST Classic App must also talk to the ST Cloud Servers before it can communicate with the hub.
I am coming in late here, but it seems there are still quite a few unanswered questions about the protocols, so I thought I would just mention a few things. ( I was a network engineer and had worked with both Z wave and zigbee before ever purchasing smartthings for use in my own home.)
First, the forum already has multiple FAQs on Wi-Fi and zigbee co-existence. I would suggest reading those. You can find them in the FAQ section:
Next, while zigbee uses the same frequency everywhere in the world, it allows for a number of different “profiles” and these are not all interchangeable. They don’t even use the same addressing scheme. Smartthings uses the “zigbee home automation 1.2” profile.
Beyond that, different regions put different legal restrictions on the transmission strength that zigbee devices are allowed to use. For example, the US allows a signal strength of almost twice that allowed in the EU or the UK. Consequently, some zigbee devices which are legal to operate in the US are not legal to import or operate in the UK.
Zigbee is used a lot in Europe, but not generally for low-cost DIY systems because of the challenges of deployment so that you avoid Wi-Fi interference, particularly given that boosted zigbee cannot be used, Just generally restricts the size of the market. This is discussed in the zigbee versus Z wave FAQ in the community – created wiki, as it’s also probably the reason why Z wave is so much more popular for fixed location devices like light switches in low-cost DIY systems in the US.
If you only want to use Zwave devices, don’t select SmartThings as your hub. You will be much happier in the long run if you choose one of the hubs which specializes in Z wave. This is even more true if you intend to have an extensive network of more than 200 devices. Just as one example, SmartThings provides no network mapping utilities at all to customers. None. But the most popular Z wave – only platforms in Europe all provide some kind of network mapping utility. And most handle multiple controllers well, which SmartThings does not, which allows you to expand the number of devices.
Vesternet is a good place to research the various zwave platform options.
I had a few other thoughts on some of the specific points raised in the conversation above, but I don’t think they would necessarily impact your own project, so I’ll skip those for now.
p.s. Specifically with regard to zigbee ZHA 1.2 devices for low-cost Home automation systems in Europe, there are a few options which are not carried by Vesternet which are quite popular with SmartThings customers in the UK.
These include the SmartThings brand of devices, Orvibo, and Hive. Osram also has some, although they include some special features which will only work with their own Gateway.
Schneider has a really excellent line, but they tend to be more expensive and only available through professional installers, so I don’t know many smartthings customers who have used them unless they already had that system.
Xiaomi is another option from a big Chinese brand, but they are only intended to work with their own Gateway and have a lot of what network engineers would call “idiosyncrasies” when used with a smartthings hub. They are still popular because they are so inexpensive, But they do tend to work best when deployed in a small installation, under 30 devices all within 40 feet of the hub. So more for an apartment than what you’ve been describing. People who try to get them to work through repeaters and in larger installations tend to run into a lot more problems with this brand. But you can research them in the forum if you are interested.
Specifically with regard to reliability and planning for outages, you might find the following article interesting:
Thanks for your reply.
I intend to use the Z-Wave Plus Aeotec WallMote and the Z-Wave Plus Aeotec WallMote Quad switches for all lighting and shutters (blinds and awnings) in the house - that is if my test goes well. The switches will then need to use the “Z-Wave Plus Aeotec Dual Nano Switch with Power Metering” as a relay in order to control lighting, the “Z-Wave Plus Aeotec Nano Dimmer” to as a dimmer device for some of the lighting circuits, and the “Fibaro FGR-222 Roller Shutter 2” in order to control all shutters.
All these devices require custom device handlers, i.e. they are not natively supported by the hub. And so I think that on its own means that they will run in the cloud, but I’m not sure. Some clarity here would be very helpful. As far as possible I’d like to keep it local, of course, but I know it might just not be possible. I intended to try and use as little automation as possible in order to avoid using webCoRE as little as possible since I read many times all webCoRE pistons run in the cloud.
That said, my Internet connection at home is quite reliable. I have a 70/12Mbps (DL/UL) fibre connection from one ISP, and a 25/3Mbps 4G connection from a different provider as backup. So the main issues would likely be latency and the reliability of ST services in the cloud.
