Z-Wave 5-Button Scene Controller + Dimmer Switch | Project Rock Out

Hey all,

There’s been an interesting development come in the last month or so in which our manufacturer came to us with an opportunity to develop a Z-Wave scene controller and we’ve officially kicked off a project with them. Project Rock Out.

@Nathan_Inovelli will be leading this one, but I’ll at least get it out in the open for discussion.

NOTE: We’re still working on the remotes (BFF) and Fan (Windy City) – this one happens to be a special project with the manufacturer, so they’re passing this one through R&D quicker for us.


Housekeeping

  • DATES & FUNCTIONS ARE NOT SET IN STONE: Just a reminder that all dates and functions are sometimes fluid. We have to make choices based on feasibility, opportunity costs, and overall timeline. I will be as transparent as possible on these decisions, but just a heads up, they may not always be exciting.
  • NO IDEA IS A BAD IDEA: Ok, some are, but honestly throw out anything that you can think of. If we use your idea, we’ll credit you and send you a free device, so take that shot!
  • VERSION 1 VS VERSION 2: Some ideas may be fantastic, but may not make the cut for the first version of the product. Once the product is locked in from a function standpoint, we’ll keep a tally of V2 ideas and then once the product is produced, we’ll move the ideas over to the Suggestions & Wishlist section.

Ok, let’s get this party started!


Project Overview
The purpose of this project is to give people more of what they’ve been waiting for. This has been something that we’ve wanted to produce for a while and has been requested a ton from the Z-Wave Community. So, with the manufacturer coming to us with an opportunity to co-develop something with them, we’re excited to bring to market a Z-Wave Scene Controller Dimmer Switch.

Project Name - Rock Out

Nathan can give you the reason why he chose this name!

Rock Out - Hardware Requirements
Here are the initial hardware asks we came up with. Pretty decent start!

Hardware - Initial Mockup

Hardware - 5-Button Scene Switch (Look / Feel)

  • Push Buttons (3-Scene Buttons, 2 Dimmer Buttons): Top 3 buttons will be able to activate scenes, bottom 2 buttons will turn your load on/off/dim (and will also have scene capability)
  • RGB LED Bars: There will be three (3) LED Bars that will show what scene is activated (on/off) and also show which specific scene has been activated (the LED Bar can change colors based on the scene)
  • Decals: TBD (we’re trying to figure this out) – the switch may come blank and then there will be an ability to send in for etching. Or maybe the default will have stickers and then you can purchase the etching separately. More to come.
  • Colors: fan switch will be offered in white, but the paddle should be able to be replaced to change colors (almond, light almond, brown, red, black, grey, etc)

Hardware - Features & Capabilities

  • 700 Series Z-Wave Plus: switch should be powered by Z-Wave
  • Z-Wave Long Range Feature: https://z-wavealliance.org/z-wave-alliance-announces-new-z-wave-long-range-specification/
  • Power Monitoring: Should measure power consumption for load
  • Z-Wave Distance Estimator: LED lights will light up red if not in range, or green if in range
  • CFL & LED Compatibility
  • Max Wattage & Amperage: 500W (Incandescent) & 300W (LED/CFL) for bulbs
  • Neutral & Non-Neutral Compatibility: Switch should be able to work with a neutral or without

Rock Out - Software Requirements
Below is what we came up with for the software requirements. It’s going to be one insane switch!

  • Z-Wave Scene Control: 12 scenes (4x scenes per scene buttons) + Additional scenes for the bottom 2 buttons to set favorite levels (ie: 2x tap to set to 50%, 3x tap to 75%) – this can be disabled to create, “instant on”
  • Notifications via RGB Bars: RGBW Bars should be able to change colors based on events set up by customer (ie: if window sensor is opened, RGBW bar changes to red)
    • User can choose to sync the bars or have them show separate notifications
  • RGB Bars Config: bar should be able to change colors and also dimmed to the customers favorite level
  • Auto Timer: switch should have a timer that shuts the switch off after a certain amount of time
  • Easy Config: switch should be able to be configured via the switch. This will also have the ability to be locked (so it cannot be tampered with)
    • There should be infinite customization via parameters in the firmware, but also set customizations for HUB’s that do not allow parameter changes (ie: Wink)
  • Internal Relay Disable: internal relay should be able to be disabled locally and via Z-Wave
  • Set Min/Max Level: minimum dim level / maximum dim level (for lights & fan)
  • Ramp Rate Configuration: ability to change how fast/slow light turns on
  • Ramp rate & instant on/off separated
  • Default Dim Level (for lights): ability to set the default dim level
  • OTA Ready: ability to update firmware via OTA
  • Associations switch should be able to be associated to other Z-Wave devices

Timeline
Ah, everyone’s favorite part. When is this flippin thing going to be released? Great question – here’s the high-level of what happens leading up to the first release of the timeline:

1. We present a PRD (Project Request Document) that has all of the above info in it DONE
2. R&D (manufacturer) analyzes the PRD and we go back and forth until we can align on 90% of the product IN PROGRESS
3. Initial Timeline is released and remaining 10% of product features are added/cut along the way

Again, just want to throw this out there – I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict things that come up along the way. Trust me when I say we’re trying our best to get things launched on time.

