Documenting the weird list - current wisdom or lack thereof

THIS HAS NOT BEEN UPDATED FOR THE C7

I may do a separate one shortly...


Thought I'd toss out yet another bullet list (yayyy!!! ). Wanted to document some of the stuff I've been experiencing/taken from the threads I've read and put it out there for discussion and reference. If you want more detail search the forums for the related topics.

Not sure this is all accurate and clearly limited by my opinion/bias/myth so make of it what you will.. and feel free to post anything else that might assist people on their ongoing quest for HE perfection.

General

  • A good general place to start BEFORE building out your new network..
    How to Build a Solid Zigbee Mesh - Hubitat Documentation
    How to Build a Solid Z-Wave Mesh - Hubitat Documentation
  • Lutron Caseta is probably the most reliable and responsive, if new to Home Automation start here first. It's somewhat limited by device choice and style. Its more refined sibling Ra2 is cost prohibitive but more style choices. Both require a "bridge" device so HE can communicate with them.
  • Large setups can be made more efficient by using a multi-hub configuration and the excellent Hub Connect OR a "meta" control system like Node-RED. Benefits of multiple hubs include:
    • Extends coverage over a much larger area.
    • Reduces overhead on each hub due to less rules/apps.
    • Possibly speeding up communication due to multiple radios. Not really sure how much improvement though.
    • For a large # of devices it's more fault tolerant and easier to migrate to a new hub.
    • Gives ability to isolate certain sets of devices to their own network to allow them to function optimally like the xiaomi stuff or separating zigbee/z-wave.
  • Migrating from Smart Things you can use HubConnect or HE's Hub Link to share devices to help. Keep your ST hub for firmware updates possibly cloud stuff & devices that are problematic on HE.
  • When re-pairing devices, create a placeholder virtual device to include for your associated rules, groups etc so you wont mess anything up when removing/adding back in.
  • Hubs can experience overheating / power supply issues which can cause really erratic behaviors. If experiencing issues one of the things to try is swapping out the power supply.
  • On the hub a database (DB) Cleanup process happens in the early morning. Yes stuff in HE is stored in a DB and that can become corrupted. Also during startup HE attempts to recover from any corruption issues if it can. If not you may have to do a restore.
  • Good idea to do external hub backups every once in a while.
  • http://[your hub ip address]:8081 is a diagnostic page that allows you to do things like "Soft Resets", restores etc - very useful...
  • Avoid powercycling a hub directly if possible instead go to the diagnostic page and try from there.
  • Location can be your friend or enemy. Make sure it is set properly or you might experience issues with timed stuff like sunrise/sunset etc.
  • HE can run with no internet connection just fine BUT the clock will eventually drift. To mitigate this you can install a community NTP driver to set the time from your local router/firewall.
  • Battery operated devices may need to be "woken up" in order to update the configuration or firmware. To do that usually is a button press somewhere on the device itself.
  • In general (and subject to some debate) Zigbee is good for sensors (fast) and locks (reliable). Z-Wave is good for switches and it uses a lower frequency 868.42/908.42 MHz that is less subject to interference.
  • IF a device pairs as "Device" try setting it to one of the HE "generic" drivers. Drivers can also be ported over from SmartThings DTHs with some minor changes. Check with the community to see if someone has done something similar.
  • When switching device drivers usually a good idea to click "configure" except under special circumstances like wanting to keep a certain parameters set etc (see driver related community posts).
  • Certain features of various US based cloud services like Amazon Alexa may be unavailable to certain Non-US countries. You might get errors when attempting to configure or use the log in for that app. A possible work-around is to set up a US account and use that for credentials instead.
  • How to change accounts linked to your hub - Hubitat Documentation
  • IF you are having sporadic trouble with a certain device's responsiveness try changing the driver to the "generic" version if possible.
  • You can set up a max of 2000 number of event logs per device/app by using: http://yourhubip/hub/advanced/event/limit/100

