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Should I Reconsider Z-Wave?

upstatemike

Senior Member
I think that is what I am going to do. Was originally going to try UPB in the basement because it is a huge area that I rarely visit and lights left on is a big deal there. Unfortunately I have decided to convert the whole thing to hard wired (home depot type) motion sensors. They are super reliable (my stairways have had them running continuously for the past 25 years) so very little chance of lights left on.
 
So instead I will probably test UPB on outdoor lights or the 3rd floor depending on which best matches the available UPB switch and keypad offerings. I will probably test Z-Wave in entertainment areas like living room, dining room, library, and front hall where the fancy Homeseer LED switches can be leveraged to best effect. For bedrooms I may test some Caseta or RA2 Select to leverage the PICO remotes for bedside controls. Whatever is left will remain Insteon but I will likely shift control to Homeseer using the ISY plugin.
 
X-10 is still good for temporary Holiday projects so I will always have a little of it around.
 
I think the multi technology approach will avoid the scalability issue that all technologies seem to struggle with plus it will make it easier to manage costs by breaking things up into stages. Plus I get to play with a lot more different toys this way.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
We are in the final stages of deploying a brand new, from the ground up Z-Wave driver (native Z-Stick type, dumping our old VRC0P driver.) From my testing so far, I will grudgingly admit that it does seem to have made improvements of late, though most of my test units are ZW+ types which may be giving me a skewed view of a real world result. But, after a huge amount of effort tweaking out a good message I/O scheme in the driver, it seems to be doing quite well. 
 
Of course, once it gets out in the real world I may come to regret that compliment, who knows. 
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Still exploring my options for which technology to test next (Z-Wave, RA2 Select, or UPB) and I remembered one of the main reasons I went to Insteon for my last upgrade was because you can do all management remotely including adding new devices. After changing or installing a device I just go to my desk and enter the Insteon address and let the device get discovered and added. I don't want to get involved with any technology that makes me press the local button to get into programming mode or otherwise makes me run around the house to adjust things on a tiny phone or tablet screen.
 
Can all of the options between Z-Wave, RA2 Select, and UPB be installed without local interaction at the device itself? (Apart from the physical wiring obviously)
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
RA2 is done via software. When you install the unit it will be seen by the repeater, and you can then add it using their software which talks to the repeater.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Even my HUE devices have a serial number that I can type in so the Hub can discover them... Isn't there something like that for Z-Wave and UPB? Or even DIP switches I can preset or something? Crawling into some attic space or climbing a tall ladder just to enroll a new switch or module does not sound like the best possible design.
 

JonW

Senior Member
UPB can be remotely programmed without having to go to the device.  The very first time you program one, you should enter setup mode on the device, but after that, you can just scan your UPB network and edit devices.  You can even remotely change their ID's if needed.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
JonW said:
UPB can be remotely programmed without having to go to the device.  The very first time you program one, you should enter setup mode on the device, but after that, you can just scan your UPB network and edit devices.  You can even remotely change their ID's if needed.
 
So if it is going into a tricky location I should do a temporary hookup and initialize it then climb up to wherever to install it. I can do that. Probably not an option for Z-Wave though since it has to calculate the routes to reach it at its final resting place.
 

ano

Senior Member
I have a bunch of UPB switches that can't be accessed. Just hook it up to 120V long enough to pair it with UPStart before you install it, then you will never need to touch it again.
 

carry15+1

Active Member
I'm not actually reconsidering z-wave, I use it and have been happy with it.  I have a Homeseer Pro-100 controller which has served me well. 
 
What I'm looking for is some input on how to marry my z-wave to my Amazon Echo Show.  I see some recommending Wink2 or Smartthings.  My Pro-100 is a HS2 machine and I don't know of any way to use HS2 with Echo.  But I would appreciate any recommendations or talk of experiences with any hub to z-wave to echo.  I'm turning 75 this month and my brain isn't as tech oriented as it was.  I also live in a rural area and have no contact with other HA geeks. 
 
Thanks for any tips.
 
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
Z-Wave devices don't have unique identifier. This is a big shortcoming in Z-Wave, but it's way too late for them to really do anything about it. With all of the existing units out there, it wouldn't do any good.
 
One big problem that it creates is associations. There's no way to uniquely associate unit A to unit B. All you can do is use the Z-Wave network ids to set up those associations. But, if the id of one of them changes, which it will generally if you remove it and add it back to the network (which you'd need to do if you needed to move it), then that association is broken. If you have all of the units set up to report to a secondary controller and you have to remove the controller and re-add it, then all of those associations are broken if the controller gets a new id. 
 