Pre-Initial Timeline Milestones:

Nathan to fill in. We’re targeting Q1 2021.

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I just wanted to say that from a firmware perspective, it’ll pretty much be a Red Series Dimmer switch. So, we will be adding in all the alternate firmware suggestions (ie: config milli-second time adjustment, instant on, etc).

Busted lol. So excited. I’ll have to review where this might work into my ecosystem better than a red dimmer…

Congrats!

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Ha ha. I’m fixing that and the deleting this comment.

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Oops!

giphy (7)

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Haptic!!! Haptic!!! Haptic!!!

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It would be cool if the light buttons were back lit (either around the perimeter or the icon) to make them easier to find in the dark. You get bonus points if the color is configurable. It might not be necessary, though, depending on the brightness of the other LEDs.

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Perhaps this could be an opportunity to go beyond the current MLV dimming limitations.

Ok, I’ve heard the word before and I’ve looked it up online and still am confused. Can you give me a good example of haptic feedback? I feel so stupid asking lol.

So, rather than the LED Bar, you’d rather have the entire button backlit? Just asking for clarification, I’m impartial!

Yeah, so let’s get some thoughts on this. Currently MLV/MOSFET had to be chosen because it’s the only technology that would allow the following:

  • Use of Dumb switch or use of Aux switch
  • Use of Neutral and Non-Neutral

Since we’re trying to cater towards all users, the only choice we had was MOSFET. I wish I had raw data that showed me aux vs dumb and neutral vs non-neutral :frowning:

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I’m glad you asked. I was too shy. lol. I was just going to ask @EricM_Inovelli

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Can this be used as a second switch in a 3-way config with a red series dimmer?

Oh, I don’t see any LED bars on the dimmer buttons in the mockup so I thought there wasn’t room for them or something. If those buttons have the LED bars the back lighting doesn’t make much sense since the LED bars would be more consistent with all your other buttons. But if the LED bars aren’t there, I was thinking just the light bulb icons being back lit. Lighting up the whole button is probably a little too much compared to the the LED bars.

Haptic feedback is including a small motor/kicker/vibrator that makes a clunk or vibration that you can feel when you touch something. A good example is the faux iPhone 7/8 exit “buttons” (that you’ve probably never seen if you have Android phones). The “button” doesn’t actually move, but the haptic feedback makes it feel like it does.

An example from the HA arena is the Aeotec Wallmote Quad. It is a flat touchscreen, but uses haptic to tell the user that their press lasted long enough to have triggered a hold press. If Project Rock Out uses touch sensors for the scene buttons, haptic would be an important feature to add “feel” to a button press. If it uses actual buttons for the scenes, haptic could still be useful to give feedback when a “hold” has been sent…

It likely would be via association. The bottom two buttons would be able to associate to the Red Series Dimmer. Good reminder!

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Ahhhh, got it – my fault. Yes, the current concept does not have the dimmer portion (bottom two buttons) lit up. We weren’t sure how to accomplish this.

We threw around the idea of wanting to create some sort of bar or indicator that the Dimmer portion was on and the bar would give some sort of level indication, but the problem we thought of was realistically, there was only room for maybe 1-2 LED bars and it wouldn’t really give a realistic view of the true value of the dimmer. Kind of similar to our Fan/Light switch – it shows a close value, but is not as accurate as the dimmer switch (LZW31-LZW31-SN).

What do you think here?

We talking when you’re typing on your phone (for me = Android) and you can feel the, “click” of the phone even though you know you’re not really clicking?

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Yes, that is exactly what haptic is. It’s a piezo electric motor usually.

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Not exactly. “Haptic” by definition is ANY kind of feedback you feel via sense of touch. A good old fashioned mechanical click is haptic. Its true that small motors are often used to create haptic feedback for touch screens that have no physical click, but a motor/kicker/vibrator is not required to be “haptic”

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Wow! This is great.

Something that I know I’d be happy to see would be some form of a modular way to label the buttons. Although a guy can dream, I’m not saying to put a screen behind them or anything (pretty sure an old Z-Wave scene controller did that back in the day though), but even made-to-order buttons would be slick.

If the MLV is required for the non-neutral support, then this thought wasn’t very helpful … your hardware description up top didn’t mention that this little device was going to support the dumb switch/aux switch multi-way installation too.

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