Many thanks for your time!
Thank you JDRoberts.
I read as much as I could before starting this post - but thank you very much for posting the links with that valuable information. To be honest with you - I already ordered a small “custom kit” of the 5 devices I mentioned in an earlier post, yesterday… I appreciate your advice about potentially considering something else, but the test kit is now on the way to my home already and paid… Honestly, I think I’ll give it a go, and if it works, start expanding out. I’ll try to document every step of the way - whatever works. If I ever feel I have outgrown the system, I hope to be able to move to a different hub in future. I do hope that Samsung will fix some of the deficiencies when compared to other major players in the market, and I really believe if they really want to put their big name behind this, and if they really need to boost their product image, then improvements should be on the way. I do know that this, for me, might mean recreating everything in a new hub, which clearly appears to be a big hassle for many people on here
I’ll continue reading on the community in the meantime. I noticed there are often posts with device handlers, sometimes a little confusing as there are parallel ones (like for the Fibaro FGR-222 Roller Shutter 2) and not always to the level of spoon-feeding I may require in the beginning. A lot of posts assume some previous knowledge and/or experience, of which I have none despite all my reading - so I do apologise if my initial questions seem a little dumb to you guys.
Many thanks in advance.
This is a interesting setup. I’ve always wished the switches/dimmers that I have installed offered power-metering. Was able figure out how much power each switch (including load) used by using a webCoRE Piston and a formula but the dimmers are a different story because they are not constant.
I know that you put a lot of thought into this and as it appears, metering power usage seems to be a top priority.
Good Luck on your testing and be sure to report back your findings!
The Aeotec in wall switch and dimmers shouldn’t require a custom handler.
As far as device type handlers, have you had a chance to look at the custom code FAQ yet? That explains the basic concepts and terms.
After that, the quickest way to find custom device type handlers to use is usually to use the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki:
As far as smartthings correcting deficiencies relative to its zwave-focused competitors, people have been expecting that for four years and so far everything is going in the other direction.
For example, the newest version of the app, “smartthings ( Samsung connect)” seems primarily focused on the market that has a Samsung smart television, maybe a couple of Samsung smart appliances, and then no more than a dozen or so Home Automation devices of various protocols. Very different than the typical power user who comes to this forum. In fact, smartthings has said many times that most of their users have 15 or fewer devices and never use any custom code at all. Which probably explains why the new version of the app is missing many features that are in “smartthings classic.”
Just as one example, in the new app there’s no way at all to automate the unlocking of a smart lock, while the classic app has many.
The same has been true of the hardware. The V2 version of the hub that was introduced in the fall of 2016 includes a Bluetooth radio – – which has never been turned on.
All I’m saying is buy SmartThings, or any home automation system for that matter, for what it does today, not for what you hope or expect it to do in the future. Company trajectories are often very different than what power users expect, particularly in this very low cost bracket.
I think I understand the architecture you are proposing. However, I would personally not recommend it. Most users just want a wall switch to work, and to work instantly, under all circumstances. Using battery powered Aeotec WallMote button controllers (since these are not really switches since they cannot control a load), which require frequent recharging, does not fill the bill of ‘always works instantly under any circumstance’ for me. Also, the price of these WallMotes + Nano relays is going to be pretty high. And, you would be 100% reliant on the ST Hub to perform the simplest task of just turning on a light. A $99 cloud-based hub is not going to provide the level of uptime, robustness, and performance that is required for an architecture like this.
Why not simply use a true Smart Switch, like the Z-Wave Plus offerings by GE/Jasco, Inovelli, Leviton, Zooz, etc…? These have the advantage of actually controlling the load locally, with no Z-Wave controller (hub) being required. They are robust and reliable, and will work locally even when the internet and HA Hub are down. Also, they can easily be left behind if you sell the house as they do not need a hub for them to ‘just work.’
Your plan of starting small is a good one. One thing to consider is that the performance of a small HA setup of a few devices is not necessarily indicative of what having a 200+ system will perform like.
P.S. If you’re in North America, you may want to check out the lighting control offerings from Lutron as well. The Lutron systems are standalone, but do offer integration options with ST and Hubitat.
