Author Topic: I give up  (Read 3806 times)

Offline bucko

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I give up
« on: August 04, 2018, 06:52:04 pm »
I started with the Vera 3 5 years ago. As my system grew and Vera got older, the stability and reloads increased. Typical story from many here. In May pf 2017 while I was away for 8 months, Vera took a major crash. Support jumped in and attempted to get Vera back up. They could get in, but could not get it going again. I give credit to support as they  kept at it trying to figure out what happened. BTW, I could remote into my PC, so I also had local control of Vera. Finally support surmised I need to upgrade Vera to UI7, which they can do for me. After the upgrade, all was lost. Vera was DOA and support threw up their hands and gave it up. They said now I need to replace it, but no more Vera 3's to be had. Support suggested I buy the VeraPlus, start over, and end all my issues which are most likely memory related.

So support offered me the Plus at a discount and shiipped it to my home. I would not be back there for 4 months before I could set it up. Upon my return, I started from scratch and got the VeraPlus online. I only installed the Elk plugin so all my devices were accounted for. First thing I noticed was the thousands a day alerts flooding in. Support made sure my config was good, also NO alerts were set. They decided my security sensors were at fault, but not sure why this was happening. They wrote a scene and a startup luup script which bypassed most of my sensors. Then the notifications lowered to a few hundred a day. But now my security sensors are bypassed! Bandaid repair at best. I could not even go in getvera and delete all these alerts. So support gave me another code I could run in the console to force delete the alerts. Now I am left with this housekeeping task every few days. So much for set it and forget it automation.
I will also say the this VeraPlus was no more stable than the Vera 3. Luup restarts, z-wave devices falling off the grid. device configs corrupted, etc. Also now I have almost daily maintenance to do so the memory can remain in limits.

June 9 2018- I wake up, go check Vera in my server room and discover the internet annd service light are blinking, all others are off. Nothing working. Support was able to connect to it and take a look after I messed with it for several hours. I went back and forth with support for a month, with no solution. Although during this time they got it going again for a few days, albiet not stable, but working.
 By July 1st support suggested I upgrade my FW to 1.7.3831. That resulted in killing my Vera for good. 10 days later, support tried to do a remote session with me, but they could not get into Vera and so they said it needs replacing. Less than 1 year the VeraPLus is dead. Factory reset does nothing.

July 31st- Onto the RMA replacement. Support informs me there are no VeraPlus in stock, I will have to wait. Also I will have to pay shipping whenever they get one to send. Shipping fee is $82.00.

So guess what?  I just ordered a Hubitat and now waiting for it to arrive. I hear good things as previous posts indicate. I look forward starting anew and also love the idea I am not tethered to a cloud and internet connection to operate my HA.

I'm so done with Vera, try as I might to struggle along the past 6 years with a platform that seems to be getting worse as time goes on. Vera support does do their best, I commend them for that. But there is huge problems with the Vera FW and hardware, there is only so much they can do. Maybe for a small and simple home, Vera can work. But there is a limit to what it can handle thing. The Vera devs are just not getting it. UI7 never worked as claimed and upgrades break things more often than not.

See you one the other side.
Vera 3, 40+ Fibaro relays & dimmers, IPUX cams, Elk M1 Gold, M1XEP, M1SP, XVOR, M1RB, Elk124, Monoprice HDMI matrix & 6 zone amp, Denon AVR, Panasonic A8000, BI DV,On Controls

Offline RichieB

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Re: I give up
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2018, 04:15:20 pm »
feel your pain but i went with openluup because i had invested so much time in programming and learning lua. but i feel your pain i wonder if the management team at vera team see how much customers they are loosing.

FYI your vera plus u may have to attempt the factory reset multiple times before it actually works to get the vera plus up.

