ZWave slaves + "Real" virtual devices

(Kris Linquist) #1

Two quick comments after using the SmartThings for a few days:

I bought ZWave wall switches a month or two ago in prep for SmartThings  and paired them to some GE/Jasco ZWave remote controls.  In order to pair the switches to the SmartThings, I had to delete it from the remote control, as expected.  I believe ZWave devices can only have a single “master” controller.

I’d like the ability to pair the remote control with the SmartThings hub as a slave so I can still control my lights via remote control (when in bed, it’s easier hitting a button on a remote than it is bringing up my iphone/ipad).

Alternatively I’ve thought of just using a contact sensor or something to trigger my bedroom lights while in bed :).



I don’t know if there are plans for this or not, but I’d like the ability to create a virtual device (thermostat, for example) in the SmartThings cloud (not virtual in the sense to test in the IDE, but virtual in the sense that it is emulating a real world sensor).  I could update its status via an API.   For example, I have a USB weather station at home that is connected to a raspberry pi.  The weather station outputs the interior and exterior temp/humidity/etc  every 5 minutes.  I could easily have it push this info up to the SmartThings cloud.    If SmartThings could then recognize that input as a sensor, I could interact with it as part of the SmartThings world.



Z-Wave Controllers
(Andrew Urman) #2

Dang some awesome questions! You are right about the Z-Wave device in that they can only have one master. Another interesting note on Z-Wave is the devices need to be told to leave an old network before they can join a new one. Any controller can tell a Z-Wave device to leave a network and we’re building that option into the iOS app so if you have old Z-Wave devices but can’t find the controller you can still remove it from the old network.

The Z-Wave remote is an interesting concept. What model is the remote? I’d like to get one and play around with it. I’ll also ask the Z-Wave developer what his thoughts are.

We’re also working on device types that don’t actually exist. So a device that just uses our API’s or someone else’s.

(Kris Linquist) #3

Here’s the Z-Wave remote:


(Kris Linquist) #4

They also have a more basic version - I actually have one of each, the one with the screen was the ‘master’ and this one was the ‘slave’:

If you’d like to play with them, I’d be willing to send you mine.  Just get in contact with me via email.




(Todd Wackford) #5


Your post to the cloud request should not be a problem. Set up your Pi to host a formatted page(s) where it updates it’s data to. Then you could just make an HTTPGet call to it like you did with your lights to wundergound. That is how I am going to do my window contact sensors and future weather station. I have a Dell server instead of a Pi, but the concept should be just the same. You could have the virtual device get (or get pushed from an app) status updates so it looks like a SmartThings thing and interact with other things in your profile.

Sounds easy, doing it might require a few mental lubricants though.

(Kris Linquist) #6

Yeah, that’ll work.  It’d be nice if I could push instead of pull though. :).

(Atomney) #7

I am also interested in this as it is difficult for family and friends to interact with systems like this when they don’t have the app and my login.


I ran into this issue with the Lowes Iris system. I already have both remotes you linked to and would like to be able to use them with my Smart Things system. It is much easier to just have a remote on the coffee table for when my parents decide to stop by and don’t have the time/willingness/want to install an app on a phone and figure out how to use it.

(Andrew Urman) #8

I just ordered one of these see what’s what. Monday delivery so I should be able to rip it up in the lab and have some answers by Wednesday.

(Andrew Urman) #9

Well I forgot to change my address in Amazon so the package is going to the wrong place…2000 miles away. So I’ll wait for it to get shipped back to me. ha.

(Mj) #10

I have the same request as Kris…

I’m new to Z-wave technology and have been running a X10 based system with maybe one or two Insteon devices for the past 10+ years in my home. I’ve always used multiple “controllers” with my X10 setup.

On the PC side I use a programmable CM15A two-way computer interface for my timers along with several X10 remote controls spread around the house. This setup has worked extremely well (provided the X10 signal makes it to the device).

