I’ve been using Vera controllers for about 4 years now. I started with a VeraEdge, then moved to a VeraPlus (V+).
To begin, I have approximately 70 physical Z-wave devices enrolled on my V+, 12 virtual devices, and 20 scenes (automation rules). I’m very frustrated with the number of bugs in the V+ – bugs that have been around for a long time and never fixed. Some of the bugs are blamed on the manufacturers’ devices, yet other z-wave controllers have no problems with them. Now that Ezlo has purchased Vera, development has slowed down. This is largely due to the fact they are creating a new “Ezlo Plus” controller. It looks as though it has the same OS/UI as the V+ and is going to be more dependent on web integration.
I don’t like the other commercially developed controllers that are on the market. I’m a techie (software architect), understand z-wave pretty well, and will never use a controller that depends on the internet (i.e. SmartThings) for full, functional use.
So, here are my questions. Based on the number of devices I have:
- Do you think openHAB is good option for me – especially in regards to performance?
- If so, what do you think is the best hardware platform to run it on?
- Is there an easier way to migrate all of the devices from my Vera controller to an openHAB controller without having to un-pair from the Vera and re-pair to the openHAB?
- What is the best option for the Z-wave Tranceiver (i.e. UZB, Z-stick, etc)?
I appreciate your opinions and experience regarding this topic and hope that openHAB is a better option than what I currently have.
Shouldn’t be a problem.
Start with what ever you have. I got started on a spare laptop and migrated to a VM on an ESXi host. If you want to purchase special hardware, the general recommendation is an RPi. An RPi 3 is more than capable to run OH with this many devices and there is an SD card image openHABian that will install and configure openHAB and a bunch of other related software and OS tweaks so you have a more complete out-of-the-box experience. Though openHABian really is, at it’s core, a bunch of shell scripts and it’s know to work on Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux distros.
To my knowledge no.
Any zwave controller should work. The Aeotech Gen 5 is popular. Lots of us use the HUSZB-1 as it’s also a Zigbee coordinator. It’s getting hard to find though and it’s US only.
Not 100% sure on this (not even 50%!), but I thought there was a way to add the new stick as a secondary controller to your existing Zwave network, then make it the master and you would then have transferred everything. Just a thought. It might not be possible.
Absolutely possible. The Zensys Tools software could do this, so I expect that the updated version (PC Controller) can also do it. IIRC, you’d add the new controller to the Vera’s network, which would include it as a secondary controller, and then shift the new controller from secondary to primary. Here are some search results… https://community.openhab.org/search?q=primary%20secondary%20shift.
However, rebuilding your zwave network is a good practice for network maintenance. It can be a pain, but things run much better afterwards.
Thanks for the responses. It’s great to have a close-knit forum.
I have several different hardware platforms to run openHAB:
A couple Minis Forum mini-PCs (Windows 10).
A couple Raspberry Pi 4s.
A couple Raspberry Pi 3b+.
An x64 desktop PC running Linux.
Any recommendations, pitfalls, etc.?
I just read that the Aeotec Z-stick Gen5 has problems running on the Pi 4. Do you know if this still is the case? Does anyone use the UZB? As per Rich (thanks Rich), the Nortek HUSBZB-1 looks interesting even though I’m not really concerned with Zigbee.
I migrated from Vera to openHAB using the MiOS binding as a bridge. This allowed me to continue using my VeraLite for Z-Wave while I rewrote scenes into rules. Added an Aeotech Gen 5 stick and slowly moved my Z-Wave network from the Vera to the stick. Now my Vera Lite and Plus are sitting in my closet collecting dust. Very happy to be rid of Vera and fully on openHAB.
Now my Vera Lite and Plus are sitting in my closet collecting dust. Very happy to be rid of Vera and fully on openHAB.
I can’t wait to get rid of Vera!
That is a v1 binding that does not use the current OpenHAB2 configuration and will not be directly supported in OpenHAB3 which is the version now in active development.
I do not recommend doing that for somebody just starting with OpenHAB.
Apparently the newer Vera devices are not as good as the older ones. I have a coworker with an older Z-Wave ( not Plus) system and he is happy with it.
It’s also entirely possible to use the REST API on openHAB along with a few simple rules to send information back and forth with Vera. I did this briefly as part of my migration process. I wouldn’t recommend it for many devices, but if only a few are of interest during your migration it could work.
