Which in-wall switches would you go with?

Back in the day when I was a field tech one of the ways that we would screen for counterfeit devices was if they were using trademarks as generics. Because they won’t get through a UL/ETL certification check if they are. So I tend to pay more attention to the marks than most people. :sunglasses:

Your second point is one of the three other points I was wondering about. My current dimmers don’t cause flickering, but most of the dimming
(LEDs) occurs under 20% setting. I think this is a function of both the dimmer and the lights though. Does anyone have more suggestions on this?

Also, other concerns are

  1. Size of the switch- most barely fit into the box
  2. The native or readily available DH has the ability to fully configure the switch?

On your dimming issue, your best bet is to try one device from a different brand. My best luck for getting full range dimming of my LED ceiling fixtures (“canless cans”) has been the Zooz ZEN27 model.

Size of the switches is a real issue. I’ve got a lot of 2- and 3-gang boxes. Doing 3 smart devices where they’re all on one circuit and so can have power and neutral daisy-chained is doable. If there are multiple circuits or other additional cables, it’s pretty tight.

For that case, I’ve started using the new generation GE/Jasco devices, both Z-wave and Zigbee. They advertise as 20% smaller and are definitely a help. Another advantage of these for multi-gang boxes is they don’t have heatsink ears that need to be snapped off.

All the major brands have custom DTHs that allow full configuration.

My practice is to use the custom DTH to configure but then change to the stock DTH to get local execution. That preserves any parameters.

It does, however, prevent you from using multiple taps to trigger scenes. I think that’s a complex kludge and don’t care to use it so I don’t find it a loss. Especially as compared to near instant response from local execution.

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And please remember, that in 2021, the legacy Groovy IDE will be shut down by Samsung, thereby obsoleting all current custom Device Type Handlers… No one know what the future will look like for hub-connected devices, and it is even more unclear now that Samsung has exited the smart home hardware business. It may very well be up to third party hardware manufacturers to provide their own hub-connected device drivers. Who knows? :man_shrugging:

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Ogie. Thry havent given us endgame onnthe device handlers. You are ABSOLUTELY 100% correct on smartapps and devs need. To be fixing that now. But look at how they’re giving us custom UI. Theybstill dont have an alternative for Zigbee and ZWave DTHs… That builds into the DTHs as they exist now.

Its becoming clearer now and i think it will absolutely be different - but i dont include Zigbee and ZWave DTHs in the same boat as smartapps. Until we know more it is what it is.

Understood and agreed… however I just have a hard time recommending to any new user to invest a bunch of money on hardware that may depend on custom Zigbee/Z-Wave/LAN Hub-Connected DTHs at this time. As you mentioned, Samsung has NOT been forthcoming with what the future is for these devices…nor have they been forthcoming with their North American plans for WASH hub hardware. In general, I would caution new users as this is a time of great uncertainty for hub-connected devices, IMHO.

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I dont have a problem recommending anything that follows a standard. For me, that’s Zigbee, ZWave or MQTT. We already know how to deal with MQTT in the future of ST. And if they blow it on Zigbee and ZWave with the hardware transition theres no less than three other systems we can use (as plenty of folks like to remind us, daily)

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And, for thd record, I’m gonna have a very hard time NOT referring to WASH hubs as WASHTubs, just saying…

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If, and this is a huge if, smartthings removed their proprietary abstraction layer, you wouldn’t need Hub Connected Device drivers. Just as an example, supporting three of the advanced features of the existing Z wave standard through the standard UI:

Direct associations

Central scenes

Multi endpoint devices

Would eliminate the need for probably 80% of the custom code being used for DTHs.

Stop trying to make Z wave look like zigbee and zigbee look like Z wave and life would get a lot easier for the end consumer.

It’s my hope, although this is just a hope with nothing to back it up, is that Aeotec taking over the hub hardware might put pressure on smartthings to move the firmware in this direction.

