Unsolicited opinion/perspective

I want to first state that I am an extremely happy HA user. I’ve been an advocate for the package and have gotten a number of friends and family to join the community. After 3+ years of frustration with the Z-wave implementation (and/or the Aeotec stick…hard to say which is the culprit) I finally invested a whopping $69 and bought a Vera Edge. My experience with Z-wave has been completely transformed. I’m using the Vera platform in HA (surprised no one has written an integration for it, but its super straightforward to add to configuration.yaml) and it all works flawlessly.

For those of you who have similar frustrations (and I know from this community and the discord chat that there are many of you), I strongly recommend giving this a shot. Vera UI is horrendous, but who cares…just use it to control your Z-wave devices and the only time you’ll ever need to deal with it is when you add another device.

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Your post is timely. I’ve been using HA for 5+ years, and for 3 of those years I’ve been using the Z-wave implementation bundled with HA and I have absolutely had it with how crappy it is. I dread anything I have to do that involves Z-Wave config in HA. Just a few of the problems…

  1. The whole entity management involving z-wave devices is confusing as hell. Renames only seem to work half the time.
  2. You can’t see any feedback about what’s happening without popping open a terminal window and monitoring the logs. Adding a device? No idea if it worked. Deleting? Haven’t a clue. This may be the most infuriating thing about it.
  3. The z-wave options for devices are woefully out of date. A couple years ago I bought a switch that had been on the market for nearly 2 years, was reasonably popular, but there was no way to get the settings for that switch available in HA’s z-wave config without manually adding them to a config xml file. Tons of people complained about this, and as I watched the thread for 8+ months people begged for the settings to be incorporated into the baked-in device handlers (or whatever). But it never happened. Something about the Open Z-Wave code base couldn’t be updated.

I actually came on the forums today to dig around for any improvements/enhancements on the roadmap for Z-Wave configuration in HA; I can’t find any so far, but I did see this post…like I said, timely.

I don’t have a Vera, but I do have a SmartThings v2 hub. I’ve been contemplating going back to that being my Z-Wave/Zigbee device hub, and then using MQTT or whatever the latest HA-SmartThings integration method is to allow HA to control the devices. Purely because the Z-Wave management in HA is such crap. But with 50 Z-wave devices that’s going to be a big undertaking.

I don’t get it… I’ve used zwave for almost 2 1/2 years and have never had an issue.

Renaming was a pain in the beginning but not so much anymore.

I agree with you. I was running two instances of Home Assistant: one HA instance paired with SmartThings and another HA instance using the nortek husbzb-1 USB dongle. Recently, I spent hours just trying to get a few motion sensors paired using the USB dongle and HA. I still wasn’t able to get it working (sensors would pair and disappear after reboot), so I found a SmartThings v2 hub on eBay for $25, switched over to that and connected Home Assistant to SmartThings. I still had troubles pairing with SmartThings as I had to factory reset my sensors (HA usually failed to unpair the sensors), but I’m making much more progress than before. The downside to this approach is that I am dependent on a reliable internet connection, but it was better than spending hours with no progress.

One of the problems I have using the Z-Wave Management panel in Home Assistant (which is much better than the old versions) is that you can press “add secure node” or “remove node” but you don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes. How long do I know if there is an error when adding/removing? I can check the Z-Wave logs, but it is pretty dense and hard to read through. I have to constantly refresh the browser to see if a sensor is removed (usually it isn’t), or reboot. It would be nice if a notification window would appear when a device is unsuccessfully added or removed.

I’m glad there are options with Home Assistant and I don’t have to solely use a USB stick. SmartThings integration with Home Assistant Cloud has been a pain-free experience for me.

I should also add that my experience using Zigbee and Home Assistant is much, much better than Z-Wave. All of my Zigbee light bulbs and sensors paired on the first attempt. Getting Z-Wave management to be user friendly will likely take much more work. I don’t blame the devs for not wanting to deal with Z-Wave…

My initial research last year told me the old Vera Z-wave (not Plus) was good but the software for their Plus was so bad many Vera users started using their Vera hardware as a z-wave hub for HA. That is part of what led me here.
I know somebody who also thought Vera software was bad bought the company to transform it, but I did not think they had released any better software yet.

Personally, I am taking another look at OpenHAB. After their fails adventure with ESH they are working on recovering from those mistakes.

Is the Vera local control or cloud based? Does it require an internet connection to work/

Vera is local control. It does not require an Internet connection.
They do have an optional free cloud service.
Some people find their cloud service slow but, since the software is open source, you can setup your own personal cloud.

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It is a finicky question. The processing is 100% local but unfortunately the vera firmware is built in with a lot of hooks to its cloud servers. I have initiated this very long thread on the vera forum showing how one can neuter the vera from these services and making it also much more stable. Out of the box, the vera will constantly reboot if it has no access to the internet.

I myself also am using HA in combination with the vera but have them both connected in parallel to another controller: openLuup which is a vera like software using the vera as a zwave/zigbee device hub.

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Hi @jmesberg

Do you have an update on how the Vera edge is going. I’m looking to add Zwave devices to my system and I’m trying to decide to buy the Aeotec stick or the Vera Edge.

How responsive do you find the devices on the Vera? Is there any delay between sending a command from the HomeAssistant UI and the device activating or is it instantaneous?