A few questions about Z-Wave

Forum and Topics about Z-Wave devices.

A few questions about Z-Wave

Postby AshaiRey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:51 am

I am looking into the possibilities of upgrading my HA devices throughout the house. I am planning to switch over to Z-Wave. I followed this Z-wave forum for about a year and read/search a lot about the tech. However i still haven't got a solid feeling about what to pick so i would like to hear about your experience.

I am planning to start with an Aeon Labs Z-Stick II as controller and Fibaro devices because of the small form-factor
- Is that a good and reliable combination to work with or should i stay away from certain devices or combinations?

Also i understand that Z-Wave uses a mesh network. My understanding about a mesh network is that the more devices are in it the more reliable the network will be. Also if a device is to far away from the controller to be reached directly it can be reached thourgh the mesh network because individual devices will route the signal through.
Is this a correct assumption or is there a cavecat in this?
If this actually is the case then will that be for all types of devices or should i keep an eye on what is written in the product details?

Thanks in advance for your answer.
Bram
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Re: A few questions about Z-Wave

Postby martynwendon » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:39 am

AshaiRey wrote:I am looking into the possibilities of upgrading my HA devices throughout the house. I am planning to switch over to Z-Wave.


For the past few years I've been slowly doing the same - 14 years worth of accumulated HA devices covering a mish-mash of technologies is quite a task to upgrade though :(

AshaiRey wrote:I am planning to start with an Aeon Labs Z-Stick II as controller and Fibaro devices because of the small form-factor
- Is that a good and reliable combination to work with or should i stay away from certain devices or combinations?


I can't speak for the Aeon stick as I use a standalone controller (Vera). But the Fibaro devices are very good in my experience - I have about 25 now, covering dimmers, relays and various sensors. I also like the TKB on/off plug sockets, they seem to be more reliable than others like Everspring. The Aeon 4in1 sensors are also pretty cool, I've been adding one per room as funds allow and this lets me do away with the existing individual devices for temperature, light, humidity and motion.

The one thing I'd recommend though is to check forums and News groups etc first for any issues with specific devices you're planning to buy - just so you get a heads up on any potential problems. For example, to use Danfoss TRVs reliably with a Vera you have to drop the Z-Wave version on the Vera back to 2.78 from 3.20 - it's worth investigating what effect or limitations this may have elsewhere in your system before you commit to a ten radiator system :mrgreen:

AshaiRey wrote:Also i understand that Z-Wave uses a mesh network. My understanding about a mesh network is that the more devices are in it the more reliable the network will be. Also if a device is to far away from the controller to be reached directly it can be reached thourgh the mesh network because individual devices will route the signal through.
Is this a correct assumption or is there a cavecat in this?
If this actually is the case then will that be for all types of devices or should i keep an eye on what is written in the product details?


That's pretty much spot on, but you do need to check for individual devices whether they are "routing slaves" or not. You'll also find that battery powered devices spend 99% of their time sleeping and only wake up periodically or in response to an event, so these typically won't improve the network coverage.

Hope that helps!
Martyn Wendon
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Re: A few questions about Z-Wave

Postby AshaiRey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:51 pm

Thanks Martyn for your comments, its very helpfull

So "routing slaves" will improve mesh network density. That's good to know.
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Re: A few questions about Z-Wave

Postby pbrand » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:00 pm

I don't know how much of a 'fiddler' you are, but instead of the Aeon stick you could also have a look at using a Raspberry PI with a razberry daughterboard on it :)
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Re: A few questions about Z-Wave

Postby AshaiRey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:26 pm

pbrand wrote:I don't know how much of a 'fiddler' you are, but instead of the Aeon stick you could also have a look at using a Raspberry PI with a razberry daughterboard on it :)


It would be a tempting option but i am using already a Arduino amongst many other things in my system and adding a Raspberry with a ''fiddler soultion will make the system becoming more and more a Frankenstein system. One reason of the migration to Z-wave is that i want to cut down the number of used prococols and technologies. Besides that an Aeon stick is proven tech by now and getting it out of the usb slot en bringing it to a for example wall mounted switch for learning the code is a nice option to have
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Re: A few questions about Z-Wave

Postby pbrand » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:57 pm

AshaiRey wrote:
It would be a tempting option but i am using already a Arduino amongst many other things in my system and adding a Raspberry with a ''fiddler soultion will make the system becoming more and more a Frankenstein system. One reason of the migration to Z-wave is that i want to cut down the number of used prococols and technologies. Besides that an Aeon stick is proven tech by now and getting it out of the usb slot en bringing it to a for example wall mounted switch for learning the code is a nice option to have


The Frankenstein system could be true :) But it could also be that you already are planning to use a PI as a domotica server (like I'm doing). This because the arduino's are too light weight to do this job. But if you already use another server then it would make less sense to use a PI :)
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