But i say, great company great tech support team but equipment went to the trash bin when new management took over  company going in the wrong direction

Offline rafale77

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Re: I give up
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2018, 04:38:21 pm »
Chiming in again. I had a Keen Vent fail on me last night (Zigbee device). I had a spare, tried to replace and did not work. The new firmware is a complete disaster. It appears to want to add a generic device but continuously fail the autoconfiguration and goes into an infinite Luup reload luup. It basically keeps on creating an invalid device in the user_data.json and goes in loops trying to reconfigure it. What a disaster. The funny thing is I tried to disable autoconfiguration on the device but it requires a configuration cycle to do that... Really?
The funniest part is that I actually got it to report the right battery and load level by trying to configure it manually on the UI until a luup reload and autoconfiguration destroys it all. MCV... what are you doing? A number of devices which used to work, even some on the compatibility list no longer can be included.
openLuup (97 devices, 134 scenes, 20 apps) controlling HomeAss + VeraPlus (134 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 200 devices, 20 scenes , 2 app) Bridged to Homekit and Alexa. VeraPlus ExtRooted!

Offline bucko

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Re: I give up
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 06:38:14 pm »
feel your pain but i went with openluup because i had invested so much time in programming and learning lua. but i feel your pain i wonder if the management team at vera team see how much customers they are loosing.

FYI your vera plus u may have to attempt the factory reset multiple times before it actually works to get the vera plus up.

But i say, great company great tech support team but equipment went to the trash bin when new management took over  company going in the wrong direction
Yes, Vera has lost it's direction and mission. I have no problem with tweaking and adjusting elements to achieve what I want my HA project to do. The problem with Vera is that it requires almost daily monitoring and maintenance to keep it going. Even then it is not stable. I can never trust that it will be working for any length of time which defeats the whole purpose of HA. Wife factor is Zero with Vera and I am tired of the problems this caused her just to see it work for even the basic things. I leave traveling months at a time and have to remote into my PC regularly to keep Vera alive. FW updates- a total joke.

It comes down to UI7. Needs to be thrown out and a new UI built from scratch. It will never happen, so I moved on. Waiting for Hubitat to arrive and start all over again.
Sad
Vera 3, 40+ Fibaro relays & dimmers, IPUX cams, Elk M1 Gold, M1XEP, M1SP, XVOR, M1RB, Elk124, Monoprice HDMI matrix & 6 zone amp, Denon AVR, Panasonic A8000, BI DV,On Controls

Offline ninkasi

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Re: I give up
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2018, 07:58:55 pm »
I'm so done with Vera, try as I might to struggle along the past 6 years with a platform that seems to be getting worse as time goes on. Vera support does do their best, I commend them for that. But there is huge problems with the Vera FW and hardware, there is only so much they can do. Maybe for a small and simple home, Vera can work. But there is a limit to what it can handle thing. The Vera devs are just not getting it. UI7 never worked as claimed and upgrades break things more often than not.

See you one the other side.

Sadly, I feel your pain. I also agree that their support, when I've had to use it, has been excellent. Personally I believe that Vera is fine for most people, but for users with larger environments it struggles. There are also issues with upgraded systems that can be mitigated by various tweaks but in general it probably would be better to wipe everything and start again to get a stable device again.

I suspect that one way of addressing some of the issues would be to offer a license for software/support, and allow people to run Vera on a 'pi and keep that support and other brilliant features of Vera. The slow release of support for the likes of IFTT, Google Home etc is a separate source of concern. My last straw though was the recent deletion of at least one other thread that was - constructively - critical of Vera. It would not surprise me if the same happens with this one. That, I believe, is an *incredibly* bad sign.

I've been 'playing' with Home Assistant over the past few weeks. I'm now going to migrate over to that.
Home Automation veteran. Rolled own, then MisterHouse and X10, now Vera - mysensor arduino and ESP8266 network - zwave lights, locks, switches - milights - yeelights - google home(s) - Broadlink RM - raspberry pi(s) with various scripts for power and weather station - Logitech Harmony - Imperihome

Offline Inzax

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Re: I give up
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2018, 09:16:04 pm »
I have achieved some stability for the time being with the latest firmware.  However, that accomplishment has required me to not TAX the vera with tasks that the manufacture claims it can do.  Geofencing for instance....worked for me....knew I was lucky...now nothing.   Like many, my spouse has no interest in a 75 percent success rate with automation. 

