Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

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Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby MindBender » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:05 am

Hi guys,

I have just installed around 10 Z-Wave modules in my house, all Qubino brand: A couple of dimmers, a couple of 2-relay modules and some single relay modules. The Z-Wave controller I'm using is a 5th gen. Aeon Z-Wave stick. The software I'm currently running is Domoticz, because I could easily install in on my NAS (FreeNAS, 8x Xeon, 128GB RAM: No problem there).

And I have to give it to them: I am really amazed how pretty-piss-poorly this stuff works. They must have put some real effort in to make it this bad. When clicking an icon on the webpage a single time, the light immediately responds. But when switching on a second light a second later, it takes around 10 seconds to respond. And when switching on three lights, with one second intervals and switching them off again with a one second intervals, the system gets completely confused: Lights don't respond at all, or do respond half a minute later, but don't update their status. It's a real drama.

Is this behavior 'normal', ie. as good as it gets? Because if it is, I'll be ripping everything out tonight, to return it for a full refund while I still can. I'm getting real Xanura/X10 flashbacks here, just what I feared when I started this project.

Does anybody have better/worse experiences?

Thanks!
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby AshaiRey » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:16 am

Before blaming anything please find out what is causing this.
Z-Wave, your devices, your devices settings, your HA system, HA settings, optimization
Z-wave itself is fast and reliable and so is Domoticz. But is the z-wave core used in your HA system correctly and is it proven to work good with Qubino.
If i recall well (i might have this very, very wrong) then Qubino is a brand that has more often problems wit HA systems implementations.
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby John » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:08 pm

Using over 20 Qubino zwave + devices in combination with HomeSeer and ax-net interface without any issues.

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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby MindBender » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:03 pm

Thank you for helping out.

AshaiRey wrote:Before blaming anything please find out what is causing this.


In what way? And how? I have a bog-standard installation: One of the most widely used controllers (Aeon Z-Stick, gen. 5), controllers that are claimed to adhere strictly to the Z-wave standard, and Open Source software the whole world is using. There's not wiring to be checked. What could go wrong?

Admittedly, I'm used OpenZwave from the reposotory trunk, but even that is mature enough to be stable now.

AshaiRey wrote:Z-Wave, your devices, your devices settings, your HA system, HA settings, optimization


All is mostly default: It's still just a test setup. I will probably move away from running HA from my NAS.

AshaiRey wrote:Z-wave itself is fast and reliable and so is Domoticz. But is the z-wave core used in your HA system correctly and is it proven to work good with Qubino.


So Z-wave product still require in-depth knowledge of the protocol details and special instruments/analylsers/tools to get them to work properly? That's not the impression I got from the sales pitch.

AshaiRey wrote:If i recall well (i might have this very, very wrong) then Qubino is a brand that has more often problems wit HA systems implementations.


That would have been a more useful post is this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=11680
But since I'm deep in the hole already, I might as well buy a couple of Fibaro modules just to see if it makes any difference.
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby Phaeton » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:03 pm

Check if you poll devices. This could cause an overload of the network and is not needed to get latest status in Domoticz
groeten,
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby mlamie » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:16 pm

MindBender wrote:Hi guys,

I have just installed around 10 Z-Wave modules in my house, all Qubino brand: A couple of dimmers, a couple of 2-relay modules and some single relay modules. The Z-Wave controller I'm using is a 5th gen. Aeon Z-Wave stick. The software I'm currently running is Domoticz, because I could easily install in on my NAS (FreeNAS, 8x Xeon, 128GB RAM: No problem there).

And I have to give it to them: I am really amazed how pretty-piss-poorly this stuff works. They must have put some real effort in to make it this bad. When clicking an icon on the webpage a single time, the light immediately responds. But when switching on a second light a second later, it takes around 10 seconds to respond. And when switching on three lights, with one second intervals and switching them off again with a one second intervals, the system gets completely confused: Lights don't respond at all, or do respond half a minute later, but don't update their status. It's a real drama.

Is this behavior 'normal', ie. as good as it gets? Because if it is, I'll be ripping everything out tonight, to return it for a full refund while I still can. I'm getting real Xanura/X10 flashbacks here, just what I feared when I started this project.

Does anybody have better/worse experiences?

Thanks!


You may have a look at this forum thread: https://www.domoticz.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12343

P.s. I'm running Domoticz on a RPi 3 including a Razberry v1 (and with openzwave) and controlling switches (Neo Coolcam Power plugs) is instant and also when switching three lights via the domoticz dashboard it will work without any conflict in states or what so ever. Only pitfall I have is when I control it that fast that the Switching on or off popup notification has to be closed before I can control the next one. In the Domoticz android app I can control it even faster. See screenshot for timings :D

Image
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby AshaiRey » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:54 am

First i just try to help and not to critisys. I just sum up the things i had to deal with in the past. Also i don't read every post on this board.

A complete setup has so many settings that all have effects on each other that it hard to give pin point advise. You haven't a standard setup either. Domoticiz (sort of home brew that might not support all standards), running on a NAS, stick from one vendor and z-wave modules from another that also might not support all z-wave standards . Again in don't point at you. It's just that there are so many factors to count with.

If it is of any constellation i am using HS2, Fibaro and the same brand stick but an earlier version. Most of the devices work but not all work equally good. Some devices such as the door sensors are just worthless in my setup. So it's still more or less plug and prey

I will give some points to think of and see how that will do in your situation.
Exclude all.
Add just one device that is very close to the stick. Is it working as expected?
Add more devices one by one and check if the device are still responding oke.
Make sure that you have multiple devices in sight if you can. This adds to the number of routes a signal can take.
Sometime 5 meters is already to far.
Do an optimize of you z-wave network now and then.?
Check your settings and assiociations. Are the last ones really oke.
Look into the broadcast assiociatons. I don't use them. If one device goes havoc then the network is flooded with broadcasts.
Are all device reachable and are they still tomorrow?
Make sure that you use device that are capable of routing and are not slave.
For HS2 there is a tool called z-seer to visulise the network , the connections and quality. Maybe there is something common for your system.
Are your connections still working after a few days?
Battery operated devices should be avoided as routing devices.
Is the firmware of your devices supported by the rest of your zwave stack?
Is the performance of your zwave network Always bad or sometimes? The last could mean that there are other radio sources that might interfere.
And check polling as Phaeton said. That is a real killer.
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby mlamie » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:16 pm

I'm working with Domoticz and z-wave for a couple of years now and it works perfect for me. I use a Raspberry Pi 3 and RaZberry v1 board in combination with OpenZwave. Have a couple of door sensors, power plugs and a alarm. When I switch them they do follow quickly (300ms). See for example the screenshot made. No delay or wrong status between domoticz or the devices. P.s. In the OpenZwave control panel a lot of details can be found even lost packages signal strength, ect. Aldo I don't know if there is a good manual and how to use it to improve the zwave network.

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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby MindBender » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:16 pm

Thanks for all the advice, guys. I have tried most of the suggestions, but unfortunately to no improvement.

It's abundantly clear now that after all these years Z-Wave product are nowhere near consumer product level of usability. You buy the products, install them, and hope that they work. But more often than not, they don't work, and a lot of fiddling is required before it does. And if you don't know what you are doing, you're at the mercy of other people's willingness to help. This willingness to help fortunately is amazing, but it doesn't give me a lot of confidence to invest in another >30 units.

I'll quickly try a Raspberry Pi 2 running OpenHABian, and a workstation running HS3. Hopefully that will help.
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby MindBender » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:13 am

Update
I've got around 20 modules installed now, all around my house, so coverage should be fine. There's a slight improvement, even though it shouldn't because the furthest module is only 15 meters from the controller.

However, there are still two modules - at most 6 meters from the controller - producing a lot of errors about missing responses. Another module - 2 meters from the controller - has completely disappeared from the network and no interaction is possible with it. Some modules respond promptly, but others upstairs need up to a whole minute to respond to what I do on the Domoticz webpage.

Yesterday I have attempted to rebuild the z-wave network. I have removed all devices, or at least I thought I did. It's unclear if 3 and 5 pushes are the same with bistable and monostable switches, and if exclusion only works after a power cycle. And power cycling a built-in module is really inconvenient. This makes maintenance on this system a real nightmare.

But even if I go through that, including devices again goes wrong. When trying to include a switch, I get a dimmer instead, probably somewhere else in the house. And it has options that make no sense, like a 'sensor'.

Is this really the way it should be? Because I'm still willing to give it a try, but everything I do is a lot of work and only seems to make things worse. But if I need to take the modules out, I'm not going to put them back. I will return them to the shop instead.
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby AshaiRey » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:48 am

It seems that something is seriously wrong in your setup and things don't match together. You shouldn't have such a trouble since zwave is relativly straigt forward. I know that the triple click to include/exlude them is a real PITA to do and often requiere several trieds
to succeed but then a switch should be recognized as a switch, not as a dimmer.

I am sorry, other then this i am out of advice :(
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby Bwired » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:15 am

agree with Bram, same here.
I just click very fast and keep doing it and it will connect, but that is very bad.
I use Domoticz for a zwave interface and pass it via mqtt to my own system, works very good.
I'm also not a very big zwave fan because of the architecture but it works OK for me.
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby MindBender » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:45 am

Perhaps it's my neurotic personality, but I really hate junk. I'd rather spend a bit more, knowing I buy quality equipment than spending hours to get cheap junk to work properly. Unfortunately, KNX is really hard to retrofit, so I had to go with Z-Wave. My Xanura system was very unreliable, even with many filters, and I hope Z-Wave would be better, but in my experience it's not. It just has different problems. Interoperability seems to be one of them, which can only mean somebody is not adhering to the Standard, or the Standard is ambiguous.
Anyway; I have spent a lot of money on this junk, so I want it to work. Yesterday I took an afternoon off to rebuild my Z-Wave network. Flickering the switches are a real PITA indeed, and I wonder how child-playing-disco resistant it is, but I got most devices on the network this way. A power-cycle is not necessary. Three devices didn't want to join, not even after power-cycles, but those could be brought back to their senses by pushing the button on the module, which is even more of a PITA. Some modules reported false devices, but I was able to fix that. Did anybody else see false devices on their modules?
The Aeotec Z-Stick now has an external antenna, which seems to make a big difference. Unfortunately I don't have an image of the network topology with the internal antenna, but with the external antenna it looks like this:
Z-Wave topology with external antenna.png
Z-Wave topology with external antenna.
Z-Wave topology with external antenna.png (57.33 KiB) Viewed 1040 times

Please note that node 18 has been disconnected from mains. Does this look like a healthy Z-Wave network to you guys?
Node 21 is very slow: Response times when operating it from the webpage of 20 seconds or longer are rather norm than exception. I did not yet check all nodes, but I've already noticed that some show erroneous statuses.
Congestion could be problem: Two nodes generate a lot of metering packets, resp. ~15000 an 8000~ in the past 12 hours. But then again; That's just one packet per 3 seconds, hardly congesting the network.
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby AshaiRey » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:02 am

Did anybody else see false devices on their modules?

I mainly use Fibaro devices and i can confirm that i too have false devices or additional devices that show up when i add a device. Some of those do function but some are not. Ik agreed with mself to just ignore them for now. :)
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Re: Z-Wave: I'm amazed how poorly it works

Postby MindBender » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:06 pm

Aaaaaand the winner is .... [drum roll] .... Calex LED lamps! I haven't forgotten about posting this: domoticaforum.eu/viewtopic.php?f=19& ... 382#p63382, but I did forget it was about Calex lamps when I bought those nice LED filament lamps. Made in Holland, all certified (http://www.calexholland.nl/calex/) so what could possibly go wrong, especially since I'm no longer using X10 ?!

Well, what could go wrong is erratic power consumption. The electric Load jumps around erratically between 2 and 9 Watt, and everything in between. Not only does this pollute the mains line and the radio spectrum, it also makes the Qubino module flood the Z-Wave network with Load updates, because per default Qubino modules report load change differences larger than 10%. Now perhaps Qubino should have implemented a rate limiter for Load update packets to prevent Z-Wave network congestion, but at least they're not the root cause. And with such a large bandwidth, even changing the 10% to 100% doesn't make much of a difference. The only change that does help, is disabling it by setting it to 0%.
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