Replace a Z-Wave light swith C-4 hub

Hi there, I am still on our original C-4 hub and I need to replace a failing GE-Jasco Zwave light switch in our kitchen. I am really confused on how best to do this and was hoping that someone could help me understand the steps.

According to: (Z-Wave Manual | Hubitat Documentation) There are a few options including Remove or add a Zwave device. Replace a failed node etc. but i am not sure which way to go. I would love to be able to replace this failing switch as seamlessly as possible.

My system is really very simple and is primarily a google home (hey google) light/heat controller and nothing more. The kitchen switch in question is a 3 way set up with a slave switch on the opposite side of the room which still works perfectly as a manual switch.

I have one rule associated with the main kitchen switch and thats it.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?


If you're on a recent Platform release, Hubitat offers: Swap Apps Device under Settings.

How this helps is that you get the new/replacement switch and Exclude/Include it normally. Go to the Device Info page for it and test away. Once you are convinced its working and not a dud that needs a return, then you can use Swap Apps Device.

Just follow the prompts... select the old (dead) device as it exists now on the left, new device on the right and click Swap Device in all apps button that appears. That's it. Everything that was In Use By for the old switch now appears in the new. You may need to then click around in those apps to use the new switch name. Node-red for example will need the device reselected.

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Adding to the above, this applies to models C-7 and newer only (which I realize it does not say anywhere...that will change :slight_smile: ), which have a significantly different Z-Wave implementation than older models.

In your case second the advice above to use the Swap Apps Device tool. Then, remove the old device. You'll probably have to do a Force Remove unless the old device still works at all. You might be wondering if this will leave a ghost; probably, but I think the C-5 and older are supposed to "match up" and prune ones from the radio that don't exist anymore, or at least they did at one point. You could use third-party software (e.g., Z-Wave PC Controller) with the Z-Wave stick you're using on the C-4 to be sure, though reports of any problems this actually causes is/was a lot rarer on these models than on 700/800 ones.

"Just follow the prompts... select the old (dead) device as it exists now on the left, new device on the right and click Swap Device in all apps button that appears. That's it. Everything that was In Use By for the old switch now appears in the new. You may need to then click around in those apps to use the new switch name. Node-red for example will need the device reselected."

@csteele Thank you for the reply sir. Much appreciated. I could use some clarification on the part(s) in bold above:

Do I just kill power to the light circuit in the kitchen, remove/replace the defective switch, install the new switch and THEN go through those motions? Or am I supposed to exclude the bad switch first, then come back and go through those motions?

" In your case second the advice above to use the [Swap Apps Device](Swap Apps Device | Hubitat Documentation) tool. Then, remove the old device. You'll probably have to do a Force Remove unless the old device still works at all

Thank you for your reply as well @bertabcd1234

That being said, please forgive me for being a bit lame here. Full disclosure, I have not ONCE in nearly 4 years had to change anything in my hub other than swapping out a thermostat with a newer one probably 3 years ago now, so I am flying 100% blind here.

I understand and have located the SwapAppsDevice tool. But I am still unclrear on what to do first (physically replace the switch, or do the swap in the interface)
TO preface that, YES the bad switch still works (sort of). It will not respond to any google home commands like "hey google, kitchen lights off", however, I can (sometimes) operate the switch manually to dim or turn off the kitchen lights. THe manual part is super spotty tho. It works sometimes and does not work most of the time. I can, however, still see the switch entry in the devices tab.

In order to use Swap Apps Device, you'll have to leave the existing switch on your hub (a Z-Wave exclusion, should that work, would remove it). You can get around that by making a temporary virtual dimmer, swapping that out with the defective device first, and then finally swapping that out for your new one after it pairs successfully. (You can then remove the temporary virtual device, too. One note: do not do so from any page you had open before you did the swap, or at least reload the page first to make sure you're still looking at the right device.)

That's a bit more work, but if your existing dimmer responds to Z-Wave at all -- i.e., doesn't make you do a "Force Remove" (an option you'll see appear after 10-15 seconds if it doesn't), though it's not clear from your experience that it does -- then it's technically better since you're guaranteed no ghost. If you try this, make sure you follow the device manual instructions to put the device in Z-Wave exclusion mode, then hit the "Remove" button at the bottom of the device detail page.

Thank you so much for the help with this. I had a busy few days at work and was unable to proceed until today. Turns out that the slave switch was a problem and needed replacing. I got that done yesterday but still had Z-Wave issues, yet no time to dive into it.

Here is where I am at:

  1. created a virtual dimmer as advised.
  2. Used swap devices to swap the original kitchen dimmer to the virtual one.
  3. put the hub in exclusion mode and excluded the original kitchen dimmer.
  4. put the hub into inclusion mode and re-added the original kitchen dimmer, I gave it a new name.
  5. Used swap devices to swap the virtual to the newly added/named dimmer. (this is still the old physical dimmer that I thought had a problem).

Now all is right with the world (sort of) and this kitchen dimmer works as it did before. Google home commands work etc.

My only challenge is that I still have the original instances of this kitchen dimmer as well as the virtual kitchen dimmer in my devices list. I imagine I can remove them somehow?

