I give up !

Discussions about RaZberry - Z-Wave board for Raspberry computer
gilpel
Posts: 14
Joined: 14 Jul 2013 14:30

I give up !

Post by gilpel »

After 1 year, I definitly give up with Razberry ! I wasted to longue time not to use but to test unstable and uncommented API, software, etc.
Because I already got some z-wave devices, I don't have any choice but buying a real z-way controler in order to manage with a full running automation network.
I'm really angry !

User avatar
PoltoS
Posts: 5886
Joined: 26 Jan 2011 19:36

Re: I give up !

Post by PoltoS »

It's a pity to read it. We have not seen critical unsolved problems described by you. Why not to write us directly if you really have some problems. Strange to do such emotional posts without any reasoning...

Please also give us some insight what will you buy: we will have a look at your choice to get some inspiration to improve our RaZberry solution.

thaui
Posts: 56
Joined: 28 Jan 2015 19:14

Re: I give up !

Post by thaui »

I can understand a little bit the concerns from gilpel. I also have decided to go for Razberry because of flexibility and as a beginner in scripting languages, c+ and other things it takes really a lot of efforts to understand the software.
On the first look to the software you have old system, new system, new HA surface etc. etc. You are gambling around and it need many hours to have a certain success. The documentation on the new Z-Way HA is very rudimentary and sometimes outdated. I followed the recommendation of the Razberry homepage to dig in Openremote and a few hours later I found that some modules are already implemented in the Version 2. I also understand the programmer of Z-way who intend to spend there time in the software and not in manuals. But the users aren't always freaks and a standard user buying a razberry is dependant on a helpful description. The developer Manual for Zway is much to complicated for a noob. I have gambled around with OpenRemote, Domoticz and HomeGenie but at the end I came back to the Razberry Software. Non of them made me happy as well. I am confident that there is a highly skilled team behind the Razberry product and we will see at a certain day the most reliable Software for this product. But today we a far away from plug and play for the standard home user. Thanks for your hard work. By all the concerns we appreciate your work.

Mirar
Posts: 113
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 16:54
Location: Stockholm

Re: I give up !

Post by Mirar »

PoltoS wrote:It's a pity to read it. We have not seen critical unsolved problems described by you. Why not to write us directly if you really have some problems. Strange to do such emotional posts without any reasoning...

Please also give us some insight what will you buy: we will have a look at your choice to get some inspiration to improve our RaZberry solution.
To be honest I've been fairly close to scrapping my z-way system as well. I have about $2000 invested in hardware and about 300-400 hours invested in debugging and development.

I already tossed out an Aeon Labs stick because I couldn't get it to function properly. z-way-server and the sigma hardware is unfortunately not much better, and every single z-wave device I have have gremlins.

The problem is that the system needs to be 100% reliable.

Having a node report 0% battery after 1 day use is annoying.
Getting one single temperature report of 15 million degrees is bad.
Having a motion sensor that doesn't always report motion is worse.
Having nodes fail randomly is unacceptable.
Having the server/control node fail, then I want to toss it. It happens. There's at least one long thread about my issues.

If I would suggest something, it would be to have much, much, much better ways of diagnosing the network.
Is the radio busy?
Is the node buggy?
Is the razberry buggy?
Can z-way-server talk to the razberry?

Unless you know, the prime suspect will always be the nearest system that doesn't complain but gives wrong data or doesn't work. It will be the z-way-server and razberry (or usb stick, since you seem to shift focus to that). If the sigma hardware can't give you this information, it might be necessary to buy into some other hardware layer. You'll never get a trustworthy system if you can't have diagnostics. (This is something I learned from my work as an embedded developer. If your device doesn't give a good report of what the failure is, it's your device that's broken. I've had people call me on vacation because they didn't plug in a cable - power and CAN - just because some piece of software couldn't identify the problem.)

I'm currently myself really close of tossing the two razberries I now own and try something else.

(That said, it doesn't help that z-way-server is tremendously buggy.)

I'm happy to try to support you and keep trying with my Razberries as long as there's sign of improvement (there wasn't and isn't any with Aeon Labs).

But as long as it's not 100% working, it costs a lot of my time and effort and my family isn't too happy with me for an experimental home that doesn't always work.

Mirar
Posts: 113
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 16:54
Location: Stockholm

Re: I give up !

Post by Mirar »

As an example on things that shouldn't be too hard to diagnose, but really needed because otherwise the system is crap to most users:
Sensors not responding
Failed device
Not delivered to recipient

I mean, at least diagnose on a level so that razberry/z-way-server isn't completely blamed.

thaui
Posts: 56
Joined: 28 Jan 2015 19:14

Re: I give up !

Post by thaui »

Tkx Mirar for your honest comments. I also spend a lot of time in the system but the financial investment was until now very limited. Anyhow I was expecting to get a reliable and stable system working. This seems not to be the case and maybe I stop my work at this point and re-enter in 6 to 9 months. As long as z-way will not be able to offer a system easily to administrate as long they will not have a coverage in the market. I was wondering why the forum is so quiet and not so active. I think I know the answer after our dicussion.

Lumberjack
Posts: 26
Joined: 04 Mar 2014 03:31

Re: I give up !

Post by Lumberjack »

Although I am not giving on the Z-Wave technology myself (too much invested, 50+ devices), I think Mirar is spot on: Its reliability and stability is lacking. There is always something to accuse: RF signals, Sigma stack, the mesh network and reachability of the nodes, messages that get lost, batteries that are empty, device dropping out of the network, devices loosing their state (and require re-inclusion or force interview, sometimes even on a regular basis).

