(Last Updated: April 30, 2020)

Using the vera with external usb zwave or zigbee dongle

  • The vera can run both its zwave and zigbee network off of external USB radios instead of the onboard ones. This could have advantages in terms of portability, facilitating migrations or recoveries in case the vera craps out. It could also enable testing of newer radio firmwares.
    Zwave is pretty straightforward as its serial API is standardized and the protocol is the same regardless of what brand of USB stick you use. I have run my vera off of USB sticks of various brands for years going from Aeotec, Zooz, Homeseer and even the most generic silabs/Sigma Design. You just insert the stick in the usb port, find out which serial port it created (under the /dev/ folder) and use that port (ie. /dev/ttyACM0, /dev/ttyUSB0 etc) in the zwave advance menu.
    Zigbee is a little trickier as the protocol and chipset was not quite as standardized as zwave. The vera only works with ember Znet protocol and you will need to find a usb stick with an EM35x chip in it which already has an ember zigbee firmware loaded. One example of such a stick is the Go Control HUSBZB1 (dual zwave-zigbee stick). The port is not readily accessible on the vera UI but can be accessed either through editing of the /etc/cmh/user-data.json or through ALTUI by going into the hidden zigbee radio device through the "table devices " menu and changing modifying the port variable there.

    You can also upgrade the onboard zwave and zigbee radio firmwares from the command line SSH...

  • Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 08.23.00.png

    Vera Plus:
    zwave_uart_prog -o write -d sd3503_flash -f firmware file name

    Vera Secure:
    rwee -w -z -x -f firmware file name

  • The zwave firmware file is available for free from silabs SDK packages.

    The zigbee firmware is unfortunately not free and I have not upgraded beyond the embedded 5.6.0


    For kicks, I just downloaded version 6.82.01 and upgraded both the vera and homeseer stick...

    Note again that the vera takes the bridge version of the firmware while the generic USB dongles can take both the bridge and static versions.

  • I prefer to use an external UZB with a extension utilising a powered USB switch and mounting the radio away from any other electrical devices regardless of it being Vera.
    Works extremely well with a RPi running Homeseer or HASS.

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