Using OpenHAB with zwave

I’m heading towards moving into a new home in September and am looking at implementing HA after moving in. The install will need to be a retrofit and I’m leaning towards using zwave to facilitate that. The kind of things I’m looking to achieve are:

  • lighting control
  • security
  • AV control
  • Multi-room music
  • Heating control

I’ve been superficially aware of openhab for some time and have some questions given my high level objective if you don’t mind:

  1. While I’m aware that there’s a zwave binding does openhab require a zwave gateway? If so, what should I use for that?
  2. How complete is openhab’s zwave product coverage? Am I likely to encounter compatibility issues?
  3. Does openhab’s zwave support offer feature parity with commercial hubs like that of fibaro?
  4. Does openhab support panelised controls? Whatever I do needs to be accessible to other family members or it will be a waste of time.
  5. Has anyone undertaken a comparison of openhab and castleos? I’m mulling castleos as an option too, mainly due to its voice control features.

Thanks in advance to anyone that can offer some constructive advice…


  1. Not a gateway but it does require a controller. A lot of people recommend the Aeotech Gen 5. I have seen 2 in happy with. It is just a USB dongle. You will want to install a zwave admin package as well. Most use Habmin.

  2. The biggest gap is lack of support for the security command class (it looks really close but don’t know if it has been merged with the main versions yet. This means no support for locks and the like. Unless you are willing to go bleeding edge and run off the night lies. Beyond that, if you encounter a device that is not yet in the database, it is a simple matter to get it added.

  3. I can’t fully answer as I don’t know what other hubs can do. But, so far, if it uses a supported command class I believe you can do everything with it that the device ID capable of doing.

  4. A number of people have created panels for controlling OH. OH has a full rest API, Android and iOS apps and a whole bunch of third party panel support. Personally I just mage sure that all my devices are traditionally controllable with physical switches and the like and the automation itself runs without need of controlling manually.

  5. Never heard of it. But fit the record the are a number of voice control capabilities people have integrated with OH including Tasker Autovoice (Android only), Jarvis, Echo, Siri, etc.

There are currently 390 devices in the database. They might not all be compiled into the binding (OH2 has around 290), but as Rich stated above, it’s relatively easy to add.

Thanks for the replies so far. Atm I’m starting to play around with openhab on a raspberry pi (nothing to control yet). However, I also have a freenas NAS. Which is best suited to the task? Or is either fine? Also, given that my install will be new and I won’t, for some time, be looking to do anything too exotic, will I be ok going with the openhab 2.0 beta?

Regarding voice control. does echo integration mean that we have to accept amazon recording everything we say? And with the other approaches how is voice isolation handled? I understand that kinect has quite sophisticated technology to handle that? Voice recognition is one thing but real life voice recognition is another :slight_smile:

On a slightly tangential note, I’ve come across tinkerforge while reading about and installing openhab. Is there a good source of information on how tinkerforage is meant to be connected to openhab? What is the transport? It woulld be great to use timkerfoge to add perimeter elements once my main install is done. But I don’t want to be ripping too many walls open if i can…


I’d also like to add that I do wonder whether I need to be concerned by the pace of development with openhab? I’ve read in a few locations of outstanding pull requests that haven’t been reviewed/merged…

It is probably a concern - more for new bindings than anything else I would say.

ZWave doesn’t have this issue since I try and get things merged quickly, but I know there are some bindings that have been waiting for inclusion into OH2 for nearly 2 years. There has been discussion on how to improve this, but so far it’s not resulted in a solution.

Most of your questions regarding tinkerforge are explained in the wiki:

You just connect a master brick via ethernet extension to your LAN or via wifi extension to your WIFI … and then it is up to you if you want to control outlets/lights/dimmers via rf remote switch or connect some of the other countless bricklets.
And it’s all plug and play, no soldering needed.
The binding is maintained by @theo who does a very good job and is always quick on the line if anyone needs help.

Is openhab able to pair with z-wave devices at long range? I’ve read that z-wave pairing is done in low power mode but some products force high power mode for long range discovery…


OH uses full power for inclusion, but not network wide inclusion (although OH2 has some support for this in theory, it’s not tested).

So, this means you can include devices when the device is within 10 to 15 meters of the controller (or less if you live in a concrete bunker, and more if you’re in a bedouin tent ;)).