200+ Z-Wave Devices with Smartthings - OK?

Hi all,

I have been testing a small Smartthings environment (5 zigbee devices and 7 zwave devices) for the past few months in anticipation of using a bigger system in a home I am building. So far everything has been working fabulously.

I have found that I prefer to use the Ecolink sensors as opposed to the smartthings motion sensor / door sensors primarily because they are quite a bit cheaper, and second because I am finding the Ecolink motion sensor has much better battery life and works better outdoors than the smartthings motion sensor (both v1 and v2). For example, I have had a smartthings motion sensor (v2) and ecolink pir sitting outside for about 2 months. The smartsense battery is now at 66% with the cold snap we are having. It is also extremely sensitive which doesn’t bode well outdoors. The ecolink is at 99% battery and if set to Pet2 sensitivity works pretty well as far as false positives with respect to blowing trees.

In the new home I will have over 200 zwave devices that will consist of Ecolink motion sensors, ecolink door sensors and linear wall switches. I’m about to pull the trigger on ordering the devices. Will this high number of zwave devices cause any issues (lag, anything else?) with smartthings?

If you are building a home, why not use a mostly wired system? It’s going to be more reliable and adaptable to future tech.

@codytruscott - Any suggestions? Nothing seems as simple and as configurable as smartthings right now… and if I want to change things up in the future, I can just move the zwave devices to a different system (vera, etc.).

Also, my total cost for the smartthings system will be about $6000. I don’t think a wired system can come in at that price…

I have over 135 devices about 100 Z-Wave. I feel like I’m getting to the limit. However, hub version 2 will be out by April next year which includes Gen 5 Z-wave and a more powerful processor. You may also have the option of using two hubs, though that complicates the issue.

Since you are building from scratch, I would recommend electrical receptacles near ceiling corners. You may want to put wireless Sonos speakers and AEON powered multi sensors at corners. It is relatively cheap to add these in new construction. There are other devices coming that may take advantage of powered outlets. To repeat Z-Wave requires a powered device anyway.

Z-Wave wiki says: “A Z-Wave network can consist of up to 232 devices, with the option of bridging networks if more devices are required.”

@beckwith - every switch in the house will be a linear dimmer/switch, so every room will have a repeater.

When you say “you think you’re at the limit” - what makes you think that? Is your system laggy?

I have to do Z-Wave repairs quite often especially after adding new devices. Otherwise devices seem to drop off the mesh. I don’t know if this is a hub, device or z-wave issue. At 200 you may want to recycle the hub nightly since that seems to do a z-wave repair.

I don’t seem to have lag issues. Either it works or not. If not I need a repair or reboot.

These are my experiences. Others may have different results.

I’m having a tough time finding reliable outside sensors. When I search Ecolink motion sensors they all appear to be indoors. What sensor are you using and what are you doing to protect it from water damage?

@craig - I’m using the PIRZWAVE2-ECO. I’m doing nothing to protect them. If the water damages them, I will toss it and install a new one. Hasn’t been an issue so far in the last few months.

@tuffcalc Do you have that Ecolink motion sensor under an eve or protected at all ? Are you using the batteries that you got with them or you added some other battery?

I’m interested in an few outdoor motion detectors that will work. Also, do these report temperature as well or motion only?

@thrash99er - The eve is about 20 feet above (I have it mounted as waist level just outside my back patio for testing only). It does get hit by some rain. It’s using the original battery that came with it.

They report motion only. Smartsense motion (v2) reports temp as well, but the motion sensor is too sensitive for outdoor use in my experience.

Yeah, I got the monoprice motion sensors because they were really cheap, and they do report temperature. I was planning on trying them outside, but I think i’ll try a Ecolink one as well.

I solved this by having my exterior cameras (built in PIR) trigger a simulated motion sensor. Works very well!

That sounds interesting, mind sharing how did you did that?

Hey Sean,

Check this out:


I did it with iSpy instead but the basic principle is the same. I think there is even a way to get the camera to call an HTTP URL, which you could pair with my Camera Motion endpoint, and thus cut iSpy/BI out completely:

There are a lot of neat use cases for simulated motion sensors once you start analyzing the video feed


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