I, along with others, have been advocating for sometime that we need a smart button. Something small (key-fobish sided) that when pressed reports back to SmartThings that it’s been pressed so that it can trigger events, programs, mode changes, etc.
Such a thing does exist in a way… there are plenty of Z-wave remotes or panic buttons. These are small and easily portable. But these all operate as secondary controllers rather than Z-wave devices that SmartThings can use.
They also exist in another form: Switches. For example I replaced a “Dead switch” (didn’t turn anything on) with a Jasco 45609 switch that isn’t connected to anything on the load side, just the line and neutral. I can turn in on or off and smartthings see when I do that. I can then use this to initiate programs. But this is far from portable or easy to place anywhere you’d like it.
Well, I decided make something myself. Or rather, modify something. I have a Intermatic screw in light unit. You screw this into an existing light socket, then screw in the light. My original plan was to add a new light to my garage and put this in the light. But plans changed and I didn’t have a real purpose for this anymore. So I took it apart. I think proceeded to wire it up in a switch box to an old cord from some long lost piece of electronics (I tend to never throw things out… to the chagrin of my wife) and mounted the push button on to the back side of a old switch plate.
Put it all together and I have a semi-portable smart button:
It’s ugly, but it works. Using a bit of command strips I mounted this on the side of my daughter bed. Now she uses it to turn on her night light program that dims her bedroom light and slowly turns it off over a period of time. If she wakes up in the middle of the night and needs her light back on, she can hit the button again it’ll start the program back up.
Theoretically this should work for any switch that uses a neutral. It’s by no means a perfect solution. First it’s expensive (need a switch, a box, switch plate, cord…). Second it’s big… hard to but it sometimes in conspicuous. Third, it isn’t fully portable. Still needs to be plugged. But it’s better than no option, which is where I was previously.