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LZW36 Child Devices in Google Home

LOL nevermind, this is a lie. The Google Home app interface when you “relink” to ST shows checkboxes next to each device making it appear that you can omit certain devices. However you cannot actually uncheck the boxes. All devices are selected all the time.

Hilarious UI. :joy:

Ok, so there is a quick work around that should work and I’ll write up a KB article about it. It involves creating virtual devices that sync with your child devices using Smart Lighting. Then those virtual switches will be synced to GH or Alexa.

@EricM_Inovelli also found that he wrote a SmartApp 4yrs ago that basically does exactly this, so he’s going to tweak some code to make it work and I’ll update the KB article when this takes place. In the meantime, hold tight on the initial article – I should be able to knock it out fairly quickly.


@datavortex @kreene1987 – can you guys try the above KB article and let me know if it works? I was able to get the virtual switches to work in ST, but I don’t have an Alexa or GH at work right now to mess with. I’m 99% sure it should work.


Step 1 should be login to per @jody

Virtual Switches are newer and run locally. Simulated Switches are the same thing but are older code and are cloud based. I recommend running both as Virtual Switch type.

Scratch that, these are both dimming capable so should be Virtual Dimmer Switch type, that way the more advanced user can use WebCore to match levels. Note this will NOT have the color control even if future @EricM_Inovelli adds this child functionality. Not sure if there is a virtual device that does color control and dimming? Also, the fan could be set up as a Virtual Fan type potentially if code was created for that based on a real fan. There does not seem to be one pre-built.

Smart Lighting for Fan Child Switch is in there twice.

Will continue testing! I’ll share my WebCore code once I have it set and working.

If you are interested in (pretty) simple way of making virtual devices for the Fan / Light, I have created an app that can do it for you and keep them in sync with the individual endpoints. The benefit of the virtual devices is:

  1. The virtual devices can be used in the new Alexa & Google Home integration.

  2. The virtual devices will properly update their status when you adjust them in the new SmartThings app.

I am still working on a better KB article, but here is my first draft of how to get it setup:

I had to rush this out a little bit so let me know if their are any bugs / issues.

Edit: Found and fixed a bug in the Smart App. Sorry about that. :wink:


Wondering if you can host the images in your KB locally on your site?
(the current ones seem to be on googleusercontent, and appear as stop signs for me, maybe not publicly accessible?)

Like @SandyB, I cannot load the included images in the KB article but I got the VDS smartapp working based upon the text.

Everything works, but I hit one snag at the end.

  • Confirmed that it creates working virtual switches and the switches are kept in 2-way sync during both local and remote toggles.
  • Confirmed that (as expected) the Local Protection Settings being set to Light did not protect the light switch’s setting from being mutated by the relevant virtual switch.
  • Confirmed deleting the old child devices and then renaming the virtual switches to their respective old names.
  • Confirmed that virtual devices sync to Google Home.
    • An account reconnect to ST was required. I gave the devices about 4-5 minutes to appear but no dice.
    • Confirmed that light virtual switch syncs as light switch and fan virtual switch syncs as a fan device with a dimmer setting that works.

The only place I ran into difficulty was when I deleted one of the light virtual switches that VDS created. I have Hue smart bulbs in some of the fans, and without remote control protection the easiest solution is to delete the virtual light switch while keeping the virtual fan switch. This was no problem in ST, but even after an account reconnect Google still remembers the now-deleted virtual light switch and includes it in the room’s lighting group. When toggled via Google Home, the now-deleted virtual switch still works. Of course this causes power loss to the smart bulbs when voice commands are used.

Both solutions worked GREAT, and both are fast!

I see color control on the new DTH but neither of these devices show color control, so my wishlist stands.

Thanks for the continued support!

This was wrong. Google is not remembering deleted devices. What actually happened here is almost as stupid. Google strips non-alphanumeric characters from both device names and room names. So “Room Fan + Light” becomes “Room Fan Light” in Google Home. Same with room names, so if you call it “John’s Room” in Google Home you will get “John s Room”. Anyway, I named my virtual light switches “Room Fan Light”, so after the unannounced name translation in sync, it looked like the deleted devices were still present. They were actually the combination “Fan + Light” devices with the plus symbol stripped. I also tried ampersand, comma, and single quotes and all were stripped out. (As an aside, did you know you can sync your Samsung and Google accounts so quickly you get a temp ban from the API? You can.)

