Author Topic: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave  (Read 1117 times)

Offline rafale77

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Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« on: December 26, 2018, 06:55:22 pm »
As I have been messing around with a spare Vera Plus and Homeseer branded (in reality the most generic USB Zwave stick you can find as it is a basic UZB), I found out I could completely clone my zwave radio and essentially have 2 identical vera and identical nodes (same id number too) on my network. This is enables me to have a drop in replacement in case one controller fails. Now the question is whether I could do the same thing with my usb dongle and so far have not been successful doing it. For those who have used a USB dongle before, have you been able to restore from USB to UART(onboard serial) and vice versa?

The advantage of using the UZB is obviously its portability but also that it is generic. I was able to upgrade the firmware to the latest SDK 6.81.3 dated from October 2018 provided by Silicon Labs. The Vera reports it to be 6.4 as opposed to 6.1 on the latest firmware.

Just for documentation purpose, I also found how to restore only the onboard zwave dongle:
-move your desired dongle file (example: "dongle.6.1.dump.0") to /etc/cmh,
-rename it "dongle.restore",
-run Stop_cmh.sh
-run Start_cmh.sh
-run Reboot
The restore file should have disappeared and the dongle will have been restored. Now optionally, to complete a full restore, you can run Stop_cmh.sh again and put your user_data.json.lzo to complete the full restore of your devices before starting the engine again (Start_cmh.sh)
openLuup (78 devices, 141 scenes, 19 apps) master to VeraPlus (142 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 221 devices,  20 scenes , 2 apps) +  Hubitat (15 Zigbee nodes) + Home-Assistant (API Integrations). Bridged to Siri and Alexa. Homewave. VeraPlus ExtRooted and mios server independent.

Offline zedrally

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2018, 07:36:36 pm »

The advantage of using the UZB is obviously its portability but also that it is generic. I was able to upgrade the firmware to the latest SDK 6.81.3 dated from October 2018 provided by Silicon Labs. The Vera reports it to be 6.4 as opposed to 6.1 on the latest firmware.


There is another advantage which is better radio coverage, depending on use you can position the aerial(UZB) away from Vera, vertical positioning is best.


Do you have a link to the FW upgrade?
Living in the Land of Oz, give me a vegemite sandwich. Home Seer, Vera Lite & Edge, Popp, Black Cat Smart Hub & Vera G, Black Cat Lite 1 & 2's a Black Cat Dimmer or 2, Fantem Tec and then some  Black Cat Cat's Eye PIR's & Door-Window Sensors, RFXComm, Broadlink RMPro & Mini plus a Z-UNO or 2.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2018, 08:01:39 pm »
openLuup (78 devices, 141 scenes, 19 apps) master to VeraPlus (142 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 221 devices,  20 scenes , 2 apps) +  Hubitat (15 Zigbee nodes) + Home-Assistant (API Integrations). Bridged to Siri and Alexa. Homewave. VeraPlus ExtRooted and mios server independent.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 01:47:06 am »
So after testing it today, I have successfully cloned my vera embedded zwave ZM5304 onto a USB stick (again the very generic Homeseer smartstick which a standard UZB aka SD3503). For some reason Silicon Labs does not provide any firmware update on the ZM3504 but does for the SD3503 as part of their SDK release. I have pivoted my vera from the /dev/ttyS0 to /dev/ttyACM0 and from what I can tell so far, it is completely transparent.

The trick has been to get the luup engine to run the dongle restore without restoring the rest of the user_data.json as I described in the first post.

The next step is to see whether stability improved as my only two sources of luup reloads now have been:
-time: 1st of the month at midnight which is a planned reload
-Zwave command queue crash when there is too large of a backlog of commands. This also shows up as lag and misses by the vera of sensor signals.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 08:00:27 pm by rafale77 »
openLuup (78 devices, 141 scenes, 19 apps) master to VeraPlus (142 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 221 devices,  20 scenes , 2 apps) +  Hubitat (15 Zigbee nodes) + Home-Assistant (API Integrations). Bridged to Siri and Alexa. Homewave. VeraPlus ExtRooted and mios server independent.

Offline zedrally

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2019, 02:02:19 am »
^^^
Do I understand you correctly, you have cloned the UZB with the current Vera (Sigma) SDK and updated this to the newest SDK or this is what you are trying to do?


