Best method for associating Z-wave nodes

I’m going to do a hard reset on my Z-stick, and re-associate all of my nodes. In the past, I have:

  1. associated a pile of thermostats, then installed them. This did not work so well once they were installed because they had already formed a mesh, and they wouldn’t work very well once in place.
  2. associated via PaperUI with device already in place. I’m wondering if this method results in fewer nodes with a direct connection to the controller.

So, with this refresh, I am considering taking the stick to each node, and associating them using the button on the stick. Is this a bad idea? I’m assuming each node will initially have a connection to the controller, then when I put the controller back on the Pi, some of these connections will be lost, but the nodes will find a neighbor and eventually form a good mesh.

3. associated via HABmin with device ( & controller, if possible) already in place. This should result in a more stable network to start with, You may want to include the mains powered devices frst so they can act as repeaters for the battery operated ones.

This is a bad idea because every node will assume it has a direct connection to the stick. Other nodes have no knowledge of nodes added to the network before them until te network or node is healed.
The nodes may not know of a suitable neighbor to use to form a mesh.

Okay, that’s actually my #2. It was stable for a while, then removal of one node caused an unending litany of headaches, hence the hard reset.

I have a suspicion that some devices that search for a controller node to associate will find one and latch onto it, causing an unhealthy network.

The controller sometimes keeps phantom or ghost nodes that no longer exist. Devices can try to route through them. Ideally you should me able to discover the node, mark it as failed, and then tell the controller to delete it. I believe this is not yet working well and others are researching how other tools accomplish this.