Looking for thoughts on zwave hubs. Currently have Hubitat running but it is having hardware issues and needs to be replaced. I’ve found that it works ok, but the red series dimmer setup was a little cumbersome and the dash board doesn’t update consistently. If I’m going to replace it just wondering if there are better options…
I’m sure you will get many different answers on this. I’ve transitioned from wink->smartthings->hubitat-.>home assistant. The full move to HA is only a few weeks old but I’m beyond happy. To me Zwave multicasting is a game changer. Nearly instant notifications across all my switches and same for batch on/off control was always a complaint on every platform. The hubitat UI dashboards were also very bland and lacking in my opinion. Plus if my alarm was set off the hub and network would choke turning on lights and sirens. It would sometimes take minutes to get everything shutdown so that all lights and alarms were off. HA is highly configurable and can seem overwhelming at first. If you want to go that route I recommend using the HACS hubitat integration. It will allow you load all you devices into home assistant and “play” with creating Lovelace dashboards, routines, etc without making any changes on hubitat and unpairing/pairing devices. I ran like this for several months until finally deciding HA was for me. Best if luck!
I went from ST to HA this summer. Couldn’t be happier. There are several very knowledgeable people on this forum using HA that are always willing to help.
Appreciate the feedback. I looked at HA briefly before, but at the time it seemed like a lot. I am at a point now where it probably makes sense given some additional devices I’ll be bringing online. Interesting thought on the HACS integration…hadn’t thought of that, but will give it a try.
I’m happily using Hubitat, but I rarely use Dashboards (so don’t mind the slightly awkward UI). I’ve also contemplated jumping my “Z” radios to things like ZWaveJS(2MQTT?) and Zigbee2MQTT and just using Hubitat as an automation engine (I’ve tried HASS a couple times and really cannot get myself to like how automations work; maybe I just need to get used to it…). That is exactly backwards of what some other people do, so you’re likely to get different answers/preferences here.
That being said, Hubitat has worked fine for me, aside from some initial Z-Wave woes on the C-7 that are/were likely attributable to early firmware on the included Z-Wave radio chip with the early hub models (first 700-series commercial hub on the market, to my knowledge) and lack of testing on some devices with S2 (a device firmware issue Hubitat — or any hub — cannot control; this included early firmware on Inovelli switches, I believe, though as far as I recall problems were restricted only to pairing). Z-WaveJS, as you might use with Home Assistant, wrote their own implementation and are not dependent on what SiLabs provides, so any issues you experience are likely to be different (and of course, it’s not an “officially” supported commercial product, so you’re on your own to a large extent).
If you’re not a total novice, and it sounds like you’re not (and probably already know this), the best advice I have is to steer clear of cloud-dependent solutions like Wink or SmartThings. Delays or total lack of functionality are no fun. For that matter, even for someone who is a novice, I’d strongly recommend against them, but sometimes they do have an “ease of use” or cheapness factor that can be appealing (Home Assistant has gotten a lot better since I used it the first time; still not sure it’s beginner-friendly, but at least you can get by without manual configuration editing for most common uses now; Hubitat is certainly trying, and I think largely successfully in comparison, though reading the docs or asking for help when you need it is good advice with any system).
Can’t speak to Wink, but bear in mind that SmartThings is migrating toward local, not cloud, execution. Some devices and automations already run locally. Additionally, a new driver language will allow 3rd party developers, such as Inovelli, to write their drivers so that the devices will run locally. I believe that Inovelli is already participating in this development effort.
That may be true, but it’s something they’ve been promising for years (I think 2015 when the v2 hub was introduced), and the results have been…minimal…to date. Local execution is also only part of it, as last I knew, the only way to set up or administer the hub is to use the mobile app, which requires cloud access, even if you are on the same LAN. I don’t doubt that they are finally more serious about this effort now, but I’m still not convinced that as much will come out of it as some might expect or possibly as soon as one might hope (which for anyone who manually migrated to the v2 hub years ago might have been a while ago!).
In any case, I’ve moved on; others’ preferences or requirements may vary, but I can just say it’s not for me anymore. I assume it’s your primary hub and that you are happy enough with it, however, so that is good to know, and thanks for sharing that experience! (And reminding me of that news. I was one of those v2 users if you haven’t guessed. Ha.)
It is. I have two in separate locations with a significant amount of devices and fortunately, have few problems. But I’m also lucky to have rock solid Internet connections at both. If that wasn’t the case, it would likely be a different story. There is no panacea. I still encounter issues, but they are infrequent and minimal.
