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Button Types Explained


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Part 1: Button Types

Shelly products offer many configuration options making them incredibly versatile and capable of solving most of your home automation needs. This flexibility means many choices when setting up a device. The “Button Type” menu on the Shelly switches often raises some questions:

To understand these options, we should first talk about physical switch types.

There are momentary pushbuttons that always return to the same position after you press them, then there are switches which typically have two positions (like up/down).
If you have a momentary pushbutton, then "momentary" is almost certainly what you want.
A pushbutton might look like a simple button, or it could look more like a switch (see below) but is springloaded so that it always returns to the same position.

(If you were to use a momentary switch in the "edge" setting, here is what would happen: You push the momentary button and the Shelly responds by turning the light on. You release... the light goes back off. You would have to press-and-hold the button to keep the light on.)
In contrast, a two-position switch will click up/down and retain its position after each action.

When you hook up a switch to your Shelly, you have other choices. With the "toggle" setting, it's sort-of "up means on" and "down means off". But if the light is turned off by the app and the switch is currently in the "up" position, you'd have to click down, then up to turn the light back on!

So, "edge" is a better option in many cases with a switch. Each time the switch moves, in either direction, the light is changed to the opposite state from what it was.

There are two other modes, “detached” and “activation” that are more special purpose.

Detached mode is used when you don’t want the physical switch that is wired to the Shelly to directly control the light, but instead you’ll use the “action” menu, or MQTT (or in the future, scenes in the Shelly app) to control some sophisticated action. You can also use detached mode to temporarily disable the physical switch. The mode "activation switch" expects a temporary connection, and always treats that as an "ON". If there is an auto-off setting, the timer gets reset.

The idea is to have a motion sensor that will keep a light turned on as long as intermittent motion is detected. You set the auto-off timer to something like 15 minutes. As long as you are in the room and make some movement without a 15 minute gap, the light stays on. After you leave, 15 minutes later, it goes off.

Part 2: Power On Default Mode - and How These Two Settings Interact

There is another, related setting, Power On Default Mode. These choices should be fairly self-explanatory. Should your device lose power, or if you reboot the device, or should it reboot itself (perhaps when trying to reconnect to WiFi), it will follow your choice of these settings to determine whether the relay should be on or off:
Of special note is the last choice called “SWITCH.” There are restrictions as to whether you can choose this setting depending on your button type. Also, once this default mode is chosen, it can affect whether you can change your button type!
In short, the button type “Toggle Switch” and the power on default mode “SWITCH” are linked together. This creates two situations: (1) You can’t choose “SWITCH” as the default if the button type is anything other than “Toggle Switch,” and (2) You can’t change your button setting once you have “SWITCH” chosen as the default.
Depending on whether you use the Shelly app, or connect to the device’s HTTP WebUI, you will see different sorts of warnings or changed options when you are attempting to change one setting or the other. Here’s the bottom line:
If you can’t choose SWITCH as your Power On Default Mode, you must first change the button type to “Toggle.”
If you can’t choose any other button type besides “Toggle,” you need to visit the Power On Default Mode and choose something other than “SWITCH.”
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