Advice on a Z-Wave Smoke Detector

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f0146bb3e58> #<Tag:0x00007f0146bb3cf0>

( ) #1

Hey guys,
I’ve stayed clear of Z-Wave so far. For the home of my parents we’ve now decided to go with Z-Wave as the “main” technology. One reason is the mesh network concept which might be needed in the rather long stretched house with three stories.

The first devices we want to install and connect to openHAB are smoke detectors. Other Z-Wave devices can follow.

Which Z-Wave smoke detectors can you recommend? I’d prefer a product with good/feature-rich openHAB integration. I’m looking for a product with the normal features, including the “repeater function”. I would also like to trigger an alarm or a “test alarm” (lowered volume) for other purposes from within openHAB. The devices needs to be certified for usage in Germany (DIN EN 14604, CE).

I’m hoping to benefit from the experience of you the community members. Thanks in advance!

(Angelos) #2

I am also interested in this…
I was recently looking for options and I found this: FGSD-002
It seems that you can’t trigger the siren remotely.
In the previous version (001) they supported remote power and connection to an alarm system… I am not sure if they continue this (of course, you would have to have a 4 wire cable running to the installation point…)

Anyway, I would really like to hear from actual users of smoke detectors who share their experiences here…

(SiHui) #3

If the “siren” part is very important:

It can be triggered via openhab switch to sound an alarm even if no smoke is present.
Not sure about lower volume, though (I need it loud) :grinning:

(Rich Koshak) #4

All I can say is don’t get the First Alert ZCombo. It is about as basic as it comes. It doesn’t differentiate between CO and Smoke alarms and has no extra features beyond reporting battery status, alarms, and a periodic heart-beat.

All I really wanted at the time was the battery but now might be in the market for replacement alarms. I’m going to be watching this thread.

(Chris Jackson) #5

I’m not sure this is available in Europe is it?

I’ve found the FGS002 to be ok, but I agree it’s a shame they removed the external power. The battery does seem to last a reasonable time though, and it does look reasonably ok - small, and reasonably attractive - unlike most others that are typically large and, well, unattractive…

(Christos) #6

I have installed the Fibaro Smoke Sensor a few months back

Visually it is really small and modern.
It is too early to comment on the battery life but if it is like the motion sensor then it would be perfect.
It works even if it is not in the zwave network obviously giving you sound notification that really penetrate the ears :slight_smile:

There is no testing option apart from placing it next to fumes yourself.
You can also set temperature threshold above which it will also alert you.

I am pretty sure you cannot use it as a general purpose alarm
Fibaro has quality documentation so you can check the manual that details all the config options you have prior to purchasing it

(James Derrick) #7


Smoke detectors need to serve two masters:

  • Meet national building regulations for safety and reliability.
  • Integrate with your chosen home automation system.

Sadly, I have two Fibaro FGSD-002 still in their boxes as they do not meet UK building regulations - these specify smoke detectors must be interlinked so that a fire downstairs triggers the upstairs alarm and gets you out of the house. FGSD-002 sense and signal fine, but one can not set off the alarm of the other.

It’s great that a fire can send a SMS or flash the lights, via a Z-Wave controller but that’s not much use if an electrical fire has tripped the RCD / GFCO and battery smoke detectors can’t talk to each other. Yes, I have a UPS on my OpenHAB controller, but it seems very silly that expensive Z-Wave devices can’t do what the cheapest mass-market dumb device MUST do by law!

Nest seems to have the best mix of compliance with national regulations (battery, local RF interlink), and features (fire and CO), and cost but I really don’t want my data leaving my local network to an external server.

I’m starting to think a set of cheap, simple, standard, legal detectors plus a safe interface that does not interfere with their operation may be better. Some proprietary relay units seen to exist, and there are audio interfaces sensing the high-pitched alarm beep:

UK mains wired detectors use an extra common interlink wire - adding an opto-isolator might work, but proving to the insurance company that a custom circuit didn’t impact the systems could be tricky.

(Micha Mueller) #8

We have the Popp Rauchmelder 004001 that sihui mentions for some weeks now.
They work connected even without Z-Wave integration.
They have a manual test button.
And: You can use them as siren - that was something that none of the other smoke detectors have.
Plus: You can add an external supply and use the detectors as Z-Wave mesh network repeaters (only when externally supplied while included in the network).
We don’t use the external supply (yet), but all other features work like a charm in openHAB 2.
Too early for battery life statments, but so far at 100%…:slight_smile:

Which Smoke Detector (Groups, Notification, etc)
(James Derrick) #9

After a bit of light digging in specs, it looks like Z-Wave slave devices CAN communicate directly with each other in the event that the controller dies, BUT you need to perform manual config to set up Associations for this to work.