So, in summary, everything is working as intended.

For the fans containing smart bulbs I:

  1. Toggled the device handler setting.
  2. Deleted the existing child devices. I did this early so I could reuse the names for the virtual switches.
  3. Created the VDS SmartApp for the switch.
  4. Had the SmartApp create the virtual switches.
  5. Deleted the virtual switch for the lights.
  6. Force a Google sync.

Now for all 5 LZW36 switches I have the appropriate devices in Google Home - including virtual lights-only switches for the fans with dumb bulbs, and fan-only switches for all 5.

I still have the combined fan+light switches in Google Home, which annoyingly lives inside the rooms’ light groups. So when you tell the assistant to turn off a room it hits the combo switch as well and kills the smart bulbs. Because SmartThings killed the ability to selectively disable device syncing earlier this year, all the hacks around this (using different rooms/homes) are dirty.

Honestly this is probably the last straw for SmartThings for me. They really screwed up the Google integration. Between the duplicate devices from Philips Hue (my bridge is nearly full), and now having the combo devices in the light groups, they have regressed my voice commands intolerably. And the light groups I made for the ceiling fan smart bulbs (“ceiling lighs”) don’t sync over at all. As soon as Hubitats are back in stock I am likely to begin the arduous process of moving all of this over. I hope child devices “just work” over in that ecosystem, I am about to start investigating.

I am now having an issue creating notification children devices for the LZW36 parents. I suspect it could be related to this change. When I change all four of the settings for, for example, “Light Notification 1”, I do not get a child device as I do for my other switch/dimmer models. This remains true whether the parent device’s “Use Inovelli Virtual Device Sync” option is disabled or enabled (including with a save/exit/kill on the ST app in-between setting toggling it and modifying the notification settings).

I did not previously try to setup any notification children prior to the changes made in response to this thread and toggling the VDS setting at least one time for all of my LZW36 switches. So I cannot say for certain it’s related, it is possible it never worked for me.

I have both device handlers, Switch Child Device and Switch Level Child Device installed and published.

Has anyone been able to duplicate this issue using the new device handler? I’m still not getting notification child devices.

@EricM_Inovelli a few thoughts:

  1. Can VDS have a 4th option for RGBW Child device to get color control of the light bar?
  2. Can VDS also have a 5th option for Fan Child device? Can said child device have “breeze” for 1% then low/med/high?

Haven’t tested yet but intend to!

Thanks! I actually just got my Hubitat today and am currently trying to get devices working with it. Curious if I was the only person seeing this though.

I am not seeing that on SmartThings. Are there any errors in the logs (if you are able to test on SmartThings anymore.

@kreene1987 Is it so you can change the color of the LED via voice? I am seeing all of my child devices in Alexa now so can’t this already be done?

Yes. I don’t see color control on my VDS children dimmers in Alexa app.

Edit: I am NOT using the settings/create child devices for the LED. Perhaps that is the method needed for getting RGB control in Alexa (removing VDS)?

Yeah, exactly. My child devices are now showing up in Alexa so I don’t think VDS is necessary anymore. At least for Alexa (haven’t tested Google Home).

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OK I feel like an idiot here, but I seriously can’t get this to work…

So I killed VDS, already had killed the default children that come in with the switch, and then added LED children via settings. These are reporting that they have color control capabilities and are lights, and Alexa app sees them, but changing the color makes no change at the switch.

I forgot to mention that this is actually part of WebCore integration changing the color based on home mode (feeds STHM as well). So a bit more important than the “show” factor, but as all things I can be patient with the solution.

Do I need to do anything other than toggle the child LED toggle in the parent switch settings to get this to work @EricM_Inovelli ?

Can’t sleep so continuing the conversation. I am moving on to wanting the fan icon for a fan child device, and want it to behave like a dimmer. Based on this post:

I was able to add “ocfDeviceType: “”,” from the default Z-Wave Fan Controller DTH into the metadata of a fan child device identical to the switch level child device and it showed up as a fan icon in the new app!:

Isn’t working perfectly, but will continue to play with my own DTH for a fan icon dimmer (to maintain 2-99 control and 1 as breeze mode is the goal).

Do you get any error messages in the log when you try to change the color?

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Figured out I have to turn on the child device for it to work. Whoops. Working flawlessly now! Now to figure out naming because I have 5 child devices for the switch now (child fan, child light, child light LED, child fan LED, child default local level).

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