My v3 Migration Experience - Improved Z-Wave Performance over v2

My SmartThings renovation is complete!

Last night I successfully completed the migration of 360+ devices from my old v2 hub to the new v3 hub. It took a week to complete, but was necessary after the v2 hub experienced Z-wave failure last week causing most devices to go offline or randomly disappear altogether. I decided to go v3 as the prospect of spending days reconnecting Z-Wave devices to a questionable hub was not an option. While I was at it, I also replaced dozens of the most troublesome devices, like the 1st generation Jasco/GE which need frequent air-gapping to stay operational.

The Hit List:

  • SmartThings V2 Hub - Replaced with v3 Hub
  • Some SmartThings v2 Motion Sensors - Replaced with ST v3 Motions
  • All Jasco 45XXX 1st Generation Dimmers & Switches - Replaced with Jasco Z-Wave Plus switches/dimmers
  • All PeQ Leak Sensors - Replaced with ST v3 Leak Sensors
  • All Iris Smart Buttons - Replaced with ST v3 Buttons

The v3 hub doesn’t get a lot of deserved love here, but I can say it’ a worthy upgrade which has a HUGE improvement in Z-Wave performance. My system in installed in a 3 story duplex with a basement and a detached garage. I was able to successfully pair EVERY Z-Wave device in place. This included 44 Iris Smart Plugs (Z-wave repeaters), 41 Jasco switches, 6 Z-wave door locks, 6 Smoke/Co’s, Sirens, Glass Breaks, etc. This includes 2 switches, a motion detector on the detached garage.

Remarkably, not once did I have to move the hub or bench-pair any device. This was NEVER possible with the v2 hub. The process was the same as when I rebuilt Z-Wave last December. I started by connecting devices in the same room as the hub, working outward. A Z-wave repair was ran for every 10-15 devices connected. The process of reconnecting everything took about a week, but never once did a device fail to connect.

Here’s the back story… Ever since the beginning of my time with SmartThings I have never experienced a significant level of long term stability with ST’s Z-Wave implementation. In fact, things got so back in December 2017 that I removed every Z-Wave device and started over again. The system was relatively stable up until the last hub update came out I noticed a sharp increase in the frequency of disconnected Z-Wave devices. Being that we travel most of the summer and fall I didn’t have time to investigate this further.

About a week ago I was trying to pair a new Schlage Touch Screen Deadbolt and a Schlage lever lock for the rental unit in my duplex. The deadbolt would not pair. When I checked the event logs, every time I put the lock into discovery, the log would indicate “Device blah blah [2H] has rejoined.” Thinking the lock may had been previously used, I did a Z-Wave exclude, reset the lock, then was able to successfully connect it. The problem is when I did that, another Z-wave device was deleted off the network.

I repeated the same steps to connect the lever lock and once again saw the same “Device blah blah [1B] has rejoined.” message. It couldn’t be possible that both locks, from different stores, could be returned?? I ran exclude again and was able to connect the lever lock. I didn’t notice right away, but later on I found another Z-wave device to be completely gone from the system.

When I was done with the locks, I re-paired the 2 lost devices and ran a Z-Wave repair which took over 12 hours to finish, and had dozens of errors. Worse, a handful of Z-Wave devices, all over the property were not reachable after the repair. I started using the “replace device” feature on the disconnected devices, and each time I tried, I would get a message “Device blah blah [2H] has rejoined.”, but the device and ZW address in the log did not match the device I was trying to reconnect. The system behaved as if the Z-Wave address table was corrupt.

That’s why I upgraded. We all know locks are difficult to pair so I was surprised to see them connect successfully a solid 40-50 feet away. In contract, when I rebuilt my v2 system last year, I couldn’t get any Z-Wave plus devices (and even some non-plus GE wall switches) to pair unless they were within 20-30 feet of the hub. My detached garage is an easy 70 feet from the hub, yet those switches paired right up.

What is different about Z-Wave with the v3 hub?


Congratulations — that’s a big project! And thanks for the detailed report. :sunglasses:

We discussed the differences briefly when the V3 was first announced.

My guess, though, is that you got the biggest bump in improvement just from replacing the old zwave classics switches with new Z wave plus ones. That would give you a lot of improvements throughout the mesh.

As far as your locks, assuming they are fairly new models, security management is just better on the V3 hub.


I will say I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I’ve found the v3 hub pretty responsive and the new v3/2018 sensors overall a improvement over the old ones. However I have not had the same luck with getting locks to pair. The one closest to my hub was fine but two other Z-Wave locks simply would not pair or if they did wouldn’t work. It was only when I physically moved the hub within a couple feet and then paired them did they work correctly. Once paired I moved the hub back downstairs and everything’s been working great. Well except for a leak sensor in my laundry room that’s on the floor between the washer and the dryer but I’m gonna blame the big metal boxes on either side of it for that issue while I figure out a solution (thinking a ZigBee outlet in the room below it).

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Is the zwave repair experience any different on the V3? How long does the zwave repair take?

I have a V2 and am happy, but if V3 is better zwave and zigbee performance I would get it.

If you switch to v3 you have to use the new app, right? I have a v3 with my WiFi, but haven’t switched be devices yet because of the less-full-featured app. This story is inspirational - thanks! - but I don’t want to jump the gun.

You need to use STSC to initially set up the v3 hub. After the hub has been set up, you can use either the Classic or STSC apps to manage it.

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When I switched over to v3 I also replaced the backbone (all my dimmers, switches and fan controllers) from zwave to zwave plus. My zwave network has been very reliable since things quieted down after the migration (it always takes a few days of troubleshooting) but rather than attributing the reliability to just the hub, I’d say that it is simply due to the migration to Zwave Plus. Network wide inclusion, faster speed, and longer range are all great features added by zwave plus. I also replaced a number of older zwave ‘classic’ devices with newer ‘plus’ versions. Doing so you not only get the benefits of plus but also firmware that is mature a few more years and also the ability to update it if the vendor releases an update. This latter aspect is important as older devices could have been released with bugs that one could not get rid of as the firmware could not be upgraded… Since my migration several weeks ago I have already updated firmware of all my dimmers, switches and a few plug in devices using Homeseer’s ZFlash.

The repair length really depends on the size of your mesh network and the issues it might have. Mine takes a while and for some time, before I figured out what was killing it, it would not even finish.

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I have the V3 hub and I experience frequent drop outs of Iris contact sensors on the 2nd floor (the ST hub is on the first floor). By adding Smart Plugs (Z-wave repeaters), will that help my situation?

The iris brand contact sensors are zigbee devices, not zwave. Zigbee repeats only for zigbee, Zwave repeats only for zwave. So you have to make sure you have the right kind of repeaters for the devices you were trying to reach.

See the following FAQ. Start with post 11 in that thread, then go back up to the top and read the whole thing. This applies to all smartthings model hubs. (This is a clickable link)

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