Zigbee Stuff

  • Sengled Bulbs are (maybe) the only bulbs that do not repeat and are therefore recommended.
  • Also for Sengleds you might find that using the "generic" driver works better than the device specific driver. This may change with future system updates!
  • Peanut Plugs have repeater issues and should be avoided or put on the edge of your mesh.
  • Zigbee devices that disappear can usually be automatically added back in by going into discovery mode. They will hopefully just pop up and their configuration retained. NOTE: Any groups/scenes containing zigbee devices restored this way may have to be re-saved.
  • Iris 3210-L outlets work really well as repeaters and can be also be used for Zwave repeating provided the firmware is newer (no way to update as of now). NOTE: a possible way to determine your 3210-L firmware is by looking at the back of the outlet. If you see a small, separate rectangular barcode sticker then you likely have a later version of the firmware and Z-Wave repeater portion will probably work fine. (thanks @ogiewon)
  • Tradfri Repeaters repeat xiaomi devices, other Zigbee repeaters not so much. Consider isolating all xiaomi devices on a separate hub.
  • If you are having trouble with your Aqara/Xiaomi devices check out this link: Xiaomi & Aqara Devices - Pairing & Keeping them connected
  • Takes up to 48 hrs for a zigbee mesh network to "settle down" into it's preferred configuration.
  • Disabling zigbee using the UI for 20 minutes sends devices into "panic" mode which allows the mesh to be rebuilt.
  • http://[your hub ip address]/hub/zigbee/getChildAndRouteInfo is a cool, mysterious look at the repeating part of your mesh. Get help with interpreting this from the community if not sure..
  • XBee can be used for repeating and xiaomi devices and also for mesh diagnostics.
  • Take care when nesting groups of duplicated Zigbee devices and using the Zigbee Messaging options on each - it may be possible to create a "message storm" which could slow things down / cause erratic behaviors. This has only been speculated as far as I know but worth mentioning.

Z-Wave Stuff

  • Z-Wave is serial so commands can get delayed depending on the speed/reliability of mesh. NOTE: Zigbee is serial as well (thanks @csteele/@jeubanks!)
  • Older ZWave devices can impact the speed of your mesh with slow repeating/responses etc. NOTE: The ZWave spec allows for communication at the speeds 9.6 Kbits/s, 40 Kbits/s, and 100 Kbits/s but the really old ones pre2008 can be an issue - the network can only go as fast as it's slowest repeater/device. The real trick is to try and put slower devices on the edge of your mesh if you can (thanks @csteele). Likely the best strategy is to just replace them with newer devices.
  • When pairing Aeotec Multisensor 6's and using the USB power option if you experience slow performance you can exclude then pair again with the batteries installed so the repeater function will be disabled then plug back in. NOTE: be careful if switching these from powered to battery, you may end up eating batteries if not careful as powered allows for more frequent reporting etc. Another possibility is device gets overloaded if routing too many devices and drops to 9.6 Kbit/s. UPDATE: latest firmware may prevent the above battery trick from working. It looks like (on my setup) that the device now recognizes when it is plugged in. More research is needed for confirmation however.
  • "Good" device brands (in no particular order) include: Zooz, Aeotec, Inovelli, Fibaro.
  • Older GE ZWave Switches (and other devices) require the "Z-Wave Poller" app to function properly as they do not always report their state.
  • Force removing devices can cause something called "ghost devices" which means the devices are still paired with the zwave stick but do not show up in HE. This condition may possibly get cleared up over time but sometimes not. Multiple z-wave repairs may or may not help as well. This can impact the speed/stability of the system.
  • The Z-Stick (and other similar devices) can help in identifying and removing ghost devices. You need to install the Z-Wave PC Controller software for this. Search the forums for more info.
  • Z-Stick is ideal for excluding devices + diagnostics. Be careful excluding devices using the stick as it will NOT automatically remove them from the HE system. That has to be done through the UI.
  • Non paired devices can also be excluded in HE - just put the device into exclusion mode and go into Z-Wave exclude in HE.
  • Sometimes new Z-Wave devices are hard to pair. Try excluding them first before making another attempt. Resetting the device is also an option as well.
  • Zniffing with a UZB setup can help diagnose issues - update firmware and use software provided by Sigma Designs (check forums). Side note: also check out zwave.me. Another diagnostic tool to consider is the Z-Wave Toolbox (thanks @jeubanks)
  • Your device may contain "hidden" parameters that are not showing on device page (preferences section) that can change device behaviors. You can access these by using the community built "Basic Z-Wave parameter tool". Install the custom driver then change your devices driver to it and that should allow you to access the information.
  • Zwave devices "live" on the zwave radio device they were paired with NOT directly on the hub.

Apps

  • RM can be flaky when editing rules (especially conditions!), good idea to clone rule beforehand so you have a copy. NOTE: when you clone a rule it is active immediately!!!
  • RM design - write down / plan what you want to do first before diving into a rule. There are many different ways to accomplish the same thing and laying it out can give you some perspective and maybe new ideas.
  • Good idea to add a rule on hub startup that notifies you that the hub has restarted. Good way to keep track of reboots.
  • Global variables can be resource intensive. Local variables are better.
  • Alternate apps like Motion Lighting and Simple Automation are lighter weight than RM and should be used if possible to reduce overhead.
  • Writing your own rules as Apps can be more efficient for specific use cases.
  • Maker API is a helpful app that exposes devices via http requests allowing for external services (like Node-Red) to access.
  • HE can connect to the Hue hub (Hue Bridge Integration) so you don't need to get rid of the hub if you already have an investment in Philips smart bulbs and Hue compatible devices. It is a great way to isolate those devices and improve functionality across the system. To simplify my setup though I stopped using the hub (and related products) even though they are very good.

Misc Cool Stuff

  • Watchdog Apps are your friends. If you find your hub slowing down periodically or are interested in monitoring your devices consider installing one of these. Some will monitor battery life/device health others will automatically reboot the hub on a schedule or hub slowdown.
  • Battery operated devices can be hacked to be powered by usb connections. This is nice if you are lazy (like me) and don't want (or forget) to replace batteries..
  • C5 hubs can take an OTG Y cable that allow you to attach a Z-Wave/Zigbee stick like the Nortek (found on C4s). The stick will override the internal radios. If you pair everything to the stick you can easily transfer to another C5 hub by moving the cable/stick over to the new hub and restoring from a backup.
  • Node-Red server is a fantastic way to control/visualize info from your HE hub. It allows for many different kinds of hubs/devices/services to be connected and controlled under one UI. Very intuitive design.
  • MQTT is lightweight messaging protocol - allows many different types of devices to interact with each other. For example I use it to communicate to HE from my Acurite personal weather station + bridge.

If your hub has lost it's settings and will not restore properly here is a last ditch attempt to try and get things working... DO NOT DO THIS UNLESS DESPERATE

(credit to @aaiyar for posting this in another thread)

Before you start: Download all available Hub backups to your computer!

In place of a Soft Reset or Full Reset, you will be performing a Factory Recovery. This will not reset the radios (despite what the following page says). Go to:

** content removed due to outdated process** if you experience this problem, please contact us at support@hubitat.com. **

Now perform a Soft Reset and restore using one the backups you downloaded earlier.

Fingers crossed - hopefully it all comes back.

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Great write up. I'll definitely refer back to this later for some input. (bookmarked)

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Suggested addition: when you clone a rule, even if the rule you're cloning is paused, the new (cloned) rule is active, immediately.

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I like this post. It pretty much summarized information that had been buried in a lot of the threads.

I know it’s a crap load of work but referencing the original thread would be nice so this thread wouldn’t turn into a debate over any one point.

This should be a sticky that gets updated as needed

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Yeah that would be nice but there are a lot of different threads with similar info so hard to pick out the most appropriate. Not sure I want to dive back into all that just yet. :grin:

People can post links to threads below though if they want...

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just a bump for updates..

If the Sengled driver change recommended by @bjcowles (and @ogiewon in another thread) fixes issues with groups for both of us, you should add it to this list.

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yep just did ... great minds!!!! I just added it to the Zigbee list but did not mention the grouping issue yet.

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Great read, and lots of good advice especially for those that are new to HE. I've had to "learn" most of these either the hard way or by consulting with the community!!!

I do have a question regarding the below statement

I have definitely found that when devices are removed, any associated rules end up getting broken and many times need to be manually recreated. I like the idea of a placeholder virtual device to save the rule/setting, but I assume that there is no automated way to do this and that you must manually swap them out with virtual placeholders, right?

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I went through this over the weekend when I found that one of my GE ZWave Plus In-Wall dimmers died.

I found that all my 'spares' were ordinary ZWave (not plus) so I paired one, then did the same replace as with a placeholder. (Virtual or real, the process is the same.) Like just about all my real devices, it was mirrored via HubConnect, so I had to follow that connection and mirror the placeholder and then add it at the other end in all of the places it was used (Echo, Dashboards, etc.)

Then, while putting things away after, I found a Zigbee In-Wall Dimmer. Don't like polling ZWave devices, so I went through the entire process again.. which means I 100% mimicked the process of using a virtual placeholder. It's not bad at all.. click intensive, of course, but really quite simple.

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