Z-wave Issues

I am having a incredible frustrating experience, and from what I am reading this is the status quo with ST. I have installed ST for a client, with 69 Z-wave devices, 5 Zigbee contact sensors, 13 Virtual devices.The break down are as follows:
24 X Fibaro Dimmer 2 (Z-wave Plus)
2 X Fibaro Double Switch 2 (Z-wave Plus)
8 X Fibaro Single Switch2 (Z-wave Plus)
2 X FortrezZ MIMOlite (Z-wave)
1x Vision Dual Relay (Z-wave)
3x Monoprice Contact sensors (Z-wave)
2x Ecolink Contact sensors (Z-Wave Plus)
5x Yale smartlock (Z-Wave Plus)
21x Zooz 4in1 Multisensor (Z-Wave Plus)
I have used WebCore and have duplicated the rules in Core, to rule out any issues with WebCore, as it is not official but in beta. (I must also state that I have paused Webcore when running Core)
I have removed everything and started from scratch 5 times, I have replaced the hub with another hub now 3 times. But the issues keeps popping up.
My issues (and questions) are as follows:

  1. The inclusion process would be a breeze up until around 25-30 Z-Wave devices are added, after this it becomes an hit and miss, some times a inclusion could take up to 2-3 hours before it is included successfully.During the inclusion I would get errors in the app that says it is unable to exchange the secure key. I would then remove it and restart the inclusion process. Other times the hub’s light would stay static for 20-40 minutes and no response, then the process would continue. I have also noticed that the Z-wave radio would at random times turn off and would not come out of this state, even after a reboot. I had to turn off the radio and back on through IDE.
  2. When all was included and the programming is done it would respond well, through the app and to the rules, then at some random time it would stop all response for around 10-30min, I have noticed that in that time the events is showing “ZW Radio off” and the Z-Wave status would display:
    -“STATE: Not functional”
    -“Home ID: FFFFFFFF”
    -“Node ID : FF”
    -“Suc ID: FF”
    -“Protocol Version: 3.83”
    -“Region: US”
    But when the system is running well it shows:
    -“STATE: Functional”
    -“Home ID: THE CORRECT ID”
    -“Node ID : 01”
    -“Suc ID: 01”
    -“Protocol Version: 5.03”
    -“Region: US”
  3. When I run a repair I am plagued with “Failed to update protocol info” and “Failed to update mesh info”. I was told by support that it is perfectly normal to get this errors every time from every device. I also was told that it is a bad idea to run a repair on a network with more than 30 devices. This seems like a nonsense argument. Since some of the devices are as far as 130 meters away from the hub and it would require more than one hob, and how would the routing tables look and get updated if you are not to run a repair? In that case the repair button should be renamed to “Break” or “Destroy”. I have found the repair to run more successful at night with only two errors “Failed to update route”. (Which I understand is not a big deal, and the two devices that gave this error is very quick on response).
  4. During night time when there is no movement and the customer is asleep the events look like this:

But when everyone is up and there is motion it looks like this:

I have to mention that none of the pistons that is running is set to execute during the day as it is set to run only if the LUX levels are below 30 and there is motion. So it looks like it is falling over because of all the motion reports?

Yesterday we were busy adding more devices to the network, and all of a sudden the radio stopped and I could not get it back on again. I then held the reset button in for around 30seconds until the yellow led stayed solid. This reloaded the local OS and brought the radio back on.
At this point the system is responding perfect when there is no motion or no one at home, but the moment the motion starts it will respond well until something random is happening, then it would drop instructions or not get it.
4. Sometimes the app would show a device as "OFF "but indicate the accurate power drawn and the light would actually be “ON” and vice versa. This often happens when the device was turned on via a piston execution.
I have mapped the network out with the Z-Wave toolbox. all the nodes has between 5-20 neighbors, so there can not be a range issue.

Can this be a corruption in the DB, if so how can this be fixed, and why would this happen every time, or is this caused by the ST architecture?
I am pulling my hear out, and the opinion of Smartthings being the best is seriously in question.
When I send a email to support it takes between 1-2 weeks to get a response.
I would appreciate any help.

Have you contacted support? You may have a bad zwave radio.

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I have but their support does not exist…They take 2 weeks to respond. But like I said, we have replaced the hub 3 times, so this is not hardware

I’m sure that’s very frustrating. I’m not sure where you heard that smartthings is “the best“ but every system has pluses and minuses. The biggest plus for SmartThings is the ability to upload your own custom device type handlers and the ability to support very complex rules logic. The biggest minus is reliability and the fact that things change all the time, making troubleshooting challenging.

I personally would never use SmartThings for third-party installation: I think the maintenance costs would eat up all my profits. But obviously that’s a personal choice.

Even for my own personal use, I expect an MFOP ( maintenance free operating period) of at least six months and preferably a year. I do get that from a number of home automation systems, including the Phillips hue bridge, Logitech Harmony, apple’s HomeKit, wink, Amazon Echo, and Lutron Caseta. But since November 2015, I have yet to get an MFOP from SmartThings of longer than two weeks, and usually it’s closer to 10 days. :disappointed_relieved:

So I personally have moved all of my critical use cases over to other systems. I still use SmartThings for complex convenience cases, like getting a notification that the guestroom window is open when rain is expected and the guest is away from the house, because it does that much better than anything else in that price range. But the reliability just isn’t there for me on something like turning The entry light on every day at sunset. :last_quarter_moon_with_face:

The zwave repair utility

As far as zwave repair, you are right, it is ridiculous that support tells people not to run it. Most of smartthings’ zwave competitors have running a weekly repair as part of normal maintenance, which is what the standard expects. But they’ve been saying that for about two years, so I can only assume that it has something to do with their cloud platform and things getting out of sync that way.

This week specifically

Some people have also been reporting some specific problems of the type you’re describing this week, apparently due to problems with the recent hub update. See the following thread (this is a clickable link)

Going forward

I wish I had better advice for you. I know you are already working with support. But at least I can confirm that the problems that you are seeing do come up for some people with SmartThings. Not everyone all the time, but definitely more than with a number of other platforms.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Bug:_First_Reports

The only good news I can give you is that it looks like most of the individual devices that you have selected are of high quality and the problem is not zwave itself. (The Monoprice and Ecolink Devices are budget brands, and not quite the same quality as your other devices.)

One Pro tip

As a former field tech (I was a network engineer before I ever bought SmartThings for my own use), The only specific advice I would give you is that if you are saying you are adding more than 25 devices on one day, then, yes, that’s probably going to crater the network. It takes time for address table changes to propagate. I would not add more than two dozen in a 48 hour Period.

If you are going to do a big installation at a customer’s house, then Most professional installers would do bench pairing back at the warehouse and get all the devices added to the network over a week or two before you ever go out to the customer’s Location, giving the hub plenty of time to update all the routing calculations. Then after you install in place, run a zwave repair. Make sure the customer understands it may still be a day or so until the network is running at maximum efficiency.

Also, it may help to know that smartthings staff has said repeatedly that their typical customer has fewer than 15 devices and never uses any custom code of any kind, including webcore. So that’s their sweet spot as far as both network efficiency and customer support are concerned. People here in the forum will be happy to help troubleshoot if they can, but there’s only so much we can do.

Counter examples

And I should also say that there are some people in this community who have a couple of hundred devices and have done an entire home (or two) with the Fibaro kit and are very happy with it, although again the hands-on maintenance requirements may be higher in terms of time then most third-party pro installers would want to work with.

Anyway, take a look at some of @anon36505037 ‘s projects as a good example. He may have some additional ideas As well.

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FWIW…

I use to be a fan of these, but I’ve gone through 2 of them. They’ve all lasted over a year, but what ends up happening is they just stop responding to any command and require a power cycle. Since they act as zwave repeaters, it also caused issues with devices trying to route through them when they were unresponsive.

One of the devices (garage door control) was sent back to Fortezz for a firmware update, but it eventually needed power cycling daily, which I did with a smartplug. I eventually replaced it with a Linear garage door controller, and it’s been rock solid for well over a year now.

For another one (motorized water valve control), support (Fortrezz) said I should try a different power supply, so I did; but that didn’t help. I “reboot” that MIMLite daily via a smartplug too. That will soon be replaced by a Qubino ZMNHD3 (their 1D relay with dry contact).

