Multi-Controller Zwave Network

Hello Everyone,

My experience with OpenHAB has been great! It’s a great product and there is a great community. I’m so thankful that folks have dedicated so much of their time to create something so useful!

I’m a relatively new user, so please forgive my lack of technical accuracy!

The problem I’m trying to solve, is that I have a single gang (SPST) light switch that currently controls an overhead fan and an overhead light in a guest bedroom. The overhead fan/light have the dangly chains to individually turn on and off the lights, and to spin the fan at high/med/low speeds.

I want to be able to manage the lights and fans centrally on my zwave network (AEON Gen5 stick) with OpenHAB, but also independently (in case the OpenHAB server goes down etc).

Is this possible?

I want to replace the light switch with something like this: Wall Switch Replacement

The top toggle could control the light, and the bottom toggle could control the fan.

Inside the overhead fan/light would be something like this: Ceiling Light/Fan module

So I think, this is all well and easy enough. However, I would like for the wall switch and module to work independently of the centralized Z wave controller, but also work with the centralized controller.

So for instance, (in my mind, does it work this way?) the module would be connected to the centralized z-wave controller (AEON Gen 5), and the wall switch would join that network but act as a secondary controller to the network (perhaps just that module?). Such that, if the centralized controller was down, a user would still be able to turn off, turn on the lights and ceiling fan. Would I be able to replicate this for several rooms (with the same single gang problem).

I’m not sure I’m explaining this exceptionally well, so I’m happy to re-describe anything I’ve written.

I appreciate the help!


I want to be able to manage the lights and fans centrally on my zwave network (AEON Gen5 stick) with OpenHAB, but also independently (in case the OpenHAB server goes down etc).

Is this possible?

I believe the solution is related to Z-Wave Association Groups but I have not used them. I tagged the thread to get further assistance.

Yep, as Bruce says, that’s association groups. This link explains it pretty well.

If you do associate the switch and fan, keep in mind that the association may cause conflicts with rules in openHAB. It’s fine as long as you’re aware of it, but I’d be inclined to coordinate through openHAB so that you retain flexibility for automation. How often are you going to find that openHAB is offline and you absolutely must control your overhead fan?

Here’s the thing I’m not sure about. If your fan has dangly chains, then the speeds are controlled by a switch inside of the fan (instead of one on the wall). It’s been a long time since I monkeyed with an overhead fan, but this would mean that you’d have to wire the module inside the fan housing in order to control the speeds…and there’s no reason for you to find a neutral wire there. Note that I might be wrong about this…I’m just guessing this will be the case.

So if you’re going to do this, I’d suggest going further and replace the existing fan with one that requires an in-wall switch for speed control. Then you only need one Z-Wave wall switch.

Typically, Z-Wave devices are controlled through the controller, but they can also can work directly between themselves. This is done with associations. A light switch can be associated to a light fixture, so that manual operation of the switch turns on/off the light. If these device are also in OH, the light can also be controlled through the UI or a rule. Not all devices support association, especially the less expensive ones. This is not an easy thing to setup and is very easily messed up. OH does not have functionality to see and manage associations like other solutions provide. There are professionals making LOTS of money setting up homes like this!

1 Like

OH is able to manage such associations in Habmin interface. Like I control Fibaro Roller shutter with Philio Clolor Button:

I hope that OH3 will support this functionality as well! Otherwise it will be a killer criteria fro Zwave network users.

1 Like

Good point… I need to clarify my statement. The functionality in OH is not as advanced as you will find in other products, but it does exist.

1 Like

If you think about associate an alarm signal or something similar probaly you have right. I have never tried. But I have Fibaro Homecenter Light added as secondary controller to my network and I can set up such things paralel using Openhab. This can be a kind of workaround till OH will able to control I see that you like Zwave programming. Never knows.

Thank you so much for all of the info. I think device associations is what I’m looking for. I’ve been researching this problem for over a year and have been hoping a single device would come out that solves the problem.

For future reference, if anyone else is looking into this, I recently found this device. It looks like it’s zwave to the switch and RF to the canopy. One Amazon review says it’s work OK with OpenHAB.

1 Like

Since you are obviously in North America I know this one works with OH. Zooz helped us get it supported.

It is less expensive and, IMO looks better.

Based on that review, I can’t say I’d go in that direction. It sounds like a huge pain getting the RF module into the canopy, and that the firmware is flaky. Another review says that a neutral wire is required at the canopy, so you’ll want to check that before diving in. If you do go for it, I’d love to hear how it turns out.

@Bruce_Osborne, I don’t think the ZEN30 will work in this case, since the OP wants to have fan-speed control…Also, it would require that there be a separate in-wall switch for the fan, though I suppose you could just use it as a wireless remote for a Z-Wave module mounted in the fan.

1 Like

I missed that.

Also they initially referred to mounting the zwave radio inside the grounded metal case of the fan. That would be bad for RF signal propagation as well as electrical & magnetic interference from the fan motor,

1 Like

Could that be why the Amazon reviewer of the Innovelli switch has had connectivity issues with the RF module, even though (or perhaps because) it’s in the ceiling?

1 Like

Works in OH3 as well:

I happen to be reviewing this thread, and I had three of these with no problems so far.

Firmware 1.36 is a must-have IMHO.