I'm an automation newbie, and have an interest in Z-wave.
What I'm curious about is the RF propagation.
Right now I only plan to use about 4 devices and 3 of them are in wall switches.
My wall boxes are metal; will that direct the RF in a certain direction?
And do I need to place my devices strategically?
3 of the 4 devices will be in wall switches, what has been your experience with the network discovery process?
Do you see a delay in response, when the first route fails?
Chris in GTA
Every set-up is different but...
I have been using various Z-Wave brands for a little over a year now. I have a relatively small, wood frame, California house of about 1500 square feet. The experiments I have conducted have led me to believe that a very simple RF link, like an Intermatic HA09 battery remote to any Z-Wave wall switch, will work well at 50 feet, and 'probably' further. My best guess would be to have the farthest distance 'from anything to anything' in you network at about 30 feet. That would allow for a little safety factor.
I have never used any software that could discover a Z-Wave network, you might be confusing that with 're-discovery'.
As I understand the Z-Wave network logic; When a command is transmitted, the device will try a direct (no relay) rout to the end device. If the direct command fails then the network relay logic comes into play. Using a 'Z-Troller' and 'Z-Seer' as diagnostic tools... At my location, a direct Z-Wave command/response might take about 300 milliseconds. A command that has trouble finding the end device may take around a second for a command/response cycle. As a comparison, the INSTEON devices I had, averaged about 800 milliseconds for the command/response cycle, a failed command may take several seconds.
The only, actual, Z-Wave software that I have used, is HomeSeer2 and some of the early ControlThink software. Other software may be different. If a Z-Wave device is missing or broken, both of these two software can inform you of the problem and offer up solutions for removing the offending (dead) device.
Also, as I understand it, the newer generation Z-Wave chips can handle more data with less power (=quicker).
A common misunderstanding is that metal boxes will block Z-Wave RF signals. The metal boxes can reflect the RF, but at the frequency Z-Wave operates at, and the given size of the boxes, blocking the signal from getting out is next to impossible. It is probable the the metal boxes will work as radiators (antenna) for the RF. I have actually wrapped a HA22 Z-Wave controller device into a grounded, metal foil box to test this, it worked fine for me, completely enclosed in the grounded metal box.
Hope this helped some :unsure:
edit corrected spelling