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This was my last installation with smartthings. how does Wink and Lutron perform, and what is the maximum devices on them?
Do

Would you recommend I stay clear from a repair?

maybe this is part of the problem, as I have added all these devices in two days…
I will apply your tip and add all two weeks before the installation.
Thank you for sharing your hard earned experience.

I am working with the support team, but it seems like they are as bad as their platform, they respond only when they feel like it.

@johnconstantelo

Let me know how the Quibino works for you! I may buy one to replace a relay for the garage door which has failed. The unit was an evolve-20 Fixture Module which had a hardware failure after around 2 years.

I do not think they sell a zwave plus version of this anyway, so I will not be buying this model.

I have 2 remotec zwave relays for several years and they have not failed and seem to work reliably, BUT they do not have a zwave plus version so I would not purchase any more of them.

My mimolite, knock on wood, is still working, 3 years.

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SmartThings has always been a beta-quality software at best and probably will always be. It works reasonably well for small installations, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess. I know this is not going to help with your particular problem at hand, but just something to keep in mind before embarking on large-scale projects for paying customers.

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Not really, infact rebooting the hub and doing a z-wave repair if probably your best way to get devices back into sync and working. Infact at one point ST was contemplating doing this automatically when the mesh degrades but they never did implement it AFAIK, the mesh does have problems over time and due to various issues from bad devices, to firmware issues etc. Rebooting and repair is still the go to option IMHO.

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How appropriate - my home ST installation was fine for quite some time.
However, I had to replace some devices, and look what happened:
(coincidentally, I have exactly the same number of devices: 69!)
Now I have 18 devices offline!!!

I will try and reboot, and then repair, but if that doesn’t work (as I suspect it won’t), I will have to redo the entire network! Days of lost productivity!!!

Could this be related to the firmware release last week? Did the problems increase after that?

The Problems was there before, so I cant realry blame last weeks update, but the update also did not help.

I’m not sure if the problems happened directly because of the recent update.
However, I’m sure that it’s a good idea for Samsung to schedule a weekly reboot&repair for everyone’s hub. It should be optional so that you can opt out if you want. It should be scheduled so that you can pick when it happens.
I’m confident that it would help in the stability of each system.
(If I’m not mistaken, Vera does this for their systems).

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Are they disconnected or offline? If they are showing offline but working then you can turn off device health check from your Classic app and it won’t show offline anymore. If they’re disconnected (no updates or control) then you may have to re-pair them if the reboot and repair doesn’t work.

Support clearly states that to run a repair would break and damage the network. I just received another email from support letting me know that I should NOT run a repair, as this would make things worse.
I would definitely spread the word that ST is the worst option out there.

Its not though - its a good option for those able/willing to spend time keeping things going. Its not a good option as an install-and-forget solution unless you keep things very simple.

I’m baffled over supports insistence on not running the network repair however. Was it framed in general terms, or for the complex installation you’re dealing with?

The one downside I’m considering from a “repair” is with Zigbee devices that like to be joined to the network close to the hub, such as Xiami devices. My (unconfirmed) suspicion is that the “power-down for 20 minutes” approach means these devices try to rejoin through a repeater, and then drop off the network and the only way to fix those is to move that back close to the hub for the join.

But, that’s separate from your Z-Wave repair scenario.

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SmartThings really is a pretty good platform but I wouldn’t go selling it to a customer without knowing its strengths, weaknesses, and outright failures. A lifetime ago I had an integration/installation company and I can tell you that my current SmartThings installation is more reliable than any installation of this order I ever did for a customer. I’ve got 159 devices over about 7000 sqft and it’s really stable and works great.

I’d say this to a Pro considering installing this for a customer:

The good:

  • low cost
  • no licensing
  • customers can actually tweak things themselves. There’s some risk here that they mess things up, but any customer with a tech background will appreciate the opportunity to create their own routines and add devices. Having to call a pro just to add a $25 outlet will infuriate some customers and a lot of people are going to want help setting things up and installing dimmers/etc. but want to actually ‘manage’ their own system.
  • wide range of devices available
  • killer as a security system. Easy to set up to send camera clips when the system goes off and the option to tie to a monitoring center is likely a must for most customers.
  • works well with all of the widely advertised ‘smart’ devices customers care about by name like Ring, Arlo, Ecobee, etc. (but not Nest)
  • easy Alexa and Google integration

The bad:

  • support from ST is weak. Which rather makes sense given that they’re charging a one-time fee of under $100 for the service and hardware, but it’s still weak. The community makes up for a lot of this though, but they can’t actually fix problems inherent in the app - like how Z-Wave syncs.
  • Z-Wave seems riddled with failure. I can’t tell you how many times a network of Leviton dimmers mysteriously finds random devices ‘offline’. The diagnostics and repair tools to figure out what’s going on are horrible. For a customer installation I’d strongly suggest sticking with Zigbee.
  • no touchscreens. Everyone’s got a phone (which is nice) but if you’re going to use ST as a security system I find this is a must. Having a touchpad where a housesitter, dogwalker, in-law, etc. can walk up and punch a code to alarm or disarm the system is a must. Action Tiles and a Fire tablet are a great solution here if you’re going in-wall and I’d probably suggest the new Echo Show if you’re going on a counter.
  • no Nest integration. All the ST smoke/CO sensors I tried were terrible and Nest is the only way to go for smoke detectors IMHO so you’re not going to be able to integrate these without some coding and additional trouble/risk.
  • battery monitors are useless in wireless devices. I’ve had bad luck with the batteries on even ST-branded sensors. I’d recommend you replace every battery semi-annually as part of a maintenance program. ST gives warnings when batteries are running low but this feature isn’t reliable. My biggest problem I’ve personally had with ST was when a drain in our basement flooded and my first-gen ST leak detector literally floated away still reporting 100% battery and dry conditions. If this was a customer installation this would have opened up massive liability for the installer.
  • Lutron integration is weak and IMHO they have the best lighting platforms. Casetta device count limitations eliminate this as an option for many builds.
  • blinds integration isn’t good. I haven’t tried the Lutron options but you’ll likely have to do some workarounds to make this work. Integration with Hunter Douglas PowerView interestingly seems to works a lot better with Gen 1 hardware instead of the new Gen 2 hardware which is required to make it work with Alexa.
  • some things work and some things don’t. I wouldn’t go installing a device for a customer that I hadn’t personally lived with for a while myself. The Fortrezz versus Linear garage door controller example John gave is a great example - because if the product fails to perform perfectly all of the time you’re going to get a service call and you’re going to look incompetent.

Good luck - and I feel you on Z-Wave :frowning:

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Well!!!
I know that you all repeated what support told you - DON’T RUN A REPAIR!

Well, I was certainly prepared for the worst (I was going to factory reset my hub, and exclude all, then include each one, (one by one), until complete.)
As a last ditch attempt, I rebooted the hub, and then ran a full zwave repair (from the IDE, late at night.)

Hooray it worked! All eighteen devices that were OFFLINE, came back up to active.
I really can’t explain why it worked, but it did.
I’m just glad I don’t have to re-include each device - that’s painful.
P.S. I’ve never had device health on.

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I agree, run zwave repair until it runs with no errors from the ide. I usually run it a minimum of three times in a row.

View the event log until it shows zwave repair finished and there are no errors between zwave start and zwave finish.

Also, about including devices, for some reason sometimes a device gets included but the message does not pop up in the mobile app.

The message between the cloud and the app is lost but the device was successfully added.

So what I do is to do the include device in the app click on the plus; on another device log in and see the event log. When it shows included I know it worked.

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One of the biggests risks to dealer/installer/integrator businesses, is that Samsung does not have any sort of “pro” support program. The Terms of Service actually forbid commercial use (which, depending on legal interpretation, may forbid the marketing of installer services, but whatever); unlike other products which encourage the Pro channel (e.g., Nest Pro).

While SmartThings is inexpensive enough that they would unlikely offer any significant wholesale pricing scheme; the buffering between the customers and ST Tech Support provided by installers - and the generally higher overall quality of customer satisfaction - ought to justify Samsung to actively and officially support dealer/integrator/installers.

Oh … I would definitely not consider SmartThings to be a “killer security system”; especially if not using the ADT Security Hub edition.