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

Yesss! Yes Yes yes! And am I to understand this isn’t just a scene controller, but also a dimmer switch? Double yes!

My thoughts-

I agree the keys should be backlit. This should in addition to the RGB bars. The backlight should be neutral or warm white, and level-adjustable.

I think the dimmer overall should have two operation modes. Mode one is exactly as you specify- bottom buttons are basically the paddles of a Red dimmer, top buttons are scene control.
Mode two would be a multi-load device controller that would primarily work via associations. A larger number of association groups would allow up to 3 control channels. Pressing one of the large scene keys would turn that light on/off (per the LED), then pressing the dimmer buttons would dim it.
Most likely, each key could be assigned as scene control (Mode 1) or association control (Mode 2, which would take over some of its LED function).
So to illustrate the usage: I come in the bathroom and everything is off (no RGB bars), but I can see the switch due to the backlights. I tap the top button, its LED bar lights up, and the internal dimmer turns on the bathroom light. I tap the second button, its LED bar lights up, and by association a Z-Wave nano module turns on the lights around the mirror. I then hold the dim button, and since the second button was most recently pressed, it dims those mirror lights on the nano module. I then press the 3rd button, which is assigned as scene control only, and it triggers a scene on my hub which tells SONOS to start playing my shower playlist.

That said- this complicates the firmware quickly as now it must maintain internal dim states for each Mode 2 button (and thus accept association inputs for said button).

On the button layout- an idea; make this with 6 physical button switches. Then include a packet with a whole bunch of square and rectangular and larger buttons with different icons on each of them. So I could arrange it so (for example) the large square of the top two buttons is a single on/off button, then below that are four small square buttons that do various things.
If you want to get really slick- use the same outline and LEDs as the Red dimmers, but the space occupied by the paddle is the 6 configurable button areas. Then the same RGB bar can illustrate the bottom three rows worth of scenes.

For example: (this is a quick photoshop I did for another post, thus it looks nothing like the prototype image here):

Basic idea is in the box it would include a whole bunch of those little buttons, you would snap on the ones you want to mix and match.

I agree that haptic feedback is important- it should be just like the current Red dimmer, where pressing the button makes a satisfying click. I think that should be a mechanical switch click, not a special haptic feedback engine within the device (that adds cost).

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I like this idea. A lot of people with Enerwave ZWN-SC7 controllers back in the day would use them to arm/disarm their security systems with button combos.

Although, I’d also love to see a one-button overlay for this, to make it a toggle button, more or less.

Something else that came to mind was a proximity-based LED setting. Where the lights optionally go off unless you’re within a certain distance of the controller.

Actually, if we go down this thread, one could argue there’s no reason this product and the Red dimmer have to be separate products.

(sorry for the bad photoshop)…

By addressing the different parts of the LED strip, it could be the indicators for the top buttons instead of having built in illumination.
Result is you have a product that starts its life as a Red 700 series dimmer, but you can then pop off the rocker and pop on other buttons to make it into something else. Thus Inovelli can focus on making one SKU in greater bulk. Maybe sell the package of pop-on buttons as a separate accessory SKU that has enough buttons for 2-3 switches…

Could you add an led strip for each dimmer? Sorry for the hacked image. Not very good with gimp.

YES!! I will replace all of my GE dimmers with these on day 1 :slight_smile:

As with some of the Photoshops above, I think a single LED bar on the right (to match existing devices) plus single LED’s for each of the top 3 buttons would be great.

I’m fine with stickers. An option to purchase additional button packs or individual buttons or pick5 button packs would be ideal.

And associations, associations, associations! 1 group for each of the top 3. 2 groups for the bottom with a parameter to change function for bottom 2 groups:
Mode 1) group1 mirrors load / group2 simple on/off
Mode 2) group1 for button1 / group2 for button2

Use all available memory space to maximize device count per group!

It would be cool if the button plates could be swapped in/out by the user (without going as far as the modular kit @Chris suggested) - then the switch could be supplied with blank plates, and you could sell separately pre-engraved/printed replacement plates individually or as sets of the most common options, or custom printing/engraving for a higher price.

Long time reader, first time post.

