SmartThings Community

Switch operated fireplace -- Best option and price for a dry contact relay whether z-wave or zigbee

(Denis Grabocka) #1

Hello all,
What are the best options out there for a z-wave or zigbee controlled relay that will work with SmartThings Hub?
Obviously price will be a factor too. I am not trying to switch a load or anything just a simple dry contact on/off normally open relay.

I have fireplace that has a wall switch that is attached to it, and turns it on and off. From my research, i have found out that it has a millivolt load to it from a thermocoupler that uses heat form the pilot to generate a small current that the switch uses to ignite the fireplace when flipped (i also put the volt meter to it).
This switch is physically right above a second switch, on my wall, that turns a light on and off so i was thinking of getting the ac power from that to power the z-wave relay and than use the dry contact aspect to just turn it on and off remotely with smarthings

I have researched on the internet but all i see is relays that turn on and off lights etc … can those relays be used for this purpose too??
Two of the most promising ones are these two that i am providing links below so please can someone with more experience than me confirm that either one will work on my scenario or point me into the right direction??

Thank you

Heat n Glo Fireplace Automation, Need Help

Unfortunately, neither of those are going to be a good match. You need something which has a built-in timer as SmartThings can occasionally cause random “on” events and you need to be prepared for that.

If you check the quickbrowse lists in the community – created wiki in the project report section, there is a list for fireplace projects that should give you some more information.

(Simon) #3

Look at the Fibaro FGS-222. This is a dual relay with dry contact support and a timer function. There is also a great Device Handler for it and they are 100% reliable. There is a single relay version (FGS-212), but I have not seen a device handler for it that supports the timer function. Unfortunately the newer versions (FGS-213 and FGS-223) do not have the dry contact support.

(Pizzinini) #4

@Mike_Maxwell has created a device type for the zfm-80 with a built in shut off timer (Thank you!) I can’t find the post anymore but if you link his github repository you can install it.

EDIT: Found it!

(Allan) #5

GoControl FS20Z-1 which has dry contacts but no physical switch. You should be able to use this module in parallel with your existing switch so you could add the capabilities of turning it on remotely plus still turn it on manually. Only caveat is if you have it on locally you cant turn it off remotely. If you have 120v at the fireplace (I do for a blower) then it would be a easy and cheap ($30) install.

If you need to replace the switch I would either go with a previous suggestion or a standard GE on/off switch ($30 on sale) along with a RIB relay (RIBU1C maybe for $15?) to “convert” the 120v AC over to dry contacts.


(Ron Talley) #6

Exactly what I did.

However, if my wiring would have allowed what the OP is proposing, I would have done it that way as it seems like a much cleaner solution. Plus, the existing wall switch can now be converted to a double switch. One in Parellel to work outside of SmartThings and one in series to serve as an emergency disconnect just in case things start acting up in SmartThings or power loss.

I put a GE Smart Switch on the Fan and left the Wall Switch for the Fireplace alone. Used a step down transformer from 120VAC to 24VAC and a mechanical 24VAC Relay to the “Thingy” that’s inside the fireplace that the wall switch was wired to.

Used CoRE to build various safety rules and timers.

(Denis Grabocka) #7

Oh OK so the ZFM-80 that i have found above will work in my case, right??
The first reply by JD Roberts said otherwise so i almost immediately discarded that option.

Looks like exactly what i need, without the option of a manual switch in case of power failure i guess.

Thank you for your reply

(Denis Grabocka) #8

Thank you all for your replies ill be looking into the fireplace thread for more ideas and info in the mean time keep the suggestions flowing

(Pizzinini) #9

Yes, I am using the zfm-80 for more than a year now and it never failed me. It needs constant power so be sure you have an outlet nearby that you can connect it to.

And yes, please read the Fireplace threads, especially for the notes on building code for using a remote for a fireplace.


I used a Vision ZL7431 to create a garage door opener (contacts “push” the door open/close button), as well as 2 remote starters for my 2 cars (they use the generic momentary switch device handlers to trigger a timer circuit that “pushes” the remote starter button). I found them to be inexpensive and reliable for use as a pair of NO or NC contacts.

(Denis Grabocka) #11

Hey there @pizzinini and @Mike_Maxwell i just implemented the zfm-80 on my fireplace it works beautifully i am very happy with it .
One thing though, the above device handler you suggested with the timing feature for automatic shut off after a certain time, however that feature is not working.
I have set it for 60, min 90 min or 120 and time passes and the fireplace does not turn off any thoughts ??
Other than that thank you for all your help and work i really appreciate it

(Pizzinini) #12

Thanks for letting me know, i’ll Check in that. I do have a automation set up in the Smart Lightning app to also turn off after a certain time, just in case.


Hi @richland007, When you connected this did you use the Remotec Dry Contact Module as the on/off switch itself or did you have to connect an external switch to it?

I bought it myself for a fireplace switch as well, but can’t seem to get it to work. I am also powering it from an adjacent light switch. I thought I could use the remotec button as the switch itself. I don’t think it’s a momentary switch, but a latching (fixed) switch. The instructions seem to show an external switch should be wired in, but is that mandatory?

(Denis Grabocka) #14

In my application my fireplace requires the button/relay to be always on for the duration of the use not momentary so this is working flawlessly. I do have a small, (regular not smart) push on/off button connected to the same terminals of the Remotec switch that is controlling the fireplace for manual control if the electricity is out and i can not use the push button that comes with Remotec itself since there may be no power.

So again it is not momentary its latching on or off z-wave relay with constant power for operation (make sure that light switch does not cut the power of the remotec when off) and @pizzinini smart app for control …works beautiful in my scenario i do not think it will work for momentary though but i may be wrong maybe there is some tweaking that can be done via app controls as momentary but i am not 100% sure


Thank you for the response. So you have a push button connected to the Remotec for cases of when electricity goes out, that’s smart. But just to be sure, the Remotec button itself can also act as an on/off as well, correct?

Right now I think my Remotec switch is dead, because there is no LED light at all. And I confirmed that power is going through the live wire, with my non contact voltimeter (with adjacent powering lights on and off just to be sure).

(Denis Grabocka) #16

Yes it is an on/off switch with its own physical/local control button or z-wave control both of which require constant power to operate.


So I am glad to say I got the Remotec working as a wall switch and connected to my hub. Thank you @richland007, for your feedback. I also got it connected to my Logitech Harmony Hub remote and can now turn on my fireplace while watching TV.

I do notice that every now and then I see the switch’s blue LED blink a few times and then stop. It does not stay on, it just blinks and then goes dark after those few blinks. It also appears to be working fine 3 days into installation. I checked the manual section, “LED Indication Status”, and there is no mention of this behavior. All of the operations talk about flashing and then the light staying on. I also don’t see anything showing up in the Recently tab of the SmartThings classic app. I will check the IDE logs to see if anything, but figured I’d ask here first, if anyone had a similar experience.

(Denis Grabocka) #18

Yeap it blinks all the time …i think it reacts to any z-wave traffic that goes on around the house as a repeater and it constantly reports its status.
It works nicely though enjoy it :slight_smile: