V1 Hub Conversion to Aeotec Hub: best practices? {includes discussion of moving in phases}

SmartThings is forcing me to convert from V1 Hub to Aeotec Hub. Is there any document on the best practices to simplify this hub replacement process? I have about 100 devices currently operating on the V1 hub.

I’m in the same situation. Just got in the new Aeotec Hub. I created a new location for the new Hub in the SmartThings App (same account). I was able to add the new hub to the new location, and all seems well, so far.
My intention is to exclude existing devices from Hub V1, using the IDE tool (although, not ENTIRELY sure of the exact process… I’m thinking it’s choosing My Hubs (from the original location), then View Utilities, then Z-Wave Exclude. The (original) hub then goes into “exclusion mode” for 15 seconds.
I’m assuming it’s a button press on the Z-Wave device to register the exclude (to identify the device to be excluded to the hub), then re-add it normally in the new SmartThings app, to the new hub.
If I’m missing something, I’d welcome any corrections.
Pain in the butt, for all my devices, but Samsung seems to have abandoned V1 customers…

Nothing easy, unfortunately there’s no migration utility available for the V1 hub.

The following are a quick rundown of standard best practices, that would apply. But you still need to individually remove each device from the old hub and individually add it back into the new. :disappointed_relieved:

You’re mostly right - except you can run the exclusion from ANY Zwave hub. Including both your v.1 and your new v.3/Aeotec.

I suggest transferring your ‘backbone’ devices (the devices you rely on as your powered repeaters) first from the hub outward. unfortunately it will also have the unfortunate side effect of completely hosing the ZWave mesh on your old hub. So get ready to either be in a hurry or not have control for a day or so while you get everything moved.

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Unfortunately, as always, the first rule of home automation applies: “the model number matters.“

You’ll have to find the user manual for each individual device to find out what you need to do to get it to accept the exclusion command. usually that’s a specific tap pattern on the device, but one device might use a double tap, another might use a long hold, a third might use a triple tap, etc. It’s up to each manufacturer what they chose, so you just have to look them up one at a time.

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Yep, thanks. I remember (7 years ago), using the repeater process and pushing out to add in the current devices… figured it would be the same situation, meaning excluding everything, and starting at the new hub, outward…
I might be mistaken, however, the support page, regarding this (Devices in SmartThings – SmartThings Support), seems to indicate we can do the same thing, using the new ST app, choosing the device, then the ellipse, then edit, then delete, which apparently also puts the hub into exclusion mode… Seemed to work once with a smart plug I was experimenting with a while ago…

Thanks… you’re right. Fortunately, they’re all GE devices, and I saved all the instruction sheets… somewhere…

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It does - the app is smart enough to attempt an exclusion with the ZWave radio if the scenario applies…

Well… SHOULD attempt it anyway. When it works it’s elegant and should leave your device ready to join the new hub. No reason not to do add device right there afterwards. If not then - worst case, prepare for a force delete and exclude, etc…

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This is very helpful information, especially the fact that I can exclude from either the old or the new hub. I was thinking of moving my old V1 hub, or both the old and new hubs, to get closer to the devices if there is a range issue with exclusion or re-inclusion by using a long Cat 5 cable connected to network ports scattered around my home rather than moving devices closer to the hub. Is there any reason that I shouldn’t do that?

Yes. There is. For the exclusion its not so bad, the old mesh will probably be trashed by that point anyway.

For rejoins however, you absolutely want to try to join from the location you will have everything live. If you cant get the join to work chances are theres something wrong with your repeater mesh signal. Stop, fix the issue and continue on. It will also prevent you from having to run repair after to fix things which by itself can be temporarily disruptive to a network while the mesh rebuilds.

The only devices i ever move the hub to join are my Schlage locks and whem i do i move the hub back amd run a repair shortly after.

I think we’re slowly building our own “best practices” manual here. Here’s a naive question: Other than mesh network considerations, is there any reason why I can’t have two active hubs as I convert my Smart Lighting, Scenes, and Automations to the new hub so that I have more time to do the overall conversion without losing security and lighting automation until all devices are converted and the old hub is deleted? The old hub would still do its thing and the new hub will start to take over whatever is converted. Converting over 100 devices plus ActionTiles and IFTTT processes will take me days (or more) to complete. Plus, with the old hub still referenceable, I’ll have a ready source for stuff that I may have missed.

You can do it for the Devices themselves, and some people have, you just need to be aware of what the “backbone” (The mains powered repeating Devices) is for each of the two networks and how that affects the ability of the battery powered devices to get messages back to their respective hubs.

It’s unfortunately all too easy to end up with two smaller networks neither of which has sufficient pathways back to its hub. :disappointed_relieved:

Also, I don’t think you can do it with actiontiles, IFTTT, and other third parties including voice assistants without setting up completely new accounts, which might also mean additional license fees. But that’s an entirely separate issue, and I will leave that to others to discuss. So the rest of this post is just going to address the network engineering issues of trying to run the old hub with some devices while setting up the network for the new hub gradually over time.