I attribute part of the stability to pushing off most of the automation workload to webCore and Rule Engine. In doing that, some things that could run locally go back to the cloud, but it’s still pretty reliable. I also use Sharptools for dashboards, partly replacing the use of the SmartThings UI.
Picking a hub can be a tough choice as each offers unique features offset by detractors. I’m in the wait and see category when it comes to ST. For me, it’s running pretty well and will hopefully only get better.
From time to time I think about at least experimenting with HA. But TBH, I’m put off by users’ struggles to accomplish basic tasks that take me about 15 seconds in ST. But because that comes from forum posts alone, it may not be a fair assessment. I guess it’s a matter of how much time I want to devote to my hub amid all my other interests. And then there is the issue of how many tech headaches I care to put up with between my hub and the day job, trying to avoid a brain buffer overflow.
It’s great to have options!
I’ll second the HACS integration to give HA a shot if you’re planning on leaving Hubitat. I’ve been happy with the flexibility, additional integrations and being able to pretty up the dashboard a lot more than Hubitat.
That said, my biggest complaint with it is around the automations. Rule Machine in Hubitat makes things super simple and quick for the most part, while building the automation in HA tends to be more involved. It hasn’t ended up being a big issue for me though as I don’t have that many ultimately and most of them are fairly straightforward anyway. I’ve also considered setting up Node-RED to handle the automations instead, but I haven’t had the time.
Edit - I got motivated and have configured Node-RED…can confirm it addresses my complaint as far as automation goes, both with speed and appears to give a lot more control over the automations.
I’m a ST defector to HA and couldn’t be happier. Grass is greener over here.
HA + Nortek zwave/zigbee + Node Red +++++ but let us know how we can help if you decide on that!
I am using a C7 Hub and Inovelli Red Dimmers. The number one thing I do with them via Hubitat is to use the config button to turn on a light to a low setting. They mostly work ok, but mysteriously, every now and then it takes 20-30 seconds for the light to come on when I press the config button. Sometimes it seems to never come on. (I say “seems to never come on” as I give up waiting after that long and usually just use the main paddle to turn it on to full brightness).
I’ve asked about this here and at Hubitat multiple times, but have never gotten anyone to explain why this happens - but only randomly - and more importantly, no one ever suggests how to fix it. Does anyone know if the issue is with the Inovelli switches or Hubitat? I’m asking on this thread as I’m wondering if switching to Home Assistant may fix it.
Other than this issue I’ve been happy with Hubitat, and HA seems a bit daunting to me.
Generally speaking, that sounds like a mesh problem. Although I suppose it could be a problem with the rule you are using to execute it as well. Does it improve after a Zwave repair?
I have only run a few Z-Wave repair a few times as there seems to be a mixed consensus as to whether that is helpful, harmful or neither. I’ve thought of doing a Z-Wave repair one device at a time vs. all at once, starting on what should be closest to the hub and work outwards. (Though it is sometimes hard to tell what is actually closer because of walls, etc.) Would that be any better than doing a Z-Wave repair on the entire mesh all at once?
I added a couple of Aeotec series 7 repeaters to each of my wings, but very few devices seem to use them, so that didn’t help at all. I’ve tried to put my hub in as central a location as I can with the majority being on one side or the other of it, with some being 90 degrees off of it and some far ones about 45 degrees off that line. BTW, I live in a single floor condo that is about 2,400 sq. ft. It is on the top floor, and in a corner unit of a condo building. All but 2 of the electrical boxes are metal and all of the electrical lines run through metal pipes. There is nothing I can do about that.
In any event, even with occasional hub reboots, in the long run the problem just pops up from time to time. It also seems to run in clusters. By that I mean that it seems several on one side of the hub will suddenly start acting slowly. But, that is not always the case. Sometimes it is just one device and sometimes it will be all of the devices.
I’ve found that sometimes after pushing the config button didn’t work turn the light on and off a couple of times “fixes” the problem and the config button will then work. I don’t have any idea of why that would be other than my theory that perhaps the hub and/or switches go into some sort of “sleep” mode or the hub is busy doing a backup or working on the mesh. (BTW, there also seems to be no consensus as to whether periodic rebooting of the hub is helpful or not. I’ve seen some say they do it every night and others that rarely, if ever, reboot the hub).
On big problem area is my master bathroom which is just on the other side of a wall from the hub, but there is a big mirror in the room with the hub. (That just can’t be helped as I can’t move the modem or the mirror). And while it seems mostly to affect the switches in the master bathroom and my closet in the master bedroom late at night, that might only be because I usually use those buttons late at night, so I may not be trying them enough during the day time to see if that is an issue. I mention this as I said above, that I’ve wondered if the hub/switches go to “sleep” and/or the hub is working on the mesh late at night or after X amount of time when no activity has been run on it. I know that all of these switches being attached to a main line and neutral are not supposed to “sleep”, but I’m just clutching at straws to try to figure out what may be the cause so I can try to devise a solution.
