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Author Topic: Vera reliability  (Read 9918 times)

Offline Michele

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Vera reliability
« on: November 09, 2011, 01:12:32 pm »
This is really an issue for everyone but is of particular interest if you want to control a vacation home that isn't within driving distance.  I am concerned about the reliability of the Vera system.  While the Vera hardware may be pretty good, I'm worried about the cheap made-in-Communist-China wall wart power supply that feeds it.

If that dies, you lose control of your network.  (The same is true for the power to your router and modem for that matter).  I've found that these power cubes are definitely the weak link in system reliability.  I have a bunch of them and they seem to fail at random with no warning.

Does anyone have a solution for a more robust power supply than these little plastic trinkets?  THe only thing I can think of is to connect two of these cubes in parallel to provide some redundancy.  It seems like it should work but I haven't tried it.

Offline guessed

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 12:05:55 am »
I've not had any problems with the Vera-supplied power supply, but I eventually replaced it as part of a broader solution to provide battery-backed capacity for "those moments".

What I have now [roughly] is outlined here:
    http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,7186.msg45545.html#msg45545

and works well.  The downside is that any sort of "timer-based" restart of Vera now needs a more custom [low voltage] solution, as compared to using an ordinary [line voltage] timer.

If it came down to it, and I had a Vacation property, I'd chose to be able to use a regular timer, over my fancy battery backup.  I get, maybe, 1-2 [short] power down events/yr compared to the potential of a Vera lockup, and the chaos that would cause.

Anyhow, in my experience it's not the wall-warts that die... it's usually something else that goes awry that needs to be gracefully/robustly handled.


Also, I'd think it'd be more dangerous to try and parallel any form of Wall-wart, at least without using some sort of electrical isolation between the two.  Seems like you'd be more likely to cause a serious failure event unless there's appropriate electrical isolation between the two.

Offline Michele

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 02:11:08 am »
Yes, I'm going to agree that simply paralleling two wall warts may not be the greatest idea.   What might work though is a DPDT relay held closed by one power supply.  If it dies, the relay opens and switches in the backup supply.  But I really like your SLA battery idea - that ought to be quite robust.

It's unfortunate that there's a whole bunch of single points of failure that can take down the system: Vera itself, the router, the modem, the power supplies for each of those, the ISP, even a tree falling on the cable outside the house.  I'm considering a dual WAN router to address the latter possibility, using a 3G  modem for the backup net access.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 06:39:20 am by oTi@ »

Offline anthonyris

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2011, 06:16:54 pm »
I replaced the stock Vera wall wart with a universal power supply. My original AC adapter was making a buzzing noise, and I was afraid the smoke would escape from the cheap black box...

As for general reliability, Vera now lives connected to an analog $3 appliance timer module that turns off every night at 4am and back on 15 minutes later.

Has saved me untold roundtrips to the summer house to reboot Vera when she was flailing.
.//A.

This is really an issue for everyone but is of particular interest if you want to control a vacation home that isn't within driving distance.  I am concerned about the reliability of the Vera system.  While the Vera hardware may be pretty good, I'm worried about the cheap made-in-Communist-China wall wart power supply that feeds it.

If that dies, you lose control of your network.  (The same is true for the power to your router and modem for that matter).  I've found that these power cubes are definitely the weak link in system reliability.  I have a bunch of them and they seem to fail at random with no warning.

Does anyone have a solution for a more robust power supply than these little plastic trinkets?  THe only thing I can think of is to connect two of these cubes in parallel to provide some redundancy.  It seems like it should work but I haven't tried it.
Vera3x2, Leviton, GE dimmers, relays and lamp modules, Sonos, Nests...

Offline Michele

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2011, 08:14:57 pm »
Interesting.  My old Hawking HRGZ01 gateway used to lock up every two weeks and require a reboot, but so far my Vera 2 has been running for a month and a half without incident (well except for when I added that GE switch and the whole network collapsed).  The timer reboot idea is a good one though, just in case.

Offline mcsincnj

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 01:34:04 pm »
My experience is quite the opposite - My VERA2 was operating properly for 2 weeks -  I had cameras, locks and switches with scenes set up.

Last week, I returned to the vacation home to add additional switches and set my cameras to turn on a light when viewed remotely. All seemed to go well until I paired a GE wall switch with the system - I paired it, and healed it... and then all hell broke loose - my existing locks and switches were reporting as "not configured" Nothing was working properly. So, I looked on this blog and couldn't find any answers. So I requested technical support on Friday. Saturday, when I had not received anything except an automated response, I called and receive a Voice Mail telling me to leave a message. I did. Saturday evening, knowing I needed to get something happening, I did a factory reset and proceeded to add all of my devices back - I had a FOSCAM XML that I can't find, so when I finally do get it working again, I need to get that back as well.

All seemed to be going well when VERA froze. Logon says "Server Busy" - so I provided another request but much more detailed to technical support - On my way home early yesterday morning (Monday 11/14) I am periodically checking my emails from my phone.... TS was finally responding to my first cry for help, telling me they needed more information.... So, I replied and referenced my second very explicit email and ticket number - more than 24 hours has elapsed and no emails, no call NO NOTHING -

I am dead in the water with my system over 10 hours away..... If I had to do this all over again, I would not. Tech support at this moment is non-existent. The video I watched on the website made it look very easy to set up.... I guess that is how it is, if everything goes right, but if there is a problem, you are left to your own resources scouring this help site. Yah, but this woman on a video telling you how easy this is and how happy you will be and suck you right into an initial cost of 238.00 plus every switch is 50.00 or more each – I have over 500.00 in a system that at this point in time in not operational.

I see the backups on the settings page, but no way of accesses them b/c I can’t get to the VERA, and I think they are for the Dongle (sold separately) – spend spend spend and no TS – please give me a break!

All problems are user/system specific and the only people who would understand them is an actual support staff. Posting a question on this site is great as long as you are not under any constraints; but when dealing with a remote location, support is not available and you must leave at a certain time, this method of answering questions is about as arcane as using pony express. VERA as system for security of your vacation home is not a viable solution.  Look at something else… I am very disappointed

So, we will see if the moderators take this down or actually leave this post up, since all other posts are singing the praises of VERA. Nothing is perfect and to have only positive responses seems a bit off… So here is a BIG NEGATIVE. BTW, I sent an email to TS last night letting them know I was not happy and that I was going to post a negative on the blog web site – maybe that is why I am not getting any support, however, that was after I responded to their email as well as telling them when I would be at my home phone.

FRUSTRATED IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT!


 >:(

Finally!!!!  :)   5:30 PM EST
I was able to get someone with tech support - it took them 1.5 hours to get it back to an acceptable condition.
I am committed to this system, but now realize that there could be issues to deal with that will be frustrating at best.  ::)
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 05:50:45 pm by mcsincnj »

Offline DaveL17

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Vera reliability
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 05:58:59 pm »
Interesting. Last two posts both say that everything seemed to be running smoothly until GE switch includes.

I mounted two GE outdoor modules last weekend in anticipation of holiday decorations, but haven't included them yet (plan to do that this weekend.) Maybe I'll do one more backup just to be sure...

Offline Michele

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 01:02:44 am »
Very interesting.  That appears to be the same thing that happened to me.  My network was fine until I added a GE dimmer switch (mod. 45606).  When I plugged Vera back into the Ethernet, the entire Zwave network was inoperative.  Every node reported the "trasmit failed" error.  Both sensors I have reported tripped, although they weren't.  And a "heal with stress test" didn't.

The only difference is that MCV responded to my support ticket in 24 hours and was able to restore it.  It's been running fine since then except that the GE switch has mysteriously vanished from the Dashboard.  But I sure as heck am not going to try to reinclude it.  Fool me once, etc.  I've ordered a different brand switch that I will try in that location.  Not sure what I'll do with the GE.  Anyone want to buy a slightly used GE wall switch of death?

Offline mcvflorin

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2011, 03:41:31 am »
@mcsincnj

The Tech Support staff doesn't work on week-ends and usually Monday there are more messages in the queue, hence the later response to your ticket.

Quote from: mcsincnj
So, we will see if the moderators take this down or actually leave this post up, since all other posts are singing the praises of VERA.

This means that you see the full half of the glass, which is a good thing. :) No negative posts have been removed so far, we don't do this kind of things. You can find them if you look around the forum.

Offline DaveL17

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Vera reliability
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2011, 06:06:47 pm »
Anyone want to buy a slightly used GE wall switch of death?

I love this.

Oh, and no thanks!

Offline DaveL17

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2011, 10:30:37 am »
I mounted two GE outdoor modules last weekend in anticipation of holiday decorations, but haven't included them yet (plan to do that this weekend.) Maybe I'll do one more backup just to be sure...

Well, the GE outdoor switches were included without incident.  They respond quickly to signals and report their status without issue.  I suppose that the outdoor switches could be immune to the problems noted above with the GE in-wall devices; or I could just be lucky.

Dave

Offline Michele

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 04:25:29 pm »
I vote for the former.  I also have a GE fluorescent lamp module installed just 10 feet from the spot where the GE switch didn't work.  The module works fine.  So I guess it's not all GE Zwave devices that don't work, just their switches.  And their model 45600 remote control which I have yet to get to control anything in my network.

Offline DaveL17

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Vera reliability
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2011, 04:32:31 pm »
Of course, my outdoor switches aren't contained within metal boxes....

Offline Michele

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2011, 02:13:15 am »
Well yes, I'll admit my GE switch did work when hanging out of the metal box by its wires but that was just a bit too hillbilly-esque for my decorating tastes.  The Intermatic works well parked completely inside the metal box.

I'm actually fairly surprised any switch will work at all from inside a metal box like that.  It's hardly the ideal antenna support tower.

Offline DaveL17

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Re: Vera reliability
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2011, 06:46:21 am »
All my in-wall switches are Leviton units (non-dimming) and I couldn't be happier. 

I don't know where the antennae are on these things, but I'm guessing that it's right up front under the plastic plate.