Zwave for Installers

Hi All,
I wanted to start a thread for those of us who install multiple Zwave networks and struggle to make them reliable.
I have a pile of Zwave USB sticks, Think Essentials, Homeseer, and made many other purchases to make the setting up a Zwave Network an easy process. I have had many problems using Vera as the setup tool and as a result rebuilt my systems too many time to count.
Yesterday I bought a Leviton USB controller and downloaded their FREE professional installer PC Software and all I can say is At Last!
It could use a few improvements but overall I have not seen anything that compares. The setup, including the unique Zwave number, is saved to file and allows one to create a new Master Controller in seconds…imagine never having to go through the setup process again.
Look at the screenshot and you will see an easy way to name, track, associate, check signal strength, check routing, and lots more. Everything that a professional needs to setup and test the network. The USB stick can be bought for around $70 dollars and the program is free.
I would like to be able to transfer the primary control back to Vera but that’s where I am stuck.

MCV if you see this thread…please consider allowing installers to use this software and then make the transfer when they are done…it would save so much time and effort to have this kind of tool while setting your system up.

If anyone has been able to transfer information from the Leviton Stick to the Vera…well Speak Up!

Many thanks to Leviton for the great software!

Regards
Tim

I have the Vizia handheld remote…after setting up my Zwave network on my PC I transferred the primary role to the Vizia Handheld…all the settings and labels came through fine. Once in the primary role I was able to share the network with Vera using the ZWave / Advanced / Copy Zwave Network from a Master Controller…
Works but you have to go through and add all the lables back in. Controllers all come through incorrect and cannot be deleted…
It’s too messy…must be a better way.
Tim

If you try this software you will love it’s capabilities…there is lots to be learned here

Thanks for the review, count me in as one who would need this desperately to play nice with Vera. I have recently gone all Leviton(Monster)!

I am hoping it wouldn’t be that difficult for MiCasaVerde.

I’ve been using the Leviton Installer tool to set up isolated mini networks for testing. Pretty quick indeed.

As a secondary controller / tool to Vera, it has never worked great for me, as a lot of the device data appears to be missing. When you start from scratch, as primary, like @TimAlls, it works a lot better. I’m using it with a ControlThink USB stick, but I’m not sure it matters.

The latest version appears to have some more device awareness. The tool does have its stability issues.

@TimAlls,
I haven’t tried transferring the network to Vera from within the Installer software. But I have from ThinkEssentials quite a while back, and yeah, not a route I’d recommend, as I believe I had to redo a lot of the labels too.

Good Morning for all !

I’m with many devices buyed for tests…and I’m searching for partner to make a change of ideas more fast by msn or skype maybe…I have a big project (appartment) to install and would like install zwave in that.
yesterday I slept very later…I do not understand the concept of scene controller, in vera3 how can active a scene or associate it to a scene controller ?
I have seen leviton has very good products…and I’m thinking in buy a leviton handheld controller for tests. has leviton a controller like vera3 ?

if someone interest in hear my project, we can adjust a price for the consulting.
thanks !

Vera will see the push of a button on a scene controller and you can use that as a trigger to run a Vera scene. Depending on the controller, Vera may actually program (part of) the scene into the controller, so the devices are controlled directly by the scene controller. E.g., when using Leviton scene/zone controllers with Leviton switches/dimmers etc., most of the programming ends up in the devices. See also this post perhaps, which describes (part of) the process.

[...] has leviton a controller like vera3 ?
Some quick terms regarding Leviton control options: [url=http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,10963.msg77826.html#msg77826]VRCPG-SG[/url]; VRC0P; Leviton USB stick / ControlThink USB stick + Leviton Installer Tool or ThinkEssentials.

Sometimes I have similar problems ;D
In regards to the software stability…I have had it shut down on occasion so yes it has bugs.
On the plus side is the network information you get:
How many hops to a device
How many milliseconds does it take for the message to arrive
Test the Zwave network and a REAL optimizing of the mesh
Set the fade rates on scenes
Drag and Drop associations
Setup and save your network
Save templates if you do repeat jobs

Again…this is for those of us who do more than just one location, but I can see this software as a must have for large homes with lots of dimmers.

Note: Do NOT confuse this with the Think Essential software by Leviton as well. It is a waste of money IMHO. The Think Essential USB adapter will not work with the installer software! The correct adapter will say “Leviton” on it and it is the only compatible adapter for this software.

