ZWave slaves + "Real" virtual devices

So I have my SmartThings package, hub, outlets, motion, multi. I’d like to buy the GE 45600 from Amazon (it is under $8), and then use it to control the SmartOutlet that came with the ST package (it’s a zigbee HA device I believe), as well as eventually controlling other lights switchs. Lifx devices are coming at some point. Has the hub/ST software evolved to a point that makes this possible? Effectively can the ST hub detect button presses from the GE 45600 controller?

@Calcman:

I’ve asked this a few times, but the answer is still no.

There may not be any way for the SmartHub to ever do this due to peculiarities of the Z-Wave network protocol.

First, on/off keys on those remotes (I have 2) are only “alive” if they are paired with a specific Z-Wave device (though the keys can be assigned to scenes or groups… Right now these are also only programmable in relation to a set of Z-Wave devices too).

Second, the hub is only able to capture/send events from/to devices, not other “controllers”. They should create a FAQ on this, because I don’t understand the details. There are both technical and license restrictions involved. I would hope that pressing a “Scene” button on these remotes would send a detectable Z-Wave message; but maybe it directly talks only to the end devices.

I hope a workaround is possible; maybe best to start from scratch and build a remote that uses Thing Module (prototype using the Shield), because that can send / receive any message to / from hub. That would be fun project!

I’ve tried to get that to work with the GE 45601. The problem is the only way it associates a button to a device is when you include the device through the remote. When you hit a button on the remote it sends the command directly to the other device – our hub isn’t involved at all. I tried to include the hub to add it to a button, but since our hub is a controller, not a slave device the remote doesn’t recognize it as something to add to a button.

So, I couldn’t find a way to get the remote to send commands to our hub. I’m more optimistic about getting this to work with the Aeon Minimote because it has Z-Wave association groups and some configuration commands that can change its behavior, but I haven’t gotten to that yet. I’ll try to remember to update here when I get a chance to check it out.

CosmicPuppy (@tgauchat) & @Duncan: speculating here, would it be possible to create multiple ‘virtual z-wave devices’ so effectively fake lights that only lived inside the SmartThing hub. Then logic in the hub that translated the read/write status of those victuals and presented it as switchs that could be connected to other ST items, lights, door locks, SmartOutlets. It would likely involve deep code on the hub and I don’t know if we as non ST employees would have enough access to do it. What do you think?

Yes… The “virtual device” idea is a reasonable direction.

The problem is that Z-Wave protocol is proprietary and strictly licensed… Licensees (like SmartThings) are not allowed to mess around and simulate virtual devices, etc., even if they reverse engineer enough of the protocol to do so. I rather believe that the technical limitations can be overcome… The license restrictions are much harder.

Other communication options (SmartThing Module, ZigBee, Bluetooth, WiFi, IR) don’t have this restriction, except it’s still a good idea to find widely adopted standards for the use case, so that if we build a remote or bridge then it may be usable / compatible with multiple vendors.

Hey guys- I was hoping you could help me. I just picked up a GE 45601 and was able to get it added to SmartThings. I’m trying to add my 3 switches (1 is a dimmer) to the remote but it always fails when waiting. Any suggestions? All of the switches are connected to SmartThings and work with no problem that way. I have also tried to add my thermostat which also fails. Thanks in advance for any tips!

Well, looks like resetting the remote and re-adding the devices did the trick. I was even able to get my thermostat connected. It doesn’t tell me the temp, but I can at least adjust the setpoint, fan, and mode. Thanks guys!

I followed the instructions for the 45600 controller from this thread and had to reboot my hub for it to show up. Now that I have it on my devices list, what can I do with it? Can I control things attached to the hub via the remote that are not Zwave? I would like to be able to have the hub sense that I am pressing a button and then …

p.s. Amazon has them now for 6.95 I found mine for 90 cents at Fry’s I guess they are offloading them.

@brian_rhoden: Welcome Brian!

You may have to search around here to see if there is a new thread on this Topic.

