Sudden loss of communication - 3 Z-Wave devices

For the past week or so all of my basic automation tasks were working damn-near perfectly. I've only been using HE for a couple of weeks and did make some tweaks to the Z-Wave mesh along the way to make things run a little smoother., I ran a Z-Wave repair after the last change (6+ days ago) and since then everything has been great.

Cut-to yesterday...

I have a detached garage which is probably 40-45 feet from the house. The HE hub is currently sitting in my office, which is in the back of the house facing the garage. On a little bumpout, maybe 10 feet closer to the garage is the back door and just outside of that is an Inovelli RGBW Z-Wave Plus bulb.

Moving to the garage, closest to the house there is a GE Smart Dimmer (Z-Wave, but not Plus) and then in the middle of the garage (maybe 12 feet from the dimmer) on the ceiling is a GE Enbrighten Outlet (Z-Wave Plus).

The dimmer and RGBW bulb are used in very simple automation rules. Turn on at sunset, off at sunrise, that's it. The switch is just for remote control of the garage door and has only been used twice beyond testing.

Again, all of these worked great for the past week but then yesterday the RGBW bulb and the dimmer failed to respond when HE asked them to turn on at sunset. I noticed it later in the evening and was able to send another command to the RGBW bulb to turn on, which it did after around 30 seconds. I could not get the dimmer to respond at all. When I checked the outlet, it was showing as "on" when it should always be "off" and I could not get it to respond to a command or refresh its current state.

This morning I tried again and still no response from any of the three devices. The light that I turned on via command did not turn off on schedule and required another forced command to turn off. I tried turning off the power to the garage to try and re-establish communication but so far nothing. I also tried another Z-Wave repair but so far nothing.

In the Z-Wave details page on HE it shows attempts to send communications but doesn't show a timely response from the three devices.

No variables have changed in the past week, haven't moved the hub or any of the devices. Any ideas on what to try?

Welcome to the challenges of z-wave. Z-wave plus will self heal. I often wonder if a self healing mesh will eventually exclude using a regular zwave device in a route? I have a zniffer. I should fire that up and experiment a bit. I am yet to find an answer to that question. I've done a lot of research on mesh networks as my environment used to really struggle with this same issue. You should really check out the rest of your devices for reliability since some of your mesh is being affected by something yet to be determined. Could be a device struggling to communicate and drowning out regular communications. My first question is: do you have any Z-wave locks? If so, are they responding ok? They require specific attention. If you have this distance between your garage and hub, it might do you some good to add a dedicated repeater. Especially if you've got any zwave locks. You'll need beaming to ensure that those locks don't shut down your mesh. Could you expand on the devices you have in your mesh? Do you have several powered mains in your environment? I'm curious of the big picture. You may wonder why, so I'll tell you that I have taken a particular interest in mesh topology and challenges. And, I'd like to make sure that the advice you get on this takes your environment into consideration instead of just the single path that is giving you problem.

I'll start at the front and work my way back to the garage, which is a bit further than I thought. In BOLD I'll put devices that are hardwired to mains.

Aeotec DSC06106 --13ft--> Aeotec DSC06106 --23ft--> HE Hub --14ft--> Inovelli Bulb Multi-Color LZW42 --65ft--> JASCO / GE - 12724 Dimmer --10ft--> Jasco 14288 Smart Outlet

Actually now I'm seeing that all of my battery devices are Zigbee lol.

Is this everything in your environment? Or just what you have in between point A and point B?

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That’s actually everything Z-Wave in my system. The rest of my stuff is Zigbee or Hue

ohhh ... then I see that as a problem. Are you planning on growing your z-wave mesh?
See, the reason you're probably having problems is because z-wave will only take 4 hops to a device. that's a long ways to go and even further to reduce to 4 hops. Include obstructions and you have a recipe for failure there. . Z-wave likes to have 3-4 good paths of communication to ensure that the hub will receive the messages, so having a limited number of z-wave devices, you're kind've telling an obstinate child what to do. I don't know if that bulb would make a good repeater. General rule of thumb is not to rely on bulbs as repeaters. You could always add a range extender and see if that helps.

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I'm always looking to expand automation capability lol. Unfortunately it's a rather small 2-BR house so there's not too much left worth automating lol.

I do have an Inovelli Red Series dimmer I haven't deployed yet Might go ahead and replace the garage dimmer with the red series to put another Z-Wave Plus device in the garage. I'll also look into picking up some repeaters.

Thanks for the help. Things have been somewhat working again since the last Z-Wave Repair but still not great.

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If you're looking into getting repeaters, the ones that worked for me were the aeotec 6's. I would have preferred the 7's but they're almost impossible to get right now. I've also had luck with the cheapo enerwave zwave plus plug with beaming. That might solve your issue without having to struggle to figure out what to automate. My personal opinion is if it can be smart, make it smart. no matter how small the project.
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