SmartThings Z-Wave Repair

I believe some battery powered devices are “sleepy” and don’t respond right away to the Z-wave repair, that’s why you have to run it multiple times.

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But, if I understand correctly, Zigbee only heals itself if the hub has no power for at least 20 mins or more so wouldn’t that also be a bad design? Atleast with z-wave you can do it without the wait or unplugging the hub. I haven’t had any z-wave issues in the past 2 years and I am mostly z-wave, but, my luck can run out at any point.

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Choice is good. :sunglasses: different protocols approach these issues differently. So you may find one works better for one particular installation while the other works better for another.

The zigbee home automation standard requires that every device check in at least once a minute. If not, it will be marked as non-responsive and eventually dropped from the network.

In contrast, Zwave has no requirement that a device check in. And in zwave Classic, it is never marked as unresponsive unless you run the repair. (Zwave plus handles this housekeeping stuff somewhat differently)

From the beginning, zwave was designed for very low cost residential lighting systems with some (cheap) sensors. People could and did do some tricks with Layout to get the maximum efficiency in each zone. Allowing for automatic update of the address tables would interfere with those tricks.

It’s harder to do the same tricks in a zigbee install because of the check in requirement.

The end result of all of this can mean that zigbee May mark a device as unavailable which in fact is available, while zwave May mark a device as available when it is in fact unavailable.

It’s not that one method is always better than the other: they are different, and you need to choose the one that best matches your own needs.

Running the zwave repair utility Makes sure that all of the device statuses are up to date, so if batteries have died or a device has failed, the network tables will get updated.

A lot of people think of a Z wave repair just as a wellness check: and they do it every day to check the battery status on everything while avoiding excess polling during the busy times on the network.

So if you think of it that way, I think running it once a day will make more sense. It’s a wellness check, which makes sense when you have battery operated devices.

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I’m not very familiar with Fibaro products, the Dimmer 2 you posted is a Z-Wave Plus device which is good as Z-Wave Plus has better range and it is more reliable. Make sure the “Single Switch” you mention is also Z-Wave Plus. I would make sure to get all devices Z-Wave Plus as having classic Z-Wave devices may cause Plus ones to downgrade communication to classic depending on the route they use to communicate to the hub, loosing the “Plus” benefits…

The problems you are experiencing with the ones you have installed may be because your house is big and they are likely far apart so your mesh is not that strong, once you have all switches and dimmers in place you’ll have a strong mesh and should not have those problems… That said, how to ensure and test before doing the big investment? maybe add 2 or 3 more switches / dimmers in key places, middle points between the hub and the farthest switches.

I’ve had many different issues with my Z-Wave Plus only implementation but I have now been able to solve almost all of them. If you do not move devices around or added anything new a Z-Wave Repair should not be necessary in my experience. These have been my main problems, none of which required repairs:

  • Switches becoming unresponsive and not updating status: This was a very common issue for me and slowly went away. I attribute the fix to two things: 1- SmartThings upgraded the Z-Wave module firmware in the hub in a recent hub firmware and the newer protocol is a lot more reliable, they have also been slowly fixing Z-Wave protocol bugs. 2- I have installed more switches / dimmers making my mesh stronger.

  • A couple of dimmers kept hanging or not updating, I noticed they would flicker when a close bathroom fan was turned on. After some research found that these dimmers have issues when the load is too small in watts, specially now that people is using LED bulbs that consume very little energy. For the ones that had this problem I installed a bypass thingy that completely fixed them:

  • Very specific problems updating status that were recently corrected by a device firmware upgrade.

  • Finally, I say I solved “almost” all of my problems because SmartThings is not the most stable platform out there. Every so often something does not work and then I come here and find people reporting problems with the cloud, so i just wait and it eventually starts working again… Not sure about Fibaro but if you are able to use standard Device Handlers with local execution for all of your devices you’ll be in a much better place…

Part of the Z wave standard is that devices must be backwards compatible. If you have a Z wave plus device at one end of a hop and zwave classic at the other end of a hop that particular message sent at that particular moment can only take advantage of the classic features, but that’s all. There’s no permanent downgrade to the Z wave plus device, it doesn’t lose any of the advantages it has that are not involved in transmitting that particular message in that particular moment. Many people have installations with different generations, indeed, the standard is designed for that. They don’t expect you to replace all your old devices every time a new generation comes out.

So if you are buying new devices, at this point I personally would give preference to zwave plus because there are some technical improvements.

But if you already have some classic devices, you certainly don’t need to replace them just because you buy a new Z wave plus device for a different spot. Use them both, they’ll communicate fine together and the zwave plus devices will still use all of their advanced features every time that’s possible. :sunglasses:

Will Z-Wave Plus products work with classic Z-Wave products?
Yes, Z-Wave Plus products are fully backward compatible with classic Z-Wave products.

Well, if the only good communication path for a Plus device is through one or more classic devices then all the communication between the plus device and the hub will happen using the classic protocol, not just a single message… We are talking about hardwired devices here so if a single message has to happen over classic it is very likely this will happen often if not always. Sure its compatible, sure it should work, but you will not see any of the Plus benefits for that device. OP is also starting his Z-Wave implementation, thus my recommendation to avoid these scenarios…

You will see lots of Z wave plus benefits for that particular device, including OTA firmware updates, a number of technical housekeeping benefits, and longer range. You will also have improved association capability and the lifeline. The only thing you lose are some of the message transmission advanced features, in particular three channel management and improved bandwidth. But again, only for a message using that particular hop.

