Z-wave and install

Putting this in social as I guess it is just conversation, looking for input.

My home is fully automated. Every switch, fan, thermostat, light or other is z-wave and I have zigbee motion sensors inside and out that orchestrate light and device operation. It all works and I never really tinker with it (not a hobby as much as a quality of life thing). I don’t use tablets, as the home knows what I am doing and sets things up accordingly. I have a phone interface, but use it only when I want to override something (rare).

I control it all with HS3. I was considering moving to HA but have a couple of concerns.

Some folks on the forums indicate that HA Z-wave start and usage is slow and limited. Is the HA z-wave ready for bulletproof, year over year use?

My second concern is the ways to install HA. I am a retired former sys admin. The install options for HA seems really really odd. I assume a normal install is what they are calling “supervised”??? I get the impression they want me to put an OS on my home automation server then run HA as a virtual guest OS. Why? I don’t mind sticking with the mandated OS (Debian), but the attempt to scare potential users off of installing the product normally has me scratching my head. I mean, I was ready to give it a test run until I got to the documentation. They make it out to be more complex than setting upa a LAMP stack server from scratch.

My home automation server typically runs headless and does not run a GUI, so I typically want to run services that I can manage via SSH. Any input on the push for running as a virtual guest OS would be welcome.

There’s been three different Z-Wave integrations so far. The latest one, Z-Wave JS, is very different to the previous two and feedback from those that have switched is that it’s a lot faster.

Well, what’s normal…

You’ve really got two sane options:

Home Assistant OS: Run it in a VM or a dedicated machine
Home Assistant Container: Run it in Docker

If you know (or want to learn) Docker then use Container. If you just want an “appliance like experience” then use HAOS in a VM.

Stay away from Supervised, it’s a trap for the unwary.

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I second that recommendation.

if you are minimally computer/linux savvy and want to have your home automation server as just another app running on your usual server machine then run the Container install.

Docker really isn’t that hard to understand once you get the hang of the syntax for deploying the containers. And updates/maintenance are a breeze.

And you will never get into the situation of having a HA that is “not supported” or even worse you won’t be able to update because your system is “unhealthy”.

as far as the OS install recommendation that is because the HA team wants to try to make HA accessible to a wider audience who know virtually nothing about OS management. It’s the “make the easy” concept.


I agree and I prefer to use the official developers’ version of zwavejs2mqtt as a control panel with WS Server and the zwavejs Integration. I have modified the HA frontend to be able to displat the zwavejs2mqtt panel when needed.

I came over from HS3. You won’t regret it. Are there differences and some steep learning curves - yes. There is so much in HA. As the marketing joke goes “there’s an app for that”. In HA there’s an integration for that. I use SSH, Samba and the gui. Different things work better and easier (I’m not a sys-admin so don’t have the experience you do) .I did have to replace my thermostats. The 2gig (RT) CT-100’s and CT-100+ z-wave thermostats I could never get to work. I switched to ecobee 3 lite. The work but not happy that they are cloud based. The setup of thermostats is dead simple in HA.

I have 89 z-wave devices and with Z-wave js they have never been faster. I don’t use double/triple tap and the rest. My memory isn’t good enough to remember which lights are programmed with what. The ability to integrate stereo equipment is very easy - support for Global Cache.

There are a lot of updates unlike HS3/4. It is improving and changing at a phenomenal rate. This may be a downside for you. The forum support is incredible. Some incredibly knowledgeable people who give freely of their time.

I run HAOS in a VM. It is running on an old supermicro 1/2 depth server. It is rock solid and the same as I ran HS3 on. I run Ubuntu 20.04 and it is headless. I stood my initial instance of HA up on my desktop so I could keep things running while I switched over. When I had everything converted, I moved the VM to the Server. When converting the automations, I did a lot of brute force and stupidity such as one automation for on and one for off for lights, knowing I could fix this later as I got up the learning curve.

Hope this helps on your conversion.

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What are you using for z-wave and zigbee radios?

As great as HA is as a project and as much fun you can have with it, one has to be realistic. In the situation you described, there’s only one advise I can give you - and this is only my personal opinion and others might differ (especially here on the HA forums), but - don’t do it.

