Vera Secure, Z-Wave Switch Offline Issue

I have had a Vera Secure running smoothly for about a year and a half, at least to the extent I put in the effort to configure it to my needs. About six months ago the Z-Wave switch for my kitchen would go “offline” even though it still triggered just fine through the Vera interface. When I did this, the Vera would see it as “online” again for about an hour before going back to “offline.” Nothing in the system had changed.

With 7.0.30 and the promising information @rafale77 posted here:

I went ahead and did the update when it was available. I have also run all of the scripts listed in the first few posts of that thread. It seemed to work for a day or two, although my scenes are no longer functional. However, I am now getting “offline” notifications again intermittently for my switch. Does anyone have any idea what is going on?

To add insult to injury, my “service” light is now off on the Vera. I can log into it fine locally, and the app works fine remotely. I cannot log in remotely through the portal, though. The network test in the “Wi-Fi” section of the Vera interface passes just fine too. This was not an issue before the update.

The device can’t be detected or offline for your switch is an indication (assuming the switches are AC powered) that either the vera tried to poll them (polling is still on) or that you sent them a command and they did not respond with an ack. None of the code on the new firmware on their own could do that.
If polling is still on, then the switch should respond. If the polling has indeed be turned off, the vera should not flag the switch to be offline since it never tried to poll it.
Most likely what is going on is that the mesh is somewhat weak and that the signal return from the device to the vera is intermittently missed. (I assume here that the switch work just fine?)
Another thought would be that you may have still polling enabled in your zwave menu? I have had mine disabled for ages and it never stopped the device polling so I did not know what that checkbox did. Maybe it sets the expectation for the luup engine that the devices should have a recent LastPolled time and since you disabled polling that this time is exceeded? If this is the case, maybe try disable it?

I have updated the posts on that thread to discuss the time based scenes and you can revert that part if needed.

@rafale77 thanks for chiming in. The switch works every time when I physically use it, 100%. It also works 100% of the time when I trigger it with Vera, even if Vera shows it as offline. The moment I trigger the switch with Vera, Vera then restores it to being “online” for some amount of time. It used to be almost exactly an hour. After I updated to 7.0.30 the switch would still turn on through Vera, but it never stopped being offline. It was good for a few days after I incorporated your magic, but now it has fallen offline randomly and then back online without intervention once or twice.

What is strange to me is that if the mesh were weak, why would it work just fine for a year and then manifest like this?

The fact that they all work means that your network mesh is at least ok in one direction.
The only thing I can think of which would cause these random devices going offline are missed polls. When the poll is complete, the device comes online again. Why it the polls are failing is the question. It doesn’t look to me like you actually disabled polling since it is the only mechanism by which the UI will set the commfailure flag randomly.

What does the pollsettings variable say on the device in question?

@rafale77 you were correct that the “Poll” setting was checked within the Z-Wave menu. I unchecked that at lunch. I also got the kitchen switch back online by turning it on in the Vera Dashboard. Hopefully that will resolve the issue, I will monitor it and report back.

I am switching my scenes over to Reactor, which I have been in need of doing for quite some time to overcome the basic limitations of the Vera scenes. The only other major hurdle currently is resolving the lack of remote access.

See this example of one of my leviton dimmers for which I have polling disabled viewed from ALTUI. The PollSettings variable is set to 0 and the last time it polled was in 2017. It was probably the date of inclusion of this device since it’s PollOK variable is 1 (only ever got polled once in its life). If you have devices which you want to poll, you will need to tick that checkmark back but make sure that the PollSettings variable in the device is set to 0 for the ones you don’t want to poll. None of my light switch and dimmers need to be polled so I have this set to 0 for all of them.

@rafale77 I installed ALTUI and took a look. My last successful poll on this switch was October 31 2019. The switch has gone offline many times since then. Currently, I have a Reactor scene that turns the switch on at 04:30 every weekday morning. The last few days the switch has gone “can’t be detected” at some point during the day or night, then comes back online at a few seconds after 04:30 since the scene triggers it back on. I have a z-wave repeater to be delivered tomorrow, I will try to add it Sunday between the Vera and the switch to see if that improves anything. I cannot get my head wrapped around why range would be an issue after solid operation for a year, but it’s worth a shot I suppose.

The range may not be static, you may have a noisy neighbor who setup something recently… and is interfering with your zwave device signal.

I also have certain devices going offline. The will work fine for months and then go offline, and back online themselves. When offline, I sometimes can toggle their state from the web interface and it will work, and the status changes to online. While I can’t prove more than a coincidence, it seems to happen to devices that are farther away from controller AND when the utility power blips. I determined this because when I unplug or otherwise disconnect the power to a device and reconnect within a few seconds the device may stay online, but often times it goes offline, and does not reconnect for hours or days. I have sensors from systems (Monnit) and they need 60 seconds of no power to successfully reconnect. That may also be true for zwave. I am not stating this is your issue, just fyi.

I started investigating a zwave repeater also, but all AC powered devices should also be repeaters.

I think I am good in that regard, I am in a single family home. I installed a repeater this morning, the 24th. It was simple and straightforward, no hiccups. The kitchen light has not thrown an alert for being undetected in about 48 hours, so that is already a good streak prior to installing the repeater. We will see what comes of it, thanks for all your help @rafale77.

That is very interesting @FiveNines! This switch is definitely one of the furthest from the Vera, but I have a Schlage keypad doorknob just around the corner from it that has never fussed. My power is very consistent here, but that is not to say that minor surges don’t occur regularly. With the repeater installed almost exactly halfway between the switch and the Vera we will see what happens! I considered adding another wired device like you point out, since they all repeat, but I have no good locations I would use it for and the repeater was only $15 on Amazon.

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