Best Z-Wave Stick for OpenHab

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Hi =) I wanted to create a thread for sharing experiences with z-wave sticks, to find out which is the best one for the use with OpenHab =). I want to invite everyone to contribute and share his/her experiences with various z-wave sticks, to prevent opening up issues with known bugs/missbehaviour of various hardware. Here are the sticks I’ve tested, and what my Experience was with them:

1. zwave.me stick [razberry] (for raspberry-pi)
This one was the worst I’ve tested. The binding recognizes the stick correctly and shows it’s online, but the z-wave plus features of it do not work. This leads to an incorrect network map, and network-wide inclusion doesn’t seem to work. The Stick would theoretically be updatable, but only when you install the z-way server on your pi (which I did not do). I tried to install the z-way software on windows, which was a complete disaster -> It’s even reported as a trojan by Windows-defender, and even with deactivating all the firewall, the software never started to work…Even if you don’t use z-wave plus, some nodes will go offline after some time. I ended up sending the stick back to Amazon. I absolutely would not use it with OpenHab again. Strangely all features of the stick worked on PC, so I suspect that the Serial of the stick has some kind of bug (which is not updatebale without major hussle).

2. Aetec Z-Stick Gen 5 (tested with Raspberrypi)
This stick works pretty well if you do not attach it directly to the pi, but with an usb-hub! also see here: Z-Wave Binding..."Issues" with Aeotec Z-Stick Gen 5 [Z-Wave] #1415. The Stick runs absolutely stable, and all features are usable. I think with OpenHab 3, even the problem with removing nodes directly over the interface seems to be solved (I only tried it once, but it seemed to work). Secure-Inclusion works as well as z-wave plus.

2. Aetec Z-Stick Gen 5+ (tested with Raspberrypi)
This stick is simillar to the gen 5, but WORKS WITHOUT USB HUB ON PI so you can directly attach it. The only downside of the Gen 5 Sticks are the size but besides that, they work extremly well with OpenHab! This is far the best Stick I’ve tested with OpenHab, and I would always use this one!

What are your experiences? Have you tested other brands? How did they work? Where they stable? Did they show any “weird” behaviour? Comment below and let’s find “the best” stick for OH =)

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My feedback:

  • RazBerry – did not work for me because the Pi is located inside my server cabinet which has a metal case.
  • Aeotec Z-Stick Gen 5 – worked perfectly for me on OH2 on a Pi3 *)
  • Aeotec Z-Stick Gen 5+ – currently working perfectly for me on OH3 on a Pi4 *)

One extra reason to prefer the Aeotec Z-Sticks is that the stick has an internal battery, so you can disconnect it from the computer and put it into inclusion mode and do device inclusion without power. This means that you can carry the stick to any new device and do the inclusion locally to that device.

*) the stick is connected via a 2m extension USB 2.0 cable so it can be outside the server cabinet.

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Do NOT choose any of the new 700 Series Z-Wave Plus 2 STICKS. They are not compatible with the binding.

700 Series DEVICES are backward compatible with Z-Wave plus so they work with the current binding.

That is NOT recommended by the developer and will not work for secure inclusion… The secure inclusion key is in the binding, not stored on the stick.

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Hmm. The stick does seem to have its own onboard security key too. You can see this in the 3rd party Z-Wave tools that we discussed in another thread. Indeed, in that thread I asked why there are two keys and how they interact; but nobody responded. Personally I don’t need secure devices so it is not an issue for me.

I believe Chris does not recommend it anyway.

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The fact that the stick has memory to store keys is irrelevant. The point is that the security is performed by the binding - so if you unplug the stick, then there will not be any security, and it is impossible to include devices securely this way.

The binding doesn’t use the key that is stored on the stick - it stores it locally instead.

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^
Ok. Many thanks for the explanation.

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I also started with RaZberry and to be honest I didn’t have any problems with it.
However i’ve switched to Aeotec for two reasons

  • Easy backup: I can unplug the stick, put it into my laptop and get a backup of the configuration. With RazBerry i had to shutdown openHAB, start z-way and always navigate through the UI until i’ve found the correct menu
  • Portability: If I might want to switch from Raspberry to another hardware (e.g. Intel NUC, another SBC, whatever), I can just move the stick.

