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Z-Wave Frustration


mimitche

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Long time Insteon and ISY994 user, just bought a new house so I thought I'd add in a Z-Wave module to my 994 and add Z-Wave to the mix.

 

I bought a Schlage FE599 lock as my first device.  I was able to add it to the ISY994 without too much trouble.  It would only add/communicate when the door was left wide open but from reading previous threads that seemed pretty common.

 

I just bought an Aeon Labs Smart Dimmer 6 figuring this would make a good repeater with its Gen 5 chipset.  I placed it in an outlet halfway between the lock and the ISY994 but was not able to include or exclude it.  I was finally able to include it only when I placed it in an outlet within 5 feet of the ISY994-  Even then I get failures trying to control or query it and have not been able to use it at all.

 

Question 1- With Z-Wave do I need to add a minimum number of devices to get a good enough mesh for communications, or am I just going to be throwing good money after bad by getting more devices?

 

Question 2- Also the Smart Dimmer 6 includes instructions for a secure add (douple tap the action switch when doing an include) - Is that a requirement for being able to repeat signals from a Schlage lock?

 

Question 3- I'm running 4.5.1 - Do I need to be running the early release 5x software for reasonable Z-Wave functionality?

 

Thanks,
Mike

 

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Only 5.0.4 (alpha release) and higher support z-wave multi-channel which I believe the Aeon Labs Smart Dimmer 6 is.  Some of us are running 5.0.4 but it is a forklift upgrade and no guarantee that 5.0.5 won't break something (probably will) since it's development releases and not production releases.  Read the 5.0.4 release thread.

 

I have no experience with locks so won't comment.

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I'm running 4.5.1 and Schlage locks are working fine. I do have a couple Aeon repeaters to improve the mesh network. Have you tried running "Heal Z-Wave Network"?

 

I've found that it's pretty normal to have to place Z-Wave devices closer to the ISY to include them in the network. Once included many times they can be placed further away from the ISY.

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Hi dbuss,

 

Yes, you do need at least 2 (including ISY) non battery operated devices to create a mesh. In most cases, and for larger venues, you need 3 or 4. Please note that Heal is very important. Once you include a device - and especially if they are battery operated - you need to do a Heal Network once you move them to their resting place.

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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I found the the Aeon Gen 5 Siren is the best repeater. I even placed it further from the ISY than is the Schlage lock and got reliable results which I did not have before installing the repeater. BTW, an Aeon Range Extender did not help.

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How old is your house, what type of construction, is it generally up to code?

 

I've been doing zWave for 10 years, the ISY was the 10th piece of hardware and 8th different approach i'm trying to get stable behavior. In my travels i've learned that zWave issues and min # of devices are more affected by environmental factors than standard defined protocol. If you have new construction, fully up to code, and live far from neighbors, you only need a few.

 

I have a >100 year old house. Very pretty craftsman, but...

1) live in a semi-urban location with houses 15' apart

2) In NorCal where everyone has every kind of tech imaginable so airwaves are jammed

3) small apartment building next to me and behind me so higher density

4) Smart meters, which i hear operate also near 900MHz

5) plaster/lathe interior walls, stucco exterior. (aka faraday cage)

6) until recently, knob & tube wiring in much of house

7) most likely lead paint which old owners just painted over.

8 ) Random weird iron pipes in the wall. (one is the old stovepipe, no idea about the others)

 

Given that, it took me 8 devices in a 1650 sqft single floor footprint to have any success whatsoever. Once I hit 12 devices it hit 70% success. I put in a total of 28 devices with one in the attic, 2 in the crawlspace to add a 3rd dimension to achieve 90% success rate on commands. Before the ISY, I'd still typically average 1-2 devices not working at any given time.

 

I put in the ISY at 1pm yesterday, so far i've yet to have a single device go out of communication. I think that's because the network capability of the ISY allows me to put it in the dead center of my house and still control with my software HA engine. All my prior controllers required serial or USB connections to the server, which was in the back of the house.

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It ceased being "installed" in the 1930s. My 2000+ house neighborhood is all over 100 years old. There are dozens if not hundreds of houses that still have live K&T. During no-permit-needed mini remodels, electricians will still offer to mitigate instead of replace.

 

Happened to me last August, I chose to spend thousands to run romex instead of hundreds to mitigate.

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Surprisingly, knob and tube is still considered safe. But Romex is considerably safer as it includes a ground wire. BTW, the use of conduit started when electricians used gas pipes instead of "knob and slob."

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Surprisingly, knob and tube is still considered safe. But Romex is considerably safer as it includes a ground wire. BTW, the use of conduit started when electricians used gas pipes instead of "knob and slob."

True but I wanted to put acoustic insulation in the walls so I could beef up the speakers without bothering other rooms. Can't do that with KT. Plus I was epically pissed at zwave. ISY is my last hope, otherwise I'm ripping it all out and putting in RA2.

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I'm very happy with the ISY. I started with X10, went to HouseLinc and Insteon and then to the ISY. I'm particularly pleased with the ease of installing Insteon devices, reliability, having both power line and RF communication, creating scenes and especially, the programming ability of the ISY. (I do miss nested IFs). AFAIK, Lutron is less DIY oriented.

 

My limited Z-Wave installation was greatly improved using the Aeon Gen 5 siren as a repeater.

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[quoteIVB" post="184320"

 

I have a >100 year old house. Very pretty craftsman, but...

 

5) plaster/lathe interior walls, stucco exterior. (aka faraday cage)

 

7) most likely lead paint which old owners just painted over.

8 ) Random weird iron pipes in the wall. (one is the old stovepipe, no idea about the others)

 

You should be good to go in case of EMP or solar flare.

Watch out for the walking dead tho. Lol.

 

 

GT

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I found the the Aeon Gen 5 Siren is the best repeater. I even placed it further from the ISY than is the Schlage lock and got reliable results which I did not have before installing the repeater. BTW, an Aeon Range Extender did not help.

I had exactly the same experience with identical devices - except for the lock. Mine is a Kwikset.

 

It was very unreliable with the 'repeaters', but has been totally reliable using 'Sirens' as repeaters (and a heal or two).

 

I don't think the 'repeaters' deal with security required devices very well...

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5) plaster/lathe interior walls

 

Info only: The actual layers, from the inside out are:

 

Wood lathe placed horizontally and nailed to the vertical joists which are 16" center to center.

Scratch: this fills in the spaces between lathes and provides a rough surface for the next layer. This is the thickest layer other than the lathe.

Brown: this adheres well to the scratch and is smoother than the scratch. It's too liquid to adhere to the wood lathe.

White: this is the plaster. It's the thinnest and smoothest layer.

 

Next sealer, then primer. The paint, usually two coats, could be lead-based, but could just as likely have been oil-based.

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Info only: The actual layers, from the inside out are:

 

Wood lathe placed horizontally and nailed to the vertical joists which are 16" center to center.

Scratch: this fills in the spaces between lathes and provides a rough surface for the next layer. This is the thickest layer other than the lathe.

Brown: this adheres well to the scratch and is smoother than the scratch. It's too liquid to adhere to the wood lathe.

White: this is the plaster. It's the thinnest and smoothest layer.

 

Next sealer, then primer. The paint, usually two coats, could be lead-based, but could just as likely have been oil-based.

 

Not if the house is >100 years old.

 

No joke, the "kill K&T" project happened because I was making a small change to our breakfast nook area. Required removing part of 1 wall. I realized we had:

1) Some form of wood. Wicked old.

2) Some form of MDF type substance. Wicked old.

3) Plaster/lathe as per your layers.

4) Paint. So much paint. I could identify 8 layers of paint, might have been more. There's probably lead, oil, top 2 layers definitely latex. 

 

AKA, we lost 2" of room space because we had 3 walls. And worse - no chance of 16" off center, each stud was different. I choose to believe neither feet nor inches had been invented in 1911, or maybe alcohol was just stronger, because it would have been harder to do this variable spacing crap than to spread evenly. I happened to be taking a week off work and had a handyman for 3 weeks full time. I went to the basement, got my sledgehammer, and reduced the wall to rubble. Suspended all his other projects to help me fully rebuild that room. Then ripped out all the K&T.

 

But wait, thats still not all. In doing that, Upon removing the wall I discovered we had 3 different floors. Prior owners never bothered removing floors, they just put another on top. The entire house is level so that was a project I wasn't willing to take on, but we've also lost 1.5" of headroom as a result. (unused 2 floors are each 3/4")

 

Anyone walking into our house looks at it and thinks "oh such craftsmanship, so pretty".  Suckers.

 

The only reason I've managed to get so much tech working in this house is because I accept that I have to over-architect everything.  This is my technology stack, pre-ISY anyhow. Its not even everything I have, just the important bits.

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A tried the heal function but it did not help.  Then I installed the Aeon Gen5 siren that Amazon was so kind to deliver same day.  I don't know what it is with the siren but it solved all of my problems- now my Schlage Lock, ISY994, and Aeon Smart Dimmer 6 are communicating with absolutely no errors.

 

Thanks to all for the responses!

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Hi All

 

I am having similar Z-wave lock grief as mimitche, but without any resolution from using the Aeon Gen5 sirens. Basically one of my locks disappears and can't be communicated to (queried) at least every hour. When I try to query it from the ISY Admin Console, I get the message "Cannot Communicate With ZW Lock (ZW0008_1). Please check connections." Interesting, I also get the message "SSL request not authenticated - No network connection". Doing a Network Heal or even just sending a command to Lock or Unlock immediately fixes the problem for a little while. But any query to the lock errors out almost immediately. 

 

My system is 90% Insteon, but I have 2 Leviton Zwave light switches, 3 Aeon Gen5 sirens, and 3 Yale RealLiving Locks all in a about a 40 foot radius of the ISY (with Z-wave module). The Leviton light switches and Aeon Gen5 sirens were installed just to get the node count up and ensure some sort of mesh. No node is further from its nearest neighbour than about 15'. The locks all have a siren (acting as a repeater) within 10', with no more than one standard drywall and stud wall between them.

