Leviton VRCZ4 - initial setup/driver mismatch

Using the Generic Z-Wave switch driver I got the top button (of 4) to work on the VRCZ4.
I don't recall getting anything to work on with the VRCS4 driver.
I had no trouble getting things to pair.

Unfortunately, I will be away for a few months and won't be able to test.

I have 3 VRCZ4s and the only way I was able to get anything out of them was using the VRCS4 driver, but it's not very useful compared to what I was able to do with the VRCZ4s in Vera (could use all 8 buttons independently, the up/down buttons would dim whatever scene you last triggered with one of the 8 buttons, and the built-in load was its own device).

I dunno what it would take either, but any way I could help make these useful in HE I'm up for.

If you can edit, I didn't see how. In Vera I could also control the LEDs independently of the buttons- set them to green, orange, red or off. I used them for presence indicators to show what roommates were home.

I think the Leviton controllers were set up completely differently by Vera - with direct associations so that they would control the target devices directly rather than via the hub. That's also why the dim up/down buttons worked so quickly/directly. I have got these button working in HE - was easier using the "Dimmer Button Controller" app rather than regular "Button Controller", but you're right it's a pale shadow of how they worked under Vera.

To be fair, Vera (micasaverde) probably coded that when these were new cutting edge devices. I don't see a lot of motivation for HE to go to that development effort at this time as I don't think they're very popular now.

Could you get these LED changes to work "out of the box" with vera? I remember seeing reference to this in their forums back in the day, but I didn't think it worked with their standard driver - I never saw how to do it.

It would certainly be nice to have a more capable driver for these under HE - at least being able to use all the buttons on the VRCZ4. Controlling the LEDs would be cool as well if the commands were documented anywhere.

Yes, "out of the box", but with advanced properties. You had to set a property to a value (0=off, 1=green, 2=red, etc). But you could do that within regular scenes without changing anything about how the VRCZ4 was detected out of the box.

Yea, I'd be happy with just button and load function without LED or dimmer functionality (though LEDs and dimmer would be a nice bonus).

Hi all (viz., @michael9, @bobstong, @gta, and @sidestream84),

I've just completed porting my App and Driver for the Leviton VRCZ4-M04 Zone Controller from SmartThings to Hubitat Elevation. I'll probably do some additional tweaking, but you should find the current versions fully functional -- have a try and let me know?

See my posting to App and driver porting to Hubitat...

I've added the app and driver to my HE, but unfortunately my power is out so I can't test yet D:

I don't think they're currently added to my network. Can you easily refresh my memory on how to put them in include/exclude mode? Was it something like holding 1 and 3 (or was that hard reset?)

Thanks, and once power is back and I've got them added, I'll let you know how it goes!

1 Like

I've also installed the app and driver, but haven't taken the plunge yet to try switching over my one zone controller to it - it looks like it works quite differently from the HE scene controller driver (which I just have linked to a button controller app). Is it more based around setting up direct associations between the zone controller buttons and other zwave devices?

1 Like

@mpk I have to apologize for not writing again sooner. I do have your new driver and app hooked up now to my one VRCZ4 (which was previously just using the VRCS4 driver with button controller).

I am not using it to full potential, as TBH I am just triggering hubitat scenes rather than having it associate to specific devices. The scenes are doing a few things like setting specific colors on RGBW bulbs, so I'm not sure how that can be achieved through direct device associations - presumably the VRCZ4 is way too old to know about things like that!

Anyway it works well - I do like that I can once again use the righthand side of the buttons to turn a scene off again.

If I try to switch between scenes a lot, then something does still get confused, but I suspect that might be on the controller side as I see a very different set of messages coming through in the logs (can try to capture if of interest). Sometimes it's laggy or fails to set some devices but again I think that is either the controller, or perhaps just z-wave congestion.

One other thing: it doesn't manage to set the LEDs successfully in this mode. I think it did when I briefly did try a direct device association for one button, but when setting a HE scene, in the logs I see the led setting commands go by twice - the first seems to be setting it appropriately, then another follows right after which sets them all to 0,0,0,0. Here's a log screenshot to show...

1 Like

Hi @gta,

Glad to hear you've tried it, and that it's working for you (mostly, anyways).

It's really designed to work with "zones", where each zone (button) can map to a set of switches (i.e., you can assign multiple switches to a single button). I've never tested it with scenes (or even tried using Hubitat scenes, as yet), so I'm not entirely surprised to hear that it might act up in that situation.

And are you saying the LED issues are limited to scene-oriented use?

I wonder if it might be worth using the actual device-control functionality (which is not based on z-wave associations, BTW) instead of scenes, and then using Rule Machine or some other app to handle the color-changes separately? Otherwise, we could look into how scenes are interacting with the driver/app, if you're game to do some more debugging on your end...