I want to duplicate the same kind of setup with the more reliable Z-wave technology and SmartThings. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that Z-wave can only use one dedicated master controller (which is a bummer).

I’m hoping there is a way we could make the SmartThings hub a secondary controller in the future, so that I can use the GE/Jasco remotes as master and secondary (I have one advanced remote and two of the basic remotes - same as what Kris purchased above).

Until this is fixed - my use of SmartThings are going to be very limited, as using the remotes seems to be a far more flexible option throughout my home (everyone has access to the remotes).

I’m hoping this feature can be implemented rather quickly, as I’m sure other people are wanting to have the same type of setup.








(Duncan) #11

The most ideal way to handle the original situation you describe would have been to transfer your existing Z-Wave network to the SmartThings hub when you first got it. The GE 45601 has a way to do that – it’s under “Primary Controller Shift (Transfer)” in the manual. The hub would become the primary controller and the remotes would keep working as before.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work yet because while the hub technically supports joining an existing Z-Wave network already, there’s no exposed user interface yet for putting it in programming mode. We expect to be adding that soon.

Of course, that’s no help to you since you’ve already switched your devices over to the hub’s network. We haven’t had a chance to test this with the GE 45601 yet, but you should be able to just add the remotes to your network as secondary controllers.

Go to the Add Device screen in SmartThings and follow the instructions in the “Copying Information to this Remote” section of the manual to join the remote to the hub’s network.  We don’t have a device type for remotes yet, so it will show up as an unknown device in SmartThings (or it may not show up? I’m not sure what we’re doing with unidentified devices right now), but it will have access to all the Z-Wave devices on the network.

I’ll try to test this myself with the remote Andrew got when I get a chance.

(Mj) #12


Thanks for the reply… I’m with you. I too believe it would be beneficial to be able to do a Primary Controller Shift from the GE master remote to the SmartThings Hub - as this would save a lot of time adding my existing devices to SmartThings.

I tried adding my GE basic remote to SmartThings using setup - command 9-6-7 and putting SmartThings into Add Device mode. Nothing happened. Remote simply timed out after a couple of minutes.

I guess the sooner the SmartThings software is updated to support remotes, and allow it to receive data from an existing Z-wave network - the better.

What’s the development cycle like on the SmartThings iOS app? How often are new features integrated and pushed out to the App Store?

Is there a way to submit a feature request and/or view the roadmap for the app?


( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #13

Ditto here.

You’ll probably notice that I’ve mentioned X10 in several threads (and even started a Project) with this topic…

(a) Well… one of my primary motivations is the availability of the various affordable RF modules available for X10 (controllers, 6 button keyfobs, motion detectors): Of course, none of these use a ZigBee or Z-Wave compatible signal, but at least they are RF and do not depend on Powerline Based communication.

(b) Meanwhile, I’m simultaneously joining the Ninja Blocks kickstart ( which is also addressing the module cost issue by using 433Mhz products.

Both (a) and (b) have me discussing the possibility or optimal design of RF protocol converters (perhaps one per SmartThings Hub; or multiple in some sort of mesh network to ensure range compatibility with the ZigBee mesh…). Alternatively, messages between X10 and SmartThings could be done cloud-to-cloud or hub-to-hub; but in the case of X10, that might require an internet connected PC running SmartHome …? For more on this, see:


© And third, I also purchased a GE 45600 Z-Wave controller (heck, it was $8.00), hoping it could just appear as a bunch of momentary “switches” to the Smart Hub:  But I also have had no luck getting the hub to detect this controller or converting it to a secondary controller, or …?


So… I’m staying tuned, and also seeing if I can generate some magic.




(Duncan) #14

I joined a 45601 to SmartThings successfully today.

I went to Add Device in the SmartThings app, then did Setup -> Transfer -> Receive on the remote. It took several seconds to join, and it was never identified in the app, but when I went back there was a new Unknown device in the devices and I was able to add a GE outlet to a remote key following the instructions in the remote’s manual. Due to a bug in the current hub firmware you have to add the light to SmartThings first and then go through the remote’s key assignment if you want it to be controllable from both.

MJ, if your remote was previously a secondary controller on the other Z-Wave network, you may have to exclude it from that network first, or factory reset it.

I’ll look for a 45600 to try out.

(Mj) #15

GE 45600 and 45601 work with SmartThings!


I followed your advice and disassociated the 45601 remote and all devices from the previous network. I then added all of my z-wave devices to the SmartThings hub, after which I added the 45601 remote.

I then went around and reprogrammed my advanced remote, and then finally transferred the settings to two 45600 basic remotes.

Everything is working now the way I want it!

As an FYI - I have 3 unknown devices showing up under my SmartThings app which represent my 3 remote controls (just like you mentioned).

Thanks again for all your help!

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #16

@MJ and @Duncan… re: GE 45600 and 45601 work with SmartThings!

Wow… that’s great news; I’m really impressed, even though this is the result I “expected” from the start.


Ummm… If anybody can walk me through the process using   just   a single GE 45600 (i.e., I don’t have a 45601…); I’d appreciate it. My short attempts failed, but perhaps that’s because I did not link any Z-Wave devices to it, or …?  


(Of course, the GE 45601 Remote is a different animal … but then again, the GE 45600 is supposed to be able to function as both a master or secondary, just like the 45601; it just does not have an LCD screen … right?)


Thanks very much in advance for your help – but the whole community will benefit from sharing this.



(Mj) #17


Give me a day or two and I will try to connect a 45600 remote directly to SmartThings and report back here with my findings.

Light Switches and Secondary Controllers
(Mj) #18

Adding GE 45600 basic remote - only


Adding a GE 45600 basic remote by itself to the SmartThings hub works, too.

Do the following:

  1. Remove your remote from the current z-wave network. See Resetting Your Network in the manual. Command - Setup and 969.

  2. Add your devices to the SmartThings app.

  3. Add your GE basic remote to SmartThings under add a device and press Setup and 967 on the remote (Adding Devices - Lights / Nodes to All Control).

  4. The SmartThings app will try to identify an unknown device for quite sometime. I just aborted after about a minute and was able to see the remote identified as an unknown device under SmartThings.

  5. Now add z-wave devices to your remote and you should be able to control these devices from both the app and remote control.

Good luck! Hope this helps…

Primary and Secondary Controllers with SmartThings and "other"
( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #19

Hey @MJ:

Thank-you very much for posting those GE 45600 instructions.

I gave them one attempt with no success; and when I tried to reset my hub by removing it’s USB power, the USB power port broke – I think that’s a known defect.

So… I’ll try again once I’ve got the hub repaired / replaced.  I did not try any variants of dropping / adding Z-Wave stuff, so I don’t know why the one attempt was not fruitful.


BTW: Is there documentation / definition of the Hub “Z-Wave Utilities” that are available from the API?
These are the three options, and I do not want to assume what they mean…

<a href="">ZWave Exclude</a>
<a href="">Join/Leave another Z-Wave network</a>
<a href="">Repair Z-Wave network</a>



(Andrew Urman) #20

@tgauchat Just saw your support ticket. I’ll send you a new one Monday

ZWave Exclude - You can click this to put your hub in Z-Wave exclude mode to remove Z-Wave devices from other controllers or to re-pair.

Join/Leave another Z-Wave network - Don’t click this at all! :stuck_out_tongue:

Repair Z-Wave network - Don’t click this one either!

The Join/Leave and Repair are experimental Z-Wave commands. A factory reset of a Z-Wave device does not remove it from a hub/controller. A hub/controller has to tell the device to leave and then a button on the device has to be clicked. The Z-Wave pair and remove process is something we can’t change :frowning: but we’re building tools to make it easier to work with.