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.
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.
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…
Ok I understand. For the sake of this project - let’s assume that I do not have switches in place. (In reality, I do, but it’s a long story - they all need to be changed). I know the Wallmote quad is not load-controlling, and would need to tell the hub to tell the Aeotec Switches or Dimmers to do something with the lighting circuit. However when I selected it for my test, I wanted to have a wall switch that could turn on and off the lights easily (for non-tech-savvy users), but which had multiple other functions through press and hold, and swipe up/down… Like run a specific scene… In fact, to be honest, mapped the functionality of a few switches in my living room and kitchen, were I to go for Wallmotes - and impressively, I found a reason to map at least 12 functions per switch.
As I said before - it’s in the mail now and will be home any day. Let’s hope I find the time to understand the technology and inatall at least these few test devices for now - considering I am a complete novice
Thanks a lot for your very helpful posts which are helping me better understand the overall Smartthings environment.
Wow, 12 functions per Switch-- I doubt if I could remember that many without labels!
There are two other options you might want to take a look at as you move forward.
The first is the very popular third-party dashboard app, ActionTiles. This will run in any browser and you customize which devices appear. So you can use it with either a tablet or an inexpensive Wi-Fi phone. I think most people with whole house implementations end up using at least one or two of these. ( The license fee is around $30, but that’s per hub, not per dashboard.)
Another popular option for both US and UK community members is a zwave battery-operated device, the remotec ZRC 90. This accepts tap, double tap, and long hold for each of eight buttons, so you get 24 functions altogether, but it does allow for a nice look with labeling.
ActionTiles is a great product to augment control of your home automation system. Just please be aware that ActionTiles is a web application that is hosted in the cloud. It is 100% dependent on your internet being up and running.
Yes, very good point, but the design the OP was discussing with the wallmotes would also only work with the cloud. For example, the OP mentioned scene functionality: The wallmote is a central scene device, so requires the hub, and also requires a custom device handler, which means cloud. So I was just suggesting actiontiles and/or the remotec90 as alternatives to the Wallmote.
This is one of the main reasons I think most people in Europe do not match a micro with a non load controlling Switch as the only manual means of control: that design only works when everything works, including the cloud. If you instead use the micro with a regular dumb wall switch, at least the switch will continue to work for on/off even if the hub dies all together.
I would agree - except as I said before, for all intents and purposes, I have no wall switches in the house (or rather there are switches which are not working as expected and need to be taken off). So I am faced with the option of buying dumb switches, or something a little more intelligent. I need to cover about 40 3"x3" squares in the walls all over the house with something - anything, as long as it looks good enough, is 3"x3" (or close), and delivers some degree of functionality. I have not settled on the Wallmote as yet, though I have ordered one, and I will test it as soon as it arrives and I manage to wrap my head around setting up the hub, installing the right device handler, and configuring it. Something tells me that on its own will take several days considering I am a novice here.
Also - I would put the possibility of Internet being down as close to nil - with two different Internet connections to the house, of two different providers, which use different submarine cables to connect to the main backbones in mainland Europe… So the chance of downtime is mostly determined by the probability of the hub developing a fault, or the Smartthings cloud being down. I have looked at the link kindly provided by JDRoberts - and of course it shows about 6 incidents a month, but most appear to be minor incidents, but definitely that probability is not Zero.
May I ask - if Smartthings in future starts to natively support Wallmotes and Nano switches and Dimmers - would those devices then be able to use local device handlers, and therefore be able to run locally?