FAQ: How to remove ghost devices from your z-wave and zigbee networks

Sometimes after doing a Z-Wave repair you’ll notice error messages on your logs from unknown devices which only have a device id or when you’re looking at the device routing table you’ll notice an Unknown Device listed. These are ghost device, i.e. devices that are no longer paired with the hub and not recognized but still remain in the network routing tables.

The problem with ghost devices is that they can create issues with the mesh, unresponsive devices, slow communication, delays and other issues.

There are two way to identify ghost devices, either by looking at the routing table for the device (which shows only the last used route for that device) or for Z-Wave devices looking at the Z-Wave Repair events.

How to check the routing table of a device for intermediary ghost devices

To do this, open the IDE -> click on My Devices -> Click on your device . Scroll down and look for Route.

A healthy network route should look something like this:

  • This Device ↔ Hub
  • This Device (5C) ↔ TV Audio System (D8) ↔ Water Valve (D7) ↔ Hub

An unhealthy network with ghost devices will look something like this:

  • This Device (5C) ↔ Unknown Device (40) ↔ Bathroom Light (A0) ↔ Hub
  • This Device (5C) ↔ Unknown Device (BA) ↔ Unknown Device (F2) ↔ Tree Lights (A7) ↔ Hub

These Unknown Device are ghost devices. You will need to make a note of each of their ID’s (in brackets) as you will need these to get rid of these ghost devices from your network routing tables.

How to identify all ghost devices on a Z-Wave network

  1. Run a Z-Wave Repair

  2. Log into your IDE

  3. Click on My Hubs

  4. Click on List Events

  5. You’ll see the beginning event entry for the start of the Z-Wave Repair saying Z-Wave network repair started

  6. Wait for the Z-Wave Repair to complete (5 to 30 minutes), you’ll see an entry saying Z-Wave network repair finished.
    NOTE: You’ll have to manually refresh the page to get the latest event entries

  7. Look for entries with the Name zwNwkRepair, in the Displayed Text column you’ll see messages from the z-wave repair operation. If you see an entry here WITHOUT a device name and just a device id in brackets, e.g. [0A], these are Ghost devices and their ghost device ID’s (within the brackets).

    Examples of GHOST devices, only displays the [ID] with no device name

    • Network repair for [0A]: Could not update neighbors
    • Network repair for [0A]: Could not delete old routes
    • Network repair for [0A]: Could not assign new route

    Examples of VALID devices, displays a device name before each [ID]
    WARNING: DO NOT DELETE VALID DEVICES OR YOU WILL HAVE TO EXCLUDE AND PAIR THESE DEVICES AGAIN

    • Network repair for Aeon Switch [0A]: Could not update neighbors
    • Network repair for Aeon Switch [0A]: Could not delete old routes
    • Network repair for Aeon Switch [0A]: Could not assign new route
  8. Note the device ID’s for all such ghost devices and then remove each of them as explained below

How to remove a ghost device from your Z-Wave network

To remove a z-wave ghost device, follow these steps for each “ghost” device:

  1. Log into your IDE
  2. Click on My Devices
  3. Click on + New Device
  4. Under Name type in some random name (e.g. Ghost Device 1)
  5. In Device Network Id enter the ghost device id you had located earlier
  6. Select Z-Wave Device for Type
  7. Select the Location where you found the ghost device
  8. Select the Hub in that location where the ghost device is present
  9. Click on Create
  10. Open the ST mobile app
  11. Open the device, click on the 3 dots on the top right corner and select Edit
  12. Click on Delete at the bottom of the page and confirm, then wait while it tries to exclude until it presents you with a Force Delete option and then tap on it
  13. After the device has been successfully deleted, now run a Z-Wave Repair
    NOTE: If you have multiple ghost devices, it’s better to delete all the ghost devices first and then run a Z-Wave repair at the end to update all the tables since Z-Wave repairs can take from 5 to 30 minutes.

You will need to repeat this for each ghost device you have. After running a Z-Wave repair, you can verify the network route for the affected devices using the process above to ensure that ghost devices have been removed.

