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Flix123

Are Fibaro switches and dimmers reliable enough to deploy in an entire house?

Question

Hi 

I am completely new to Fibaro and currently considering wiring up my newly renovated house with 35 dimmers and switches for each and every light circuit. The dimmer 2 and switch 2 look really good on paper and seem to do exactly what i need for basic light automation. I even ordered one and  tried one on a test circut and it worked well. 

 

But what I worry about is that it needs to be really reliable. I simply cannot have the situation where I need to trouble shoot the system every few weeks, or work out why some of them are no longer found by the controller - these are the kinds of things I have been reading about. I'm dreading the situation where a simple wall switch does not turn the light on anymore , and I have to waste time to troubleshoot. Although I am very technically minded, I don't want something so simple like a light give me a headache - if this is not mature yet, I don't want it.

 

Especially the physical switches that are directly connnected to the Fibaro need to work rock solid and near 100% reliable. The physical switches  must work even  in case the controller is out of action for whatever reason. If the software control, the remote access  or the scenes have some issues now and again that's ok for me. 

 

It would be great of some of you could comment on long term reliability with the dimmers and switches, is it mature enough to use it throughout the house, I mean on EVERY circuit? 

 

Thanks in advance for your valuable experiences 

Felix

 

 

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I have found that the hardware is without question some of the best around. The HC2 software still leaves a lot to be desired.

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Posted (edited)
Il y a 12 heures, Flix123 a dit:

salut 

Je suis complètement nouveau à Fibaro et envisage actuellement de câbler ma maison récemment rénovée avec 35 gradateurs et interrupteurs pour chaque circuit de lumière. Le gradateur 2 et l'interrupteur 2 ont l'air très bien sur le papier et font exactement ce que j'ai besoin pour l'automatisation de la lumière de base. J'ai même commandé un essai sur un circuit d'essai et cela a bien fonctionné. 

 

Mais ce qui m'inquiète, c'est que ça doit être vraiment fiable. Je ne peux pas déranger la situation où j'ai besoin de déranger le système toutes les semaines, ou comprendre pourquoi certains d'entre eux sont plus trouvés par le contrôleur - ce sont les choses que j'ai lues. Je redoute la situation où un simple décor mural n'allume plus la lumière, et je dois perdre du temps à dépanner. Bien que je sois très technique, je ne veux pas quelque chose d'aussi simple qu'une lumière me donner un mal de tête - si ce n'est pas encore mature, je ne veux pas le vouloir.

 

En particulier, les commutateurs physiques qui sont directement liés à Fibres et contrôlées à 100%. Les commutateurs physiques fonctionnent même si le contrôleur est inactif pour une raison quelconque. Si le contrôle du logiciel, l'accès à distance ou les scènes ont des problèmes, ça me convient. 

 

Il serait bon que certains d'entre vous soient commenter sur la fiabilité à long terme avec les gradateurs et les commutateurs, est-il assez mature pour l'utiliser dans toute la maison, je veux dire sur le circuit de CHAQUE? 

 

Merci d'avance pour vos précieuses expériences 

Felix

 

 

 

En 5 ans j'ai envoyé 2 fois ma HC2 chez Fibaro en Pologne. Le temps de la réparation et rien ne marche. Donc il faut prévoir 2 HC2

Edited by MJLacout

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  • Local control of my devices always works. Reports of local control failures on this forum? I think they are extremely rare.
  • Writing HA scenes should be fun. If you do not like that, and do not enjoy debugging, this is not for you.
  • After 5 years all my modules still work. You have to use them as specified, exceeding the spec reduces the lifespan. But software and hardware evolves, so there might be other reasons to replace them. Examples: older relays do not measure power, newer ones do. Dimmer 1 is not very compatible with LED lights, Dimmer 2 is (very) good. You don't have this problem with mechanical switches...
  • It is "radio technology" so besides bugs, you will have communication failures. This number probably does not mean anything to you, but it is the only fact I can share to put this in perfective. A mechanical light switch can work for 20 years without any failure. In my home, on my network, 1 in 10000 commands or sensor   reports fail completely. That is one of the reasons why I always recommend to use *thermostats* for temperature control, and not a Z-Wave relay turn a heater on or off. Of course, there are ways to work around these issues, by writing code, but as you said "Although I am very technically minded, I don't want something so simple like a light give me a headache" and this sort of stuff sometimes gives *me* a headache...
  • A simple scene "if button x clicked turn on relay y" has less chance to fail than "if time of day = and light level = 0 and there has been no motion for 20 minutes and so on and so on...". I have no clue what your intention is... I'd say, newbies underestimate the complexities to get your automation right. Scenes like "if button x clicked turn on relay y" are frowned upon, it is not real home-automation it is"remote control", maybe "on steroids" in some cases.
  • If you want "no communication failures" you'll have to buy a much (much!) more expensive wired system and settle for less complexity.
  • I agree with @MJLacout - if your controller is broken, it will take time to repair. At the moment, there is not failover mechanism. But as I said, "local control" always works... provided you have attached switches to all your modules. Some put them in the ceiling... no switches...
  • Z-Wave is very compatible (forward and backward) but it is an evolving standard. For example, chips now use a 8-bit core and some do a "secure mode". Newer devices support a newer and better secure communication called "S2", still possible on 8-bit core. And the (only) chip designer has already announced new generation chips will be 32-bit ARM based...

