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Author Topic: Vera Controler Down... For Real!  (Read 5267 times)

Offline markd

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #75 on: June 02, 2018, 07:17:15 pm »
Tillsy,

Vera customer support has fixed my 'device can't be detected' issue and made changes to the system.  However,  we had a power cut here during the week and the aeotec dimmer that controls the ceiling lights in my bedroom have lost their dimming range and only dim over a very small range.  I've tried updating the device parameter but it doesn't get saved to the dimmer even thought Vera says it's configuring the device.  I noticed that device auto configuration was set to No so I changed this to Yes.  Vera immediately reported configuring secure classes message and the device stopped working.

I've emailed customer support and hope they can see there is an issue with secure devices that needs addressing.

Offline Tillsy

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #76 on: June 02, 2018, 11:52:53 pm »
Sorry guys I have already gave up on support.  They contacted me a week ago (which was MORE than a week after they messed things up further by not doing what they had offered to do) and simply wanted to go in and delete the stuffed devices.

This follow up was simply to confirm that doing so wouldn't have fixed much - there are other stuffed things behind the scenes causing issues too (unless Vera's solution was that each week they go in and delete more and more crap that's messed up behind the scenes).

Classy product this Vera - insanely underpowered and under resourced, immense bugs (my original crash clearly being for the same growing number of system crashes others are facing), and a lack of respect that this impacts peoples HOMES they live in.

The solution to this Vera mess is indeed a complete wipe and start from scratch.  BUT I have a lot of devices, Vera is insanely slow and painful with pairing, configuring, and well everything, and besides IF they ever sort out the Fibaro compatibility issues that's going to need everything unpaired and repaired and configured all over again.

So that, combined with being totally and utterly offended that support made me an offer to fix it properly but then didn't and since then just want to kick the stupid thing around, that I downloaded HomeSeer.

Still have a long way to go, but I was able to quickly test enough last week to take a punt that I'll hopefully go down this path and thus and purchased a license before their sale ended.

Today's job, in between trying to spend time with my girls, was to start the testing from scratch to...
1. Revert to the Aeotec stick (the vendor one needs to go back)
2. Start from scratch with Debian rather than Windows (I would like to run this on a Raspberry Pi so this will enable me to simulate that as best as possible before purchasing anything - once I installed Debian and required dependencies I extracted the version of HomeSeer out of their Pi image and ran that in Debian so that I'm testing the exact actual (and now licensed) setup that would be running on the Pi)

That has taken a few hours longer today than I expected, so while I have the setup going there's no time to add all my test devices back in or - more importantly - move onto testing a couple of items from my "live" Vera system that are currently as yet untested.  My girls are getting insanely frustrated at having sat around all day so I need to go take them out for a bike ride or something!

Offline kwieto

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #77 on: June 04, 2018, 04:48:16 pm »
The more I'm learning about how Vera works the more I see that I will go similar way.
My main concern is that I need standalone controller, so buying a software won't solve my problems.
This makes me stuck with Vera for nearest future, but I see that it is a dead end route and as my system grows over time sooner than later I'll simply hit the wall.
For now my priority is to keep relatively stable setup (still struggling with rapid drains of "storage" memory and clearing results of latest CC "help") and start saving money for buying something different.

CC tells me that main problem with "storage" memory is generated by AltUI and Datamine plugins. Both are available through official Vera's appstore (so I can assume that they were tested and certified enough). And I need both mainly to be able to track and analyse historical data coming from sensors and switches (Datamine) and be able to do such remotely (AltUI). I don't know if HS provide such solution, for me is quite obvious that having smart home I would like to monitor behaviour of certain devices over time. I still wonder why isn't such ability just integrated into the UI


Offline Tillsy

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #78 on: June 04, 2018, 07:15:49 pm »
My main concern is that I need standalone controller, so buying a software won't solve my problems.

Bear in mind you install the "software" on whatever you like.  In my case I am thinking of buying a Pi, Z-Wave USB stick, installing Debian on it, and then installing HS on that (my test setup with a notebook has demonstrated to me this will work).  The end result will be a little standalone box smaller than the Vera but much much much more powerful hardware, resources, and software.