I understand giving up.  I actually envy those who can leave.  I am to vested at the time being.  I am moving in the next year.  I will start fresh with something other then vera.
Proud Member of the Epic Smite Thread.
VeraSecure; Concord 4 Panel; 6 IP Cameras; Imperiehome; Housemodes; system monitor; DeusexmachinaII; Vera Concierge

Offline RichieB

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Re: I give up
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2018, 05:20:58 am »
I have achieved some stability for the time being with the latest firmware.  However, that accomplishment has required me to not TAX the vera with tasks that the manufacture claims it can do.  Geofencing for instance....worked for me....knew I was lucky...now nothing.   Like many, my spouse has no interest in a 75 percent success rate with automation. 

I understand giving up.  I actually envy those who can leave.  I am to vested at the time being.  I am moving in the next year.  I will start fresh with something other then vera.

 try openluup its pretty decent but will take some time learning

Offline bucko

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Re: I give up
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2018, 05:30:51 am »
I have achieved some stability for the time being with the latest firmware.  However, that accomplishment has required me to not TAX the vera with tasks that the manufacture claims it can do.  Geofencing for instance....worked for me....knew I was lucky...now nothing.   Like many, my spouse has no interest in a 75 percent success rate with automation. 

I understand giving up.  I actually envy those who can leave.  I am to vested at the time being.  I am moving in the next year.  I will start fresh with something other then vera.

 try openluup its pretty decent but will take some time learning
Already tried it using my Odroid XU4. Did not work, PITA to set up, too much fiddleing. Reminds me of Vera. Maybe in the end it is better, but I ordered a Hubitat and waiting delivery as we speak.
Vera 3, 40+ Fibaro relays & dimmers, IPUX cams, Elk M1 Gold, M1XEP, M1SP, XVOR, M1RB, Elk124, Monoprice HDMI matrix & 6 zone amp, Denon AVR, Panasonic A8000, BI DV,On Controls

Online rigpapa

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Re: I give up
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2018, 11:05:07 am »
I almost gave up. Came darned close. After being on a Vera 3 with a network of over 100 Z-wave devices and suffering mightily, I ordered a Plus, to take the path of least resistance and see if the situation could be saved. The transition was horrifying. It started with the factory-fresh-from-the-box Plus bricking itself on update (power light only). I emailed support, and while I waited for a reply, installed HomeAssistant on a spare NUC and started playing. I never got a reply from Vera support, so I launched into the situation myself--ssh still worked, and I've dabbled with OpenWrt before, so I managed to figure out what was killing it and fix it. Got the Plus back up, and upgraded successfully. Migration from backup was out of the question, so I started resetting and reincluding every device, then rebuilding all my scenes and automations. I decided that I would not continue with PLEG, so I wrote my own plugins to perform the necessary work where Vera fell short (this eventually led to DelayLight and Reactor).

Over the first few months, the Plus would occasionally bog down: scenes that wouldn't start at all or started an eternity after launching them, sluggish instant status updates, etc. Some of these were caused by an increasing pace of Luup restarts, visible in the logs. Others were idiopathic--it would just stall for 10, 20, 30 seconds, and then resume. The logs were stuffed with activity from the WWN plugin, and I began to get suspicious of it. Then one day, an automatic update of the WWN plugin caused it to crash on my system (startup Lua failed). I decided to use support for that one, and after Vera support "upgraded" my plugin (they actually downgraded it to a prior release), I decided just to uninstall it. All of a sudden, it was a different box. It was literally as if I had just lifted a weight from its shoulders. It started running like a fine clock. I've never looked back.

Today, I have a very stable Plus (on 3232, 7.0.23), even though I often do horrible things to it (and my old Vera3 and openLuup) during the course of plugin development and testing. It's doing great. I would have to say I'm happy with it (but I'll admit, I'm also hesitant to upgrade it). And at this point, I'm also not at all convinced that Vera's hardware is, as some say, inadequate to the task, my own experience providing a sharp contrast to that assertion (as of this writing, 5-minute loadav is 0.08, and 52% mem utilization).

I have given Vera a lot of grief on these forums about design choices and quality issues on firmware releases, and I think they deserve it, but only because they keep repeating the same mistakes, over and over and over. I think they have both process problems and design problems that contribute to this. I can appreciate that they are constantly under pressure to support new and more devices, so they need to rethink what they are doing and make that process as fast and low-risk as possible, because the current process is killing them. IMO, adding new devices should be just about configuration. We should be able to download and install "device updates" without upgrading firmware. This would require a lot of refactoring of their current UI (the only code of theirs I can see/review), where there are a lot of per-device exceptions hard-coded (that would be a no-no--a fast solution would be to take a more modular approach like that of AltUI). I have to imagine the core code has the same hard-coded exception issues. But if done right, devices could be added (or updated) much more quickly, and firmware updates could then come at a much lower pace, focusing just on new features that are needed to support improvements in the device update process and capability, and system-wide bug fixes and performance enhancements. It's just a fact that as any system's complexity increases, touching the code increases the chance of an injection (bug), no matter how careful you are; if you don't have to touch it, you reduce those chances. And those betas need to come with a real firmware beta program... months, not weeks, with frequent respins, not just one pre-release lobbed over the fence and go a month later. The community that participates in the beta needs to take the bite and be prepared to do it right--make backups, install, observe/break, document, revert (very important), reinstall respin, observe/break, document, etc., and Vera needs to have a channel dedicated to direct support of the beta community. And I've said before, they need to mop up and modernize the Vera Plugin Marketplace, which is full of out-of-date, broken plugins that are a minefield for new customers, and not a really great tool for plugin developers, either. And they need real, dedicated developer support, for those of us that develop and maintain plugins.

Vera has more competition in the marketplace than it did five years ago. but there is still nothing quite like in terms of vision for the product. They're stumbling on execution. As I've said before, I believe there is still time to recover (but they have to be quick about it). But having had a brush with (Vera's) death in my environment, I am now resolved to stick with this product, and support it and the community actively with a real investment of time and resources, and I sincerely hope they get their hands around it and thrive.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 01:54:10 pm by rigpapa »
Author of Reactor, DelayLight, SiteSensor, Rachio, Deus Ex Machina II, Intesis WMP Gateway, Auto Virtual Thermostat and VirtualSensor plugins. Vera Plus w/100+ Z-wave devices. Vera3 sandbox.

Offline rafale77

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Re: I give up
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2018, 01:30:57 pm »
Very insightful post Rigpapa.

I have been on the fence of dropping for sometime and have been seeking a migration path in the past month. The biggest issue is indeed that the setup has become so complex and I have invested so much work and learning on the vera that it would be very painful for me to move to something completely different. Instead of replacing completely, I have like many others here, offloaded all of the logic and plugins. Like you I had issues with the WWN but it was only the tip of the iceberg. I started digging into the logs, the scripts in openwrt and the file storage structures and found a number of fundamental issues I am going to try to summarize here. Sorin, if you reading, this is for you to give to the dev team.