There is about 10 x more to learn about Z-Wave and HomeCenter. We have not talked about mesh networking, alarm systems, cameras, heating systems...

 

You can check my device list on my profile page.

 

Please login or register to see this link.

 

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  • Thanks for the good info Guys. @MJLacout, long outages like that sound frightening, since I am not planning to buy 2 x HC2 , I will definitly not want to have any critical dependencies on this system (eg Security, Heating, Doorbell etc).  But just for lights , maybe its ok as long as all switches can be switched manually still which is what I am planning to do. However  I would still be pretty mad if I have to send the thing back to Poland every couple of years!

     

    @petergebruers I defintely will enjoy coding up simple scenes and learning LUA if  adds value. But I don't like debugging things that are not complex and break for no good reason. Btw I think the failure stats you report are extremely good, but probably depends highly on the deployment situation. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    1 minute ago, Flix123 said:

    But I don't like debugging things that are not complex and break for no good reason. Btw I think the failure stats you report are extremely good, but probably depends highly on the deployment situation.

    Well things can go horribly wrong for no good reason, and that is the kind of horror stories you read here. People do not come here to tell you "It is a marvel!" so that skews the statistics. But... I did do a "full reset" of my network 3 times in 5 years, meaning "export all code" then exclude al devices, reset controller, include all devices again and put back (and adapt) the code. It takes 1 day to get the basics, and a full week to get back were I started, but run without issues. One of those 3 resets was necessary, because of an incompatibility with a secondary controller, and this is something that is not going to happen to you (because I just told you :-)) so it is once every 2.5 years. Does this scare you? It's complex software (and firmware) and it changes... Go read some stuff on other forums (Z-Wave or non-Zwave) if you want to get an idea of how bad it can be (but not "how good").

     

    If you want to read a relevant, scary story (and still unresolved) then I recommend this, it gives some background info on Z-Wave technology.

     

     

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  • Thank you , thats exactly the kind of thing that would annoy me quite a bit: A simple upgrade causing issues extreme latency, making wife angry :) . I mean imagine your Iphone doing that after IOS upgrade. Its many times more complex than Fibaro stuff, but you can trust it will work (more or less :) .)

    Together with your multiple "full resets" where you spent 1 week each to fix it,  the story about sending the unit back to Poland every now and again, and lastly.. the general negative tone in these forums about the support (or lack thereof). I know statistics are skewed here and a happy user might stay away from these forums (its like reading the "terrible" reviews on tripadvisor), nevertheless putting all this together is not doing much to make me cough up a few grand to kit out my house right away. 

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    24 minutes ago, Flix123 said:

    Thank you , thats exactly the kind of thing that would annoy me quite a bit: A simple upgrade causing issues extreme latency, making wife angry :) . I mean imagine your Iphone doing that after IOS upgrade. Its many times more complex than Fibaro stuff, but you can trust it will work (more or less :) .)

     

    I suggest you reverse that and you will understand why it can go horribly wrong. It is doing a lot more than your iPhone.

     

    If well planned and configured it will just work. One bad device or bad configuration or piece of code and the whole lot will do bad things.

     

    Add to that the occasional bad release and I can see why you might not bother but taken slowly most people get it working well.

     

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    They are pretty good as long as you ensure that you meet their operating requirements. I have full light control throughout my home. One thing that annoyed me the most was the latency issues with z wave, fibaro and hc2 there was at most a second or two lag. With a HA bridge it's pretty much instant. 

     

    I avoided socket control because i would have to significantly deepen every socket in the house plus the fibaro kw rating on double sockets is still not that high

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  • Alex, thanks. Latency is something  I can accept for the scenes etc, as long as the physical switching is pretty much instant still. Significant latency (>1 sec) on a physcial wired switch would be a deal breaker for me, but I tested that and it seemed ok.

    But what do you mean by socket control? Do you just mean to put the Fibaro behind the switch in the wall and wiring it up to the physical switch?  Hope that works ok , coz i am planning to do that on every light circuit in my house ..

