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What's a Zwave Dongle?


BigfootC

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I recently purchased a ISY994i ZW-PLM package which included Insteon/Zwave Network Controller. I am running firmware 4.5.1. I am now trying to experiment with some Zwave devices and am trying to follow the wiki ISY user guide which may be a little out of date (says it is for version 4.2.8). Upon reading the Requirements & Installation instructions for installing Zwave devices (section 3.9.8) is see the following:

 

  •  1. ISY-994 Series with firmware version 4.1.1 or above (Help | About)

  •  2. Z-Wave Module - 21100 (Help | About). If you do not have the Z-Wave Module,

        please do make sure you have firmware 4.1.1 installed first and then use Admin

        Console | Help | Purchase Modules ($1.00) to have it purchased/activated

  •  3. Z-Wave Dongle, see Ordering/Assembly Instructions

  •  4. INSTEON PLM plugged into Port A 

I see a requirement is a Z-Wave Dongle. What is that for?

 

I googled it and see it is a USB like stick. But where do I plug it in? The ISY994i ZW does NOT have a USB port.

 

Is it really needed?

 

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Does your ISY already have the zwave software?

 

My description of the zwave "dongle" for the ISY would be a card that can be added to your unit. But...if you already have the ZW version of the ISY, then this card (and software) should be already installed. I expect you need nothing further.

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Does your ISY already have the zwave software?

 

My description of the zwave "dongle" for the ISY would be a card that can be added to your unit. But...if you already have the ZW version of the ISY, then this card (and software) should be already installed. I expect you need nothing further.

Back in the early days the ISY used a dongle. Now it uses a board that plugs into the main board.

 

Best regards,

Gary Funk

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The original dongle connected to the ISY via a 6 foot cable.

 

Best regards,

Gary Funk

I got one of the first ones publically offered - it's always been a board installed internal to the ISY....

 

Maybe you got an 'alpha' one, from before they were publically available...

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Thanks to all for the "true" facts about the Zwave Dongle. Interesting history.

 

If there is more up todate documentation on the ISY994i can anyone point me to it. The user guide I am using was the only one I could find on the wiki.

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So if I purchase the "Z-Wave Assembly Kit", I can add Z-Wave to my ISY994i?

 

Yes.

 

You get a circuit board that goes inside of the ISY994i.

 

There's also an antenna that I think may be optional. Not sure if it comes with the assembly kit. It goes in a punch-out in the back of the ISY994i. If you don't use the external antenna, there's also an antenna built-in to the circuit board.

 

If your 994i is below a certain serial #, you also need a new case.

 

Best to call UDI to get it all sorted out! I got the kit and the antenna, and didn't need a new case. (It has the punch-out. Maybe you don't need if you aren't going to use the external antenna.)

 

Finally, after installing the board, you need to purchase the Z-Wave module for $1.

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So if I purchase the "Z-Wave Assembly Kit", I can add Z-Wave to my ISY994i?

Yes here is the information. http://wiki.universal-devices.com/index.php?title=Z-Wave:_Ordering/Assembly_Instructions

It will tell you how to determine if you case also has to be changed.

There are also two links in the information.

One for case needed and the other one for case new enough.

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Yep. Because it made the signal highly directional, meaning it reduced the range for most devices.

I still can't figure out how a vertical antenna is directional.

 

Best regards,

Gary Funk

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I still can't figure out how a vertical antenna is directional.

 

Best regards,

Gary Funk

 

A vertical dipole puts out a toroidal pattern - with the strongest signal being a horizontal disk (assuming a vertical antenna) along the horizon. Propagation drops sharply the more off-axis you are - and there is zero propagation directly vertical (up and down). 

 

The higher the 'gain' - the flatter the toroid. It was common for people to hook up antenna with high 'gain' (to try to make things better) - and only end up making things worse to to the flattening out of the propagation. A unity-gain antenna has the lest drop-off - but still suffers from a degradation the more off axis the receiver is.

 

post-2553-0-09993700-1469416410_thumb.gif

 

Zwave transmission power is very low and It's been designed for a more spherical propagation pattern in order function to spec. That's what the internal ceramic antenna does - and that's the basis of the certification test.

 

Here is an example propagation pattern for a generic ceramic patch antenna (such as used in the ISY):

post-2553-0-15598400-1469416376_thumb.jpg

 

You can see that the pattern is *much* more uniform. Much more suitable for a zwave controller that has to talk in all directions - rather than in a horizontal plane (as optimized by a vertical element).

 

Michael.

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Edit: ^ for a more technically-correct answer... what he said!

 

I still can't figure out how a vertical antenna is directional.

Best regards,
Gary Funk

 

"directional" is a bit of a misnomer here. (Unless the case is interfering with the radiation pattern enough to create a significant directionality). We're talking "direction" in the Z-axis.

 

If the antenna has gain (maybe it's > 1/4 wavelength, it's a collinear array, etc. etc.) then it will have a compressed vertical radiation pattern. e.g. less signal sent up toward the sky and down toward the ground. May not be ideal for a multi-story home!

 

And a vertical antenna certainly CAN have directionality in XY - just add reflector(s), director(s) etc.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A vertical dipole puts out a toroidal pattern - with the strongest signal being a horizontal disk (assuming a vertical antenna) along the horizon. Propagation drops sharply the more off-axis you are - and there is zero propagation directly vertical (up and down). 

 

The higher the 'gain' - the flatter the toroid. It was common for people to hook up antenna with high 'gain' (to try to make things better) - and only end up making things worse to to the flattening out of the propagation. A unity-gain antenna has the lest drop-off - but still suffers from a degradation the more off axis the receiver is.

 

attachicon.gifdipole.gif

 

Zwave transmission power is very low and It's been designed for a more spherical propagation pattern in order function to spec. That's what the internal ceramic antenna does - and that's the basis of the certification test.

 

Here is an example propagation pattern for a generic ceramic patch antenna (such as used in the ISY):

attachicon.gifradiation-pattern-ceramic-patch-antenna-gps.jpg

 

You can see that the pattern is *much* more uniform. Much more suitable for a zwave controller that has to talk in all directions - rather than in a horizontal plane (as optimized by a vertical element).

 

Michael.

If I buy Samsung SmartThings and compare the range to the ISY which one is better?

 

Do all devices have such a low range?

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The antenna system and power is pretty much set by Sigma in the certification specs - and that what devices are tested against during certification. I'd expect most devices to be pretty much the same, all else being equal.

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