[FIX] SmartThings Hub Won't Find Z-Wave Devices

Z-Wave Logo

If you have a SmartThings hub and are having trouble getting it to pair with your Z-Wave devices, you may have an issue with your Z-Wave network preventing the inclusion process from starting. Unfortunately, the issue may not be very obvious especially if you're not already an expert with the Z-Wave protocol and methodologies.

Back Story

For me, the issue began when I was trying to pair 2 new Ecolink door/window sensors. I already had a Schlage door sensor which is essentially the exact same hardware, albeit branded differently. I was already well-versed in setting up devices so this was not a case of newbie syndrome.

I placed the hub into pairing mode (or inclusion mode, in Z-Wave terminology). I pulled the battery tab out of the device so it would power on and automatically attempt to include itself on the hub's network. The SmartThings app failed to show the device and the device timed out, having not included successfully. I then tried the other sensor to rule out there being a hardware issue with the first one. That also failed.

By this point, I was suspecting that either both sensors were bad (not super likely, but possible), the hub was not functioning correctly, or there was a conflict because I had another sensor from Schlage -- maybe there was a device ID collision or something silly. I then decided to rule out the hub as being the culprit by excluding (or unpairing) the working sensor, then trying to include it again. When this also failed, I was frustrated because now it pointed to the hub as being faulty.

The Fix

For the next week or so I would try off and on to resolve the issue, and nothing seemed to work. Resetting the hub, disabling and enabling the radio via the SmartThings web portal, resetting the sensors... nothing worked. Even attempting a "Z-Wave Repair" process failed. I reluctantly opened a support ticket with SmartThings hoping they would either resolve the issue or let me return the hub.

After several exchanges with them, the issue seemed to be the hub. Then I started to think outside the box and Googled heavily, trying to find more info about the error messages I received during the repair process. This is where I struck gold.

FAQ: Zwave repair not working

The following post by Andreas A. contains a workaround that will force the hub to stop looking for failed or orphaned devices that prevent the repair process from completing.

If you get those with an ID rather than a device name, this is most likely an orphaned device - you can check in My Devices whether you actually do have a device with that ID. If not, you can remove it by following these steps (I just did that to remove the ten or so orphaned devices I had and after three more network repairs, I was able to get the network repaired without any errors):

  1. Go to My Devices
  2. Click "New Device" at the top right
  3. Enter some obvious name (I just used "Trash"), put the orphaned network ID into the "Device Network ID" field, select "Z-Wave Device" as the type, and select your location and hub
  4. Click "Create"
  5. In the mobile app, go to this newly created device (you might have to refresh the device list), select "Edit Device" and force-remove the device

This will remove the orphaned associations from the hub and no longer cause the hub to look for non-existent devices.

In my case, I was receiving the following error when attempting a Z-Wave repair:

Z-Wave network repair started
Network repair for device [01]: Failed to update mesh info
Network repair for device [01]: Failed to update route
Z-Wave network repair finished

Aha! Device 01 does not seem to exist anymore, for whatever reason. The SmartThings hub didn't have it listed, and I don't remember what it could have even been. I followed the above instructions to tell the hub that device 01 exists, then force excluding it from the hub to tell Z-Wave to stop looking for it on the network. The next time I ran the repair process, it failed again, but for a legitimate reason this time. I physically removed one Z-Wave device from the house, so that one (device ID 07) would not respond when polled by the hub. I still had the device, so I brought it back to the house and plugged it in. The next time I tried to repair, it completed successfully!

Now I was able to include the new sensors without issue. Everything works again, and I didn't have to return the hub. Unfortunately, I had to discover this on my own and spent a considerable amount of time with 2 support engineers from SmartThings. However, they were very responsive and tried their best to help me resolve the issue -- going above and beyond what typical support reps would do.

Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to exclude any devices that may have been included on your network already. This puts them in a "ready to pair" mode so they will look for the hub on power up.
  • Be sure you have all devices present and powered up. If a device fails, you must "replace" the device using the SmartThings app. This will tell Z-Wave to either look for a different device ID for the given node or to ignore it completely.

Good luck!

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About Rich Dunajewski

Hello! I’m Rich, a web developer from New Jersey. I primarily develop web applications for mobile and desktop devices using such frameworks as Sails.js, Cordova, jQuery, and Twitter Bootstrap.

  • Lives in New Jersey, USA