GE Light Switches - ZWave vs Zigbee
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18 posts in this topic

So I've noticed over the past month the price of GE switches has gone up at Lowes, and the box changed from a green stripe to a red one.  I figured it was just part of the typical device upgrade cycle, and a way to increase prices.

But tonight, I actually paid attention and noticed that the new version (the red stripe) is actually Zigbee instead of Zwave. 

I have over 60 devices on my Iris system, and I'm not really sure I always know which is ZWave and which are Zigbee, but it does make me nervous when something like this changes.  Why make the switch?  If I add Zigbee switches to my system, how will that impact my Zwave switches?

I also noticed only the old ADD ON switches for 3 ways were available..  Do those older ADD On switches work with both ZWave and Zigbee?

 

Thanks

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21 minutes ago, 617Shawnee said:

So I've noticed over the past month the price of GE switches has gone up at Lowes, and the box changed from a green stripe to a red one.  I figured it was just part of the typical device upgrade cycle, and a way to increase prices.

But tonight, I actually paid attention and noticed that the new version (the red stripe) is actually Zigbee instead of Zwave. 

I have over 60 devices on my Iris system, and I'm not really sure I always know which is ZWave and which are Zigbee, but it does make me nervous when something like this changes.  Why make the switch?  If I add Zigbee switches to my system, how will that impact my Zwave switches?

I also noticed only the old ADD ON switches for 3 ways were available..  Do those older ADD On switches work with both ZWave and Zigbee?

 

Thanks

The Zigbee switches are not a replacement of Z-Wave but instead an enhancement to the GE/Jasco product line.  Like Access said they report energy and are rock solid but they cost a little more. The Z-Wave switches are still being sold. They will have no impact on your mesh.  The add on switches will work with both and you can see what type of device you have in the app under devices, more, product information.

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1 hour ago, 617Shawnee said:

I have over 60 devices on my Iris system, and I'm not really sure I always know which is ZWave and which are Zigbee, but it does make me nervous when something like this changes.  Why make the switch?  If I add Zigbee switches to my system, how will that impact my Zwave switches?

You can determine the device's protocol on @thegillion's web portal.  Like scunny mentioned, the Zigbee switches are more stable and will not have an impact on your Z-Wave network.  However, keep in mind that they do not act as a Z-Wave repeater so they will not help strengthen your Z-Wave network.

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1 hour ago, accessdenied79 said:

Zigbee is probably better and also it does energy monitoring emoji869.pngemoji41.pngemoji869.png

I have never had any issues with zigbee like zwave

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I would stay far away from the GE Z-Wave switches, they have been nothing but trouble for me.

I would swap them all out in a heartbeat for Zigbee if they would let me. Right now I am fighting

trying to get my GE in-wall dimmer reconnected. I ended up doing a forced delete after 4 days

of messing with it and now trying to get added back in as a new device.

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23 minutes ago, sparc said:

I would stay far away from the GE Z-Wave switches, they have been nothing but trouble for me.

I would swap them all out in a heartbeat for Zigbee if they would let me. Right now I am fighting

trying to get my GE in-wall dimmer reconnected. I ended up doing a forced delete after 4 days

of messing with it and now trying to get added back in as a new device.

I find it interesting how some people have issues with these while others do not.  I have over 20 of these and have never had any problems whatsoever.

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I know. Every time I post that my GE switches are acting up you counter with yours are working
perfectly. But others seem to have the same problem I do.

Must be something here that interferes with mine but there is nothing out of the ordinary here in
my RF landscape and the house is of common construction materials and I'm not trying to use
them over extended distances. No device is more than 2 hops from the hub.

I've tried relocating the hub, adding/reducing the number of devices that can repeat Z-Wave signals,
exchanging troublesome devices for others, turned Wi-Fi off on my router which is the only other full
time RF system running in the house, none of this has worked. I've checked with neighbors to see if
they are running something which might create RF interference and come up empty. There are no
medical facilities near me (within 5 miles) and no industrial facilities which might be generating RF.

The only possibility is an electric fence for cattle or maybe a invisible dog fence but I asked my neighbors
if they had dog fences and they all say no.