     

     

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    Posted (edited)
    13 hours ago, Flix123 said:

    Latency is something  I can accept for the scenes etc, as long as the physical switching is pretty much instant still. Significant latency (>1 sec) on a physcial wired switch would be a deal breaker for me, but I tested that and it seemed ok.

     

    15 hours ago, Al3x said:

    I have full light control throughout my home. One thing that annoyed me the most was the latency issues with z wave, fibaro and hc2 there was at most a second or two lag. With a HA bridge it's pretty much instant. 

     

    people are mixing things, so let's clarify something:

     

    - physical switch - max. 10ms latency, no visible latency for human beings

     

    - alexa latency - alexa talks to amazon server over internet, that server to fibaro server, that server to your home, and result is being send back the way. Depending on internet, the latency might be everything between 1s and never, typical 1-3 sec.

     

    - scene / VD latency - normally under 100ms, might be of course higher depending on programming, simultaneously tasks and actual traffic

     

    - app UI latency - remote access - should be still far under 1s

     

    - app UI latency - local access - max. 100ms, except your device is slow (no joke, my old android tablet adds here sometimes up to 1s, where new android "at same time" handle it immediately ) 

     

    - zwave mesh latency - up to 100ms direct (gateway -> switch), plus 50ms per jump. As lot of devices are zwave plus now, the range is much higher, typical is 2-3 jumps. But even at legacy zwave max. jump / range, you will be under 1s (example: motion sensor is sending motion to gateway over 4 repeaters and light switch in same room have to be turned on via same route).
    Everything above 1s is :

    - - bad zwave network - add more devices at the slow route ( think 3D, sometimes route over other floor is faster than direct)

    - - bad zwave network - reconfigure it

    - - broken zwave device - flooding zwave

    - - bad programming / parameters - flooding zwave. By default all Fibaro devices are set to not flood, when adding however devices from other
        manufacturers one might get issues when:

    - - - no template and factory default are not zwave traffic friendly

    - - - device is flooding by default with no way to change it (e.g. Everspring Wallplug - no way to change, no way for OTA update)

    - - - template have errors or not updated for current 3rd part device firmware (e.g. Aeotec Multisensor 6) - here is enough to disable Fibaro template and set parameters manually

     

    - zwave association latency - associations are for connection between neighbours, in latency example above would be better to associate the light switch to motion sensor, to get immediate reaction when motion detected, and to turn it off by association as well (where on time is based on presence detection + x). On the other hand, having lot of association:

    - - makes management difficult as no centralized overview in Fibaro UI, so one have to create scene for that or get over any module and check it

    - - means some extra latency between these modules and HC2

     

    But association can be useful as well for e.g. emergency lights (where scene might not work after the gateway is gone due to fire / outage).

     

    Sometimes there are evil latencies, as some people got after update to 4.170. When talking about numbers, 4 customers (and we do Fibaro Technical Support in Germany/ Austria) got 4.160 installed by our technicians, the others got fixed after zwave reconfiguration. We have in the office many HC2s / HCLs and lot of mixed modules, on none of them issues with 4.170. On my dev HC2 lot of wired / strange scenes / VDs running, still no issues (except scenes calling deprecated things, but that can happens when using not documented / internal functions hehe). But as always, updating any piece of hardware with new software might result is disaster, even if developers runs testing, just google for any kind of disaster on earth  + software / firmware update.

     

    On ‎08‎.‎04‎.‎2018 at 8:02 PM, Flix123 said:

     long term reliability with the dimmers and switches, is it mature enough to use it throughout the house, I mean on EVERY circuit?

     

    from hardware / firmware point of view (except very old Fibaro 3kW switches and early zwave wallplugs for some EU countries local regulations - but these issues has been fixed as well), Fibaro is as good as any other big player / manufacturer - when the hardware is being used as specified. Maybe one difference, i haven't found yet any built-in obsolescence (and i do play a lot of their hardware since years)

    Edited by tinman
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    Posted (edited)

    Excellent post, Mr @tinman - I like the fact you mention some Z-Wave devices are just ... buggy... ("Everspring Wallplug - no way to change, no way for OTA update") for the sake of completeness. It is difficult to find hard data, and I would not exaggerate the problem, but if you own a few of those buggy (or sometimes just "talkative") devices... You can keep hunting delays forever (if you do not have the right tools and information).

     

    EDIT: I have updated my previous post, because I have new information.Thomasn replaced 2 older switches with their newer Z-Wave Plus equivalent, added a third one and his no longer has delays. So it probably was a mix of network issues and some vhange in 4.170 that triggered it.

    Edited by petergebruers

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