Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Posted on
Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:48 pm
jparrish offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

I'm trying to make Indigo w/ Z-Stick work in a system of Z-Wave devices along with a Honeywell Lynx L5100 alarm control panel. Indigo w/ Z-Stick works fine as the primary controller. The L5100 also works fine as the primary controller. But, as has been mentioned, at this time Indigo only works as a primary controller--so that means that the L5100 needs to be set up as a secondary controller and to learn the Z-wave device database from the primary controller. The L5100 appears to have the ability to serve as a secondary controller, but I've had no success in getting the L5100 to learn the Z-wave database from the Z-Stick. Anyone out there making this combination work?

Posted on
Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:17 am
theloon offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

It seems like the Z-Stick 2 development is dead, there has been no new firmware since 3.07 which is dated July 2010. The routing also seems to have fundamental and repeatable bugs, one of the main ones being what other folks have seen here, the inability to recover from a missing device and build a new routing table around it.

The device does not need to actually die, just being unreachable for an extended period of time borks the routing on the z-stick.

The indigo 6 software on the another hand is pretty darn rock solid, and is therefore let down by using a z-stick.

It's hard to find a controller at a reasonable price and impossible to find one with the functionality offered by Indigo. Z-stick plus Indigo was an obvious solution, spend the big money on the smart stuff i.e. Indigo software, and then get a pretty dumb controller as they are cheap to build and require a minimal software load.

Something I have been playing with, as I no-longer have the time or patience to mess with z-stick again, is using a Pi with the Z-Wave card in. It can be driven using json and seems to be rock solid when it comes to device connectivity, but the routing table is accessible/viewable so you can see what is going on. The client software on z-wave is years from Indigo, but that is not relevant.

Feels to me that a plugin for Indigo which can drive a Pi-Z-Wave enabled device is a viable and cost effective alternative.

Not only that but it gets past the ranging problems with z-wave by using IP over wifi/fixed, which in my case is a major problem, but in theory you would build islands of them and control them on a domain by domain basis over IP. Z-Wave repeaters are ok, but bridging zones together with them using such a low power RF device is problematic and not robust

By dis-aggregating the control plane from part of the device connectivity you get a lot more options.

Anyone else playing with a potential plugin framework for Pi/Z-Wave using json?

Posted on
Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:11 pm
cjp767 offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

I feel your pain, theloon. No, I'm not as advanced as you and didn't even know something called Pi Z-wave even existed. My workaround for the atrocious firmware on the Z-stick is --- and I can't believe I have to do this --- is to gradually move devices to my Vera and control them using Indigo's Vera Bridge Plugin.

The Vera interface is revolting and impossible to use, to say the least, but since the Indigo developers have created the Vera Bridge plugin, my devices have been much more stable. I love Indigo-- brilliant programming, but have been extremely frustrated with the Z-stick.

Posted on
Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:15 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

I'm not sure that we have enough information to support the theory that the Z-Stick has serious problems with routing tables. I don't recall any users who haven't been able to successfully remove devices that aren't available any more once they've removed the device from Indigo and done a Interfaces->Z-Wave->Remove Failed Devices from Controller. Sometimes it doesn't work the first time so you have to try and define and sync the device again, allow that to fail, then do the command, but it's always worked for us in that scenario.

We're interested to hear more from users that are experiencing this issue (or other unfixable issues).

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Posted on
Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:02 pm
theloon offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

cjp767 - yeah the Indigo guys are awesome to have this plugin, and it's kinda my backup plan at this point too.

Jay - one of the big issues imo with the z-stick is the closed-system model it has. If the firmware is available as source code then please forgive my mistake. However I do recall reading a post on the subject of the routing table where it seems that you guys have no direct access to manipulate it, only to issue certain calls to ding it for a subset of functions.

If we can use something like Pi/Z-wave we can move in the direction of an open-source community supported model, which access to potentially unlimited developers as a result. With Indigo not being the bottleneck and it being constantly updated/bug fixed etc, perhaps it is time to consider if we can get an effective 'whitebox' hardware solution for a controller..

:)

Posted on
Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:21 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Unfortunately, without some concrete and identifiable problems that are unsolvable, we don't see any problem.

Just because we can't directly manipulate the routing tables doesn't mean that the functionality provided by the Z-Stick doesn't work right. In fact, I'm pretty sure that nobody has direct access to the routing tables - I believe that's part of the proprietary nature of the Z-Wave protocol/chip set as imposed by Sigma. Aeotec can't open their firmware because they're under NDA and unavailable to publish any specifics about the Z-Wave protocol.

So, the closed-system model is in fact the nature of Z-Wave as it is supplied by Sigma. We really hope that ZigBee takes off because it's somewhat more open (though the application-layer profiles are still proprietary AFAIK).

