Z-Wave Ghost Removal using a UZB-Stick - How To

The information below can help you resolve problems w/your Z-Wave mesh caused by Z-Wave device "ghosts." Review below for detailed information on the following:

  1. What are Z-Wave Ghosts and how are they created?
  2. How to avoid creating them
  3. How to remove them using built-in tools on the Hubitat hub
  4. A PDF containing a guide to remove ghosts using a Z-Wave UZB stick if the built-in hub tools don't remove your ghosts (Created w/extensive collaboration/support from the amazing @erktrek.)

Recommended approach to remove ghosts:

  1. Try the built-in Hubitat hub ghost removal tools - most ghosts should be able to be removed using those tools.
  2. If you're unable to remove your ghosts w/the hub tools, follow the instructions in the Ghost Removal PDF (link at the end of this post) to remove ghosts using a free software download and a Z-Wave UZB stick (which you will need to purchase).

What are Z-Wave Ghost devices and how are they created?
Z-Wave "Ghosts" are Z-Wave devices that have not successfully joined your mesh during pairing, leaving an entry in your hub's Z-Wave device table that is incomplete. In some cases multiple failed attempts to add a single device can result in multiple ghosts from each failed/partial pairing.

Note that having even a single ghost in your Z-Wave mesh can cause severe problems w/the responsiveness of some or all of your Z-Wave devices, making them slow or non-responsive.

The easisest way to identify a ghost is by looking at the Z-Wave Details page on your hub, and look for devices that do not show any routing in the "Route" column of the Z-Wave Details page. Problems usually show up quite soon after a Ghost appears, so Ghosts are usually one of the most recently added devices and are at or near the bottom of your Z-Wave Details list (most recently-added devices are at the bottom).

Below is a normal device in the Z-Wave Details page, showing normal routing and connection speed info in the Route column. Route: 01 -> 0A. Speed: 40kbps. Routing may be direct to the hub in this case (01 is the Hub, 0A is the device), or a device may route through one or more other devices to connect to the hub.

Ghost devices typically appear in the Z-Wave Details table w/no routing information in the Route column - looking something like below. Note that the last field in the row below is completely empty, shows no routing for the device. Below are a couple of examples:

  • Note on Hubitat C-8 Migration: If you have recently migrated from a C-5 or C-7 hub to a C-8, it's normal/OK if all or almost all of the Z-Wave routes are empty initially after that update. As a part of the update the Z-Wave route cache is cleared and may take up to 2 to 3 days to fill in. In that case, (C-8) migration, wait for the mssing route info to fill in before assuming you have ghosts. Migration to a C8 will not remove any existing ghosts that were on the C-7 or C-5 that you migrated from.

How can I avoid/minimize creating ghosts? Courtesy of @rlithgow1:

If you have a failed Z-Wave pairing, STOP! Check your Settings>Z-Wave details page. If a ghost was created (you will see nothing in the routing column), it needs to be removed first. If you don't remove it you will start having problems with your mesh including pairing new devices. After removing the ghost, factory reset the device and attempt to pair it again. Rinse and repeat. This is one of the biggest keys to having a healthy mesh.

How do I remove Ghosts using the hubs built-in ghost removal tools?

  1. If a Discover button appears for a partially included device, selecting that button can allow a device to successfully complete joining the Z-Wave mesh.
  2. Shutting down the hub and restarting to force restarting of the Z-Wave radio can help w/ghost issues:
    -- 1. Shut down your hub from the Settings menu.
    -- 2. Then pull the USB power plug (recommended to do at the wall connection, not at the hub as the hub connection can be a little fragile, at least on some C-7 hubs) to completely remove power from your hub after it's shut down.
    -- 3. Wait 60s and then plug the hub in again.

The best way to use the hub's built-in ghost removal tools
Below is a detailed summary from @jtp10181 of best way to use the hubs built-in ghost removal tools. Try this process first before trying to do Ghost removal with a UZB stick:

  • Removal of a ghost device is usually not successful if the device the ghost was created from is plugged in/connected to power. If it's a plug, unplug it. If it's a switch and has an air-gap, pull the air gap. You can also flip a circuit breaker to remove power from a mains powered device temporarily in order to remove a ghost that was created from it during a failed pairing process.

  • Click Refresh on the device ONCE, wait for the page to refresh. The Remove button should then appear. Click Remove ONCE. Again, wait. May want to have logs open while doing this as well.

  • Sometimes it takes multiple tries of the Refresh button to get the Remove button to appear. Try to be patient and NOT click Refresh furiously. If you start getting "Zwave busy" error messages in your logs, power down and reboot again.

  • It is common for it to take multiple tries at the Refresh/Remove buttons to remove a ghost, give it at least five or six attempts before assuming it's not going to work. Shutting down/restarting between successful removals can also help.