FWIW, I prefer to use a UZB with Vera but have not been able to find any instructions on how to update the SDK on it (the UZB), so I'm in and watching...
Living in the Land of Oz, give me a vegemite sandwich. Home Seer, Vera Lite & Edge, Popp, Black Cat Smart Hub & Vera G, Black Cat Lite 1 & 2's a Black Cat Dimmer or 2, Fantem Tec and then some  Black Cat Cat's Eye PIR's & Door-Window Sensors, RFXComm, Broadlink RMPro & Mini plus a Z-UNO or 2.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2019, 04:10:35 am »
Yes,

I had my entire setup on the vera. I had noticed that the embedded firmware for the ZM5304 had been updated to 6.81.1 but somehow the serial-API module on the OS itself was not. It was a couple of years older and was significantly smaller. I had already replaced the serial-API file but wanted to move to a portable USB stick.
I decided to try to update a spare stick I had laying around and got it to update to SDK 6.81.3. Now the problem was that I did not want to include yet another controller in my zwave network and redo all the associations so I tried to clone the network data from the vera onto the stick which I just successfully did and I am now able to get the vera to run off of it without having had to touch anything on my network.

Attached a screenshot of what it looks like
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 02:08:51 pm by rafale77 »
openLuup (78 devices, 141 scenes, 19 apps) master to VeraPlus (142 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 221 devices,  20 scenes , 2 apps) +  Hubitat (15 Zigbee nodes) + Home-Assistant (API Integrations). Bridged to Siri and Alexa. Homewave. VeraPlus ExtRooted and mios server independent.

Offline martynwendon

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2019, 05:45:05 pm »
This is interesting stuff ..... could this technique be used to "move" to a different platform?

Just thinking that the current methods of moving to say HomeSeer or Hubitat involve Exclude / Include (painful and time consuming) or Controller Shift (which doesn't always work very well).

Would it therefore be possible to "clone" the Vera Z-Wave network from the Internal radio onto the UZB which could then be moved to the other platform?

Secure keys can also be extracted from Vera and imported on the other platform too?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 06:00:37 pm by martynwendon »

Offline rafale77

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2019, 06:38:23 pm »
This is interesting stuff ..... could this technique be used to "move" to a different platform?

Just thinking that the current methods of moving to say HomeSeer or Hubitat involve Exclude / Include (painful and time consuming) or Controller Shift (which doesn't always work very well).

Would it therefore be possible to "clone" the Vera Z-Wave network from the Internal radio onto the UZB which could then be moved to the other platform?

Secure keys can also be extracted from Vera and imported on the other platform too?

Yes it could be used to move to another platform by just moving the stick. The secure key can also be extracted from the vera (S0 only, S2 is now on the zwave chip but as far as I know is not being used by the vera)
openLuup (78 devices, 141 scenes, 19 apps) master to VeraPlus (142 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 221 devices,  20 scenes , 2 apps) +  Hubitat (15 Zigbee nodes) + Home-Assistant (API Integrations). Bridged to Siri and Alexa. Homewave. VeraPlus ExtRooted and mios server independent.

Offline zedrally

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2019, 07:13:27 pm »
It just so happens that I have a couple of devices on a UZB that happens to be in my HS sandbox.
I noticed that the Z-Wave PC Controller found the devices OK, it didn't occer to me that Vera might see the network as well.
I'm off to try it....
Living in the Land of Oz, give me a vegemite sandwich. Home Seer, Vera Lite & Edge, Popp, Black Cat Smart Hub & Vera G, Black Cat Lite 1 & 2's a Black Cat Dimmer or 2, Fantem Tec and then some  Black Cat Cat's Eye PIR's & Door-Window Sensors, RFXComm, Broadlink RMPro & Mini plus a Z-UNO or 2.

Offline zedrally

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2019, 07:23:42 pm »
Well VERA found the network OK, I need to do further testing but this is most promising.
I'll attempt to clone my Home HAC to the UZB and see if it works in reverse.....
Living in the Land of Oz, give me a vegemite sandwich. Home Seer, Vera Lite & Edge, Popp, Black Cat Smart Hub & Vera G, Black Cat Lite 1 & 2's a Black Cat Dimmer or 2, Fantem Tec and then some  Black Cat Cat's Eye PIR's & Door-Window Sensors, RFXComm, Broadlink RMPro & Mini plus a Z-UNO or 2.

Offline zedrally

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2019, 07:42:46 pm »
HS found the Z_Wave network data OK,, but I have a problem initialising HS due to a network change.