And, since all of the associations are out there in the actual units themselves and not in a centralized controller, it's very difficult to see who is referring to what. Since so many of the units are battery powered it's not possible at any one time to just find out the state of the state wrt to associations. 
 
All those problems come from a lack of a permanent, unique id set on each unit. Of course they originally broke off from Zigbee to try to be first to the finish line with something simpler. They've been hobbled by that decision ever since. Having such an id would not only get rid of the problems above, it would allow for some useful capabilities, such as being able to move a unit without removing it from the network and re-add it, since everyone would know it's the same unit as before. And automation systems could immediately know if any units have come or gone since the last time it was connected to the Z-Wave network. 
 

pete_c

Guru
@carry15+1
 
I am familiar here with 3 Hometroller users that upgraded to Homeseer 3 standard or pro using their Hometroller license.  The upgrade is reasonably priced.
 
They also ran Homeseer 3 on the embedded XP on their Hometrollers continuing with their use of the Z-Troller.  Personally tested out the Homeseer 3 on Linux converting their Hometrollers to Linux after upgrading one to a faster SSD drive and maxing out the memory on the Hometroller.
 
Homeseer 3 does run OK on the embedded XP Hometroller but it is slow whether running embedded XP or Linux Ubuntu lite.
 
The Amazon Echo works fine with Homeseer 3 whatever flavor of Homeseer 3 you utilize.
 
All of the above users did switch over their HS3 hardware to either a mini PC or laptop or purchased current crop of Hometroller (Linux or Windows) over time.
 
Most or many of the original Homeseer 2 users did or have shifted over to using Homeseer 3.  Not really sure of their age.  Personally helped one women convert a few years back and she was in her 70's.
 
There are also some users that have purchased the Amazon Smartthings hub that have paired the device to their ZWave network and using the Amazon Echo with their Smarthings hub.  Here too tinkering with the Amazon Smartthings hub / Amazon Echo and Roku television these days.  It works but personally do not depend on the cloud for my automation; that is me.
 
It's up to you what it is you want to do and how much monies you want to spend. 
 
Personally here started with X10 light switches, then Insteon and finally UPB.  I am a happy camper and UPB satisfies my needs today for in wall light switches.  I am also still utilizing X10, ZWave and Zigbee and today tinkering with WiFi Mosquitto which runs on a programmable Arduino inside of a light switch and doing a bit of multitasking with it.  Today that can be low and high voltage switching and sensing, temperature sensing plus power utilization and Amazon Echo or Google Home stuff.  Thinking it is a few years away still for automation standards but it keeps me ticking in my old age.
 
Here is an example of an Arduino with Wifi based 120VAC powered multiple function sensor and switch for a Garage Door.  Still testing this device which has an open, close door sensor, garage door open button, spare button and temperature sensor with a little open source arduino modification on a $5 Sonoff WiFi Device with its own tiny web interface and updatable via WiFi (Over The Air).  Note that $5 is a fraction of the cost of my UPB in wall switches (or ZWave or Zigbee).
 
Arduino.jpg
 
Might be easier as you are familiar with Homeseer to just upgrade to Homeseer 3 Zee2 (Raspberry Pi).  The web interface and programming is the same as the Windows version of Homeseer 3.  Here also moved the ZWave interface (ZNet like) to the attic and it does fine up there POE powered.
 

macromark

Active Member
upstatemike said:
I don't want to get involved with any technology that makes me press the local button to get into programming mode or otherwise makes me run around the house to adjust things on a tiny phone or tablet screen.
You do have to tap the paddle on the switch to initiate the inclusion process. However, the process is pretty simple and you can move from device to device with our Z-Tool+ app. Check out this video: https://youtu.be/YOpNFWC7OHc 
 

pete_c

Guru
Here is the link above embedded below.
 
[youtube]http://youtu.be/YOpNFWC7OHc[/youtube]
 
Here just made the ZNet device portable and used a laptop connected to Homeseer 3 / ZWave plugin.  Worked for me.
 
To replicate the ZNet device to the VRCOP device did the same putting the VRCOP in programming mode and sending the ZWave network from the ZNet device to the Leviton VRCOP a couple of years ago.
 
Note that the ZNet GPIO ZWave card and the VRCOP have the same ZWave nodes but the controllers and nodes do not talk to each other.
 
IE: if I use the VRCOP to turn on a ZWave lamp the ZNet device doesn't see it turn on and vice versa.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
If your automation system doesn't assume it is the master controller, you can also put the Leviton Vizia RF software on a laptop or tablet and make it the master controller, which makes it reasonably easy to walk around with it and do network maintenance. Then just replicate all the changes back to the automation system (which is acting as a secondary controller) when you are done. That's how our setup works.
 
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