This Z-Wave home automation FAQ is a collection of our customer questions during their visit to our store. This page will be updated whenever we receive new questions from our customers. We believe it could benefit those who would like to know more about home automation and the Z-Wave network. If you can not find an answer to your needs, you may email use through our contact page. We will get back to you quickly.
TECHNOLOGY & SYSTEM
Answer: Yes. The system can be controlled using apps downloaded from the app store.
Answer: Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol designed for home automation, specifically to remotely control applications in residential and light commercial environments.As of 2013, Z-Wave is supported by over 160 manufacturers worldwide and appears in a broad range of consumer and commercial products in the US, Europe and Asia.
The following are their key characteristics.
- Using low-power RF radio embedded or retrofitted into home electronics devices and systems, such as lighting, residential access control, entertainment systems and household appliances.
- Working on 900MHz band to avoid interference from the crowded 2.4G Hz band. In Singapore, we use the same frequency as UK at 868.4MHz.
- Each Single network could have up to 232 modules.
- The typical working distance between modules is 100ft (30m) but it is extended to a multiple of 100ft due to the mesh topology.
Answer: Z-Wave is using GFSK modulation scheme. It could work up to 100kbs. Currently, most of the home automation devices only require very low data rate. Only short commands are send between them. With up to 100kbs data rate, future expansion is guarantee.
Answer: If you live in a multi-story home with problems with your WiFi range, Z-Wave can still work well in your house.
Z-Wave devices typically have a working distant of 100ft between them (about 30m) in free space. However, Z-Wave is adopting mesh topology. Each module (like a dimmer or wall switch) is a RF repeater by itself. The command send by the gateway controller to an out of range module can be routed through another module in between them. This makes it very suitable for multi-storey houses. Typically, Singapore flats and houses are having brick wall between rooms. Z-Wave work better than WiFi by using mesh topology.
Answer: Z-Wave devices typically have a working distant of 100ft between them (about 30m) in free space. However, Z-Wave is adopting mesh topology. Each module (like a dimmer or wall switch) is a RF repeater by itself. The command send by the gateway controller to an out of range module can be routed through another module in between them. This makes it very suitable for multi-storey houses. Typically, Singapore flats and houses are having brick wall between rooms. Z-Wave work better than WiFi by using mesh topology.
- The Z-Wave controller can control up to 232 modules in a single network. If there is a need to control more than 232 modules, two or more networks can be bridged together. It may also be better to remain them as separated network for better system management.
- It is using 868.4MHz band. It may have less interference compare to the crowded 2.4GHz band. Normal offices may have many devices using 2.4GHz band such as WiFi and bluetooth devices.
- The working distant between modules is up to 100ft. However, each module is a repeater by itself. This extends the working area to much larger then normal WiFi network.
GATEWAY & CONTROLLER
Answer: No. It is regional dependent. Singapore is using a common frequency as European Market.
The communication frequency was set differently for different regions. The frequency to be used in a particular country/region was assigned by the Z-Wave alliance after consulting to government of various countries.
Answer: Yes. It is approved by Singapore IDA.
Answer: The gateway is a type of controller that can be used to communicate with Internet or may even communicate with other Home Automation Network Protocols such as X10 and Zigbee.
Answer: No. The Z-Wave Alliance will govern the devices from different manufacturers to work with each other. However, to ensure all the functions can be utilized, it is advisable to verify the compatibility list between the controller and the modules. We can advise you as necessary.
Answer: The gateway can be placed next to the WiFi modem for minimum wiring, as the gateway will be connected to the WiFi modem through LAN cable.
Answer: The controller is used to add, remove, and manage all the devices within the network so that devices can work with each other. All the gateways that we are selling are also equipped with controller ability. Therefore, if VeraLite or Zipabox is installed, it is not mandatory to have another controller for network controlling purpose.
Answer: Z-Wave gateway is the brain of your home Z-Wave network. It has two main functions:
- It acts as the bridge between your home Z-Wave network and the internet. It enables you to access and control your Z-Wave modules when you are outside your home.
- It is usually the primary controller of your Z-Wave home network. The program (scene) that you setup is resided in the gateway. For example, turn on the lights when the doorbell is pressed. Some manufacturers also backup your gateway memory on their network server. For example, VeraLite backup a copy of your program on the server.
INSTALLATION OF Z-WAVE MODULE
Your current dimmer with a rotating knob will not be used. The Z-Wave dimmer module is an electronics dimmer. It is best working with mono-stable switch. A mono stable switch is similar to the doorbell switch. When the switch paddle is pressed, it is connected. When you release your finger, the switch springs back to the normal position.
A standard mono-stable switch as shown on the left would costs between S$4 to S$8.
The following is how the dimmer work.
- Double clicks on the switch. It turns the light to maximum brightness.
- A single press on the switch paddle when the light is on will toggle the light to off.
- A single press on the switch paddle when the light is off will toggle the light on (to the previous brightness position).
- Press and hold the switch, it dims the light. Release the switch when the light reaches the desire level.
Press and hold the switch again, it goes the opposite way to brighten up the light.
You can figure out how it works instantly.
Answer: Connecting the module is no more difficult than installing a normal wall switch. It is DIY-able if you are competent in handling AC live circuit. Due to the AC live circuit is involved, the installation of module should be strictly done by competent personnel only. You may refer to the Z-Wave installation package that we listed on our web page.