 

One possible "mistake" that I did was to take the locks to the ISY to enroll them (before they were installed), rather than take the ISY to the installed locks (a much more difficult task as the ISY is mounted and wired in a panel). But I thought that the Network Heal would recalculate the routing tables and fix my moving of the locks (wrong assumption?).

 

Any suggestions as to a next step?

 

Thanks

Eric

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I choose to believe neither feet nor inches had been invented in 1911, or maybe alcohol was just stronger, because it would have been harder to do this variable spacing crap than to spread evenly. 

 

LMAO . . .

 

Thank you for the great laugh.

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Hi Eric,

 

The MOST important thing to do is to do a Heal Network till such time that all devices respond. This is pretty much the only method that creates routing paths in each device and without which devices will chose random routes.

 

The other thing is to make sure that ISY is Z-Wave node #1. You can right mouse click | Z-Wave | Show Z-Wave Information in Event Viewer | All and look for ISY. If it's not, then - and unfortunately so - you must:

1. Exclude devices from ISY

2. Factory reset Z-Wave dongle

3. Exclude one device from ISY and then include it

4. Run Heal Network after each 2 or 3 devices you include

5. Repeat 3-4

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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I have a >100 year old house. Very pretty craftsman, but...

 

8 ) Random weird iron pipes in the wall. (one is the old stovepipe, no idea about the others)

 

 

 

 

 

This was for Gas lighting from before that lectric fad caught on.  My Dad bought four story row house in the 70's that had them capped off in every room (walls and ceiling) but the lines were still hooked to the gas main.  Talk about a hazard!

 

 

-Xathros

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Hi Michel

 

 

The MOST important thing to do is to do a Heal Network till such time that all devices respond. This is pretty much the only method that creates routing paths in each device and without which devices will chose random routes.

 

Thanks for the response. The problem is that I can do dozens of Heal Network operations and all the devices seem respond just fine. Watching the event viewer doesn't indicate any failures during the Heal, though there can be some retries.

 

And everything looks good until I try to query a lock either programmatically or from the ISY Admin Console. Then I get the message "Cannot Communicate With ZW Lock (ZW000X_X). Please check connections." As long as the ISY doesn't do a Zwave query and only issues Lock/Unlock commands life is good. Of course the ISY does a query every night and that breaks everything, but I also want to do programatic queries at other times and they also break the Zwave connections to the locks. 

 

 

The other thing is to make sure that ISY is Z-Wave node #1. You can right mouse click | Z-Wave | Show Z-Wave Information in Event Viewer | All and look for ISY. 

 

 

I wasn't able to right mouse click "Z-Wave" in the menu and see the option to "Show Z-Wave Information in Event Viewer" (FYI I'm running 4.5.1). I assume that it is the "Zwave" in the menu bar, or is it a different object? Either way, I think the ISY is Z-Wave node #1 because I can see all the others devices have number 2 through 9, which leads me to believe that the ISY is #1.

 

Any other suggestions? If I have to exclude every lock and then include them again I will, but because the locks are all mounted now, dragging the ISY close enough to them for a secure enroll will be a challenge. Or can the ISY be further away and enroll remotely the second time?

 

Thanks

Eric

 
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Hi Eric,

 

Most battery operated Z-Wave (and INSTEON) devices do not support query when they are asleep. With regards to lock, the command for lock/unlock wakes them up (as long as there's a beaming device with a route to the lock). If query is the only issue, I am afraid there's not much that can be done.

 

With regards to the menu, you right mouse click on the Z-Wave device and then choose the Z-Wave menu.

 

With kind regards,

Michel

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Hi Michel


 


Ummm... That makes sense as the problem doing queries seems to only affect the locks, but it does affect them all regardless of location or neighbors. 


 


Is there any way to wake battery powered devices up without sending a lock or unlock command? The whole reason I installed Zwave locks was to be able to monitor their status remotely. Basically I'm trying to determine which locks are unlocked prior to someone leaving an area on the property or arming the area the locks are part of. I also want to poll the locks battery status regularly and trigger a service alert if the batteries are low. I tried to use something like a 'Synchronize Clock' command just before the Query. Unfortunately the 'Synchronize Clock' command seems to execute without any errors in Event Viewer, but any Query following immediately errors out about 90% of the time (I have attached a copy of a typical Event Viewer log showing first a Sync Clock followed immediately by a Query that fails). Why the query seems to work 10% of the time is also a mystery to me.


 


Does the setting "Automatically put battery devices back to sleep" have any impact on this? I currently have that set to 'No' as an attempt to find a solution, but I wasn't sure how much impact that would have on the batteries. 


 


Finally, I currently have the default ISY program 'Query All' running at 3:00 am. However I think it is playing havoc with the locks. Is that likely? 


 


Thanks


Eric


ISY-Events-Log.v4.5.1__Zwave ClockSync and Query.txt

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