How do I remove ghosts using a Z-Wave UZB stick?
If you still have Ghost(s) after trying the hub's ghost removal tools, remove them by following the steps in the ghost removal guide PDF below:

[Link to the Z-Wave UZB stick ghost removal guide: Ghost Removal - Who you gonna call?! ]
(Dropbox - Hubitat Remove Ghost Instructions.pdf - Simplify your life)

  • Important: If you end up needing to follow the steps in the Ghost Removal Guide PDF:
  1. You have to be logged into Simplicity Studio to complete the install of the Z-Wave tools add-on in Simplicity Studio.
  2. You can use any brand or Z-wave version (500, 700, 800) UZB Z-Wave stick

Feel free to share feedback/suggestions here on improviing the contents of the document.

What about removing ghosts created by battery powered devices?

Why doesn't Hubitat just fix this!?
TL;DR: They can't - they are limited to the tools and options provided in the SilLabs Z-Wave SDK, as well as limitations imposed on them since they are a Z-Wave Certified hub.
Long answer: Ghost removal issues are due primarily to the Z-Wave SDK provided by SilLabs to all Z-Wave 700 & 800 hub vendors. That SDK (and its associated bugs/limitations and operating agreement that HE must conform to for certification) control/limit what the HE hub can do. HE has worked steadily to improve the Z-Wave experience in areas they have some control, but in the area of Ghost removal they're limited by what SilLabs provides in the SDK and the requirements of their Z-Wave certification. Software used in the ghost removal process detailed in the PDF here is not constrained in the same was as it is a developer tool and relies on a different SDK/process to remove ghosts, one that consumer-certified hubs like Hubitat cannot use.

SilLabs released some Z-Wave SDK updates in 2022 and Hubitat integrated & released those updates. Things are better than they used to be, and should hopefully continue to improve over time.

Make sure you have applied any available Z-Wave FW updates
If you see the highlighted button in the screen cap below at the top of your Z-Wave Details page that means there is a Z-Wave FW update available for your hub.

Click on the button to apply it. If you do not see the highlighted button your hub's Z-Wave firmware is already up to date. In some cases you may have to try the Z-Wave Firmware update a number of times for it to complete. If you are having problems applying a Z-Wave FW update: a) Shutdown the hub & pull power; b) Wait at least a minute; c) Plug in and boot up; d) go to the Z-Wave Details page and wait 10m; e) Try the update again. (Reason for the waiting: When you go to the Z-Wave Details page it kicks off a lot of internal messaging on the hub. Waiting 10m or more gives that time to settle down before you add the additional load of the Z-Wave FW update.)


Update 3/25/23 Added @jtp10181's excellent summary of how to best use the hub's built-in ghost removal process.

Update 2/16/23 Added link to Aeotec Simplicity Studio install instructions for Simplicity Studio. Simpler and likely more reliable than me trying to keep up w/changes over time. Thanks to @denwood for the suggestion.

Update 1/1/2023 Added note that you need to be signed into Simplicity Studio to load the Z-Wave Tools, thanks to @Jlv03 for reporting that.

Update 10/14/2022: Added section to FAQ on how to roll back to a different UZB stick driver if you are getting the failed to update locally error when trying to update the Z-Wave Firmware on your UZB stick. Thanks to @rfg81 and @erktrek.

Update 10/5/2022: Misc. clean-up.

Update 2/2/2022: Fixed the download link from Dropbox, thanks to info from @672southmain that the link was downloading the wrong version of the document (from back in July 2019!!). Apologies to anyone who got the old version...please re-download to get the current version.

Update 1/25/2022: Added @csteele's very clear graphic to clarify steps when excluding the UZB stick.

Update 11/8/2021: Added some additional comments regarding the UZB stick inclusion not displaying security options, or providing the normal option to name the device.

Update 10/5/2021: Updated section in the FAQ on regional settings (aka Transmit Settings) to include info that 500 series UZB sticks have region set on the device in FW, only 700 series UZB sticks can change region in the PC Controller Transmit Settings. From @bcopeland

Update 9/24/2021: Modified steps to join UZB stick to Hub - changed from using "Classic Learn Mode" to "Select Learn Mode>NWI" per @bcopeland's suggestion. Also added a section in the FAQ on how to update FW on the SilLabs UZB stick.

Update: 7/10/2021: Updated info in the FAQ section of the document on using a UZB stick and PC Controller app to join devices to HE w/out security. Based on info provided by @bcopeland.

Update 7/13/2021: Updated PDF creation process to maintain clickable links in the PDF. Re-download if you want a version where the links work! :slight_smile: Thanks to @eibyer for pointing this out.

Update 7/16/2021: Updated to include information on new UZB stick version that Mouser/Silicon Labs are shipping. Packaging may show the original UZB stick version (SLUSB001A) but the newer version (SLUSB7000A, rev 1 update of the original) is the currently shipping hardware. Thanks to @672southmain for pointing this out.

