Please help: Unreliable networks; Need debug help

Hi all,

I have around 50 Zwave and Zigbee devices around my home. Many of them are ST branded, most of them are GE paddle switches, but I have more than a few levitons.

The wired devices (switches and plug-in relays) work well, seldom dropping off the network. Occasionally something drops off and I can’t get it back on with a power cycle, so I rebuild the mesh and this is OK.

However, I have a shop, it’s out back and nestled under a bedroom. The bedroom has three wired ZWave switches in it, two at the door and one across the room. These always work. I also have SIX battery ZWave shades, and these work 99% of the time. So I know there is good signal in that room… but I just brought in an AEON zwave device and it won’t work in there, even if I rebuild the mesh.

Below that room is the shop, and I have complete non-reliability down there. There are FOUR ZWave hard wired GE switches down there, that work most of the time. I can’t seem to get the non-wired AEON battery ZWave contact sensor to work down there. I have one of those IRIS keypads that was working 100% of the time until recently.

Nothing has changed with the position of devices, except suddenly none of the shop devices are working. The wired ZWave switches are literally 7 above through the floor, but now won’t work.

I will install repeating devices if I need to. I can install a second hub on a network line if I need to. But the reliability is SHIT and I can’t handle this anymore. I rely on these for automation and security, and I am about to abandon ST- not necessarily because I blame it for the bad network, but because I can’t seem to debug any of this.

I bought an AEOTEC ZStick 5 and installed the tools, but I can’t find info on how to use them to debug the system.

I don’t think anyone is going to be able to help me out here, so if you can point me to an Advanced Zwave info site, or send me down the right road, I would appreciate it.

(I am also at the end of my rope with ST-branded sensors; I literally replaced a 2450 battery in one motion sensor 6 weeks ago and it’s sending me alerts that the battery is low… and they drop off and require hard resets constantly. If anyone can suggest RELIABLE zigbee or ZWave sensors, I would appreciate that).

Thank you.

I’m sure that’s very frustrating. :disappointed_relieved: When is the last time you ran a zwave repair utility, and what error messages did you get?

I ran it today. I get one or two error messages, usually one from a device that I know is currently not plugged in, or one from a working device that has shown me no problems. But it’s not helpful enough. Essentially I have a room full of wired devices that work but then I can’t communicate with certain other devices in that room.

I’m sure that’s very frustrating. :disappointed_relieved: It’s always difficult to troubleshoot network issues of that kind without being onsite, and it can be tedious even then.

I would start by talking to support. They may be able to see things from their side that we can’t ax regular customers.

Garages and workshops are often challenging, just because there’s usually a lot of metal and concrete which can cause highly localized issues.

I can tell you what I would have done as a field tech, but it’s a lot of work.

First, what’s the specific model of the Aeon device that won’t work in the bedroom? My first step would be to get a new plug in zwave device working in there. But I would have access to network diagnostic tools regular customers don’t, unless you’re willing to spend $250 for the following:

Once I had the plug in device (I typically just used a cheap pocket-socket), I would take it down to the workshop, plug it in there, and see how that went. It would be a starting point anyway.

When you say you “installed the tools” for the zstick, do you mean the zensys utilities? If so, you should at least have a node topology map. So you’d start by seeing what repeaters the troubled devices are trying to use, if there are any zwave repair error messages associated with the repeater, and in particular if they’re all using the same repeater.

The most common reasons for a cluster of device to fail all at once while other devices continue to work are:

  1. a common repeater failed

  2. local interference from a new source, which for zwave is most often a baby monitor or cordless phone. (For zigbee, it’s almost always boosted WiFi)