GE Wall Light Switch Z-Wave, am I just out of luck?
2 2

27 posts in this topic

I've had the iris system since it first came out. When the v2 came out I had a heck of a time getting everything stable as many did. One of the last things to get stable was the 3 GE Switches I have. I went out and bought a bunch of wall outlet Switches that act as relays. I though the problem was fixed but it continued and I just lived with it.

Now I'm really getting sick of it. The light switches keep disconnecting and reconnecting. It happens everyday and sometimes I have to hit the on switch multiple times and they will reconnect and soon disconnect. They are only 20 feet away with a wall and wood door at most in the way. 

I have done resets, removal, z-tools, air-gap tricks, push button tricks...........

I called tech support and they said if all of that has been done then that's all that can be done.

should I just buy 3 new Switches zwave switches? Maybe all three of these are bad; I don't think so but maybe? Will the new zigbee be better?

Everything else is Rock Solid!!!!

Thanks Guys!!!

IMG_2542.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if there is another device they are routing through that is causing your trouble. Is there any other z-wave device on your system that disconnects other than the switches? Have you tried mapping what those devices connect to in your mesh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are these switches installed in metal electrical boxes and how many AC powered z-wave devices (including Gen 2 smart plugs) do you have in your network?  It may be that your z-wave network just isn't efficient enough to maintain a connection to theses devices. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, if I didn't see someone else's UserID on this post I would have sworn I wrote it.

Pretty much the same problem I have had with my two GE Z-wave in wall devices.

I have trouble with ALL my GE Z-Wave stuff but these two are the worst. As was said
it could be related to the device boxes in the walls. For me, I have metal boxes because
my house was built in the late 80s before plastic boxes ruled. The metal boxes will tend
to shield the device on 5 sides leaving only the front open side of the box available for
the Z-Wave signal to get out. If you have a metal switch plate then your problem will
be even worse. For me, replacing my metal boxes would be painful though it could
be done and I am perfectly capable of doing it. It's just that they are both 3 gang boxes
with 7 or more romex cables running in and out and removing a 3 gang box in a finished
wall and installing a plastic box in its place with no guarantee that will fix the problem is
not gonna happen, at least not by me.

I find it hard to believe that metal device boxes were not taken into account when these
in wall devices were being designed and tested. After all at least half the homes in the
country are over 30 years old and so probably have metal device boxes. Maybe GE
wasn't interested in selling to half the homes in the country but I doubt that.

To help get the signal from these two problem devices out to the hub and back I have
positioned a V2 Smart Switch in view of the front of each device and within 8 feet. The
V2 Smart Switches can operate as repeaters for  Z-Wave and ZigBee devices. I put them
where I feel the GE in wall device should have no problem connecting and relaying a signal
through them. It seems to help but I still have a problem now and then with the GE dimmer
and the GE outlet dropping out of the network and I have trouble getting them to reconnect.

Even after all the times I have tried to get them to rejoin the network I almost always end up
calling CS and with their help I get them back. Shouldn't be that hard but it is, at least for my
situation.

So if you have a single gang (one device) metal box you might want to try replacing it with
an old work plastic box. Depending on how you metal box is fastened to the stud and what
tools you have available to help with the job it could be a pain or it could be really ugly, but
neither will be fun and you'll have some touch-up painting to do or whatever wall finish you
have will probably need some TLC when you're done.

Most metal boxes were fastened to the stud with a couple nails. You could probably cut the
nail heads with a multi-tool and a metal cutting blade. A cold chisel might work too but the
multi-tool would be my first choice. With a bit of work you could get the box out of the wall
without enlarging the opening much if at all. I would tape a piece of cord a couple feet long
to each cable securely so that they don't fall down in the wall where you might have trouble
retrieving them. The cables _should_ be fastened to the wall with a staple near the box but
you never know. You may need to remove those staples to get the box out and you won't be
able to restore that when you put it all back together. Reaching those staples would require
opening the wall though in most cases.

The alternative it to open up the wall between adjacent studs and you'll have plenty of room
to work but a much larger repair to make to the finish wall. Cleanest way to cut sheetrock I
have found is use a metal straight edge and a utility knife and make repeated scoring cuts
until you cut completely through the wallboard. The other option would be a multi-tool used
in conjunction with a shop vac to catch the dust. Best done with a helper working the shop
vac hose and you concentrate on making the cut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, pavalov said:

I wonder if there is another device they are routing through that is causing your trouble. Is there any other z-wave device on your system that disconnects other than the switches? Have you tried mapping what those devices connect to in your mesh?

