Wired Z Wave Button?

I have an empty electrical box (with power) right where I would like to put a Z Wave (or Zigbee if necessary) switch - except I don't want to actually switch the electricity in the box, I just want to use it for an automation. What I thought would be a relatively easy problem has turned out to be pretty difficult. It looks like I can either:

  1. Put a battery-powered Z Wave/Zigbee button in the location. But I can't find one that is designed to be mounted in a switch box, and I would have to recharge it periodically or change the battery despite the fact that it's sitting right on top of a powered box.

  2. Use a regular wired Z Wave Switch, but not connect anything to the Load and just create automations based on the Z Wave events. The problem with this is that I just can't seem to get it to work. My existing Leviton and GE/Jasco switches don't seem to send On or Off commands when the switch is in that state already. Since the end device I'm trying to control can be controlled elsewhere also, this doesn't work for me. I read somewhere that changing the driver might help, and I've tried using Generic Z Wave SceneController drivers instead of the switch drivers, but the Event Log still doesn't show commands being sent for a second On or Off button press.

Any ideas? My preference would be to find a switch/driver combo that always sends on/off commands, but if that just isn't possible then I'd like to find the best On/off Z wave/Zigbee button that would look and work decently on top of an existing electrical box.

Or am I missing a better solution? Thanks in advance!

Hi, and welcome to Hubitat!

RGBGenie has Zigbee buttons (called a Micro Remote) that mount to a normal switch box, I believe there are other Zigbee buttons that fall into this category too, but not that familiar with others.

Zooz has a new Zwave battery powered button that looks like a traditional light switch paddle, but it is currently not in stock.

Zooz and Inovelli are two (might be others) where you can disconnect the electrical portion (quite often incorrectly called "the relay") of the switch via software. You could also do like you mention and just wire line to load, but this is not exactly code compliant. But people do it this way.

If you are going to do quite a few buttons, I would look at getting a Lutron Bridge Pro2, and Pico remotes. They are hands-down the best remote in my opinion. They are very versatile, they have lots of button presses/holds/release events per device. They are inexpensive (once you get past the Bridge purchase) and are readily available. Battery life is supposed to be about 10 years. And they have nifty table stands for the buttons along with being able to be wall mounted without an electrical box OR in a box by using an adapter.

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If you want something wired, innovelli has switch’s where you can disable power switching and just use the button press to trigger the event, this seems like exactly what you want.

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Thanks for the quick reply! It looks like I have a few options. The Innovelli switches look like exactly what I was looking for, but unfortunately are out of stock until January. Unlike Innovelli, I couldn't find any confirmation on the Zooz website that you can disable the electrical switching for their switches, but I'll keep looking. The RGBGenie Micro Remote might be a quick and easy option for me, but it really has more buttons than I need in this location.

Also thanks for the Lutron suggestion. I've heard good things about the Pico remotes before, but I'm finally getting a respectable Z Wave network going, I'd hate to start all over with something else...

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Look at the manuals. For example, here is the Zen 22. Upper left corner square, smart bulb mode. I am sure there are other models of theirs that do this too, this is just one example.

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Sure enough - there it is. The Zooz website was showing me the manual for ver 3.0, which doesn't appear to have that feature. Thanks!

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Don't know about Leviton, but the newer GE/Jasco switches that are labelled "Simplewire" don't have specific line and load terminals. The switch's circuitry detects which terminals are line and load and configures itself accordingly. Probably to help those like myself who wasn't paying attention and wired the switch backwards and wondered why it doesn't work.

In your particular case, the switch may be too smart for its own (or your) good. If it doesn't detect any load, it probably isn't going to report that it's in the on position and thwart what you're trying to do.

Although I haven't used them (yet) the Inovelli switches can be configured to disable local control so they'll do what you want.

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I just did that.

I have all GE/Jasco zwave+ wall switches.

Because of lack of neutral on a couple of existing 3 way switches at the bottom of the basement stairs, I repurposed the traveler and made them virtual switches. I did a direct association using @JasonJoel 's driver. Three way switch for a basement I think is a good application.

Anyway, I just made a simple automation rule that turned on all the kitchen lights upstairs on a double tap. I called it a button switch and assigned button 3 to that role. Interestingly, just using button 1, a single tap, is slower. It worked fine, so I don't know why you wouldn't do that. No line/load connection either.

That's interesting, because I couldn't get the GE switches to report every button press if the switch thought it was duplicative. Maybe it has to do with not using direct association? I don't think direct association will work in my case, because the end-device I'm trying to operate isn't Z wave, or even controllable directly with Hubitat. It's actually the light on a Ring Floodlight cam that I'm controlling via Homebridge and the Homebridge Hubitat plugin. That being said, I couldn't even get HE automations to work in my testing with the GE switches. Do you have more information on the @JasonJoel direct association driver? I'm curious. Thanks!

It's a community driver:

I just did an experiment. Nothing to do with direct association, just a simple rule. I noticed that with the included HE driver, only two buttons are available: tap up once=1 and down=2.
With @JasonJoel 's driver, six buttons are available, with double tap up=3, and so on.

I also noticed that the light I was controlling came on faster with buttons 3-6 compared with 1-2. Not sure exactly why.

So, with toggling, you could conceivably control 12 devices, if you could keep count of the taps, lol.

Here is a screenshot of @JasonJoel 's driver page on the experiment I set up.:

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