I hope you are right, but I’ve seen people discussing custom handlers for almost all the devices I have chosen in this community. I have selected the newer “Nano” range of Aeotec (boththe switches/relays as well as the dimmers), and they do not appear in the “Works with Smartthings” list. I think they are not - as yet - natively supported.
Nevertheless - thank you for your input!
The OP is in Europe. All the switches you mentioned are made for North America only. For a number of reasons, there are very few all in one Z wave light switches available for Europe, which is why most people go with micros.
However, having gone with the micros, you don’t need the wallmotes, as the micros themselves will work with regular dumb switches. You just select the style you want.
I had assumed the wallmotes were intended to be used with the shutter controls, but I may be wrong.
There is an FAQ for UK lighting, for those who are interested:
Also, @RobinWinbourne is in the U.K., did his entire house with SmartThings plus Fibaro kit, and is now in the process of designing a new home for his mother which will be fully automated as she uses a wheelchair and can greatly benefit from the convenience.
He can explain about how manual switches work with the micros, and may have some other comments as well.
Thank you. I am in the process of changing all on-wall switches in my house. Hanging on to the ones I have is out of the question at this point. Hence I thought I should take advantage of smarter switches like the wallmotes. The fact that you can control everything from the switch: switch the lights on, switch the light off, dim it up, dim it down, all lights on, all lights off, or even run an entire “scene” from a switch is just great. With normal switches, you can switch on, or off. Not very smart.
Using the better, smarter functionalities only from a smartphone is out of the question. I have a family and we often have guests - I want it to be almost fully functional from the on-wall switches.
I want to be sure this works though. Neither Aeotec nor Vesternet have indicated that the devices would not work in the UK (I am actually in Malta but for all intents and purposes, what works in the UK will work here, including the three-pin plug type). And I have spoken to both of them.
There is a lot of stuff not on the WWST list that will pair just fine. That’s the advantage of z-wave devices using a standard communication protocol for each device type. The fingerprints are already added in SmartThings default device handlers. Give it a whirl!
There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding here. The in wall micros are fully functional switches. You don’t need a smart switch in addition to those. You can activate their primary on/off/dim features from a manual dumb wall switch, and that works just fine. Any additional features like energy reporting still work through the hub. And of course you could also set up automations through the hub.
But as far as hand to Switch, when you use an in wall micro, it is usually connected to a dumb Switch on the wall. That will continue to work whether the hub is operational or not. You don’t need a second smart switch on the wall.
In fact, the micros are typically installed in the switchbox right behind the dumb switch.
Battery operated smart switches like the wallmotes are used for several different functions:
One) to add a switch in a location where you didn’t have a switch before (this is one reason they are popular for shutter controls)
Two) to add a switch to control smart bulbs
Three) to add a switch that can activate other hub features such as arming/disarming security modes, running routines, or to have a switch which can operate devices located on other circuits elsewhere in the house. But all of these will only be functional if the hub is also operating.
So I’m not saying don’t get the wallmotes, they may have a lot of value for you. But they would not normally be used to control an in wall micro like the nano unless you were adding an extra switch for a “virtual two way” in a position where you never had a switch before. But for the regular master switch you just use a dumb switch connected to the micro.
Thanks - really appreciate your input.
The Wallmote battery issue - I agree, and indeed I never intended to recharge them. I had already agreed with my electrician to install tiny USB chargers behind every Wallmote - so charging every switch occasionally was never going to be the way forward, as I agree, one just cannot have switches not working on demand. As I said already - I have now ordered a minimal set of devices - it won’t set me back much. If it works, I’ll try growing it slowly. If not - well, I don’t know, I’ll decide than.
With regard to the GE/Jasco, Inovelli, Leviton, & Zooz switches - well, I haven’t looked at them. Likely they were not on Vesternet website. I did not find many switches in my research - basically they have to be 3" x 3" (as is the standard locally), ST compatible, and able to activate some degree of automation. A quick search of all the brands you mentioned on Vesternet (UK) returned nothing, which does not augur well. A quick search on Amazon shows all these switches are targeted for a US market, not UK…