Offline jswim788

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #79 on: June 04, 2018, 07:36:31 pm »
thinking of buying a Pi, Z-Wave USB stick, installing Debian on it, and then installing ...
The RPI is very good, but don't underestimate what you may need to put around it.  The power system is not fantastic - I've lost 2 SD cards due to power glitches whereas the Vera Lite kept right on running.  I've since added a UPS for the RPI (and added the VL to it too).  The next item is that the SD cards don't provide any feedback when they start wearing out (don't know if Vera deals with this or not).  But this has me thinking of adding an SSD to the RPI as well since the OS can then tell you something bad is happening.  All this has me thinking of switching to something like one of the Intel NUC low end boxes or similar which have fans and space for SSD's.  Just something to think about for the longer term if you will stick with it.  RPI is great to get started.

I've run openLuup and openHAB on the same RPI without issue, so they definitely have decent processing power.

Offline Tillsy

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #80 on: June 04, 2018, 10:28:45 pm »
Fantastic post jswim788, I've been pondering those two topics as well:

1. SD card wear.  General consumer flash just isn't rated for repeated rewriting, and running an operating system on one will cause a lot of files to be repeatedly be re-written behind the scenes, so over time transistors start to die off.  All devices have this same issue, I've read threads on here about Veras having storage failures.  So I'm thinking of buying a higher end card - plus maybe a backup or two.

2. Power.  Definitely under rated - most are just $1 or $2 units, can't expect much quality out of those :)  Plus where I live power isn't exactly super reliable.  So I have a UPS in my rack protecting my gear (including Vera at the moment).

I like your thinking with the SSD.  If I go ahead with this I am already thinking what my next evolution would be in case I need more grunt over time - would like to keep it small low power stand-alone so maybe something like a Rock64 with 4GB RAM and an SSD.

All still test and theory at the moment, but given my wasted time and money with Vera I want to be better prepared this time - and more importantly in complete control.

Offline jswim788

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #81 on: June 04, 2018, 11:56:10 pm »
Even the higher end cards will silently fail eventually.  I tend to want a lot of logging and I'm storing data, so I'm motivated to move to an SSD.  I don't think SD cards are a good fit for this application.  There are industrial quality SD cards which are quite expensive - probably better off to go with an SSD instead.  But that isn't bullet proof either - you can find stories of those failing too.  Hopefully less often than SD cards wearing out.

I had the RPI recommended 2.5A power module for it, but it's not very good.

And consider the case.  Seems silly, but I've had a hard time finding a good case for the RPI that I can actually buy and has space for for an SSD and has a quiet but reasonable fan.  I haven't heard of the Rock64.  I'll take a look.

Offline kwieto

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #82 on: June 05, 2018, 04:02:08 am »
I can agree with @jswim788.
I have Lexar microSD (high-performance series) which was damaged in couple of months by frequent writing.
My market is flooded by second-hand Netatmo Presence cameras (most probably consumer returns) which store recorded data on microSD. I tested couple of them and in most cases they have issues with the card, which needs to be replaced to make camera work. If you check the date when this model was introduced to the market you can assume that the lifespan of microSD put in camera for permanent use is about 1-2 years.
They use Adata cards by default, but I've tested also SandiskUltra (about 2years old, used in my phone then stored for couple of months) and after a month or two I started to have issues with this card as well.
SSD will most probably work longer, but still traditional hard drive is most reliable solution, at least for non-portable device.

About "software solution" - yes, you can install it on whatever you like, but I'm a bit reluctant to go that way.
I have controller at vacation home, It may happen that I won't be there for a monhth or two. During that time various things may happen like power outage, lack of internet connection etc. Controller need to survive this and be able to reboot itself or not gonna crazy because of internet outage.
I found that "standalone" solutions are more reliable in such circumstances and need less maintenance.
And of course I don't want to do "housekeeping" (clearing temp files or other rubbish) of my controller every time I'm at the location and here standalone solutions seems to be better as well.
If you have standalone controller you have one system to manage (at least in theory), if you have a software installed on the computer you have two systems to deal with.

I simply don't have time to sit at the controller and tweak it, I want a solution which I can mainly install and forget.



Offline Tillsy

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #83 on: June 05, 2018, 06:22:25 am »
If you have standalone controller you have one system to manage (at least in theory), if you have a software installed on the computer you have two systems to deal with.

You're assuming Vera update the Linux variant (OpenWRT) they run their software on... like all devices they only provide build numbers and details regarding their own software, and release updates at intervals that are much much farther apart than the underlying operating system.  So I'm very doubtful they are keeping OpenWRT patched and maintained (either fully or at all) - actually we know its not maintained because the incredibly limited resources are left to exhaust, thus the immense number of Vera implosions all over this forum.

