Vera Edge and the newer Gen5 devices from Aeon Labs, the SS6, MS6 and RGBW

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VeraEdge Z-Wave Home Controller

VeraEdge Z-Wave Plus Home Controller

Aeon Labs SS6 packaging 1000x1000

Aeon Labs Z-Wave Plus Smart Switch 6 – Model ZW096-ZWUS

Aeon Labs MS6 packaging 1000x1000

Aeon Labs Z-Wave Plus MultiSensor 6 – Model ZW100-ZWUS

aeon labs led bulb zw098 packaging 1000x1000

Aeon Labs Z-Wave Plus RGBW LED Bulb 9W (70W) Model ZW098-ZWUS

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been working with Aeon Labs and Vera Controls for the past few weeks to figure out why the Aeon Labs Multisensor6, the Smart Switch 6 and the RGBW LED bulbs are having so many problems working with the VeraEdge, a Zwave Plus controller with the same series 500 chip as all Gen5 devices.

Yesterday, Vera Controls revealed that VeraEdge is not yet compatible with any of the new Gen5 devices from Aeon Labs, the aforementioned 3 products.  They are aware of the problem and are working on a new firmware update which is supposed to solve the problems.  We wanted to give all you Vera users a heads up in case you were also having issues as well.

We have tested all 3 Aeon Labs products on Fibaro HCLite, ISY994iZW/PRO IR, CastleOS, Gateway 3.0 from IpDatatel to date, and no issues whatsoever so it is clearly a Vera problem, not the devices.

Anyways, just wanted you all to know!  We will update this post as we get more info on the firmware upgrade, but please also check your Vera’s for it as well.

Have a great day, and thanks for letting us “automate YOUR world!”

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

Using Linear Z-Wave dimmer switches with dimmable LED’s

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Everybody these days is concerned about energy conservation, not only for a green planet but also in their own homes.  One of the easiest things you can do to conserve energy in your home, is convert your existing light bulbs from the horribly inefficient incandescent light bulbs to LED’s or CFL’s.

I have been getting a lot of questions lately regarding the use of LED bulbs with Z-Wave dimmer switches, so I wanted to post some of the results of some tests that I completed recently in my office to help those of you with questions on where to start and what type of bulb and switches to use.  I will expand more in future posts on additional bulbs and switches, but for now I am posting the results of my tests using three common brands of dimmable LED’s (yes you DO need to use “dimmable” LED’s) wired into circuits being controlled by a Z-Wave dimmer switch, Model WD500Z-1 by Linear Corp.

Here are the results of my tests…

1) Cree 6W Dimmable LED (450 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker but hard to control on lower spectrum of wattage (close to off or 5-10%)

2) Philips 8W Dimmable LED (470 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker

– Good control at all dim levels.

3) EcoSmart 9W Dimmable LED (650 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker

– Good control at all dim levels.

Now there is no guarantee that buying these brand of bulbs and these switches will absolutely work for you in your environment, as every home is wired differently and may have other mitigating circumstances, but at least this is something for you to start with. I would recommend that you get one switch and one LED dimmable bulb and hook everything up properly then test to see if it works for you in your home environment and that you are happy with how the bulb and switch work together and with their performance.

These tests were done on my test bench in my office under perfect conditions, I did not do anything but wire up the switches and screw in the LED’s. I have a VeraLite controller as well as HomeSeer but did not set them up within either controller as I wanted an unrestricted unbiased test using a standard GE Z-Wave remote controller and/or and Aeon Labs Minimote, so those were what I used for my tests. That’s not to say you couldn’t improve the step rates and presets with Vera or another controller to improve the performance even more, as I am sure you could.  Also, the more load you add to your final circuit – ie: the more LED bulbs – the better the performance will most likely be as I only used one bulb as noted in each test above to ensure I was giving you tests based upon the worst case scenario. More often than not, multiple bulbs with a total higher load (usually above 40 Watts) than what I used will afford better results and improved dimming than a lower load like I used.  Again, please follow my advice and conduct some tests on your own before going out and buying dozens of bulbs and a bunch of switches only to find out later that they do not work very well in your home.

Good luck on your fight to save the planet and stay tuned for more test results in future posts!  Thanks for letting us “automate YOUR world”!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

 

Using Vera to control X-10 Wireless RF, Blind & Shade Controllers for Vera using X-10

vera3 veralite x10
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The title of today’s post is really two separate subjects but because they were both intermingled together with what I was doing at the time, I am presenting them in one post, as thats how this whole issue came together for me.

