Getting Started with Z-Wave - Opinions and advice required (Australia)


(Dallas) #1

Hi Everyone,
I am about to start Automating my home and am going to start with lighting control and continue to add additional items (Media Room, HVAC, etc. etc.) as i can afford.
I am looking for information and personal experiences with regards to Z-wave equipment (e.g. brands, control options for anything and everything, Z-wave v’s Z-wave+).

This is my first look into home automation and i would like to get it right first time, so any information that will lead to me getting the right equipment and configuration would be greatly appreciated.
Almost all the lights in my house are Dimmable LED (GU-10) globes, these are not real great to dim even with LED dimmers. Does anyone know how these go with a Z-wave dimmer module?


#2

Welcome! It’s great that you were doing your research ahead of time, that can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with the overall project.

Z wave itself is just used for the switch to communicate wirelessly with your hub so that it gets the on, off and dim commands. The action of what happens once that message is received is pretty similar to nonnetworked devices except the dimmers are digital rather than analog. So if anything zwave switches tend to be a little less effective as an actual dimmer switch in that they tend not to dim as low as the analog switches.

The following thread (this is a clickable link) will give you a good idea of what The various Switch features are and why you might care about them. Different things will be important to different people. The light switch discussion starts right around post 40.

In your case, I would look at the newest line of Leviton zwave plus switches. They have worked very hard on the dimming issue and have improved the range of dimming with the newest switches. You should be aware, however, that these switches do cost more than some of the other brands.

Another alternative, of course, is not to use zwave for your light switches, but rather to use Lutron Caseta. These have an official integration with SmartThings and are very well engineered. They also have a wider range of dimming than most of the Z wave switches. They are mentioned in the same thread above.


(Dallas) #3

Thanks for the very informative reply. It has given me a great start and introduced me to items I haven’t come across before (the more you learn of this the more options you find!!).
I am looking into the Leviton equipment to get more information and see if it is approved and available (I’m in Australia, which doesn’t have all the available brands and item approved for use as yet).


#4

If you’re in Australia, it’s a whole different situation.

Z wave operates on different frequencies in different regions, mostly because mobile phones and ambulance service communications operate on different frequencies and the local Z wave frequency is selected so as not to interfere with the others. In fact, in many areas is illegal to operate Z wave from a different region because of the potential for interference.

http://products.z-wavealliance.org

Currently, the smartthings hub is only manufactured on two frequencies: US and EU. It is not manufactured on the Australia frequency. (A few were for some of the original kickstarter backers.) and because of the legal issues mentioned, you cannot change the frequency of a hub after the time of manufacture.

So many people in Australia just use zigbee devices for home automation. (Zigbee is the same frequency all over the world.)

You can check with some of the other community members from Australia in the following thread:


(Dallas) #5

Ahh. ok,
Z-wave seems to have come a long way in Australia in that we seem to have a good range of available products and brands (Fibaro, Aeotec etc.)
I’ve had a look at Zigbee, but looking at a system going into the future it seems to be lagging behind with available products/modules compared to the Zwave one available.


#6

The frequency of the hub has to match the frequency of the end devices exactly.

You do have a choice of a number of Z wave controllers on the Australian frequency: the Aeotec USB stick ( which can be used with a number of different software systems, including indigo) , zipabox, veralite, and homeseer. But not SmartThings.

You can see the full list of certified products on the official Z wave alliance site:

http://products.z-wavealliance.org/regions


(Dallas) #7

Great. Thanks JDRoberts!!