Smart Things as secondary Zwave controller

I joined my ST hub to a pre-existing Vera Lite (had to do a full power include for the keys to exchange). The ST hub immediately grabbed all of the Z-Wave devices on the Vera and properly listed them according to type - motion, door/window sensor, etc. That’s about as far the success story goes however. I was not able to get the ST hub to recognize or act upon events from these devices and even worse, you cannot pair Z-Wave devices to the ST hub when it is the secondary controller.

I did not test making the ST hub the primary and the Vera the secondary. To be honest, I’d grown tired of the entire endeavor. The Vera has some problems and SmartThings has some problems. I was hoping to take advantage of what each does well, bypassing the negatives of each. I’m not sure if it’s really possible or practical and I don’t feel like learning the ins and outs of developing software for both in order to get them to play nice. The Vera feels almost like abandonware at this point while SmartThings, even with it’s numerous issues, feels like it has a future.

Sorry to side track this thread but I’d be very curious @emh to hear what you feel the deficiencies of Vera are. I’ve been on SmartThings for over a year now and I’m comfortable with ST and know the goods and bads of it, but I can’t say that I haven’t been tempted to look at alternatives occasionally., mostly just window shopping just to see what’s out there… but with systems this complex it’s pretty hard to get a handle on the system without jumping in and running it for a number of months.

Anybody who purchases a Vera system I think should go in it with the understanding that what they buy now is what they will be stuck with for the duration - maybe (a big maybe) they’ll get more down the road with the purchase of a new controller. The current stable release of their software is known as “UI5”. The current beta is UI6 and I can’t really ascertain the future of UI6 since there is… drumroll… UI7, the development build. UI7 will reportedly require new hardware that isn’t out yet. The contradictory part of this is that there are folks running builds of UI7 on current hardware. As you can see, the future is uncertain at best. On the user forums, people from MCV make an appearance every few weeks or months, reveal very little, or proclaim something new will be released by this quarter or that quarter and it never comes to fruition. Slow and steady I can deal with. The almost abusive relationship of continually stringing people along with nothing at the end I can’t.

On to technical issues. There are far too many instances of things going wrong that result in tech support having to intervene. Sure they fix the problem. But there is rarely if ever an explanation about what went wrong, nevermind what the solution was. That isn’t how I operate. I like to know what’s going on behind the curtain. This is actually one of the issues I have with ST. Too much of the technical is obfuscated behind the interface. Both information (signal strength, routing, etc) and the ability to tweak (again… routing). I give ST a pass for the time being as active development is at hand and some of my pet peeves, like the mentioned signal strength and routing, are allegedly being worked on. Also, ST has Zigbee while Vera won’t even make mention of it, almost like it’s a swear word. Well there are a lot of Zigbee only devices, particularly relating to elder care, that I need or am interested in.

I’ll try to end on a positive note. The Vera is an incredibly flexible device/system that was designed by some pretty obviously sharp people, the horrendous interface notwithstanding. The community support absolutely props the system up even further. Support for things like Philips Hue, TCP Lighting, Netatmo Weather Station, a truly impressive list of home theater equipment, irrigation systems, etc. is almost entirely due to the plugin apps written by community members. The thing that drew me to the Vera is the nearly unlimited hackability. In the end though, I need something that works. Not most of the time and not because I dedicate a dozen or so hours each week debugging it. I need something that works nearly all the time and if I’m not adding/removing/modifying from the setup, it shouldn’t require my constant attention. Sorry this went on for so long, but I hope it helped to clarify some things.

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There’s been a long discussion on Vera forums regarding Zigbee support (http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=8040.0) and I have to agree that Zigbee Alliance is responsible for the failure of Zigbee devices to gain significant market share. Case in point - both ST and Lowe’s Iris “support” Zigbee, but are not interchangeable. Why pay $55 for ST Zigbee motion sensor that works only with ST, if you can buy a Z-Wave one for less than $40 and it works with any Z-Wave controller?