How to remove a ghost device from your ZigBee network

  1. Power down your SmartThings hub (unplug the power cable and remove batteries if applicable)
  2. Unplug/turn off your ZigBee devices which are affected by the ghost devices
  3. If you come across any ZigBee devices in your house which you know are connected to your hub but not showing up in the list of devices under My Devices, unplug them also or pair them with your hub and then exclude them to a clean start.
  4. Wait for 30 minutes and then plug the hub back in and power up all the devices, this forces the ZigBee mesh to rebuild it routing tables and should remove any ghost devices in the routing tables

How to improve the performance of the Z-Wave mesh

If you like this Wiki check out our work at www.rboyapps.com

7 Likes

I can’t get this to work. When I click REMOVE I get a spinning circle and “Exclusion Mode Active”
Then I get “Having difficulty? You may Force Remove this Z-wave Device”.
I click FORCE REMOVE and back to a spinning circle and “Attempting to forcefully remove this device”.

Keeps looping thru same steps. I created the device exactly following your instructions.
Rebooted the hub made no difference…

Any help would be appreciated.

1 Like

Are you using the Classic app to remove?

I get the force remove prompt all the time. After selecting, it looks like it didn’t work successfully but if you go back you may find that the device is gone nonetheless.

2 Likes

Yes. I’ve tried several times

Well I repaired the network again and was able to remove the ghost device!!
I checked route for each Z-wave device and and don’t see any unknown devices. :smiley:

1 Like

I deleted 13 ghost devices today. Thank you! FYI, deleting the devices works from the new app now.

1 Like

I’ve got 2 ghosts that are very persistent. They are no longer showing in the Z-wave routes for any other devices, but when I run the z-wave repair in the IDE, I see a lot of error messages. I followed the directions above and no luck in deleting them - I get a network error (new app).

I’ve got about 9 ghost devices … when I go through these steps and after attempting the force delete … I get an error that says “the device can be deleted because they are operating normally”

I submitted a case to Support a few days ago. Still waiting for them to get back to me with a resolution.

The procedure worked great. I removed 2 ghost devices that had been a problem.

I would not have know how to do this without help.

Thanks for the post

1 Like

Thanks so much for the post regarding removing ghost Z-Wave devices. This worked for me.

How long does it generally take for the Zigbee mesh to rebuild/update in IDE?

I have a zigbee door sensor that stopped working after the outage the other day and found this thread. I looked thru my devices and don’t see any zigbee devices that are missing or not working.

I followed the steps above. Power down the hub, and pull the battery out of the door sensor I’m having issues with. Waited a little over 30 minutes, powered up the hub and put the battery back in the sensor.

This is what it looks like:
This Device (A106) ↔ Unknown Device (62EB) ↔ Unknown Route (???) ↔ Home Hub

Even though the IDE still shows this, the door sensor is now working…

Tagging @JDRoberts

That’s two separate questions: how long does it take the Zigbee mesh to rebuild and how long before Smartthings reports the changes.

The answer to the first question depends on how many devices you have, but typically it could be a couple of hours. It could also be only a few minutes. Back when I was a field tech (not for Smartthings) we usually told people to check the next day.

The answer to the second question used to be that the IDE value was only updated once a day. I know that was supposed to be changed in one of the recent Betas, but I don’t know if it ever was. :thinking:

@prjct92eh2

1 Like

I have 10 zigbee device and only one had in route Unknown Route (???) …
Yesterday I unplug the hub (also the battery) wait 30 min and powered up the hub …
Well after 12 hours I have 5 devices with Unknown Route (???) … :smiley:

Did you power down and unplug/power off your ZigBee devices also?

Gotcha. It still hasn’t updated this morning, but the device is still working fine.

Mostly curious more than anything.

1 Like

If I unplug my hub for 30 min and when I restart the hub I have always device with Unknown Route (???), I think that this route is recorded in Smartthings hub like ip wifi are recorded in router, otherwise these ghost devices should go away …

Just to followup from my previous post for future searchers… https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/wisdom_of_the_ancients.png

It’s been over a week, devices working fine despite the IDE still showing the same unknown device, unknown route messages…

Does removing ghost devices hinge on all registered devices being online?

I have a couple offline devices that are being routed through three ghost devices (02, 32, 0A). Plus I have two online devices that are routing through the (02) ghost device.

I’ve created all three ghost devices and deleted them, but repairing the Z-wave network doesn’t remove them. I of course get an error that the two offline devices can’t be repaired, but the two online devices retain their (02) ghost device.

I wonder if the offline devices are keeping (02) from being removed and so the repair utility just leaves it in the route for the other two online devices.