Gradual migration from Zipabox: primary and secondary controllers, etc

As I eye up OpenHab my plan is to gradually set OH in parallel with my existing Zipabox setup. Since I have a lot of learning to do, and much battling with coding and configuration files and obscure setup steps, I expect this to be a long process. I’m not in a hurry. Scanning the forum, it seems that having the two systems in parallel (albeit only one active) is feasible:

  • Z-Wave. The trickiest bit. I can add a Gen5 stick as a secondary controller, which will copy over the device info from the Zipabox. At the end, it can be switched to being the primary controller.
  • 433Mhz blinds/awnings: I imagine they don’t care. I can add them to both controllers
  • Enocean. Not 100% sure, but both of my devices being sensors, I imagine I can add them to both controllers no problem
  • IP devices like Nest/Sonos. I suspect there won’t be a problem here either.

Any snags I’m missing?

My devices are all zwave.
When I moved from Home Assistant, I first ran OH in parallel & defined my items and rules. Sitemaps could be defined too.
I shut down Home Assistant and added the zwave binding to OH. After it discovered all my devices as things, I linked the items to the things.

That process seemed to work quite well but I only have 6 nodes & about that many rules. Rule syntax migration seemed to take the most time.

Thanks Bruce. But it sounds like you shut down Home Assistant before adding the Z-Wave bindings to OH. Since I would like to set up OH at a very relaxed pace whilst maintaining my current system, is it possible to have the devices on both controllers at once? My understanding is that it is…

@chris would be the best one to answer from an OpenHAB perspective.
He writes & maintains the zwave binding.

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This is possible and what I did when migrating (as quickly as I possibly could) away from SmartThings. It’s a little tricky to add/remove devices in this configuration, since you need to sync up the controllers, but it’s been so long I could be mistaken.

Search the forum for this one. I believe people have reported serial conflicts (with a workaround) between the enocean and zwave bindings, but this may be be resolved.

Hi David!

Leisurely pace? That sounds like exactly what I did, starting about three weeks ago. I came from Fibaro HC2 myself.

I moved my Z-Wave devices one by one! That means, exclude it from my old controller, and include it in the new controller. My network is about 30 devices. It may sound like a lot of work to move them in a piecemeal fashion, but I did it this way in order not to overwhelm myself. Not everything affects everything, even in a highly automated system, so starting with something small and manageable and getting that working first before moving on to other things, is the way to go in my humble opinion. Believe me, openHAB has plenty of frustration to offer as it is, you really shouldn’t feel like you need to add to it. :slight_smile:

Chris Jackson’s Z-Wave binding is incredible, though. Supports more devices than anything else out there. And, if it’s missing a device, you can actually (carefully) create a template in the database and get it added. It’s good stuff.

Welcome to openHAB! Best of luck, we’re here for your well thought-out questions. :slight_smile:


Hi Leif


My problem with moving devices one by one is that I have an existing system which can’t really be salami-sliced like that: my devices are pretty interdependent. So my idea is to build the entire (not yet operational) OH system in parallel, whilst the existing Zipabox setup continues running, and then test the OH system, get the bugs out, and only when everything is working, shut down the Zipabox.
Do you think this is feasible?

You can build out items and rules, etc. without the zwave binding.
After you have shut down your old system you can add the zwave binding & then discover your nodes and link to the items.
That is basically what I did with my small network. You likely need to wake up battery devices to get them fully recognized.
I recommend using the latest snapshot binding for best device recognition.

I would think it would be incredibly difficult (not to mention tedious) to build and test the OH system without having the Z-Wave devices in first.

To me it would be like trying to build a house in reverse… How could I think about re-arranging the furniture when we haven’t even poured the foundation yet?

It could very well just be a limitation of my own head.
For everything I build, I make sure that the basic I/O is working reliably, before I add more complicated automation. Setting up the rules in OH and using simulated devices and testing without any actual hardware… I don’t know man, I don’t think I could make that work.

But, if you can do it, great! Bruce has obviously had a different experience than my own. :slight_smile:
It can absolutely be a matter of me having a trouble with abstract thinking. I often have to do it (being a programmer and all) but that doesn’t mean it comes easy to me, maybe that’s why I try to avoid it when I can and go for practicality first. In my case that would mean accepting some downtime and accepting manual control of some things for the few days I would estimate would be required to get things running right.

Hi David,
I would suggest looking into MQTT on both OH and Zipamicro/Zipabox. This will allow you to have all Z-wave devices on Zipamicro and interact with them by using the MQTT binding from OH.
Once you are familiar and very happy with OH, you can start migrating your Z-wave devices to OH. I work with Zipabox/Zipamicro’s using OH, I believe it’s a more flexible solution. Let me know if you know help.

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What about my initial idea - adding RPi as a secondary controller for Z-Wave devices, testing everything, and then switching it over to being a primary controller and taking the Zipabox offline?

I have no idea how the coding in OH works, but since you’re actually writing code, I imagine you can create the rules with placeholders for the devices before actually adding them, but I’d prefer not to commit myself to adding the devices, testing everything and going straight to “production” all in one go, with home automation offline in the meantime. I just don’t have the time to commit myself to all of that.

I also understand that, if you add a secondary controller, the Z-Wave devices are copied over from the primary to your Z-Wave stick. That sounds like a considerable saving in effort.

Hi Alejo,

I know MQTT is supported on the Zipabox but I have no idea how it works. I was going to look into it for controlling the Roomba, but I simply haven’t had the time.
Your suggestion is an interesting possibility. I have no idea how that would work or whether there are any drawbacks. If I had no other option to maintain both systems in parallel I’d definitely look into it.
I’m still not clear on whether you can have your devices on a secondary controller and use that with OH while testing - if so, it seems like a much easier solution.

Your initial idea it’s possible. Take a look at Z-Wave Stick Migration (via Z-Wave "Controller Shift" feature).
Since you are starting to work with OH, using MQTT, will allow you start understanding OH and keep running your current Zipabox in parallel without “breaking” anything.
You can run rules in OH and have all your Z-wave devices paired to Zipabox.


OK, so I have at least a couple of options. I think that’s all I need to know to take the plunge. Thanks everyone.

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You can at least initially build your rules, translating them to OH. That helps minimize downtime because you only need to test & repair rather than design from scratch.

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Hi I also try to gradually migrate from zipabox =). Did anyone fin a way to control s0 security devices? I managed to get openhab as a secondary controller into the Zipabox. All unsecured devices work properly, but the secured ones don’t. I also extracted the s0 security key and wrote it to the binding…any other ideas?

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I don’t have any of those those security devices, so I can’t help you with that, sorry.

What did you need to do to get the OpenHab as a secondary controller into the Zipabox? I started looking at this a few months ago but I didn’t have time to get very far.

Hi, hanks for the Help, but I gave up on this matter…I was able to integrate as secondary controller, but I never was able to controll all security devices…also does openhab not support s2 security, what makes this evenen more difficult…zipaboy doesn’t work at all, so openhab is the way better choice! I’m currently workink to reinclude all deviceses to openhab…thanks for the help!


How did you set up OH as a secondary controller?

I used the pc controller-software from silicon labs for that task…

  1. I inserted aeotec-z-stick it to windows pc and installed the silab software
  2. I configured the stick into learning-mode
  3. I included it to zipabox with inclusion mode
  4. I plugged the stick to openhab
  5. all devices in z-wave network showed up as things
  6. added them and started controlling

hope that helped…

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