Regards
Tim

On another note…
The Leviton adapter is compatible with the “InControl” software for the Android…a free and 10 dollar program that gives remote control of your zwave devices on your android. This requires a PC server to be setup…so it’s only for those of us that have a pc running 24/7.

Regards
Tim Alls
AllSeas Yachts

Maybe it depends on the version of the Installer tool and the firmware in the ThinkStick (and/or other factors), but as said, I’ve been running the Installer tool with the ThinkStick.

Maybe it depends on the version of the Installer tool and the firmware in the ThinkStick (and/or other factors), but as said, I’ve been running the Installer tool with the ThinkStick.[/quote]
I missed that…interesting. It didn’t work for me and on the Leviton Forum is says that they are not compatible! Looks like lady luck is shining on you :wink:
I bought the Think Essential software package last week thinking I could use the USB adapter that came with it for Leviton’s Installer Software if I didn’t like Think Essentials…nice thought but it didn’t work!
I just want to share what I am doing so that others won’t repeat my mistakes!

Regards
Tim Alls
AllSeas Yachts

Quote from Leviton Rep on their forum:
Can I use the ControlThink USB ThinkStick with the Vizia RF + Installer Tool software?

Correct Answer by Leviton Technical Representative on May 3, 2011 12:42 PM
No, the USB sticks are configured differently.

Update with more information…

After using the Leviton Installer program for an entire week and setting up three separate Zwave networks I have a few obsevations to report…I might be talking to myself here ;D

I really believe developers of this software understood the difficulties of a large network with areas that are separated by distance.
I give it an A rating on being easy for anyone to use on a basic level.
I give a C rating on it’s ability to transfer saved Networks to other devices.
It is difficult or impossible to regain primary control once you have transfered the primary role to a handheld device.
You should save the Network File in the primary role so that you can restore it…lesson learned
Areas do not get transfered to the Leviton Remote…but the remotes work perfect after the transfer including 4 button controllers

Transfer to the Vera is only possible through the handheld remote and the Vera has to be included in the network…One will spend much time reworking the setup after the transfer.

I still believe that it would be a worthwhile project for MCV to program Mios to accept the incoming data from the program…It would save Vera Users hours and hours of time in setting up their Zwave network and allow hard copies to be made for easy reinstalls after the latest firmware behaves badly forcing the users to rebuild from scratch…food for thought.

Regards
Tim Alls

As hinted at, it depends on the firmware versions. You must have 5.02 or 4.52 (not anything older like 4.30, or newer like 4.53) on the ThinkStick and it works (for me). It appears to be the same (Wayne Dalton 0001478 Rev. A) hardware as the Leviton stick, as far as I can tell.

Regarding the primary role shifting, you must have VRCPG firmware 2.54 and a recent version of the Installer Tool (say 1.1.0.0). Role shifting is then supported between Installer Tool and VRCPG. I’m also able to shift roles between Installer Tool and Vera, as well as from Vera to VRCPG. But from VRCPG to Vera appears to fail. (BTW, ThinkEssentials allows you to just force the primary role; so you can always use that (carefully). Same in Vera when using 3.20.)

Regarding the areas, did you select to receive those on the VRCPG when you did the transfer of the configuration data?

Seems odd you are asking MCV to support a hack/workaround and not just make UI5 better… almost like you’d rather have them spend time making/supporting a hack than doing what they should be… making UI5 better for everyone.

You can use backups if something goes wrong.

There’s the Z-Wave network information (HomeID, NodeIDs, device info, etc.), and then there’s the configuration information (scenes, areas, etc.). The former is standard Z-Wave and can be transferred between controllers (i.e. include as a secondary, controller shift, etc.). I’m assuming @TimAlls is floating the idea of support for the latter, which, I think, is vendor specific and possibly proprietary.

You can use backups if something goes wrong.[/quote]
FWIW, as a data point: I have not once rebuilt my network.