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I’m the other way around right now. MQTT, OK, because as you said that’s already been defined. But smartthings has never fully implemented either the zigbee or Z wave standards above the basic level, so if you are looking for something that will work with smartthings in the future, that’s very hard to predict. :thinking:

So for now, I am suggesting that people who are brand new to smartthings start with a “hub optional“ configuration. There’s lots of stuff that they can do and again, it could be moved to another platform later if desired or even implemented simultaneously with another platform now. But don’t buy hub connected devices for a platform which doesn’t currently have a hub for sale, particularly when that platform has a history of implementing standards idiosyncraticly.

Zwave devices which use central scene commands, and there are more and more of them now, don’t work with smartthings without custom code. Zigbee 3.0 devices which have multiple end points or rely on the green power clusters either won’t work at all or will require custom code.

I wouldn’t buy any of those right now to work with smartthings even if they are from good companies who are putting a lot of effort into keeping up with the platform.

But choice is good, including in situations like this, so I understand other people would make a different decision. :sunglasses:

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My bet is more manufacturer specific hubs or generic “WASH” hubs connecting yo ST through MQTT. Beyond that, I won’t comment publicly until I get a confirmation or denial of a few specific items. Either way, i could switch platforms tomorrow if everything I use is standards based. :slight_smile:

As always JD, choice is good.

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I ordered two of the Zooz ZEN 27 units. I tried replacing one existing hardwired dimmer with them. In each case, the wires would “pop” out easily as the screws would not always secure them. I re-read the instructions and contacted tech support- as it is clear their is a “trick”" involved with attaching the wiring on these units. I’ve never run into this before, but was concerned this could be a safety issue now or in the future, so I returned the units. Has anyone else run into this issue?

You have to open screws first, then insert wires and tighten. There’s a plate inside to grab the wire and it moves towards the screw when tightening.
I have plenty of them and none lets go of the wires.

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Agree with @NomadTech

I currently have installed 22 Zooz devices, 7 Leviton, and 10 GE/Jasco.

They all connect the same way.

  1. Back the screw off until you get resistance (they usually come backed off but I always check).
  2. Tip the device so the screw head is up and it drops in against the housing
  3. Push the wire into one of the holes on the back of the device. Not under the head, into a hole. There are two holes for each screw to facilitate connecting multiple wires if needed
  4. Tighten the screw as far as it will go.

If you examine the devices you’d see the screws go into small captive plates. When the wire is in the correct place, it will be between the plate and the screw head.

This is not like old-style switches where you used to wrap the wires around the screw.

As I said above, I’ve got 39 installed devices from three different brands. The wire attachment works the same in all and, done correctly, the wires are tightly held in place.

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I’ve installed a number of these style connectors before and never had an issue. Perhaps I got a bad batch…

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A late reply here - but can you please share why no WiFi Switches?

I am building my smart home and my starting point is wifi instead of Zigbee / Zwave if possible - and if that’s wrong I `d love to figure it out now :slight_smile:

When I started building mine out, about 3 years ago, there were no WiFi switches that worked with SmartThings.

You may also hit device count limits with some WiFi routers.

@JDRoberts is a better source of info on this

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First, most consumer Wi-Fi routers can only reliably handle about 100 devices until things get weird… Not a problem with PC’s and Phones and things - but if every switch and bulb in the house connects directly to Wi-Fi. You can make it work, but networking gets complicated.

and my personal reason -
Wi-Fi switches offer VERY LITTLE hope in the near future of being capable of local automation. That may change in the future when there are Matter certified Wi-Fi switches - but that’s years off.

Friends don’t let friends buy Wi-Fi IoT Devices.

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Thanks for the tag. I’ll see if I can keep this simple. :sunglasses:

Before 2018

Up until about 2018, Wi-Fi just wasn’t a very good choice for home automation devices like light switches and sensors. There are the router issues that @nathancu mentioned. It’s a power-hungry protocol, using about 10 times more power than Z wave or Zigbee, which is why battery powered Wi-Fi sensors generally only lasted two or three months as opposed to a year or more for similar Zigbee devices. And there were some very real security questions.