I very much doubt its flash storage is of any reasonable quality either - unless they've used top of the range flash and memory hence so little of it LOL :)

Offline kwieto

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #84 on: June 05, 2018, 06:49:52 am »
I've lost hope in Vera already.
But Vera is not the only standalone controller on the market, there is Fibaro, Zipato, HS has own devices (yes, I know they are mainly windows/linux machines, but I don't have to deal with these system as an user), there is Hubitat, Homey and a few more.

For now my strategy is to stick to Vera till it works, and better prepare for transition in the future.
I would choose Zipato for my purposes as it has competitive price and looks good according to specs (HS is very US centric and I suspect problems using it in EU - most of devics I use, like Qubino or Fibaro are not mentioned on their comatibility list), the only problem I have is lack of plugin for Netatmo weather station, which is important part of my setup.



Offline sflin

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #85 on: June 05, 2018, 04:04:48 pm »
I'm riding the same wave.
My secure has not been working for a month now.
Support just cleans out the files and the next day the controller is full again.
And support takes 2-4 days to reply, and it means I can't reboot my device as it will not boot up again.
All I can do is factory reset and restore backup, next day it's full again.
I should never have updated to the latest firmware, all was working fine.

And I'm going to complain to someone further up in the Vera chain, as Support is very slow and only solves the problem her and now instead of finding out the root of the problem.

Offline Tillsy

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #86 on: June 07, 2018, 05:47:18 am »
I know I shouldn't be surprised, Veras have been dieing all over this forum and based on current theories I expected mine (although still totally and utterly stuffed) would die again in a few months time.

But, while away for a few days, I've just noticed that of all the Vera offline/online messages I repeatedly get the last offline message 36 hours ago was not followed by an online one.  Checked the portal and, yup, controller is offline.

Have confirmed my network is online just fine so when I get home will be interesting to see what condition the piece of crap is in this time...

Offline kwieto

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Re: Vera Controler Down... For Real!
« Reply #87 on: June 07, 2018, 03:19:59 pm »
Probably again controller memory (RAM or Storage) is stuffed.
This causes controller being unavailable from to access via servers, only local access is possible.

I did recently a major cleaning of my controller: First I went to Apps > Develop Apps > luup files and copied list of files to a spreadsheet.
Then I did a backup and Factory Reset. After that I copied again luup files and compared two lists.
As a result I got list of files which were installed in the past by various plugins and not deleted after some of these plugins were removed. I checked this list with plugins which I still use and then opened backup file and removed all files not belonging to system nor any plugin used in the current setup.
Finally I did a restore from a cleared backup file, gaining about 300kB memory this way.
It doesn't look impressive, but gave me additional 4% of free storage memory.

Of course you can SSH to your Vera and remove unneeded files directly from it, either way will work.

I also removed z-wave localization files (left EU which I use and US, as Vera by default uses US temp or time units, so I thought maybe also US localization of Z-wave may be needed for some purpose). This way I've got additional 14% of Storage memory.

Lastly I made a scene running every 12 hours and checking amount of available Storage memory, according to @akbooer's guide from here:
http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,85510.0.html

I did two step verification, one done when available memory will drop below about 18-20% doing the simple clearing (mainly ergy and cmh-firmware folders), then the second step is performed when available memory drop below about 10% (again, ergy, cmh-firmware and Datamine, alerts, mios-backups folders as well).

I also set a notification to be send to Vera mobile app on my phone each time the scene is performing a clearing (no matter at which step) to be informed in advance that something is going wrong.

It is not much time since I did that, I'm chcecking amount of available memory (Storage) from time to time and it seems to be stable, at the level of 25 /(75% used). Before removing z-wave localization files but after clearing from unneeded luup files it was 89% of memory used, and the starting point before any clearance was around 93%.
In terms of kB it was a journey from about 600kB available, through over 900kB available and now I have 2200kB available. Should be enough for a while.

Of course I have similar routine for checkig and clearing RAM as well, this was designed couple of months ago, when I had issues with that.
Combined together it should give a bit of time to look around and see best option for smooth migration.
Or maybe Vera will finally stop crashing every couple of months, who knows?
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 03:41:58 pm by kwieto »

Offline Tillsy

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