I haven’t dug into this in a while. As of my last understanding, the Z-Wave protocol is proprietary (and must be licensed by SmartThings), so there are serious limitations as to what can be done with it.

There is a Z-Wave development board (for Arduino?) on sale somewhere, and various PC USB port adaptors, these might permit more hacking.

My guess is that SmartThings does not have Z-Wave “hacking” high on their priority list; they need to ensure support of major brands of basic endpoints instead.

I use my 45600 controller all the time, though, because all my dimmers are Z-Wave and it’s definitely handy having a basic keypad to adjust on/off a light without pulling up my phone, unlock, load App, etc…!

Has anyone been able to add their GE 45600 remote recently? I’m unable to ad it to my hub using the Setup & 9-6-7 method. Is it press and release setup then, 9-6-7? Hold setup then, 9-6-7.

My hub is up to date as of 6/14/14.

I was also unable to add my 45600 remote last night. Not sure if something changed or not.

Guess it’s off topic, but for what it’s worth, I got my first Aeotec Minimote this week and it works great. Easy firmware upgrade and has 4 buttons (8 if you count long presses…).

I have only linked it directly to my SmartThings hub and using the Minimote Convenience SmartApp.
ie., I have not tried to make it a Z-Wave master or secondary like the GE Remote is.

I just wish it supported dim/brighten like the GE remote. I think the minimote could do this with some sort of long-hold … but the current device handler uses long-hold as buttons 5,6,7,8. Well… an 8 button remote is quite nice for a start. Now we need wall-gang versions, perhaps with a few LEDs for status display…

Ever figure this out? Exactly what do you press on the remote to connect it up to the hub?

I burnt a few hours and learned all the basic functions of the remote. For a few bucks on the Internet, this is a must have for remote controlling your Z-Wave devices on you ST Hub, worth it just to easily factory reset a device that is having paring issues. This item needs to get fully integrated into ST, cause as of now you can only control the Z-Wave devices on your Hub. We should be able to get this to be installed on ST’s and program the button on the App to do any on/off/dimmer/variable function. Would be great if the GE Link Bulb (Zigbee protocol) was functional with this unit via the hub. Remote should tell the hub to trigger any device on any protocol, needs some integration…

But here’s my basic setup notes, cause GE’s small handout is cryptic…

+UPDATED - 2/17/2015 - ADDED REMOTE CLONING SECTION

45600 REMOTE - BASIC SMARTTHINGS SETUP

-Ensure Remote is not already on a Z-Wave Network (Reset/Clear) and to clear all devices from it (if already installed in ST, then use Removal procedure below, prior to Resetting/Clearing remote):
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 969, complete when green flashes twice.
-Note that none of the remote on/off buttons flash now (all devices cleared, remote is blank)

-Install (Add) GE 45600 Remote to ST:
-In ST App, +, + Connect New Device, Searching
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 967, flashes green rapidly till connected to App/Hub.
-When App says 1 connected, Select Found Item at the Bottom (Z-Wave Remote)
-Name Device “GE 45600 Remote”, Next, Done.
-Note - the All On/Off feature will not work for all Z-Wave devices currently assigned to the ST Hub, see All On/Off Feature below.

-Remove (Delete) GE 45600 from ST:
-In ST App, Things, Select Remote Setup Icon, Preferences, Remove, Uninstall
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 967, flashes green rapidly till removed from App/Hub.
-When App says Success, Press OK and item is removed from Things page.
-Always good to perform a Remote Reset/Clear (above).

GE 45600 REMOTE - PROGRAM/ASSIGN DEVICES TO BUTTONS

-Remote must already be setup/assigned to the ST Hub per the above procedures.
-You can program up to 18 buttons, use the Setup/Shift button to access buttons 11-18.

-Setup (Add) Device (Light/Switch) to a Remote button:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Press Add (Red Blink), Press Light (Red Blink), Press desired Number (flashes green rapidly)
-Press button on actual device, complete when green flashes twice.

-Setup (Remove) Device (Light/Switch) to a Remote button:
-If you press the Delete button vs the Remove button below, you may Delete (Reset the Device to Factory Settings) the device from your ST Hub; to recover the device you may need to force remove it from the App, then Reinstall it again.
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Press Remove (Red Blink), Press Light (Red Blink).
-Press desired Numbered button on the remote to erase the device from (flashes green twice).
-Note that when an unprogramed number button is selected, it will not flash at all.

GE 45600 REMOTE - ALL DEVICES ON/OFF FEATURE

-Allows you to quickly turn all Z-Wave devices assigned to the ST Hub On/Off with one click.
-Strange, but I’ve noticed this will work all Z-Wave devices setup on the ST Hub, whether they were added to the remote or not. Also, it only works for Z-Wave devices, any Zigbee items (Bulbs will not cycle).

-To Turn all On, select All button, then use any numbered button to turn All Z-Wave devices On/Off.
-Remote will stay in All On/Off mode until you press the Setup/Shift button once to return to normal.

-Remove Devices from the All On/Off feature:
-By factory default, all items are automatically added to the All On/Off control, to delete a device from the All On/Off feature:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Press Delete once (Red Flash), Press All once (Green Flash).
-Press the assigned button of the item you want Removed from the All On/Off Feature (green flashes twice).

-Add Devices from the All On/Off feature:
-By factory default, all items are automatically added to the All On/Off control, to add a device back to the All On/Off feature:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Press Add once (Red Flash), Press All once (Green Flash).
-Press the assigned button of the item you want Added back to the All On/Off Feature (green flashes twice).

GE 45600 REMOTE - FULL DUPLICATE/CLONE (MAKE A COPY OF A REMOTE)

-If you want a true duplicate remote, ensure you clear/reset the new one prior to transfer, else you will may retain any old devices already stored in the new remote. Prior to transfer, Reset/Clear remote by completing the following:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 969, complete when green flashes twice.
-Note that none of the remote on/off buttons flash now (all devices cleared, remote is blank)
-New Remote into Receive Mode:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 967, flashes green rapidly while waiting and during transfer (will flash red if it times out).
-Original/Old (Functional) Remote into Send Mode:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 9661, flashes green rapidly while waiting and during transfer (will flash red if it times out).

  • Complete when green flashes twice on Both Remotes.

GE 45600 REMOTE - TRANSFER NETWORK SETTINGS (COPY NET INFO WITH NO BUTTON/DEVICE DATA)

-Use this procedure if you want to add a remote by transferring the network info from another, but you do not want the button/device info transferred. This will render a new remote that is functional on the same network, but will not have any buttons/devices transferred from the original remote.
-If you want a blank remote, ensure you clear/reset the new one prior to transfer, else you will may retain any old devices already stored in the new remote. Prior to transfer, Reset/Clear remote by completing the following:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 969, complete when green flashes twice.
-Note that none of the remote on/off buttons flash now (all devices cleared, remote is blank)
-New Remote into Receive Mode:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 967, flashes green rapidly while waiting and during transfer (will flash red if it times out).
-Original/Old (Functional) Remote into Send Mode:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Type 9662, flashes green rapidly while waiting and during transfer (will flash red if it times out).

  • Complete when green flashes twice on Both Remotes.

GE 45600 REMOTE - PRIMARY CONTROLLER SHIFTS (NOT APPLICABLE WITH SMARTTHINGS)

-Codes 9681 & 9682 are for transferring full primary control from one remote to another (i.e. replacement). Since the SmartThings Hub is the primary controller, these functions have no purpose and will fail if attempted. These programing codes are only useful if you are using a GE 45600 Remote as a Stand-Alone Primary Controller, then you can transfer the same info similar to functions 9661 & 9662.

FACTORY RESET - ANY Z-WAVE DEVICE

-There is a set of Z-Wave Utilities on the App that offer some capabilities, find it under the Hub Setup screen (Options, Setup Gear, Select Hub, then ZWave Utilites, the Device Exclusion option may help you to reset a device.