 

So I don't know what the answer is, but just two nights ago my neighbor has someone steal his patio
furniture and it irritates me that my GE in-wall switch which is activated by a motion sensor and operates
our back door light has been off line for 4 days now and I can't get it working again. So for me it doesn't
matter how reliable your GE Z-Wave switches are mine are a PITA. And if my Lowes had offered me the
choice of the Z-Wave or the Zigbee model switches when I bought these I would have gone for the Zigbee.
I guess my only choice it to order them online for those devices that they offer with either protocol but I
don't believe the outdoor switches are available with Zigbee, only Z-Wave.

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Inventory of these z-wave version are being phased out at the store I usually go to.  I looked up the switches on GE website and it appears they have a z-wave+ version available.  Maybe the + version will help those of you with troubles?  I have several of the z-wave version on 2 systems and they have been very solid.

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4 hours ago, sparc said:

I know. Every time I post that my GE switches are acting up you counter with yours are working
perfectly. But others seem to have the same problem I do.

Must be something here that interferes with mine but there is nothing out of the ordinary here in
my RF landscape and the house is of common construction materials and I'm not trying to use
them over extended distances. No device is more than 2 hops from the hub.

I've tried relocating the hub, adding/reducing the number of devices that can repeat Z-Wave signals,
exchanging troublesome devices for others, turned Wi-Fi off on my router which is the only other full
time RF system running in the house, none of this has worked. I've checked with neighbors to see if
they are running something which might create RF interference and come up empty. There are no
medical facilities near me (within 5 miles) and no industrial facilities which might be generating RF.

The only possibility is an electric fence for cattle or maybe a invisible dog fence but I asked my neighbors
if they had dog fences and they all say no.

 

So I don't know what the answer is, but just two nights ago my neighbor has someone steal his patio
furniture and it irritates me that my GE in-wall switch which is activated by a motion sensor and operates
our back door light has been off line for 4 days now and I can't get it working again. So for me it doesn't
matter how reliable your GE Z-Wave switches are mine are a PITA. And if my Lowes had offered me the
choice of the Z-Wave or the Zigbee model switches when I bought these I would have gone for the Zigbee.
I guess my only choice it to order them online for those devices that they offer with either protocol but I
don't believe the outdoor switches are available with Zigbee, only Z-Wave.

Z-Wave devices operate on 915 MHz so your wifi router is not going to cause interference with your switches.  If you don't have anything running on 900 MHz in your house the only other thing I can thing of that may reduce your Z-Wave signal strength is metal.  Are the electrical boxes you are installing the switches in metal or plastic?  

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In an old V1 Z-Wave trouble thread it was stated that some baby monitors operate in the 900 MHz range and could cause issues. Also I found an old home weather station in that range too. Most weather stations now seem to be in the 400 MHz range.

Just something that might help.

In my 9 month struggle to get my Schlage door lock to stay online I even had our power company send their RF tech out to check the meter as it reports in the 900 MHz range.

I will never know if it was the power company RF tech working on my meter or if it was a V1 update that happened right after his visit that fixed it.

I'm just happy it has been stable for a long time.

 

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Ever hear of IMD? You can get interference from additive or subtractive mixing of frequencies or spurious emissions. You can have intermittent or full time hash type RFI generated by an electric fence or a loose connection on a utility pole distribution line or a bad secondary transformer outside your house that will wreak havoc across the full broadcast spectrum into the UHF band(300-3000MHz). Medical or dental equipment can generate interference across multiple bands (VHF/UHF/SHF), although it is of short duration and not likely to be a problem in my case even if located nearby.

I believe it is the GE devices, something about the chip they used or the firmware. I say that because my other Z-Wave devices have not lost their connection to the hub in over 8 months, Of the 5 smoke detectors, one siren, and one leak detector only the leak detector gave me problems last year but it has been solid since last Fall when the firmware got updated.

The only devices that repeatedly lose connection are the GE devices. Right now as I write this I see that just about all my GE stuff is AWOL. Just this morning when I checked it was only the back door in-wall dimmer switch, but now it's all 3 GE outdoor switches, the GE in-wall dimmer, a GE plug-in switch, and a GE in-wall outlet.

Hey, how about that, ALL my GE CR@P is not working, which is usually the case (>50% of the time). But, ALL my other Z-Wave devices are working fine, which would seem to rule out any type of interference in the 902-928 MHz band.

