July 15, 2016 16 Comments
For those of us interested in home automation, this might be a familiar scenario: You’ve bought that new 4-in-1 sensor you’ve wanted for a while, and rush to unwrap the package like a kid on Christmas Day. Then you insert the batteries and make your way to your SmartThings hub to include it into your network. And then the disappoint descends: it’s a sensor that’s new on the market, and it’s more complicated to integrate it than a simple on/off device. It will probably take a while before SmartThings provides official support for it. So how do you include a Z-Wave device to your hub if it's not on the list?
This is where custom device handlers come in: community members will often develop their own code to be able to use new devices with SmartThings. They usually publish them on development platforms like GitHub and then post a link to the code on the SmartThings forum. But they don’t always include instructions on how to install the custom device handler and assign it to the device. The average user may think it’s a complicated process, when in fact it’s quite simple!
Here are some instructions that should help you get a custom device handler (i.e. that awesome new device of yours!) to work in SmartThings. I’ll be taking the Zooz 4-in-1 Sensor as an example, but this process will work for any device that needs a custom handler (you’ll just need to use a different link for the right code).
1. Log in here with the same username and password you use for your SmartThings app: https://consigliere-regional.api.smartthings.com
2. Click on My Device Handlers in the top menu
3. In the top right corner, click on Create new device handler and choose From code from the top tab menu. You'll be presented with a blank area where you can copy the code from this link and paste it in (it's always best to use the raw version of the code)
4. Next, scroll to the bottom and click Create. Now click Save, then click Publish > for me.
You should now see this device type in your list of Device Handlers
Simply exclude the device if you had included it prior to installing the new device handler. Then add the device to your SmartThings hub by clicking on Add thing > + Connect New Device in your app. Press and release the Z-Wave button on the sensor twice quickly.
Remember to keep the device within 3 feet away from your hub during inclusion — the device should be automatically discovered as the Zooz 4-in-1 sensor. Then, leave the sensor by the hub for a few hours so it can fully configure.
And that should be it! I hope this was helpful in simplifying the process behind custom device handlers. Feel free to share your questions and feedback in the comment section below!
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August 06, 2020
If you already have Amazon Echo set up, you know how convenient it can be. There’s nothing like walking out the front door with full hands and telling Alexa to turn off your lights last minute. But these smart lights and plugs can be slow to react as you keep adding more smart home devices and clogging your network.
Alexa only “speaks” WiFi (and ZigBee if you have the EchoPlus). It currently doesn’t support Z-Wave, the protocol of choice for home automation thanks to its high speed and low interference with other connected devices in your home. That means you can’t have a Z-Wave switch or plug speak directly to your Echo. BUT you can use a smart home hub as a bridge between your Z-Wave devices and Amazon Alexa. Now that’s a whole other level of functionality to unlock!
And if you already have a Z-Wave hub but no smart speaker, you might be thinking how cool it would be to have voice control for your automations and smart home devices. It’s a step towards a more integrated, easy-to-use smart home with improved security, comfort, and convenience.
May 10, 2020 12 Comments
Starting May 13, 2020, Wink will be charging its users a $4.99 monthly subscription fee. If you don’t pay, you’ll lose your automations, smart rules, and access to voice control. [Update 5/30/20: Wink has since backed out of the decision, at least for now. Update 7/27/20: The subscription service for Wink is finally in effect.]
So is it worth paying $5 a month for Wink’s service? The platform hasn’t been adding new features or expanding its list of supported devices for a while now. The announcement introducing the subscription model didn’t include any details on when and how the system would start updating again. They also failed to give users at least 30 days notice to consider how to move forward. If you’re thinking about switching to another platform, we can’t blame you.
Here are a few alternatives for reliable smart home solutions that are most popular among our customers and the team here at The Smartest House. They’re all one-time investments without monthly fees. You’ll find a list of benefits and limitations with each platform, but if you have any questions about specific features we didn’t cover here, get in touch or post in the comment section below.
November 05, 2018
Winterizing your home used to mean lots of physical labor - caulking windows, installing heavier drapes, maybe even changing out older windows and doors that were too efficient at releasing insulated air. Winter prep can still mean all of the above, but new Z-Wave technology has made certain aspects of winterization easier while adding another level of protection as those temperatures drop.
Here’s what we’re using to stay cozy and make sure our energy bills don’t make us freeze in our tracks:
This is one of our winter must-haves. It’s the first Z-Wave line voltage thermostat in North America (but be careful, it won’t work with forced air systems!). Use it to control electric baseboards and convector heaters all from your Z-Wave hub’s app interface. Reduce your energy consumption by 30% with custom heating schedules, or just switch to the thermostat’s built-in Economy mode to keep things efficient.