IMHO, Vera has two huge advantages comparing to ST:

  1. It’s not dependent on “the cloud” and works even if there’s no Internet connection. All Vera “apps” run locally.
  2. It’s infinitely expandable due to built-in USB port and open software (it’s running Linux and have root access).

Overall, despite it’s clunky UI, it’s been very reliable in my 2+ year experience. I hardly ever have to restart it.

my .02: I’m a homeseer guy, but I think it is similar to Vera and that you could substitute HS for Vera in your posts above. I’ve heavily vested in HS and will not change to ST quickly, although I would like to. It has it’s own set of drawbacks.

What I would like to do is to use ST and HS together. HS can run the backend automated everyday tasks (that I find difficult to manage and set up en masse in the ST app) and ST can be the front end, bringing nice geo fencing and integration with IFTTT.

Unfortunately, I cannot get ST to join my HS network as a secondary controller.

It would be nice to run them in Parallel, even nicer to run them with each other.

This issue was discussed many times in the past. See for example this trail:

My understanding that fixing this is not at the top of priority list, since it affect relatively small number of “power users”. :frowning:

Thanks. I guess I will hope that they get to fixing this soon.

It would be nice to have both systems running. I cannot commit to abandoning my current system until ST has really proven itself.

Yep. Same here. ST is not bad for someone who’s a “HA virgin”, but when you have certain expectations, it’s a different story. I basically abandoned ST hardware and use it as a software-only solution. There’re many devices that can be integrated into ST backend without a hub. I’m going to wait until the dust settles towards the end of the year before deciding on my next HA system.

I still haven’t had any luck joining my ST hub to my vera 2 z-wave network. The only thing I haven’t tried yet was upgrading the vera z-wave network to 3.2 using the option: Use Z-Wave version 3.20 instead of 2.78 IMPORTANT: Read this first
in the z-wave settings page under setup.

Could you tell me if this makes a difference or even better, the exact choices and steps you made in vera and ST to get the ST as a secondary?

Thanks,
Dan

I can’t tell you since my Vera Lite (Lite version of Vera 3) was at 3.2 out of the box. Funny thing is that mine has the warning link also about read this first. I gotta be honest, I don’t understand half of the things in any of the MCV documentation. There seems to be a lot of assumption about the end user’s knowledge which is unfortunate as there isn’t really a definitive reference for Z-Wave that I’ve been able to find. Well perhaps the RCFs pertaining to the protocol(s), but I really can’t bring myself to read those anymore.

I should have been a bit clearer in my post. I did not in any way want to insinuate that the Vera community won’t make mention of Zigbee. What I meant was anybody working over at MCV.

And I completely agree with you with regard to the two advantages.

Well[quote=“amunra333, post:10, topic:2531”]
I still haven’t had any luck joining my ST hub to my vera 2 z-wave network.
[/quote]

Well that was not how I typically enjoy an evening after work. I’ll do my best to go over the process and some of the things I learned along the way last night…

The first thing I tried to do was to make my Vera a secondary controller with ST being the primary. I even checked the box in the Vera interface about not automatically configuring devices so that it doesn’t erase them on the other controller. Did not matter. They all got wiped. So now I’m looking at over an hour of excludes and this brings me to my most important lesson learned. Never ever pair a Z-Wave device with a ST hub. If anybody can point out to me what I’m missing, I’m all ears, but I don’t think there is any way to exclude something without it being very close to your electrically powered and ethernet cable connected ST hub. Soooo, for the second time in as many days I found myself moving the washing machine enough that I could remove (as opposed to rip out) a carefully installed Utilitech water sensor. At this point I decided to go scorched earth and completely wiped out the ST hub and factory reset the Vera.

My procedure began with both controllers empty and unconfigured. I started with the Vera having decided it would be my primary Z-Wave controller. Paired up three different battery powered Ecolink devices - a motion sensor, garage door tilt sensor, and a door/window sensor. I then went through the initial configuration and setup steps on the ST hub and paired up an ST multisensor. I figured I had done enough to where I should join the two controllers together and see what the fallout might be.