1. The OS/UI/Firmware is trying to automate itself way too much. It is a design philosophy issue. The device support is an example. There is a long list of device supports with exceptions but as I discovered, the vera can practically support any device if one is allowed to configure it manually. The problem is the UI is not allowing it and wants to do it for you and is often not doing it correctly causing crashes, luup reloads etc. The automated deletion or hidding of invalid devices, the automated removal of scenes when the trigger device no longer exists etc... all annoying and unnecessary. Remove the trigger, not the scene, show me all the devices even the invalid ones so I can correct the problems! Let me delete them if don't want them. I want home automation, not UI automation. This would remove a lot of burden off the dev team for device support as well.
2. The amount of server communication can be excessive. There is a number of obsolete functions which are still being called. ERGY as an example. There is a large amount of relays, server tunnels, sync calls which are automated and really should not be. There is one service, the alert sync which is preventing the vera from running reliably without the internet as I discovered that it is impossible at this point to disable. If the vera fails to sync the alert message, it will write it in two locations and retry at a high frequency at the beginning and lower over time. These alerts then accumulate, clog the overlay storage partition and bogg down the cpu and the ethernet socket until the entire system crash and can't be recovered. I have suspected that a lot of the instability is due to the unneeded syncing and/or failures and retries to sync with the mios servers.
3. The Luup reload calls show up everywhere and often unnecessarily. This is bogging down the entire system and causes the system to interrupt some tasks and causes data corruption. I would go to the extreme to say that the luup reload should only be user triggered and never automated in a script with very few exceptions. The paradox is that I oftentimes have to manually reload the luup engine myself when changing something. What I mean is that the luup reloads are often unwanted and they are not automated when needed.
4. The hardware design and the ambition of the software team with plugins and integration and remote access etc... is not matching. Sticking with a low end MIPS CPU and limiting the storage structure the way you are is a major problem. I actually don't think the limited DRAM is a problem. At this point at least for the plus it is sufficient though a doubling would be welcome. I do not yet know why but having extrooted my vera and having now run on an external SSD through USB appears to have stabilized it. I have not seen a spontaneous luup reload yet. It should be something for the dev team to look at but I will confirm in the next few days.
openLuup (97 devices, 134 scenes, 20 apps) controlling HomeAss + VeraPlus (134 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 200 devices, 20 scenes , 2 app) Bridged to Homekit and Alexa. VeraPlus ExtRooted!

Offline Sammy2

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Re: I give up
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2018, 06:50:04 pm »
This is getting beyond ridiculous. Support chimes in and says it is an issue with my Z-Wave network. Other than then Motion Sensor, which has a dead battery, these are all just plain not working. The Pumps filter my pool and it is not acceptable to have them fall off my network. AT ALL.

Looking elsewhere. I have a spare i3 NUC doing nothing right now that could easily be re-purposed for this task..

Tell me how!

Offline bucko

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Re: I give up
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2018, 07:59:57 pm »
That is some very usefull input rigpapa & rafale77. Perhaps Vera devs will see this and give some thought to it. (But I doubt it)

I hate the thought of starting all over, but the other option would be for me to stay with Vera and wait for the next disaster which means I get to "start over" anyway. So I'm counting on the Hubitat to evolve and really end up being a platform that is what HA is supposed to look like.

All the quick fixes, bandaids and workarounds necessary to just get Vera stable (for how long?) is not good policy. You guys really got a good handle on Vera's issues, and they should pay attention. I fear that with the limited resources at Vera, they just will quietly go by the wayside in short order. Shame

All the luck to you all sticking with it. I will continue to monitor this forum, been here so long it's like family. I truly hope the best for the Vera team. They do try, but they have just lost focus.   
Vera 3, 40+ Fibaro relays & dimmers, IPUX cams, Elk M1 Gold, M1XEP, M1SP, XVOR, M1RB, Elk124, Monoprice HDMI matrix & 6 zone amp, Denon AVR, Panasonic A8000, BI DV,On Controls

Offline ninkasi

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Re: I give up
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2018, 08:44:11 pm »
This is getting beyond ridiculous. Support chimes in and says it is an issue with my Z-Wave network. Other than then Motion Sensor, which has a dead battery, these are all just plain not working. The Pumps filter my pool and it is not acceptable to have them fall off my network. AT ALL.

Looking elsewhere. I have a spare i3 NUC doing nothing right now that could easily be re-purposed for this task..

Tell me how!

