Virtual switches, dimmers, groups, etc

Hello new to the forum here, but I have been searching for an answer to this question and can’t seem to come up with anything. Basically my questions is about creating virtual dimmers and switches, in which groups of physical switches and lights can be controlled.

Until yesterday I was using Trend Setter as a way of accomplishing this - so for instance I had all my living room lights (fireplace, corner, pendant, etc…) grouped and could dim them and turn them on and off together.

Yesterday with the shut down of Groovy all of that setup is now bricked. I had a galaxy tablet running SharpTools which had my grouped virtual switches, and then panels to click into which would allow access to individual lights within a room. I’ve attached a picture.

Anyway - I’m baffled at not being able to find a simple way of grouping together lights into a virtual dimmer or switch. Seems like such a basic functionality that most folks would want.

Any help would be appreciated. Happy to go into more detail…

p.s. I find it so strange that this wouldn’t be a basic function of the smart things app - in Apple Home you can literally just drag lights on top of each other and it will form a virtual group either dimmer or switch. It’s so easy and basic, I’ve always wondered why that doesn’t exist in smart things and why I even had to resort to Trend Setter to do something like that. Maybe a topic for a broader discussion…

I should also say that another frustrating part of this rollout with shutting down the Groovy backend is that any search you do on a topic like “how to set up a virtual switch” will only return discussions having to do with IDE and old API. And all that is basically obsolete now…

I can think of two ways; I haven’t used them extensively but others may have thoughts about which would be a better option.

  1. create a “lighting group” from the add device button.

  2. Smart Lighting app; you can install it by going to add a routine, select the discover tab, and scroll all the way down. Select the devices you want to include in the group, set the action as “sync with switch”, then under “select devices” choose the virtual switch / dimmer you want to control them with. I’m not sure whether it will sync color, if you’re using RGB bulbs, but I suspect not.

There’s a discussion about adding an “obsolete” tag to old conversations but it hasn’t been implemented yet. In the meantime, sorting search results by most recent posts usually gets me where I’m going.

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Yeah, I don’t know why smartthings never implemented actionable groups either, most home automation platforms have. But they didn’t.

do you have a smartthings/Aeotec hub, and if so, which model? Also, which country are you in? (A few features are region-locked.)

There are some methods under the new architecture for creating virtual devices, and you can use one of those as a master with the other devices following it, similar to what trendsetter did, but using official features. But it’s more work to set up, and the methods vary depending on Your configuration. :thinking:

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Light groups are usable in Routines in the latest Android build.

Light Groups may work for what you need, but it’s pretty limited:

  1. Can only group control on/off and dim state. Color Temperature and Color can’t be controlled by the group UI in the mobile app, but it can be by the Rules API
  2. I don’t think they are exposed to outside services like SharpTools
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Lighting groups do not show up in Alexa.

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Thanks guys. I have the ST wifi hubs V3 I believe. I’m in the US and the house is actually a rental property near Joshua Tree so my goal is to have it be as straightforward and easy for people to “get” without any (or very little) instruction. I have a Samsung Galaxy which is running Fully in Kiosk mode and SharpTools - so basically guests can just click lighting groups to turn on and off the many lights in the house without having to find all the switches… it’s worked good until now.

Yep so lighting groups in the SmartThings app is basically useless if trying to integrate into a system which uses SharpTools as the front end. I did figure out a work around for what I was trying to accomplish, which I’ll explain below incase anyone else had a similar issue and is wondering how to do it.

I couldn’t figure out a way to create a virtual switch in the app itself - there is a schema virtual device under the add device menu, however you need a Samsung email address to log in an enable it, or at least I couldn’t figure out how to do it. So instead I used the API browser from @TAustin (amazing tool - thank you!!) to create virtual switches / dimmers for all the rooms I needed. These would immediate show up in the app, however to see them in routines I needed to restart the app after creating them.

Then I grouped all the lights I wanted to associate with that switch in Smart Lighting, then mirrored their behavior to the virtual switch. After that was working, I would go into SharpTools and refresh the connection with ST, which would then get the virtual switch to show up and I could add it as a tile.

A long and arduous process, when it would be so easy to just be able to group them and have that group function as a virtual switch (as it did with Trend Setter).

Hopefully this helps someone.

Thanks for the replies it was really helpful in figuring this out!

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ST Light Groups do not show over in Google Home either.

Sure miss the functionality of Trendsetter for light groups.

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Light Groups have been useless since their inception. They’re barely more than useless still.

I’ve been using a virtual switch/dimmer in conjunction with the Mirror/Sync capability of Smart lighting. Sadly only available in some regions for unknown reasons. Not perfect but helpful when using a voice assistant to control a group of lights.