SmartThings can't copy Zwave network information to a secondary controller

Hey folks,

I just got my SmartThings hub setup with a few Zwave devices and even Alexa. It works pretty well. However, there is one big glitch.

A SmartHub only seems to work reliably as a primary controller. That’s a pain because if you have a Zwave network setup already you have to tear it down and recreate it with the SmartHub. The bigger issue is that it won’t inter operate at all with secondary controllers. So now I’m in the weird position where I can control my lights with my phone and Alexa, but the button on the remote and secondary controller on the wall don’t work.

I chatted with support and they quickly told me that there is no way to copy the Zwave network configuration from the Smarthub to a secondary controller. Also they said that SmartHub doesn’t work well as a secondary controller.

I’m quite disappointed in this development and was hoping that when it said Zwave support it actually meant just that. This device in my mind only half supports Zwave and I really hope that they add better ZWave support.

If anyone has other thoughts or workarounds I’m all ears. Are there other smart hubs that work better with ZWave?


There have been a number of threads discussing these issues since smartthings was first released. ( just search the forum for “secondary”) It was designed as a cloud-based multiprotocol platform and they really try to discourage the idea that you would be using any protocol-specific commands. So they didn’t even include support for the advanced Z wave controller options like controller shift and replicate. (Since you wouldn’t be able to do the same thing on the zigbee side.)

It’s definitely a certified Z wave controller, but only at the most basic level.

This is discussed in the official supportbase article:

SmartThings strongly discourages adding the Hub to another Z-Wave network. We cannot offer support for disconnected Z-Wave devices or the inability to add devices through the Hub as a result of including the Hub into another Z-Wave network.

If all you want is Z wave, there are a number of other controllers which will probably be be a much better fit for you, and also which will have local operations.

Vera is a good inexpensive choice, homeseer has additional options but costs more. One of the least expensive reliable choices you can look at is indigo, which is software that runs on a laptop with an Aeotec USB stick. It works fine for lighting and sensors, but doesn’t support zwave secure devices, so you can’t add zwave locks, although you can add Insteon locks.

There are several other choices as well which provides support for multiple Z wave hub systems, depending on whether you are in the US or Europe.

Every system has pluses and minuses, it just depends on your own particular needs and preferences.


When I included paired the Intermatic HA07 with my ST hub, I assumed (and the included instructions seemed to imply) that the master hub was copying the Z-Wave network information to it. And I am able to control the assigned Z-Wave devices on my network with it, independently of ST. The buttons on this remote can be assigned to the Z-Wave devices in my network by putting it in ‘learn’ mode and then hitting the ‘action’ button on the desired Z-Wave device (no need to put the devices themselves in pairing mode); from then on it can turn it on and off or set it to a pre-dimmed level.

So how does it do that if the SmartThings hub didn’t copy the Z-Wave pairing info to it? Or am i misunderstanding the role of the Intermatics as a secondary controller-- if not that, what is it?

When a secondary controller is joined to the primary, it copies in all of the information that is current at that time.

What smartthings doesn’t do is provide the advanced controller features that allow you to tell the primary to update the secondary AFTER the initial join.

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