Z-wave devices "possessed" turning on and off on their own?!

A few days ago, a Z-wave connected light turned on unexpectedly in the room I was in. I thought perhaps my wife had turned it on, but I asked her and she didn’t. It happened about 3 more times. I figured I had done something funny in a rules file and caused the issue. Then she reported that our Refrigerator was off (it’s connected to a Z-wave outlet as well). Upon further investigation, any Z-wave switch in my network flipped to its other state (if I wanted it off, it was on, and if I wanted it on, it was off). I restarted the Z-wave bundle and it happened again. I then updated to the latest binding and put the Z-wave bundle into DEBUG mode to catch it in action. It has happened again, but not as widespread - only a few devices (although one was the refrigerator again, unfortunately). The strange part as I can see it is that the device state changes never appear in the events.log, although admittedly I didn’t wait for a poll interval to see if it would notice (these are generally set to default poll intervals which can be as high as 1 day).

  • Platform information:
    • Hardware: AMD FX-8370E, 8 cores, 32GB RAM, 1TB of storage
    • OS: Fedora 29
    • Java Runtime Environment: openjdk version “1.8.0_191”
    • openHAB version: 2.4.0 release
  • Please post configurations (if applicable):
    • z-wave binding:
    • z-wave interface: /dev/ttyACM0, Aeon Labs Z-Stick

Z-wave debug log is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/140GyEJkZ6Q2MqwCiG6FNjxxCDe6pXDtE/view?usp=sharing. The timeframe during which this reoccurred was 6-Jan-2018 18:45 and 21:00.

Node 46 is my refrigerator, and node 38 is the light switch I observed in the room I was in when the issue first occurred.

Hi Brian,

Have you noticed any unresponsiveness in your network along with the “possessed” behaviour? Check out my post here and see if you can relate to the symptoms?


Hello Yetkin -

This happened again yesterday while I was away from home, and my wife said that once the switches turned off - when she tried to turn on a z-wave light switch (which also triggers another light) it seemed delayed. It’s usually instantaneous, but in this case it took about 5-10 seconds.

However, I think I’ve found something that might be causing what I was seeing. I have been working with Association Groups to provide quicker action than OpenHAB rules can - and at one point I think I had an association between a water sensor and the Controller. My guess is that due to this association, when the water sensor detected water, it sent an “off” to the controller which sent that to EVERY switch. This is only a guess, and the DEBUG level logs don’t show any indication of it happening. I don’t think Association messages go through the binding at all but simply go between the devices - which would explain why OpenHAB didn’t even know about the status of these items until I forced it to poll.

Is there any (timewise) corresponding log entry in events.log ? Then it it like caused by a rule.

If no, there’s at least 2 more potential reasons: a) direct associations between devices (e.g. a motion detector coupled with a light) and b) alarms. E.g. your water sensor might be sending alarms, and many devices have a default config to react upon receiving alarms. Enable zwave binding debugging, you should see corresponding messages.

I’ve occasionally had similar problems, all caused by zwave devices weirdly having random associations setup which I’m pretty sure I never actually created. Deleting the associations fixed the problem.

Some devices seem to be able to send a broadcast around to local devices within range to turn on and off, I’ve had this myself when playing around with settings, turning a specific light on or off caused nearby devices to also switch, that was a bit confusing… I’ve also had two devices linked via association groups that I couldn’t reconfigure, I found that sometimes the GUI doesn’t reflect the state of the device, so I ended up setting the associations (which appeared to be unset), watching debug logs to make sure the config update went through, then unsetting the association again.

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I think you’re exactly right about what is happening - but I see no indication of this in the logs, and I think that might be because association group communication happens outside of the Controller so it won’t necessarily be notified when it occurs. That makes finding these “ghosts” very difficult! If any of you have suggestions as to what the log message might look like (if it exists), I could look into the logs again, but I didn’t find anything.

Right, you won’t see these messages in your logs.
Use PaperUI or habmin and cross-check ALL of your devices for associations to devices other than the controller. You could also look into the jsondb. There used to be problems in OH that ‘created’ arbitrary associations this is how it could have happened.