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.

How to check the routing table for a device

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 device. 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 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. Unplug your SmartThings hub
  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

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.

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.

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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:

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

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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

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