Ecolink Firefighter Zigbee vs Z-Wave Plus versions

Noticed that a native driver for the Z-wave Plus version of the Ecolink Firefighter exists for Hubitat but that a zigbee driver has also been ported over from ST. Some have reported success with the zigbee version using this driver but others have reported that their zigbee Firefighter does not report. IIRC, I understand that the failure of the zigbee version may have something to do with an older firmware version compared to more recently shipped versions but I don’t think that has been conclusively determined (always tough to tell when some state it works and others are not able to get it to report).

I will probably go with the Z-wave Plus version given it is natively supported. However, comparing the two (both are currently available on Amazon at about the same price) got me wondering (since my current wireless devices are zigbee), how do the Z-wave Plus versions compare to the Zigbee version with regards to:

  1. Battery life
  2. Reliability
  3. Automatic connectivity following a loss of power to the HE hub or an intentional hub reboot.
  4. Range (given if I go with the Z-wave version, it will be the first and only z-wave device I own, although it would be placed relatively close to my hub as I have a smoke/CO detector nearby the hub)
  5. Reporting speed

In other words, if a driver can be developed for the Zigbee version, is there any advantage of going Z-wave vs Zigbee, or do you prefer Zigbee in general.

The battery life and reliability with HE is probably my most important priorities (comparing Z-wave v. Zigbee), however, are there any other factors I am missing that might impact which version I should go with?

As always, thank to all in advance for any input.

Wouldn’t that require someone who has both zwave and zigbee versions? I imagine that’s a vanishing small minority.

FWIW, I have the zwave+ version. Changed the battery after 2 years.

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@moh

I also have the z-wave version and so far battery life has been great. I've set it off a few times in the kitchen (it trips my stove hood fan) And it's fast

I have tried both and for me the comparison was simple: the z-wave version works, the zigbee version doesn’t.

:slightly_smiling_face:

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@aaiyar,

Wouldn’t that require someone who has both zwave and zigbee versions? I imagine that’s a vanishing small minority.

I’m assuming that you are saying this “tongue in cheek” as of course I would expect nobody to have both :rofl:. Just wanted to see if anyone had one or the other and had bad experience with battery life. Thanks for the feedback! It is much appreciated.

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As always, thank you to all for your quick feedback and experience. It looks like I’ll order the Z-wave tonight! I really appreciate this community.

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You'd be surprised...

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Just wanted to thank everyone again for their input. I ordered the Z-wave+ version based on your feedback and received and installed within 36 hours (Amazon is amazing). Can confirm it works well with my Kidde combination (Smoke/CO) voice alarm (which was NOT detected by Alexa Guard). It will discriminate between Smoke and CO detection and I set up my HE to send a notification (via Pushover) to my mobile devices. Since the Z-wave protocol and driver also monitors battery level, I have also set up Pushover to notify me when the battery gets below a certain level to remind me to purchase another battery for replacement. Time will tell how reliable this is over time and what the real-life battery life is. The installation instructions state that CO audio detection is not as robust as the Smoke detection but that there is a setting which makes CO alarm detection more reliable, but at the expense of reduced battery life. In my testing, I am very pleased with the device. Thanks to everyone for their input.

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How long did your smoke alarm need to go off for it to trigger? I just installed the same one and when I test my smoke alarm nothing happens. The device is paired and working, I can see battery and tamper reports. Did the standardized audio tones change in the last 25 yrs? I think my alarms are OE from 1997. Yes, they still surprisingly work with smoke, and I am going to replace them soon.

The ecolink firefighter should respond to UL standardized smoke or CO alarm tones within a few seconds.

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Hi @jtp10181 , the ecolink FF notifies me almost instantaneously (I have a RM5.1 rule that sends a Pushover notice as well as a notice directly from the HE hub for “backup” when ever the FF goes off. I’ve checked it several times (and should test it once a month) and it has worked every time. My ears can attest to this as I checked this several times to check the response time, lol! What driver are you using to recognize the FF?

I am using Kidde voice (CO and smoke) alarms purchased about 2 years ago so I can’t comment on any other “dumb” alarm compatibility. I am in the USA (although Kidde is a Canadian company afaik) although I’m not sure when the alarm pattern was standardized in the US.

Hope this helps.

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Ok thanks that helps. I bet I could find the sound of a newer alarm going off on youtube and play that next to it, maybe that will trip it. Or at least I can compare to mine. Either my ecolink device is defective or my old alarms are not compatible with it.

Make sure that the mic is pointed at the smoke alarm. Set the eco link about 6" from the smoke alarm..... You can simply push the test button on the smoke alarm to test. While you're running the test, smoke clear should change....

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I do have it positioned correctly, actually about 3" from the detector (it says max of 6" in the directions).

So I found a fascinating video on YouTube... one hour of a smoke alarm going off. In case you really want to irritate your family I guess? Anyway, I took the thing off the ceiling and went to another room away from family. Put it up next to my phone speaker playing this video and bingo, it goes off. Tested my actual alarm again and it does not play the same 3-chirp, pause, repeat pattern. The old detectors we have just play a steady pattern with no pause. Motivation to replace them I guess.

Just want to drop these videos here in case anyone else comes across this and needs to hear the standard alarm sound.

Also this information video about the standard sounds:

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Interesting. I thought the frequency had been standardized for a couple of decades. I use them with my nest protects and they work well

Possibly just a couple, my alarms should be 25 years old, they look original. They do seem to have the wiring for being interconnected at least so I can get 3 new ones and if any trigger an alarm it should sent off the Ecolink detector on the main floor.

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FYI, smoke detectors (and CO detectors) should be replaced every 10 years. They are pretty cheap for just the smoke detector (adding CO detection costs more). Get Kidde, stay away from First Alert (my personal experience).

FWIW, a ten-year replacement cycle is typically indicated for ionization-type smoke/CO detectors, and not photoelectric units. And even for the ionization type detectors, the "10-year" stipulation is somewhat arbitrary, as elaborated on in the post linked below.

FWIW, even if @jtp10181's smoke detectors were the ionization-type, about 95-96% of the Americium-241 would not have decayed after ~30 years.

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Yes, well aware of the 10 year rule of thumb. It does still work though for sure, because we set it off a few months ago multiple times cooking something that got very smoky. May not be as sensitive as brand new but there was not even much smoke and it went off a few times and we had to keep fanning it to get it to stop.

They even make ones now I have seen with 10-yr sealed unreplaceable batteries, forcing you to toss it after it goes dead.

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