Z-Wave Best Practice Question

Question for the brain trust

I have 7 PS15EMZ5-1 appliance modules which I use to control holiday (x-mas) lights. They control trees and various other holiday lighting. Once the holiday season is over the modules are unplugged and stored with all of the holiday decorations for the year. At the next holiday season they are unboxed and plugged back in.

So the question is…should these devices be excluded from the network when they are packed up or can I leave them in and just know I will see bad nodes on the network until they are plugged back in?

I want to do what’s best for the health of the Z-Wave network.


I would exclude if your network can cope with not having them there but messing with networks can always have surprising results.

Certainly leaving them in the network when they are not there is not ideal. They could be in return routes and be used when other routes fail as part of the retry strategies. They will also be retried and pinged during various activities from openHAB restart to node add.

I have a few that are used for similar purposes but only 3 not 7. They are used as repeaters so I leave in place and just accept they are adding some value for the energy they use. I make sure they are off as the relays use a lot more energy than the zwave and no led on either. They are a little neater in design than the PS15EMZ5.

That is my take. Not going to claim that is best practice but it works for me.


Thanks for your input…hopefully a few others will chime in and then I can make a decision based on the knowledge of the communty.

Again thanks for sharing your scenario.


I have some devices in a similar situation and I left them included. I recently connected two of them. One works OK but the other should route through another device but it is not seen by OH as online. Is that because it was offline for months?

That is so hard to answer.

What traffic can you see with zniffer and what do your logs say.

I have not yet started the sniffer close to the controller. On one brief test elsewhere I thought I was missing packets.

I do the same as @robmac. They stay plugged in year round. The amount of energy they consume is insignificant, especially when compared to some of the real energy hogs in the house. :roll_eyes:

Couple of questions - where do you get zniffer and will it work with any Z-wave controller?

@chris am I doing harm leaving the 7 nodes in the system or should I remove.exclude them when I put them back in storage?


Harm is one of those words that can mean many things to different people :wink:

Personally, I would agree with others above - if you’re not using them, then it is probably better to remove them from the network. That removes any possibility that something tries to use them - for sure the binding will try and communicate with them on startup, and that will cause some delays at least initially if they aren’t there.

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Does that not increase the tendency of zombie nodes?

Well, these are basically what people (I think) are calling zombie nodes - they aren’t really in the network as they are powered down. To the controller, it’s exactly the same (if I understand your definition of a zombie node that is).

A zombie node is a node that does not really exist except in the controller network table. I think sometimes a device gets excluded without getting removed from the controller device table. I view the term as interchangeable with “ghost node”

This is not just removing the “things”, it’s excluding them from the network - correct? That way there are no zombies or ghosts to mess up the party - if I am following your thoughts.


With the HUSBZB-1 I have used the most, I sometimes needed to use software to clean them off the controller after exclusion. I was mainly using cheap Chinese devices at the time though.

Zniffer is just a uzb stick with a special firmware that when used with a windows app shows all traffic within range.

I can’t give you a full list of sticks that support the firmware but a UZB3 works.

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Where do you download said app?

Silicon labs If you search the forum there are a few threads on here.

Did a bit of searching around and found this guide for anyone else who is interested.

So it looks like you need to purchase a secondary Zwave controller to flash the special firmware onto.

Squid :squid:

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You are in the USA. Here is the one I bought. Be sure to check when you get it. The first one they sent was for Japan. They subsequently sent a US one.


Great, thank you - I’ll order one.

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