I have been on this Z-wave tech (note, Z-wave the technology, not the Z-Way company) now since more than 3 years and it has put little steps forward regarding reliability and stability. I am a techie myself: I cannot believe giving this to any person who is expecting something that he installs once and does not need to look at again for years. As such I told my wife that if I should die (god forbid) she should have a electro technician come to our house and revert my wall outlets, motion sensors etc to a mechanical component, because it will fall apart in months when not cared for.

Now, I am still amazed with home automation when everything does work, which is the only reason I am still doing it.

I would like to raise a point with Sigma systems: Please make the technology more open (an NDA, really?) reliable and robust. I certainly hope Z-Wave plus will make thing better.

My personal list of components that fail rarely (top ones) and the ones that are always bugging me (further down in the list):
1. Duwi Dimmers and Switches (I have 1 dimmer/switch per year that needs re-inclusion)
2. Duwi Battery wall switches: Amazing very low power components. Never had to change batteries in 3 years. For some reason Z-Way will sometimes completely remove them from the network but I don't care since once included and paired with a switch I don't care for them in the gateway anymore).
3. Fibaro Dimmers and Switches: Had some issues (they just got stuck at random times) and returned 10+ of them after a year but since 2.0 they seem quite stable. Sometimes however they simply don't receive a command: But hard to prove that it is their fault, could also be the network (which is the point Mirar made).
4. Secure HRT-4 and ZW thermostat and switches: New basis for my home made room controlled CV with 230V powered valves. Hardly any issues, except control unit batteries need to be replaced every 6 months it seems. Will sometimes send in wrong temp reading: anywhere from -5000 to +100000 degrees Celcius.
5. Fibaro motion/temp sensors: Had some issues installing them (Read somewhere they were off-spec, had to dive into advanced settings) but once installed properly they seem to work most of the time. Will sometimes send in wrong temp reading or miss a motion on or off.
6. Fibary wall plugs: Nice piece of tech. Seems to work quite well. Keeps state when unplugged. However, way too expensive.
7. EZ-Motion sensors: The motion part is considered a 'generic' component by Z-Way and had to write a piece of code to monitor the logs. Which does work quite nicely though. Unfortunately it misses quite a lot of motion detections. The temps are also off significantly a lot of the time. Batteries deplete in 6 months. Advantage: you can power them via USB and you can set them up for alarm triggering such that they ignore any pets that are around.
8. AN-158 switches: They are not controllable via the gateway every now and then (have to re-include them or force re-interview). They hold no state when unplugged. Not too happy with them. Unfortunately I have many of them.
9. Danfoss radiator thermostats: Amazing they were even allowed to sell them: So bad. Sold them after tearing out my last hairs. Batteries depleted in no time, manual controls on the device would hardly react, temp could not be set by the gateway: Often took more than 90 minutes. etc etc. Never touched them again ever since. Maybe they improved over the last 2 years, more probable is they did not. I don't know. I don't care.

Finally of all Z-Wave gateways I tried I do like my Razberry best:
1. It runs on a raspberry which I think is the perfect piece of hardware to fit with the task: Small, low power, Linux based, etc. One can also hook up multiple raspberries and split up the Z-Wave network into multiple networks which works well for me.
2. It has regular software updates albeit some backward compatibility issues on the device info API every time I update or the fact that I need to re-include a set of devices again.
3. An API which I can use with any programming language I want.
4. A good Z-Wave messages console where you can see the actual messages (if you need to). Most gateway try to 'shield' their users from any detail information.

Mirar
Posts: 113
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 16:54
Location: Stockholm

Re: I give up !

Post by Mirar »

Lumberjack wrote:I would like to raise a point with Sigma systems: Please make the technology more open (an NDA, really?) reliable and robust. I certainly hope Z-Wave plus will make thing better.
This. I learned about the checksum since I wrote the entry above. Seriously, XOR checksum on a radio protocol; not even the cheap 433MHz sensors I have seems to be that stupid.

I don't think most of this is a fault of Razberry. This is mostly a problem with z-wave and Sigma.

But z-way-server and z-wave.me needs to point a finger when things doesn't work. This is diagnostics.

It also needs to try to be as robust as possible.

And it would be a Good Thing if it could handle quirky components instead of the current state of "but we follow the protocol, they don't".

thaui
Posts: 56
Joined: 28 Jan 2015 19:14

Re: I give up !

Post by thaui »

I am happy that this thread has found some expert users writing down their experiences with the Rasberry and the Sigma module. Reading your comments it looks like that you have no doubts with the Rasberry and the Razberry module but with the z-way software. I have also tried several other software HA builds but I had similar problems. Any suggestion of a nice working software package running on the Raspi with the module? IP Symcon or some others? Or would you decide to change the technology in total? I can not believe that D-Link and others are jumping on the z-wave train knowing that z-wave is generating continious problems. I guess if you sell z-wave technology to the enduser channel you will have tremendous problems with product returns. I stay tuned on this thread for sure and I am wondering that none of the responsible z-way guys give any recommendation or some explanation.

Mirar
Posts: 113
Joined: 19 Oct 2014 16:54
Location: Stockholm

Re: I give up !

Post by Mirar »

I'm getting very, very close to throwing away my Razberry at the moment. This is just not reliable.

Whatever it is, it's not ready for 100% uptime home automation. It's not ready for anyone that don't want to spend many hours per week getting and keeping things running, by someone that is both very tolerant and very tech-savvy.

I haven't seen anything from z-wave.me indicating that this might be something they want to do either... So far, there's always something else to blame. (But it's your product. If your supplier has buggy chips, you still sell the product with buggy chips. Either switch supplier, get your supplier to stop being buggy, or work around the problems. You can't blame third parties.)

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