  • Electrical fire cuts power
  • Z-Wave controller dies (e.g. no UPS)
  • Z-Wave smoke detector 1 senses smoke and sends alarm_smoke / alarm_heat / alarm_co / alarm_co2 / alarm_general / something else

Chris’s database entry for the FGSD-002, mentions ‘Alarm broadcast’ which looks promising, and the Fibaro manual page suggests the ‘4th Association Group – Fire Alarm’ can have up to 5 devices associated implying the device will try direct comms to the controller, routed mesh comms to the controller, and also slave-to-slave comms to the devices pre-configured in the Association Group.

This makes the received wisdom that the Fibaro FGSD-002 does not support triggering of the sounder by an external device all the more surprising!

I must set up a test including associations with my kit still in boxes…

This also makes me wonder if there is a role for a ‘config wizard’ extension API to bindings - e.g. scripts to interrogate device config directly, and set useful or simply sane values. I bet Fibaro have such a function with their own controllers and own way of doing things within the Z-Wave spec, although they have the major advantage of access to their latest device firmware to upgrade and fix known odd behaviour.

The recommendations for the Popp Smoke Detector with Siren look good - it’s a bit more costly than the Fibaro, but still cheaper than Nest.

The additional mains adaptor instructions say leave the battery installed, which suggests it supports dual power. Best of all for UK users, Vesternet also say it meets UK building regulations.

(Sven) #10

I found this one. TP-807ZG from Topvico
37$ on Aliexpress ->

, but unfortunately it shows up without any information.

Is there any way to integrate such an unknown device into the database?
The documentation is just one page, telling me to press the button 3 times for inclusion, but thats all…

(Markus Storm) #11

Yes, see here. As you should have a .XML already, please upload it to the database. It’ll then become available in the next OH snapshot.

(vossivossi) #12

Well, and this is unfortunately the point which will probably make you think different in a few months or even weeks. I have the device since 1,5 years and have to change the batteries everytime after about 6 months. Towards my mind this is too short.
Addionally - and this makes it really worse - you can stop looking at your 100% battery level as it is simply not true. The device will show this all the time and then suddenly drop to 0. That’s it.

See also
Which Smoke Detector (Groups, Notification, etc):

(Andy) #13

Evening all,
@FloatingBoater have you managed to find suitable smoke and CO detector which would comply with UK building regulations ?

(James Derrick) #14

Hi Andy,

After finding that using the Fibaro FGSD-002 would effectively invalidate my home insurance (not EN14604 certified) and fail in some scenarios, I rather gave up with the idea of using Z-Wave for life-critical systems.

Vesternet do show some certified Popp sensors, but paying £65 for a single mode sensor seems poor value compared with a Next Protect device which for £99 detects optical smoke, ionisation smoke, CO, and is both mains powered and interlinked.

The only thing that keeps standard dumb mains sensors on my ceiling is my architectural decision NEVER to use ANY cloud-based building automation systems.

The rational decision is to probably to use Nest to benefit from mass-market economies of scale to get great sensors, which the insurance company, building control, and fire brigade will all sign-off, and that has a REST API with OpenHAB2 binding.

I’m just not always rational! :wink:

(Markus Storm) #15

I believe that this was on FGSD-001 and the reason to create FGSD-002 to now be compliant at least with EU requirements, but I didn’t follow up on the details.
And not sure what that means to brexiteers now :wink:

(Shorty707) #16

(Markus Storm) #17

Note Fibaro FGSD-001/2 detect smoke only while for CO you need the FGCD-001.
Then again, I don’t know of any networked CO detector to also offer smoke.
There’s ZCOMBO from ‘First Alert’ but I have one and never got it to work and so didn’t a couple of other people so that one is clearly recommended against.

(James Derrick) #18

The wonderful thing about standards, is there are so many to choose from (obigitory XKCD reference:!

UK building regulations Document B references BS 5839-6:2004 (no reference as the BS standards cost money), but state:

1.14 Where more than one alarm is installed they should be linked so that the detection of smoke or heat by one unit operates the alarm signal in all of them. The manufacturers’ instructions about the maximum number of units that can be linked should be observed.

My understanding was that there is no means of getting a FGSD-002 to sound an alarm remotely (must read Chris’s Z-Wave doc and the XML to check), so although the sensing element of each device may well meet EN14604 specifications, they can’t work as a system of multiple interlinked devices.

This first came up with someone wishing to use the detector as a siren (e.g. for intruders or doorbell), but the same problem is referenced in several places including Vesternet:

Not Interlinked - cannot be triggered by other Z-Wave devices, cannot act as a group.

As my two devices are still in the box I can’t confirm the issue however, this would seem to be a pretty fundamental design error.

The sensor sends an Alarm Broadcast SMOKE ALARM to all Z-Wave devices in range. Why would another identical sensor be designed not to act on this broadcast, when even a Fibaro light dimmer can (FGD-212 parameter 42 sets flashing lights)?

My guess is the wake-up interval of Z-Wave battery devices is too long to reliably give fast alarm broadcast (always on), and long battery life (always off). Fibaro’s insistence that firmware updates are only available via their own Home Centre controller means a change is not going to improve my kit.

And, no, even though my OpenHAB controller is on a UPS, I don’t want to rely on it being active and connected to the Internet to send an alert email. Autonomous resilient systems capable of independent action, but linked for extra benefit are better IMHO.

Interestingly, the manual does mention parameters for control frames (10 - 2nd Association Group
SMOKE ALARM), and alarm broadcast (13 - Alarm broadcast, mentions several Association Groups) suggesting there are settings to experiment with.

Has anyone actually tested >1 FGSD-002 paired with OpenHAB to test Alarm Broadcast between devices please?

Do you know if there a way to generate an Alarm Broadcast SMOKE ALARM from a script? (interesting for testing, though likely to kill battery life if used regularly).

I have enough issues trying to get a FGK-101 to report a tamper alarm (reports as a ‘alarm_smoke’ channel), but haven’t yet upgraded from Release 2.2 to snapshot 2.4 and enabled secure inclusion to give decent quality feedback to Chris’s Device Database.

(Flowyk) #19

I have not tested it, but it seems that this device does not accept commands ‘by design’

How can I connect all Smoke Sensors in a way that all of them alert me about the detection of smoke by one?
FIBARO Smoke Sensor is a sensor (it does not work actively – as an actor). + Such function is not available.

Anyway, is it really expected that if only one sensor have positive, than all should go off? It would make it harder to find the problem, in case of fire - find escape route/extinguish it, in case of one failure - real nighmare.
I undestand that in big buildings with one owner that can make one interconnected system and plan it, it would be good. But in building with many owners, being all interconnected, I would consider as security threat (and really good way how to piss neighbours - as nobody knows which one triggered it)

(James Derrick) #20

You raise an interesting point around what type of building you live in changes your expectations of what a fire alarm should do.

After being woken up by a hotel fire alarm on several occasions and having to stand outside without any information on what the alarm was for, I can understand how evacuating a whole apartment block may cause bad feeling.

My own experience is that most UK homes have two floors and smoke alarms. Sadly, most home alarms don’t work as the battery ran down and woke everyone up at 03:00 AM (the traditional time for batteries to cool down, fail, and cause random warning beeps), so it was removed and forgotten. :frowning:

My home is not a giant castle, however I doubt that my living room smoke alarm is loud enough to wake me in the bedroom, so don’t really want to wait until smoke has made it up the stairs to the alarm on the upper floor landing. Thankfully, it has wired interlinked smoke detectors that don’t need batteries.

After more reading, I don’t see a reason why interlinking was missed out from both the FGSS-001 and FGSD-002. Battery Z-Wave devices can be designed as FLiRS (Frequently Listening Routing Slave) to allow interlinking (e.g. act as both sensor and actor) even with battery power, and even if the controller is dead.

The Popp POPE004001 smoke detector specs explicitly state they support FLiRS, and support the siren being used by any device. The Fibaro FGSD-002 manual doesn’t mention FLiRS and has a default WAKE UP INTERVAL = 6hours. That’s just a little too long to wait…

Popp devices (£65) require an extra power supply unit (£16) to avoid the batteries going flat, at which point the Nest Protect device looks better as for only a little more money (£99), you get both smoke and CO sensors with mains/ battery back-up in a neat single box (the Popp PSU looks messy to fit as devices above the ceiling should be in secondary enclosures).

It’s just a shame that Nest needs to connect to the Internet (because CLOUD :cloud:), uses another new protocol, and yet another phone app for management. :frowning: