How to/Should I use an Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+ with HE

I have the Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+ and HE C7 and starting my total migration from ST to HE. I am hoping to get someones' opinions, instructions and recommendations for the below scenarios:

A. I can independently walk around the home after excluding all my Z-Wave/Zigbee devices from ST and include them into the Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+. Then place the Z-Wave stick back in the Rpi/Domoticz which should show all the included devices and try to pair the Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+ as a secondary controller to HE?

  1. Are their any advantages to doing this dual controller configuration, or am I complicating my home automation platform by adding an unneeded secondary RPi controller (Domoticz & Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+) to HE.
  2. If #1 is optimal, how on earth do I pair the Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+ to HE to get it to be a secondary controller, as I have attempted several times to have them both in inclusion mode and the HE never sees the Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+.
  3. If #1 is not preferred, what would I use the Aeotec Z-Wave Stick Gen5+ for if the HE works as a primary controller as I expect? Can I import the Z-Wave included stick devices to HE and skip the Domoticz all together?

Z-Wave, yes; Zigbee, no, but I assume you know that. :slight_smile: (The stick would have to be a secondary controller for this to work, and you'd need a C-7 hub. It will not work on a C-5 or earlier--the hub just won't see the devices you've paired. And even for the C-7, I'm going with what I've heard; I've never tried.)

I really don't think so, but your thoughts may vary. Do you have a particular problem you're trying to solve? Your primary controller (so Hubitat) will generally not be made aware of changes made to a device by a secondary controller. This may limit its usefulness for you in terms of creating automations on Hubitat that work as expected if you make changes elsewhere. The only reason I'd personally consider this on a C-7 is to pair devices with no security to the stick that only support S0 instead of S2 and that don't have a separate pairing mechanism for secure inclusion (basically, I try to avoid S0 unless it's a secure device where I need to use it and the device doesn't support S2, which I'd strongly prefer if available; with the C-7 there's no way to force non-secure inclusion if the device only supports S0, again unless the device has a separate pairing mechanism for that as many do).

I've never actually tried this from the Z-Stick itself, though I'd assume that putting Hubitat in Z-Wave inclusion/discovery mode while doing the same with the stick (via the button) would work. I have done this with several other sticks that lack the Z-Stick's button, and for that, I've used the Z-Wave PC Controller software. Putting the stick into classic inclusion mode via that software, again while putting Hubitat into Z-Wave inclusion mode, worked for me. (NWI or network-wide inclusion should also work, but some sticks seem to be picky about not pairing themselves that way.) But again, I'm not sure you'll really need to do this.

If you don't want to deal with the potential pitfalls of a secondary controller, I'd avoid using the Z-Stick with another hub/software solution like Domoticz. But that's not to say you can't have one joined as a secondary controller to Hubitat if you want to. I think they're handy for firmware updates (an experimental Hubitat tool can handle this now for many devices, however) or checking your network for "ghost nodes" (probably not as big of a deal on the C-7, which should show you every node the radio knows about, but the C-5 and earlier only show you what Hubitat also has a corresponding device for--which should get fixed automatically, but I like to check myself if I had problems pairing a device or whatnot).

If you were already using Domoticz and have devices paired to it, you should theoretically be able to make Hubitat a secondary controller of that network: a C-7 hub can be joined as a secondary controller to that network (see the docs: Z-Wave Manual - Hubitat Documentation, or the next section if your controller isn't using S2, which it likely isn't if you're not sure)--all assuming you don't already have anything on Hubitat, which you'd need to reset the Z-Wave on first if you do. But this is pretty new and I haven't seen anyone actually try. Your real-world experience may be different, and for the reasons above, if you plan on using Hubitat mostly, you'd probably want it to be your primary controller. The issues with secondary controllers are considerations regardless of what is primary or secondary. I'm not sure if there's any way to "promote" the C-7 to a primary controller. Your best option would probably be to remove the devices from Domoticz and re-pair "normally" directly to Hubitat.

But otherwise, my opinion is that the Z-Stick here seems like a solution looking for a problem. :slight_smile:

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Also, Mike Maxwell has remarked that he doesn't believe that there is any way for a secondary controller to transfer security credentials to the primary controller, which would seem to mean that only devices paired without security could transfer to the Hubitat from the Z-Stick.

I only use my Z-Stick to remove those pesky ghost nodes that won't remove any other way. I have one SiLabs 700 series Z-Stick and an Aeotec Gen 5 - 500 series - Z-Stick. The SiLabs 700 series is to remove ghosts. The Aeotec is to pair devices without security when the C-7 won't let that happen, then transfer the no-security devices to the C-7. I haven't done that step with the Aeotec, but I believe it to be possible. I'm not sure that it is possible with the Aeotec Gen5+, which supports S2, because of SiLabs requirements.

