GE 14291 Z-Wave Smart-Switch - tell between manual and automated on/off

I have installed a GE 14291 Z-Wave Smart-Switch to control my car port lights to automate turning them on when motion is detected, and then after a couple minutes it will then turn off the light. This works reliably and beautifully, but my problem is that if I want to spent an evening in the car port working on an outdoor project, I want the light to stay on when I'm out there and not automatically turn off. I was thinking of setting a global variable so that when that variable is true, it would ignore turning off the light in the automation rule in rule machine, so here is where my question comes into play. Currently I'm using a Hue motion sensor to turn on the light, so when motion is detected it tells the GE light switch to turn on, so is it possible to be able to distinguish in when the light switch is turned on manually at the wall as opposed to being turned on by Hubitat? If that were possible, then I could just create a rule that when the light is turned on manually to set a global variable to a true state that could then be used to modify the rule that controls motion lighting in the car port, but I'm thinking there probably is no way to do this is there?

I do know that switch has a double tap button as well, and I already use that to turn on my lamp by the door manually, so I cannot use that to manually set it on.

If anyone has any thoughts on how this can be done, that would be great. I know I could buy a button to set the variable, but I'm trying to not spend any more money if at all possible, as money is rather tight right now, and so if I could use what I already have to accomplish this, I would like to try to do that if at all possible.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might be able to share! :slight_smile:

Check the "Events" button/page on your device's page in the admin UI. More specifically, check it after you change the switch both "manually" (physical, in Hubitat terms) and from Hubtat ("digitially" in Hubitat terms). You should see events in the table like this:

If your switch reliably distinguishes physical vs. digital events, then yay! But be warned, not all do--and I've read that not all do so reliably even if they do sometimes. If this does work, something else you'll need is a way to restrict your existing automation. If you're already using RM, you could set a global variable when the switch gets turned on physically, then reset that variable when it is turned off physically (or you could use a virtual switch to track the same, or the rule's own Private Boolean if you're not already using that for something, or...the list goes on).

If your switch doesn't support this--or even if it does--one thing you could also consider is just having the rule check the state of the light when motion is detected and then not turn it off automatically if it was already on (in which case, presumably it was manually turned on). Actually, the built-in Motion Lighting app can do this (and/or restrict off with a switch--say, the virtual switch idea from above) if you don't want to create that logic in RM. This might be a bit less reliable since you'll have to remember to turn it off (you really do in both cases, but at least in the other case you'll know that you had to have manually turned it on and it couldn't have been some other automation). However, which works better in real life? Who knows. :slight_smile:

Just a few ideas!

The switch does support physical on but it's not going to work the way you want. And that is because once the switch is on, you can't turn it on again. So, the motion sensor turns the light on, hitting the top paddle on the switch won't have any effect because the switch is already on. I would advice you to have some other method, a virtual button or switch on a dashboard maybe, to achieve what you want. Otherwise, to recognize the physical on, you would have to first turn the switch off, then back on again for it to recognize the physical activity.

Maybe add a smart button and put an override in the motion lighting app when the button is pushed?

Thanks so much for the VERY helpful message, and it was just the added information I was hoping for, and your message gave me enough information to get this working now, which is a huge help! :slight_smile: I didn't know switches could have that level of detail, nor where to see it, so I was able to find everything and get this working, so thanks once again for your detailed response and help!