Smarthings & AMARS RF battery powered wireless lights

Hi everyone, I’ve scoured the forums and although some have posted similar asks I don’t think this one has come up yet. Apologies if it has already.

I bought the following string lights on Amazon.

They’re outdoor lights powered by a small waterproof battery pack. Control (on/off/mode) is done by a small RF remote control. Went with the battery pack version because I don’t want to run power to the trees in the middle of my yard. Looking for a solution that allows me to integrate into ST. Similar to those IR blasters that “learn” commands…is there a device out there that will allow me to learn the RF command from this tiny remote and in turn have ST control them? I have a couple fence lights (powered by an outdoor zwave plug) as well as a series of Hue spotlights that all turn on with a single “Google, Turn on backyard lights” command.

Would like the tree lights to fire up as well…any thoughts?

The smartthings hub is a plastic box that includes several radios. There is one for zigbee, one for Z wave, An inactive one for Bluetooth, and some models have a Wi-Fi radio as well.

Unfortunately, the device that you selected is almost certainly using a different radio on a different frequency. Look on the remote itself, perhaps inside the battery compartment, and there should be an FCC license number. From that you can look up what frequency it broadcasts on.

Since we can pretty much guarantee that it’s not going to be one of the ones that the smartthings hub uses, then the only option for integration is either cloud to cloud if the company has its own app, which it doesn’t look like this one does.

Or by using a different device as a “man in the middle server“ which is capable both of broadcasting on the frequency that your lights use and communicating to smartthings by cloud. That may be possible if it’s using one of the more common frequencies, but it also just may not be possible.

The first step, though, is to figure out exactly what frequency your device is using.

In the future, look for devices that at a minimum have an integration with either Amazon Alexa or Ifttt and you should be able to get at least partial integration that way.

Thank you. I expected a “man in the middle” solution and then leverage IFTT for control. That’s what I’m struggling to find unfortunately.

I was originally looking at BOND home that out of the box is designed for RF controlled ceiling fans but after a bit of reading ST support is flakey and supporting 3rd party items is questionable.

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Do you have the remote for your lights? There should be an FCC label on it.

Absolutely no markings on the remote or inside the battery compartment.

Ended up ordering a Broadklink RM Pro hub from Amazon. Looks like it has the RF “learning” features I’m looking for, it’s also IFTTT and Google compatible and it appears someone has written an ST DH for it. I’ll let everyone know how it turns out!

The first question is going to be the frequency The RF device operates at. Broadlink works for some frequencies, but not every possible frequency.

If there’s no FCC license listed on the remote, then there’s a possibility that it is not an RF (radio frequency) device at all, but rather is an IR (infrared) remote instead.

The easiest way to test this is to take your remote and go out of sight of the lights. Just around the corner is fine. Radio waves at any frequency can go through walls to some extent. IR is a form of light and cannot. So if the remote has to have a clear line of sight to the device to operate, then it’s probably an IR remote. In that case, there may be some additional options for the “man in the middle“ device. The broadlink may work, or SwitchBot or even a Logitech Harmony might work.

But there’s no one size fits all silver bullet server that works with every possible remote that’s out there. The first question is if the two devices can even hear each other. So that’s why the frequency matters.

The remote says “RF wireless” on it. I’m going to see if the broadlink can pick up the RF frequency… If not I’ll return it to Amazon. Harmony, I tried and no go. I’ll check out switchbot as a plan B. Thanks @JDRoberts!

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If it’s RF and sold in the US, it has to have the FCC license number on it somewhere. But if it’s ion it doesn’t need a license. Sometimes it’s just a translation error when a Chinese company says it’s RF when they just mean it’s remote controlled. Did you look inside the battery compartment? Otherwise can you post a picture of the back of it and any labels inside the battery compartment?

The Switchbot will only work if it’s an IR device.

It’s definitely Chinese made. Zero FCC labels on remote, inside battery compartment or even in the instruction manual. It’s odd though, the remote does have an IR led up top which would imply IR but I’ve taken the remote to a completely different room, blocked the IR LED and the lights still came on which leads me to believe the oddball “RF wireless” is accurate

Is there an FCC label on the receiving device? Technically radio frequency devices should not be sold in the US without an FCC label, but some do slip through the cracks.