Guidance for "unknown" Zwave Device

Zwave wave devices are generally identified by the TYPE:ID pair (also infrequently the firmware version). Some manufacturers change the TYPE:ID numbers as the device is changed (FW or other change) or simply to identify the year it is made.

The TYPE:ID can be found for an unidentified device in the userdata/zwave folder (or var/lib/openhab/zwave with most OH installations) in an XML file (like network_d2818a75__node_3.xml). The other thing to notice is the last approval date at the bottom of the linked ZW DB “Overview” tab. Zwave devices are only added prospectively, not retroactively to OH.

So, with that background when confronting an unknown device.

  1. Check your device TYPE:ID in your local XML
  2. Check the ZW DB for your device and the TYPE:ID’s currently mapped.
  3. Assess the last update date-time relative to your OH version
  4. Options
    a) If the device and/or the local TYPE:ID not in DB, it will need to be added (see ZW DB Blog)
    b) If the device and local TYPE:ID is in the DB; Options
    i) Upgrade OH as necessary (snapshot, milestone, etc.)
    ii) If on the last release try to update to the latest zwave binding snapshot from here. Snapshot binding are version dependent, so if on the latest release this might work, but not guaranteed.
    See (Bundle Management | openHAB))
    iii) If that doesn’t work or if on old OH version follow the procedure here (OH3+) or here (OH2) to update your binding with the newer XML. Note that the XML used in the binding is not the same as the XML in the userdata/zwave folder. Do not try to use the latter, you’ll mess things up.

Special Note on battery devices. On earlier versions of OH (less than OH3.3, if I recall correctly) battery devices took several waking tries to initialize and therefore showed as “Unknown”. Those problems are mostly fixed, but if you have a battery device AND can’t find the local XML in OH, try to wake the device until there is a local XML. If on less than OH3.3 this could take many tries.


Good stuff, Bob! Might be worth adding this to the documentation (but focused purely on OH4).

It is basically in the ZW binding documentation and also a bit of guidance pops up on the UI when the device is “unknown”, yet still a common forum post.:wink: I put this here for those that search the forum before they post and for a reference I (or others) can point to answer the common questions.

1 Like

I’m not much help with unknown Z-Wave devices, because everything I’ve added to my system was already in the database. That’s partly by design, and mostly due to availability (or lack thereof).