Just cancelled my Wink : lessons learned in the conversion

Really recalcitrant, lazy now-ex-Wink person here.

Just cancelled my 'subscription' over there, saving around $60 a year. I spent $380 on the Hubitat, the Lutron accessory hub, and a pile of Pico remotes off eBay. So the payback period is a little over 6 years.

So far, other than what may well have been an eventually necessary un-tethering myself from Wink and the small monthly cash savings, the main benefit I have seen is slightly faster response time on the 'replacement' for Wink Robots.

Hubitat Wife-Acceptance-Factor so far is: slightly-less-than parity with Wink, but quite acceptable. Pluses are the mentioned improved response speeds; cons have been the now-5-button Picos and the loss of the intuitive mobile app.

Same house, 30+ years, went from X10 to ZWave in phases, starting around around 2009.

Had 61 ZWave devices to cut over, plus bunches of other stuff. Zigbee, etc. All of it is now on Hubitat, and only the Somfy ZRTSI blinds controller is part of at least some automation. I'll cover a few topics here to maybe help someone else managing their extensive cut-over to Hubitat.

First topic:

All but a very few of the 61 ZWave devices were NOT Zwave Plus.

This means I found out, quickly, that Wink automatically 'polled' these older devices which, among other things, do not 'speak' when manually activated.

Translation: Hubitat does not automatically have an idea that someone has flipped a switch or controlled a dimmer.

So if you are away from the house, with Hubitat, you cannot look at a mobile app and expect to see if you left something on that wasn't supposed to be on, or make sure that something IS on that isn't. And, you can't automatically use a switch-flip as a (conditional) trigger for something else.

There is a polling tool in Hubitat that DOES re-create the above capabilities however it must be applied judiciously lest your new network (which is more reliant on the mesh of ZWave than Wink's was) slow down too much.

Net of this is, if you expected a superset of Wink functionality with Hubitat, but you have legacy ZWave stuff, you'll need to do some thinking, or some more spending, or both.

Next topic:

Use of the Hubitat hub running on a portable cell-phone battery boost pack ... this is a key tool to have when re-jiggering your ZWave system all around your house. Because your ZWave gadgets need to be at point-blank range with the Hubitat hub when recommissioning these various devices, having a LONG Ethernet cable and the hub on a battery pack saved the day.

The Hubitat hub doesn't have integral WiFi like the Wink 2 hub did, so, it needs network connectivity and there are several ways to do this. I chose the easy one, a plain old cable. Still it took me two full days to do the cut-over in a rather sizable home.

My larger-size Anker (supposedly 10 amp-hour but not really) Powercore 10000 battery pack lasted the two days, with ease. The Hubitat hub draws a nominal 170 milliamps when it's just sitting about and blips higher when it's either talking or booting up. Peaks are about 310 mA. Use the Hubitat tool to gracefully shut down the hub when needed.

Next topic:

The Hubitat hub has a smaller first-hop radius of ZWave devices than the Wink did. Several possible reasons for this. But ultimately it doesn't matter. The ZWave mesh can take care of any anomalies and coverage differences and this tech is covered here quite thoroughly in other postings, documentation, etc.

What you DO have to know is that if you want the ZWave mesh tools (automated or manual 'repair' facility) to work well, leave your polling OFF while that's happening. Also, leave it alone for at least 24 hours while it sorts itself out. Running manual 'repairs' to hasten the process is no panacea.

And, don't use polling if the target ZWave devices are logging in at 9.6 kbps speed. Ideally, none of your network will be running at less than the 40 kbps link speed.

Last topic:

Hubitat knows about LOTS of devices and when you bring them in, it automatically shows on the screen what it thinks you have there. Cool!

However, despite the fact that (many of?) the ZWave gadgets send their manufacturer or other codes, the Hubitat doesn't know what they are. They register as 'device.'

You have to recognize this ... there's no warning message or pop-up ... or else the 'devices' just sit there. Hubitat can't control them until you manually intervene and TELL the software what they are. That makes sense, but how do you know what setting or 'generic' device you should pick?

Well, you don't know. You could always ask here, I guess. Or you can experiment with intelligent guesses.

I would be happy to go through my device inventory and share with Hubitat the manufacturer codes I have here, so future users trying to connect Enerwave ZW500 or Linear ZWave dimmers or what-have-you don't get the dreaded 'device' tag.

Okay. Enough for now.

Hopefully this information is helpful for somebody else. It would have been helpful for me a week ago.


Keep in mind that you (or your wife) can use the Lutron App to control anything that's on the Lutron system. It's a very pretty (but simple) app organized by rooms.

Thanks. I had considered this.
I have not figured out how to show the non-Lutron stuff on that app.
And, I still have the polling problem for the non-ZWave-Plus gear.
So, I didn't even show the Lutron app to her.

I don't think you can put the non-Lutron stuff on there. I haven't seen a way. I just replaced all the dimmers and switches with Lutron - that way it wasn't an issue! :grin: