Restoring a backup to a new hub

If for some reason my hub was to develop a hardware issue that requires it to be replaced, will restoring a backup on the new hub retain all the devices that were paired with the original one?

I believe you'll need to re-pair your Z-Wave devices. I thought I read on here that Zigbee devices might not need to be re-paired.

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If you have a C4 hub, the one with a USB stick, and encounter a hub issue, you can put the usb stick in a new hub and restore the database and be up and running in no time. C5 hubs with internal Zwave and Zigbee don’t have the capability but HE staff have mentioned they will explore a migration utility at some point.


Alas, you will: Zigbee devices remember the address of their coordinator (the hub or stick), so unless you have a C4 (or C3) and move the USB stick to a new hub, that will change. But the good news is that if you restore your hub database, it will include the device list and will have remembered the (factory-set) MAC addresses of your Zigbee devices, then when you reset/re-pair the Zigbee devices, they'll fall right back into place in the Hubitat device list and any apps/automations they were included in, since Hubitat will recognize and simply "reinitialize" them.

With Z-Wave, we are not so lucky (though with a stick, third-party tools can already do backups and similar). But staff have indicated such backup/restore features are on their radar.


Yeah, learned that the hard way last night when I got my replacement HE after bricking my first hub trying to downgrade the firmware because of new pairing problems :pensive:

After I had a dead ST hub last year replaced partly due to their Classic transition - and painfully had to exclude and re-include everything - Backup/Restore was one of the key features that got me looking to Hubitat!

So I restore my offline backup file, rejoice at seeing my Device List show back up ... then become perplexed that none of them actually work ... then realize the Z-Wave Radio list is still empty in Settings.

So while I can see Backup is definitely cool for a developer or a constant app tweaker, why even allow a backup to be restored to a replacement hub if the devices are never going to match IDs with various apps and rules anyway?

After all the pain & agony of device re-inclusion to my replacement ST hub, I was about to box it back up, return it, and jump to a competitor if I had to do all that work again anyway. Nobody else I found at the time had Backup/Restore so figured I'd stick with ST again. Hubitat is so close with Backup and so much local control, especially if they can offer automatic offline backup to an FTP location or Google Drive or something.

Boy I can see where that USB stick was a great idea. So does HE's Z-wave radio not allow raw setting of device registers/data/etc? If not, a daughtercard or something seems would've been a GOOD idea.

Do you have any Zigbee devices? I think your problem is unique to Z-Wave. Zigbee devices will need to be re-paired, but the hub should recognize them (and put them back into apps/automations, etc.) because it also knows their factory-set MAC, sort of like what already happens if you reset and re-pair a Zigbee device to a functioning hub. LAN, of course, should also be fine. You'll still need to put in that effort (the devices remember the hub/coordinator ID so won't work if that changes--not much Hubitat can do there), but at least it should be possible.

Z-Wave doesn't do that, so you're unfortunately out of luck, unless, of course, you have a the stick and could move that to the new hub. Staff has commented before that backup/restore tools for this are on their radar, so I think your concerns will (eventually) be addressed. If both of your hubs are the C5 model, I'm not sure there's an easy way for you to do this now (and probably not any way at all if your old hub is a C5 and completely dead). Hopefully this will be sorted out at some point. If your old hub was a C4, you can still use the stick on the C5, assuming that's not the part that died.

You might already know this--just some ideas if you didn't. In any case, it does appear these issues are on track to be addressed. But as with most things, we don't know when. :slight_smile:

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100% Z-wave here, no Zigbee. So once the IDs are changed after all the pain of exclusion/re-inclusion all of your rules are going to break badly as well as tiles, etc, correct?

If I understand correctly (now) Aeotec's Z-Stick allows true backup and restore of pre-discovered devices to a replacement stick. I don't know what Z-wave chips HE uses vs. Z-Stick but a restore of the radio certainly seems technically possible.

Of course, a "full" backup for restore to a replacement HE is not going to be very useful if you forget to backup the image file to somewhere other than the failed HE. So such a backup feature would at least need online backup access like Google Drive.

An Aeon Z-Stick can be used to get a copy of the internal ZWave radio DB and then keep backups. It's also true that the Z-Stick can be inserted into the USB plug of the C-5 hub using a Y type cable. Just like the C-4, the 2nd ZWave device takes over.

Assuming the connect-the-dots reading was interpreted correctly by me. :slight_smile:

An Aeon Z-Stick can be used to get a copy of the internal ZWave radio DB and then keep backups. It's also true that the Z-Stick can be inserted into the USB plug of the C-5 hub using a Y type cable. Just like the C-4, the 2nd ZWave device takes over.

Wait. What?

If I have already discovered devices I can just slap a Z-Stick on a Y splitter and the C-5 magically copies over the radio list and Z-Stick takes over? Or should I have discovered everything on the Z-stick first and the C-5 just uses it instead of the internal radio?

The idea here is no single point of failure. If the hub fails, move the stick to the replacement hub (just like I understand years past). But if I find the stick fails, I'd need the internal radio to pick up as soon as I unplugged the stick <- but I assume that is not how it works.


You need to make a copy of the Internal (working) ZWave stick. That's done via OZWCP or Zentools. Aeon Backup allows you to save/restore a copy. So you make the copy, back it up, and then the next time you copy, it makes the stick empty first, then the copy.

If you find yourself with a new, replacement hub, you can either use the data on the 2nd Z-Stick or restore it, THEN plug it into the Y cable (purchased separately) and just as with the 2nd ZStick on the C4, the C5 will also 'magically' use the Z-Stick.

Again, it presumes I read correctly, to simplify down to the above.

OK, forgive me. This is my first month on Hubitat (from ST) and only with a C-5 that I have already managed to brick the first one in the first couple weeks :worried:

So what is the "Internal" stick? You mean the internal C-5 radio? How would I make a backup with Zentools of that?

I'm assuming you mean I need to go buy a Z-Stick, Y-cable it to become the primary (and only) radio for the C-5 from now on, start over adding all devices to it instead of to the internal radio, THEN when all devices stable back up the stick with these PC tools, yes?

So if the stick dies some day I have a manual backup to restore to a replacement Z-stick. If the hub dies, I move the stick and restore the HE DB (ie, device prefs, rules, etc) that should match back up with the stick radio's IDs. Correct?

The C-4 used an external Zigbee + ZWave USB stick. We'll ignore the C-4 because you don't have one, and swapping is trivial. :slight_smile: However, the C-4 taught us that adding a 2nd ZStick would allow that 2nd stick to become the ONLY ZWave radio. This is still how Hubitat ships Hubs to non-USA frequency locations.

Yes, buy both. :slight_smile:

While you're waiting for delivery, build a computer to run either ZenTools or OZWCP. ZenTools is a windows program and I have successfully built a working one via a Virtual PC (VirtualBox on my Mac.) OZWCP (Open ZWave Control Panel) runs on many platforms, rPi is popular.

Both tools are low level Stick only tools to allow you to manipulate a ZWave stick and it's contents. You begin by clearing it if it isn't already and joining your Hubitat ZWave network as a 'secondary controller.' That process causes the 'primary controller' inside Hubitat to send it's entire DB of Z-devices to the 'secondary controller' and thus you've duplicated the internal 'stick'. Aeon distributes a backup tool (windows only) and you close ZenTools and start the Aeon tool and you have a disk copy of the Hubitat ZWave stick's DB of devices. The Aeon ZStick still has a copy, it's good to go, but if the first step is clear it, and the 'join as secondary' fails, you have nothing.

If the HUB dies, with the internal ZWave radio component (stick) gone too.. then when you get the replacement hub, you plug it in, register it, and restore your backup of the Hub's DB (related to the stick's DB but NOT the same.) Then you cable up the Aeon Zstick with its backup and you should be off to the races.

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OK, you "duplicated" the radio devices via secondary pairing/inclusion. But don't you have to somehow "shift" the Aeon Z-stick to become the primary controller and leave it plugged into the C-5?