One P.S. re: my rules. I’m doing 99.9% of everything through a basic controller rules. I’m attaching a screenshot of a typical one, my Master bathroom sink lights. BTW, I have the 1 push to turn on the lights to 100%, even though it is connected to the lights it controls, because of the known issue that if the light is on, but dimmed, doing a 1 push won’t raise it to 100%, even if that is the default behavior. I’ve also wondered if it would help to break them all into separate rules (e.g. a rule for 1 push, a rule for 1 held, etc.) or to have them all in a rule like that below. I have never seen any answer to that either. Here is that screenshot:
I don’t use Hubitat, so I don’t know if that is available. But to me, this should be an all-or-nothing proposition. You want all of your devices optimized for the best route. You also want to identify and remove ghost devices. Personally, I can’t think of a downside to running a Z-wave repair. I’d be curious to see what the thinking is from those that don’t think it’s a good idea.
Have you done the Hubitat Z-Wave radio firmware update to v7.17.1? It’s optional with Hubitat platform version 2.3.1 (recently released) and can be done with the Firmware Update button on the Settings > Z-Wave Details page. This addresses a very specific 700-series Z-Wave problem that is most likely to affect busy networks can can result in delays like the ones you mention. Many users have reported this to help.
See here for more:
That being said, there are also some things you can do to help regardless, like trying to tone down “chatty” Z-Wave devices. If you have a lot of Red Series devices, for example, power metering is enabled by default, but you may wish to consider completely disabling it unless you’re using that feature for some automation.
I had been on Hub version 22.214.171.124 and upgraded to 126.96.36.199. I also don’t know what Z-Wave firmware version I was using, but it must have been an earlier version as the Z-Wave Firmware Update version was visible, it ran when I clicked it, and it has now gone away. I went to the page suggested afterwards to get my Z-Waver version and it said this:
VersionReport(zWaveLibraryType:7, zWaveProtocolVersion:7, zWaveProtocolSubVersion:17, firmware0Version:7, firmware0SubVersion:17, hardwareVersion:1, firmwareTargets:1, targetVersions:[[target:1, version:7, subVersion:15]])
I don’t know exactly how to read it, but I see 7’s and 17’s so I’m guessing it is up to date now.
BTW, I hadn’t looked at my Z-Wave details page in a long time and I noticed that a lot of devices have slowed down and are only running at 9.6. I have no idea what would have caused this as I haven’t relocated my hub, added any devices or changed any firmware in a long time.
Speaking of the hub location, if most of my devices are basically on a line north-south of the hub what direction should I face the hub?
Here is what my Z-Wave details page looks like (shortly after doing Z-Wave Firmware update):
Z-Wave firmware 7.17.1 is only available with hub firmware 2.3.1, and the Update Firmware button on Z-Wave Details disappears when firmware is up-to-date, so that all sounds normal to me. Your Z-Wave version report for the radio looks correct. Eventually, this (or probably 7.17.2) will probably be come an automatic/required update, but I think they are being cautious with this one at the moment.
For the other questions, I’d probably to to the Hubitat forums instead, but nothing on your Z-Wave Details page looks alarming to me. The details here may take a while to update, so I might also suggest seeing if they improve hours or days after the update, not just what they look like right afterwards. (More speed would probably be great for the bulbs, since Z-Wave bulbs can be chatty, but it’s not necessarily bad — Z-Wave routing can always be a bit mysterious.) There’s also an external antenna mod (and a thread on the forums) some people have done that many have reported to help with more direct connections/fewer hops, but that is, of course, not an official route, and it dates from before the firmware update that many have found to help.
BTW, as I recall there was a Z-Wave firmware update about a month or so ago, which I think I did when I also installed 188.8.131.52. That didn’t help, but maybe 184.108.40.206 and 7.17.1 will. Who knows? I’ve seen the posts about opening the Hub and soldering on a new antenna, but I haven’t tried to solder anything in 20-30 years as I was never able to properly solder anything. I also can’t just buy a Z-Wave stick as I only have a Mac desktop, so even though I know there is a Mac OS version now, I can’t lug my computer around to be near the devices to try any firmware updates, etc. So I wish they would come out with a new version with a much bigger antenna. I know it looks cool to be all inside their tiny box, but sometimes bigger is better.