Apple Chimes in

But then… Apple put a lot of research into making Wi-Fi work much better for home automation, probably not coincidentally right around the same time that multiple manufacturers were working on significantly improving battery life. So we started seeing video doorbells and cameras that could be battery operated and run on Wi-Fi and at least get two or three months of battery life. We started seeing a few battery operated sensors. And Apple’s HomeKit significantly beefed up both security and local operations for Wi-Fi devices. That was impressive.

So by early 2020 you could get a HomeKit-based system with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices where everything runs locally except the voice assistant and security and privacy are really good. Even the power usage improved somewhat.

2020 Project CHIP and Matter

And then…Apple said, “ you know what, we’re going to share some of our security and privacy technology with (what is now called) the Communication Standards Alliance and we can all work together to come up with a new standard that will work with Wi-Fi and thread and eventually other IP-based protocols so all these devices can talk easily and securely to each other.“ And Matter was (eventually) born. And it may indeed eventually change the whole home automation marketplace.

Apple is all in. Google and Amazon are partners. Samsung has announced that smartthings will support matter.

So…If you want to use Wi-Fi as the basis for your home automation system, you should first check to make sure that your Internet provider allows for unlimited Wi-Fi connections. (Quite a few do, but only if you have their high end plans). You should second check to see how many connections your Wi-Fi router will support, it will be somewhere between 32 and 255.

You should think hard about how many total devices you’re going to need in your home, and whether any of those can be zigbee or thread instead of Wi-Fi.

And if you can be patient, you should wait about a year to see what’s going to happen with matter.

IF YOU CAN’T WAIT

If you can’t wait and you want to use Wi-Fi switches, I would use Meross or another brand that has HomeKit compatibility because those are likely to have the first matter compatibility as well for some technical reasons. (For one thing, they already meet the security standards requirement.)

Or… if you are in the US, You could get Lutron Caseta switches. We don’t know for sure yet whether they will work with matter, but they do work with HomeKit and they do work with smartthings, and they do address pretty much all of the concerns about Wi-Fi for light switches. They don’t use Wi-Fi, they use their own proprietary protocol. It’s really fast, it’s really well engineered, and it only takes one router slot for the whole system and that’s for the smartbridge that you use to integrate with other things. (Lutron IS A member of the group that’s developing Matter, but we don’t yet have any of the details of what they intend to do with it.)

I use Lutron Caseta switches in my own home and am very happy with them.

I also use quite a few Meross Wi-Fi devices, but not as light switches.

I’m not opposed to anybody who wants to use Z wave or Zigbee switches and wants to go ahead with those right now: both are solid technologies and with both you have some good smartthings options.

BUT IF YOU CAN…

So… This whole area changed dramatically just a few months ago with the introduction of matter.

And it’s going to be a little while before we know exactly how smartthings is going to fit into this picture. It could be a major player, in fact it could be the major android player, but we just don’t know that for sure yet.

Usually I tell people not to wait until announced-but-not-yet-delivered technologies are here, but I think this is one of those exceptional times. If you can afford to wait, now is a good time to wait.

But I definitely wouldn’t be getting any Wi-Fi switches right now unless they were already HomeKit compatible or unless they were sonoff. And Sonoff only if that specific model can be flashed to run locally with smart things and doesn’t need a cloud.

I would stay away from anything else which is fairly generic WiFi which needs a cloud until the whole matter situation is worked out.

Just my own opinion, of course. :sunglasses:

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It’s not Wi-Fi that’s the issue, it’s the smartthings architecture for Wi-Fi. Anything that runs with HomeKit runs locally, including Wi-Fi devices like Meross switches and smart plugs.

But those same switches don’t run locally with smartthings. :disappointed_relieved: and probably won’t until matter support arrives.

I know that’s what you meant, but I just wanted to clarify since otherwise the product descriptions can be confusing. Smartthings architecture is unique, for both good and bad.

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