I agree, it’s better to get more Z wave plus devices if you are buying new devices. I just want to make sure people understand they don’t need to replace their existing devices that they’ve already invested in. :sunglasses:

Unless that particular device is driving you nuts, I have a non plus switch that is driving me nuts, is not reporting the state when you manually turn on or off :sweat:

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The glass and the touch sensors are from Merten in Germany (model is called Trancent) – see image of glass below. I found these in 2003 while building our house.
They are larger than US light switches, and we couldnt use their dimmers/relays.
So, a friend designed a custom PC board to interface the touch sensors with a “smart” switch of the time (OnQ) that included a “slave” switch input (but has been horribly unreliable - uses a 2-wire ALC communication protocol chip that fails frequently and permanently).

As a result, since I want to replace the OnQ switches, but keep the touch panels, I needed to find a smart switch with wired switch inputs (such as the Fibaro Dimmer 2 and Single Switch – also testing similar switches from Aeotec). These were designed for interfacing with old/dumb switches, but also work with our custom PC board.

Just hoping that my Zwave test with half a dozen Fibaro switches is sufficiently reliable to convince me to invest in 100+ Fibaro switches throughout the house.

Not in my experience. I have added new repeaters to my zigbee network and when I check the next day, will see 1 or more devices hanging off it. So the zigbee network does readjust periodically without powering down the hub. But then there are some zigbee devices that refuse to change parent, like the Xiaomi sensors. So maybe it’s all device specific with zigbee.

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And what exactly are the benefits that you will be missing in this scenario. I have a couple non-plus z-wave devices and have not noticed any difference between the plus devices.

By the way, with a z-wave repair, how do you know when it has completed? I have about 50 z-wave devices and imagine it might take a while. If I start it from within the IDE, and then click “Z-Wave network repair initiated - Click to view progress”, I just get an empty page and nothing is ever printed there.

That’s how you force a heal with zigbee, but zigbee does ongoing housekeeping based on that check in requirement which zwave does not do. So over time, although it can Take several days, a defective device will eventually be removed from the routing tables.

The other reason to force a heal is because you want One or more non-repeating devices to choose a new parent. The old one works, but you think there’s a new one which will be more efficient.

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See the attached screenshot. However, this screen does not refresh, so I have to hit refresh in the browser every few minutes. ZWave repair takes anywhere from 6 minutes to 20 minutes

Yes the click here to see progress is always blank for me also.

There are many changes under the hood on the protocol, like using 3 RF channels to reduce interference and increase bandwidth and range. They made it backwards compatible but what that means is Z-Wave Plus devices can speak Z-Wave Classic too. If your Plus devices are close enough to the hub to talk to it directly or through other plus devices then everything is fine but if the communication has to happen through classic devices then these of course can’t use the additional RF channels, or understand the Plus commands, etc. when relaying messages. What does this means? the Plus device will only have classic like range and interference, likely consume more battery too. Things like Self Healing and and OTA will not work as is or be quite limited and you’ll need to get the device closer to the hub to do OTAs (SmartThings does not yet support Z-Wave firmware OTA anyway), etc.

As @JDRoberts mentioned, you don’t really need to go buy new devices and replace all your classic devices, if you have a good mesh things should work fine, or at least as good as Classic works which is enough for most. Plus was created for a reason though, so If you are having problems where interference and distance are the issue then Plus protocol may be the solution, look at your installation and make sure you don’t only have classic devices close to the hub with plus devices in the edges, put some plus devices close to the center too so outer devices can communicate well with the hub using plus protocol…

And if you are just starting up, then why not just avoid these problems and go with Plus only as possible? That’s is what I have done so far but of course a coupled of classic devices are not the end of the world, I recently purchased a couple of WaterCop valves (Z-Wave classic) because they are a great deal and the price difference with the alternatives is huge… Same as having a mixture of ZigBee and Z-Wave devices, sure you can do it but when having a strong mesh solves so many of your problems why working double on having 2 strong meshes?

This screen also worked for me. I was suprised, never realized this screen also works.

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Neither the range nor battery consumption of a zwave plus device is degraded when transmitting/receiving a message from a zwave Classic device. :sunglasses:

Only the features used for the momentary exchange of that individual message for that individual hop would be affected. Mainly bandwidth ( but again, only for that one message). Or, as you mentioned, if the classic device is the repeater, it won’t do networkwide inclusion or OTA updates to the Z wave plus device. But if the traffic is going the other way, those features are not degraded for the Z wave plus device.

If you’re starting from scratch, I would definitely look at zwave plus devices first, but if you already have older generation devices, and they are working fine, your network should still be good.

If you’re concerned, just make sure you lay out a path along zwave plus devices for each of your zwave plus devices and you should be able to take full advantage of all the new features. :tada:

Looks pretty sweet =) I’ve personally never used Fibaro switches before so unfortunately I can’t give any input to that.

I don’t want to take this thread, which is about the Z wave repair utility, off topic, but you should go check out the following thread (this is a clickable link). The author has done two houses all with Fibaro devices. I’m sure he can answer any questions you have about large installs. :sunglasses:

Thanks. Looks interesting.
Sounds like he centralized (or at least “regionalized”) his loads, rather than connecting them directly to each switch location. Wish I had done that, as it minimizes the “distance” issues.

Thanks again for pointing me to Robin. He may well be a great source of info for my install as well.

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