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General => General => Topic started by: Tonnystark on January 03, 2019, 02:48:21 pm

Title: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Tonnystark on January 03, 2019, 02:48:21 pm
I purchased a Veralite about 2 years ago and use it to mostly to run light dimmers (Linear Brand). They've always worked.. kinda, but it's pretty frustrating that 5% it just doesn't respond. A few other gripes I have with it is the difficulty of setting up/pairing new devices and the latency can be up even 10 seconds sometimes.

I also have a Philips Hue system and Echo setup and in comparison it works flawlessly. I understand that Wifi has disadvantages of range and likely takes more energy but I am about fed up with the Vera, and probably Z-wave in general.

Anyone else share similar thoughts?
Thank You
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Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Ionut S on January 04, 2019, 09:53:36 am
Hello Tony, I've emailed you in regards to your feedback. Please reply to the email with the requested information so we could try and assist you with this.

Thank you! Happy new year & happy holidays!
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Catman on January 04, 2019, 11:15:27 am
I'd be kind of interested in seeing the feedback request.
I find Vera (though to be fair it's my only experience of Z-wave) certainly extremely frustrating mixed with flashes of brilliance.  I had X10 and Indigo before I  moved to the new house. In the old place it *never* failed. Here it just wouldn't work (something about the mains wiring) so I switched.
Z-Wave has a far greater range of devices but I seriously consider moving away from Vera on a pretty regular basis. It's just that I have no idea if anything is any better.
I spend my professional life managing 24/7 software systems so when I see (just last night) system failing to correctly execute commands due to something as basic as low disc space *without communicating that to the user* I have to wonder. Similarly how a device can be working fine one minute and literally then be 'set to off'. Further how a company that is positioning itself as a major player can have its app store offline throwing 403 errors.

Sure these things happen, but they are (at least in my experience) pretty easy to prevent (well not sure about the sudden change of the device but the other two I would be embarrassed should they happen to me)

I'm not making this post to have a pop. One of the other things I've learnt in the business is that things are normally decided for a pretty good reason :)

So happy to provide some hopefully balanced feedback, or not :D

Cheers
C
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: wilme2 on January 04, 2019, 05:15:44 pm
I purchased a Veralite about 2 years ago and use it to mostly to run light dimmers (Linear Brand). They've always worked.. kinda, but it's pretty frustrating that 5% it just doesn't respond. A few other gripes I have with it is the difficulty of setting up/pairing new devices and the latency can be up even 10 seconds sometimes.

I also have a Philips Hue system and Echo setup and in comparison it works flawlessly. I understand that Wifi has disadvantages of range and likely takes more energy but I am about fed up with the Vera, and probably Z-wave in general.

Anyone else share similar thoughts?

I don't hear good things about Linear, but have no direct experience with them.  I started 5 years ago with a VeraLite and Intermatic plugs - and the Intermatic were complete crap.  Things improved when I went to GE/Jasco and Leviton.  I actually prefer the GE/Jasco Z-Wave Plus devices to anything else I have tried.

I just re-paired a whole set of devices, and they all paired easily on the first try via network-wide inclusion - granted that was on UI7 + VeraSecure (so sigma 500 Z-wave Plus chip compared to the sigma 300 standard ZWave in the VeraLite).

And I have every light switch in my house automated via PLEG + occupancy and door sensors.  Even a 1 second of latency is therefore painful.  Occasionally I will get 2 seconds or so and curse Vera, but it is rare.  I do strategically place the sensors to catch a person a step before they enter a room, but that is just good design if I say so myself...
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: kigmatzomat on January 04, 2019, 10:05:12 pm
Zwave is fine, it's the controller that is the issue. I had lag on my veraplus, switched to HomeSeer and response times became instant.

I did recently have the system get laggy, but I had moved the controller upstairs and forgot to run a network optimization. Had it run the update and poof,back to good days. Same thing could happen if you move a large/dense piece of furniture that blocks a key device.

When your network gets slow, check the docs for doing a zwave heal. For specific slow devices, refresh neighbor nodes to be safe.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Catman on January 05, 2019, 04:38:22 am
Zwave is fine, it's the controller that is the issue. I had lag on my veraplus, switched to HomeSeer and response times became instant.

I did recently have the system get laggy, but I had moved the controller upstairs and forgot to run a network optimization. Had it run the update and poof,back to good days. Same thing could happen if you move a large/dense piece of furniture that blocks a key device.

When your network gets slow, check the docs for doing a zwave heal. For specific slow devices, refresh neighbor nodes to be safe.

I *believe* UI7 is meant to do a heal every night. I could be wrong though.

C
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: cokeman on January 05, 2019, 06:38:42 am
I purchased a Veralite about 2 years ago and use it to mostly to run light dimmers (Linear Brand). They've always worked.. kinda, but it's pretty frustrating that 5% it just doesn't respond. A few other gripes I have with it is the difficulty of setting up/pairing new devices and the latency can be up even 10 seconds sometimes.

I also have a Philips Hue system and Echo setup and in comparison it works flawlessly. I understand that Wifi has disadvantages of range and likely takes more energy but I am about fed up with the Vera, and probably Z-wave in general.

Anyone else share similar thoughts?

I started on the vera 3, and now vera plus.

the last few month, my vera shows "Error in lua scritps or scenes" every 8 hours to 2 weeks, problem is that every script stops when this happens, and a reload of the engine normaly fixes the problem (no change to ANY script, just an reload)

a bit sad as my home alarm is running i scripts...

and battery life under vera, also NEEDS to be fixed. also having an Z-wave.me running with some of the same components, under z-wave.me running for 1 year, battery down to 60%, under vera, i'm on my second battery. and yes, in the some room, and side be side. motion detectors, and smoke detectors with sirenes have been testet.

so, yes... unless a new firmware with LOTS of fixes within the next 6 weeks, i'm off to a different controller

Support, have not been able to help :-(
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Mike Yeager on January 05, 2019, 09:51:00 am
Moved almost everything to Homeassistant on a Raspberry Pi. Very simply has too many issues for me...
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Newzwaver on January 05, 2019, 11:40:06 am
Hi All,

I have a number of controllers and to be honest find Vera the easiest one to work with, yes many problems and concerns.  What platform doesn't?  Vera in my opinion is the best for the DIY. 

Would a love to see my system not go down or have issues?  Absolutely..... 

Remember we are not paying for support, once the system is purchased support comes with it, purchase a computer some cost $$$$$.

I will be with Vera and would love more integration between hubs, that is the perfect fix use the best of each hub.

Good luck
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: JackTheMan18 on January 05, 2019, 09:48:01 pm
There are pluses and minuses associated with each and every hub. (Although some have more pluses than minuses).
I personally have tried (and still have in a closet):
smartthings
hubitat
home assistant
homeseer
vera plus
zipabox

I'm still looking for that all round "best" solution. I'm looking forward to what the new owners of Vera will come up with. I suspect that by the end of March 2019, they will have come out with new hardware and new software.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: blacey on January 06, 2019, 08:47:10 am
For what it is worth, here are my two cents...

There are 3 fundamental aspects to home automation - 1) protocol 2) devices and 3) controllers.

1) Protocol (network fabric) - The front runners are Z-Wave and Zigbee with BLE 5.1 (Mesh) holding a lot of promise but lacks broad adoption because it is early in it's lifecycle.  WiFi is not an HA protocol although some would like to make it that; WiFi just isn't designed for efficient low-power device operation.  I personally think it is a huge mistake to populate your WiFi network with WiFi/IP devices from China because they have access to your main network and run behind your firewall (the ideal trojan horse scenario).  For example, there have been countless security exploits with WiFi cameras.  Said another way, using a completely separate purpose-built and secure HA network fabric like Z-Wave greatly reduces the surface area for an exploit of your home WiFi system that hosts your most sensitive information and infrastructure.

2) Devices (sensors and actuators) - Depending upon your needs/use cases, you may find devices for Z-Wave, Zigbee, BLE and WiFi that suit your purpose.  From my own personal experience, I have yet to find a device for an alternate protocol that wasn't available on Z-Wave.  With Goggle's pushing Thread and Samsung's SmartThings, the Zigbee gap has closed but there are still more interoperability issues on Zigbee than the longer-standing Z-wave ecosystem because the Zigbee standards are looser.

3) Controllers (orchestration/automation) - Most HA protocols/standards include simple automation through mechanisms like Z-Wave's direct device-associations so you can do things like turn a light on when a sensor is tripped, etc.  However, a robust and capable HA system requires broader and more sophisticated orchestration that is not possible without a controller that serves as the brain for you HA.  The ideal controller will be extensible through plugins to encourage developers and enable users to solve their specific problems easily.  Furthermore, the controller should be able to integrate with multiple protocols and devices to address the broadest set of end user needs and maintain cadence with current trends such as voice-control (Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana).  And of course, ideally the HA controller platform is well-supported and has a large developer community.

Perspective (the grass isn't always greener) - Right now, Z-Wave is broadly adopted, supported, secure and more standardized than Zigbee with a myriad of devices being available to suit most HA use cases.  I personally standardized on Z-Wave for my network fabric years ago (circa Vera 3) but devices that "speak other protocols" are components of my total solution (I am one of the original MySensors developers) however, I choose to use a single HA controller for automation orchestration.  It is important to not confuse an HA Controller (i.e. Vera, Habitat, SmartThings, OpenHab, etc.) with the HA Protocol/network fabric (Z-Wave, Zigbee, etc).

I've been a long time Vera user and I've taken a cursory look at every new thing that comes along but I still run my HA systems (my primary home, a vacation home and my 85-year old mother's home) on Vera Plus' right now.  The Vera is still a front-runner with it's Lua/luup extensibility and broad developer/community support that allows end users to bridge the Vera to other modalities such as Homekit for Siri support (which I do).

As my HA demands have increased, I have never found a use case that I couldn't solve with the Vera and community extensions.  Yes, I have certainly experienced Vera's mysterious and frustrating failing under load but that is a solvable problem and often can be mitigated by examining the logs, identifying the root cause/pattern and adjusting the configuration to avoid the failure scenario (I'm in the midst of trying to figure one out).  The Vera Customer Support Team is very quick to help users when they take the time to ask and have spent countless hours with me to fix a number of issues with my systems.

Furthermore, if you visit the forums for other HA controllers, you will find that it isn't a bed of roses either and that they suffer from their own set of problems - SmartThings cloud-responsiveness, Hubitat's maturity (e.g. lack of udp support), Homeseer's pricing model, OpenHab's complexity, etc.  At this point there still isn't a perfect controller but remarkably, even though the Vera development cadence has waned due to lack of resources, the fundamental architectural/design choices have withstood the test of time and for now, Vera remains my controller of choice until some TBD player really upsets the HA market by doing something uniquely different and better than what currently exists - that may never happen.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Catman on January 06, 2019, 08:51:33 am
Thanks for taking the time to write that. Very interesting read.

C
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on January 06, 2019, 11:13:44 am
My Short answer is: Though, I have been tempted, at the end no.

1. Zwave: There is no alternative as blacey mentionned because: Zigbee and bluetooth (and wifi as well) are both on 2.4GHz which is already super crowded. Higher RF frequency means higher potential bandwidth but also shorter range/power ratio. For these two reasons, they will always be inferior to Z-wave in the long run. Even though the Zigbee protocol was designed to compensate for the range/power disadvantage, the 2.4GHz RF crowding and interference issue remains (microwave, phone, wifi, etc...). Zwave also offers the broadest range of interoperable devices even though indeed a number of interesting Zigbee exclusive devices exist, I have so far been able to integrate them into the vera even though none of mine are officially supported.

2. Vera: I am a bit too committed to it and have already built my entire automation in Lua on openLuup and turned the vera into a device bridge. If I was to start from scratch, I may look at something different. Hubitat and homeassistant and to a lesser degree Homeseer but for now I have done enough work on the vera to make it reasonably stable bridge as stability is indeed it's Achilles' heel...

Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Catman on January 06, 2019, 11:21:14 am
. Vera: I am a bit too committed to it and have already built my entire automation in Lua on openLuup and turned the vera into a device bridge. If I was to start from scratch, I may look at something different. Hubitat and homeassistant and to a lesser degree Homeseer but for now I have done enough work on the vera to make it reasonably stable bridge as stability is indeed it's Achilles' heel...

Technical question, if I may: With openLuup, could you not (comparatively simply) migrate to something like Razbian given that (as I understand it) your Vera is now just a 'dumb' radio transmitter?

Just curious as I'm still right at the bottom of the learning 'curve' :)

C
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on January 06, 2019, 11:43:07 am
. Vera: I am a bit too committed to it and have already built my entire automation in Lua on openLuup and turned the vera into a device bridge. If I was to start from scratch, I may look at something different. Hubitat and homeassistant and to a lesser degree Homeseer but for now I have done enough work on the vera to make it reasonably stable bridge as stability is indeed it's Achilles' heel...

Technical question, if I may: With openLuup, could you not (comparatively simply) migrate to something like Razbian given that (as I understand it) your Vera is now just a 'dumb' radio transmitter?

Just curious as I'm still right at the bottom of the learning 'curve' :)

C

openLuup just runs on Lua and it is the beauty of it, much like Java, it is a language and quite platform neutral. It can be built and run on razbian or almost any other OS (macOS, linux, windows) as long as you have the library. If by razbian, you mean the zwave.me radio razberry, there is indeed a plugin for Z-way and I could replace the vera with a Z-way/Razberry but the community support there is weaker than on Vera and the Russian ownership has been quite slow to usefully respond to some inquiries. If you mean to replace openLuup with a Razbian/Z-way controller, I could do this too but all my Lua code would need to be rewritten and I would need a plugin on Z-way to make it connect to the vera which does not exist and I would see no advantage in doing it since I prefer openLuup as a controller given the depth of commitment and understanding I accumulated for it. All credits to AKbooer for creating an outstanding platform mimicking the vera from scratch.

I have even gone as far as attempting to run the mios luup engine on a different platform to see if I could run it on more powerful hardware but it is a binary built on MIPS 32bit. I stopped short of testing it on a virtual machine/emulator. mios used to provide a version of UI4 built on windows but not anymore...
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Catman on January 06, 2019, 04:08:56 pm
Thanks. Clearly I'm not quite clear on how it works :)

More to learn!

Cheers

C
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: integlikewhoa on January 06, 2019, 05:40:27 pm
I am about fed up with the Vera, and probably Z-wave in general.

Anyone else share similar thoughts?

I was in your shoes, and my solution was the same as below.

Zwave is fine, it's the controller that is the issue. I had lag on my veraplus, switched to HomeSeer and response times became instant.

Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: bucko on January 07, 2019, 12:05:29 pm
I dumped Vera several months ago. Too many problems, then FW update bricked it. I moved to Hubitat and now have stable, fast, and 100% local home control.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: wilme2 on January 07, 2019, 01:15:23 pm
the last few month, my vera shows "Error in lua scritps or scenes" every 8 hours to 2 weeks, problem is that every script stops when this happens, and a reload of the engine normaly fixes the problem (no change to ANY script, just an reload)

I am sporadically seeing this too...
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on January 07, 2019, 02:49:26 pm
the last few month, my vera shows "Error in lua scritps or scenes" every 8 hours to 2 weeks, problem is that every script stops when this happens, and a reload of the engine normaly fixes the problem (no change to ANY script, just an reload)

I am sporadically seeing this too...

This is odd and I just experienced something similar a few days ago as well. May deserve a separate thread. It points to me to either a bug in the engine which I can?t point to or a data corruption within the RAM. Since a Luup reload fixes it. The written data must be ok and so is the data in the zwave module. I used to have random problems after a luup reload due to timing and various lag in loading different lua codes but I have not had any post luup reload lua code error since I offloaded the vera. This is really an odd one.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: yellowmonster on January 08, 2019, 07:53:36 pm
I clearly don't have has many posts as you guys and maybe I am lucky or have a simple setup, but my Vera has been rock solid.  I had numerous issues about 2 years ago, but since then nothing.  I have around 100 devices, mostly z-wave, but some zigbee.  I continue to add devices as I find them on sale.  I have switches, dimmers, outlets, thermostats, motion sensor, door locks, window blinds, sirens, door sensors, cameras, garage door opener interfaces...

My only gripe is the seemingly absent user group.  Whenever I google an issue, the only hits are the SmartThings community.  For example, I was having difficulty connecting my Linear garage door modules to my new Ryobi openers.  Only place I could find the solution was on the ST forums...
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: wilme2 on January 08, 2019, 11:31:35 pm
This is odd and I just experienced something similar a few days ago as well. May deserve a separate thread. It points to me to either a bug in the engine which I can?t point to or a data corruption within the RAM. Since a Luup reload fixes it. The written data must be ok and so is the data in the zwave module. I used to have random problems after a luup reload due to timing and various lag in loading different lua codes but I have not had any post luup reload lua code error since I offloaded the vera. This is really an odd one.

And tonight I did a reload (so stupid activating/deactivating a scene requires reload) and got a "EnOcean Gateway[15] : Failed to open IO Port".  This shouldn't be happening.  Years with the same configuration, and these lua startup errors just started.

I did a manual reload, same error.  Rebooted, and Vera came up fine.  This is what I think I have been seeing - Vera Luup reloads no longer coming up clean on a regular basis.  Reboot - and it comes up clean.  I have reason to  think this is not firmware related - I just updated to the latest two weeks ago and had seen it prior.  I think something on the backend is jacking with Luup reloads.  And I don't have a clue how to catch it, other than a deep dive in the logs.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on January 09, 2019, 03:51:33 am
This is a bit scary. Next time this happens, you may want to try doing the manual luup reload multiple times to see if it comes and goes like it did for me a some time ago. This indicates a timing issue in the data load between the scene lua codes and the startup lua in large part caused by the slow CPU and storage.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: PrincessCleavage on January 27, 2019, 07:12:57 am
This is odd and I just experienced something similar a few days ago as well. May deserve a separate thread. It points to me to either a bug in the engine which I can?t point to or a data corruption within the RAM. Since a Luup reload fixes it. The written data must be ok and so is the data in the zwave module. I used to have random problems after a luup reload due to timing and various lag in loading different lua codes but I have not had any post luup reload lua code error since I offloaded the vera. This is really an odd one.

And tonight I did a reload (so stupid activating/deactivating a scene requires reload) and got a "EnOcean Gateway[15] : Failed to open IO Port".  This shouldn't be happening.  Years with the same configuration, and these lua startup errors just started.

I did a manual reload, same error.  Rebooted, and Vera came up fine.  This is what I think I have been seeing - Vera Luup reloads no longer coming up clean on a regular basis.  Reboot - and it comes up clean.  I have reason to  think this is not firmware related - I just updated to the latest two weeks ago and had seen it prior.  I think something on the backend is jacking with Luup reloads.  And I don't have a clue how to catch it, other than a deep dive in the logs.
I have also notice issues where symptoms are scene not executing and found nil values referenced in the logs and the luup engine does not load successfully, also tried manual reloads but only a reboot seems to clear it. Hopefully this won?t be a reoccurring theme :-/.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: teknokill on February 01, 2019, 12:01:48 pm
I clearly don't have has many posts as you guys and maybe I am lucky or have a simple setup, but my Vera has been rock solid.  I had numerous issues about 2 years ago, but since then nothing.  I have around 100 devices, mostly z-wave, but some zigbee.  I continue to add devices as I find them on sale.  I have switches, dimmers, outlets, thermostats, motion sensor, door locks, window blinds, sirens, door sensors, cameras, garage door opener interfaces...

My only gripe is the seemingly absent user group.  Whenever I google an issue, the only hits are the SmartThings community.  For example, I was having difficulty connecting my Linear garage door modules to my new Ryobi openers.  Only place I could find the solution was on the ST forums...

YellowMonster,

I'm serious about starting a Home Automation User's Group based on my posted message on this forum a few weeks ago.  I will post it below.   Are you interested in getting it off the ground.  I have the entire concept in my head and need to put more on paper and come up with a great forum concept. Check out the site I want to model it after:    https://forum.xda-developers.com/ (https://forum.xda-developers.com/)

Here is the post I submitted in two different sections within this forum.  I was surprised that very few people responded.  This has the potential to really blow up and become successful.  What do you think?

Micasaverde Forum is so confusing!!!...
? on: January 08, 2019, 05:43:15 pm ?
QuoteModifyRemove
Has anybody thought about creating a new forum that would be broken down into specific topics that make more sense?  I would begin by really controlling the moderation and laying ground rules in order that everyone follows the proper protocol.  The best forum structure and control would be like the one for XDA Developers.
It's very important to keep it very organized.  I would include a free marketplace with a rating system.  A deals page that would be official editor's Choice recommendations and have a format that is a hybrid of SlickDeals and Dealnews.   What an AppStore?   Anybody agree that this forum can be very frustrating?

There could be topics for the following:

a Zigbee forum
voice control platforms
a how-to forum
product specific forums
voice control platforms, one for "Alexa" and one for "Okay Google"
a how-to forum
product eco-systems
Wyze Cam Cameras
Camera Surveillance Platforms
Raspberry Pi 3
Raspberry Pi A
Raspberry Pi A W
Relays
Sensors
Smoke Detectors and CO Sensors
Raspberry Pi A
Experimental Projects and Ideas
Irrigation Control
Arduino
ZoneMinderl
Blue Iris
Webcams
Raspberry Pi Cameras
voice control platforms
Electrical Outlets
Dimmers & Switches
LCD RGB Lighting
Bathroom lighting
Kitchen lighting
Heating & Cooling, i.e. thermostats
Split ACs
Remote Controls
Home Entertainment
Android Entertainment boxes, like the Nvidia Shield or the Google Player
Xiaomi Products
Home Security
Home Surveillance
Door Locks
Occupancy Sensors
FOBs
RFID
Relays
Relay Projects
Garage Door Openers
Sirens, Chimes, Strobes and alerting
Blinds & Window Covering Control
Doorbell Integration
Weather Stations
Alarms
Alarm Panel Integration
IOS Apps
Android Apps
Relays


what does everybody think?
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: dindsy on February 12, 2019, 05:21:25 pm
Yes and almost (to the thread topic).
I have a Vera Lite unit on UI5. Its been going for 5 years or so, I guess. I don't have a huge amount of devices but the ones I have I really like. automatic lights, primarily. Recently the unit has become unreliable. I have to reboot it often to get it to do its thing again. Not locking the front door when I leave is an issue as we have become dependent on it. So I thought about upgrading or removing Z-wave altogether.

My toilet light switch module broke a while ago so I replaced it with a hard switch. And I realise I don't like that so I am now thinking what is the next move in HA. With Google and Amazon voice controlled systems I figured there must be much better technology and advances now.
I was quite surprised to find Vera was still on UI7. I thought about UI7 years ago and even installed it for a while, deciding I didn't like it I went back to UI5.
So, I am going to upgrade but its not going to be Vera. I haven't fully decided yet but am currently thinking Homeseer.

The deciding factor to stick with Z-wave was the Home automation bridge (link below) which is supposed to bring Google and Amazon's HA into the whole picture. I like what they're doing but there is still a ways to go for them to be able to turn on light fixture so I will stick with Z-wave and hopefully use the Google/Amazon to link voice control into it. I don't any of that technology yet so don't know how feasible that is.

http://www.smarthome.com.au/z-wave-automation-bridge.html
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: steve.lawrence on February 23, 2019, 10:12:55 am
Yes and almost (to the thread topic).
I have a Vera Lite unit on UI5. Its been going for 5 years or so, I guess. I don't have a huge amount of devices but the ones I have I really like. automatic lights, primarily. Recently the unit has become unreliable. I have to reboot it often to get it to do its thing again. Not locking the front door when I leave is an issue as we have become dependent on it. So I thought about upgrading or removing Z-wave altogether.

My toilet light switch module broke a while ago so I replaced it with a hard switch. And I realise I don't like that so I am now thinking what is the next move in HA. With Google and Amazon voice controlled systems I figured there must be much better technology and advances now.
I was quite surprised to find Vera was still on UI7. I thought about UI7 years ago and even installed it for a while, deciding I didn't like it I went back to UI5.
So, I am going to upgrade but its not going to be Vera. I haven't fully decided yet but am currently thinking Homeseer.

The deciding factor to stick with Z-wave was the Home automation bridge (link below) which is supposed to bring Google and Amazon's HA into the whole picture. I like what they're doing but there is still a ways to go for them to be able to turn on light fixture so I will stick with Z-wave and hopefully use the Google/Amazon to link voice control into it. I don't any of that technology yet so don't know how feasible that is.

http://www.smarthome.com.au/z-wave-automation-bridge.html

Ho hum...

First: For the OP - same situation as this guy. I'm kinda done with Vera.
Not 'quite' done with Zwave as a protocol, although getting there.

Some specifics: Like Dindsy here - I stared out on a Vera Lite years and years and years ago. Unlike Dindsy - mine worked perfectly. I have perhaps 30 devices, many of which I installed during a home renovation. I'd started with just a few here and there, but during a home renovation did all the lights, some sockets, garage door, outdoor lighting, pond lights etc etc. Again, it worked *perfectly* - even the much maligned outdoor GE? dongle which did have some range issues, but I found that if I nailed it to an upright post facing the house, it could actually reach the house's rear sockets for mesh connectivity.

I never upgraded to UI7. I read the forums and all the teeth gnashing, the faults, the unresponsive'ness (there was no hardware upgrade at the time ,everyone was still on Lite's) and so on. I didn't need UI7 and I stayed on UI5.
Again: Worked perfectly.

dindsy mentions that he'd like Alexa / Google home integration, and that - along with the fact that the Vera App ( Legacy ) got discontinued and the new one only worked on UI7, led me to 'upgrade'.
I stuck with UI5 for as long as possibly could. But a new phone, inability to get the legacy app and a desire to integrate with Alexa prompted the purchase of a Vera Plus. Faster processor, better [this or that.. ] but mostly the promise of Alexa integration led me to take the leap.

It's been something of a nightmare. I had to upgrade my Lite to UI7 then do a transfer of the backup to the Plus. That just failed.
Support dialled in, and faffed around, upgraded my Plus to some firmware that was still in beta  but DID get it working...

Then I noticed odd things *not* working - Scene controller switches (LTM-15's paired with an LRM-AS) didn't work - I have a load controlling 'kitchen lights' switch to which two scene controller switched (dumb switches which send a signal to the hub to control the main switch, instead of the usual traveller wire installations) - they just stopped working. Or. more confusingly? You'd press them.. and you'd have a 30-45 second delay before it worked...

My lights now have an odd characteristic where if you put the slider to 30%, the physical lights are at 100%. So, this leads to odd Alexa interactions where you have to say things like : Alexa, dim the living room lights to 15%, or dim the kitchen lights to 8%. Anything above 30% is the same as 100%. I asked support about that too, and they simply failed to understand... replying "it's working..". Yeah, sure but... and eventually I gave up.

A couple of switches stopped working - device not connected or unable to communicate.
Garage door opener works 'sporadically' - which is the last thing you want.

I had support look into that too, and I have no idea what they did. Occasionally something would start working again, but a week later I'd look at the panel and stuff would be red.

Bear in mind *nothing except the hub* has changed.

Once upon a time I had lots of time to faff around with this stuff - I entertained hooking my Security system to Vera ( with one of those daughter cards for the Vista 20p). I wouldn't touch that with a bargepole anymore. I went with a SimplySafe instead where it remains utterly separate from anything else. ( but does what I want: reduced cost, wireless sensors, central monitoring).
I don't have that time anymore and while I *havent* switched to something else, I'm disillusioned with Vera, and probably will.

Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Matsohl on February 23, 2019, 11:57:33 am
Yes and almost (to the thread topic).
I have a Vera Lite  ...

Ho hum...


Well, we have a lot to ask for in the Vera platform but I am not there yet. They have announced a new firmware during March and I will judge it by that. My system right now is working without problems and I am fine with that.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on February 23, 2019, 12:16:09 pm
I had read many reviews about the vera before jumping into it and many were negative explaining that the learning curve is steep and that it is not plug and play.
The same remains true today and it has gotten much worse. It is definitely not a consumer class product. It requires an extensive level of expertise to make work and troubleshoot.
There are many fundamental design flaws which compensated by the fact that they were amongst the first on the market and some really outstanding and unique features which remain today.

With the contribution of the community, I have investigated the ins and outs of the platform besides the compiled binary program and have found workarounds to some of the flaws. It is working nearly perfect for me now but it took a lot of work, I wish mios would take at least some of our inputs but instead has been chucking along trying to integrate even more devices while leaving the existing flaws untouched.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Catman on February 23, 2019, 12:54:34 pm
The biggest challenge I have is that it is simply not reliable.  Devices stop working pretty much at random. >90% of the time the response 'oh we can fix that'
The fix is to exclude and re-include which is mad. And it fails to address the actual issue that things should just not stop working.

I'm happy to see what the next firmware is (beyond this point release) but it's going to have to make some pretty big promises if there's a significant cost to upgrade.

C
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on February 23, 2019, 01:10:29 pm
The biggest challenge I have is that it is simply not reliable.  Devices stop working pretty much at random. >90% of the time the response 'oh we can fix that'
The fix is to exclude and re-include which is mad. And it fails to address the actual issue that things should just not stop working.

I'm happy to see what the next firmware is (beyond this point release) but it's going to have to make some pretty big promises if there's a significant cost to upgrade.

C

Most of it is due to either data corruption or due to the vera trying to be too smart for its own good, trying to interpret zwave messages to reassign variables or create new child devices without user approval. When you create a system for prosumers, you can't just go automate configuration without user inputs. If you target the consumer market then you want your system to be easy to configure and setup while being trouble free and fail proof. The vera is neither... And it really could be both with little extra effort.

Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rigpapa on February 23, 2019, 02:56:37 pm
The biggest problem for Z-Wave (and Vera) is that Z-Wave is a licensed system built on hardware that has to be sourced from a single manufacturer (or their one other authorized/licensed supplier). So every Z-Wave device carries with it the pay-to-play model that Sigma Designs enforces in its closed market.

This is relevant as more and more manufacturers enter the IoT space, and increasingly make their products run on WiFi, supported by a cloud infrastructure, mobile applications, or local APIs, or any combination of those. WiFi is comparatively close to free in terms of implementation hardware cost. WiFi chips are made by multiple manufacturers competing in an open market. Wifi is all but uniquitous in both home and professional environments. On top of WiFi are well-established, reliable standards like IP, and a software environment literally bursting with tools, technologies, libraries, and available source code and examples.

The negative of this is that the barrier to entry into the IoT market over WiFi is low, as evidenced by the fact that us weekend warriors and hobbyists are able to create our own WiFi IoT devices on a budget comparable to the cost of a visit to Starbucks. But that low barrier to entry now means there are ton of manufacturers out there flooding the market with cheap WiFi plugs, bulbs and LED strips, most of which will not be around this time next year.

The problem for Vera is that there is much pressure to support both, with the latter (WiFi) being a particular business and engineering problem. Melih has said he wants to support ALL devices, his language suggesting they do it themselves, but it is inconceivable how Vera/eZLO might actually do this in the WiFi space, when each of the already hundreds (maybe thousands?) of manufacturers has its own peculiarities, APIs, etc. And it doesn't make good business sense at all, IMO, as most of these products or manufacturers will disappear so fast from the market that Vera will scarcely have their support released before they do--Vera's own engineering investment will never be recouped in actual revenue and they clog their product with support for devices that no longer exist. It's a fools errand, I think, for them to chase the market like that.

What Vera/eZLO needs to do is provide the tools and infrastructure necessary for those manufacturers to do it themselves and do it well, and this will then also be how both they and us, as customers, tell which products are in the market for the long haul and which are not: if the manufacturer invests their own time to engineer and release their plugin/driver for Vera, they're probably investing for more than just catching a lucky patch of transient Amazon resellers. I hope when Melih said he wants to support all devices, this is what he actually meant.

But going back to cost, if you look at the cost of a Z-Wave receptable or plug compared to a WiFi plug, the Z-Wave products are consistently at least double here in the US. The cost of the chip and the development tools is likely the reason, because no sane manufacturer would want to make a device that isn't competitive in the market. The case for Z-Wave, then, is made on its mesh network, but this isn't much of a case in my view. My WiFi coverage with just a single carefully-placed Uniquiti AP in my home far exceeds the consistent, useful range of my Z-Wave network.

As a further inducement for manufacturers to support WiFi instead of Z-Wave, it is now possible, and increasingly so every day, to control a wide range of devices with Google or Amazon voice-activation out of the box, again, over WiFi. No local controller/hub is needed--the Google/Amazon device, or more correctly, the cloud behind that device, is your controller/hub. This is where I think the "death of the hub" pundits are off base. They're only looking at voice-activation and control as it is today, and not really looking at the true automation aspects and possibilities, the very personal and individual logic implementation that makes things in your home work when you're not barking orders at the hockey puck on the counter. Hubs are not going away, they are just changing form. And as most of us with any experience in this space know, relying on cloud services is a dicey proposition, and I think ultimately, after the market gets a bit more education, cloud-based control will not be well-tolerated by the market. If there is any movement away from hubs in the home/workplace, it is only temporary, and will serve to consolidate that market as well (so the question then is, will Vera/eZLO survive that consolidation?).

But we can all see today that there are many more choices available in WiFi-based devices than there are in Z-Wave devices, and although patchy in some functional areas still (sensors?), it already addresses devices that Z-Wave thus far does not (where's your Z-Wave vacuum cleaner control?). This trend will continue for the foreseeable future, ultimately diminishing Z-Wave's role in the consumer market to zero except for a few select devices (switches and dimmers, maybe some sensors). Z-Wave, I predict, will find its major role as a supporting technology with the big automation manufacturers, with systems backed by (nearly exclusively) professional design, sales and installation (i.e. consumers locked out). This helps them evolve off their aging individual and proprietary protocols, and relieves of them of any remaining pressure to make their own devices. But with a small number of large customers then providing the bulk of its revenue, Sigma will face both reduction in volume and increasing price pressure, and thus falling revenue and valuation, until it is ultimately gobbled up by one those larger customers.

Long term, for Vera, Z-Wave needs to be just a connection. Everything to do with a Z-Wave centric view of the world needs to be boiled out of the product. Support for Z-Wave itself ultimately needs to be an option (with an appurtenant reduction in cost for those Veras that ship without it). The only built-in protocol Vera needs is WiFi, and if that's all it has, it can still own a huge share of the consumer market.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on February 23, 2019, 03:30:06 pm
@rigpapa,

Everything you said has been true until just the past year or two. The Zwave product line has been sold to Silicon Labs (no longer Sigma Design) and though the radio is still single sourced, it is much cheaper now as it seems the patents expired. Actually Silicon Labs provides all the dev tools for free: https://www.silabs.com/support/z-wave. OpenZwave for example is no longer a reverse engineering project. It now has access to the full stack.
This is how I was able to extract newer firmwares from their SDK. I have been able to buy zwave devices for about $10 so I would not burry zwave quite yet. Its real limitation in my opinion is bandwidth. It is no longer cost of device/development or availability.
Your point about the move to wifi has been triggered by the release of very cheap chinese designed 2.4GHz wifi radios:  the ESP8266 https://www.espressif.com which was a breakthrough and has since created a market for wifi based IOT devices. Before that wifi was too expensive and not power efficient and I still don't see battery operating devices running on wifi. I don't think this will happen until the power efficiency takes another leap. There are other challenges to wifi which is inherently not designed to act as a mesh or to scale from a data efficiency standpoint forcing multiplication of APs. Most consumer APs for example have a client limitation of 50-100 devices. You also have the limitation of 255 IP per subnet etc... This is why google and others are investing in Thread which is another protocol again operating in the 2.4GHz band and is really a Zigbee alternative. I don't believe wifi devices for home automation is the future.
I am personally not in favor of further expansion on the 2.4GHz band, between BT, Microwave, Zigbee, wifi, wireless phones (yeah I still have that), it is interference galore and in spite of the greater bandwidth is also inherently less range/power efficient than Zwave or even 433MHz. At this point in time, Zwave remains the most comprehensive ecosystem closely followed by Zigbee, each having their pros and cons but wifi will remain in a niche, albeit growing, for high value/high complexity, AC powered devices.

https://news.silabs.com/2018-04-18-Silicon-Labs-Completes-Acquisition-of-Sigma-Designs-Z-Wave-Business
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rigpapa on February 23, 2019, 08:24:58 pm
You also have the limitation of 255 IP per subnet etc.

There's no inherent limitation that a subnet supports only 255 nodes. This is only true because that's the most common network length shipped in device by default, and most people will simply never change the default network their router shipped with. But if you use 192.168.x./23 (netmask 255.255.254.0) you get 512 nodes (nominally); or with /22 (netmask 255.255.252.0) you can have 1024 nodes (nominally) in the subnet. In fact, 192.168/16 can be configured as a single subnet of up to 64K nodes, and there are the larger 172.16/12 and 10/8 spaces that can be used as well. Now, the desirability and maintainability of a single subnetwork that size is surely questionable, but that would not be different from any kind of network, including Z-Wave.

The big problem for consumer APs topping out at 50-100 nodes is actually the weight of the encryption on the processor. This is never more clear than when you start using IP cameras. Or just have teenaged kids. But I've had APs in larger facilities handle 300+ nodes without missing a bit, and I don't think that's even a stretch for them. They're not consumer equipment, but they're not out of reach, either. Consumer gear is built for a couple of phones, tablets and laptops, not 200 devices, and not 20 cameras each streaming at 2Mbps or more. Just because it supports a WiFi protocol capable of 150Mbps, or 300, or now into Gbps, doesn't mean you're going to get that through the device. You don't often find an ASIC handling encryption in those consumer devices, it's the same processor that handles the web configuration UI, routing, packet filters, DNS, DHCP, and every other feature they put in it, and all at the same time. We should not be surprised when the wireless network performance is lagging when the router/AP combo is actually exactly the same class of device as... your Vera.

Good info on Z-Wave. I haven't kept up as much as on the details as I should have, perhaps, but I doubt those transitions make much difference, especially with a single-supplier (or two supplier) radio/chip at the core ongoing. They certainly wouldn't affect my predicted outcome. In a world where things are engineered to the penny or fraction, the cost will remain a driver for some time even if others come in on the (radio) manufacturing side, and WiFi is still way ahead of it in terms of adoption and market penetration. On the consumer side, it's harder for users to diagnose troubles in a mesh (as evidenced by the current Z-Wave experience, not just on Vera) than it is for people to just grab another AP or RE and "fix" the poor signal at the device they want working. And really, it's just one more thing the consumer needs to learn, and that creates a lot of resistance. Just as Beta was arguably better than VHS, better technology is not what wins the war.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: HSD99 on February 23, 2019, 10:44:14 pm
Silicon Labs is supporting Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth,Thread, Xpress and Zigbee---they're hedging their bets and plan to support everything. The new Series 700 Z-Wave chipset (https://www.silabs.com/products/wireless/mesh-networking/z-wave/700-platform) is a significant upgrade with Silicon labs taking over all the software---developers will only write application code. But that's years away.

Cheap Wi-Fi will be in products that support Alexa and Google, and that's a huge market. Look at how many Wi-Fi in-wall dimmer switches are on Amazon already, and what they cost. I have some nice RGB Wi-Fi lamps from a reputable manufacturer that work great with Vera (Thanks @rigpapa!) and cost HALF of the Z-Wave equivalent.  Like @rigpapa, my Wi-Fi network's range, speed and stability is much better than the Z-wave network. You can check a Wi-Fi network by walking around with your phone. Z-wave? Not so much. Consumer Wi-Fi performance continues to increase, and prosumer devices like Ubiquiti offer enterprise performance at home network prices.

I can move these lamps around the house without a problem, unlike the Z-Wave mesh, which will go down the tubes if you move a powered node until the mesh is rebuilt. Did I mention that the Wi-Fi data rate is in the 10s of MB/s---the native smartphone app has a color wheel that you can use in real time! That said, Wi-Fi HA devices will consume negligible bandwidth on a home network in almost all cases.

As @rafale77 points out, current Wi-Fi solutions don't do much for battery operated sensors. IEEE 802.3ah (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11ah Wi-Fi HaLow --- pronounced HAY-Low) is a ~900 Mhz Wi-Fi standard with a kilometer range and low power, specifically designed to compete with Z-Wave and Zigbee, for IoT and HA, but at much-higher data rates. It also supports a relay mode (mesh-ish). Uptake of 802.11ah has been very low, however, and the chipsets come from small fabless semiconductor houses.

So Z-wave may hang on to the battery sensor market segment. I think that Zigbee is the one that will go away. It already dukes it out with Wi-fi in the overcrowded 2.4 Ghz band, and if Wi-Fi takes over AC powered nodes (likely) with Z-Wave (likely) or HaLow (doubtful, but who knows)  for battery devices, who needs Zigbee?

One of the great benefits of this forum is the chance to have really interesting discussions---thanks @rigpapa and @rafele77!
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on February 24, 2019, 03:42:00 am
To further the discussion on why I do not believe wifi is the future of home automation at large and can only be used in a small amount of device powered device, it is that wifi by design is a "hub and spoke" architecture. The reason why you can move device around is because all the devices communicate with the same hub directly. By design and it is simple physics, the signal range in order to do this, all the devices need to emit very powerful RF which requires a lot of power. I actually have a RF spectrometer in my home and I was stunned by the amount of power generated by wifi Vs BT or Zigbee in the 2.4GHz band. It is no wonder its range is so much greater and why it consumes so much more power (a couple of orders of magnitude). A lot more power than a mesh design in which each device can talk to the hub through a relay. This is not confuse with the "wifi mesh" which has been in vogue and is a mesh of AP/hubs and not of devices. It may conceptually actually may work for home automation because it reduces the range required by the devices and the bandwidth which dramatically reduces the more relay it needs to transmit through should actually still be plenty but... this is more the BLE design. Wifi is designed for bandwidth (and range) and has different requirements than what is needed for HA.

The issue with having only battery zwave devices is also... that you actually do not get a mesh that way so we do need the AC powered devices to constitute the mesh, at which point, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have two RF protocols for devices in the house. Yes Zwave and its mesh has its compromises but most devices are physically static and rarely need to be moved. And yes its implementation still has a lot of room for improvement but I do not see wifi as a viable direction for home automation devices. It is extremely inefficient to the point of not being able of being battery powered which limits its application, has a bandwidth which is overkill and therefore will only be used for devices requiring high bandwidth. Take for example the ecobee thermostat which is wifi but for which the remote sensors runs on 433MHz. I have been looking for blind pulling automation and the project I funded on indiegogo is still struggling with power consumption with zwave... I tried implementing also a wifi relay using a ESP and using 4 D batteries the idle life of the 24AH was less than a week while my keen vent on zigbee with 4AA~=8AH have lasted now over 2 years. It's not even close.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: jaccord on February 24, 2019, 08:23:28 am
OP - There are lot of thoughtful replies in this thread, but I'll add my $0.02 anyway.

The Zwave protocol and devices isn't your problem, unless you have specific coverage problems or a bad device or two.  It's generally solid and reliable when used with a strong controller.

WiFi devices are slightly less so, but not by much.  They exist for primarily commercial reasons - grandma can get a bulb she can have Alexa turn on without being a HA hobbyist.  Except for specific use cases (lights without neutral wires, or very natural temperature bulbs like TP Link's Kasa) you'd be better off sticking to Zwave.

As for Vera, if you're no longer satisfied with the reliability of the platform you should switch.  I use Homeseer now after almost a decade on Vera.  It is a completely different experience.  Reliable and extensible - I use python scripts to control some wifi bulbs as if they were directly connected to Homeseer.  All done locally - no internet required.  Events (scenes in Vera) always fire - always.  Timed events always occur on time.  It recovers from power failure events gracefully, and will evaluate and fire events which should have occurred during the outage, if you choose.

It is a completely different experience - once it was configured and the automation set up, you forget about it.  The only reason to look at it is if you're a tinkerer, and want to see what else can be done.

I'm sure other platforms with which I've no experience (home assistant comes to mind) are also good, but HomeSeer is 20 years old now - it's got a significant head start, and the reliable core of the platform shows it.

In summary - if you only want to tell Alexa to turn on your lights, you can probably stick with Vera.  If you want a reliable platform for actual automation, you should consider moving to something like HomeSeer.

Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: opel-oleg on February 24, 2019, 01:49:49 pm
Since the advent of the plug-ins that the respected rigpapa has created, I have no thoughts of leaving Vera
This controller mostly suits me
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rigpapa on February 24, 2019, 04:43:31 pm
Since the advent of the plug-ins that the respected rigpapa has created, I have no thoughts of leaving Vera
This controller mostly suits me

I only stand on the shoulders of giants. But thank you for this, as it affirms that my work thus far is hitting the mark I was aiming for. Can't ask for more than that, and I appreciate not just the support I get from this community, but the fellowship and intellectual stimulation that it brings as well.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: zedrally on February 24, 2019, 05:19:32 pm
My 2 cents worth.
Z-wave started this by allocating different frequencies/regions world wide and then insisting that all devices HAD to be independantly certified for use. On top of Test Reports (cost) for RF and Electrical Safety one then had to present the device to a Certifying body (more cost) before taking the device to market.
i won't mention that you also had to pay up to $5K PA for the privilage, everyone has there hand out to take money from you, little wonder most manufacturers choose to put an inexpensive WiFi chip into their AC's, Heaters, Garage Door controllers etc.

The costs everything associated with Z-Wave is/was triple what it should be. I think this is now back firing.

This may change now with the sale of Sigma to a company that is equally focused on manufacture of WiFi-Z-Wave & BLE.
The ideal would 1 chip that combines all frequencies & protocols, but that is probably to much to wish for.
The consumer has spoken and WiFi will become the choice of the mutitude, Z-Wave will be consigned to the experimenters market, woukdn't worry about BLE/Zigbee becoming anything.
As mentioned by a previous poster, Grandma will happily by a WiFi bulb that she can directly control by Alexa.
Having said all of this, I'm looking at WiFi being a stepping stone for those that want "more" and that should be Z-Wave.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: HSD99 on February 24, 2019, 05:27:05 pm
Since the advent of the plug-ins that the respected rigpapa has created, I have no thoughts of leaving Vera
This controller mostly suits me
I agree 100%!!
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on February 24, 2019, 05:42:51 pm
Since the advent of the plug-ins that the respected rigpapa has created, I have no thoughts of leaving Vera
This controller mostly suits me
I agree 100%!!

No argument there either... I am making good use of Site Sensor.  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: martynwendon on February 24, 2019, 05:47:53 pm
woukdn't worry about BLE/Zigbee becoming anything.

I think Philips (Hue) would disagree :-)  And the likes of Osram, Innr and SmartThings too.  Xiaomi Aqara are another one to watch as well - the previous and current ranges aren't quite ZigBee compliant (but are close enough to work) but the future versions are supposedly ZigBee 3.0 compliant.  Ikea have also recently launched their own Smart Home range which is ZigBee based and good value (and is rumoured to be built by Xiaomi).

And Amazon seem to be backing ZigBee in a pretty big way, it wouldn't surprise me if they eventually put a ZigBee chip in the entire Echo range, not just the higher end models.  Amazon don't often make mistakes, you can bet they looked at what the most sold Smart Home devices on their site were and went with a ZigBee radio to instantly become compatible with those devices (if not immediately then certainly eventually).  I can't believe they'd bet on something they didn't think was going to be a winner.

I wonder in terms of quantity, how many ZigBee devices are sold worldwide compared to Z-Wave ..... sure people like us probably have 100's of Z-Wave but I would guess that we're the minority.  Whereas I can count a dozen people I know (friends and family) that have Hue or Ikea lighting .... OK maybe only a handful or so devices each but the point is that ZigBee may become the technology of choice purely by the fact that it's already in mainstream devices.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: zedrally on February 24, 2019, 08:39:29 pm
^^^
I wonder how many of those people actually know they have brought ZigBee?
Few would be my guess, but they all know it's WiFi, they just don't know the protocol and would care either as it's all Plug & Play.


Depending on marketing WiFi is strongly used as the sales lead. Nearly everyone identifies WiFi, outside of the tech world who identifies Z-Wave (or ZigBee)?

Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on February 24, 2019, 11:35:16 pm
Indeed, I get the feeling that at least mid term Zigbee is here to stay. It has been used in customized stacks by several big companies and as the HA1.2 stack was released, has picked up a lot of momentum. The advantage of the HA stack is to have a common protocol and assigned endpoints for all vendors to use so the devices can all work on the same network, very similar to the zwave stack. What is interesting is that Silicon Labs also acquired Ember which owns EZSP. The EmberZNet Serial Protocol making controllers basically talk through a serial API... just like zwave.  This is what the vera uses as well for zigbee. Unlike Zwave though, Silicon Labs requires users to have purchased a dev kit to get access to their SDK. Zigbee is achieving very low power consumption through using very narrow channel width and pulsing... it is not transmitting all the time unlike wifi. What I dislike though is that it is on 2.4GHz and so very prone to interference: I was able to kill my philips hue communication with my Sonos (wifi) and with my microwave. Of course I changed channel but the choices  available with the RF emitted by neighbors is just not very large.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: kigmatzomat on February 25, 2019, 12:37:00 am
The downsides of zwave (testing, validation, mandatory sdk) are also in many ways its strengths. All zwave devices have security tests and compatibility tests.

No such thing exists for the others right now. (Though I seem to recall ZigBee 3 might add some of that). It's much cheaper to simply claim you meet a standard than to not only do it but prove it.

I don't expect BT mesh to really take off. Or more accurately, I expect it to crash and burn when the protocol needs to be extended and people have to buy new bridges. I have not seen a single Bluetooth protocol change that could be done as a firmware update.  Zwave controller chips shipped with enough reserve capacity for many controllers to upgrade in place.

Wifi will last because it's too useful and it's a way to get montly recurring revenue by tying a device to a cloud system. And for people who only want 3 or four smart doodads, it's the most cost effective. But I expect the next AWS outage/DNS poisoning/National ISP backbone failure to result in a lot of people realizing their smart gear is super fragile.

Wifi, BT and ZigBee also suffer heavily in urban settings where the power of wifi is as much weakness as strength. I have friends whose condos can see two dozen access points. If each access point has 2 cellphones, a wireless printer, 2 laptops/Xbox/ps/Nintendo/smartTVs and a GHome/Alexa, that means the 2.4 & 5Ghz spectrums have 150-ish devices chattering away in range.

Now add smarthome stuff to that. I have more than 30 zwave devices in my house. Apartments are smaller but imagine if each of those 24 networks added 6 smart devices. If they were 100% ZigBee wouldn't be an issue but wifi will dominate and it will make those spectrums a noisy, horrible place.

Yeah, zwave has some noisy neighbors in the form of baby monitors and wireless phones but there are 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz versions of those too, so that's a wash.

I expect all of these to continue for quite some time as the various strengths and weaknesses become visible to the masses. I expect 90% of "smarthome" will be in that 1-6 device category dominated by wifi.

Bluetooth has burned too many techies over the years so I think it's going to be a weird land of niche products.

I expect ZigBee will remain a favorite of the "built it myself" crowd and the vertically integrated custom device companies. 

Zwave will likely remain supported by security systems (who want a certified, tested platform) and the time-is-money prosumer who wants something they can count on to work without building it themselves.

Insteon is the tech I will not be surprised to see die in the next decade. I can't see a single source technology even as good as Insteon, surviving.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: reneboer on February 25, 2019, 05:13:17 am
For me I'd rather use something like Z-Wave as I now have only the controller that could be attacked/exposed to the big bad Internet. With Wi-Fi (IP) that is every end point and we all know the lower the price, the few attention to security has been given. Grandma won't notice if her lamps are being used in a DDoS attack. I rest better if I know mine cannot.

Cheers Rene
Title: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: PrincessCleavage on March 01, 2019, 10:05:51 pm
Since the advent of the plug-ins that the respected rigpapa has created, I have no thoughts of leaving Vera
This controller mostly suits me
I would also like to second this and the reactor app has completely stabilised my system and automation. On top of this Rigpapa has developed in a short time period several additional apps that add needed extra functionality into a vendor supported stalled/paused ecosystem (while other echo systems are charging ahead at an increased rate of change and functionality).
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: MichaelCoffin on March 11, 2019, 10:31:17 am
I considered moving from VeraPlus to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with HA and indeed I built out a system (32GB flash card, Aeotec Gen 5 zWave stick) with the latest Hass.io over the past week.  My main reason for considering this is my Yale (Series 300) locks on Vera have a battery life of maybe 2 or 3 months (max) - even locks that are never actually used.  By comparison I have this same lock on a Honeywell Lynx Touch 5100 system and the batteries last well over a year.  There were other concerns as well (sluggish performance on the VeraPlus, and those damned "backups" that run every 6 minutes and fill the log file with junk), but Vera killing my lock batteries is one of my biggest concerns.

I went with Hass.io over Hassbian because I wanted a simple, reliable, easy to use system and end-user interface.  Unfortunately, I did not find Hass.io to satisfy these requirements.  It was fairly easy to install and get up and running, but the interface was "klunky" and unfriendly.  Things that are done easily and quickly in Vera UI7 were convoluted and often involved editing yaml files in HA.  The relationship between HA and OZW likewise was hard to understand, and deleting a device using the HA UI (which is the current supported method) would not delete ALL references to the device, I'm not sure what areas were not being updated, but I didn't care to spend hours figuring it out either. 

Something as simple as switching between Wifi and Ethernet will drive you crazy.  There are tons of posts out there from users having trouble doing this, most often the USB volume was not labeled CONFIG, or the Wifi configuration file was not placed in a subdirectory named "network" - but I did all of those things and NEITHER documented process (the Import From USB UI procedure, or the procedure to boot Hass.io with the USB stick installed) worked.  After numerous attempts and wasted hours I stumbled upon a post suggesting the Ethernet cable should be disconnected first (this obviously rules out the Import From USB procedure since you need an active network connection to communicate with Hass.io!), but doing this and then booting Hass.io it FINALLY read the wifi configuration from the USB folder and came up on wifi.  Compare this to the Vera procedure of simply clicking on Connect->Through a Wi-Fi access point and choosing an SSID under Settings->Net & Wi-Fi - Vera is intuitive, easy and works 100% of the time.

I tried moving an RTOA CT32 thermostat from Vera to HA.  On Vera the device pairs and configures VERY easily with ONE device instance in the UI (well, two technically since the Humidity sensor gets its own "box" in the UI).  On HA this same device paired easily BUT created a total of 8 separate devices in the UI (two each of apparently 4 sensors, all "part" of the thermostat).  In searching old HA messages I found other users reporting this problem with CT32, CT100 and other RTOA thermostats YEARS earlier with no solution.

The bottom line is while Vera is imperfect, I found the HA alternative to be far more time consuming and frustrating.  I'll keep the Raspberry/HA device to play with in my spare time - but in my opinion for intuitive UI and ease of use Vera wins hands down.  I'll stick with Vera and hope that UI8 resolves my concerns SOON. 

-MC
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Mike Yeager on March 11, 2019, 10:58:34 am
The Vera is an established device aimed at entry level users. Without the various plugins, it would have near zero attraction these days to anyone looking to do much. HA on the other hand, is still technically in beta. It is being updated almost weekly with new features and fixes. As for different sensors showing up as their own entity, that's how it works. It's the "pretty device handlers" that group them together for you in Vera. In HA, if you don't want to see a device, you mark it hidden. You can still use it's data, it just doesn't show in the interface. Also, the best method I've found to run HA is in a docker container. A little more effort to set up, but updates are effortless after that so long as you check the "breaking changes" first. Lately, some of the breaking changes have required slight reworks to keep things right with the configuration files. The more advanced you chose to go, the more effort you're going to have to put into getting things set up.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Florin on March 13, 2019, 05:10:29 am
I won't give up of neither ZWave or Vera.

I think wifi is just a cheap alternative to the 860-900MHz band. I don't see the security companies quitting this frequency and switching everything to 2.4GHz. Beside the range advantage of the lower frequency, this is also less crowded then 2.4 or 5GHz and probably will be like that for many years.

I have 3 Vera controllers in my home. One on the first floor (VeraPlus), one on the ground floor (VeraEdge) and another outside in a shed (another Edge). On the ground floor I also have a wireless security system with 6 sensors. The sensor that is farthest from the security controller has delays in communication. Also devices that are farthest from the Edge controller also sometimes lose connection with the controller.

My Edge controller from outside my house works flawlessly. Fence lights light up as soon as I hit the switch on my phone. The gate opens instantly. I also have an outside wifi AP for my wifi doorbell and I see that the doorbell has offline periods for a few seconds from time to time. Even though I live in an area with houses, I still see more then 10 wifi access points outside my house.

You don?t have the same range of devices available now with wifi to give up zwave. I have some zwave bulbs that are the same size as a regular candescent ones. I had a hard time finding led bulbs to fit the light fixture a few years back. Now I have led bulbs that have also a zwave controller integrated. I can light my hallway differently during the evening and night.

The only problem I have with zwave is the cost of devices. But I would still pay 50$ for a zwave light switch instead of using a sonoff. I wouldn?t connect every switch and every wall plug with zwave. That would be a setup for a wired protocol.

As for Vera, I'm a pretty happy user. Except an update that almost bricked my VeraPlus maybe a year ago, I never had issues. I'm not very happy that I can only link my controllers by bridging. I would love to have a virtual controller in the cloud that would display all devices in the same place when I need that but to be able to also operated every controller independently.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: akbooer on March 13, 2019, 05:58:47 am
Quote
I'm not very happy that I can only link my controllers by bridging. I would love to have a virtual controller in the cloud that would display all devices in the same place when I need that but to be able to also operated every controller independently.

Perhaps take a look at openLuup which can pretty much achieve that without going to the cloud.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: wilme2 on March 14, 2019, 05:39:12 pm
Also, the best method I've found to run HA is in a docker container.
I ought to spin up an HA container just to play with it.  I run the HA-Alexa bridge in a Docker container on my Synology NAS, so already invested there.  But in truth I can make Vera do just about anything via PLEG, and so staying with Vera for now...
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Mike Yeager on March 14, 2019, 07:11:10 pm
I'm running it on my Synology NAS as well. I too found PLEG to be what made Vera into a usable platform but it just got too unreliable with reboots and all. I had too many issues with reboots and data corruption and it seemed like I relied more and more on third party plugins. Still using my Vera Plus, but it's a slave to HA and only used for one device and Alexa integration...
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: kigmatzomat on March 15, 2019, 12:49:47 am

I have 3 Vera controllers in my home. One on the first floor (VeraPlus), one on the ground floor (VeraEdge) and another outside in a shed (another Edge). On the ground floor I also have a wireless security system with 6 sensors. The sensor that is farthest from the security controller has delays in communication. Also devices that are farthest from the Edge controller also sometimes lose connection with the controller.
....
I'm not very happy that I can only link my controllers by bridging. I would love to have a virtual controller in the cloud that would display all devices in the same place when I need that but to be able to also operated every controller independently.

One interesting thing Homeseer has is ZNet, essentially an Ethernet connect USB host you plug a zwave dongle into. Then one Homeseer controller can manage a half dozen zwave radios scattered over a large property with only a little more latency than if connected directly by USB.  It is effectively one controller in every way that matters.

In theory, one HS controller could run multiple houses, if you had rock solid internet. But that starts to get smarthing-y.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: integlikewhoa on March 15, 2019, 09:28:40 am

I have 3 Vera controllers in my home. One on the first floor (VeraPlus), one on the ground floor (VeraEdge) and another outside in a shed (another Edge). On the ground floor I also have a wireless security system with 6 sensors. The sensor that is farthest from the security controller has delays in communication. Also devices that are farthest from the Edge controller also sometimes lose connection with the controller.
....
I'm not very happy that I can only link my controllers by bridging. I would love to have a virtual controller in the cloud that would display all devices in the same place when I need that but to be able to also operated every controller independently.

One interesting thing Homeseer has is ZNet, essentially an Ethernet connect USB host you plug a zwave dongle into. Then one Homeseer controller can manage a half dozen zwave radios scattered over a large property with only a little more latency than if connected directly by USB.  It is effectively one controller in every way that matters.

Yup, super easy to have Z-wave antennas anywhere on your property linked by the network (LAN).With Vera I had issues with a large detached workshop/garage dropping off the network due to range issues. After dropping VERA I ended up with on Z-net out in the garage, one on one side of the main house and a Zwave USb dongle on the other side of the house in the Homeseer unit. So 3 networks all run as one on a single controller.

Back some time ago this also helped keep my 60 something GE switches direct to controller so it would act as if it had instant status (new switches are now not an issue).
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: Florin on March 16, 2019, 06:52:01 am

I'm not very happy that I can only link my controllers by bridging. I would love to have a virtual controller in the cloud that would display all devices in the same place when I need that but to be able to also operated every controller independently.

One interesting thing Homeseer has is ZNet, essentially an Ethernet connect USB host you plug a zwave dongle into.

One ZNet costs 50% more then a Vera Edge. Maybe for a Homeseer user this would be a good feature. I like separate controllers instead of a controller that reaches devices through gateways over the LAN or Internet. This would only increase latency.

I think it would be relatively easy for Vera to make all devices available under a "virtual" controller. They already have the information about all controllers and all devices linked to an account.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: integlikewhoa on March 18, 2019, 05:52:14 pm

I'm not very happy that I can only link my controllers by bridging. I would love to have a virtual controller in the cloud that would display all devices in the same place when I need that but to be able to also operated every controller independently.

One interesting thing Homeseer has is ZNet, essentially an Ethernet connect USB host you plug a zwave dongle into.


One ZNet costs 50% more then a Vera Edge. Maybe for a Homeseer user this would be a good feature. I like separate controllers instead of a controller that reaches devices through gateways over the LAN or Internet. This would only increase latency.

I think it would be relatively easy for Vera to make all devices available under a "virtual" controller. They already have the information about all controllers and all devices linked to an account.

I think your a bit lost on how it works. Your asking for two vera's linked together by the cloud or internet all in one place.........

That's exactly what a Znet is but not linked by cloud, but local LAN. A Z-net is a full zwave controller and all Nodes are added to that.
HS3 is only software not a controller that brings everything together. It could be ran on the same device as the zwave controller (a Znet is a Zee S2 when HS3 is added) or it can be run somewhere else on the LAN (technically you could port forward and have it offsite, but that is not recommend or even talked about by HS but I'm sure people have done it)

Latency...... That's a bit of a laugh when you talk about vera. I'll let you google how much faster things work when you add a proper z-wave controller and software and more powerful hardware.

Pricing, Compare hardware of Znet vs. Vera Edge and what I just wrote above. Your right they are not the same.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: rafale77 on March 18, 2019, 08:05:48 pm
You can definitely do the same thing with openLuup with multiple vera all connected to the main controller locally either on the same or a different zwave mesh. That being said, even as a zwave/zigbee device bridge, the vera is not 100% reliable. I have gotten it close but not completely there yet. It is good enough as a toy but not as an home appliance. I can't even imagine adding all the google home and IFTTT nonsense to it. Let's get 3 months without a Luup reload and then we'll start talking. Granted not all the issues are not just caused by the vera and some are due to the zwave mesh handling but the vera has ways to go to handle the errors and recovery better than just showing "device not connected", "device reported busy", crash, reload luup or/and force send alerts to their event server in the cloud. The Homeseer price to go from 99% to 100% reliable though is very (too) steep.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: kigmatzomat on March 18, 2019, 11:51:07 pm
Homeseer isn't that much more expensive, it's just that their high end is orders of magnitude more computer than a Vera.  Their entry level model is only 4x more computer than the most powerful vera.

VeraSecure is MSRP $300, on sale for $250, which is more expensive than a Zee2.  Yes, it has 433Mhz , cellular, a siren and built in battery.   If you need those, wonderful, if not those are extraneous expenses.  Otherwise, it's a dual-core 880Mhz MIPS cpu w/512MB RAM, 128MB flash SOC.

A Homeseer Zee2 is $200 MSRP, but with the common 10% off web coupon it's $180.   Come May it will be more like $160.  No zigbee radio but otherwise better hardware, better software.  A Zee2  has
quadcore 1.2Ghz ARM CPU, 1GB ram, 8GB flash and what appears to be a better zwave radio from my personal experience.  Veras do have zigbee, which should be a strong counter, but zigbee support on vera is spotty and for the $70 sale price difference you could get a Conbee stick + JowiHue plug-in and have better zigbee support than Vera. 

Or you could step down to a veraplus that lists for $150 and is on sale for $99. You are also down to a single core 0.9Ghz cpu, 256MB ram and 128MB flash.  From a little digging, the Vera SoCs seem to be using old (aka inexpensive) MIPS32 architectures (1004K), that are >10 years old.  The Zee is using a Cortex A53, which is only @3yro. 


When UI5 and UI7 weren't laden with bugs and issues, I advocated people buy Veras over Homeseer.  Double the price for no significant performance gain seemed ludicrous.  But now, given the units getting overwhelmed under load, bricking themselves when they run out of space, and otherwise showing capacity limitations, it seems that all that horsepower was justified.  And, after having lived through the headaches, the additional expense. 

Now, if Vera has some ace hot devs, they could get by with it.  UDI's venerable ISY994 controller is running on something like a 250Mhz CPU, but they wrote their own real-time OS where the automation logic has primary access to the hardware. 

Maybe they do now.  We'll see.

But the combination of  being in the Vera pricing bands,  having lots more computing overhead plus the ""it works" factor means that it's not an open-shut case of HomeSeer being too expensive. 
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: aa6vh on March 19, 2019, 10:14:00 am
I considered moving from VeraPlus to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with HA and indeed I built out a system (32GB flash card, Aeotec Gen 5 zWave stick) with the latest Hass.io over the past week.  My main reason for considering this is my Yale (Series 300) locks on Vera have a battery life of maybe 2 or 3 months (max) - even locks that are never actually used.  By comparison I have this same lock on a Honeywell Lynx Touch 5100 system and the batteries last well over a year.  There were other concerns as well (sluggish performance on the VeraPlus, and those damned "backups" that run every 6 minutes and fill the log file with junk), but Vera killing my lock batteries is one of my biggest concerns.
-MC

Check your polling interval for those locks. Vera sometimes will set the interval to be too frequent. My locks where wearing down the batteries every couple of weeks. But they were being polled every two minutes (or so). I turned off polling completely for the locks, and now the batteries last almost a year.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: jbfoster on March 19, 2019, 04:11:46 pm
I bought Homeseer last May at 50% off for $150. $40 for the Zwave Smart stick and a few plugins at $49 each. Ya it was more to invest than my $200 Vera but I have to say Homeseer has been working fine since May. I have have had a couple issues but they were minor and were quick to fix. No system is perfect but I?ll have to say Homeseer in my opinion is much better than Vera.

I keep an eye on things here to see if Vera can catch up to Homeseer reliability.  You never know I may return one day.  Until then I?m more than happy with Homeseer


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Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: jbfoster on March 19, 2019, 04:13:40 pm
Oops plugins were $39


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Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: kigmatzomat on March 19, 2019, 11:17:12 pm
The May sale puts most of them 20% off. I checked my invoices.
Title: Re: Anyone else giving up on Z-wave? (or Vera)
Post by: kigmatzomat on March 19, 2019, 11:37:27 pm
One ZNet costs 50% more then a Vera Edge. Maybe for a Homeseer user this would be a good feature. I like separate controllers instead of a controller that reaches devices through gateways over the LAN or Internet. This would only increase latency.

While I think you are overstating the latency impact as most lans introduce ~10ms or less, Homeseer has an app to slave up to 4 Veras. It isn't as seamless as ZNet but it lets you have a hometroller+4 Veras act as a singular system. And vera edges are pretty cheap.