• Bud

Z-Wave Device Exclusion in the New SmartThings App

Read on to learn some helpful insights about the Z-Wave Device Exclusion utility and the Z-Wave Network Repair utility in the new SmartThings App. I’ll show you how to find these utilities and will also explain why and when you may need to use each utility.

When I automated my bathroom exhaust fan/light, (Video Here); I installed an EnerWave Z-wave relay switch which I mounted in the gang box behind my wall switch. After several attempts to get the ST App to recognize the relay, I reluctantly pulled out the product documentation to discover that I needed to exclude the relay before adding the device to the ST App. Once I successfully excluded the device, it was immediately recognized by the network and added to the ST App.

Therefore, the moral of the story is, if you're having trouble adding a Z-Wave device, and your device refuses connect after several attempts, or if you're having trouble adding a Z-Wave device that was working previously, you likely need to exclude the device to have it recognized by the ST hub. You will need to find, and run the SmartThings "Z-Wave Device Exclusion utility" in order to fix these types of issues.

You may be asking yourself, why would I need to exclude or un-pair a device that has never been included to my network in the first place? Your device may have configuration errors which occurred during the pairing process. So if you tried to pair a device, and you were unsuccessful, the device likely has resident errors and is not ready for another pairing attempt. If so, the device must first be excluded before it can be paired.

Additionally, the device that you purchased is likely to have been tested at the factory. As a result, the device may be programmed to be associated with a different Z-Wave network. Fortunately, you are able to use the Z-Wave Device Exclusion utility within your network, to exclude Z-Wave devices from any previous network. Once the device is excluded, you then should be able to pair the device to your home network.

In my Bathroom automation video, I demonstrate the required steps to find and run the Z-Wave device Exclusion Utility within the old Classic ST App. Let me describe the steps to find and perform a General Z-Wave Device Exclusion I the new app.

Before we get started, let me point out that anytime you exclude a Z-Wave device, it is very important that you have the physical device with you, and that you are within range of your SmartThings Hub. Most device manufactures recommend that you be within 10 feet of your Hub.

To locate the Z-wave Exclusion utility, open the ST App and select the hamburger menu () located in the upper left-hand corner of the Home screen. Next tap on Devices. Now you’ll want to search for your SmartThings Hub in your list of devices. When found, tap on your hub. If you have a SmartThings Wi-Fi hub, you’ll select your Wi-Fi Hub and then tap on “Use SmartThings Hub”. Next, tap on “More Options” ellipsis, which is the three dots that are located in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. Next, tap on Z-Wave Utilities.

Once you are in the Z-wave Utilities screen you will see the two available utilities. To exclude a Z-wave device you want to tap on “Z-Wave exclusion” utility. The app will prompt you to perform a Z-Wave exclusion on the device. You’ll need to refer to the device's manual for specific exclusion steps.

With regard to my EnerWave relay, the Z-Wave exclusion instructions required that I press and release the program button located on the rear of the switch.

After the exclusion mode is activated, the app should indicate when the device is successfully removed. Once you receive confirmation that the device has been removed, tap "Done" and follow the specific instructions for adding the device. As mentioned previously, when excluding or adding a device, you’ll want to have the physical device within range of the SmartThings Hub.

When adding the EnerWave relay, the guide instructed me to press the programming switch 3 times. This placed my relay switch into learning mode. The switch was quickly included into my wireless network.

You will also note that listed on the “Z-wave Utilities” screen, there is also a “Repair Z-wave Network” utility. What is this for? Should you run it? How often should you run it? Will you damage anything by running the utility? These are all good questions. Let me see if I can provide some answers.

Every Z-wave device keeps a “neighbor table” of its own closest neighbors. The neighbor table is used for storing routing instructions. Individual Z-wave devices do not know the entire network. They only know the neighbor that they are to send an outgoing message to as the first step in a relay.

The SmartThings hub, keeps all network tables. But since each individual Z-wave device keeps minimal information, it’s the function of the repair utility is to prompt the Hub to tell each Z-wave device to update its personal neighbor table based on the position of the nearest neighboring device.

If devices are physically moved around, new devices are added to the network, or old devices are removed from the network, the neighbor tables can get out of date. So the utility performs a bit of housekeeping. It instructs the devices to Say hello to new devices, say goodbye to ones that have left the network or are now out of range, and makes the neighbor tables efficient again.

In most Z-wave installations, a Z-wave repair is a “can’t hurt, might help” utility. So if you’re seeing too much lag in the network, or you can’t remember if you updated the tables when you removed a device a couple of weeks ago, or if you observe weird behavior on a particular device, you would normally want to run the Z-wave repair utility.

How often should you run the utility? If you have several Z-Wave devices and you have never run the utility, it may be helpful to run it to ensure your device neighbor tables are efficient. However, if you don’t currently use Z-wave devices or you never or seldom add or physically relocate your devices, then it is likely not essential that you run the utility.

In order to initiate a Z-Wave network repair within the New SmartThings mobile app, follow the previously provided instructions for finding the Z-Wave Utilities screen and simply tap on the “Repair Z-Wave Network” option.

You will see a message stating "Z-Wave network repair started." Take care that you do not send any commands to your devices until you receive the "Z-Wave network repair finished" message. The entire repair process may take up to 15 minutes. I have a small number of Z-wave devices and my repair only took about one minute.

So I trust I have given you a better understanding about locating and using these Z-wave utilities. If you are interested in sourcing some of the smart home products which I use in my setup, tap on my Amazon Store link. This will give you access to a comprehensive list of recommended devices. I do make a small commission on items that you purchase. The commission does not increase your cost and all sales will help support my efforts so that I can continue to bring you more content.

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Meet Bud
Enjoys solving household challenges with innovative and cost & time saving solutions.