I recently had the experience of setting up a Vera, and then almost starting from scratch to set things up again. I am far from an expert in this field and leaned heavily on others in the forum who provided the help I needed to get my system back on its feet.
A little background.
I am coming from the Wink. The Wink is a capable device but lacks many of the fine-tuning controls that the Vera possesses. It is a little like an Apple product. It works out of the box, and is nice to look at; however, if you want to do anything beyond its design, you are out of luck. I had a few products hooked up to the Wink, namely 4x GE/Jasco Fan switches, 2x Sylvania Motion Sensors, 2x IRIS Smart Plugs, 4x Dome door/window sensors, and a whole lot of Lutron Caseta switches, dimmer and Picos. The Wink was pretty laggy, and not being able to use the Picos how I wanted was one of the main reasons why I switched to Vera. I also wanted something that worked locally, and that did not wholly rely on the cloud. Aside from the Wink, I have 6x Stelpro SMT402 (Zigbee Thermostats). A Stelpro SMC402 Controller was controlling those units independently.
Moving over to the Vera, I of course had to purchase a Lutron Smart Bridge Pro. I will not talk too much about the Lutron products in this post because everything was quite easy with them. I will concentrate on the things that were not easy.
I set everything up as I did the Wink. All in one shot. This appeared to work at first but then I started to have some major problems. A quick look at my logs showed over 2000 consecutive poll failures. Reactor was shutting down; I had lost control of my smart home. After much trouble shooting (mainly by experts on this forum), I had decided to redo the Zigbee portion of my network.
Here are the lessons learned from this experience.
Go slow. We all expect things to happen instantly. We hit a button on our smart phone and stuff is supposed to happen. I did not find this to be the case with setting up Zigbee products through the Vera. My advice is to set up one device at a time, and take your time in between devices. Set up a device, wait about 5 minutes, and then check your log for errors. Rinse, repeat. Does this suck if you are migrating from another hub? Yes it does, but it is the only way to ensure that everything is happening the way it is supposed to.
Bring your Vera with you. Go out and buy a 50’ Cat 5 cable. Bring the Vera to each individual device. This will require many natural reboots (unless of course you get a 50’ extension cord as well). I could not believe how a couple of feet were affecting the addition of various devices on my hub. I will give an example. I have those SMT402’s everywhere in the house. I live in Montreal and baseboard heaters are a thing here. My guest washroom is right beside the kitchen. The two SMT402’s are at most 6’ from each other. I brought my Vera into the kitchen, and added the SMT402 without a problem. I figured that I would be able to get away with adding the washroom one without moving the Vera. WRONG. While the Vera did in fact detect the washroom thermostat, it was added as a weird device, with controls that did not exist on the unit. After deleting the device, moving the Vera closer, the thermostat finally was able to pair with the Vera properly. I know dragging the Vera around, constantly rebooting it adds many minutes if not hours to the job, but it is essential!
Manuals and literature in this domain are horrendous. You need to experiment with your equipment. Does anyone know how to reset a Sylvania Motion sensor? Bueller? Bueller? Try looking it up online. No info. Some say to hold down the button on the side. This does not do anything. I had to take the battery out a bunch of times and play with it. Finally found out that to reset the device, you take the battery out, and then reinsert the battery while holding down the button. If you want to go into pairing mode, you remove the battery, reinsert while holding down the button, and then release the button as soon as the LED turns on. Simple right? I am going to write that down for next time.
Sometimes the problem is one of the devices. So one of my SMT402’s never paired correctly no matter what I did. Soft reboot, hard reboot, nothing worked. I now believe that this device was the cause of my troubles in the first place. That it is why it is important to go slow. I will try to exchange that device, but I have had it for a while so I may be stuck with it.
Finally, if you can, wait to do this stuff when no one is home. It is very disruptive.
If you have made it to the end of this little rant, thank you. If you helped me get my system up and running, double thank you.
P.S. I cannot add my Done Sensors until I add my GE/Jasco Fan Switches because I need them to boost my ZWave signal. Basically, stay tuned for another lessons learned thread when I get to that (probably when the firmware upgrade is released, for real this time).