Touchlink applies to some Zigbee devices.
It allows you to bind a “Controller“ like a handheld remote to a smart bulb or light switch so that when you press a button on the controller the bulb will turn on or off without having to send a message through the smartthings hub.
When both the controller and the bulb are already connected to the smartthings Zigbee network, you can use this method to control the bulb, even if the controller just shows up as a “zigbee thing” in the smartthings app.
So, even though the controller won’t show up in routines in the smart things app, so you can’t use it with any other kinds of devices, you can at least use it as a parallel means of control for some zigbee devices. It doesn’t require any custom code.
This method of binding two Zigbee devices together is called “touchlink” and is part of the independent third-party zigbee standards. Not all Zigbee devices can do it, but it can be useful.
People have been using it for years to bring hue dimmers into their setup even though the dimmer itself only looked like a thing in the smartthings app. And reportedly it also works with some IKEA devices.
To use this method, the sequence matters.
add both the controller and the target device to Smartthings. It’s fine if the controller only shows up as a “Zigbee thing”. Ideally, you’d want the target device to have a functional edge Driver, so you can use it with other routines as well.
after both show up in the smartthings app, follow the manufacture instructions for using the touchlink method to bind the two together.
If you try to use touchlink before adding both devices to your smartthings network, the controller will probably steal the Target device from smartthings, and you will no longer be able to control it except from the controller. So just make sure both devices show up in your smartthings app list of devices before you try touchlink.
Also, do NOT Reset the Target device before using touch link. That would also remove it from smartthings.
you want to have the Target device Already working in smartthings, have the controller added to smartthings as a zigbee thing, and then use touchlink to bind them together, as a parallel means of control.
Again, this will only work with some Zigbee Devices being bound to some other Zigbee Devices. But it can definitely be useful.