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  #1  
Old April 7th, 2017, 09:50 PM
paul paul is offline
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Suddenly half my z-wave devices stopped working - Interference?

So the last week, all of a sudden maybe 1/2 my z-wave devices have stopped communicating. I'm assuming it basically needs to be one of two things:

1. My Z-Net adapter has gone flakey

2. Some major interference change

Any suggestions for testing either? I can't think of anything I've changed in the environment device-wise. The devices that have stopped communicating are, (sorta), the more edge (farther out) devices, which is why I'm wondering if my Z-Net could have flaked out on strenght somehow.....

Paul
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Old April 7th, 2017, 10:31 PM
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rprade rprade is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul View Post
So the last week, all of a sudden maybe 1/2 my z-wave devices have stopped communicating. I'm assuming it basically needs to be one of two things:

1. My Z-Net adapter has gone flakey

2. Some major interference change

Any suggestions for testing either? I can't think of anything I've changed in the environment device-wise. The devices that have stopped communicating are, (sorta), the more edge (farther out) devices, which is why I'm wondering if my Z-Net could have flaked out on strenght somehow.....

Paul
I doubt it is external interference. The "interference" could be a flaky Z-Wave device. It can sometimes be cleared by power cycling the Z-Wave devices. I had a defective Linear Z-Wave switch that would kill most of my network. I didn't know what device was causing the problem, so I would reboot the house by disconnecting the mains. When I found that to work, I started disconnecting the switches and dimmers, one at a time, using the air gap disconnect. Fortunately it was a switch and I found the problem on about the 10th device I disconnected.

Bad devices can swamp a network and powering off devices one at a time can help you find a bad node.
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  #3  
Old April 7th, 2017, 10:33 PM
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jbbtex jbbtex is offline
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It could be a bad node that is transmitting randomly. I had that happen to my system some years back. Turned out to be a bad plug-in lamp module.

Recently, I had some GE switches stop working after a power outage, but just pulling the air gap for 30 seconds reset them.
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Old April 7th, 2017, 11:38 PM
paul paul is offline
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Hmmm.... I'll give it a try. The challenge is that I don't think my cooper switches have air gap switches on them. This may be a slow log having to remove one switch at a time.....
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Old April 7th, 2017, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by paul View Post
Hmmm.... I'll give it a try. The challenge is that I don't think my cooper switches have air gap switches on them. This may be a slow log having to remove one switch at a time.....
You can turn single breakers off to narrow it down to a smaller group - if it is a bad device.
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Old April 7th, 2017, 11:55 PM
paul paul is offline
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That's true. I might give that a try. Thanks.
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  #7  
Old April 8th, 2017, 10:46 AM
Tomgru Tomgru is online now
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Let us know what you find. Always good learning for others.

Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
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  #8  
Old April 21st, 2017, 12:13 AM
paul paul is offline
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Let us know what you find. Always good learning for others.

Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
SOLVED.

Working through my entire house I couldn't find a bad device. Seriously. So after much blood sweat and tears, I broke down and bought a tool:

http://www.zwaveproducts.com/toolbox

It was expensive, but didn't know what else to do. 30 minutes with that thing, and my network was fixed. Yeah.

It does a bunch of stuff, but so far the only thing I've tried is the spectrum analyzer. Turned it on and bam, there's a huge bell curve right in the middle of the z-wave spectrum. after moving around the house for awhile, I narrowed it down to coming from my son's room.

Turns out it was my baby monitor. The thing has six channels, switchable from a button on the side of it. Apparently one of those channels falls smack in the middle of the z-wave spectrum. I started flipping through the channels, and watched the bell curve magically jump around the screen. It was very cool. Switched it to the channel farthest away from the z-wave range, and MAGIC, my whole network starts working again.

I'll be keeping this tool around.....

Paul
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  #9  
Old April 21st, 2017, 09:45 AM
Tomgru Tomgru is online now
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thanks for following up! There is another thread on this tool, but no one has posted using it yet.

So cool it helped. after all that frustration, the cost probably didn't seem like all that much.

One question though... thinking it was interference, did you never just turn off the baby monitor and see if things improved? :-)
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  #10  
Old April 21st, 2017, 10:42 AM
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ewkearns ewkearns is offline
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Homeseer Sales is reporting the following (in a timely fashion), as of yesterday..

"Z-Seer Relaunch!
Z-Seer is a powerful Z-Wave diagnostic tool originally for use with HomeSeer HS2 systems. We're updating the software for use with HS3 and hope to have it available for beta in just a few weeks. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook for updates."
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  #11  
Old April 21st, 2017, 01:12 PM
paul paul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomgru View Post
thanks for following up! There is another thread on this tool, but no one has posted using it yet.

So cool it helped. after all that frustration, the cost probably didn't seem like all that much.

One question though... thinking it was interference, did you never just turn off the baby monitor and see if things improved? :-)
I didn't, because it didn't occur to me that the baby monitor might have been providing the interference. Which is really dumb of me given that I recall this issue (in hindsight) from about 6 or 7 years ago (baby monitor interfering with z-wave). I should have thought of it, but didn't. But the Toolbox brought me to it real fast...

Paul
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  #12  
Old April 22nd, 2017, 05:08 AM
mrhappy mrhappy is offline
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One relatively cheap method to discover Z-Wave interference could be using a Software Defined Radio (SDR), you can pick up RTL2832 based dongles for very little (£5-6 - $6-7?) off of eBay and the like as they are marketed as DVB-TV dongles. Using the SDR# piece of software (free) you can bring up a spectrum and tune it into whatever frequency you wish, my setup is not optimal at all but I was still able to show Z-Wave traffic as the peaks were shown at the right frequency when I controlled devices in HS.

If there was interference I would expect a consistent peak to be present and you could potentially walk around the house until that peak got stronger to identify the culprit responsible for interference.

Here is a video and you can see as the video plays that little peaks show up when I was controlling devices, I'm sure with a better aerial or tweaking the controls you would be able to show them a bit better.

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