Trying to make the Kudled ZigBee remote work with the SmartThings Hub

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(Rodrigo Carvajal) #1

Hello Everyone, yesterday I got my package from China containing some RGB Bulbs and a remote.

I had some little problems getting them to work, but then I got it and the Device Handler and they work great.

Then I was off to try and pair the remote with the hub and couldn’t get it to work. Then in a private conversation with @hongtat he hooked me up with some valuable information that can be found in chinese in the Taobao Store. The remote pairs with the bulbs, not with the Hub, I went ahead and did that, but then the lights would not work with the app. This is not good, I reset the bulbs and tried to make the Hub identify the remote in order to make a handler and let it play nice.

Could anyone Walk me through? I have managed to get the Remote listed under Devices in the IDE, I repeatedly pressed the main O button 5 or 10 times and the LED on the remote blinked differently, and presto, the SmartThings app found it.

So far the information on the device is as follows:

EDIT: So I added the device handler from the Iris Smart Button II

And it seems to be able to turn every light on and off, The app doesn’t update the status of the bulbs but it seems like it’s getting somewhere.


(Stuart Buchanan) #2

you need to write your own devices handler. From the logs you are hitting the catchall section of the code. Simply put the Iris Smart Button II is only partially compatible. But it’s returning data that the handler is not set up to read. Have a look at the Zigbee section of the device handler chapter of ST documentation (documentation link in IDE) this will get you on your way to writing your own device type


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #3

I’m newer than newb when it comes to writing any code, I’m having a crack at it. Getting a bunch of errors, maybe I should start with a device handler that has more than one button.


(Stuart Buchanan) #4

i think you got lucky with that handler. Simply put handlers are mostly not interchangeable. Just trying different device handlers most likely will not get you where you need to be. My advice is to read the ST Documentation. It is some of the best and simplest documentation to follow for beginners thanks to @Jim.

You have a starting point with the handler you have now. And from the logs to can see what dates is being returned, but maybe you needs a reference to decipher it… This is usually provided in the devices manual… But these cheaper Chinese products generally have very little.

I suggest you look also at what is available in the documentation for the device. You will most likely be able to get a eureka moment and figure it out. I would help but without a device to test against it is extremely difficult.


#5

If the bulbs pair with the remote, you have a problem, because zigbee devices can only have one coordinator. So the bulbs can either belong to the remote or they can belong to the hub, but not both.

So that means that you are not going to be able to use the remote as the manufacturer has designed it.

a SmartThings button controller?

So the question is, is there another way that you can use it? The ideal here would be if the remote can be paired to the hub such that the hub will recognize a button press from the remote and then the hub could turn around and tell the bulbs what to do. Smartthings calls this a “button controller.” It can be either Z wave, like the Aeon minimote, or zigbee, like the smarten IT three toggle. But the key is the remote must send messages to the hub every time A button is pressed on it.

The problem here is that devices which are intended to be a coordinator, like this remote, don’t necessarily send information about what they’ve done to another Coordinator. If it doesn’t, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not in the device handler. The device itself has to be sending the message. All a device handler does is decode the message that was sent. But if the messages aren’t sent in the first place the hub won’t know about it. So a device may pair OK to the hub, but still not send the button press messages later.

Current similar devices

Right now there are 3 big brand zigbee remotes on the market which are intended to act as coordinators to a set of bulbs. These are the Phillips hue dimmer switch, the Lutron connected bulb remote, and the Osram lightify smart switch. They look pretty similar, but they all work somewhat differently. Specifically, they send different Zigbee Clusters.

Community members have been trying to get all three to work as button controllers that communicate to the smartthings hub. So far the only success has been with the Osram. The Lutron and the Phillips can be paired to the hub, but after that people have run into different issues and they just aren’t working that well.

a parallel means of control instead of a button controller

Because the Phillips can be paired to its own bridge, it can be used as a parallel means of control rather than a button controller. That means that when someone presses the button on the Phillips hue switch, the Hue bridge knows about it and tells the bulbs what to do. Then about five minutes later, smartthings will poll the bridge to get the current status of the bulbs. So you can use the switch, but smartthings itself doesn’t know anything happened, it just gets the end result status information from the bridge. Which is good for some use cases, but not others.

So what about the Kudled remote

So that brings us to this Kudled remote. There are several possibilities, but you will have to work with one of the zigbee coding Masters in the community and look at the live logs and see exactly what is happening.