Imagine you are responsible to install and support 50 projects that use Vera as a primary Zwave controller and every install is different…every install has many dimmers and many in wall 4 button controllers. At the end of each install you must teach a low tech person to operate the system.
That thought for me is more like a nightmare! My phone would never stop ringing! As an installer you can see the beauty of the Leviton Software…the Zwave testing…routing…signal strength…ability to restore networks…create new primary controllers…on and on.
If MCV would move toward the Leviton Software in the setup of a Zwave Network then installers might look at using the unit as a Master Controller in new home construction which would shoot their sales through the roof…that would give them more money to work out the issues with UI5! ;D
As it is now, this unit will remain a toy more for people that can afford to tinker with it for their own personal useage…IMHO of course!
Are their any installers out there that disagree? Let’s here from you.
Regards
Tim Alls

[quote=“TimAlls, post:16, topic:171921”]Imagine you are responsible to install and support 50 projects that use Vera as a primary Zwave controller and every install is different…every install has many dimmers and many in wall 4 button controllers. At the end of each install you must teach a low tech person to operate the system.
That thought for me is more like a nightmare! My phone would never stop ringing! As an installer you can see the beauty of the Leviton Software…the Zwave testing…routing…signal strength…ability to restore networks…create new primary controllers…on and on.
If MCV would move toward the Leviton Software in the setup of a Zwave Network then installers might look at using the unit as a Master Controller in new home construction which would shoot their sales through the roof…that would give them more money to work out the issues with UI5! ;D
As it is now, this unit will remain a toy more for people that can afford to tinker with it for their own personal useage…IMHO of course!
Are their any installers out there that disagree? Let’s here from you.
Regards
Tim Alls[/quote]

As a newbi to Z Wave, I bought the Vera 3 thinking it was a solid controller and user friendly enough for me to get working. I feel your pain, as I spend many frustrating hours banging away at this thing to get the simplest functions to work. I am not a luup coder, and frankly don’t care to be one. I started a thread appealing to MCV to rewrite and organize their docs to give detailed step by step directions for operating the Vera 3. I don’t think they will take this seriously. I’m now looking at the Homeseer Center 2 as a possible controller.

Like you said, MCV should understand there is a huge non professional market for controllers. I am in China, and my HA project has generated a lot of interest. My project is far from finished, but already I have a company requesting me to design their security and automation systems for their new Technology Park starting construction in Feb. This a several acre complex, multiple office buildings and even includes an executive VIP villa complex. They want it done, send us a bill. What will I use for controllers? At this point it won’t be Vera.

While no doubt Vera is a powerful capable controller, it is not usable if I have to spend a lifetime getting it all to work.

What steps are you using to shift between Installer Tool and Vera? Right now, Vera is primary. The Installer Tool won’t pick up my newest Scene Controller that was added after the VRUSB. (Well, it was sort of added - but I can’t do anything with it and it is greyed out, as are some other devices).

I have a backup of both Vera and the Installer Tool file, but I don’t feel like crashing everything at the moment when I click “Controller Shift!” ;D

Also, when shifting back to Vera, does Vera remember all the DeviceID/NodeID mappings? So DeviceIDs don’t change? And what happens with locks? Do they have to be re-included with the new primary, or do the encryption keys get transferred?

I did upgrade to a Vera3 (from Vera2) without issues. I’d just like a little more control over routes and test signals, since Vera seems to do a heal every other night now, and I can’t figure out why. (It isn’t a huge deal, since it will complete now with the faster process/more memory.)

To shift primary role to IT:
Vera: [tt]Setup[/tt] > [tt]Z-Wave Settings[/tt] > [tt]Advanced[/tt] > [tt]Controller shift[/tt]
IT: [tt]Join Existing Network[/tt]

To shift primary role to Vera:
Vera: [tt]Setup[/tt] > [tt]Z-Wave Settings[/tt] > [tt]Advanced[/tt] > [tt]Copy Z-Wave network from a master controller[/tt]
IT: [tt]Transfer Primary Role[/tt]

I had Z-Wave firmware 4.52 on both Vera and the Leviton stick / CT stick. (It doesn’t appear to work if you have 5.02 on the stick / mismatch in firmware versions(?).)

Also, when shifting back to Vera, does Vera remember all the DeviceID/NodeID mappings? So DeviceIDs don't change?
It appears so. The NodeIDs shouldn't have changed; she just receives the same ones back. And presumably because these are existing devices, the DeviceID doesn't change either.
And what happens with locks?
I haven't tried (yet).

I haven’t tried (yet).[/quote]
Quickly tried a few things last night:

Vera Lite (primary) -> IT (secondary), followed by controller shift: Vera Lite can still operate the lock.
IT (primary) -> Vera 2 (UI4, secondary): Vera 2 cannot operate the lock.
Controller shift back from IT to Vera Lite: strange stuff going on at the Z-Wave level; will have to re-try.