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How Do Z-Wave Controllers Interact??

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  • david.delano
    replied
    Rick -

    Very good information! Can you take some time and read the earlier posts that postulate on some configurations and functionality? Some of the things that have been stated as undoable may actually be possible - IF we knew how to configure them.

    David

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  • TomTom
    replied
    Wow, Rick! A wealth of information here. Really helps understand z-wave and the possibilities/options. Thanks!!


    Sent from my iPhone

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  • Rick Tinker
    replied
    Google just caught this discussion and I have not read everything written here but I can shed some light on this.

    ALL Z-Wave controllers are capable of being the primary controller or a secondary controller, and this is done using replication - a process of the primary controller using RF to talk to another controller and give it network information and if necessary, adding it to its network. You cannot have controllers talk that are on different networks, so there is always one primary controller and the rest are secondary controllers. When you do replication with an option called "controller shift", the role of primary controller can be transferred to another controller. This is how we used to set up Z-Wave networks back in "the old days" where we would transfer primary (controller shift) to a handheld controller, go and add/remove nodes, then transfer primary back to the old USB interface on the HomeSeer computer. If you did not transfer primary, then it would work fine, you just would not be able to do primary-only functions like optimize.

    This is still true today in that even your Z-Net interface can be a secondary controller and it will work fine for sending and receiving Z-Wave, but it won't be able to do some network maintenance functions unless it is the primary.

    Another topology that did not really catch on in the U.S. because of memory constraints on the older Z-Wave chips is that of SUC/SIS. It is now required with the newer 500 series Z-Wave chips such as those in the Z-Net. It still allows only one primary controller, but now this is called the SIS. Secondary controllers are established the same way as before, except that when there is a SIS in the network, they are now capable of getting network updates from the SIS upon request rather than having the end user initiate them, and (biggest of all) the secondary controllers now can work as a Secondary Inclusion Server which means that they can add/remove nodes too. They talk to the SIS before/after doing inclusion/exclusion so that the network information is still within the SIS as the master.

    The capability of being a Secondary Inclusion Controller has been around for a long time - even an in-wall Cooper 5 button Scene Controller can be a secondary inclusion controller, but there are no buttons on it for doing inclusion and exclusion of devices, and there is no software in it for it to periodically ask the SIS for network updates, so devices like that still have to be updated manually by doing replication - initiated by just going through the motion of adding it to the network again. (The node ID does not change, it just gets a network update.)

    So all controllers are CAPABLE of these things. However, because of the aforementioned issue of some devices not having a way to initiate certain functions, they do not do it (e.g. no button to start inclusion or exclusion on a wall scene controller). I have, however, taken a 2009 Cooper handheld remote which was added to my home network which has a Z-NET as a SIS, and used it to add/remove nodes in my network - it did it fine without having to do replication and shift primary because it talked to the SIS and got the next available node number to use, did the inclusion, then reported success and the node information of the added node to the SIS.

    In Z-Wave Plus, which you would know by the Z-Wave Plus mark appearing on the device, manufacturers are required to have the ability (with controllers) to have a way to do all of these functions with SOME exceptions. If the controller is part of a service that you are paying a monthly fee for, then they can - as the provider of the service - choose to hide the UI functions for some of these because they are managing/providing the service of your network. However, Sigma Designs certification makes sure that the controller CAN do it, and there should be a way for the service provider to open up these functions in the event that they stop providing the service or transfer control to the consumer.

    For controllers that can physically connect with a HomeSeer computer, multiple interfaces on the same network allow you to cut down on routing taking place because if you can put the controllers in different areas of your home, you can set it up where controllers mostly or entirely communicate with the nodes in your network by direct communication. This is what I do with 3 controllers in my home on the same network and 1 outside the home on a separate network running the outdoor patio lights and pool equipment. HomeSeer is very unique in A) allowing multiple controllers to be used and B) allowing multiple networks with one system.

    So if you have a controller that you want to use with your network, it is possible - period. But only Z-Wave Plus requires these functions be available/connected, so older Z-Wave controllers may not only hide certain controller functions, but they may very well not be possible because the function was never connected to the UI at all. Z-Wave Certification has, for quite a while, insured that all controllers are capable at least of operating as a secondary controller, so you just have to figure out if there is a way to put it into the mode where it will send its node information frame to a controller in the add/learn mode so that replication can take place.

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  • david.delano
    replied
    I did some testing last night. I installed HS3 PC at church then attempted to connect the Z-Net. It found the Z-Net, but wouldn't connect - gave me the triangle with ! in it. I had to go to the Zee and disable the connection before I could enable the connection on HS3 PC. I could, however, switch back and forth without any apparent problems.

    However, HS3 PC of course didn't have any of the renames, event, etc. that the Zee has. I think I was able to save the configuration from my Zee at home and then load it into my PC, but not sure now. But, they wouldn't be kept in sync. This would, however, but a step in the direction of a simpler backup, by keeping the Zee up-to-date, but the switchover would still be manual.

    So.......could the Zee/Z-Stick be set up as a secondary, keeping it up-to-date as necessary, then fail over to it if/when needed? What would be needed is a way to disable the event handling until is was needed, but this could be done with a virtual device.......just thinking out loud.

    But.....if the PC went down, would the Zee be able to connect to the Z-Net, in lieu of the Z-Stick, or would it think it was still connected to another controller??

    David

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  • mhn
    replied

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  • david.delano
    replied
    waynehead99 - I missed one of your responses on a page turn!!!

    I prefer the remote Z-Net setup, and so far, it's been stable enough. I do get messages in the log that it can't be reached, but it seems to fix itself. Right now I don't have a lot that is critical, but may at some point. I have a grow light I turn on and off. I turn my roof edge heaters on/off remotely. I can set the thermostats to away when needed, remotely. That's about it for now. But, I'd like to do more eventually. I assume the brains are in HS3, so if the link is down, the events don't happen. I considered moving the Zee up there. In fact, I almost moved the Zee/Z-Stick up there, but I was so happy with the Z-Net that I ordered another and the remote connection is actually quite slick. I can see all the device status in one place.

    [Side note.....I've had a VPN between the locations, but in trying to fix an issue, broke it. The real reason for the VPN is video streaming, but I need the devices to be on the same network or subnet, and I've never gotten that figured out. Once I get that all fixed, I could access the Z-Net over VPN instead of DDNS and I'd likely have a more stable connection AND I'd know when it was down.]

    I hear you on just having the equipment around to use in an emergency. I think I was just hoping that moving to that equipment could be more or less automatic.

    I started up with the Wink in my shop, where it still is, and testing things in the shop, then moving them to "production". I still do that somewhat. For the most part, I've replaced things that already existed, it's just that they are all controlled from one spot now. Thus, my wife is fine. Yes, if something major happened and something critical didn't work, she'd be upset (hmmmm......I can just blame it on the alarm controller, which is the only interface she uses!). Now, when I start adding things that weren't there before, I'll get a little flack. For instance, we have light switches that control the nearest outlet, when the outlet across the room is where the lamp is. I can fix that with a Z-Wave switch, but might add a second switch at that point, which she would notice. I'd get a "what's this for" question, but once she figured it out, things would be fine.

    But, it might be worth considering setting up the Zee just for testing......

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  • david.delano
    replied
    I've looked at bit into scripting, but haven't wrapped my head around it. And, since that's what I do all day, though it's usually C/C++, Perl, Sed, etc., I'm less prone to dig into it. I really just need a few good examples to look at to get going, but having looked for any so far.

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  • waynehead99
    replied
    HS3 can get text messages if you setup a modem and service to do so. I think there is plugins to do this, but you would need a land line as well (or GSM modem). I don't know much about this though.

    I do have HS setup to receive emails and do certain things based on those emails. You are right though, that its not responsive. I have mine set to scrub my email every 2 minutes.

    An example I am using from 2Gig panel. It sends an email that the alarm is armed/unarmed. I use this email to change the status of a virtual device that I use to display on my HSTouch panels the status of the alarm.

    With HS3, the sky is the limit on what you can do, as long as you know how to do it . It is very open and the forums have helped me a lot. I am not a coder and know enough to break things. Scripts are your friends and power horses once you get your head wrapped around the basics.

    Talking from HS to one of the other units will be challenging. You start getting into looking at API's and figuring out how to make things talk to each other.

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  • david.delano
    replied
    Another option would be to just make the different parts communicate. If I set up a Zee independent of the HS3, can they send info between each other? To extend this.....

    The Wink and the 2GIG can send email based on events/conditions. The Wink can also display a status on the phone app. The 2GIG can also send a text message.

    HS3 can look through received emails - I set that up and and tested it, but have not used it. Can HS3 somehow receive text messages??

    However, the email interface can't be very spontaneous. Reactions to emails would have to be non-critical.

    I don't see any way to go the other direction, for HS3 to notify Wink or the 2GIG of anything.

    David

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  • waynehead99
    replied
    I understand redundancy and once you figure out how to do that with HS3, let me know .

    If you have concerns about the internet connection between sites, then I would probably recommend setting up your Zee at the other location. Personally if I were to take on another location, I would probably just have it talk back to one system over the net just for simplicity in maintaining, but I also have only had one internet outage in 10 years and also don't have anything currently that I would consider "critical" to be monitored that couldn't withstand a temporary network outage.

    I understand not having equipment just sitting around, but I take a different approach to it as well. Lets say today my computer for HS kicks the bucket, well I have spare stuff here and backups that I could get it up and running in under an hour. Also if my zwave interface died, I have a spare to get me by until I can get it replaced.

    When I first got into HA, it was a lot of experimenting. That pissed the wife off so much, that I almost lost a hobby before it even started. I now have a dev setup I test things in before moving it to production and do a lot of testing (using alerts and search to test if certain logic will do what I want). You could also do the same I guess too, have a dev location to experiment and learn in vs doing it in production.

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  • david.delano
    replied
    Ah......but what I'm asking is, what are the things I can do? I don't necessarily know what I WANT to do.

    First, I have idle hardware (Zee/Z-Stick) that I want to know if I can put back into service to do something useful.

    Second.....I have worked on redundant systems all my life (telephony and airplanes) and can see an advantage to having redundancy in a home automation system. I haven't built up a trust for the PC/HS3 solution yet, though I now have HS3 running as a service using nssm.exe, so I don't have to worry about spontaneous reboots (I've also turned off automatic Windows updates).

    Third, my PC controls two Z-Nets at different sites. A network outage would take down the remote site. If it were advantageous to move the Zee to the remote site to take over if communications fail, I could do that.

    Fourth, I don't want to do something as an experiment (already been there once when with one click, my Wink took over and my Zee had no control) and have to start all over again.

    Fifth, I'm still trying to learn all this stuff!

    Etc....

    David
    Last edited by david.delano; January 13, 2016, 11:04 AM. Reason: typos/added content

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  • waynehead99
    replied
    You can have more than one interface connected to the system, it will just have a different home ID. But I am not sure how you did what you are listing below.

    My understanding is that one controller cannot takeover in a failure. Primary/Secondary in a sense just creates two different brains. You will see the events on the secondary, but you will have to have a separate set of events to interact with devices. Also seeing the events on the secondary may not happen real time and require polling, which will cause extra traffic on the zwave network, so don't get too crazy with it. I usually leave things default and have no problems. This will depend on the device used though and if it has instant status.

    Maybe a different approach to this, is tell us what you are wanting to do and maybe with that, we could give you a solution.

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  • david.delano
    replied
    waynehead99 - thanks for the reply. I think what you are saying is that the HS3/Z-Net combination should be thought of as one system, and I'm thinking of them as being separate things.

    Now.....when I was converting from Z-Stick to Z-Net, and then from Zee to PC, I actually had both running for a short time. I didn't try to do anything while in that configuration, but I also didn't get any complaint from the Zee, PC, or Z-Net. Maybe it I had initiated a status change from the Zee or PC I might have seen problems, but for the short time I had them both running, things were okay. I was running both so that I could look at the Events, etc., on the Zee and get the PC configured the same way.

    If I set the Zee up as secondary, I'm assuming I shouldn't have the same Events, etc., defined, or if I do, have them disabled. Is there any way a secondary can take over if the primary is somehow disfunctional?

    David

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  • waynehead99
    replied
    What you are asking to do, I don't think can be done. Connecting two systems to a interface like the znet i think is against the zwave protocol.

    You need to have a primary system, and then search around to connect the second system to the primary so that it can use the znet as well.

    I think you are confusing the two different things. The znet is an interface connected to HS3. HS3 will deem it primary controller if its the first interface connected... and then any other controller you connect to the system will be secondary and only get updated when essentially forced to. It's not real time (at least not in my experience). In the case of the 2gig panel above, you actually have to reset the zwave and start over each time you add something to HS, otherwise it never updates.

    I am sure I made it clear as mud, but long story short, what you are wanting to do, you can't do.

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  • david.delano
    replied
    If they are both talking to the same Z-Net, why would the secondary need to be refreshed? But, then again, maybe what I'm thinking is if they are both primary.

    What kind of control can they have? If one changes a device state, how does the other get it (next scan?).

    How would I add one or the other as secondary?
    Last edited by david.delano; January 13, 2016, 09:41 AM. Reason: typos

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