Which hardware works best for zwave and blinds?

I’m finally moving to some automated blinds and/or roller shades. Two questions:

Before I buy a bunch of hardware, can anyone suggest zwave blinds they’ve had good results with? Will any random blind for sale work, or only ones listed in the binding?

Which zwave serial interface are you using? Mine’s old and dead and no longer available… need a modern one that’ll work well. Any suggestions?

An Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5+ wouldn’t be a bad choice. Make sure you get a Gen5+, not a Gen5 (there are some incompatibilites Gen5/RaspberryPi, in some cases you’d have to use a USB hub).

Don’t buy a Z-Wave controller based on Z-Wave series 700 chipset, e. g. Aeotec Z-Stick 7 - currently not supported by the Z-Wave Binding.

In general:
Consider using a USB extension cable between your openHAB server and the Z-Wave stick to reduce interferences.


For the blinds, just make sure the motors are Z-Wave. Mine are Somfy motors, and I know they are a major player. They are nice, quiet, and easy on batteries (six months and batteries are still around 70% with daily use). I bought a remote that is not specific to individual channels (all up or all down), just as a back up. I don’t use it, as these integrated with Z-Wave binding perfectly.

Are you absolutely set on Z-Wave? I’m just curious, as ZigBee would open up your options, and ZigBee controllers are generally inexpensive.

Personally, I’m waiting to see what happens with Matter. It could be a long wait, but I’m not in a rush.

Thanks for the confirmation of a good controller, and to avoid the Zwave 700 stuff. Exactly the kind of pitfall I’m hoping to avoid.

Also nice to hear that zwave blinds are probably compatible enough to work right and I shouldn’t worry too much about matching the exact manufacturer.

I’m not absolutely set on Z-Wave. In fact, I’ve had problems with it in the past and have dropped it all for Insteon, which I’ve had nothing but stable results from.

I think I know how to get around my Zwave problems now. My OH system is in a terrible place for RF, and I think installing a wired Zwave device nearby and one near my other zwave stuff will act as a bridge via the power lines and fix it, much as happens with Insteon and the Insteon PLM.

I only asked about Zwave because when I searched for automated blinds it’s the only open-ish protocol I saw listed by vendors. Everything else was proprietary or just not easily connected to a system like OH. There is an Insteon blind controller, but it’s an old design and really wants to be wired in, and I’m looking at the newer battery-powered blinds instead, so the Insteon controller would not be as effective.

I don’t know much about Zigbee, but am happy to learn. I know OH supports it well. I should have an Ikea Tradfri coming, which I believe is Zigbee - will that control other people’s items, or just the IKEA ones? What’s a good Zigbee PC interface?

I do have an Eagle 2000 smart meter reader, but I understand that’s commercial zigbee and not quite the same. I’d rather work with a more common and better supported Zigbee module.

Non-controller devices based on series 700 chipset should be compatible with the Z-Wave Binding though.

Basically, there are two options:

Most (not all) Z-Wave plug-in devices act as repeaters, forming a mesh network to pass signals. I’m not aware of any that will convert signals to carry over power lines, but I can’t say I’ve ever looked. They would have to be some kind of matched pair.

There are also dedicated Z-Wave repeaters, but they often cost as much or more as a Z-Wave plug or lightswitch.

I’m also not super familiar with ZigBee, but you can find discussion of TRADFRI hubs and devices in the community. IKEA has just released a new hub called DIRIGERA, which will control both older and new IKEA devices and works with Matter. But again, it’s too early to know how Matter will integrate with OH.

I’m also starting to do research on smart blinds, but I need to see more from Matter before I make a decision. I don’t want to buy Z-Wave or Zigbee now, only to feel a year from now like I should have waited. I’m thinking the same way with window/door sensors.

What function do we think Matter can brink to a window shade that doesn’t already exist? Open, Close, Stop at points between, and report battery. I’ll concede the idea of potential obsolescence (likely many years out), but of all the Z-wave devices I have (over 70), the blinds and the corresponding automations are the most efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and appreciated. I’m sorry I waited as long as I did…

Nothing. Matter isn’t about functionality, it’s about connectivity.

Z-Wave is fine, but it’s by no means a user-friendly technology. There are probably 1000+ posts in this community where we tell someone, “just keep waking the device up”. So if someone is just about to start using Z-Wave, then I would advise them to also consider other options with potentially fewer headaches.

As a current Z-Wave/OH user, my only concern is that my 500-series controller may die one day, and as of right now it seems unlikely that the Z-Wave binding will support 700-series or 800-series controllers. It’s already difficult to find a 500-series controller in Canada, so I’d have to get a 700-series USB stick and then figure out ZWave-JS. Not the end of the world, but not something I look forward to.

I don’t think Z-Wave will become obsolete any time soon, but I do think there will be fewer reasons to start using it as Matter devices become more readily available.

That’s why my advice to someone who isn’t currently using Z-Wave is to consider their options before getting into it. If Matter delivers (a big “if”), it promises to be as reliable as Z-Wave and much easier to use, and may also result in more choice in the marketplace.

I think it’s worth waiting for that–but again, it could be a long wait. I might feel differently if I absolutely needed new blinds right now. :wink:

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I get it. I actually have a spare dongle for that reason. I just think Moore will always be right.

I’m confused. What does Moore’s Law have to do with this?

Good call. With as many devices as you have, it would be a nightmare to start over. I have a Zooz stick, which can’t be backed up and restored (to my knowledge). So even if I had a second one, I’d still have to go through the exclusion/inclusion process for everything.

Perhaps that’s really the biggest advantage of Matter over Z-Wave and Zigbee. You can have multiple Matter border routers on your network, so you’re not dependent on a single controller.

Just that the tech will continue to evolve, and if we wait for what’s next, we might never settle for what works now.

I feel like you’re confusing Moore’s Law with something else. Moore’s law is about progression of technology over time due to increases in expertise and experience. I don’t recall anything about not waiting for technology. Am I missing something?

Speaking to that though, there’s a difference between waiting for something that’s actually happening, and something that you hope will happen. For example, I think it’s foolish to ever buy something when a company promises “future updates”. I only buy for the functionality that’s available right now.

Up until a few months ago I would not have said to wait for Matter, because nothing had actually been released. Now it’s close enough that I think it’s worth exploring.

I’ll try to talk you off the ledge :wink: I recently bought a Zooz 700 for testing and I’m more optimistic. There may be specialized (or rarely used) commands due to the history of the Z/IP idea that have problems but “normal” 500 chips commands should be okay down the road.

I’m researching this a bit and I’m optimistic on that too. Creating a secondary controller may be able to provide a bridge of sorts.

Lastly If your Zooz is gen5 I have used the tool described here. The Silabs NVM backup requires SDK 6 or greater, but this tool works on my ancient Aeotec (nonRpi4 compatible labeled SDK 3.95)

my HUSBZ does zigbee and zwave for two years now
I’d like some blinds so watching thread

Haha, thanks Bob. If I sound like I’m on the ledge, then I’m being too dramatic. Heck, I just bought and installed a Z-Wave thermostat last week.

It’s more that I think the long-term potential of Matter is greater than the long-term potential of Z-Wave, so I don’t see a good reason to jump into Z-Wave right now if someone’s not in a rush.

In contrast, I don’t anticipate a Matter thermostat for an electric baseboard heater becoming available to me any time soon, because only Canadians are interested in baseboard heaters. So, it was an easy decision to make.

There’s a reasonable chance that Matter will be a huge disappointment, and if that happens I may get back on the Z-Wave train.

Hey, I remembered how to multi-quote. :slight_smile:

Interesting. I thought zwave did that just like Insteon does. So there’s a second thing it’s weaker at than the older, less-loved protocol. I have yet to find anything that’s as reliable if your central hub goes down, as the Insteon devices can be linked directly to each other. For simple stuff, like three-way light switches, that’s great and means a hub/controller failure doesn’t leave your light switch useless. That’s a primary reason I still mess with Insteon, even after the company imploded. I’m pleased about the miraculous comeback.

(You linked the zigbee binding, but labelled it Z-Wave. I presume you meant Zigbee there.)

Interesting. I’ve already got mqtt running for some other devices - a connection to a garage door system, and weather stations - so could easily leverage it. I was considering trying to write an Insteon to MQTT bridge when the Insteon module was not porting well, but someone got that working and I was able to stop banging my head against that wall.

At this point, rather than writing an OH binding, I’d consider just writing an MQTT interface, because so many more things can speak that, and OH uses it very well.

I just bumped into this device. Since I don’t have an infrastructure for either of these protocols, it sounded like a great solution, and seemed to work with OH. Between it and the Insteon PLM, my OH could control Zigbee, Zwave, Insteon and X10 devices. (No, I don’t have any X10 left, although I used it for years. Insteon replaced it, and continues to function well.

Do you use zigbee? Do you get it via the zigbee binding or via mqtt?

I have aeotec stick and 14 fibaro rollershutters. Using openhab z-wave binding. span across 2 floors, hub/openhab is placed in garage (not very friendly for z-wave).

it works for 3 years now

occasionally I recalibrate the shutter from the openhab ui

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I have one zigbee device and I use the zigbee binding for it.
I also use the same controller for zwave devices via the zwave binding.
Works well in openHAB for over 3 years

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