Otherwise regardless of backing up the Z-stick later or not, if I just plug that Z-stick w/splitter into a replacement C-5 some day, the stick is still not the primary SIC/SUS. The new C-5's internal radio will (want to only) be primary and I'd have to somehow shift back the Z-sticks secondary radio list, correct?

OK @csteele, my Z-Stick Gen5 and Y-cable have finally arrived once the visiting in-laws went home from vacation here :slightly_smiling_face: So if I understand you correctly:

  1. Finish device discovery on just the C5 hub as normal
  2. Once finished keep the Zstick separate and include it as a secondary controller to the C5.
  3. Once the C5's radio device list is replicated to the Z-stick then do an NVRAM backup of it with Zensys Tools on a PC. And do this after any new Zwave device is added to the C5 radio and healed (re-replicated) over to the Zstick.

Now, only sometime down the road should the C5 hub completely die or somehow lose its radio list, come that day then attach the Zstick thru the Y cable from then on? If I understand you correctly the new replacement C-5 (with fresh blank radio list) will see the Zstick attached and leverage it instead of the internal radio. Since the radio IDs should match, all my automations, etc. should survive once I restore my last offline HE backup made from the dead C5, correct?

So after the new C5's "adoption" does it then treat the Zstick as a shifted primary controller? Somebody has to be the SIS to issue new node IDs since the dead C5 controller was the one and only SIS/primary.

The automations will work because the hub is sending the commands and will receive the ACKs. You can see/test this when you have the ZStick added and still on Zensys. Turn lights on and off with glee. :slight_smile:

You can use Zensys Tools to shift the primary.

One day, all of that will be in Hubitat, but no date has been announced. It's one of those things that I'd wish they spoke of more, mostly so my "Advice" was more like what they were hoping. it would give them a great out too.. "oh that CSteele.. he sure read that wrong." :smiley:

So am I even understanding this correctly?

  • For now I am simply making the Z-stick a secondary controller replicating the C5 radio's device list. I do NOT actually Y-cable it to the C5 today which is running as primary controller
  • I am backing up the Zstick NVRAM with Zensys on PC in case some day the Zstick fails instead so I can restore it (but wouldn't I just include the replacement Zstick as another secondary?)
  • Adding any new devices down the road just do normally with C5 and heal/replicate updated list to Zstick
  • Come the dark day my C5 might die then I Y-cable the Zstick onto my replacement C5 (and of course restore an offline HE backup of the device/rule DB)?

If my reading matches your explainin' then yes. :slight_smile: You would never Y cable it to a Hub until it's needed. The hub will only talk to ONE Zstick at a time. One attached to the Y shuts off the internal.

Yeah, I think the key misunderstanding here was simply including the Zstick as secondary controller for now while everything is hunky dory. No Y-cable/USB of the Zstick immediately necessary. If the Zstick should die first, simply force exclude the dead Zstick from the C5 and include the replacement Zstick as a new replicated secondary of the C5 primary.

THEN come the day the C5 hub should die then you're stuck with no means to restore the internal radio's device list. THEN you need to Y-cable the Zstick and start making sure it's NVRAM is regularly backed up in case the Zstick dies some day as well.

There is still my confusion about how the Zstick radio thinks it is now the primary once Y'd into USB ... but let's hope by then Hubitat realizes they will provide great peace of mind by having a radio backup. As I've said elsewhere, losing all my devices on ST and having to recreate all of automations due to new device IDs is what got me looking at competition that could do backups! Thought HE had it all, but not quite yet.

