Help A Noob With Zwave Dimmer

I am using OH2.4 and have added a dimmer to my things(WD500Z-1 Wall Dimmer Switch) but I not sure how to control it. I have seen a lot of posts about dimmers using rules but I am still a little fuzzy how all that works. I am coming from a Vera controller environment where adding a dimmer was as simple as adding a device and the switch and slider showed up in the GUI. Can someone point or provide me with example code on how to accomplish this?

Welcome to openHAB!
OH offers tons of ways to control devices. People often start with building a sitemap (this shows as BASIC UI on the start page) since this gives you access to control devices through the official OH mobile app as well. However, this takes a little bit of time to configure.

If you just want to do a quick test, you can go to HABMIN from the start page. From here, go to Configuration -> Things -> [YourDimmer].

If your device is setup properly, you’ll see a basic switch that looks like this which allows for basic control, just for testing:

After verifying the device is working, it’s a good idea to try setting up a sitemap by adding your item into it.

Good luck!

I have created the thing in paper and it shows online. The channels shows up as a dimmer. The item and site map is what I need help with. I want a dimmer slider and on-off switch. I created a site map with both these pointing to the dimmer but operation is very strange. On-off works but is slow to respond and random values seem to show up under the slider. When I use the switch instead of the app, the values are not reflecting what is actually happening.

Great, you’ve already got the first step down. It’s possible there’s a mixup in the item setup. There are a few different ways to setup your items, but here’s my personal preference for a fast and easy way to get started with a dimmer:

  • Create a new items file inside the conf/items folder. You can name it whatever you want, but lets call it zwave.items.
  • In the items file, create your dimmer item as follows. You can play with the label, and group (roomname) is optional. Copy and paste the channel information from PaperUI. For more information on setting up items files, check the official documentation here
Dimmer	YourDimmer "Room Lights  [%d %%]"	(roomname) channel="zwave:device:aaaaaa:node2:switch_dimmer"}
  • In your sitemap, add the following items to create both a dimmer and an on/off switch control
	Slider item=YourDimmer label="Room Lights"
	Switch item=YourDimmer label="Room Lights"

*Save your items file and sitemap and two switches should show up. If you are accessing OH from the official mobile app, you don’t need to refresh, it will update automatically.

By the way, I should mention, if you still have your vera, you can simply use the MIOS binding to control your existing vera through OH. This is a great way to get started as well since you can use the vera’s zwave controller, but take advantage of better rules processing in OH.

The rules engine is more powerful and reliable compared to custom lua functions in vera.

A couple other thoughts…

Could you be a little more precise about this? When you say slow, how slow? If there’s a 5+ second lag, it could be that there are timeouts/retries on your zwave network.

The zwave binding repolls the device 1.5 seconds after the command is sent. Some dimmers take longer than that to complete the dimming operation. If repolled before the operation completes, you’ll see the slider updated with an intermediate dimmer value. In HABmin, try changing the Command Poll Period to something greater than 1500 milliseconds.

I will late you know my progress. Thanks for your help.

Yup, keep us updated! Good luck.

Okay, spent some time working on the Dimmer. First off, the code example you gave worked fine but the percent showed up under the slider and the switch. Fixed that by separating the two in items. Next, found that the Dimmer itself operates a little slow and increasing the command-status polling improved accuracy. The GUI On-Off works as expected. Now the funny stuff, if I update the dimmer 0 to X%, the dimmer physically turns on with the proper levels but once you attempt to adjust back down you get no change in value on the dimmer physically. (GUI slider does go up and down) The exception to this is when you set 0% and the dimmer does turn off. (Which I assume OH sends the off command at 0%) If you turn the Dimmer On or Off on the physical switch the GUI does not reflect the changes but if you adjust the GUI slider the Dimmer turns back on with that value. (Even if you update to a lower %) Let me know what you think about that…

Some devices do not report their status after an operation made locally on the device. There’s a bit of history here. There was a patent that only a couple manufacturers chose to license. The patent has since expired, so it affects mostly older devices. Not sure if that applies in your case.

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Yes, what @mhilbush says is correct. It was confusing for a while since some companies chose to license the “instant status” reporting feature from Lutron, but most did not, so it wasn’t clear which zwave devices supported instant status.

I just noticed you are using a WD500Z. I had 2 of those switches from way back and they do NOT report status to the zwave controller. That means anytime you operate the switch physically, it won’t be reported back to OH. OH will poll periodically to check the status, but it’ll usually be after a long delay.

If possible, try to test on a newer switch. Some of the models I know for sure which support status are levitons, homeseer. Older GE/Jasco models do not.

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Do you know if Zooz reports status? I am getting ready to install one of their switches.

I can only confirm Zooz dimmers do support instant status. I don’t own their on/off switches, but I would assume it should be the same.

From what I can tell, most zwave dimmers/switches sold after 2017 should have instant status as that’s around the time the Lutron patent expired.

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Do Leviton VRMX1 devices support instant status? I’ve got one that does not report back to OH if you use the physical switch or the coordinating remote to control the light.

Does that mean I could detect manually turning on the switch and use a rule, for instance, to turn it off after a period of time? I realize my example duplicates an existing configuration option.

Create a new thread to see if anybody has that experience but that question is best asked of Lutron support.

Yes. Make sure your associations are set properly.

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Short version: Yes. You can detect manually turning on the switch with the zooz dimmers since they support instant status, but it’s not accurate.

Long version: I’m afraid it’s a bit more nuanced. Instant status alone isn’t a 100% reliable method of detecting manual operation at the switch. The reason is because ANY status change (zwave, remote association, manual operation) will trigger the instant status update. In other words, your zwave controller will know there was an action, but it won’t distinguish the context of the action. The only way to guarantee a reliable button press detection is to use one of the dimmers/switches that use scenes (homeseer/inovelli). I guess they originally designed scenes to support double or triple tap actions, but as it happens, they also reliably detect single taps.

Perhaps you can email zooz support and they might release support for scenes in an FW update? I know they’re pretty responsive about adding new features.

Yes, I can confirm the same through firsthand experience. VRMX1 supports status.

Zooz support scenes too. The switch I am considering is a recent version.