Following the documentation from MCV did not work. There is a button labeled something like “Join your Vera to another Z-Wave network”. I first clicked option to Join another network on the ST, then the same option on the Vera. It just timed out and failed. I then tried the Join on the ST followed by a full power include on the Vera. Timed out and failed. Finally I tried the Join on the ST followed by a low power include on the Vera and it worked - I think. The ST hub shows as a multibutton scene controller on the Vera and the Vera doesn’t show at all on the ST. However, all of the Z-Wave devices on the Vera appeared in the devices list on the ST as “Z-Wave Device”. The status for those devices would not change at all on the ST while they would accurately and immediately change on the Vera. And after I paired up a Z-Wave GE electric outlet, I wasn’t able to turn it on or off from the ST, but I could do so from the Vera. I then decided to edit each of the “Z-Wave Device” entries and change their type to whatever they actually were - Z-Wave Motion Sensor, etc. The status still will not change for me, but now I am able to turn an outlet or a light switch on and off. So it seems that controlling something controllable will work, but getting current status will not. Something else to keep in mind - Vera uses decimal increments for the ID numbers, while ST uses hex with a leading zero. So ID number 10 on your Vera will appear as ID number 0A on the ST. Where it gets a little confusing is ID 16 on your Vera will be ID 10 (the hex number 16) on your ST. Just a little something to keep in mind.

Lastly, I am glad to report that the Zigbee based multisensor did not get wiped out during the join operation and that I can still pair up Zigbee devices to the ST hub even though I don’t have the option to directly pair a Z-Wave device anymore since the ST hub is now a secondary Z-Wave controller. Now I am kind of at a point that I really wanted to avoid. I am guessing that if I want my Vera to react to any Zigbee devices I’m going to need to bone up on Groovy and write something to send data to the Vera and then I’ll need to start brushing up on and writing LUUP code for the Vera to respond to those messages. If I am successful in sending anything to the Vera, I’ll probably try to write a generic Vera app that intercepts from ST, hopefully making things easier down the road for others. If I didn’t like those dang multisensors so much, or if they were available in Z-Wave, I probably wouldn’t go through the hassle.

Anyway, I hope this can help some people with joining their ST to something else or at least understanding the limitations of doing so.

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I am typing this from my tab and too lazy to find it but if u can search my posts on the forums I asked this same question a while back and someone replied with instructions on how to make the ST hub primary and vera secondary. I am able to add z wave devices on either hub and both control and see the correct status from either interface…

Seriously? I think I may open up a vein if this is actually possible. With either of them as the primary, the other will say that I cannot include (or exclude) because it is not the primary. I kind of took that to mean this was a limitation inherent to Z-Wave.

Also, it just dawned on me that the way I did things… it makes total sense that you can control a device but not get status updates. The ST is a scene controller according to the Vera. While I’ve never owned or even used a Z-Wave scene controller, my guess is that they operate similarly to a normal remote control. They issue commands, but generally do not receive and display status updates.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll see if I can find that thread.

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What process did you go through on the ST in order to make the ST a secondary controller?

Officially, ST is supposed to be able to work as a zwave secondary controller:

So support@smartthings.com should be able to help.

I was able to add my hub to my existing zwave network, it shows and controls all of my existing devices however I see no way to add a new device to the smartthings hub. It doesn’t automatically add devices which were added to the existing zwave network after the smartthings hub joined. I also see no way to refresh a list of devices etc. Anyone have any luck adding a new zwave device after joining the smartthings hub as a secondary controller?

Hi, I’ve been looking on the site for more information about adding the ST hub as a secondary controller to the ADT Pulse network. Is this possible and if so, what kind of functionality will there be using the ST app?

Specifically, I’m looking at greater control of the Kwikset 910 lock (z-wave to ADT already) and greater integration with IFTTT.

Thanks.

Hi M,

Any additional information on this yet? I found this in the forums, and a secondary controller seems to be working for others: ADT Garage Door Opener / ADT Pulse / ST v2. Talks about more than just garage door opener.

I would like to be able to make ST my primary controller and ADT secondary, but I’m not sure that’s possible.

Be interested in hearing what success you’ve had.

Thanks!
B