Also, the zwave devices I give as examples below are all for North American zwave. If you are in another region, you would need to find similar devices that work on those frequencies.

For zigbee, the IKEA devices are available in many countries. :canada: :ru: :us: :uk: :de: :it:

Creating two zones during transition

The easiest way to do this and make it work is to mentally divide your home in half vertically with a line down the middle. Say the right side of your house versus the left side of your house. Or the front half of your house versus the back half of your house. Again mentally, assign each half to one hub.

Create the new network by moving Devices from the old hub to the new hub, starting with the main power devices closest to the new hub. once all the mains power Devices for a room are in place for that half of the house, then add the battery powered devices for those rooms.

If you had sufficient repeaters on your old network, dividing it into in this way is the most likely to give you two functional networks.

If your old network didn’t have enough repeaters to support two zones

The problem is if your old network was barely functioning at maximal level because you had just enough repeaters to keep everything going smoothly. In that case, it’s quite likely that you will negatively impact your old network by moving even a single repeater over to the new one. That can get tricky. :confounded:

There are two options here. Either just live with the fact that things are going to be a little goofy during the transition. Or buy some new inexpensive repeaters just for the new network.

Zigbee

New inexpensive repeaters are pretty simple for your zigbee Devices: just get some of the $10 IKEA Tradfri pocketsockets. Five or six of those is likely to be enough for half of your typical residential home, and spending less than $75 to have two working networks for a while may seem well worth it to many people.

Zwave

Buy new repeaters for Z wave is less attractive because they cost more. So at this point you may want to put more thought into what those devices should be.

Although pocketsockets are typically going to be the least expensive, you’re still looking at a cost of at least double what the Zigbee ones cost, unless you find an unusually good deal somewhere.

So here again there are two choices, but they are very different and different ones will work for different people.

The first option if you want to limit your budget outlay is to look for used or clearance Devices just to be repeaters. I don’t normally buy anything on eBay that’s electronic, but this might be one of the few exceptions. Again, you just want to get probably five or six plug-in pocketsockets, so if you can find some on clearance, that might be worth it.

I’d also check the clearance sections of reliable vendors like the zwaveproducts.com and smarthome.com .

One option for Z wave that I would not use for Zigbee is lightbulbs. Z wave lightbulbs tend to be very good repeaters, and as it happens zwaveproducts.com often has some on sale for about eight dollars each.

The lightbulbs still repeat even if they are turned off from the network, they just have to have power. You can even stick one in a table lamp and just leave it off during the whole transition and it will be a good zwave repeater.

This isn’t something I would plan to use long-term: it’s just for the transition. But again at under $100 for the whole project, it could be worth it to some people.

But you also need to be aware that with Z wave, unlike with Zigbee, some of the newest features can only be repeated by devices of the same generation. If you’ve been busy buying a lot of zwave S2 security devices, and now you need more repeaters to make the half a network work during transition, you may be stuck buying repeating devices that also support S2 security. That’s going to be more expensive.

The second approach for adding more Z wave repeaters is to think about what new devices you would really like to get and go ahead and get ones that can serve as S2 repeaters. This will undoubtedly cost more then a handful of cheaper pocket sockets or lightbulbs, but it may be of more value to you long-term.

For example, if you’d like a pocketsocket with a USB slot, this is a nice one with S2 support:

Or if you’ve been thinking about adding some more zwave light switches, now might be the time. :wink:

Backbones first

Once you have the backbones in place for each of the two zones, then the battery powered Devices for each zone can be added, and it should work fine.

Doing one room at a time?

It is possible to build the backbone out a room at a time for the new hub’s zone, starting with the devices closest to the new hub, but the problem here is that if you put the new hub and the old hub in the same room, which is what many people are likely to do, you run the very real risk of crippling the old hub’s network as you remove the repeaters from it If you are only going a room at a time. This is much more challenging than just dividing the house in half because you are trying to run a lot of devices in the new hub’s zone off of the old hub until you get to those rooms.

So for this particular situation, again, there are two popular field tech alternatives.

The first is just to go ahead and buy some new repeaters but in this case you are going to add them to the old hub and they are going to be specifically for the rooms in the new hub’s zone That you already removed old hub repeaters from. So for a little while some of your rooms will have two networks, just so there are enough repeaters to get to the outer boundary rooms in the new zone that you haven’t swapped over yet. You shouldn’t have any interference problems, that would be very rare. It’s just extra money and work. I like to use those colored sticky dots that people put on file folders to stick onto Devices so I know which network they are using.

The other alternative goes against the usual best practices, but I can tell you as a former field tech that this is a practical solution that some people use during a transition.

In this case, you still divide the house into two zones vertically. You leave the old hub where it was. But you put the new hub in the center horizontally of its zone so it has maximal reach in both directions. Or in some cases even put it at the outer edge, although that’s typically less useful unless all of your devices are z wave plus or higher.