Here are the possibilities:

  1. maybe the device is just a regular zigbee device and could work like the iris smart button. But I don’t think so. Not if it can act as a coordinator to the bulbs. ( which the iris button cannot)

  2. maybe the device is going to be like the Lutron remote and you will be able to pair it to the hub and have it act as a button controller for a little while, but then you will run into problems so it won’t be a practical device.

  3. maybe the device is going to be like the Phillips hue dimmer switch and you will be able to pair it to a hue bridge and use it as a parallel means of control. Of course then you also have to connect the bulbs to a Hue bridge rather than directly to the smart things hub.

  4. or maybe it will be like the Osram lightify dimming switch and you will actually be able to use it as a button controller. Obviously that would be the best outcome. But it depends on the exact zigbee messages that it sends to the hub

OK, now I’m going to make a wild guess that we actually have no evidence for as yet. But the Kudled bulbs are hue knockoffs. They pretty obviously have been reversed engineered from Hues. So I’m going to guess that their remote was reversed engineered from number three above, the Phillips hue dimmer switch. If that’s the case, I think there’s a pretty good chance that you will be able to pair it to a Hue bridge and use it as a parallel means of control. But like I said, no evidence for this, I’m just guessing based on other things this company has done.

Going forward

To go forward, you need to get someone to help you walk through the process to figure out whether this device is going to fall under one, two, three, or four. It’s going to mean a lot of trial and error, where you do different things with the device and capture the log entries, then post those log entries so one of the master coders can help you review them, then they give you some new code to try, and then you try it and report back on the next set of log entries.

They can give you a lot of help, but it is going to be in a lot of work on your part, so you need to decide whether that’s worth it to you.

But if you don’t do that, you are not going to be able to use the remote, because again the bulb can only belong to one Zigbee Cordinator. So once you have a bulb set up to work with SmartThings, the hub will own the bulb, and the remote will not be able to control it anymore. Unless you can get One of the four options described above to work. And that’s just going to depend on exactly what this remote device actually does each time a button is pressed.

Tagging @mitchp @Sticks18 @erocm1231 to see if any of them have time and interest in this project.

I would note that the manufacturer says that the remote is a ZLL device.


(Mark Whipp) #6

You might want to read this


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #8

Wow, that post was incredibly thorough and helpful, thank you for taking the time .

The thing that’s giving me hope with this remote at the moment is that it’s able to control all the Bulbs at the same time, turning them on, off, change color and brightness level. And yet I’m able to do the same with the app. This tells me that it’s using ZHA and not ZLL as when you pair the Bulbs to the remote.
A very odd thing is that the Bulbs obey the button presses and yet I have an incorrect handler and no smart app set up. This is very strange for me as an uninformed newbie. It might make more sense for the experts.

As you said, there is little to no documentation on the remote, I have written Kudled, but have not received a reply. I think it’ll have to be trial and error right now.

The remote seems to disconnect from the Hub after some hours and the re-pairing seems to be done by pressing the main off button in quick succession. After that, I’m able to control the lights together and use the app at the same time for each bulb although on the app, the status of the bulb is not updated.

In any case I’m very interested in adding to this community, and if I can work out with the help of others a way to get this 14 button $12 remote to play nice, it’ll be worth it for everyone.


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #9

I’m not quite sure if I linked to that exact thread, but it is the reason I went ahead and bought these bulbs, they’ve been working well, and that thread has the device handler that I used to get them to work. But no mention of the remote either in these forums or Google, so that’s why I created the thread.


#10

There is a very brief mention of the remote in that other thread, just to say that it comes in two versions as the kudled bulbs do.

One version is a proprietary 2.4 protocol which won’t work with anything else.

The other is a ZLL Version. The bulbs from those can be made to work with SmartThings or with the hue bridge. Those bulbs have the words "ZHA/ZLL"printed on them.

So the person who posted that was just saying to be careful if you buy the remote separately from the bulbs to make sure that you get the right version. Presumably if you buy them altogether in a kit they will be correct for each other, although it’s always good to check.

In your case, the fact that you were able to pair the bulbs to smart things and that your Kudled remote is able to control your bulbs sounds like all the devices are ZLL ( dropping back to ZHA when attached to the smartthings hub) So that’s good.

By the way, the remote frequently disconnecting from SmartThings hub is a common issue in this device class: both the lutron remote and the Phillips hue dimmer switch if connected directly to the hub do the same thing. That was one of the things I meant by they turned out not to be practical, because they required frequent re-pairing. But others can say more about that.

I forgot to ask, when you say the bulbs can be controlled by “the app” do you mean this SmartThings mobile app? Or the Kudled app?


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #11

I meant the SmartThings app, I should have clarified that.

On the other hand I ordered the bulbs and remote from a vendor that only had one posting for each, so I think Kudled might end up dropping the proprietary protocol.

The posting for the remote does have ZLL on the image although just 2.4G on the device itself. The bulbs have Zigbee Light Link and ZHA 1.2 printed on them.


#12

When you have the bulbs and the remote all paired to SmartThings, And you use the remote to do something with the bulbs, does the status of the bulbs change in the smartthings mobile app? Or is it out of sync?


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #13

It’s out of sync, although I am able to use the app to adjust them, something I wasn’t able to do when I paired the remote directly to the bulbs.

I have no clue how the Iris Button handler is allowing the commands to turn on and of, change color or brightness without a smart app in the middle, but that’s the status of things at the moment.

EDIT: So I used the Device Handler for the Lightify Button Dimming Switch as well as the Handler for the Swann Key fob, and with all three handlers the commands to turn on and off all bulbs as well as change color and brightness pass through the Hub, the other buttons on the bottom of the remote don’t do anything either physycally or through the logs in the IDE.


#14

There is likely a smart app in the middle for the iris button. That button itself is not in any way controlling the other devices. All it is doing is telling the hub that its button was pressed.

Then something has been set up to subscribe to that button press event, and that something is sending a command to the bulb to change its state.

It could be a routine, it could be smart lighting, it could be rule machine, it could be custom code.

There’s also a small possibility that there has been a direct binding between the iris button and another zigbee device. That works like direct association in zwave. If two devices of the same protocol belong to the same network, and they are within one hop of each other, They can be set up to talk to each other directly without going through the hub. But we don’t usually do that in a SmartThings set up because it has a lot of limitations and the app will be out of sync


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #15

Right now the Smart App I have installed are the following:

  • Button Controller using the Iris Smart Button to send a push message to the SmartThings app that someone is at the door.
  • IFTTT has all my devices associated to it other than the Kudled Remote, I mainly use IFTTT to store temperature values of my various temperature sensors in Google Drive.
  • An app that supposedly tracks sensors and switches logging everything on Google Analytics. I couldn’t get this to work.
  • Notify Me When, for the Iris Smart Button with the same function of notifying me of button presses as a doorbell.
  • Perch, the app is installed but not being used as I don’t have other devices to use it on.
  • Rule Machine, with no rules created
  • ThingSpeak tracking, which I haven’t gotten to work for logging temperature mostly.

Aside from those apps, I have nothing that would link or bind the remote to the lights.


#16

Didn’t you say you used the same device Handler as iris button for the remote? Unless you renamed it, it’s inheriting the button controller app you already had.

But it’s more likely that you did physically bind the bulbs to the remote at some point and they are still bound. Did you test the bulbs with the remote before you connected the bulbs to smart things?


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #17

I am using the same Device Handler, although I tried using 2 other unique handlers and the remote controlled the lights all the same.


#18

Then the Bulbs are likely bound to The remote. Try turning off the hub (take it off power and take out the batteries). If the remote can still control the bulbs, then they are independently bound and the remote is not actually being used as a SmartThings button controller.

I don’t think you’ll be able to use the following device handler, but if you read through the thread, I think you’ll see that they are having the same issues with that device that you are having with yours, and it might give you some ideas.


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #19

Thanks I’ll check it out.

Weird thing is I did bind each of my 4 bulbs to one of the on and of sets on the bottom of the remote, they paired and the bulbs were no longer available on my ST hub, I reset the bulbs and unpaired the remote with each bulb, then repaired them with the ST hub and all was working well, with the added bonus of partial control while the remote is paired to the hub.

Now that I think about it, I’ll unpair from the hub and see if the lights still obey the remote.


(Mitch Pond) #20

If I can get my hands on one it could be a fun project. The shipping times from AliExpress are a little up there :scream:, so I don’t know if it’ll be something I can get around to soon.

Looking at the logs, it looks like all of the messages are caught by the hub; I’m seeing on/off, level, and color control.


(Rodrigo Carvajal) #21

Most sellers throw in free express shipping with the purchase of US$100 or more. Not a very appealing idea if all you want is a remote to play with.

But if you want to give it a shot I can work as your proxy.