What are your battery backup strategies for Hubitat and network?

We lost power during the recent tornado episode. I think my Google Fiber would have worked if everything were powered up. I have battery backup/surge suppression for less than an hour on my UDMP and network stuff.

I'm not going for a whole-house generator or battery backup so most lights and 120v/240v devices won't work anyway.

It seems like when the power came back on the system was randomly dysfunctional and I had to fiddle with some Z-Wave devices and Zigbee motion sensors (battery powered!).

So, I see two issues:

  1. Do you keep your modem, router, access points?, and entire network backup-powered even though household 120v/240v is down?

  2. Does a power outage disrupt mature Z-Wave and Zigbee networks?

I have battery backups for my network stuff and for Hubitat, RPi (for Node-RED and Homebridge) that last about 100-120 minutes. I have a Node-RED flow that monitors power outages (pings a Harmony hub every 5 minutes to see if it is reachable) and shuts down Hubitat if it detects an outage. Since power is out, I don't see a need to have HE up since it can't control anything.

I guess an extended outage would be like resetting z-wave/zibgee radios (unplug HE for 20 minutes) but they should build back up once power comes back. I have heard that a hard shutdown can corrupt Hubitat database leading to flaky behavior.

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My entire network (AP’s, switches, Hubitat hub) are all powered via my routers POE. So i have dual UPS’s (1 for the modem, 1 for the router) to keep me online. I added a USB splitter for a “second circut” the the very occasional network reboot.

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I have a simple single 18650 battery based backup on my Hubitat hub. It lasts 4+ hours. I have yet to create a RM rule to shut down the hub of the power is out for > 3 hours but it lasts through all the short outages we have.

Nothing else has battery backup. Although I should but one on my NAS but its powered down most of the time.
To be honest, dropping off line for the few power losses we get is not even an issue. The only reason I backup the Hubitat is uncontrolled power loss has a reasonably high incidence of corrupting the database.
I've not yet experienced and Mesh corruption yet.

  1. Does a power outage disrupt mature Z-Wave and Zigbee networks?

In my last home we had a much higher incidence of nearby lightning strikes. I didn't have any HA back then but large surges tend to do some strange things. One nearby lightning strike we lost one bulb and the on / off switch of an old portable TV, nothing else. My guess is any HA mesh will only be effected if the hardware is damaged.

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Presumably a mature z-wave or zigbee mesh has a number of mains powered repeaters, which all went down during the power outage.

That’ll play some havoc on the mesh for a while, probably even after the devices are back on.

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This is one strategy I utilize as well. I have a large rackmount UPS in the basement utility room for network and server needs, so by using PoE to power other devices throughout the house that support it, I can avoid having a million small UPSes plugged in in various other rooms upstairs. One less thing for the kids to mess with or the wife to get upset re: its appearance.

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Yes. I have four dedicated mains powered Z-Wave repeaters. I expect that it took a while for all the devices to find their way out of the woods and back to Hubitat.

I make some Zigbee devices. I just want to share what I know based on what I learn in working with Zigbee devices. I am sorry it is rather long since I want to give you some context of how a problem can arise due to power outage. I do not know anything about z-wave.

Your Zigbee network may consist of Zigbee Router and End devices. The Hubitat hub is a Zigbee coordinator.

Zigbee router device is typically devices that is powered by main power(your AC outlet. switches, and some bulbs). These devices can be a parent to Zigbee end device. I make one of these router modules too.

Zigbee sleepy end devices is all your battery powered devices like contact sensor, leak sensor and etc. This type of device require a parent to work. The parent is either your hub (coordinator) or those Zigbee router.

Lets assume that your hub is the only one is running during the power outage because you add battery backed up for it. All your battery end devices will try to find a new parent. Some will find the hub and asked the hub to be its parent. The hub have limit of approximately 20 to 30 something end devices( I do not remember exact number). If you have a lot of sleepy end device, this could be an issue because all those end devices will look to your hub. Some end devices will loose out because the hub is already full.

One my ask, why it is an issue for these orphaned end devices? Shouldn't the sleepy end device keep trying to find a new parent? If it does keep trying, the end device will find a new parent when the power back up. This expectation is not quite correct. Sleepy end devices will eventually give up trying to conserve its battery. That process of scanning for a new parent is expensive in term of power consumption. Some device will try for 20 minutes and give up. Some will try a couple times only.

The same issue is expected for end device that need a router to talk to the hub because it is far from the hub.

After the power recovery, I believe you may need to go around to the impacted end devices. You may need to press some button in some cases. In other case, you may need to power cycle the device. In some extreme case, you may need to re-pair your devices. This issue has nothing to do with the stability of your Zigbee network.

In summary, you should consider to have not only the hub is battery backed up. It would be wise to have some Zigbee routers devices battery backed up. This will minimize the issue that you will be dealing with the aftermath of power outage.

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I have an Apc 1500 with my network gear, hubitat, and windows server plugged into it. This gives me about 3 hours to react. If it looks like the outage may last a while i can remote in and shutdown hubitat and my server. Its not meant to keep me going during and outage, just saves the hardware.