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@672southmain @bertabcd1234,

Thank you both for great detailed responses on this topic.

I think, after reading your opinions and recommendations, my Aeotec Z-Wave stick Gen5+ will need to be shelved for now and I will pair all my Z* devices to C-7 HE directly, starting with those devices that are closest to the C7 hub and work my way throughout the rest of the 3 level house.

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I've managed to pair my Z-Stick Gen5+ with the C7 Hub using the Z-Wave PC Controller software. After a few tries, it paired with S2 security (I disabled S0 in the software config).

I can see all of the devices on the hub, as well as a device I have paired to the Z-stick, via the PC controller software, but I'm having trouble getting the hub to see anything paired via the Z-stick.

My eventual goal is to get a no-security pairing, as my dimmer devices don't support S2, and I'm finding S0 very unreliable even with only 5 dimmers connected in my test setup. Seeing as I'm planning on using at least 40 in my final setup, I really need to get this as stable as possible.

Does anyone know how to transfer the included devices from the Z-stick onto the C7 hub?

Thanks,
Mark

Hi Mark,
How did you get on with this? I'm in pretty much the same place.... I've got 35 Fibaro Dimmer 2 dimmers to migrate, and they're pairing S0 with my C7. I'm looking at getting an Aeotec Gen5 and then following this guide:

to pair them with no security, but it's not 100% clear to me whether the guide is written for the C7 hub - it looks like you have to pair the USB stick with the HE without security:
“Just include your Z stick and when it comes to the DSK portion click "skip" so it gets no security. If the z stick has no security, it cannot include with security.” (bottom of page 8)
But I don't think I can do that on a C7.

It is for the C-7 thanks to the 700 series spec requirements about device security in older devices. I have both a UZB-7 and a Z-Stick. Both work as advertised. The UZB-7 just recently increased in price so the other options might be worthwhile. Zooz 700 series stick is good too..

When you pair the device it will pair as "device" and thats okay - you won't be using from HE anyway. I usually pair with no security by pressing the "skip" button when it asks for the code.

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I did manage to get this to work with a lot of trial and error. I disabled S0 security in the PC controller, and then, if I remember correctly, I used the legacy learning mode to discover the Qubino devices from the PC controller.

Now the bad news: Even with just 5 devices paired with no security, something about the chatty nature of the Qubino devices after setting a light level caused a lot of unexpected behaviour. Like stuck switches in the dashboard, or lights that would not respond. This would happen frequently if setting a lot of light values in quick succession - e.g. when scene setting, or when turning everything off together.

It was a bit better with no security, but still too unreliable to use in a house. Imagine waiting to see if it would work right every time you use a light switch.

There is definitely something wrong with the C7 hardware or software in combination with these devices, but there are so many people complaining about other z-wave problems, it’s impossible to get your voice heard. There is a lot of end-user blaming and denial. Maybe they have fixed this since, I have not tried it since the start of this year. The problem seems to be down to handling communication conflicts between the devices, when they all want to talk at once.

However, I can close with some good news, but it might not be what you want to hear: for me, Z-Wave JS being added to Home Assistant fixed everything. I switched to using this and it has been bulletproof ever since. It’s so much better than both Open Z-Wave and the Hubitat C7.

I currently have 34 active dimmers paired with no security and setting lighting scenes throughout my house, and I never experience any stuck or unresponsive devices. The dimmers are all next to each other mounted to a DIN rail, with the z-stick right beside them. This is the same configuration that Hubitat couldn’t manage with just 5 devices.

I only use the C7 as a zigbee hub now, and broadcast the devices it manages over MQTT. This works very well as a zigbee hub.

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I am currently going through the same drama with moving from Smartthings to HE and so far, it has been a nightmare as far as the Z-wave part is concerned. I am experiencing the same issues as what you describe. I am trying to figure out how to use the Aeotec Z-wave stick at the moment to follow the advice regarding S0 connected devices. It seems all that trouble might be a waste of time as well. I have left the network for 3 days now to "stabilise", but so far, nothing has improved. Devices would work the one moment, but fail to respond a second later.

Any 700 series controller will have the forced S0 issue with older devices - it's per SiLabs spec unfortunately.

There is a lot to unpack here.. what devices are you using? Are they in the list of compatible devices? Using any community apps drivers?