Thanks Pavalov, nothing else is having a problem. Don't know how to check the mesh but will find out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much Soarc for your detailed explanation on how to replace the box. I do believe they are metal but will have to check. 

Thanks Vett and Scunny, I will get that count to you! 

I'm  going to place the Smart Plugs Second Gen closer to the switches and see if that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those having problems with Z-Wave and metal boxes, could you possibly perform a test?  It's not safe and I would not suggest doing so if there are any children at home but if you could do it safely, maybe by taping off any exposed connections, but try pulling the switch out of the gang box exposing all sides and see if the problem goes away?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, usmcss said:

Thanks Pavalov, nothing else is having a problem. Don't know how to check the mesh but will find out.

The Gillion's Iris Web Portal has a tool that allows you to download your Z-wave mesh map, which looks kind of like an old Spirograph drawing.  It shows in graphic form what path your devices use to get a signal to the hub, i.e, what other Z-wave devices are in the mesh between your problem device(s) and the hub. You may find that just one device is causing all your trouble if it is in the mesh path for the problem switches. I believe at least some customer service folks have access to analytics that show that information as well (not sure if Tier 1 uses it).

The tool is accessed through the little red wrench at the bottom of the menu on the left, just above the Donate button. There is also a download button for Graphviz that allows you to read the map. There are posts from several months ago that give some detail on how it works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2017 at 9:37 PM, pavalov said:

The Gillion's Iris Web Portal has a tool that allows you to download your Z-wave mesh map, which looks kind of like an old Spirograph drawing.  It shows in graphic form what path your devices use to get a signal to the hub, i.e, what other Z-wave devices are in the mesh between your problem device(s) and the hub. You may find that just one device is causing all your trouble if it is in the mesh path for the problem switches. I believe at least some customer service folks have access to analytics that show that information as well (not sure if Tier 1 uses it).

The tool is accessed through the little red wrench at the bottom of the menu on the left, just above the Donate button. There is also a download button for Graphviz that allows you to read the map. There are posts from several months ago that give some detail on how it works.

Thank you very much Pavalov!!!! 

Ive been giving it a few days to see if things would workout with the new placement of the smart plug but it hasn’t. All switches are currently disconnect. I can go and click the on switch 9 times and they will reconnect and then disconnect. Funny thing is they seem to disconnect at the same time within minutes to seconds of each other. At least the two they are right next to each other.

i will check out the tool. I have 7 z-wave devises. One is the siren, 3 Switches, water sensor.... can’t think of the other two off the top of my head!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched the switches disconnect. I have two that are in the same junction box and one on the other side of the house. One of the two in the same junction box disconnected, a minute later the other one in that box disconnected, and then about two minutes later the one one the other side of the house disconnected. 

Does that give any clue on what’s going on?

still have to figure this mesh software out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 5:36 PM, scunny said:

For those having problems with Z-Wave and metal boxes, could you possibly perform a test?  It's not safe and I would not suggest doing so if there are any children at home but if you could do it safely, maybe by taping off any exposed connections, but try pulling the switch out of the gang box exposing all sides and see if the problem goes away?

I will try that the next time mine drops out but right now it's working so I want to enjoy it while I can. This switch operates the light at the door and is linked to a motion sensor that brings the light on for a couple minutes. Makes it easy when you come walking up to the door the light comes on and you are not in the dark trying to find your keys. Actually as you drive up the sensor sees the car and will turn the light on before you are even out of the car which the wife likes when she comes home late. I have the switch on a schedule so it only comes on from sunset to sunrise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, usmcss said:

I just watched the switches disconnect. I have two that are in the same junction box and one on the other side of the house. One of the two in the same junction box disconnected, a minute later the other one in that box disconnected, and then about two minutes later the one one the other side of the house disconnected. 

Does that give any clue on what’s going on?

still have to figure this mesh software out.

