Migrating Z-Wave from HomeSeer to Home Assistant (considerations)

Hi all, I’m new to Home Assistant but I’ve been using HomeSeer for 5 years now. I posted a similar post in the HomeSeer forums, but was also hoping to solicit views from the Home Assistant community as well.

I’ve been using HS3-Pi on the HomeSeer Zee S2 for around 5 years now, and I’m concerned about the longevity and future stability/reliability of the old Zee S2, especially since it uses a Raspberry Pi 2 with a microSD card. I have about 35 Z-Wave devices on my Zee S2.

HS3-Pi has largely been reliable and stable for me the past 5 years (barring some teething issues along the way), but to ensure long term stability and reliability of my home automation network, I’ve purchased an Intel NUC and Aeotec Gen5+ Z stick to use as my home automation hub.

I was initially planning on running Home Assistant on the Intel NUC, but there are reports online (see, for example, the HS4 refugee thread) about how HomeSeer is more stable and reliable for operating a Z-Wave network than Home Assistant (though with Home Assistant’s shiny new Z-Wave JS integration, it’s unclear if things will change moving forward).

So before I undertake the painful process of migrating my Z-Wave devices from my Zee S2 to the Aeotec Z stick, I was hoping to solicit views on whether I should run HS4 or Home Assistant on my new Intel NUC/Aeotec Z stick.

I already had previously purchased the HS3-Pi to HS4-Pi upgrade in late 2019, but never upgraded because of fears with stability issues. If I am to understand it correctly, running HS4 on my new Intel NUC would require me to purchase a new HS4 licence?

My considerations are as follows:

  • My apartment is small (about 85 square feet) and I have a relatively small number of Z-Wave devices (at most 35 nodes). Stability and speed of the Z-Wave network on Home Assistant/Z-Wave JS should be ok in this case?
  • It would be costly for me to have to purchase a new HS4 Licence, especially since I already bought the HS3-Pi to HS4-Pi upgrade
  • Continuing to use my Zee S2 is certainly an option (it’s rock solid and I love it), but if it were to crap out on me one day randomly (because of the microSD card) the results would be devastating
  • I mainly use Apple devices and HomeKit now, and I’ve been using HOOBS/HomeBridge on a separate Raspberry Pi 3 (also running on a microSD card) to control my smart home remotely/away from switches. Home Assistant has a direct HomeKit integration, and removes the risk that my Raspberry Pi 3 would suddenly fail too.
  • If I were to install HS4 on my Intel NUC, I would also have to figure out installing HomeBridge on the same Intel NUC to achieve my desired aim of long term stability and reliability
  • Home Assistant and Z-Wave JS are new and scary to me too - having to use a completely new software with no assurances as to reliability has me concerned (whether validly or not)

I would be happy to hear your views, especially if you use the new Z-Wave JS integration and have used HomeSeer. Thank you!

I am just coming back here after being away for 2 years.

The old OZW 1.4 integration was a large part of the reason I left. The newer zwavejs integration has attracted me back. In between, I was over at openHAB using their Z-Wave binding. I also helped there with the binding.

The zwavejs integration, especially of you use zwavejs2mqtt as a control panel, is very impressive. I came across an issue in my testing that ended up being a device needing to be added to the device database. There is a database browser here.

https://devices.zwave-js.io/

As far as I know a network of that size should not be an issue.

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Welcome!

I was on HomeSeer HS3 for years. In my opinion the HS4 upgrade was botched and I saw no future in the product. I tried HS4 and even bought an upgrade license when it went on sale but I decided to switch to Home Assistant.

My advice would be to not overthink it. There will be niggles and problems with any product. That said with Home Assistant the development pace is fast enough to mature the product quickly.

HomeSeer Z-Wave support was excellent. I’m now using Home Assistant Z-Wave JS Add-On and the matching Z-Wave JS Integration. No MQTT for me. All of my 65 nodes (316 entities) are stable and are very responsive. Is there a particular Z-Wave device you are worried that will not be supported?

My work colleagues that were also using HomeSeer are now all over to Home Assistant as well. Be careful about mentioning Home Assistant on the HomeSeer forums as a friend was banned permanantly for just posting a link to the Home Assistant forum. HomeSeer devs must be touchy about the competition. HomeSeer HS3 became stale and HS4 was too little too late in my opinion.

The automation engine in Home Assistant is far more powerful than the one in HomeSeer. I would encourage you to watch the Home Assistant conference (youtube December 2020) talk from Thomas Lovén “Make smarter automations, not more automations”. This presentation was fantastic and helped me bring my automation count down and reliability up. The automation “chooser” in Home Assistant is very powerful.

Let us know if we can help you!

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Hi VPC, thanks for the tips - especially about not overthinking it - I’ve been overthinking every aspect of migrating to a new computer/Z stick and to Home Assistant, constantly trawling through every forum thread discussing Z-Wave JS. It’s good to know I should just give it a shot and see how it goes.

My main concerns are support for Z-Wave device configuration parameters and associations. I rely on modifying the parameters and associations of my Fibaro relays (FGS-212)/dimmer 2 (FGD-212)/RGBW (FGRGBWM-441) to cause my lights and light switches to function correctly. I understand that the Z-Wave JS integration and add on allow configuration of parameters, but not associations. I would have to figure out how to hotswap between the zwavejs2mqtt add on in order to configure the associations (and that’s scary to me).

My other concern is that my older Z-wave non-plus devices which use ZDK libraries <5.X.X, especially battery operated ones (like my Yale lock), may not operate correctly with Z-Wave JS.

And my final concern (gleaned from other esteemed users like @kenm and @marthocoo) is that the performance and stability of my Z-Wave network simply won’t be as good on Home Assistant as it would be on HS3/HS4. It’s great, and truly wonderful, to hear from you that your Z-wave network performance is stable and responsive - here’s to no looking bad once I’m able to start my process of migrating my Z-Wave devices!

I don’t know much about the Fibaros but I have Shelly1s (on WiFi). I accomplish most of what I want using automations instead of built in capabilities. For example when I turn on a fan controlled by a Shelly1 relay other automations kick off in Home Assistant to do other tasks.

I wonder if you could come up with a creative way to not have to use the associations in Z-Wave.

When I converted over I had both HomeSeer and Home Assistant up and gradually moved one of each device over and learned how to configure it etc. I got naming standards for myself together for all of the devices and entities.

Before I knew it 80% was over onto Home Assistant and I just make the final cutover. I’m using a Home Assistant Blue device which has been very stable.

I had been using HSTouch for my wall panels and that was my largest learning curve for how to get the panels to make announcements from Home Assistant. This was the browser_mod integration in HACS that saved the day.

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Wi-Fi (proper spelling) has a high network overhead and is not designed well for battery powered smart home devices.

Eoura

The Home Assistant community has a rich variety of contributors and there is always help and assistance here.

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