How to permanently disable Z-Wave Radio?

I bought a ST hub for use in NZ from US, wasn’t aware of the frequency issue and don’t want to do anything that’s illegal. Apparently someone using here in NZ was approached by the authorities and ask to cease the use. I am not sure if that person was using Z-Wave devices or not. But my questions is that is there a way to permanently disable Z-Wave radio on ST and will is stop transmitting on Z-Wave frequency once disabled. I still haven’t opened mine and won’t unless I am absolutely sure. I only plan to use it for Zigbee devices. I have read in another thread that it enables the Z-Wave itself, is that true -Z-wave enable module and z-wave disable module

just curious, where did you hear that?

it just seems unlikely that the low power z-wave radio in the ST would be detectable by whatever authority is responsible for regulating radio communications, and then localizable to a particular individual’s home. Unless they somehow knew that individual was using an unapproved radio device ahead of time.

I could be totally wrong though :slight_smile:

Interesting, though the reference to a “friend” at the beginning of that thread is usually the basis for most urban legends too. Your concern is entirely reasonable though.

@JDRoberts I’m curious re: what you think.

There is definitely an option to disable the z-wave module from the web-based IDE. I’ve never done this so I can’t speak to that other user’s claim that even when they did that, it mysteriously re-enabled itself.

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I hadn’t heard of any cases specific to SmartThings in New Zealand, but there have definitely been cases in the past when people got official warnings for using Zwave on the wrong frequency there.

That almost always happens for one of two reasons, One of which is mentioned in the thread linked to.

First, one of the mobile phone companies start getting complaints from its customers of local interference and they go out and do a frequency sweep of a specific area and then report issues to the government which then has, on more than one occasion, followed up with individual warnings. Note that in this case it’s the phone company that does the initial sweep.

Two, an ambulance service reports difficulty with its mobile communications. Governments in New Zealand and elsewhere take this very seriously, and that’s when you will typically get a government sweep although it’s often of quite a small area, a third of a kilometer so. But again you will get individual warnings.

Basically if an ambulance parked on your street or in your neighbor’s driveway has Mobile communications issues because of equipment at your house, you’re probably going to hear about it. As you should.

In New Zealand specifically if your neighbors have mobile phone problems every time they pass your house, you may get a warning as well, although you’re more likely to get picked up in a broader area sweep when it may not even have been your own device is causing the problems.

I know there’s a temptation to think that none of this should matter if you’re just running low power equipment on your own property, but bandwidth is a shared resource and if there are laws in your jurisdiction about which frequencies you can use, it’s best to be a good neighbor and stick to the lawful ones. And after all – – you might be the one needing emergency services someday. :wink:


Yeah but my question is is it absolutely safe to use it without causing any interference and risk of getting told off or fine if Z-Wave is turned off on ST and I only use Zigbee devices. What about the chances of ST turning Z-Wave back on?

There’s a post towards the end of the thread you linked to that makes a good point. It’s a software switch and there’s probably no guarantee it’ll totally and permanently disable the z-wave radio.

I imagine the only way to be sure is to crack the enclosure open and disconnect the z-wave antenna.

Here are a couple pics of the device intervals they were required to submit to the US Federal Communications Commission to get the device approved for sale. Not sure if that helps.

Thanks for the reply. Well considering I can’t sell it here and no one would buy it from USA if I put it on ebay (postage costs etc.) I am happy to open it and disconnect the antenna. Would that completely disable Z-Wave 100%. It would be if a Moderator from ST confirms. Is there a way to send Private Messages in this forum as I can’t maybe because I’m new??
Also, does someone know if there is a guide or teardown somewhere of ST so I don’t end up breaking anything else inside.

I’m not an engineer or anything, but I don’t see how it could transmit without an antenna.

ST staff do sometimes post in this forum, but I’m not sure if any of them will provide that kind of info.

PMs are indeed restricted for very new forum members. If you do a few things such as like a post, add a pic to your avatar or fill in the bio section of your profile it should unlock PMs for you.

Silly question but where will I find the antenna once I crack it open? Don’t see anywhere obvious in the pics you provided link to.

Wish I could help you. The pics they posted on the FCC’s website certainly weren’t that extensive.

Thanks anyways you’ve been very helpful. Try looking at this picture, this person is trying to show where the antennas are. I can make out Zigbee and BT antennas but can’t see where he is pointing to for Z-Wave antenna, naybe you can.

I think it’s on the back side of the board. If you look at the pic from the FCC website I linked to, there’s something that looks like the shape of the antenna that’s drawn onto the pic you found from that other thread in this forum. The FCC pic isn’t very high-res, but I can just make out the writing next to that spring-shaped object. It looks like it says FCC ID: D87-ZM5304-U.

Take a look at what that FCC ID corresponds to:

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It’s this one right? Any ideas on how to safely disconnect it without bricking the ST?

Yup that looks like it.

I’d imagine you’d want to desolder the points where the antenna is connected to the board? I’m not quite that much of a DIYer when it comes to electronics, so no guarantees re: risk of bricking :grimacing:

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First yes you can enable and disable the radio from the IDE under the Hub -> View Utilities:

Second, you can look at the Hub List of Events in your IDE to see if the Z-Wave radio was disabled or enabled (it logs it all):

Third YES there appears to an issue with the firmware, when you disable the Z-Wave module, it automatically re-enables it a moment later. See the logs above. You should report it to ST Support so they can investigate and patch it up.

@duncan @slagle who would be the right person/team to look at this?


…or remove the feature altogether, as it’s not fair for those who want to disable the zigbee…At least with zwave, you have a choice, with zigbee you don’t

Would be interesting to know why ST doesn’t allow disabling ZigBee and only Z-Wave

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My hunch: there’s something about the Zigbee controller (a unique ID?) they use for hub identification or a key for something. Or not!

Disabling the Z-Wave is usually used for troubleshooting. It does not persist across reboots and going into Add Device mode will cancel it in the current implementation, so it’s not useful for your situation.

If you don’t use any Z-Wave devices, the only time that the Z-Wave radio would be transmitting is when in Add Device mode, so it probably won’t be an issue to use it as is as long as you never add any Z-Wave devices.

I wouldn’t expect removing just the antenna to mess up the hub. Worst case scenario, the hub tries to restart Z-Wave several times and then gives up.