I’ve also tried the UZB from zwave.me but wasn’t happy with it. It felt a bit cheap and made problems with backup/restore

Maybe it’s just a kind of placebo but with the aeotec stick it feels like my devices are much more responsive. But that could also be caused since i had to reinclude all of them after switching from RaZberry to the Aeotec Stick

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My experience is exactly the opposite :slight_smile:
Switched from Aeotec (two sticks died in a year) to UZB1.
The big reason reason was backup - I do no longer need to unplug the stick, fire up Windos and then use the very slow Aeotec backup tool.
Now I just stop the z-wave binding, snapshoting the NWM with zmeserialtool and start the z-wave binding again.

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I’m confused. The 700 series are or are not compatible? I’m not looking to buy but if I’m confused I’m sure others are too.

The DEVICES are backward compatible the CONTROLLERS are not.

Due to a repo change, OH# database is about 3 weeks behind. I have an open issue. Apparently the master repo got renamed to main. breaking the export.

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Bruce could you please go back and edit your previous post to clarify this because Rich isn’t the only one who didn’t get it

Is that better?

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OK, here is my take on this topic
First, and I think Bruce will correct me if I am wrong, zwave devices are different by region correct Bruce? So we should include a region if we are describing our devices.

I am in the U.S.A and I have one of these HUSBZB-1
The link is to an amazon item, I purchased it in Oct. 2018 for about $30 (usd) it is now $50. It is also a zigbee stick

It has worked… well… flawlessly for over two years. It has survived numerous upgrades and testing other OpenHAB configuration changes and crazy experiments and never missed a beat. One caveat… my zwave network is small, only 5 or 6 total devices

I also want to make one observation
I have hung out here in the forum for a couple years and usually read and often try to help troubleshoot other users zwave problems.
The above mentions Aeotec Z-Stick Gen 5 seems to have more then it’s fair share of problems compared to the HUSBZ stick and any others. The main one being not wanting to come online after a simple upgrade or some other trivial change to the system.
Another thread, one of the users asked the user experiencing problems with his Aeotec Z-Stick Gen 5 stick, which had already included replacing the stick why he didn’t just ‘buy a HUSBZ and be done with it’. I kind of silently agreed. Anyhow, lots of guys use them, I’m sure they are good kit but just saying

Only short coming of the HUSBZ stick I think (and again I think Bruce will correct me) the firmware is un-upgradable meaning eventually it will become obsolete

Also, Bruce thanks for clarifying your previous post :wink: :+1:

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The radio frequencies are different by location. There are some models available in multiple locations with differing identifiers. We try to group them in the database since they are essentially identical from a binding perspective.

I have a HUBZB-1 that I now use as my testing stick mainly because I was given a Zooz stick, Zooz only makes Z-Wave devices for North America but have amazing support they helps us get their products supported by OH.

I have not seen any upgrades for the HUSBZB-1 sticks.

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It’s also not made any more so getting harder and harder to purchase.

I believe it can be backed up using the Aeotech software but I’ve never done it. My network is small enough I’ll just reset everything if the controller dies.

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Hard to do better than the UZB-3 reference design. Cheap and effective.

All 500 controllers have the same chip. The filter, power and other circuits might vary and the firmware does. The UZB-3 is the reference design and TBH it is hard for anyone to build anything a lot better.

All US 500 series sticks operate at a few dB lower power than the rest of the world but other than that the only difference from one region to the next is in the final circuit. All have the same zwave chip.

Next if you buy a couple it is easy transfer your network by

call them A and B

  1. add A as a secondary to current network
  2. promote A to primary
  3. backing up A
  4. quick tweak in the hex of the backup
  5. restore to A
  6. add B as secondary to A
  7. promote B to Primary

B now is your new controller with id 1 so you can plug it into openhab with no changes required.

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I’m using the Zooz S2 USB stick, and I’ve had absolutely no problems in the two years since I bought it. I only have four devices though (two sensors, a door lock, and a lightswitch), so I’m not pushing it very hard.

As Bruce notes, Zooz is specific to North America.

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It happens to be $10 off this week too for the US.