This is so awesome. My wife will love these. She refuses to learn how many times to tap. Couple of thoughts…

  1. I echo what Chris said. The ability for the dimmer buttons to dim the lights on the last scene selected would be slick. I had an old Monster scene controller that did this. (Hardware looked very similar). I had that working on Vera, but couldn’t get that functionality to work on Smartthings. I recognize this functionality would likely be extremely complicated to implement.

  2. Would you be able to double tap/hold buttons to trigger other scenes like on the red series? If not, you’d have to have one whole button dedicated to turn off the lights.

  3. I’m assuming a single tap of the dedicated dimmer buttons will turn load on/off? I recommend having a single tap on restore light levels to whatever the last level was. This is how my other dimmers work, and I have a scene run every morning at 3am that resets all my dimmers to 80%.

  4. Button labels. What about the option to have clear buttons that you pop off to put paper labels behind them. It could come with several sheets of perferated predefined ones. But also a blank Word template to create your own. (Or a website that allows you to customize that you then print out.). The challenge with this would be for the buttons to still feel solid and not look chinsey with the clear plastic.

Thanks for taking feedback. Excited to be included in the process.

Yeah, this is definitely something we’re trying to figure out the logistics on. There are a couple of approaches:

  • A list of stickers/icons included in the package that you can stick on
  • A way to customize online after purchase (or during) using etching

We can definitely do both too. The sticker idea we need to figure out a good way to put them on the switch without them getting dirty overtime (or I suppose you could just buy a replacement sticker sheet).

The etching idea is something that Leviton and Insteon do. Here’s an example from Insteon: https://www.smarthome.com/products/insteon-2401c6-custom-etched-6-button-set-for-keypadlinc?variant=34316684001413

Basically, what we’d have to do is find a third party manufacturer in the US and/or Canada that we’d be able to send paddles to as well as the online order and you can have them etched. I don’t think this should be too hard and I love the idea.

Touch screen would be sweet thought too lol – but I think that will have to live in your dreams for now haha!

Ahh, yeah sorry – I copy/pasted the above from the fan/light switch which doesn’t have that so that’s my fault. Although, this does bring up an idea (likely will add to the cost, but we can always ask) in that I wonder if it’s possible to switch between MLV and ELV depending on the load you have on your switch. I’ll capture that idea above and check!

Yessir! It will hook up to an existing light so you can control the load as well as have an additional 3-Buttons above it for scenes.

Ok, we can look into this for sure! Building on your example of backlit in the bathroom, we could likely make it to where that can be adjusted based on the time of day (ie: off during the day and maybe 10% during the night – but it would be user defined).

Interesting – when you say multi-load device controller, are you saying hardwired devices (ie: a switch that controls two separate loads)? If so, that makes things a little more difficult from a timeline standpoint and cost standpoint. I do agree we need a switch like this, but not sure we can add that capability from a hardware standpoint.

I understand you said, “associations”, so I just wanted to clarify.

Ok, I think I understand now – I’ll have to defer to @EricM_Inovelli on this one!

This is a great idea – we were going to make those individual buttons be able to be taken off and mixed and matched for sure – the only thing I’m not sure of is how that would work from a PCB standpoint. If the bottom two squares are dedicated to controlling the load, I’m not sure if we’d be able to make it so that you could place that up top or how to mix/match the sizes (ie: if you wanted to make two buttons into one large button. But, I will definitely pass this on as I do like the idea of being able to customize this however you want, including the design.

What we want is to be conscious of cost and plastic waste – it’s actually one of the reasons we stopped putting almond paddles and faceplates in our boxes (I know, I know… booooo). Hardly anyone used almond so we were wasting a ton of plastic.

Like adding in a motion sensor or something? That would be interesting for sure. Might be tough with the current hardware design, but we can ask! It will definitely be able to be associated to a Z-Wave sensor and/or if you have a Zigbee/WiFi one, you could setup an automation via the hub to do this.

I’m digging the LED bar lol – It would be nice to figure out a way to do this for sure!

So have an LED bar on each side? Sorry if I wasn’t clear either (again, I copy/pasted the fan/light post lol) but there would only be one dimmer at the bottom (so, left button is dim down/off, right button is dim up/on).

I definitely like how the single LED bar was mocked up – looks slick!