I probably went about this the wrong way, but I was not willing to throw in the towel on the physical dimmer switch without at least testing it to see if it in fact was bad, particularly once I discovered that the slave switch was indeed malfunctioning. At nearly $40.00 a piece, I was not going down without a fight on this one.

So the question is, can I somehow remove these (virtual and original) instances from my devices list?

Thanks again for your help! It is much appreciated!

The original one should no longer be there if you did this:

What exactly happened when you did that? (Even a "Force Remove" should have removed it, but it should have been either that, regular exclusion, or nothing--and only the last should have resulted in the described outcome.)

However, yes, you can remove them. The virtual device should be easy; just use the "Remove" button at the bottom of its device detail page. For the original Z-Wave device, the same should ultimately work, but you'll likely have to wait 10-15 seconds for the "Force Remove" option to appear, as it defaults to wanting a proper Z-Wave exclusion, which is likely no longer possible for your device. In either case, pay attention to any "In use by" apps you see on the page, which it will also warn you about (if there are any) before removal. Make sure the new device was really swapped out in any of those apps if so.


Ok I apologize for not following directions specifically, but as I mentioned, I wanted to try and see if the original dimmer was actually bad, or if the failure (mechanically) of the slave switch caused the issue somehow. I admit to not being very saavy with Hubitat so again, I apologize.

That being said, what happened when I excluded the original kitchen dimmer, was I put the Hubitat into exclusion mode, then hit the on side of the switch, and Hubitat showed "unknown device excluded" or something to that effect. At that point, I tried to put the dimmer switch into factory reset mode (tap on 3 times, then tap off 3 times and LED should blink 5 times), however, I was unable to get the dimmer into factory reset mode, IE I never saw the 5 blinks.

From there, I performed the Z-Wave include or add step, and added this dimmer back into the mix, whereby Hubitat reported the proper name and type of switch etc. (Not "unknown Z-Wave device"). At that point, as mentioned, I did the swap device step from the virtual switch to this one and it all worked.

I never actually tried a "remove device" action because I didn't want to cause any issues, since the excluded and readded switch was now working like it always has.

SO.... At this point, I just followed your remove device steps above and BOTH the virtual and original instances are gone from the devices menu! I also renamed the new Kitchen dimmer switch (instance) successfully, so I think I am good?

I am one of those people who once I have spent the time to get something up and running the way I like it, I tend to walk away, and then the familiarity with how I actually got there seems to get purged from my brain, which is exactly the case here. I bought these switches and my Hubitat in 2019, spent a week getting it sorted out, and aside from the occasional hard reboot, have never once had to "fix" anything, so it has been 4 years that I have not had to think about it really, which is saying something for how well these (Hubitat) systems are designed. I am a fantastic example of: "Hubitat seems to be idiot proof".

It seems like you're good!

The only odd thing is that even doing a general exclusion should have listed the specific device you excluded if the device was still on your hub (i.e., it was a Z-Wave device with a node ID your hub knows about). You'll see "unknown Z-Wave device" if not. This message is "normal" in that case and doesn't mean there is something wrong with the device itself. This normally also including devices that were factory reset if you happened to have already tried that--one reason this could have happened, the other being Z-Wave problems with the device itself, I suppose (perhaps the cause of all of these problems). It's also possible the C-4 just always does this if excluded that way; it's been a while since I've used Z-Wave on one.

In any case, seems like you've got it all sorted out now!

Yes sir, and again, thank you so much!

I am REALLY inclined, or rather, would really like to upgrade to one of the newer devices that has Z-Wave and Zigbee built in, so I can do away with the dongle hangin off the side of my hub, but I am really apprehensive about having to go through all of the programming steps again. I do not have a week to spend getting all this dialed in again.

My C4 is on the latest firmware/software. I have kept that all up to date, so if you have any tips/tricks for (reasonably painlessly) miigrating from C4 to C7 or whatever the latest/greatest is, I am all ears brother.

Thank you very much for your patience and help with this issue! I do genuinely appreciate you!

P.S. I did NOT try a factory reset prior to doing the exclude, which was after I created the virtual dimmer and performed the swap devices step.

The only way to migrate a C-4, unless you happen to be using a ZWave.Me stick (not the Nortek Zigbee/Z-Wave combo stick you probably have if you're in the US) is basically manually, though you can restore a backup, pair all of your devices again, and use "Swap Apps Device" like you just did to get all your old Z-Wave devices working again. Zigbee is a bit easier since you only have to reset/re-pair (unlike Z-Wave, it also knows a factory-set ID for the Zigbee device and will recognize it as the same device upon re-pairing). Devices that create "child devices" will still be extra work for Z-Wave, as the Swap tool does not handle those, but these tend to be a small subset of devices, if any, on most hubs.

So...still not easy, but not quite as hard as doing everything again. :smiley: But nothing wrong with keeping your C-4 until it stops working! I still have a couple earlier models myself, though they're just for testing things at this point.

Copy that. I have no complaints with my C4, it does everything we need it to do, which is very simple automation like turning outside lights on/off at set times, giving us voice control over lights through google home and allowing us to say "hey google, make it warmer" in the winter time when we use the forced air heat. Beyond that, we don't have any special requirements. I can't even think of what else I might need/want out of this thing. We don't use smart locks or RGB lighting anywhere, so yeah, if it aint broke, don't fix it !!

Thanks again!!!