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I use uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) to provide backup power to all my computers other than laptops which have their own batteries. I also have UPS backup for my cable modem, router, Ethernet switches, VOIP phone adapter, Hubitat, Hue, and Lutron Pro bridges. I realize that if the power goes off, that the devices that operate on mains power won't work, but the battery powered sensors will. The main reason I use the UPS devices it to eliminate power surges and to avoid under and over voltage situations that might damage the electronics.

Oh, and in the event of a longer power outage, I keep a gasoline powered generator in the garage.

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I have a UPS on my network stack that is also POE to my Hubitat and other devices. Using NUT I am able to start shutting things down after 5 minutes on the UPS for equipment that not essential such as the Hubitat, Synolgoy NAS goes into safe mode, and other devices. The router and switches continue to run until 20 % of the UPS battery is left and then I do safe shutdown of the router and then the PI that runs NUT and the scripts shuts down.

Using this method I am able to get about 75 minutes of run time off the network.

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Are y’all using anything special to reboot Hubitat, RPi, etc. once power is restored?

I recently got a UPS, set up NUT on the RPi to monitor it, and built a Node-RED flow to shut both down once the battery gets low. If the battery completely runs out, then they all boot back up, but if the power comes back on before the battery runs out, I’m stuck with everything powered down until I manually power cycle them all.

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How long for the battery to run down? For mine (running only the Hubitat hub) I can get at least 4 hours so I have the hub shut itself down at 3 hours.

Our power is pretty reliable, If we loose power for > 3 hours, rebooting the hub is the last of my concerns.

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It seemed easier to get a larger UPS. I have a 1500 with only 2 HE hubs, a Hue hub, switch, and router. Its screen says it has 7 hours of runtime which is longer than our power has ever been out.
You could otherwise connect HE to a tp-link plug or other wifi oulet that can be power cycled independent of HE. If you are using Homebridge, there is a tp-link integration.

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My goal is to have network backbone, Internet and all device involving security continue to work when there is power outage or intentional cutoff. I don't care much about other smart devices.

Router, mesh nodes, network switches, POE switch, cable modem, HTPC/file server, Hubitat, Hue Hub are on two 1500VA UPS to make sure Internet and network connection are working all time.

All Dahua-based security cameras are POE powered by POE switches which is connected to one of the UPS. The only camera without back up power is the Dahua doorbell powered by the door chime adapter (I can pull a long extension cable from UPS to power it)

Other 12V retrofitted security sensors (recessed door, window) from previous security system and the Z-wave relays connected to are on a 12V Meanwell UPS. The 12V UPS will also trigger a z-wave relay when line voltage is gone so I get notification if there is a power outage.

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In a previous home, I took a large UPS designed for providing a server with clean power, even in third world countries, and yanked the battery. I then connected four, 110ah 12V marine (deep cycle) batteries to supply the UPS with its necessary 48V. It was then connected to a circuit that ran only the FIOS modem, router/switches/APs, alarm system, one TV, and a pellet stove. Worked like a charm, and powered all that easily overnight without coming close to 50% discharge of the batteries. We would get multi-day outages once or twice each year, so this allowed us to turn off the generator at about 7pm, continue watching TV and surfing the web until morning if we didn't open the refrigerators/freezers, and then fire up the generator the next morning. It cut our fuel consumption in half, allowed for a quiet (no generator) evening, and worked great. I tried plugging in a refrigerator as well, but that started to push battery discharge and power consumption higher than I liked. And then we decided to move and I yanked the system, which sits unused in the basement today because we went with an automatic, whole house generator at the new place.

BTW, we suffer outages here several times per year that last a few seconds before the generator kicks in. Small UPS devices handle those well for routers/switches/APS, Starlink, and HE hubs. Everything else in the system just comes right back online when the generator kicks in, including all the z-wave stuff.

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Agreed, and this is the direction I chose to go too.

I got a 900 instead of 1500, but for my modem, router, RPi, and Hubitat, the current runtime is over 5 hours. I’m currently shutting devices down when the battery reports itself as low, which is when remaining runtime is less than 5 minutes or the remaining power is less than 10% (which will end up being around 30 minutes of remaining runtime).

It’s definitely overkill at this point, but during the winter storms in Texas this February, we would lose power for 8-14 hours at a time for about a week. That won’t be a frequent occurrence, but I’m still trying to plan ahead for the next one. We get hurricanes too, although we’re far enough inland that we haven’t had power issues yet (flooding is a different story…).

Ooo, that’s a good idea. I’ve got a handful of WeMo plugs in my drawer of shame that I could drag out for this purpose.

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I have a KASA HS-105 wifi plug that Hubitat is plugged into. My Node-RED flow that monitors power (pinging a fixed IP device, not on a UPS), restarts HE by turning the KASA plug off and then back on. There is a KASA/TP-Link node that I use. The same flow that restarts HE also shuts down HE when power goes out.

If the UPS battery runs out, then HE will restart when power comes back on in any case.

EDIT: I don't shut down RPi, modem etc. in this process, just HE

EDIT2: The Node-RED solutions is documented here - Shutdown and restart Hub in case of power outage (Node-red solution) - LONG READ

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I have AC UPSes for all network gear/hubs/cameras and some lighting that lasts for at least 2 hours.. I also use Ring Range Extenders that have battery backup to maintain my Z-Wave mesh..

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