How do I get started with Z-Wave?

There are many ways to use Z-Wave but we recommend getting started with a Z-Wave Controller like Vera Edge or Fibaro Home Centre. Think of these Controllers similar to your WiFi router making a hotspot for all of your devices. All your Z-Wave devices create a mesh network around these Controllers. These Controllers allow you to talk to your devices via phones, tablets, computers and remotes. These Controllers do all the thinking and allow for normal day tasks like locking doors at night to be automated.

Can I buy my Z-Wave gear from SA Home Automation and install it myself?

Z-Wave systems are built to be DIY. The systems are relatively simple to install and set up for tech savvy DIYers. However! Note that any modules connected to 230VAC must be installed by a licensed electrician. If you need to return any 230VAC equipment purchased from us then we will request the Electrical Certificate of Compliance from the electrician that installed the equipment for warranty purposes.

Can SA Home Automation install and configure my devices?

Yes we can! We have qualified electricians and engineers who are experienced in the installation of Z-Wave equipment.

Do you offer training or on-site help for installation and operation of your products?

Yes we do! Our Engineers are happy to run you through setting up and using your new Z-Wave Home Automation system after it is installed. We also offer free support and advice on any of our products.

What is the difference between Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus?

Z-Wave Plus is the latest technology certification standard offered and gives you a high level of security and compatibility between products as well as an improved maximum “clear air line-of-sight” range of up to 150 metres. All Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus certified products are fully interoperable. Z-Wave Plus has been optimized for easy set-up and installation.

If I buy new Z-Wave Plus devices, will my old Z-Wave devices still work?

Yes they will! Z-Wave Plus is backwards compatible with older Z-Wave devices. So the devices you bought today will work with the ones you bought 3 years ago; at least in some basic level.

What is the range of Z-Wave Devices?

Z-Wave creates a “Mesh” network where each powered device receives and relays a message to other devices. A single device-to-device connection range can be anywhere from 5-50 metres for older Z-Wave devices and up to 150 metres (maximum “clear air line-of-sight” range) for Z-Wave Plus devices. This range is very dependent on “obstacles” and building materials separating the two devices. Things like steel beams can greatly reduce the range or, in rare cases, create “black spots” in the network. However, a signal sent from the main controller to any Z-Wave device can do the device-to-device “hop” up to 4 times which gives a theoretical maximum range from the main controller of up to 600m with Z-Wave Plus devices! When Z-Wave creates its mesh network it’s smart enough to work around obstacles that you may think might get in the way.

Is Z-Wave the same as WiFi?

Z-Wave is a radio frequency, like WiFi, but the similarities stop there. There are differences in bandwidth, range, purpose, etc. Z-Wave is made to be different, so that it does not conflict or interfere with your WiFi network (or another). Z-Wave is proprietary and controlled by an alliance of companies to ensure that certain criteria are met.

Can I use my existing computer or WiFi router be used as a Z-Wave controller?

There are Z-Wave sticks available that plug in via a USB port, but they are targeted mainly at programmers or advanced users so are not recommended for the normal user. The Vera or Fibaro controllers are your best option for getting started with a Z-Wave Home Automation system.

Will Z-Wave devices from different brands work together?

In short, yes they will! All Z-Wave devices are designed to be compatible with each other. The long answer is that certain brands work “better” together than others. For example, a Fibaro Dimmer or Sensor will always work best with a Fibaro Home Centre controller however all basic functionality will still work fine if controlled with a Vera controller. If you are unsure then just ask us!

What security cameras will work with Z-Wave?

Most standard IP Cameras that offer MJPEG streaming are compatible with Fibaro and Vera controllers. If you are unsure then just ask us!

Can I integrate my existing Alarm System with a Z-Wave Home Automation System?

This depends entirely on the type of Alarm you have installed. Some alarm systems are directly compatible with some Z-Wave controllers. Other Alarms may have simple outputs to indicate “Alarm Tripped” that can be integrated into a Z-Wave system. Whilst others may not have any ability to interface at all. If you are unsure then just ask us!

Does Z-Wave work with Apple HomeKit, Google Home or Amazon Echo/Alexa?

The world of the “Smart Home” is ever-changing. New products are constantly hitting the market and it’s difficult for compatibility to be maintained. Because products like Apple Homekit, Google Home and Amazon Echo are not directly “Z-Wave compliant”, they rely on the makers of the Z-Wave Controllers to build in compatibility with their products. The likes of Fibaro Home Center and Vera have done a very good job at “keeping up with the times”. As of September 2017 both Fibaro and Vera offer native support for Amazon Echo and the response from those who use it say it works great. Native support and integration of other platforms is in the pipeline so best to contact us if you are curious where things are at.

Is Z-Wave secure?

Yes, a Z-Wave network has a unique ID that it assigns to every device in the network, and that ID is different for every hub so your neighbour’s hub can’t control your devices.
When an extra level of security is needed, such as for door locks and other high security devices, Z-Wave has another level of security which uses AES128 encryption at the same level that major banks use to protect financial information. Z-Wave AES encryption is supported by most Z-Wave hubs today and is required on all hubs with the Z-Wave Plus mark on them.

What is the difference between Z-Wave and other home automation technologies?

You shouldn’t just take our word for it that Z-Wave is the best smart home technology choice out there. Choosing the right solution depends on your personal situation–do you have existing tech in the home to consider? Are you starting from scratch? Do you want freedom and control of the system? etc. But no other smart home technology gives you interoperability between hundreds of brands and diversity of product choice. We encourage people to check out other options and get other quotes so you can be sure you’re making the right choice.

How many Z-Wave devices can I control?

Z-Wave is a highly ‘scalable’ technology – meaning it can control hundreds of devices with just one network. Z-Wave hubs are sometimes capable of supporting multiple networks, which allows you to control as many Z-Wave products as you need. With Z-Wave you can build your smart home one device at a time — adding more products when it suits you.

Will Z-Wave devices from the USA or Europe work in Australia?

NO! Many people think that they can import Z-Wave devices and they’ll work in Australia then are surprised when they don’t! This is for 2 reasons. First, Australia and New Zealand use the 921.42MHz frequency compared to 868.42MHz SRD Band used in Europe and 908.42MHz used in the United States. Secondly, some other countries like the USA use 120VAC mains electricity compared to 230VAC in Australia so you could end up blowing up your device if it’s not rated for 230VAC! All devices sold by SA Home Automation are certified for use in Australia/New Zealand and comply with all relevant AS/NZ standards.