For what it's worth, I had a C4 hub with a Z-Stick that I paired a bunch of devices to. I then tried to restore that hub database (so I got the device list) and move the Z-Stick (so I got the actual devices/nodes) and the result was...less than stellar. First, confusingly, Settings > Hub Details reported that the hub I restored it to was a C4 like the original (it's actually a C3). Second, it took at least a day or so for the hub name (which I changed after restoring since it was restored to the other) to update in Portal and on the mobile app, so it was hard to tell which one was the "real" hub, aside from the Portal showing me the IP address that I knew was correct since mine are reserved by MAC (perhaps my mistake here was not immediately full-resetting the "source" hub). I also had cloud connectivity issues. Installing Hubitat Dashboard (new to this hub, not restored) and creating a test child dashboard failed when I used the cloud link with an invalid token, and the Alexa skill and other cloud-endpoint-dependent apps didn't seem to work, either. I imagine this was all related to hub-registration issues, maybe it thinking one hub was another (I don't think the backup that was restored was from a registered hub, but the hub it was restored to was). Support told me they didn't think "de-registering" it (I don't think we have a way to do this ourselves) and letting me register it again as I suggested would fix the problem.

I ended up just doing a full reset on the hub (including the stick) and pairing everything again because I figured that would be less trouble in the long run. It was a bit of work, but everything is working well so far. If we had a way to selectively restore hub databases, being able restore apps/automations (so you can just fill in any missing devices) would be great, but I'm still in the process of re-creating some of those, which I was planning on doing anyway since my goal with all of this was to re-do my "main" Hubitat hub that I've had since days after they launched and was probably full of custom drivers I didn't need anymore, phantom Z-Wave devices I paired in the early days, and poorly-written-because-I-didn't-know-what-I-was-doing-yet rules. I was just hoping to make it a bit easier on myself by pairing Z-Wave devices to a temporary hub while LAN automations and whatnot kept running on my "main" hub, then switching their roles back.

Anyway, hopefully whatever backup tools Hubitat gives us work better than the way I tried to do it myself and the way that seems to have been suggested (I didn't back up my stick but probably will still at some point, anyway--it didn't die, I just wanted to move hubs). But in any case, hopefully this is a rare occurrence. Mine was definitely self-induced and I don't mind. It does make me appreciate the way Zigbee pairings work a lot more, though. :slight_smile:

Yes, my results with the Z-stick were "less than stellar" as well :worried:

First I connected the Z-stick on the OTG Y-cable to my factory-wiped C5 hub and included just one lock and one light. Intention was the Z-stick would take over as the radio from the start and from time to time I just unplug to back up the radio NVRAM to a PC. Nope. After unplugging the Z-stick and rebooting the hub turns out the hub's radio was doing the device inclusion all along.

... Strike One

So was curious to make the Z-stick a secondary controller after first including all devices to the C5's radio. Could I at least back that secondary radio up as well as slap the Z-stick into a replacement C5 hub should it die?

Well, right off the bat I could see the Z-stick was not getting the locks and garage opener replicated correctly (have a separate thread on a C5 primary not handling security keys with a secondary)

... Strike Two

BUT lights and switches all replicated and worked from Z-stick (as expected from any secondary controller). Sooo, moment of truth - I backed up the HE database, then factory-wiped my C5 hub again as if it was a replacement. Plugged in the OTG cable and Z-stick and booted up. Lo and behold, I had radio devices listed in Settings > Zwave! Next did a database Restore and my apps all worked because the radio IDs were all the same. Still no locks/garage working, so I figured, hey, re-including those is better than everything all over ... and then things got weird.

I did a successful secure include of the lock from the C5 interface ... but it still didn't unlock. I was successfully including just a basic dimmer ... yet no function, either. From morbid curiosity I unplugged the Z-stick from OTG and rebooted the hub. Oh yay, now C5's radio list contains just an ID for lock and for dimmer and none of the other original devices, yet neither work. And that's when I figured, yeah, Hubitat has no intention of the C5 somehow using the Z-stick to move between hubs as was assumed earlier in this thread :worried:

... Strike Three

So here I am not much better off than my ST hub should my HE/C5 die. What good is only restoring your apps/settings from offline backup to a replacement hub if the radio devices cannot be restored first?

Hubitat - You guys got so close to true backup. What does it take to back up the C5's built-in radio NVRAM? There is an API for that per Zensys Tools!