Thanks @mpk - I must say it has actually been working pretty well. Although I mention occasional lags and delays, I get these with the VRCS4 controllers as well, so that is clearly nothing to do with your driver! The most obvious thing you lose with using HE scenes is use of the dim up/down buttons, presumably because the app doesn't know what devices its expected to control (this is fairly apparent in the logs)

I'm not quite sure yet how I would get the behavior I want from the device control model - I guess I've using it in a kind of hybrid zone/scene mode. One button did map well to that device model so I programmed it in that mode for a while, which is where I believe I could see the different LED behavior. With other buttons I want to set some dimmers on while some others off when a button is pressed and I couldn't see how to do that other than via HE scenes. It would certainly also be possible to use a hybrid approach as you suggest, handling some switches directly, and some via Rule Machine triggers - something to think about. But I can also dig more into the scene app interaction.

Sorry about my mention of z-wave associations - that was just an assumption I carried over from how I understood my old Vera controller sets these devices up. They would have you define a set of vera scenes, then map these to the controller buttons, at which time I believe it would program the direct device associations to the controller. Anything that the Leviton controller couldn't handle (such as delayed actions) were handled through the vera in a more "button controller" way. That was all pretty clever, but is super customized to the Leviton command set (clearly they had inside information)

To start with I'll revert one or two buttons from scene to device control mode, and can see what difference that makes to LED behavior. I don't want to change too much as I sense a somewhat low family approval rating with these controller, and I don't want to provoke more confusion!

1 Like

Thanks for the update. No need to apologize about z-wave associations -- there's actually a fair bit vestigial association code in the driver (along with a bunch of scene-oriented event handlers) that I inherited from earlier VRCS4 SmartThings drivers, so a cursory look through the driver source could easily give that impression. And FWIW, I did feel initially that z-wave associations would be the best way to go.

But my approach evolved, necessarily. over time. My first VRCZ4 was actually working with one command-set, but then I couldn't get my second one to respond to those same commands, so I had to shift to a different command strategy.

I did leave all that other stuff in there, though, thinking it might prove useful in future...and I wonder now if you might be able to make profitable use of those scene-handling events?

Definitely curious to follow your progress, in any case. Also curious about the "family approval rating", as I've heard others make similar comments. Personally, I love these controllers, but come to think of it, I suppose the rest of my family isn't all that crazy about them either...

I think the VRCZ4 has lower approval really than the VRCS4, as the two sides per button is a step too far. I know what they do but it's not readily discoverable for others.

But it's also reliability, as - even before under Vera, with the leviton controller doing direct associations to control the other lighting - there are always times you hit a button and nothing happens. Maybe one time out of 10? The controller sits there with its LED blinking stupidly for a long time, and (if lucky) the action occurs a minute later. Could be z-wave mesh issues but I have enough devices around that the mesh should be solid. It's almost like the leviton controller itself has routing amnesia. I don't generally get that problem with my old minimotes, which are doing much the same thing.

I was thinking about this earlier this week as we settled down to watch TV - someone hit the scene controller for the lights and nothing happened. Family comments were literally...

Wife: "These lights were sent to vex me"

Son: "Does it try to read the soul of whoever presses the button or something? Like to see if they're worthy?"

I sometimes think about just replacing them all with Picos, but their button arrangement doesn't really match the leviton capabilities. The four action buttons, PLUS dim up/down, was nice (though I don't at present have that all working with HE). Multi-tap on the pico isn't an answer - it's even less discoverable than the two-sided zone controller buttons!

Well, I don't know...I always thought an on/off rocker switch should be straightforward enough, and having four of them ganged on one unit isn't too much more to ask.

Agreed, though, that performance (reliability) was a huge factor, and here the migration from SmartThings to Hubitat has made a world of difference. While the VRCZ4 buttons are wanting in terms of tactile response, for me (and, I think, my family) the real culprit was always latency -- I mean, anyone can miss flipping a switch on a careless stab, but it was really the having to wait 2 or 3 seconds at times (or even more) before knowing whether you'd succeeded that was the most maddening. With the Hubitat, that's pretty much gone, and even the occasional lag is still sub-second now.

I have to say that your son's quip is perhaps the funniest thing I've heard in a very long time. Please extend my compliments!

Again, although I haven't looked into scenes yet, I could see where they might not work with my current VRCZ4 dimming (up/down) logic, which depends on reading the current level of the connected switch(es) and then looping an increment against that starting level until the button is released -- not sure you can "read" the level of a scene the same way, so maybe that's an issue here?

Might be worth logging the up/down activity of a VRCS4 (if you have one) to see what the message traffic looks like while dimming a scene.

