Pine64 + Zwave module - worth a shot?


I am about to build and deploy an instance of openHAB for my old man. He currently has a Fibaro Home Center Lite and it is a POS. I am trying to work out the best platform to base his new Z-Wave controller on, and was wondering if the Pine64 + Zwave module is worth consideration?

My first thought was a RPi3 but since they still have SD card issues by the sounds of it, I was hoping the Pine64 might be more robust? Or does it suffer the same issues with SD corruption?

I am happy to buy a USB Z-Stick (AeonLabs Gen5) as I use one in my system and it never misses a beat. But I see the Pine64 can come with a Z-Wave module - so wanted to check if anyone has had any issues with this? I will be getting the AU version so any Kiwi/Ozzie users that can confirm it is reliable?

I want to be able to deploy this and forget, I won’t have remote access so it needs to be rock solid.


Well, Pines do suffer from SD corruption just as much or as little as do the RPis. Pines don’t offer any specific advantage there, and given they’re pretty new, I doubt there’s enough experience even in this community to rely on.
You could also get a RaZberry or stick, that one has been around some more time, so it’s more of a thing proven to work, a RPi is more of a (exchangeable!) standard than a Pine, and it comes with the z-way software (for backing up the controller’s contents, I’ve heard different stories if that works with the Aeon).
On SD issues, check out this post

Thanks Markus, I assumed it was the case re. SD cards. I think I will stick with a Pi then, and try the external HDD boot option.

What about the Orange Pi, in my prelim investigations it looks like it has onboard storage (EMMC flash). For a simple openHAB installation would this be sufficient, or would I still need a SD card?

There’s a number of eMMC systems (I have a Odroid C2 that I can recommend, it even has analog inputs), but although not as well known, eMMC storage has the same problems as SD cards do. Same for USB stick based OS and even SSDs (although those come with a buffer so they don’t break as fast as SD cards). HDDs can be critical w.r.t. power if you power them through USB, and they still can crash.
I did and can recommend to go for the SD clone mechanism, even your Dad can exchange cards …

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Hey @ben_jones12 what did you end up going with here?

I’m still tinkering with OH2 and the raspberry pi2 I have definitely takes a while to boot etc.
The Pine64 is much cheaper so I was thinking of trying it out.

I run openHAB on a VM on my home server, was just commenting on this thread sorry Tommy.

Did you end up doing something for the “old man”?

Sorry mate, knew I should have re read the whole thread! I ended up going
with a RPi3 and have all logging writing to a RAM disk to try and save the
SD card.

After doing some research it turns out all these single boards have the
same issue with the SD cards.

A Pine may be cheaper but it’s not substantially faster. If that’s really what you’re after, check out the Odroid C2 that I mentioned. But hey, you shouldn’t be booting your OH server once a day anyway, so why not stick with the Pi2. I’m running my house on one, too.

By the way, I just went through the HW recovery story. It wasn’t because of a SD crash, and in the end turned out it wasn’t HW related at all, but I exchanged Pi, ZWave controller card (RaZberry) and SD card one by one, forth and back, and it all kept working, including the ZWave network.
Once more the hint to try backing up and restoring the ZWave controller. It’s the element of the chain that has the largest impact when it fails and applies even if your server is a VM…

Why is everyone so afraid of SD card corruption?

Because they did quite often and still do happen. There’s many lucky people to have ‘good’ cards only who never encountered a crash (you’re probably one of them, too, lucky man :-)) and thus don’t understand why the other half is so afraid of it, i.e. those unlucky ones with bad cards that went through a crash and rebuilt their openHAB server once or even multiple times. No, to only ever buy SanDisk cards is no guarantee either (btw, my SanDisk SSD just failed, too).

Wouldn’t it be a good a idea to build some kind of backup-restore script mechanism into openHABian by default ? My recommendation would be to attach a USB card writer and automate regular ‘dd’ SD card duplication runs, see link above.

But on a meta level, you are placing the right question in that the SD card corruption isn’t the largest threat to a smart home’s availability. ZWave controller’s and other gateway’s (say, into KNX) configs have to be backed up and need to be restoreable, too.

And that’s why I’ve stated to think about backups instead of whatever people do :wink:

That’s indeed on the todo list as Issue number 3, on of the first hour. I was waiting for one person to create a pull request but as this didn’t happen till now, maybe I’ll look into it. You wanna give it a try? Feel free to add your ideas to the ticket.