If you’re happy with HS3 and it does what you want it to do, then keep it. HA is a project, not a product. It will require tinkering to get to the point you currently are with your install, possibly a lot. It is going to be a constant game of catch up, update after update, breaking change after breaking change. Yes it got better over the years (a lot better), but it’s still a very far shot from a setup and forget system. It’s a system that requires constant attention and upkeep. Things like this will happen. It’s just the nature of this project.

Now that sounds very negative. But it’s all relative. I don’t want to drive you away from HA by any means. I just be sure to see both sides of the medal. I love HA. I do because I known what I got myself into and I like messing around with it (I’m a developer in my ‘normal’ life). It’s a hobby for me and many others too. And HA is awesome at that. But if you’re looking for a low maintenance fire and forget system, then HA isn’t going to provide this. Keep this in mind before moving over. Now if you’re looking for a platform for tinkering and DIY, then HA is definitely the way to go and will suck you into an interesting and addicting (and time consuming) new hobby :wink:

You can get things relatively maintenance free with HA and you can install it without all the Supervisor and Docker stuff. It’s just a regular Python app after all. And zwave-js is just a NodeJS app. But doing so comes with strings attached and limitations. So it might not be what you’re looking for.


Generally USB sticks are used but Z-Wave offerings depend on your world region. In what country are you located?

Now this is some sage advice. I’m also an HS user who is prospecting HA and I can attest to @HeyImAlex’s “this is a project not a product” statement.

It is MUCH closer to a product than openHAB, for instance. The question is do you want a product or a project like HA that listens & responds to user concerns? openHAB, in my experience, ignores may user concerns.

I’ve not worked with openHAB, but in my opinion; 100% the statement holds true for HomeSeer.

One example. After 700 Series Z-Wave devices started appearing everywhere, the OH developers broke backward compatibility on their development releases. This broke device database updates for Z-Wave. The lead developer basically said I needed to wait 3 months for the next stable release before I could use the newer devices. There was no advance notice to the users or the Z-Wave developer before the breakage.

Earlier in the year, they renamed the master repo to main without notifying the developer. We discovered it months later. I worked quite closely with the developer on some of the database maintenance & migration to a new site.

Okay, some sage advice. Though I am not looking for a project, I don’t mind one. Though I was always far better at Perl than Python and have programed in at least six other languages, I don’t mind seeing how things work.

I took a hard look at running HA natively along with the z-wave node app, and decided that the rapid pace of development made that a fools errand.

I have stood up a simply Linux box and installed the Docker images for HA and Z-wave. I will put a few devices on and test.

Some questions and answers:

Answers: I am in the US. As to why I am looking for a change, well home automation is changing. I want a system that will be Matter ready sooner versus later as I think that will be the unified future of automation. I also want more control over complex events and deeper “if then” layers for home actions (motion combined with time of day, temperature etc). I do these things now, but the HS interface has some real limits.


I see that HA needs you to run your own z-wave server along side it. The most common appears to be a zwavemqqt translation product. Is it simply using mqqt or is HA getting z-wave events live?

I need to get my head around Docker as far as backup and restore (where are my files?). In time I will figure it out, but I am at an initial loss as to what is essential to backup and then how you would restore that if you wiped the container and started over.

I will figure these things out, but am currently stuck waiting for another z-wave USB stick for my test system.

If you haven’t seen the HomeSeer HS4 Refugee thread, it contains lots of, IMO, good information.

Actually with the addons or the zwavejs2mqtt Docker container you can use websockets to get the events live. Here are a couple of screenshots from my test server.


I just prefer using the zwavejs2mqtt control panel for devices.

There is backup in the GUI and in ssh - ha backup create. You can write an automation that will periodically back your system up. I have it done 3 times a week. You do have to physically download them. I haven’t written an automation to do it yet. I also make a tar of the config directory every 6 hours and move it to my NAS daily. This is to protect me from myself and losing automations.

I use z-wave js - an add-on like zwavejs2mqtt and both use z-wave js to handle the nodes. z-wave js is rock solid and is getting better all the time.

That would be need to be dome from within the Docker container using docker exec.

Yeaaah, well, about that… There have been some serious regressions on that front lately. See freshcoasts post here about the versions of zwavejs and zwavejs2mqtt to avoid.

I think that is just with the addons. I prefer to use the official builds from the developers instead of someone else’s (HA dev or community) build.

The addons are the same thing.