Now you do your room at a time starting with the devices which are farthest from the old hub.

The idea here is to try to avoid crippling the old hub’s network, because repeaters that you are removing first are the ones that are farthest away and therefore you don’t leave the old hub with Islands of devices that it is still responsible for but can’t reach.

If you choose this method, once you get to the end, you have to move the hub back to where it supposed to be and run a Z wave repair, actually probably two or three of them, so that everybody gets a good route table. Also a Zigbee heal.

This method usually works OK for zwave. However, it can totally screw up zigbee unless you have a lot of repeaters because the 32 to 64 non-repeating devices that originally chose the new hub for their parent may not be able to reach it anymore. :confounded:

So if you go with the choice of putting the new hub in a temporary outer boundary position, you may have to combine that with buying extra Zigbee repeaters if you really want to have two workable networks for a while.

Not having a hub in its ultimate position is just more complicated, which is why it’s not usually considered a “best practice.“ but sometimes needs must, and you can probably make that work. It will mean a finishing step you didn’t have to go through with the other methods, though, just to get all the routing tables straightened out.

conclusion

So… If you really want to, yes, you can try to have two networks running at the same time. This will be easiest if you mentally divide the house vertically into two zones and give each hub responsibility for one zone.

What happens next depends on the number of repeaters you have available. Maybe they’ll be enough to support two networks, maybe you’ll have to buy some extras.

If you do have to buy extras, you can either just go for the cheapest stuff you can get and just use it for the transition or you can go ahead and invest in some long-term devices.

Your biggest challenge is if you want to keep everything running while only converting one room at a time over several weeks. That’s when you may have to consider either buying even more extra repeaters or moving the new hub to a different temporary location so you don’t have to swap over repeaters which then cripple the old hub’s backbone.

I hope that’s all clear. As you can see, there are several decision points where you will have a choice to make, and what works for one household might not work for another. But it’s like remodeling the kitchen. Once it’s done, you should be happy with the results. :sunglasses:

Tagging some people who might have some additional suggestions on best practices for maintaining your network functionality during migration.

@nathancu @Brad_ST @Automated_House @johnconstantelo @ogiewon @jody.albritton @TheSmartestHouse

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Is this the only hub that will work with the sensors, motion detectors, and cameras that I have set up with my current Samsung SmartThings hub?

One issue is that there wouldn’t be an audible alarm in the house though, right?

It’s the only one that Samsung is recommending.

There is an alternative, Hubitat, from a different company which works with almost all of the same devices. But it doesn’t use the same app so there’s more to a transition then there would be with just going to the Aeotec hub as Samsung recommends.

Also note that there are different versions of the Aeotec hub for different regions, so make sure you get the right one or your devices won’t be able to work with it.

I believe so far there are Aeotec models for North America, the EU/UK, and Australia. I would expect there to eventually be a hub for South Korea if there isn’t already, but I don’t know who the manufacturing partner is there.

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Also, since you asked about audible alarms…

If your current hub is the dual logo ADT/smartthings panel, then your dual logo sensors are not going to work with the Aeotec hub. :disappointed_relieved: or any other hub. They use a proprietary protocol created just for that project and it’s not being supported by anyone else.

It’s only the Z wave or zigbee devices that can be moved to a new hub.

So as always, the first rule of home automation applies: “the model number matters.“

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Wow! This is amazingly helpful. I learned a lot. Thank you!!

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Yes, that is the hub that I have. The sensors I have are the dual ones that I put on the door and door frame that sense each other. So you’re saying nothing will work with them? Bummer.

Yes, sadly. Those will be useless once the dual logo hub stops working. :disappointed_relieved:

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Wow…confusing to this old man!
My Aeotec hub is in the mail.
I have fully documented my V1 system using Excel sheets.
(Note: I found some redundancies in the existing system between Smart Lighting & Alert Me When. I also consolidated into using more Automations).
I was thinking of dual hubs…but now I may completely uninstall the V1 system (delete all Alexa groups) and install new system…building outward. Excluding devices will be a learning curve for me. I have 47 devices including virtual switches. I also have a few Webcore pistons.
For me, it looks like this is the simplest strategy.
Am I correct? Thanks.

Finished it up today. Was able to exclude all the original devices from the V1, and add them all back to the Aeotec, with one exception (a fan control at the far end of the house is being stubborn). May just be the range, although there are repeaters along the way… We’ll see.
I stuck w/ Z-Wave (I know both Z-Wave and Zigbee have their own corresponding advantages, however, most of the original devices are not Zigbee capable, so didn’t see a need to switch/buy new devices till the existing need replacing).
One thing I did do, that seemed to work well… is for each exclusion, I did the exclude in IDE, AND deleted the device in the app (within the 15 second window)… Don’t know why that worked better than just using one or the other.
Anyway… all done. Everything’s migrated. Hopefully, any future migration will be via an established tool…

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