Official Support for Scene Controllers

It’s the same word, but not the same meaning. Scene controllers in the Z wave context are using a specific set of Z wave commands. They are an old technology from the third generation of Z wave (we are now at the fifth) and their purpose was to allow a local controller, usually in a single room, to issue simple on/off/ dim commands to a small number of Z wave devices that were all within 1 hop of that controller. Commands went directly from that local controller to the individual Z wave devices, they did not get communicated back to the hub.

All of this was useful at the time, but it doesn’t really fit the SmartThings architecture, which includes devices from multiple protocols and which has an app which expects to have current status at all times. That just doesn’t work if the local scene controller isn’t telling the hub what it’s doing.

Plus, relying on those Z wave command set would mean you couldn’t press a button on the scene controller and have it turn on a zigbee Switch or Wi-Fi pocket socket. And that would probably be both confusing and frustrating for most smart things customers who don’t know anything much about the different protocols being used.

Instead, from the beginning smartthings has always relied on an architecture where the “button controller” would send a message to the hub and then the hub would send the message to the end device, regardless of the protocol being used. this can be done either with Association, as works with the minimote, or with a newest version group of zwave commands called “central scene commands,” which send A scene number to the hub which then sends out the appropriate commands to the end devices. For example, this is how double tap and triple tap work on the Homeseer switches.

This has a couple of advantages. First of all, you can include devices which are all the way on the other side of the house in a button command if you want. And second, you can include any device which SmartThings controls, without having to pay attention to the individual protocols.

So to be honest, it’s kind of like asking why the newest smart TV doesn’t have a built-in VCR tape player. It’s just not really the way things are done now.

There are a number of other multiple button devices that you can use, or, as mentioned, the ones that recognize different hat patterns, or even mount a small tablet as a controller.

Just as one example, the remotec 90 is a current generation multibutton device which works very well with SmartThings, and you can set the individual buttons to turn on devices, including virtual devices, change the mode, change SHM armed status, pretty much anything SmartThings can do with pretty much any device smartthings can control. :sunglasses:


That would just never be true of the Leviton VRCZ4 third generation device because of limitations of the older architecture. Even if it was fully supported by SmartThings, it would always be limited to control of other Z wave devices within one hop of it, and that would be it. And it wouldn’t update the hub with changes in status when its buttons were pushed, so status in the app would continually be out of sync.

So I have no idea what the official position is on the third generation scene controllers, but it won’t be surprising if SmartThings doesn’t add support for them.


I recently received a note from someone who is confused by this post and thought I was saying that it didn’t make sense for SmartThings to support central scene controllers like the Homeseer switches.
Z wave has two completely different kinds of scenes. The original, local scenes, where the scene controller sends a command directly to the end device without telling the primary controller (the hub) about it.
And the newer “central scenes” where the scene controller sends a command to the hub with the central scene number, and then the hub does stuff with it.
Z wave introduced central scenes primarily because of the increasing use of mobile apps since if the hub Doesn’t know about the instruction, the mobile app will get out of date. But they are also very useful for multiprotocol platforms like SmartThings.
So central scene controllers make perfect sense for SmartThings and other multiprotocol platforms precisely because the hub is told about every command.
But the original local scene controllers which can work only with devices of their own protocol within one hop and which don’t tell the hub what they are doing, make much less sense.
I hope that clears up the confusion.