Like I mentioned before, I suspect your Z-wave network isn't strong enough to maintain a solid connection to these devices.  If you could provide the info that was previously asked for, we may be able to help you determine what's happening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Vettester said:

Like I mentioned before, I suspect your Z-wave network isn't strong enough to maintain a solid connection to these devices.  If you could provide the info that was previously asked for, we may be able to help you determine what's happening.

Hey Vettster,

I have 7 z-wave devises: 3 GE Switches, 1 Siren, 1 Water Sensor in basement, and 2 Thermostats which also give me trouble from time to time.

I have 2 second Gen Smart Plugs and 2 first gen. 

I just noticed that the smart plugs are zigbee; are there Smart Plugs that are z-wave that I need to purchase or do the zigbee Smart Switches still help with the z-wave network?

are the old first gen zwave Smart Plugs causing a problem possibly?

Thank You!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2017 at 4:36 PM, scunny said:

For those having problems with Z-Wave and metal boxes, could you possibly perform a test?  It's not safe and I would not suggest doing so if there are any children at home but if you could do it safely, maybe by taping off any exposed connections, but try pulling the switch out of the gang box exposing all sides and see if the problem goes away?

If I can’t get it worked out after Vettster reply’s I might try this. Thanks Scunny!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I have to apologize guys!!!!! The dam covered are metal as well!!!! I though they were plastic! I just took them off and I going to see how long they stay connected.

image.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, usmcss said:

Hey Vettster,

I have 7 z-wave devises: 3 GE Switches, 1 Siren, 1 Water Sensor in basement, and 2 Thermostats which also give me trouble from time to time.

I have 2 second Gen Smart Plugs and 2 first gen. 

I just noticed that the smart plugs are zigbee; are there Smart Plugs that are z-wave that I need to purchase or do the zigbee Smart Switches still help with the z-wave network?

are the old first gen zwave Smart Plugs causing a problem possibly?

Thank You!!!

So out of the seven Z-wave devices you have only three of these are acting as repeaters and with two of these totally inclosed in a metal box I can see why you are having issues.  Your two Gen 2 smart plugs act as Z_wave repeaters as well, so in your situation placement of these devices is critical.  I would recommend using a plastic switch plate cover on your 4-gang switch box and experiment with moving your Gen 2 smart plugs to different locations to see if that helps.  If you are using the smart plugs to control something that you don't want to move you may have to get more. 

Zigbee smart switches do not repeat Z-wave so adding these to the mix isn't going to help with the Z-wave issues you're having.  However, adding more Z-wave switches or plugs will help.  The Gen 2 smart plug is also an option.  Just remember that the more AC powered Z-wave devices you have on your network the stronger it is going to be.

Also your 1st Gen smart plugs are using zigbee and since they don't act a Z-wave repeaters they should not be causing any issues.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I ended up having to remove all the GE light switches. I also needed to use the z-wave removal tool and it was a real pain! I had to keep switching the lights on and off and the word switch would come up. You have to keep doing this until the word switch no longer comes up. I also performed resets on the switches and did Hub resets. Not sure if that’s needed or not but I was having a heck of a time getting the system to let go of the switches. In the end as I said, I just kept switching the switch on and off while in the z-wave removal tool. If it just won’t release, try getting out of the tool and reset the hub and also the switch and try again, eventually you will get it to release. 

The reason I knew it wasn’t released is because when I removed the switch, I couldn’t add it back. If you are unable to add a device, it could mean that the device was not removed/released from the hub even though it’s not showing in your device list. This is when you have to goto the z-wave removal tool. This I imagine is only for z-wave devices.

anyway, everything is working now. I have the switch plate covers off and will see if the switches disconnect. I will let you guys know.

Thank you all!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, usmcss said:

I also needed to use the z-wave removal tool and it was a real pain! I had to keep switching the lights on and off and the word switch would come up. You have to keep doing this until the word switch no longer comes up.

You should only have to do this once and then complete a factory reset.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF8t08pI-n4

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/9/2017 at 7:17 PM, Vettester said:

You should only have to do this once and then complete a factory reset.

 

I've had Tier 2 folks recommend doing the Z-wave removal 6 or 8 times in a row to "make sure the system fully recognizes the removal of the device." Can't hurt. The factory reset suggestion often follows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it’s been about a week and everything is still connected! Covers are still off. Going out this weekend to get plastic ones. 

I would say this one has been solved!

Thank You everyone!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

2 2