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Back in the old days when we were under V1, I had a number of GE switches in each of two houses that I had begun monitoring with Iris. In one house, there was never any trouble. In the other, there were frequent disconnects with the result being there was almost always at least one or two switches offline. Eventually, one day, the hub decided that it would fry itself and never be usable again. I made a trip to Lowe's and got a new hub, and had everything back working in a few days. Never again did I have trouble with any of the GE switches disconnecting again, and I never have in the other house (total devices about 100 each house). Apparently, this was an issue with the Z-Wave controller in the hub. I suspect that any Z-Wave device could have its own problems, to the extent that (if making errant broadcasts) it could easily degrade a network of such devices. My suggestion would be to disconnect half of your Z-Wave devices (however inconvenient, but the GE switches have a kill switch on them), and then observe if the problems go away. If not, then disable the other half and watch. You should be able to narrow the problem down to the offender in just a few tries (in two if it's the hub). 

In an aside note, I have had trouble getting some devices initially paired, so I set up a jig where I hook up the switch into a complete circuit with a light bulb, plug it in, and hold it right under the hub's nose. The hub always recognizes the switch under these conditions, and then I disconnect and install the switch where I want it.

I will further note that one of my houses is commercially wired, so that 100% of the wiring is contained in steel conduit and all of the switch boxes are steel. I have had no issues at that house, ever*, with any of the GE switches, and a couple of them are about 65 feet from the hub. However, one of my two CT-101 thermostats is always disconnecting and reconnecting.

*With the exception of about the first month under V2, when nothing was stable at either house.

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This topic is old but I'll add my 2 cents worth in case someone does a search on the subject and reads this thread. 

I read a lot of threads before buying a switch. Many of them complained about the problem pairing Zwave switches. In my research I discovered that Zigbee is the native language of IRIS. So based on these two things I bought the GE Zigbee (45856GE) switch. Installed it and it paired automatically almost immediately after I turned the power back on.

I set it to turn on the light in the MBR Closet and turn it off again after 30 seconds. My wife has a chair in the closet and the old motion detecting wall switch would sometime turn of the light off on her while she was sitting in the chair fiddling with something. This setup doesn't. 

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On ‎5‎/‎27‎/‎2017 at 9:41 PM, Vettester said:

Also keep in mind that if you have your switches installed in a metal electrical box, the effectiveness of the Z-Wave signal can be reduced up to 40%.

Where do you come up with that number (40%)? Is it in the fine print on the installation instructions because I have the copies I received with my devices and there is nothing about installing in metal boxes which would affect over half the electrical systems in the country. IF there had been a warning like that on the install instructions I would have returned these things ASAP.

Why am I back here posting in this thread? Because my PITA GE Z-Wave cr@p is still giving me fits. For the past 2 weeks I have moved the hub again. Ran the Z-Wave optimization routine, tried all kinds of things. I can't get the in wall dimmer to connect to the hub for the past 2 months. Did a force remove, reset the device. I bring the hub within 5 feet of the switch and it will not connect. Some of the other GE Z-wave devise I have been able to reconnect by bringing the hub to them, but not the in-wall outlet or the in-wall dimmer, no dice.

Just total cr@p the GE stuff is. How can it be that only the GE devices repeatedly lose connection and other Z-Wave devise are rock solid? Sorry but I am not going to rip out a 3 gang metal box and install a plastic box just to maybe make this junk work. Not worth the time and aggravation (but apparently bitching about it is :) ) .

After repeated hub firmware upgrades one would think IF the problem was on the hub side it would be solved by now. I don't see where a firmware upgrade has been pushed out to the GE Z-wave junk and maybe that would help but since it hasn't happened no way to know.

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8 hours ago, sparc said:

Where do you come up with that number (40%)? Is it in the fine print on the installation instructions because I have the copies I received with my devices and there is nothing about installing in metal boxes which would affect over half the electrical systems in the country. IF there had been a warning like that on the install instructions I would have returned these things ASAP.

The manual actually states a 20% loss, but I read somewhere that it could be up to 40% depending on other factors.

Z-wave.png

Anyway, if you would like to get rid of all your "GE Z-Wave cr@p" I might be interested if the price is right.

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I switched to GE zigbee switches for my furthest devices, about 150' from the hub, and they are rock solid.  The ZWave switches were disconnected more than they were connected out there, even with repeating devices in between.  -Jim C

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When installing the GE Z-Wave switches, I noticed the antenna is nicely imbedded in the bezel surrounding the paddle on the front of the switch, so metal box interference should be minimal as this is sticking out the front of the switch plate. There perhaps may be some attenuation if the switch is facing completely away from hub direction with the metal box between the two.

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