Zwave Dimmer for local and remote control?


(jessica) #1

I’m looking to replace my toggle switches for living and dining rooms with smart dimmers so I can have scenes set & dimming control. I would like to also have local control of the dimmers when I’m not asking alexa to set a specific scene (dinner time, movie night, etc)
Do the smart dimmers use only the app to control them or do they have local control as well?
I love the look of the Insteon dimmers but I can’t see a way to integrate them with either my smartthings hub or my VAM (Similar to honeywell’s tuxedo touch). Any suggestions of other good looking switches out there. I’m open to toggle or decora. Thank you!


(Andrea Bianco) #2

By local control - you mean can you manually turn the light on/ off/ brighten and dim at the physical switch itself? Yes.
You can also increase / brighten or dim/decrease with Alexa. You can do individual commands to do this - or IF any / all lights in a group are “dimmable” the entire group can be dimmed with Alexa as well. . . for example if you had 3 individual lights in your kitchen and ALL of them have the ability to dim, “Alexa, Dim the kitchen lights” (assuming you named the group “kitchen lights”) and the “group” will be dimmed.

There are many dimmer switches - just depends on your preference’s. /:


#3

In the SmartThings context, “local control” usually means the ability to communicate with the switch without also having to go to the SmartThings cloud account. If you have a V2 hub, this is possible for some smart lighting automations, but only for some devices.

There’s no list anywhere of exactly which device type handlers can run locally. @SBDOBRESCU or @slagle may know which dimmer switches can.

Note that it’s not just the device that matters, but the specific device type handler you are using with it.

Insteon uses its own proprietary Communications protocol and does not integrate with SmartThings. There are some community members who have set up a separate device like a raspberry pi as a bridge, but this requires significant technical skill.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Supported_Network_Protocols

As far as switches that look like the insteon switches…both insteon and Leviton dimmers use a Modified rocker form where you only press on the bottom of the switch. The Leviton is somewhat more pronounced, though. It’s on the official “works with smartthings” compatibility list, so you can see the pictures there.

Eaton makes the cooper aspire line in a unique style in several colors, including black. These are one of my personal favorites, they are also very well engineered.


If you use the stock device type handler it’s possible that the Coopers and
Levitons may run locally, but I remember there was something odd about which ones did and which ones didn’t. So hopefully someone else will have the specifics.

The new homeseer switches are traditional plain rockers, but have a number of unique features including the ability to process double tap and triple tap. However, they will definitely require the cloud to operate.

The following thread discusses the different features the different brands might have, so it might also be of interest. However it doesn’t discuss which ones can run without the cloud. But start around post 35 for the light switch discussion.


#4

We should also note, however, that SmartThings doesn’t use the Z wave scene terminology because it is a multiprotocol platform. You could set up the equivalent of a scene that included a Z wave switch, zigbee lightbulb, and a Wi-Fi pocket socket. All of which is great, but because multiple protocols are being used, features which are specific to one protocol, like zwave scenes, are usually replaced by either a routine, a smart lighting automation, or a custom smart app.

For example, what echo calls a “scene” is a routine in SmartThings.

And at the present time, routines do not run locally in SmartThings. The only thing eligible to run locally are smartlighting automations which use only devices which are also eligible to run locally.

SmartThings is really a cloud-based system. There just isn’t much that runs locally at the present time.


#5

One more note on terminology.

This is a “toggle.” only a few manufacturers offer this style because unlike dumb switches, a smart toggle rests in the center position sticking straight out, rather than locked into up for on and down for off. This bugs a lot of people so they aren’t that popular. But GE/Jasco and Zooz do make them.

This is a standard “rocker.” This is probably the most popular form factor for Z wave switches. Several manufacturers make them. The rocker also rests in the neutral position, but it’s not as obvious. Gocontrol, Enerwave, Ecolink, GE/Jasco, Dragontech, and Homeseer all make standard rocker switches that look very similar, although they may have somewhat different features.

“Decora” is actually a trademark of Leviton, and refers to a whole line of designer switches, some of which are vertical rockers and some of which are other forms. (As noted above, Leviton makes a modified rocker where only the bottom part moves.).

Many people use the term “Decora” to mean any vertical rocker, but if you search for it you’ll only get Leviton devices.

The Cooper switches are a long flat button with a rocker feel. They come in two different styles, designer and decorator.

So there are several different style options. :sunglasses:


(jessica) #6

Thank you for all the information. I’m definitely new to setting up the smartthings and have run in to many things that are, currently, outside my technological boundaries. But I’m learning!
I don’t like the GE toggle switches that stick out in the middle. I’ve seen them next to other toggle switches and they definitely stand out. I used a Aeon Labs MicroSwitch for my outside lights just so I didn’t have to use one of the GE switches.
I’m hoping to find something that will allow me to turn my lights on, off & dim at the switch as well as through the app.


#7

OK, in the network context that’s called “manual control” and is what @femwitjava described. :sunglasses:

All of the smart switches that work with SmartThings will offer both manual and networked control. Most of them will work from the switch to turn a single load on and off even if the smartthings cloud is not available, but your routines, scenes, and automations may not work unless the cloud account is available.