Vera is fine as long as you have supported devices and don’t try to do too much. If you step outside of it, it gets painful fast. There is an entire expat Vera community living here: https://smarthome.community/. There are some really good ideas but they never completely severed the link to Vera at least when I last used it. The lack of timely Zwave support killed Vera for me.
What about using MQTT to tie them together temporarily?
The Z-Wave device database here is community maintained and we have a very active, dedicated Z-Wave & Zigbee developer. Right now we are working on transitioning that database to a new server.
Having done it successfully, I would disagree. It allows one to slowly migrate without loosing their existing HA. Plus you don’t have to buy a Z-Wave stick to get started in the migration process. There is also the fact that openHAB 3 is not out and I for one will not be upgrading as soon as it is out. But that’s me.
True, but working with a v1 binding adds to the already large learning curve of OH.
It sounds to me the 2 best options are to:
- Create a secondary controller and then do a primary/secondary controller shift.
- Or simply just start from scratch and pair my 70+ devices to the openHAB controller.
While there are options, I think Scott may be right and I should just bite the bullet and start from scratch. It will be easier to Debug if I run into any device problems in the immediate future.
Vera used to be solid, but since their introduction of UI7, everything’s gone downhill since then. They essentially never made it any better and its instability Was never addressed. This is partly because Ezlo bought them and changed development directions which I understand.
Any more thoughts regarding the Z wave transceiver I should use?
Scott is one of our very experienced Z-Wave users.
That’s great to know. I’m sure he gets paid well for his services
Hey, a topic where I can make a direct contribution! Cool
I started home automation on Vera lite UI5 and eventually I did this exact migration from Vera plus UI7 to OH a few years ago. Now, I’m entirely off vera and I’m very glad I made this change.
There is certainly no right answer for everyone, but I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestion above on using the MIOS bridge binding for your transition. Even though the binding will be unsupported for OH3, the MIOS bridge is a great transitional tool so you can get used to the structure of how OH works. In hindsight, here are my reasons why:
- You can keep your existing automations running while you learn a new system. If you desire, you can keep some complex rules in vera and migrate them gradually into OH.
- The mios binding was very reliable when I was using it
- As it turns out, performance on Vera is actually a pretty good device if you just give it one job. In my case, zwave connectivity on the vera became more reliable and much faster when I freed up resources and moved rules processing away from it to OH.
- While unlikely, it’s possible some of your 70+ devices don’t exist in the OH zwave DB yet. You can add them in yourself, but that’s more learning curve.
- Adding to #2 and #3 points, even if all 70+ devices worked, they might not work as WELL in OH. The reason for this is no fault of OH, but rather the way zwave is poorly implemented by some manufacturers. Some zwave devices are not performance friendly and can ruin your entire network. Vera covers this problem by either applying patches or hacks in their firmware for devices with poor implementations. The OH zwave binding on the other hand, is fantastic with a ton a wonderful community support, but it’s also a more bare experience. This was clear once I moved to OH where there are no hacks or patches for problematic devices. Once I moved to the zwave binding in OH, I no longer had that crutch and had to take time to reconfigure or remove problematic zwave devices. This is something that should be done anyway, but I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. This will also depend on the age of your devices as I find it was mostly older products which caused more problems.
- Without taking zwave into account, OH already has a high learning curve. If you care about performance, zwave can also have a high learning curve, so the total time you spend to tweak things can add up.
- No extra cost for a zwave stick (but it’s not expensive to buy one)
Here are some things to expect if you migrate to OH:
- If you use the mios binding, it might work so well that you get lazy and never move off vera entirely! I wound up using the mios bridge for several years. I was finally forced to move to the native OH zwave binding after a power surge killed my vera.
- Locks with PIN codes behave quite differently in OH compared to vera. Not worse, just different. For a while, I left the rules processing on my locks in vera so I could manage PIN codes through their app.
- Because the mios binding is a v1 binding, there are a few manual configuration steps you need to take to get it running on the current version of OH. If you decide to go this route, I can help walk you through it.
In the process, you will also learn a number of helpful things about using and troubleshooting the Z-Wave binding.
I am not paid anything for my contributions to openHAB… though I do welcome donations !
Is that anything like quitting smoking or drugs??
You can keep your existing automations running while you learn a new system. If you desire, you can keep some complex rules in vera and migrate them gradually into OH
Here is what I did moving my Z-Wave network from Home Assistant. I defined unlinked Things and rules in OH first and, in my case, then moved the network controller. I only had about 8 nodes then though.
haha, yes! Better actually