  • I would first try and remove any ghosts to make sure your mesh is as clean as possible. Recommended is trying the HE way via Z-Wave settings or the PCS way.
  • Exclude and Factory Reset each device.
  • After you pair the Z-Stick with HE you should be able to walk around and pair each device then plug it back into your PC and run the PC Controller sw. Disclaimer: I have not done this in a very long time so ymmv.

Also keep in mind that some devices like locks require S0. I have a ZW+ Fibaro keyfob that I cannot get working properly even after many attempts at pairing via the PCS route with both a Z-Stick and UZB-7.

As @MarkG mentions you might consider checking out HomeAssistant and use that Z-Stick for the controller. If you have some technical chops it should be relatively straightforward (until it's not!) - you'll need a server machine or vm to dedicate to the process. You could then share those devices with HE to make a cohesive system via the HA community bridge.

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Thank you for your comments.
I'll try to keep it short because I've also complained about this in another discussion on the forum and don't want to be the guy moaning all the time. I've been close to giving up a few times today. I'm not making much headway with the Aeotec Z-stick. I managed to include it as a secondary controller (a very involved process), but apart from one device, I managed to move one device from S0 security to no security. Devices simply refuse to exclude (re-appearing soon even after force removing them).
Maybe I should add that I did not have any ghost devices when I started off. (I think I probably have some now, due to the constant attempts to unsuccessfully exclude devices.) Tried both the Z-wave exclude function of the hub as well as the PCS way.

No worries at all! When I came over from ST it was a long time ago - just around the time Samsung took over. I went through a horrible period with HE where I ended up redoing my 100+ devices (with a C4 HE) several times... To be fair not only was HE going through a bunch of firmware iterations at that time I was also screwing things up based on what I thought the right thing to do was...

With the PCS stuff SiLabs does not make it easy either. The UI for their "Simplicity Studio" and PC Controller sw is not "simple". I will say I have not had any issues with pairing a Z-Stick. I just tried it - ran PCS with Z-Stick plugged in, went into z-wave pairing mode in HE, then did "Select Learn Mode" and "NWI" in PCS... device came right up. I paired with "no security"... If you are having trouble then something else might be up.

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The Z-Stick included fairly easy - it was the setup process of Simplicity Studio that I was not expecting.
Is your Z-stick still paired with you HE-hub? Does it also show up like this in the devices list?

According to the setup instructions, it is nothing to worry about, but it worries me somewhat.

Oops, already unpaired it - okay just included again. Here's mine:

Is your Z-Stick a "Gen 5" or "Gen 5+" or something else?

edit: not sure why one is labelled Gen5+ vs Gen5 when they have the same model #. Am currently using Gen5+.

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I appreciate your help. I have the Gen5 (without the +). Do you use the Simplicity Z-Wave PC Controller PC software to include it? I.e. by connecting the Stick to your PC and with the software's "Select Learn Mode"? (I just noticed there is a "Classic Learn Mode" also.)

Yep that's exactly what I am doing - although for this I've been using "Select Learn Mode" and then "NWI" (Network Wide Inclusion). I use "Select Learn Mode" and "NWE" for exclusion. Make sure you start the HE process first.. before initiating the PCS side.

For giggles I just paired both Z-Sticks..

What HE Hub Platform version are you on? I'm on "2.3.2.141"

Have you updated your hub's Z-Wave firmware? There should be an extra button for this showing up at the top of the Z-Wave details page. Note: mine in the above pic which has been updated does NOT show this extra button. The other "update" button is just for committing the dropdown info (Region/Status).

Could not thank you enough.
My Hub version is 2.3.2.141 and Z-wave firmware version:
VersionReport(zWaveLibraryType:7, zWaveProtocolVersion:7, zWaveProtocolSubVersion:17, firmware0Version:7, firmware0SubVersion:17, hardwareVersion:1, firmwareTargets:1, targetVersions:[[target:1, version:7, subVersion:15]])

Well that is interesting... here's mine.

Looks up to date.. but yours looks a little more updated than mine.

my Z-Sticks firmware as viewed in the PCS in the section below "Classic Learn Mode" button:
Gen5 stick is 4.54
Gen5+ stick is 6.07

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My Gen 5 stick firmware is the same as your 5+. There is an update for the Gen 5 here. (Although the heading refers to the 5+, according to the first paragraph it states that it will update the Gen 5 to the same firmware version as the 5+.)

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I just updated my Gen5 using that link. It seems to work fine thanks!

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Download the Hubitat app