 

The first part of the title, “Using Vera to control X-10 Wireless RF”, was the result of some research I had been doing to help out a fellow redditor on the subreddit I am a moderator on, the Home Automation Sub on Reddit.com.  He had a few X-10 door and window sensors in his home but did not use powerline X-10 devices so was limited to X-10 Wireless RF signals.  He bought a VeraLite and was hoping to use Vera to control his X-10 via a CM15A Transceiver/Controller. The Mi Casa Verde Forums had a number of threads relating to this issue such as Plugin for cm15a/cm19a X10 Controllers, and X10 RF devices? but really no standup solution, hence he turned to the Home Automation Sub-Reddit hoping for some answers.  After a week or so, I came to the following conclusions;

 

My research tells me that either the EZX10RF from Smartenit for about $120 or the RFXCOM RFXtrx315 USB 315MHz Transceiver  for about $165 USD would seem to be the way to go for getting Vera to accept and understand X-10 RF signals.  There was some information, as per the links above regarding plug-ins for Vera on the MCV forums, but unless you know something about Linux OS (which I do not) there doesn’t seem to be an alternative to what they are suggesting with either the CM15/CM19 and linux or pogoplug, other than the EZX10RF or the RFXCOM units.  The CM15A/CM19A plug-in would probably be the cheapest but to me not the easiest nor the cleanest if you need to run Linux to do it.

 

Now the second part of the title, “Blind & Shade Controllers for Vera using X-10” came about as I was researching the first part.  I came across a company that I had heard of in the past but had forgotten about called RollerTrol, and I thought some of you Vera users might find some interest in them and their products. They have some unique products, specifically geared to shade motors and blinds and they are where I first came across the X-10 transceiver from RFXCOM that allows you to use X-10 RF directly with Vera via a plug-in. I am not totally familiar with it yet but would be interested to know if anyone else is, and what their experience is with any of the RollerTrol products.

 

They also have a really great webpage on their site, called “Vera And VeraLite Are Powerful Controllers For Blinds & Shades”  that is a series of articles or step-by-step procedures on how to use their shade and blind motors with the RFXCOM transceiver and then hook it all up to a Vera Controller.  Seems like there may be a lot of potential for some of their devices.

 

Let me know what you think. Btw, we sell Vera for a lot cheaper than RollerTrol does!  We have them on sale for 10% off right now, here is a coupon if you need one.

 

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

Using Leviton 2-Wire Z-Wave dimmer switches with dimmable LED’s

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One of the easiest things you can do to conserve energy in your home, is convert your existing light bulbs from the horribly inefficient incandescent light bulbs to LED’s or CFL’s.

Here are some more test results using Dimmable LED bulbs with Z-Wave dimmer switches, specifically using four common brands of dimmable LED’s wired into circuits being controlled by a Z-Wave dimmer switch, Leviton Vizia RF – Model VRI06.  Now the results  are not that great as this is a two-wire dimmer but here goes nonetheless.  Maybe these results will help someone who cannot use a 3-wire dimmer if they do not have neutrals pulled into their switch boxes.

Here are the results of my tests…

1) Cree 6W Dimmable LED (450 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full off ok but brightening to 100% requires holding the dimmer on for a while longer than normal to get to 100%, otherwise it is fine as far as smoothness goes.

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise or humming

– no flicker but hard to control on lower spectrum of wattage (close to off or 5-10%)

2) Philips 8W Dimmable LED (470 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full off ok but brightening to 100% requires holding the dimmer on for a while longer than normal to get to 100%, otherwise it is fine as far as smoothness goes.

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise or humming

– no flicker but hard to control on lower spectrum of wattage (close to off or 5-10%)

– overall the same performance as the Cree above, except it seemed like the dimming steps were somewhat smoother.

3) EcoSmart 9W Dimmable LED (650 Lumens)

– Dimming steps a little rough.

– Dims only to 20% and flickers slightly, you need to hold the dimming a second for full off. Brightening to 100% requires holding the dimmer on for a while longer than normal to get to 100%.

– Resume dim good at only >40%.  Doesn’t seem to work at all below that.

– no discernible noise or humming

3) GE 11W Dimmable LED (800 Lumens)

– Dimming steps OK.

– Dims only to 30% then you need to hold the dimming a second for full off. Will not dim up from off, Brightening to 100% ok only after being switched on, THEN dimmed up.

– Resume dim is good.

– no discernible noise or humming

– Very little flicker if any and good control at all levels.

Now there is no guarantee that buying these brands and these switches will absolutely work for you in your environment, as every home is wired differently and may have other mitigating circumstances, but at least this is something for you to start with. I would recommend that you get one switch and one LED dimmable bulb and hook everything up properly then test to see if it works for you in your home environment.

