Is it best to add new z-wave devices near the hub?

Z-Wave is driving me crazy! I have a lot of issues with getting devices included and excluded. Granted, this was worse with SmartThings and works better on HE, but still. For instance, I have one in-wall GE switch (dimmer) that I just can't get registered on HE. I am pretty sure it was properly excluded when I moved over from ST, but I just can't seem to get it registered on HE. And it is sitting right next to two more of the same switches/dimmers that registered just fine. And all 3 of them worked fine on ST. So not sure what is going on.

Anyway: This brings me to my real question: How do you include things like switches that are installed in a fixed place. Some of mine are quite far from the hub. Would it be best to include these devices close to the hub? I always do that with devices that can be moved around. My thinking is that this would connect them directly to the hub, rather than through the mesh, and thus should be less error prone. But that is just me thinking out loud. I might be completely wrong there.

And if so, how do you do that with things like light switches exactly? I have even considered building myself a little rig where I can put the switch in as if it was wired up, include it, make sure it works, and only then go through the trouble of installing it in the wall wherever it needs to go. I have a lot of switches coming up for installation (50-70, I guess) and the thought of having to go through this unreliable process makes me want to abandon the idea right there :slight_smile:

Thanks
Markus

I started with Lowes Iris, later converting all my devices over to SystronicsRF when IRIS bit the dust, and have now converted those devices over to HE when SRF stopped its development. So, I have paired all of my Z wave switches in place three times.
I start with the Z wave devices closest to the hub, building out a strong mesh. After that, for Z wave switches that are installed far from my hub, I utilize an extension cord and a long ethernet cable and bring the hub to the switch.
Exclusion and pairing are much less finicky at close quarters. For me, the Z wave mesh has worked itself out over time after I put the hub back in its original location.

It's always best to start pairing nearest out. That said there are always the problem children in which they don't want to pair easily for a variety of reasons. Given all your failed pairings. Look at your z-wave table and check for ghosts. Before going any further, remove those ghosts (Ghosts can be identified by not having anything in the in: or out: clusters). It's imperative. Next, factory reset the switch itself. That way you don't have to worry about exclusion. (though make sure your old hub is powered down). Now if that fails again (again after every failed pairing check for ghost(s), then bring the hub as close as you can. (If you have a schlage lock, pair within 3 feet of eachother). See how that works out for you.

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If you didn't do so already, I suggest checking out the following document:

https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=How_to_Build_a_Solid_Z-Wave_Mesh

Most legacy Z-wave devices (non Z-wave Plus) cannot be included through repeaters, they have to communicate with the hub directly. What model is the dimmer that isn't being discovered?

The disadvantage of including devices near the hub, is that once you move the device or the hub in permanent location, the device may stop working and you will need to add mains powered devices along the way between the hub and respective device, to get it working again.

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I typically pair Z-wave Plus devices either close to a hub or repeater. I do not have any older legacy Z-wave devices that have to be paired with the hub. If it is a device that requires security such as a door lock, then pairing it near the hub is probably going to be necessary, even if you use a repeater later.

Installed devices that require mains power such as wall dimmers and switches are difficult to pair since it is more difficult to get them near the hub unless you bring the hub to them. That is one reason I have avoided Z-wave and Zigbee dimmers and switches. I find that Lutron Caseta Clear Connect devices are easy to pair with the Lutron bridge, but they are not an inexpensive option.

IMHO this is the most important question to answer first.

But that’s probably why they put @bobbyD in charge around here :sunglasses:.

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One interesting trick I learned about ZWave is that you can use any hub to do the exclusion. In other words if you have a ZWave device that was NOT excluded properly from ST and your ST is now in the trash bin, you can still do a ZWave exclude on the switch from HE. Then you can reset it and re-include it.

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Lutron Caseta is my solution. The most solid switches I have encountered. They are proprietary (or at least they don't use ZWave or Zigbee) and require their own hub (the PRO series, by the way), but the integration is excellent and the devices themselves are rock solid. Many of them also don't require neutrals, which is a plus in older homes. They are more expensive but IMHO absolutely worth it.

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One thing to keep in mind. The exclusion has two parts. On one hand, the controller is removed from the device, and on the other, the device is removed from the controller. Performing the exclusion from a different controller than the one the device was included, it will always leave a "ghost" on the original controller (same result as force removing a device without exclusion).

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Ah yes thanks that's a really good point. I've only used that method when the original controller was no longer among the living so ghosts were not a concern. (Pun intended.)

Another trick I've learned is that a stubborn device can be included with a zwave stick. I had a Ring extender I wanted to use for power outage detection (works great by the way) and I could not get the darned thing to pair to HE directly. With the zwave stick and the silicon labs tool it was a piece of cake.

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Yup, I was surprised to discover that also. Kind of a neat feature.

I this case, this does not seem to be the problem though. I still have my ST hub, and I tried to exclude it with that as well as HE repeatedly, but it doesn't show up for exclusion anymore. It did however show up for exclusion the first time I did it, so I think it excluded fine.

Markus

The dimmer/switch is a GE enbrighten Z-Wave+ switch: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08LPFK9WD/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Markus

If you didn't do so already, I suggest checking out the following document: https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=How_to_Build_a_Solid_Z-Wave_Mesh

This was a very good document to read through, thanks. I picked up several tips and details I didn't know before. Cool!

BTW: Is there any kind of tool that provides a visual representation of how the z-wave network/mesh constructed itself? Would be kind of interesting to look at.

Thanks
Markus

There are a couple of tools. I think the most sophisticated is zniffer, a silicon labs tool. I have a spare stick on order but have not played with zniffer yet.

Recommend a UZB-7 or Z-Stick Gen 5** which you can pair to the HE as a "secondary controller". This is good for things like removing ghosts, updating tricky firmware, etc.

https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Silicon-Labs/SLUSB001A?qs=u16ybLDytRbJsMfgk3EnSA%3D%3D

** The Z-Stick is 500 series but contains an internal battery so you can walk around and do remote exclusions and (have not done this) remote no-security pairings. The new 700 series Z-Stick does not appear to have a battery so the UZB-7 seems like a much better deal.

Note: these devices are not strictly necessary but can be very useful when/if things go pear-shaped... :pear:

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Are you calling me out? I refer to it as "My Covid19 20 to 25-ish," and it is a short-term weight issue that I will take care of, as soon as I finish these cheetos...

:wink:

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I would NEVER do something like that!
Seeing as how that would be incredibly hypocritical on my part (sadly) :ice_cream: :pretzel: :fries:

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Not saying it doesn't happen, but the only device I had any issue that seemed to need me to be close to my hub is with a Lutron Aurora button device. Everything else normally will get tested across the house in a room that has decent Zwave coverage. after that i just exclude the device and then pair it again in it's final destination. with that said apart from a few older GE JASCO Zwave Plus devices and some aotec Multisensors it is almost all new Zwave 700 series gear so take that for what it is.

Some important "Rules of the Road" for Z-Wave:

  1. Always add devices in the same state as the hub so they aren't too far away. And yes, as everyone knows, if you are in a tiny state like New Hamshire you can add devices from several states away since you are still pretty close.
  2. Never, ever, add a Z-Wave device when... Wait, shoot, what was it? Just a sec...hmmm. I remember you're really, really not supposed to do something sometimes. Gimme a moment...Arrrgh. Well, just be careful. 'Cause if you do it, it's bad, real bad.
  3. Any time you have a Z-Wave problem, send a ton of PMs and forum postings to @bcopeland, He sort of invented Z-Wave or is made of Z-Wave or something, so he can probably fix your Z-Wave stuff by just staring hard in your direction. (You'll want to tell him your general location so he doesn't stare at a local 7-11 or something.)
  4. Always spell "Z-Wave" with a hyphen and leading caps, never write "Zwave" "Z-wave" or "z-Wave" or "zwave" or "zeeee-wave." Just don't, OK?!
  5. It was very confusing for me at first, but this is big: Z-Wave has nothing to do w/surfing! I know, right?! Totally confusing!! Don't bring up questions about "Hanging 10" or how to "Carve up the wave" or call Z-Wave "Tubular" or you will get teased mercilessly. Ask me how I know.

That's pretty much all you need to be successful w/Z-Wave. You're welcome! Oh, and there was some stuff about ghosts or something.

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Ummm no.. Just a Z-Wave fanboy..

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