Analysis of issues within a Z-Wave network
I am sure many of us that run bigger z-wave networks have already or will eventually get into some challenges. Over the past months I had to track down issues myself until finally my z-wave network was so unresponsive that it took up to minutes until an actor would react on a command which basically drove my nuts!
Thanks to a lot of community ideas and in particular @OMR (and a superb support guy from aeotec named Chris!) I found a lot of ways to analyse, track down and improve my network. As I learned so much during this time I thought I should share my experience. Feel free to add yours in the comments.
I even found out that a zwave stick shift turned out to be much simpler than I had expected (at least in my case).
So without further ado, here are my learnings and recommendations.
I a nutshell what I have learned
My zwave network has become totally stable now and responsive after
- I moved to a new Aeotec Gen5+ stick and
- I removed all dead notes
Stick Shift: You can easily backup a noname stick and restore it to an Aeotec stick
With the aeotec stick you can include a device by just pressing the button on the stick which it is powerless and non-connected and then do the inclusion (pretty fancy…)
You are better off deleting dead nodes from the network that are not working anymore
Some devices (like some older rollershutter fibaros) are a nightmare to exclude (just doesn’t work), so you have to reset them and manually delete them from the zwave network (several support messages with Fibaro didn’t fix the problem)
Zwave battery devices still are a nightmare until you finally get them working… It is very helpful if they provide manual wakeup, manual reporting and manual NIF-reports (like the Aeotec Motion Sensor does though even in this case it took me days to get it included). With the sensative strips I have basically given up! Only buy battery devices if you do have time and patience
During inclusion in particular with battery devices you may end up in a REQUEST_NIF situation. I learned that some devices (like my motion sensor) actually allow sending a NIF (A node information frame is essentially the beacon that a node sends out at the start of the inclusion process) which helped my to get further through the inclusion process.
If a (battery) device says it is offline try healing it and then wake up the device explicitly (see device manual how to do so)
If you like to see what is happening on the zwave network purchase the the Suphacap | Suphammer . However I have to admit that I hasn’t helped me yet to really identify issues but rather only learned about Zwave.
Use the zensys z-wave pc controller tool to delete nodes. Here is exactly how to do that:
- Highlight the node you believe has failed from the top left frame’s node list/table
- Toggle the “Queue Override” checkbox for this selected node (a check should appear)
- Send a NOP (i.e. no operation) command by selecting the exclamation mark from the tools menu
- Check to see if the node is failed by selecting the “is node failed” icon from the tools menu. If it has failed, you should see a message stating it has failed in the lower right frame (i.e. log actions tab)
- Select the “remove failed” icon from the tools menu
- If you don’t immediately see the node gone away, don’t worry - it is: shut down the zensys tool and restart and in 95% the node has gone away (that drove me crazy the first time).
If you want to “talk” to your device with the zensys tool, first mark the device on the check box (overwrite), then press the Get Info Icon, only then you see all commands that are available for that device.
There is actually a manual available for the Zensys PC controller that is worth looking into it (see links below)
Helpful and updated links
- Backup Software
- How to Backup
- How to reset Gen5+ Stick
- Network Health Tool
- “Most Official Zensys Tool Download Page” (see attachment at the end of the page )
- Zensys PC-Controller User Guide
- Z-Wave Controller, Overview (unofficial and incomplete)
- Silicon Labs: Z-Wave SDK - includes very good Z-Wave specification docs
- Silicon Labs: Simplicity Studio
- Z Wave Routing Basics
- how to install the z-wave sniffer