Switching to HA…incrementally

I’ve been on SmartThings and ready to make the jump. I eventually plan to get HA Yellow, but that is not available until 2023. In the meantime, I’m thinking about getting started with a spare RPi 3B+. I have no ZigBee devices, but do have Z-Wave devices. For those, I think I’ll keep using SmartThings as a Z-Wave bridge until the Aeotec Z-Pi 7 is available again at which point I’ll use it on my RPi 3 until I get the HA Yellow.

I also use Homebridge on an RPi Zero, but it looks like I’ll be able to reclaim that since HA has HomeKit integration.

When I switch from the RPi to HA Yellow, it seems I’ll be able to transfer my configuration using snapshots.

Before I start down this path, I wanted to solicit any feedback for things I might have wrong or additional things for me to consider.

Any thoughts? TIA!

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I ran a dual setup for awhile the way you are planning - leaving zigbee and zwave devices on Smartthings using the Smarthings home assistant integration for some time before purchasing the zigbee and zwave USB sticks to run the devices direct (and more importantly, local) through Home Assistant. It was a good way to gradually learn everything and try out Home Assistant before fully moving, but is dependent still on the Smartthings cloud which is less then ideal for a long term solution.

I created this thread and others posted input as well, I would definitely take a look at it for some ideas.

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Id advise using your ‘im not yet using zigbee and ZWave in HA yet’ time to research exactly which zigbee and ZWave implementation you want to use.

For Zigbee you have ZHA and Zigbee2MQTT and a few others and for ZWave you have ZWaveJS and Zwavejs2mqtt (id heavily suggest Zwavejs2mqtt in this case) read about them and make a decision on which you like then stick to the advice in that implementations instructions about which sticks you will run. You will find there are very strong reccommmendations. Stepping outside of the reccommmendations will lead to trouble in the future.

Then once you have that figured out and your migration is planned. You will need to move the devices faster than you expect.

When you build out your new zigbee / ZWave networks, it is best practice to build repeaters first from the coordinator out, joining each device in place.

When you do that you knock the legs out of the repeater mesh under your old SmartThings implementation. So suddenly you’re going to be in a hurry to finish. Either prepare the family for a few days of it not working or plan on doing the actual moves quickly.

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Thank you. I read through that post and a few others linked from it.

Thank you. I saw the Z-Pi 7 module is supported by the general HA supported Z-Wave controller link provided on the Z-Wave JS page (although it did recommend using sticks instead of modules), but couldn’t find a hardware list for Zwavejs2mqtt. Am I looking in wrong place?

I assume you’re suggesting Zwave2mqtt would be better since it includes the mesh management tools. Do I have that right?

It seems that I’m coming in at an interesting time as HA is bringing on Dominic to focus on Z-Wave JS improvements (see the latest HA release party on YouTube). I may just grab some popcorn and see how it plays out throughout 2022 before plinking down more money on Z-Wave controller(s). :wink:

You got most of what I m suggesting.

Stick, not hat. You can move the stick to another computer or pc or whatever if you decide to move away from a pi. You can’t move the hat. I’ve had to boot my stick on my pc three times since I started for various maintenance since last October.

Zwavejs2mqtt because of the console, yes. But JS2MQTT Uses ZWaveJS so you’re using the same stuff anyway, why not have the added benefit of the console?

The move is a pain but I HIGHLY recommend doing it sooner than later.

No matter what happens with zwavejs2mqtt or zwavejs, if you get the zwave stick now you will be far more “future proof” then relying on Smartthings. Definitely use the zstick as recommended by @NathanCu over the zipi7, you have far more options running on any machine with the zstick. I run home assistant on an old Dell Optiplex, and use an aetoec zstick with zwavejs2mqtt.

I know there’s a lot of confusion around zwavejs vs zwavejs2mqtt. They both use the same zwavejs driver though and either will work with the same zstick without needing to change hardware if you need to switch between them down the road. The dilemma with choosing though is that zwavejs is the"official" addon, while zwavejs2mqtt is an “unofficial” community addon. Community addons are subject to being dropped or unsupported in the future more so than official addons. This exact scenerio happened with the portainer community addon suddenly being dropped recently. However, as I write this, zwavejs2mqtt has more features, which include setting zwave associations and firmware updates. The developers keep saying that all this will be added to the zwavejs addon “in the future”, but it’s been a year and still not there yet. So, you really need zwavejs2mqtt as you will eventually trip into a situation where you want to do something you can’t do with just zwavejs.

Even if zwavejs2mqtt becomes unsupported down the road as an addon though, you would be able to switch to zwavejs at that point. Or, zwavejs2mqtt is used by many people who don’t even use Home Assistant, and could be installed standalone with docker (this is how I run it by the way) and integrated with mqtt, which is a very universal protocol not going anywhere anytime soon.

All that being said, once you are comfortable with Homeassistant running the dual Smartthings setup, my advice would be get a zstick and install zwavejs2mqtt.

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@mwav3 and @NathanCu I’m about a month in with Home Assistant and picking it up quickly. I went ahead and got an Aeotec Z-Stick 7 and configured it with zwavejs2mqtt. It seems to be working great. Thanks again for your recommendations getting going!

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MY original was Smartthings but a friend and I talked and he said that HA would be a much better situation for me… I didn’t know a thing about HA but went with it… it was hard for me, still is at times BUT it’s a great switch!! It took a year but I have finally and happily unplugged both Alexa and Smartthings hub 2 weeks ago… Couldn’t be happier!

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Agreed. But, I will say the Alexa integration with HA is way better than the workarounds I had to do with ST. You should give it a look!

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Thank you! I think I’ll give it a look to see. What can it hurt?