NOTE: If you run into an error "Can't open Xmodem session" while trying to use the PC Controller app to update the firmware on your UZB stick, try the step below:

Who you gonna call...yes, them:

List item

Removing Ghost Devices
Zooz slows down z wave
Is it best to add new z-wave devices near the hub?
Zwave get updated 7.17.1
Removing Ghost nodes to improve reliability
Problems with removing Z-Wave node (Old Zooz power strip)
Zooz s2 stick 700
Clean up S0/S2 zwave devices
Z Stick No Longer Pairs - So Can No Longer Include Without Security
Questions on z-wave, lots of integrations
Back to old system
Numerous Z-Wave Devices Unresponsive After DST Change
Need help trying to remove some Z-wave ghosts using UZB stick
C7 2.3.1 and Z-Wave Firmware 7.17.1
Aeotec Heavy Duty Smart Switch Gen 5 (ZW078) - Pairing with no security
3-Way 4-Way and 5-Way hardwired Z-Wave Switches
3-Way 4-Way and 5-Way hardwired Z-Wave Switches
Z wave devices not working anymore
Zwave driver updater
UltraPro zw3010 dimmer and zw4008 switch drivers
Z-Wave PC Controller App - Where?
[Guide] Updating Firmware and ZWave Replace
New to Hubitat and Home Automation
Ring Range Extender (2nd gen)
Remove ghost device
Should I use Fibaro Dimmer 2?
Removing ghost devices
With new Z-Wave firmware (7.17.1) can you pair Fibaro Motion Sensor ZW5 with no security?
Smarthome: Nothing but intermittent troubles for years!
Cannot update Inovelli Switch Drivers with Hubitat Package Manager
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Migrated C-5 to C-7, Schlage BE469 locks don't work
Daily Z-wave crashes
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Need help with failing devices
Which z-wave usb stick?
I suck at understanding zwave info. Help?
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Driver code for Schlage Connect
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Mystery (ghost?) Device - Can't Get Rid Of
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How to remove z-wave database device entry for non-existent devices on hubitat c-8?
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Problem Solving Advice
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What usb stick and software would you recommend to pair with no security?

I only had one issue, and it was not to do with the Ghost removal part, just with the section regarding using the pc controller to add a new device.

I found that the new device added okay, but would not work on the hubitat until I did an "update" from the pc controller.

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Thanks for the comment. I had to reset my PC recently and haven't reinstalled the PC Controller app as I haven't had any ghost issues in quite a while.

Could you take a screen shot of the Update option showing where it is so folks using the doc can find it easily?

1 Like

I'm replying so I can find this guide in the future, just in case. I have a the zwave stick still in plastic during the early days of migrating to C7 but have not had the need to use it. Hopefully never but there's no telling when it comes statistics! lol

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you can always bookmark it :slight_smile:

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Thanks, update complete.

I have a ghost on my C-7 and cannot get the Z-Wave controller to pair with the Hub.

The PC Controller looks like it is picking up the devices.


Inclusion finds a Z-Wave Device, then inclusion finishes and it sits at this. Any ideas??


Is this your first time using the zwave stick? If the zwave controller (stick) is picking up devices on HE does that not mean it is already paired?

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yes it is.

Found the problem. Somehow the Bedroom 2 light switch ID was wrong. Set it to the "ghost" ID and is now working fine. Thanks for responding..

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Are the links in the PDF clickable or is it getting stripped by my browser?

Hmmm...I thought they were clickable the last time I tried them - they are intended to be.

What browser are you using?

I'll download and see what happens when I try them.

EDIT: Yeah, I see, not clickable. I'll have to see if I can figure out why they are borked. I am creating this in Word and using the Print to PDF option in Windows...maybe that process is limited and links don't work. I'll play around w/it a bit. Thanks for the tip!

Used Chrome and Edge, tried it using Adobe Acrobat also, no click :frowning:

Correct! No one had mentioned this before for some reason...the process I was using (Print to PDF from Word) does not maintain clickable links for some reason.

The Word "Save As" to PDF format does retain clickable links - at least worked for me. Can you download it again to confirm?


Works now, thanks! I'm battling a ghost if you haven't figured out already lol. :ghost:


Show no mercy! :slightly_smiling_face:


BTW thank you so much for your excellent documentation. It made a huge difference to me and I bet to countless others.


Thanks...just trying to pay back a little to this group. I've gotten so much help, and folks have been very patient w/me. :slight_smile: And of course @erktrek was key in the development of the doc - he reviewed and corrected and improved the content significantly. Could not have done it w/out him.


Hey @danabw
I'm having a couple issues getting this to work. I have Win10 laptop and Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5 (not +).

Not sure if it matters, but when I insert it Windows gives it COM3 and uses Microsoft built-in driver. I was going to look for one in the path in the article, but it doesn't appear to exist in Simplicity Studio (V5). There's no BIN path at all.

That said, I AM able to discover the device in SS/PC Controller.

Next, I start inclusion on my HE (C5) and start Classic Learn Mode. In HE it finds a new device and goes to "initializing" and stays there - never give option to select a driver or finish. In PC Controller it appears connected - all my devices populate.

Next question - how do I identify ghosts? I must be looking in the wrong page - but I don't see a "Route" column anywhere - does it still exist?

Download the Hubitat app