All Leviton Z-Wave devices intermittently fail and require power cycle

I sent an inquiry to Leviton technical support. I'm sure there are others out there who have experienced similar issues. I feel kind of silly for going in so deep with all the z-wave devices. At this point there's no going back to regular switches and receptacles and I'm thinking of gradually converting to radio ra2 and/or ra3. I'm tired of all the tinkering with these Leviton devices and I need something that is more reliable. I sent the following to Leviton technical support:

"I have around 80 Leviton z-wave devices. Mostly DZ6HD and DZ15S. I have a few ZW4SF-1BW and ZW15R-1BW. I've had issues with them probably on a weekly basis for years. Each week a random device will stop responding and it will need to be power cycled. It would not be a major annoyance if it didn't disrupt the z-wave mesh. I was thinking about switching platforms completely, but after the firmware update for the DZ6HD and DZ15S it seems as though the issue has been mostly resolved. They still frequently report the wrong status are do not respond promptly, but at least they're not messing up the z-wave mesh. Unfortunately the other devices, ZW4SF-1BW and ZW15R-1BW, are still having issues with becoming unresponsive and destroying the mesh. My question is: Are there any plans to update the firmware for ZW4SF-1BW and ZW15R-1BW? Other than replacing these devices, do you have any recommendations to prevent them from becoming unresponsive and requiring a power cycle?"

I'm wondering if any of you have any recommendations/advice. You guys are far more advanced in your knowledge and expertise with these things than I am.

I don't own any Leviton, but just from what I see here and other smart home forums, these Leviton devices seem to be problematic. I don't think it is a Z-wave issue as much as a specific device or specific manufacturer.

There are other Z-wave brands that are more reliable, but I think in general Z-wave requires more planning and a good mix of repeating devices in the correct spot to be stable. Many of us have success with Z-wave, so it can work.

If you have the money to upgrade to Lutron RA, that would be a great choice from a reliability standpoint. But (again from memory) they lack certain sensors, locks, water valves, and other devices, so you are right back to either Zigbee or Z-wave for those, and integrating everything in Hubitat.

Assuming you have a C7 hub post screenshots of your Z-wave Details page from the Settings menu. (C5 and older don't have this feature) Capture all columns and rows please. If there is something going on with the Z-wave mesh or if you have ghosts, we might be able to spot the issue and improve the performance of your devices.

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I would say lets start with the basic.

As @neonturbo said post a pick of the z-wave details. Lets check if your are using s0 security. Also do these devices do power reporting has that all been turned off. It could just be the network getting flooded but we would need to see first.

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I wish I could say this is a z-wave problem because at least there may be some recourse. Unfortunately this is not a problem with the z-wave mesh. It's the device itself. It becomes totally unresponsive to either digital or physical commands and must be power cycled. Unfortunately when this happens it also messes up the z-wave mesh. I've read that other Leviton devices do the same thing. I actually have a few Hubitats to keep certain devices separate. Garage doors and locks with their S0 and S2 security are on a different hub. There are no ghosts and I have a z-wave stick to remove ghosts if I ever find any. I have a few repeaters in strategic locations and I have the mesh for each hub working quite well except when these devices become unresponsive.

At this point I'm considering transitioning to Lutron and using Hubitat to integrate everything. I'm hoping Hubitat can get the LEAP API and integrate RA3.

Yaaaaaahhh.. thats not a mesh issue. If it doesn't even respond to physical pushes that's a problem. You have a lot of switches, so that is going to be a lot of work and expensive. Might be worth the battle with their support to figure it out.

Lutron recently released their Diva switches which look like normal switches and work with their system that everyone seems to be really happy with.

I agree with this statement. I only have one and they sent me a new one a couple of years ago to fix a FW issue. I am 80% Zooz now for my switches and dimmers and am much happier.

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I've considered switching brands and staying with z-wave, but after reading about RA2 and RA3 the stability/reliability of that platform is really enticing. If I'm going to make another big investment on these devices I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. Trying to do my research this time and make a better decision...