In a different thread I noted that one of the recent updates to the Vera software apparently introduced a check on the Zwave network. When it finds there might be an issue (maybe bad paths, maybe something else), it reports it by making the device show up as 'can't be detected'. This is of course misleading, but it is what it is. This is also why Vera support are suggesting there could be an issue with your network - keep in mind that it is a mesh network that relies on using the various devices you have to transmit and retransmit commands. Yes, the network is supposed to be able to 'heal itself' if there are issues - but it obviously is not infallible.

When this happened to me (coincidentally after I changed a motion sensor from being battery only to powered), I found that the devices actually were still working (eg I was getting motion alerts from the motion sensor that 'couldn't be detected'. To fix it, eventually what I did was totally remove the devices with issues and then add them back in again.

Now it may be possible, for example, in your case that because the motion sensor is dead it may be causing issues with the network being able to reach your other devices. If you're not going to replace the battery in the motion sensor, I'd consider removing it. If the other devices don't come good after that, then maybe might need to remove/add back in the others.

If you really do want to consider using your NUC then I'd suggest checking out either Home Assistant or Homeseer with a Zwave USB key *or* by using Vera as a simple bridge to the Zwave kit. If however this is your only issue, then I'd try removal & adding back in.

Cheers
Home Automation veteran. Rolled own, then MisterHouse and X10, now Vera - mysensor arduino and ESP8266 network - zwave lights, locks, switches - milights - yeelights - google home(s) - Broadlink RM - raspberry pi(s) with various scripts for power and weather station - Logitech Harmony - Imperihome

Offline Sammy2

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Re: I give up
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2018, 08:55:40 pm »
@rigpapa

WWN = World Weather N??

Offline Sammy2

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Re: I give up
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2018, 09:05:55 pm »
This is getting beyond ridiculous. Support chimes in and says it is an issue with my Z-Wave network. Other than then Motion Sensor, which has a dead battery, these are all just plain not working. The Pumps filter my pool and it is not acceptable to have them fall off my network. AT ALL.

Looking elsewhere. I have a spare i3 NUC doing nothing right now that could easily be re-purposed for this task..

Tell me how!

In a different thread I noted that one of the recent updates to the Vera software apparently introduced a check on the Zwave network. When it finds there might be an issue (maybe bad paths, maybe something else), it reports it by making the device show up as 'can't be detected'. This is of course misleading, but it is what it is. This is also why Vera support are suggesting there could be an issue with your network - keep in mind that it is a mesh network that relies on using the various devices you have to transmit and retransmit commands. Yes, the network is supposed to be able to 'heal itself' if there are issues - but it obviously is not infallible.

When this happened to me (coincidentally after I changed a motion sensor from being battery only to powered), I found that the devices actually were still working (eg I was getting motion alerts from the motion sensor that 'couldn't be detected'. To fix it, eventually what I did was totally remove the devices with issues and then add them back in again.

Now it may be possible, for example, in your case that because the motion sensor is dead it may be causing issues with the network being able to reach your other devices. If you're not going to replace the battery in the motion sensor, I'd consider removing it. If the other devices don't come good after that, then maybe might need to remove/add back in the others.

If you really do want to consider using your NUC then I'd suggest checking out either Home Assistant or Homeseer with a Zwave USB key *or* by using Vera as a simple bridge to the Zwave kit. If however this is your only issue, then I'd try removal & adding back in.

Cheers

Guess I'll start by putting a battery in it and excluding or powering up a device not powered ATM but excluding and re-including devices is a pain as I not only have to drag my Vera all over the house, garage and yard with Ethernet in tow, I have open the plastic box containing the FortrezZ MIMO pump control relays and climb ladders to access the Garage Switch and Christmas Lights Switch. Then all scenes and plugins for these  devices need to be re-done.

Quite the undertaking and who knows if it'll work and if it does, how long. I should not have to do this much maintenance as this is supposed to simplify my life, not complicate it and add additional work to it.