These tests were done on my test bench in my office under perfect conditions, I did not do anything but wire up the switches and screw in the LED’s. I have a VeraLite controller as well as HomeSeer but did not set them up within either controller as I wanted an unrestricted unbiased test using a standard GE Z-Wave remote controller and an Aeon Labs Minimote, so those were what I used for my tests. That’s not to say you couldn’t improve the step rates and presets within Vera to improve the performance even more, as I am sure you could.

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

Using Evolve Z-Wave dimmer switches with dimmable LED’s

Evolve LRM-AS Z-Wave LED & CFL Dimmer Switch
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Everybody these days is concerned about energy conservation, not only for a green planet but also in their own homes.  One of the easiest things you can do to conserve energy in your home, is convert your existing light bulbs from the horribly inefficient incandescent light bulbs to LED’s or CFL’s.

I have been getting a lot of questions lately regarding the use of LED bulbs with Z-Wave dimmer switches, so I wanted to post some of the results of some tests that I completed recently in my office to help those of you with questions on where to start and what type of bulb and switches to use.  I will expand more in future posts on additional bulbs and switches, but for now I am posting the results of my tests using three common brands of dimmable LED’s (yes you DO need to use “dimmable” LED’s) wired into circuits being controlled by a Z-Wave dimmer switch, Model LRM-AS by Evolve Guest Controls.

Here are the results of my tests…

1) Cree 6W Dimmable LED (450 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker but hard to control on lower spectrum of wattage (close to off or 5-10%)
2) Philips 8W Dimmable LED (470 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker

– Good control at all dim levels.

3) EcoSmart 9W Dimmable LED (650 Lumens)

– Dimming steps good.

– Dims full on/off (0-100%) nice and smooth

– Resume dim good.

– no discernible noise

– no flicker

– Good control at all dim levels.

Now there is no guarantee that buying these brands and these switches will absolutely work for you in your environment, as every home is wired differently and may have other mitigating circumstances, but at least this is something for you to start with. I would recommend that you get one switch and one LED dimmable bulb and hook everything up properly then test to see if it works for you in your home environment.

These tests were done on my test bench in my office under perfect conditions, I did not do anything but wire up the switches and screw in the LED’s. I have a VeraLite controller as well as HomeSeer but did not set them up within either controller as I wanted an unrestricted unbiased test using a standard GE Z-Wave remote controller and an Aeon Labs Minimote, so those were what I used for my tests. That’s not to say you couldn’t improve the step rates and presets within Vera to improve the performance even more, as I am sure you could.

Good luck on your fight to save the planet and stay tuned for more test results in future posts!  Thanks for letting us “automate YOUR world”!

Kelly R. Foster – HA World

What is Home Automation – Z-Wave Lighting Control (Blog Post 7)

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Z‑wave is a wireless protocol of Home Automation that sends RF signals from one device to the next over a frequency of 908 MHz here in the US, and it is the same in Canada and Mexico. Z‑Wave devices are very easily adapted for use in many applications because all Z-Wave products use the same language, thus it is easy for them to communicate with each other as well as they are easy to install, do not require any rewiring, affordable, very reliable with over ten years in the marketplace, and also secure at the same time.  In fact Z-Wave products use the same encryption methods as online banking!  Plus, there are lots of choices for the consumer to choose from as far as styles & colors, not to mention the already 20 million products in homes worldwide manufactured by some of the biggest brand names in the world.

Once you setup your own personal Z-Wave network by pairing or including your first device(s), every system is then automatically given a local or “home” network id by the controlling device, also known as a controller. This addition of devices as you expand your network is actually creating what we call a “mesh” network.  Each and every device added into the network or “mesh” makes your network more robust, increases its range AND its security – as opposed to X-10 for example, where your neighbors can accidentally turn on or off the devices in your home if they are within range on the same leg of the powerline source as you, and on the same house code.

Lighting control is the simplest form of use for z-wave, and especially when using plug-in lamps and/or appliances as they do not require any hardwiring in order for the end user to control them. All you need is a receiving device (we call them modules) to receive the signal, and a transmitter to send the controlling signal to that module. Just plug in your lamp to a Z-Wave Lamp Module, plug the lamp module into a wall outlet and then use a controller or transmitter to control the functions of your new Z-Wave controlled lamp!  The same procedure can also be used with a Z-Wave Appliance Module to control small plug-in appliances such as ceiling fans, air conditioners, radios (remember those good old-fashioned radios that we used to dial in an AM or FM channel in lieu of a fancy name like Pandora and an Internet connection?) and even TV’s.

Now of course if you prefer a more permanent system and want to control your existing ceiling and/or wall lights, you can do that as well by simply replacing your existing light switches with Z-Wave ones. Next time I am going to expand on hardwired lighting control, and on how you can use Z-Wave to control the in-wall lights in your home and some of the important issues in that regard.

Kelly R. Foster – HA World