Logs below.

3/01/2019 11:29:41 AM ~!~Z-Wave~!~Loading Z-Wave Network Objects...
3/01/2019 11:29:41 AM ~!~Z-Wave~!~1 total Z-Wave Network Objects loaded.
3/01/2019 11:29:41 AM ~!~Z-Wave~!~Loading Z-Wave Data Objects...
3/01/2019 11:29:41 AM ~!~Z-Wave~!~2 Networks were restored from the data in the database... Building data connections.
3/01/2019 11:29:41 AM ~!~Z-Wave~!~Network C0968B27 has 43 device data elements.
3/01/2019 11:29:41 AM ~!~Z-Wave~!~Network D9283C04 has 10 device data elements.
3/01/2019 11:29:41 AM ~!~Z-Wave~!~53 total Z-Wave Data Objects loaded.

The HS Devices do not carry their Device names (expected) over to the VERA UI, I'd expect the reverse to be true as well.
Presently I'm stuck until I work our how to get HS functioning on the new network address. We had a change over to Broadband from ADSL a couple weeks ago which required a new router, all of the address's were in the 192.xxx.xxx.xx, it's been a massive amount of work to get them to 10.xx.xx.xx
Living in the Land of Oz, give me a vegemite sandwich. Home Seer, Vera Lite & Edge, Popp, Black Cat Smart Hub & Vera G, Black Cat Lite 1 & 2's a Black Cat Dimmer or 2, Fantem Tec and then some  Black Cat Cat's Eye PIR's & Door-Window Sensors, RFXComm, Broadlink RMPro & Mini plus a Z-UNO or 2.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2019, 07:54:19 pm »
Probably a lot of you already know but moving the antenna of zwave by a few inches can cause some devices to longer be reachable. I've played around today with the UZB position and location and think I finally found a position that works.

@zedrally, I think reverse works, The dongle data is saved in the /etc/cmh folder. It was designed to be uploadable to the ZM5304 embedded module in the vera. It does not matter which module the data came from but the news to me was that I could upload to an external stick. Come to think about it, it was probably inherited code from older veras which had a USB dongle... I am pretty sure you could upload it to almost any USB dongle. The only one of interest to me at this point is the UZB because the firmware can be sourced directly from Sil. Labs.

openLuup (78 devices, 141 scenes, 19 apps) master to VeraPlus (142 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 221 devices,  20 scenes , 2 apps) +  Hubitat (15 Zigbee nodes) + Home-Assistant (API Integrations). Bridged to Siri and Alexa. Homewave. VeraPlus ExtRooted and mios server independent.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2019, 07:57:23 pm »
@Zedrally, You need to configure the devices... The vera sees them because it got them from the dongle but it doesn't know what to do with them. Try going under advanced/commands in the device and configure the node right now. It will ping the device and get information from it and try to see what it can do with it. You may need to wake the device up...
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Offline zedrally

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2019, 08:08:58 pm »
^^^ There are actually off line presenty. I'm running out of hours in the day ATM :)
Living in the Land of Oz, give me a vegemite sandwich. Home Seer, Vera Lite & Edge, Popp, Black Cat Smart Hub & Vera G, Black Cat Lite 1 & 2's a Black Cat Dimmer or 2, Fantem Tec and then some  Black Cat Cat's Eye PIR's & Door-Window Sensors, RFXComm, Broadlink RMPro & Mini plus a Z-UNO or 2.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Vera Plus with USB Dongle Vs. onboard zwave
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2019, 12:49:23 pm »
Well I ended up reverting back to the onboard zwave stick. There was a small number of my battery operated sensors which stopped working after a nightly heal and required either reconfiguration or re-inclusion. They seemed to be isolated to specific models. For the sake of the experiment though, it was quite interesting.

Note also that everything was working yesterday before the nightly heal, even the battery operated devices which stopped reporting in morning. This nightly heal should really be disabled.

I also somewhat subjectively sensed that the responsiveness to command is better with the onboard radio Vs the USB one.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 02:46:50 pm by rafale77 »
openLuup (78 devices, 141 scenes, 19 apps) master to VeraPlus (142 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 221 devices,  20 scenes , 2 apps) +  Hubitat (15 Zigbee nodes) + Home-Assistant (API Integrations). Bridged to Siri and Alexa. Homewave. VeraPlus ExtRooted and mios server independent.