Woes Pairing Leviton ZWave Dimmers

Greetings Hubitat!

I am in the throws of doing the final push migrating from my old Vera system to HE. I had success pairing a Leviton Scene Controller (VRCS4) and Leviton Dimmer (VRI06-1LZ) with HE so far. Both of those devices are located in the same room as the hub. I also have had no problems "pairing" ethernet/wifi devices nor achieving just about anything else with the system.

The trouble today is pairing any other ZWave device in my home. I have performed the exclude process multiple times using multiple methods (Vera's UI, Aeon/Aeotec ZStick, Minimote, etc.). I also have factory defaulted the dimmers multiple times. Aside from those first two pairings, I am stuck. I've tried moving the hub too and that improved things slightly — see the attached screenshots. I now can occasionally get to a place where the new device is seen by the hub but nothing else happens. I looked in the web console and there's an entry stating "checking index_" which endlessly increments as it repeats. What makes this even more strange is if I leave the Device Discovery page to do other things with my hub, then return, I still see the exact same thing "Found Z-Wave 08," a spinning wheel of death, and the endlessly repeating log entry (which restarts from 0)

What else can I do? I was shocked at how easy it was to detect and pair the first two devices I added. I have been at this for an hour factory defaulting, excluding, etc. to no avail. I also no longer have a working Vera system as I've unpaired my devices from the old controller to migrate to Hubitat. I am frustrated that there is nothing available to diagnose this trouble either. Is there some sort of ZWave network monitor so I can see where the signals are dropping or messages not being received?

Thanks,
Richard

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I'd suggest @bobbyD or an email to support@hubitat.com so that more extensive reviews can be done.

I'm suggesting it because I believe it will be faster overall.

while you wait, have you rebooted the hub and run a zwave repair?

@drew — yes I've rebooted the hub, repaired, factory defaulted the dimmers, etc etc etc several times throughout this process…

@csteele — I will follow with an email to support. Thanks for opening the gates to that. I did hesitate taking this to support since I was/am hopeful this is an issue that through resolution will benefit the community.

I do have some success to report! I have discovered some oddities regarding these dimmers. The VRI06-1LZ seem to discover most reliably when the following conditions are met: exclusion performed with a device other than the old Vera3 (I am using the Aeotec ZStick as the exclusion weapon of choice), at least two factory resets, then during inclusion I have to set the dimming level manually using the buttons on the device above 50% and when I tap to include I have to very consciously press and hold for at least one second. If I meet those conditions, inclusion completes most of the time.

The instruction manuals do not specifically state most of these conditions but that is what is working in my environment at this time. For the most stubborn of devices that simply would not include, I purchased a very long active USB extension that I have used to relocate the ZWave USB device very close to the troublesome includer. I subsequently have shutdown the HE, removed the USB extension, reinstalled the ZWave USB transceiver and booted normally. After a ZWave Repair, my network rebuilt very nicely! I suspect there are other factors at work here but again I merely intend to document my experience in an effort to help the rest of the community.

I wonder if there is an updated firmware for these dimmers that is installable using HE? I also wonder if anyone in the community has some sort of better troubleshooting resource? I would love to be able to see what really is going on when ZWave inclusion is being attempted from the dimmer side. Is there a sort of ZWave network monitoring tool or perhaps a more verbose log level available?

Finally, I have noticed that these dimmers (or any Leviton dimmer I own, be it the VRI06-1LZ, VRP03-1L, etc) shows up in HE as a "Leviton Fan Controller." Even after renaming and relabelling (can anyone explain the real difference between these two fields?) the log display still reports "Leviton Fan Controller." See screenshot for that.

Ok now really finally, what is the correct ZWave device type to use? Is it the Generic ZWave Dimmer or Generic ZWave Smart Dimmer? Both seem to work, but what is the real difference between the two?

Thanks,
Richard

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Lots to update here, but in short? I am fully up and running. Some devices were very tricky to pair reliably and it simply too patience to re-reset to defaults to try to pair again.

I still do not know the difference between a Generic ZWave Dimmer and the Generic ZWave Smart Dimmer? Can someone help resolve this small issue?

There are three other takeaways for those using ZWave coming from Vera.

  • Leaving the old Vera powered up and running near the Hubitat even after completely excluding all devices from it created too much apparent interference to achieve quick pairing to HE. I got my best results the moment I unplugged the old Vera.
  • That long USB extension cable I linked in the previous comment did the trick 90% of the time. Once I got the USB ZWave stick close to a troublesome device and paired it, the process went very smoothly. I've since returned the USB stick to the Hub, performed a ZWave repair, and now can say with confidence that HE achieves the best ZWave network performance I've seen.
  • There is a serious lack of ZWave troubleshoot and diagnostics tools. If this were WiFi, for example, there exist a wide range of ways to investigate what is impairing performance or preventing connectivity. But when ZWave doesn't connect, that is about all you have to work with. Patience prevailed in my case.

Thanks,
Richard

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Simple answer: use "smart" for a ZWave PLUS dimmer.

If you have older, ZWave devices (not PLUS) then use the driver without "smart" in the title.

The older dimmers may also need to be added to ZWave Poller (included app with Hubitat.)

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@csteele — now there's a simple response! Thanks for clarifying. I have indeed added the appropriate older non-plus dimmers to the poller app.

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