Thanks to all who are working on compatibility issues for VRCZ4 and VRCS4. Seems that methodology of making devices operate is to clone working device drivers. Though I already have quite an investment in VRCZ4s, it made sense first to walk by making the VRCS4 work first because it appears on Hubitat's "Compatible Devices" list; instead of trying to run with VRCZ4. (BTW, Zooz ZEN25 no longer appears on HE's Compatible Devices List (after I purchased 5 units), but that's a separate discussion.)
Inclusion of VRCS4 is a real PITA and hit-or-miss though exclusion is simple and repeatable. Spent many hours including five VRCS4s; typical issue is that VRCS1 usually appears automatically upon inclusion. When editing from the drop-down list to match VRCS4, only 1 button (instead of 6) typically appears in the device list and app, because 1 button applies to VRCS1. I have no idea how to correct this important problem until Hubitat or a user corrects the buggy VRCS4 driver. Has another user been able to fix this problem?
After many hours of time-consuming, non-repeatable VRCS4 inclusion, I finally got all 6 buttons on one device to operate in a repeatable fashion as a button controller.
For new users, below are two tips I discovered the hard way that "hub mesh enebled" must be checked whenever including any device; otherwise, most communicate poorly after including them, even when located within 10 feet of the hub. (Why isn't this the default configuration?)
Also very important to check "Enable Multicast frame parsing" (whatever this means) whenever including each VRCS4; otherwise, debug log indicates that app does not trigger the desired action. (This is an example of time-consuming "tinkering" I had hoped to avoid with HE.)
Cannot proceed until I can determine how to include VRCS4 with the correct device name and 6 buttons. I will be grateful if another user can assist. If I can finally succeed making my VRCS4s operate properly, I will move on to VRCZ4 (again as a button controller, with events stored in HE.) Many thanks for the efforts by all. My last goal will be to control button LED states and colors, if possible.

Well let me know when you get to your VRCZ4s, @bobstong -- should really work without issue, and I'll be happy to help if you do run into any difficulties.

Hi @mpk. I have a VRCZ4 that's working beautifully using your driver and app, though the dimmer doesn't seem to function for me. Is there anything I need to configure for dimming to work? Sometimes when pressing the dim down button it turns off the device I'm trying to dim... sometimes it does nothing. I have a few more of these switches arriving soon and only one do I care about the dimming, so it's not the biggest problem for me but if making a simple change would allow me to use it that would be great,

I tried the driver and app on a IWC600 without much luck. While I know your driver was specifically written for the VRCZ4, have you ever played around with an IWC600? Just curious.

Thanks!
Jason

Hi Jason,

If you take a look at this other thread, you'll see that @dms.md.us reported similar behavior when connecting the VRCZ4 to other z-wave dimmers -- and that while I hadn't noticed it initially, the same thing seems to be happening for me (on the only z-wave dimmer I connect it to) since I migrated my setup from Smartthings to HE.

I'll be looking into whether I can restore proper z-wave dimming shortly (within a few days, I hope?), but in the meantime...what are you controlling? Are they z-wave or zigbee devices?

Almost all of the switches on my 4 VRCZ4s are controlling Philips Hue bulbs (or groups), and they're all dimming perfectly (which is why I hadn't noticed the new issue with the z-wave dimmer). I have a couple of thoughts on what might be happening with the z-wave dimmers, and will let you know what I find.

Oh -- and I'd never heard of the IWC600 before. Looks interesting, but I wouldn't expect the VRCZ4 driver/app will be much use there, as it relies at least in part on proprietary Leviton commands. That said, I'll take a further look at the IWC600 at some point and see if it looks promising...

Thanks for your reply, and sorry for my delayed one. I just now noticed your response.

I am controlling lights via z-wave devices with the VRCZ4; some connected to Aeotec Nano Dimmers, some on Honeywell/Jasco dimming smart plugs and I've also done some testing with Zooz double plugs (non-dimming).

I'd be very interested to see what you find.

Thanks again

Moved from ST to HE. Almost done. Last thing I need to move is the VRCZ4, Saved that for last because I remember what a pain it was to get running in ST. Used your driver and app then and am using them in HE now. What I am finding is that I can't shut the lights off. They go on and work fine, dimmer works, turning the lights off doesn't. This did work in ST. I think it has something to do with with the right side toggles, which are switches 15-18. I don't really need to use the right side of the switches if the left side would do a toggle. BTW. Thank for writing this, you saved me from having a $100 paperweight. Also, for anyone working with these devices. The VRSC4 seems to work fine with the HE Drivers and button controllers, with the exception that you can only use the dimmer (buttons 5 and 6) to dim one device. Or I suppose you could use 5 & 6 for anything you want. I have them set to Dim -5, Dim +5 for one of my lighting groups.

Download the Hubitat app