Everything works - except one switch...

I’m done installing a dozen GE/Jasco switches and outlets, and am configuring them via a Vera Lite.

Everything works, except for one thing: one wall switch that’s hooked up to an outlet cannot seem to trigger anything else.

The switch is registered with the Z-Wave, and in fact I can control that switch and outlet from any other switch, or by manually triggering a scene that includes the switch. But when I try to get that switch to control anything else, the signal just doesn’t seem to make it to the Vera. I’ve noticed that any other switch will, when triggered, add a few lines to the log; but that switch doesn’t seem to get logged at all.

There’s nothing at all remarkable about that particular switch: not the connections, not the location, not the make. It’s just oddly reticent about notifying the Vera when it’s turned on or off.

Any ideas?

It’s been a month or two since I’ve written his but… If you read up on the subject of Instant Status, you’ll see that it is an important feature when you are using switches as triggers for scenes. The GE/Jasco switches do not support the Instant Status feature and can be ill suited for triggering scenes.

Vera, and some other HA controllers, use a “hack” to simulate Instant Status on these switches. The hack relies on Vera seeing a Network Information Frame(NIF), that is used as part of the inclusion process, and interpreting it as a status change. However, the NIF is broadcast locally and is not routed by other nodes in the Z-Wave mesh so, if Vera isn’t close enough it cannot hear the NIF. (If your switches are 3-way, you’ll soon notice that the triggers don’t work if you turn the switch On/Off from the remote switch because there’s no Instant Status.)

It sounds like most of your switches are close enough to Vera that Vera can hear the NIF that the broadcast, however the “problem switch” is beyond radio range of Vera so Vera cannot hear the NIF. The problem switch is communicating through intermediate nodes which is why Vera can control it and why Vera can poll it. But intermediate nodes do not route NIFs.

Due to polling, Vera should eventually see the state change on the switch and trigger your scene, but this may take anywhere from several seconds to several minutes and is not an adequate way of triggering scenes.

No, you can’t/shouldn’t attempt to work around the limitation by trying to change your polling frequency(it’s only been a day since last I wrote about this). Either forget about using this switch as a trigger or, if you must use it as a trigger, replace it with a switch that supports true Instant Status.

Huh. Wish I’d found out about that before I installed all of this stuff…

Okay - instead of scenes, can I use either an Association or a Group to have a particular GE/Jasco switch control a particular GE/Jasco outlet? Those don’t have to go through the Vera, so I presume that radio distance isn’t a problem here; does that sound right? (And if so… any pointers about how to set up either of those features? The documentation I’ve found so far is a little thin, i.e., practically nonexistent.)

The cheaper GE switches (I have a bunch and they work great if you don’t need the extras) can not communicate to another switch or have instant status. More expensive switches can do associations and have instant status.

My recommendation if you want to have one switch control other switches is you need to change those ones out for more expensive switches with the features you need. For closet lights, pantry lights and everything else use the basic switches.

I buy my GE’s for like 30.00 at lowes. A Leviton scene capable switch is like 70.00 plus. With around 45 switches in my house (plus other deivces) I did everything I could in the cheaper switches.

[quote=“sfsdfd, post:3, topic:184838”]Okay - instead of scenes, can I use either an Association or a Group to have a particular GE/Jasco switch control a particular GE/Jasco outlet?[/quote]No, these switches do not support associations either.

Those don't have to go through the Vera, so I presume that radio distance isn't a problem here; does that sound right?
Device associations do not rely on Vera. But, for the sake of clarity, the devices do have to communicate through the Z-Wave mesh and intermediate nodes, if need be. Associations do not necessarily communicate via direct radio signals.

If we assume switches that do support associations and a linear series of five switches and outlets, each at the end of the other’s radio range, switch1 cannot directly communicate via radio with outlet5 because they are too far apart. However, they can still be associated and operate as expected because switch1 will route its commands to outlet5 through intermediate nodes 2, 3, and 4 in the Z-Wave mesh. But the NIFs, described in my previous post, are not routed.

@integlikewhoa explained it accurately. If you must use this switch as a trigger, you must replace it with a switch that supports Instant Status, like a Leviton Vizia RF+ or a Cooper. You could also use scene controller like a Linear WT00Z-1. Note that this scene controller does not directly switch a load.

OK - thanks to both of you - very clear explanations. I’ll look into some Leviton switches for the areas that will benefit from one. Looks like I have some more work to do…

It does make sense that they work the way they do. Keeps,the cost down. Have you ever considered a cheap android tablet for those control points?

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Those are cheaper (50-60.00) then most switches and can control alot more mounted on the wall.

I picked up a small 4.3 inch tablet for $39, and they have sold for less.

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