Debugging Z-wave after moving to a new house

So I moved to a new house last year. It has a lot of integration going on, with a central controller communicating with lights, smoke detectors, thermostats, motion and door sensors, etc. The original owner was pretty helpful in getting everything transferred over to me and making sure I had access - but didn’t get me set up with anything for the Z-wave devices. The house is about 13 years old, which basically means the ice age as far as home automation goes. As it is, about 80% of the Z-wave devices are connected to the home automation controller, and they work fine. But I kinda want to get the last 20% working again.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no controller in the z-wave network; there are a number of switches (mostly controlling power to outlets), plus a Vizia RF + serial interface module, which lets the home automation controller connect to the Z-wave network. The previous owner also left me an Aeotec Z-stick S2, which I’ve successfully connected to a Mac mini running as my home server, and set up in OpenHAB.

From what I’ve read so far, it sounds like there may be no easy way for me to join the network, or have my Mac mini take over as controller; instead, I’d have to go around to every device, exclude it from the existing network, then include it to the Z-stick’s network, and then OpenHAB could access it. Is that correct, or is there another way?

The only thing I’m worried about is that 80% working devices is way better than 0%. If for some reason I can’t get the home automation controller to connect, then I’ve lost all the automation that exists…

Usually the first post is a lot simpler, but welcome :wink: I hesitated to even reply because this is out of my league.

First since 80% are connected through the home automation, it is somewhat a mystery why the other 20% isn’t. Are they too far away (out of range)? Did they all work with the previous owner? Anyway my only piece of somewhat constructive advice. The zwave radio communications all start with with the controller ID. The controller with 80% of the network has one and now your zstick has another (from OH). Besides trying to understand why the controller is not connecting to the other 20%, find the ID that the controller is using. It might be possible to use the same ID (or at least reference it) and setup OH as a secondary controller, but someone more knowledgeable than me will have to guide you through that.

Again welcome.


Thanks Bob! Believe me, I wish my question were simpler too. :smiley:

I know the previous owner must have had them all working at some point, since his automation system knows about them all and is programmed with their IDs. Since they’re all fixed in walls, I’d assume that the range from other nearby devices hasn’t changed; there are ones at the furthest reaches of the home that work fine, while some of the ones closest to the home automation system don’t work. I’m in a bit of a rural area and electricity can be a bit unstable during storms, especially in the winter, which I’ve learned causes problems with some of the power line communications-based devices (other light switches), so it could be something similar; a brownout causing the device to lose its programming, for example. (In those, I had to reprogram their IDs for the PLC network, which luckily can be done at the device with a special sequence of button presses.)

I did find some things that made it sound like maybe I could buy a stick, run a sniffer, ferret out the original controller’s ID, and maybe then I could program that ID into a different controller… but that sounds like about as much work with about as high a likelihood of failure as just trying to start over anew.

I was going to suggest a zniffer just to figure out what device is sending what to where. Maybe some devices are fried as you suggest. I have one (a zniffer, not a fried device). The Silabs firmware is basically free, but you have to have a static controller stick to flash. OH has a good debug, but since 80% are on another system, you need to sort out the other devices.


In answer to one of your questions though, the devices will have to be paired to the USB controller for openHAB to see and control them. So ultimately you likely will have to go from device to device to exclude and include them to the controller.

One reason auf the 20% could be that these are secured devices and you are lacking the security key, so they won’t connect.

Other than that you should look at [SOLVED] Unresponsive Z-Wave Network: Tools and Approaches to track down the issues - #37 by stefan.hoehn as it may help to track down the issues.