-The GE45600 Remote is great tool if you are have a pairing issue to a Hub, this will force reset the device to its factory settings; by far, the remote is the most useful reset tool available.
-It seems like some manufactures may test a device at the factory and then forget to reset or unpair the device, thus the new device will block you from pairing it to a new network.
-Once a Z-Wave device is paired, it will not allow itself to be paired to another item unless you reset, but it you reset it you will have a dead device in you ST Hub/App.
-You should always remove all devices from the Hub via the App Things page prior to removing from your system, failure to do so will leave the device paired and a dead device listed on your Hub, you will then need to Force Remove the device from the ST Hub via the App and Factory reset the device per below (Note the Delete button is used below, not the Remove):

-Factory Reset a Device (Light/Switch) via a GE 45600 Remote:
-Hold Setup till Red/Green flash twice.
-Press Delete (Red Blink), Press Light (flashes green rapidly).
-Press button on actual device, reset is complete when green stops flashing.
-Now you can reinstall the device per normal setup via the ST App.

I wish ST’s would just make a remote like the GE unit (basic, 9-18 buttons/device, under $10-20) and simply just install the unit, then allow you to assign what each button does on the app/web vs walking to each unit and programming each remote button individually (Z-Wave Device dependent).

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The common thread throughout discussions on the topic of “remotes” is that SmartThings is intended not to require any physical controllers at all. Actions should be triggered by organic devices like sensors, and soon enough, voice, guestures, etc… I think this is a crippling sentiment – at least for now.

@tgauchat, that’s all great till you have a guest over or young kids without a phone, kind of tuff they would have to sit in the dark cause they can not turn a light on??? Nice to just have a normal remote laying around… Even better the wall mounted ones that don’t get lost and just act like a normal switch.

You mean to tell me you either have your house fully automated to turn every light on when you enter each room or you walk around with your smart phone turning them on/off as you are walking around? Naahh, we still like a manual switch backup or remote…

To be clear: I fully agree with you!. I’ve lived with the frustration for 2 years that the GE Remotes cannot be used except as direct control of my Z-Wave devices only. My frustration has been partially relieved by the availability of the Aeon Minimote and the Enerwave 7-Button.

Further discussion, of course, is in our related Thread:

…CP / Terry.

Again, I read the specs on the 7 button, standard zwave, but maybe less, sound like it only does the scenest option,no actual lamp (device). Again, not sure why ST puts their efforts into a device with less capability and more cost?

Although I haven’t personally installed and tested them, the documents all make them sound similar, probably cause of the limits of the zwave protocol.

I fear it has nothing to do with effort. For one thing, the GE 9+9 button remotes are being sold very cheaply because they are end-of-life surplus clearance. GE has discontinued them as far as I am aware. This is the similar to why we can find older model Aeon 4-Button Minimote for $25, because Aeon is selling the newer model with a slightly different design and up to date firmware out-of-the-box.

Intuitively, it really does seem that the GE remotes should function exactly the same or very similarly to the Aeon or Enerwave, but – and I would love to be proven wrong – to the best of my knowledge there is some critical difference; and, indeed, it could just be licensing related.


Do a search across the Community Forum Topics for the GE 45600 and you will find some detailed explanations – but if there are any clues that indicate some obvious avenue for a solution has not been explored, I’m all ears.


There are Z-Wave protocol scanners (USB sticks and other similar devices) that can help hack these things; but if the SmartHub is unable to “see” the codes (either because of the specific licensed radio, the GE protocol quirk, or general license permission, or ?), then we are just at the end of the road for this particular device.

We could look at this as an opportunity: Kickstarter and/or IndieGogo campaigns earn quite a lot of seed money these days (sometimes ridiculous amounts). If there is demand for a certain type of ZigBee or other SmartThings (etc.) compatible hardware keypad, then the market will provide, right? Anyone offering me at least $100K?