On our most recent IoT Podcast, we chose an email listener question instead of a voicemail from our IoT Podcast Hotline. This week, Matt wrote in with a fairly specific question but it can be applied to any number of smart homes.
Matt’s current setup is built with a “combination of SmartThings, several Echo devices, GE Z-Wave in-wall switches and dimmers, Phillips Hue hub and bulbs (for lamps), and a Jasco Z-Wave outdoor smart plug.” He’s looking for some non-voice method to control both the outdoor lights and an indoor bulb for situations during the night. A perfect example he provided is when the dog needs to go outside. Oh and he would rather not add another hub to his home.
Since Matt already has SmartThings working with his Z-Wave products, our suggestion is to consider a wireless Z-Wave switch or button. Neither of these would require an additional hub nor would Matt need to deal with any wiring for installation.
From a switch standpoint, a GoControl Z-Wave Plus Scene Controller should work and it’s only $15.95. This isn’t a typical “switch” as it has two buttons on it to control pre-configured scenes. However, Matt can create a “Dog wants outside” scene that controls one or more lights and then uses the controller with a simple button press as needed.
And he wouldn’t need a Z-Wave hub or gateway since he already has one with SmartThings. Installation is simple because there are no wires involved and the controller can be mounted anywhere with the included double-sided tape.
A more expensive option would be a wireless button of some sort. Matt previously tried a Samsung SmartThings button, but he wasn’t a fan based on the looks and short battery life he experienced.
Our suggestion is something from the WallMote Z-Wave Wall Switch line, which offers options with either two or four-button layouts. This gives Matt room for expansion if he ever wants to add any additional button-based automations. But again, you’ll pay more for this better-looking wireless switch.
The four-button option, which can control up to 8 scenes currently costs $71.39, for example. All of the WallMotes are made by Aeotec, which still makes smart home hubs with SmartThings support. The WallMotes are fully compatible with SmartThings, so Matt doesn’t need to purchase another hub or gateway.
Again, there are no electrical wires to deal with for installation. You leave a WallMote anywhere around the house or attach it to the included magnetic wall holder. And battery life shouldn’t be an issue as the button-based WallMote has a USB port to recharge the internal battery as needed.
To hear Matt’s question, as well as our discussion in full, tune in below to the IoT Podcast:
Zooz remote switch ZEN34, gonna try out this weekend. $28 @ Amazon. Very pleased with other Zooz switches.
JD Roberts says
The GoControl is definitely a popular choice in the SmartThings community.
If you’re willing to pay more to get more scenes, the Zooz Zen34 is a Z wave device which is definitely worth looking at. It’s a series 700 Z wave device with support for S2 security and well engineered. It looks just like a regular Decora style rocker switch, but battery operated so you can stick it anywhere. When used with smartthings, you can use single tap, double tap, triple tap, and even quadruple tap on both the top and bottom of the switch, so that gives you a lot of possible scenes. You do have to remember what they are, but it’s been a popular option in the community if you’re willing to pay extra.
And if you are OK with something that looks like a small keypad with eight individual buttons, the Remotec ZRC90 has been a very popular battery operated wallmount device in the smartthings community for years, for both US and European customers. it’s older technology than the Zooz Zen34, but you can label each individual button so it’s more intuitive for guests. Also, you get both tap and double tap on each button which means you get even more scene options. And very good news: a community member has recently contributed an Edge Driver for this, so like the Zooz, it will work with the new smartthings platform once the transition is complete, and it can run locally now.
You can find reviews and more information about both of these at the Smartthings customer forum.