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Posted on
Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:40 pm
cjp767 offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Maybe rather than picking on the Z-Stick, it may be more correct to pick on the Z-wave network itself--- I have some devices that occasionally do not "ack" and the network becomes busy (lots of color slices on the Indigo main window). When that happens, the whole Z-wave network comes to a screeching halt.

The devices that do not ack are sometimes far from the Z-stick, and sometimes within 10 feet and line-of-site. This seems to indicate that the Z-stick isn't searching for alternate routings when the "normal" routing fails. So, it's easy to blame the Z-stick firmware, but I may be having some interference in the network itself. Network interference might be the issue.

Posted on
Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:42 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Don't get me wrong - if there is a problem with the Z-Stick, we want to know. However, I don't want users to be concerned about it unless we have some specific issues (preferably reproduceable but a preponderance of evidence would suffice). Then we can do whatever is necessary to address the issues.

We just haven't seen the evidence that points to a problem.

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Posted on
Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:23 pm
jeremyjjr offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

'm not sure that we have enough information to support the theory that the Z-Stick has serious problems with routing tables. I don't recall any users who haven't been able to successfully remove devices that aren't available any more once they've removed the device from Indigo and done a Interfaces->Z-Wave->Remove Failed Devices from Controller.


I have three device entries in my Z-stick which all relate to the same failed Fibaro door sensor (since replaced). However, the 'Remove Failed Devices ...' just doesn't touch them. Not sure if this counts as evidence or not, but I'm just keen to find a way to remove them!

Code: Select all
  Z-Wave                          found module included in controller with no matching device (missing or disabled): 013 - Binary Sensor (routing)
  Z-Wave                          found module included in controller with no matching device (missing or disabled): 016 - Binary Sensor (routing)
  Z-Wave                          found module included in controller with no matching device (missing or disabled): 019 - Binary Sensor (routing)


J.

Posted on
Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:35 pm
matt (support) offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

The Z-Stick doesn't flag a failed node for removal until someone (Indigo) tries to communicate with the node and it fails. So to get it to that point temporarily create a new device and select those node IDs (one at a time) and Define them. It will fail, of course, but then once you've done that the removal menu item will probably work.

Image

Posted on
Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:07 pm
jeremyjjr offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Thanks Matt! Worked a treat!

Posted on
Mon May 05, 2014 2:14 pm
jmb offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Aeon tech support told me there is NO WAY to update Z Stick firmware using a Mac. Not to state the obvious, but I'm concerned because many Mac users tend to have all Mac households - what can customers due to update Z stick firmware? If there is truly no way to for Mac users to update Z Stick firmware, Z stick seems like a very odd choice for software built for Mac users :?:

Posted on
Tue May 06, 2014 9:29 am
matt (support) offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

We're trying to contact them to see if they'll work with us to provide a solution for updating on the Mac. You can try using mono or wine to update it, but the user experience and steps to do so are likely not pretty.

Note though that the Z-Stick is pretty mature and isn't likely to require frequent updating. Norm (MacHomeStore.com) ships newer Z-Sticks that seem to have a good and reliable firmware version. As to why we recommend them for Indigo, the the Z-Stick has proven to be a reliable controller at a good price. If you have an alternative recommendation, then we would love to hear it. To my knowledge there aren't many USB controllers that are battery operated that allow for easy remote inclusion (trying to relocate a Mac to a wall switch is a pain). The EZController (aka the Z-Troller) is also a good and very solid controller. It is more expensive though and it requires a USB to serial adapter cable. I recommend either of them.

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Posted on
Tue May 06, 2014 9:37 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Well, truth be told, if upgrading firmware from the Mac was a requirement we wouldn't be supporting Z-Wave or INSTEON. AFAIK there are no Z-Wave USB dongles which have a Mac app to upgrade the firmware, much less one that meets the other much more important usability requirements outlined by Matt.

INSTEON is even worse - their firmware is not field upgradable at all.

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Posted on
Tue May 06, 2014 11:57 am
jmb offline
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Re: Aeon Labs Z-Stick Series 2 (DSA02203)

Thanks Matt and Jay for the replies.

I am in the process of replacing Insteon with Zwave devices. I would be interested to know what Aeon can come up with for you for updating the Z stick. If worse comes to worse, there must be a way to do it through the Terminal (famous last words).

I can also see that updating the firmware may not happen often, but I can easily foresee a scenario in which Zwave protocols get updated incorporating some new functionality that the Z stick can handle, but with a firmware update. I'm really trying to avoid having to replicate / transfer controllers down the road.

I like the Z stick and I agree that as far as price and performance go it would be hard to beat.

Thanks also for suggesting alternatives.

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