USB Radio


#1

Out of curiosity, how come the Hubitat hub uses an external USB ZWave/Zigbee radio?


#2
  1. Since HE is available internationally it allows for different radio configurations without different chassis.

  2. If the stick were to "die" it would allow replacement much more economically.

  3. When technology changes (z-wave 700 series/zigbee 3.0) it would potentially allow a relatively easy upgrade path.

  4. Flexibility on placement, many of us are using usb extensions to allow the antenna's to be located in a better location than were the HE itself is installed.

I'm sure there are other benefits too!


#3

I found flexibility of placement to be a nice feature to have. Moving the stick 6 feet away from the hub made a good difference with the zigbees.


#4

While the above are reasons it may be helpful currently or in the future, there's also a practical reason: the Hubitat hub was not designed by Hubitat. It was designed (and is still sold as) an Android media box by another manufacturer. This also explains the extra general-purpose ports like HDMI and IR that are not used by Hubitat. I think they said they're working on getting a revision made that no longer includes these, but in any case, the fact that they didn't design or manufacture the hardware themselves explains why there's not a built-in ZigBee or Z-Wave radio in this particular hardware. :slight_smile: (That being said, I have both a relatively recent hub and one of the first few dozen they ever sold, and in the meantime they've apparently managed to get their own branding on it, a nice touch. The fact that it can be much more easily adapted for different markets and in case of radio failure is a nice benefit, though with Z-Wave so much is stored on the stick itself that a replacement stick would hardly be much better than a replacement hub.)


#5

That's what I was wondering. I was sort of wondering if I could use my own hardware (ie. one of the multitude of raspberry pi's collecting dust) :slight_smile:


#6

Nope, someone asked a while back if they'd consider selling a VM or similar of the software than can be run on arbitrary hardware--their answer, understandably, was a no. :slight_smile: I bought a second, stickless hub for development and testing (there's a discount available for that purpose, stickless or not, if you're interested), which is the only purpose I could see that being useful for anyway.

I have two Pi boxes sitting around myself--one still running Home Assistant (which I intended Hubitat to replace, and it has for all device pairing and logic, but I really like the cute device-history graphs it provides and I haven't been able to make any other solution work reliably for me). Would be nice to just run the software on the second, but I'll settle for it more or less just collecting dust too (and being used with little success to try to get Grafana working before I try to replicate a successful setup on my main Pi).


#7

Something else that's not mentioned here---certain other external sticks (Aeotec) let you remove the USB stick, walk over to a Z-Wave device that can't be moved, and join it to a network.
Part of me wishes the stick in Hubitat would allow that ... but it's never been a big deal for me.


#8

I definitely wish it supported more functional sticks like the aeotec. But I knew it didn't when I bought HE, so I'm not complaining.


#9

You can run it in EU mode. You can install an Aeon Z-Stick in a 2nd USB slot and Hubitat will use that in place of the Nortek ZWave. The Nortek becomes a Zigbee only stick.

But that doesn't really solve your joining problem. Unplugging the Aeon ZStick and joining a device to it does NOT add it to the Hub's DB. (Because it's not connected at the time.) When you plug the Z-Stick back in, the hub can determine there's a new device. I don't know what the current Hub Firmware does in this circumstance. 9 months ago, an "initialize" button popped up next to the device in the ZWave Info screen. I think you trade one problem for another.

EDIT: this post assumes you're not going to do this, because it leaves off 100% of the trouble of swapping ZWave Controllers.


#10

I'm definitely not going to do it. :smile:

I was really just pontificating that it would be nice to use an aeotec stick. But that is really only true if you could do the remote include. If not, then it wouldn't be interesting to me.

I'm happy with how it work now, so it was no more than a passing thought.


#11

Yea I really wish I could give it an entire Intel NUC to run wild and free.