USB stick or Wink hub as z-wave controller?

Hi All,

I’m running openhab on raspberry pi and wanted to add z-wave capability to control a z-wave thermostat (because cheapest thermostats seem to be z-wave ones). I’ve seen some posts where people rooted the wink hub and control it with openhab. Also, the wink hubs cost about the same as the usb sticks or even cheaper on a deal once in a while. So I’m wondering if there’s any disadvantage in buying the wink hub instead of a z-wave usb stick or card. Any information is appreciated.

The same could be said for buying the cheapest Vera hub and using the MiOS binding, but ultimately the simplest and cleanest solution (in my opinion) would be to use an Aeon Z-Stick connected via USB to your Raspberry Pi.

Pros: existing library of supported devices is large and easy to add to (open source), whereas proprietary implementations like Vera and Wink may not support all of your Z-Wave devices or be in a hurry to add support for them. Possible delays or loss of access to some information and control when translated through the proprietary hubs’ APIs. Unofficial APIs to proprietary hubs could break with firmware updates, thereby breaking openHAB bindings. Too many variables when relying on a proprietary hub.

Cons: lock support is not yet present in openHAB’s native Z-Wave binding. Also, there are some rare reports of duplicate messages on Raspberry Pi (but not sure if any have been reported on RPi2 – works great for me on Raspbian on RPi2). Some say the RF range of the Aeon Z-Stick is not as good as some Vera unit’s range due to antenna (but with Z-Wave being a mesh network this can be mitigated and I’ve not experienced the issue myself.)

I’ll second @watou 's advice. Also running fine (ie no duplicate messages) with a Pi 2 and Aeon z-stick USB.

Z-Wave is supposed to use the mesh when the RF antenna isn’t capable of direct-reach, but there are real-world issues with that. Oddly enough, I didn’t have problems in my system until I expanded it’s node/mesh (early days)

A few yrs back I had a Sigma/Zensys engineer at my house, since I had a dense Z-Wave network and stability problems using the Aeon. They identified route-management issues that weren’t specific to the Aeon… things that were impacted by the size of the net. At the time mine was ~20 nodes, almost all Leviton Vizia RF+ (40Kbit models).

Anyhow, after adding the Z-Wave Antenna Hack to the [newer] MiOS unit, almost everything is in direct reach of the controller node, range/hop problems went away, and Z-Wave stability went way, way up.

MiOS’s custom route-management helped with remaining issues. Hopefully Sigma has baked that type of logic into their newer chipsets - now they have more on-chip capacity to do that type of thing.

So some of the choice will also be about stability of the system which, due to RF, will be different in each deployment.

ie. the normal variances: house size, wall/floor construction, J-Boxes etc

So while Z-Wave Lock support & Range aren’t the only reason to use an external controller, it does add a level of complexity to the deployment.

If Aeon added a u.FL, or RP-SMA, connector to their dongle I’d add my remaining definitions to the Z-Wave Binding, and cutover … but it would probably violate local RF rules (like the Antenna hack does :wink: ). I spoke with their rep at CES this yr, and it’s not on the books to do that.

Other than broad/stable Z-Wave support, I’m not a fan of MiOS Units… as you know.

Possibly, but the MiOS Binding uses official API. It’s been the same for ~6yrs now.

I’d agree with your comment for boxes with no official API, but not all federated solutions are implemented the same :wink:

Thanks for the back story on Z-Wave RF reach; it’s very helpful to understand the issues more deeply.

True, but then again, I never imagined they would have broken so many UI5 plugins and been so nonchalant about it. Who’s to say they won’t later decide their giant JSON payloads are a mess, or add OAuth but only for “approved clients,” etc., thereby breaking all the 3rd-party clients? I would count on very little over there…

Sure, but that argument holds true for using any non-documented/reverse engineered API.

Your comments are specifically about MiOS UI-Se7en :slight_smile: at least the API still is the same.

You’re awfully trusting of Sigma/Zensys, given their history of breaking API compat across their ZWave firmware revs


The client API, so far!

Au contraire, I don’t trust any of them; I’ve just learned to distrust certain quarters from first-hand experience. Vigilance always. :wink:

Thanks all for the advice. I eventually bought both the wink hub and the aeon z-stick. The z-stick is working beautifully. It’s nice to be able to control my thermostat from anywhere! :smile:
The wink hub that I got has new firmware that can’t be rooted so I returned.