I've got a few of the Caseta plugs to control outdoor lighting and they just seem to work perfectly. If I switch to Lutron I'm undecided about Caseta vs RA2 vs RA3. If I understand correctly I may have to take an online course to use the RA2 and RA3 and also I'm not sure about Hubitat integration with those.

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A few thoughts:

Hubitat works great with RadioRA 2. With RadioRA 2 you are limited to Maestro style controls. RadioRA 3 adds Sunnata style, but there is no LEAP integration available for Hubitat. Training is easy and free. Make sure to get quotes on devices, you'll save significantly vs MSRP. RadioRA 2 also offers seeTouch keypads, which are also great. Lutron has significantly raised the main repeater price even with discounts, eBay is a good alternative.

The Caséta line now offers Diva style dimmers. They look nice. A little bit like the Levitons. The dimmer is a physical slider. The Levitons dimmer bar is better design IMO.

Also note that Leviton offers a Zigbee version of their dimmer. The only downside is that too much of the configuration is done via physical button pushes as opposed to Z-Wave commands.

If you still find Lutron Caséta a bit overpriced check out the new Inovelli Blue Zigbee dimmers. They offer a nice combination of performance and features at a good price.

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We have 2 of the Leviton ZW4SF-1BW fan controllers and they've been rock solid. Never had to power cycle them at all. They're even joined with S2. Small sample set I know but still.

It truly is a very intermittent problem. It’s just that with so many Leviton devices it was happening pretty regularly. After firmware updates for the dimmers and switches, now it’s mainly just the fans (6) and receptacles (3) and it’s not as big of a problem. But unless Leviton plans a firmware update for these I’m going to look for something that is more stable.

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If I had gone with Lutron RA2/RA2 Select I would have used their fan controllers too. They are more expensive than zwave controllers but very reliable. Unfortunately there aren't many options for multispeed fan controllers in Zwave/Zigbee.

Well there’s some good news! Leviton responded. Looks like we’ll get a firmware update for the fans and receptacles. Here’s what they said:

“There will be a firmware update for the ZW devices released in the near future. Check back with us at the end of the month.”

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Now if they would just release files that didn't require a stick to update, I'd really love it. Thanks for that update, that's good news.

You don't need a stick, Hubitat is capable of updating these. A stick sometimes makes it easier and sometimes it goes faster that way, but one isn't required. The files are normal OTA extension. I seem to remember they need to be extracted, but any Windows computer can do that.

File for reference Link | Leviton Filetransfer

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Good to know - thanks... I still may be dead in the water since I don't have a PC I can use for that conversion, but maybe there's some way to extract it on a Mac. I'll do some more digging.

I have a Mac too. I put Windows 10 on my Mac and used a z-stick to update firmware on the DZ devices. Some Leviton devices can be updated without the z-stick, but when I did it the z-stick was required. Maybe it’s changed since then.

I've done boot camp and other stuff to get Windows on my Mac in the past and it's always been a hassle (plus not free) -- to do it again just for this isn't even close to worth it for me.

Thus far, I haven't had any issues with the few Leviton devices I have, so if something comes up that boils down to a firmware issue, I'll just replace the device with some other brand instead -- that'd be cheaper and less hassle.

Boot camp and Windows 10 are free, but I guess you’d have to buy a z-stick. And yeah… it’s definitely a hassle!

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I know this is several months old at this point but wanted to know if anyone has seen/heard any updates from Leviton on the ZW devices? Last time I spoke to them (one of their engineers called me) back in late October/early November they seemed to indicate there were no plans to release a firmware update for them. They even said they were offering replacements from another brand for some people since they were discontinued. As any fyi, I too have to power cycle my Leviton ZW4SFs. I have 6 around the house and all have had to be power cycled, some about once a month.

I haven’t heard anything. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to say this or not… but I attempted to be a beta tester and couldn’t load the firmware using a z-stick. Haven’t heard anything since then… I’m still having to power cycle a couple of my ZW devices. Very annoying… makes the whole mesh unreliable.

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