We may be able to save some costs on the switch if we have pre-made buttons here at HQ that you can add to cart – I do like the etching idea by sending it to a third party as well, so we’ll have to see (maybe we can do both).

Heck yeah – we’ll see if we can add more than the default 5 we have on our current switches!

Yeah definitely – I think this is what we’re leaning towards. It saves on cost by providing blanks in the box (cuts down adding all the plastic) and if you want to customize it, you can either send it in or purchase separate buttons that are available on the site. Love it.

Welcome!! Glad to have you :slight_smile:

Can you share the Monster controller link if it’s still around? We’d love to check it out!

Yes, definitely and to take it a step further, the LED bars (as the design stands) could also be programed to confirm that scene is on by blinking a certain color (or stay on if you’d like to indicate that scene is on).

Yeah – tap on the right button it will turn the dimmer on, hold it and it will dim up. Tap on the left button and it will turn the dimmer off and holding it will dim down. The default would be a single tap up would bring the light to the last state (I believe that’s how our dimmers currently work too, so that should be easy to adopt). Taking this a step further, we would put scene control on the bottom buttons so that you could even say, “double tap” brings it to 25%, triple = 50, etc (user defined).

Yeah this could be a route we go too. I do agree with your challenge though – however, it would cut down on having to create multiple colors as people could just buy different colored papers! Maybe that would be a separate offering where we sold clear paddles, but the default would still be the white to make sure we’re matching our current switches (well, I should say our Fan/Light switch bc that has the correct white).

Yeah definitely, this is my favorite part of starting these projects – we’re good, but we can’t think of everything, so it’s awesome getting everyone involved along the way! Thanks for your feedback and hopefully we can keep this convo going!


The modular/replaceable parts is a popular idea and I love it too, but that’s probably mutually exclusive with back lighting just the icons so here’s a couple possible ideas.

  1. Adding a horizontal LED bar under the dimmer buttons that stretches across both buttons might give you the extra space you need. It would really be the same as the vertical LED bar on the dimmer switch just flipped 90 degrees. The other buttons may need to shrink to make room. Also, I’m not a designer, so this idea could look weird with the vertical bars.
  2. Make the dimmer buttons translucent so a background light will make them visible in the dark. Any text/icon printed on them will probably show up against the light.
  • To visually indicate the dim level, the brightness of the back lighting could be adjusted in relationship so as you increase the dim level the brightness of the buttons increases and vice versa for dimming (down to some minimum value).
  • Another option would be to transition the color of the background lighting from one color to another. It’s not an accurate way to visually gauge the dim level, and I can’t tell if it would be any better than a 1-2 LED bar.

What if level of dimness of a bar between the two bottom buttons matched the output dimmer level.

0% configurable (10% default)
1% Barely noticeable
50% half level of LED
100% full LED brightness

Like this:

Or this:

Future 8-button arrangement:

Edit: I actually like the idea above of re-using the red dimmer with buttons at the bottom for the switch toggles, then just adding the 3 scenes above with some form of feedback on sending the scene control.

Sorry if this has been discussed before- but for years I’ve wished there could be a switch with a built in motion sensor. Was going to comment on the thread about whether you would continue to manufacture the stand alone units. I assume there are some space requirements that might be an issue, but this is something that is completely lacking in the market. A “smart” house still requires too much interaction in my mind, unless I’m ok leaving lights constantly on. There will always be some situations where interaction occurs, but every time I have to touch a switch, or tell alexa to do something I feel like there is opportunity for improvement. I think motion sensors built into switches would automate a majority of my current interactions.

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Welcome to the community @FloridaDog. A motion sensor would be awesome. There has been discussion about a switch & motion sensor, but I don’t think there has been a project opened for it yet.

Light switch & motion sensor

Actually, that is a great idea… but would increase the price significantly. I have been looking to integrate oled momentary switches into some woodworking projects (for the fun of it because I am a geek). they have some very high res screens the size of dice, and a few mm thick… would not be too hard to integrate them into the paddles, but it would look a little off (unless you use black paddles, there would be a dark square block in the middle of the paddle)

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True, but I was being basic. In reality, there is already feedback with all the paddle switches, the (compared to some other switches) very solid click feedback.

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I’m not a fan of the idea of using paper labels or stickers… even if you place it under a clear plastic tab of sorts… it just looks cheap… and cheesy…

That said… maybe creating standard set of buttons with etched icons that can be swapped in or out would work, maybe some blanks for people like me… who may or may not have a CNC router in his garage… and soon… a CO2 laser (if I can convince my wife).

Her biggest complaint, like someone else mentioned, is having to remember scene tap sequences. She likes to point to my brother in laws house, which has a ton of those 5 and 6 button Lutron Casata switches… Good thing I do the wiring… she does not have much choic
e :slight_smile:

Another idea I had today … if you put buttons inset on the inside, or even had a rotary button that transfers force from horizontal motion to vertical motion, you could have a faux rotary controller. This would be awesome for media control on a wall!

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First of all, this is amazing. Exactly what I’d want in a couple locations in the house.

For feedback, I’d like to echo everything Chris said about Operation modes. That would be amazing. Something to think about for the future: for his mode 2, I’d almost want to see that in a separate, larger product. I’m envisioning a double wide decora panel as a sort of central control switch. It has 6 or 9 buttons, and works like Chris described. That functionality in a three button switch might be a little less intuitive when switching between triple and quadruple clicks to select a particular device you want to then control with the dimmer controls below. Still, a great option for power users, which I think is 90% of the forum.

Form factor: I think an LED bar that matches the existing Reds would be first choice like Chris said. A switch that blends in with existing switches would look the least jarring (which is super important), though you might lose a little functionality with the smaller LEDs to represent the scenes. I think it’s probably fine though.

Alternatively, I think kreene1987’s middle example is also great. It gives an led for the dimmer like existing switches (which can hopefully be lit up partially in the same way), while having configurable simple on off LEDs for the scene switches. Sharp, functional, though it doesn’t match existing switches, which might look a little jarring to people (and SOs) who want things to look tidy.

One thing I’d highlight though is the bottom buttons being two different buttons. If they’re instead designed as a small sideways rocker, it’s more intuitive that they are an on off switch/dimmer, rather than unrelated buttons. This matters with houseguests and less technically savvy family members. I think a modular button approach like has been mentioned could allow for two buttons rather than a rocker, but that should likely be aftermarket like the custom buttons (which are a great idea, btw).

All in all, this is an amazing product idea, especially with the ability to customize the buttons display. If you can figure out a way to make that not after market and still not look chintzy, I’d be one happy camper. Also, I imagine these won’t be as ubiquitous in the home as regular switches and dimmers, so a slightly more premium price would probably make sense, rather than losing functionality.

Along the lines of increased functionality motion is a good idea. I almost ordered the GE motion sensing zwave switches. However, given how cheap existing motion sensors are, and the fact that these switches likely won’t be put throughout the home, but only in certain locations, I’m not sure the added expense of a motion detector is worth it.

…though I’d still probably buy it. Looking forward to whatever you guys come up with!

An addendum: those aftermarket buttons with common etchings would be really great low level purchases with points in the new rewards program you guys are planning.

So I’m digging this design.

I have been waiting for a good scene selection switch that my wife will use(she can never remember how many clicks up or down for some things. I’m limited to two clicks up and two down on a switch to program for her, the rest of the click combinations are for me).
I look forward to buying these next year!

Things to agree on that I like above:

  • Associations!
  • Ability to turn-off all the lights on the switch/ change the settings on them (same as current switches)
  • customizable buttons (even for the dimmer buttons)

I just got a bunch of the Red Dimmer Switches and your fan controller and trying to find the time to install them.
Awesome work!!! I love the outreach!

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Love the idea. There aren’t many/any good Z-Wave keypads on the market. A couple comments:

  1. Make sure to analyze the form and capabilities of Lutron seeTouch keypads. These are the gold standard comparison. They’re way overpriced but they end up being worth it IMO. And note they include 1 round of engraving in the cost of the device.
  2. What functional capabilities does the 700 series chipset give you compared to the 500? Paired with a 700 series hub. So far I’ve seen no real functionality improvements in 700 series devices. I know there aren’t many available now. Silicon Labs has pushed the more capability line, maybe an opportunity for you to be a first mover.