Is Z-Wave / Hubitat really suitable for real time lighting?

I'm curious whether you ever saw improvements here, or you ultimately gave up on Z-Wave for real time lighting?

I've been struggling with very similar issues on my new Hubitat Z-Wave deployment with around a dozen Zooz Zen7x dimmers and switches. Z-Wave control of those devices is unreliable to the point where I can't use it for any real time scenario.

I've found that I can send simple on/off commands (via Hubitat Device interface) every 3 seconds and a device will respond reliably and pretty instantaneously. But if I start sending commands any faster than that, it's as if the system is overloaded: The device stops responding, and other Z-Wave devices also become inoperable (via Hub) for the next ~30 seconds or so. The Hubitat logs are flooded with status events, far exceeding the number of actual commands issued by me, until things eventually settle down.

The issue is even more pronounced when operating a Groups of Z-Wave devices. The "on" command for a group of four devices will often overload the system in the same way; a quick toggle will bring the system to its knees for about 30 seconds.

I don't think it's a hub processing issue, because while the Z-Wave devices are in their "overloaded" and unresponsive state, I can still control my Hue devices (via Hub) without any issues.

So in my case, it certainly seems like I'm experiencing either a mesh bandwidth issue or the devices themselves are unreliable.

My next step is to relocate the hub. It's currently in a converted garage space, with a lot of pipes and conduit in the walls between it and the main sections of the house. However, I've had a Hue Bridge and Lutron Bridge down there for years without any issues, so it's disconcerting that Hubtiat/Z-Wave would be fussier. Even if things improve with a new hub placement, it makes me less confident/willing to rely on this technology for critical lighting control, and wondering whether I made a mistake going down this road.

Have you updated your Z-Wave radio firmware? Your problem sounds like it could be caused by a specific bug that a recent update fixed. To check, go to Settings > Z-Wave Details, and see if there is a Firmware Update button in the row of buttons just above the table (this will say "Firmware Update" and is not the plain "Update" button in the upper right β€” that's to save/update the radio settings). If it's not there, you are already up-to-date, but there could be additional troubleshooting you can try. If it is there, I would recommend running it.


And it would probably also be beneficial to make your own thread. Post up screenshots of your z-wave details page (Settings -> Z-Wave Details) and the community can take a look. You may have some other mesh issues going on. I have ~40 z-wave devices...most of those are switches and most of those are Zooz with no problems.


Thanks, I'll do that. Wasn't sure of the forum etiquette around here, given my issue/experience was pretty similar to OP.

My experience after lots of testing, the key using a good Zigbee motion sensor (my favorite is the Phillips Hue) to trigger the activation of lights. I tried using a Z-Wave motion sensor and the delay is horrible along with sometimes won’t activate at all. Zigbee, activating either Zigbee or Z-Wave switches, has been 100% reliable.

This is entirely dependent on the quality of your mesh and the quality of the sensor. I have zigbee (Aqara, Hue) and zwave+ (Dome, Fibaro) motion sensors triggering Caseta switches. There's no difference in the time from motion detected to the switch reporting to Hubitat that it is on.


I don't mind you following up on this topic at all.

I didn't ever get it to work well I am afraid. That is despite spending weeks optimising the mesh, using different modules, playing around with USB sticks, re-writing logic etc. It would work well for a bit and then randomly would 'clog' up and start lagging. It had got to the point that my wife and guests hated the system and it had become a joke in the family that I had spent so much money and time on a system that didn't work to turn lights on and off.

In the end I re-wired the entire lighting system to use the the direct switch connections on the Fibaro modules (S1 instead of S2). i.e. The light switches now turn the modules on and off directly without having to go via the hub or using z-wave. There were a few drawbacks to doing it this way but fundamentally my lights now work and family have stopped taking the mick when the visit.

I still use the Hubitat hub but only for non-real-time functions like heating, ventilation and temperatures. I can still turn the lights on and off by z-wave if I want as the Fibaro modules are still connected by z-wave but I don't really ever use that.

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The rule of thumb when dealing with Z-Wave problems (or any problems with hub's performance in general, for that matter) is to best optimize the mix of devices connected to the hub, and not to optimize the hub to work with certain devices. After all, the hub is the conductor of an orchestra. If a musician is playing the wrong notes, are you blaming the conductor, or replace the musician with one that is able to play the notes better?

I can appreciate that but I had spent hundreds of pounds and not an insignificant amount of time building the wiring system in the house around the use of these modules. I had done my research and generally these modules were well regarded and considered compatible with this hub. I chose them because I wanted it to look professional and the Fibaro modules came with DIN mounting so they could be positioned centrally within a consumer unit type enclosure. I purchased them from a vendor that specialises in z-wave kit and they confirmed everything should work and was compatible with the hub.

The first and second fix wiring was all done around these modules being where they were with significant work done by an electrician before plaster boarding. Swapping the modules for something else meant they had to work in exactly the same way, with exactly the same wiring, and exactly the same mounting. It also meant me spending many hundreds more on additional kit that I still could not guarantee would work correctly. I'd already spent hundreds on new button controllers that didn't work any better and I ended up selling those at 25% of their original cost on eBay.

Saying that I should not blame the hub in this situation is a little frustrating. If the Fibaro modules are in your words a poor musician then why are they in your compatible devices list? I do not believe I could have done any more due diligence before buying this kit. I read up, I checked the compatible list, I confirmed with a specialist vendor and boy oh boy did I try to make them work afterwards. I wasn't willing to keep spending good money after bad chasing something that should have worked in the first place.

I have used two previous networks/hubs in the past (SmartThings and LightWaveRF) and both of those systems managed real-time lighting perfectly. They both had other issues (hence wanting to swap to Hubitat) but turning lights on and off when you pressed a button was not one of them. Don't get me wrong - I know some people have made it work but my research suggests a lot haven't. There always seems to be something that the user is to blame for in these situations but as an experienced engineer, computer scientist and developer I worked through every conceivable fix and I still had issues.

Hubitat does real time lighting just fine. That said, from your z-wave table above it shows several ghosts. Have these been removed? If so can you post your updated z-wave details page?


Also, the symptoms that were first shared are indicative of secure devices not communicating properly with the hub, so the additional question is, have devices that were included with S0/S2 encryption that are not locks or garage doors been re-included without encryption?


Two ghosts for sure. The others might be sensors that haven't checked in after the hub was restarted, or they could be ghosts. There are also several sensors included with S0.


Yes - Following advice from people on this forum I removed all the ghost nodes. I swapped everything off S1 on to either S0 or S2. I also removed some non-essential devices as a test to see if I could narrow down the issue. The problem was always that it worked fine for ages, until it randomly didn't. That made it very hard to test because it would work fine for days (maybe weeks) before playing up again.

To be honest, I am happy with the new configuration. The lights are super responsive, never go wrong and work without the hub. The hub does all the background clever stuff like controlling the ventilation, managing the flood defences and heating.

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You don't want s0 at all. And honestly, except for door locks and garage door stuff, everything should be paired with none. S0 is chatty as hell and will crush your mesh. Also lets see your z-wave details page to see what else is going on.


S0 is not no security.

Brought to you by the same folks who named the most convoluted program "Simplicity Studio".


That's what usually happens when the hub gets into an "argument" with a secure device and stalls trying to understand what the device is trying to say. It often happens when a repeater is in the middle, transmitting the messages between the hub and the secure device.

I only have three S0 devices - these are all battery powered flood sensors. I tried with those device turned off totally for several weeks and it did not make any difference at all to the performance of the lighting. I know I can swap them but as I say - the system is working now for what I need it to do so there really is no benefit to my doing so.

The thread got resurrected to ask if I ever got the system working for real-time lighting. I replied to say I did not. I really don't need to tweak the system any more because I don't use it in that way.

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Fair enough. We generate ideas for the user who resurrected the thread. Maybe it is best if a separate thread is created as the mix of your devices don't really match that of what Bret @user924 has... Thanks for sharing your experience.

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2 Battery powered zooz 4-in-1's at s0 will destroy a mesh. We are trying to explore all options here including eliminating encryption all together (except for door locks) and garage door stuff. One device honestly can bring down a z-wave or zigbee mesh. So we start with the simplest thing, then check logs, device parameters, installed apps, etc etc.


A post was split to a new topic: Can a single sensor impact Z-Wave network?