Z-Wave Controller for Outside

Hi all, I purchased one of the ZW20R outlets to use on my deck but found out that it will not work with the Aeon Z Stick Gen 5. So thats fine at the end of the day I think it will be to far away.

  1. They have several that do work with it but recommended the Vera Hub or Smartthings. Thoughts on either?

  2. This was actually a good exercise because I do not think I will be able to reach out to the deck and yard from where I have my Aeon Stick. I have a lot of automation I would like to do in the backyard. If I get one of these I would probably try to put it under the deck roof. So how do these get connected to the network? Will I need a cat 5 run out there or do you just plug them in to power and discover them on OH?

  3. Connecting a second controller to OH. Can someone point me to a good thread that walks through it?


I have this exact combination working with openHAB2. What sort of problems are you having?

I was unaware that there were some devices that didn’t work with certain controllers. I thought the standard was a little better defined than that. What specifically did you read that says it won’t work so I and others know what to look for before we buy?

  1. Not really. A lot of people come to openHAB because of poor performance, flakiness, and other problems with both. Hopefully someone with more experience can chime in.

  2. Zwave as a standard has the following limitations. Each device must have no more than four hops between it and the controller. Zwave sets up a mesh network (i.e. each device communicates and relays messages through its neighbors) so just because a device is not in range of your controller directly (40 feet in ideal conditions I think) so long as it is within range of a couple of other Zwave devices that are in range of some other zwave devices that are in range of the controller, theoretically they should be able to talk. One caveat to this is that battery devices don’t relay messages so these hops must be mains powered devices.

One way to extend the range of your Zwave network to your outside devices would be to install a mains powered device somewhere between and within range of both the controller and the nearest mains powered outside device. Then all of your outside devices have to be within range of this mains powered outside device.

Of course radio propagation is weird and subject to interference so this is not guaranteed to work in your specific environment. Also, in my experience, having a single mains powered device be the “gateway” hop node to the controller resulted in a somewhat brittle network. YMMV.

  1. I don’t think OH supports more than one controller at a time unless chris has made some updates to OH 2. However, all is not lost. You can install a second instance of OH and locate it closer to your outdoors network (e.g. Raspberry Pi) and connect the two OH instances together using the MQTT binding configured for EventBus. Essentially what you are doing is setting up a proxy Item on your “main” OH instance to represent the remote zwave devices. These proxy Items get updated and are bound to MQTT. Your daughter OH instance has “real” Items (use different names from the proxies or you will end up in a loop) which control the actual zwave devices.

You could also use the HTTP binding or http actions to update the states back and forth between the main and daughter OH instances.

Hey jim, thats interesting. i emailed Enerwave and they were ones that told me it would not work with the Gen 5. Pretty basic problem, i cannot get the outlet to include!

  1. i take the gen 5 out on the deck and push the include button and put right by the outlet.
  2. nothing happens on the outlet. i push the button on the outlet and the blue light on the outlet will go on and off as i press the button on and off but the z-stick does not recognize anything and the outlet does not blink like it should. their directions are less then stellar so there may be some user error in play.

if you have some hints and tips to try that would be great!

Rick, thanks so much. Great info! I do remember now the mesh network ability with z-wave. I am thinking I may be able to put an outlet close to the outside door that would pick up the network. Do they make just a repeater device? I can replace and regular outlet with a z-wave outlet but the one i would use would not be used for switching, that i can think of.


You can and I have. However if I had to do it over again I would get something like this:

or this

It will be more portable than an installed outlet like a repeater but should you discover a need for switching something you will have that option whereas a repeater is just a repeater. But for the record, this is the one I got and it works well, tiny too.


It has been a while, but I think I had to power off the circuit at the breaker, power it on, and then bind it. I do know it does not support association groups, which was a little disappointing.

Excellent, thanks rick! something like that will work great. easy peasy.

hey jim, i’ll try that today and let you know!

hey rick, tried it tonight but no joy. powered it off and on. when i get to the switch the blue light is on. i put the gen 5 into include mode. nothing happens at the switch or gen 5. i push the blue light on the switch off. no joy. turn it back on, no joy. then i tried holding the button on the switch in and holding it. no joy. other suggestions would be welcome or i can start a new thread?


As a matter of interest, why doesn’t it work? I don’t know of any reason why it shouldn’t work with any stick so it would be good to understand the problem you had so we can see if it is an issue with openHAB. Gen 5 sticks are fully backward compatible with older sticks if that’s what Enerwave indicated was the problem.

Try first to exclude the ZW20R, this will perform a factory reset, then include it again. If the blue led does not blink after power restore, it’s not possible to include the device …
For exclusion you need to set your stick to exclusion mode and press the program button on the ZW20R.

Good luck.