I was in search of a doorbell I could integrate into my Home Automation system that didn’t rely on the cloud. Video was not important to me, I’m already using dedicated PoE cameras for video surveillance at my home. I’ve got a good amount of Z-Wave devices in my Home Automation setup, so the Aeotec ZW162 Z-Wave Doorbell (also called the Aeotec Doorbell 6) caught my eye. It’s a Z-Wave based wireless doorbell that can integrate with your Home Automation platform and notify you when the bell is pressed.
Today’s review will be going through the Aeotec ZW162 and a quick tutorial on integrating it with Home Assistant. Using Home Assistant’s integrations you can easily capture video from a camera and send it to your phone when the button is pressed.
Aeotec sent me this product for free to review on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I only recommend products that I enjoy using and would be comfortable using in my personal smart home.
The Aeotec ZW162 comes in two separate components, the wireless button to place at your front door and the actual chime. The button takes a CR2450 battery (which is included). Typical battery life is 2 years in tested circumstances. Because the doorbell is battery powered you don’t need to hook it up to your existing wiring. Overall, I think the doorbell looks pretty sleek and modern and fits in nicely with my house’s aesthetic.
The chime is a rounded device that you plug in inside your home that plays a sound when the doorbell is pressed. It lights up at the same time so you’ll see it in the dark. The chime comes with a wall-mount and power adapter for mounting and powering the device.
Both the chime and doorbell also come with double-sided tape to adhere the components to walls for mounting.
Aeotec mentions in their manual that the doorbell should not be direct sunlight when possible to avoid UV damage resulting in reduced battery performance. You’ll have to consider your own front door when installing if that will be an issue. It’s rated as IP55 so protection is suitable for outdoor use without direct exposure to heavy and penetrative rain.
The Aeotec ZW162 is a Z-Wave+ device meaning it follows the latest Z-Wave standards and should integrate nicely with your Z-Wave network. It supports S2 security so you can securely add the device to your Z-Wave network adding a level of security to prevent hacking or interference by intruders.
The doorbell communicates to the chime wirelessly and is listed to support up to 120 meters / 393 feet apart. Note that the chime is the actual Z-Wave device, the doorbell just communicates to it over another wireless protocol when activated. So you’ll want to place your chime within range of your Z-Wave network, the doorbell itself just needs to be in the range of the chime. The chime acts as a Z-Wave repeater so it will strength your Z-Wave network and repeat messages to its neighbors.
Home Automation Integration
If you’ve seen the blog before you’ll know I’m a big user of Home Assistant, which is my preferred Home Automation platform.
Unfortunately, as of Home Assistant 0.97.2, the integration is lacking a bit. This is because the Aeotec ZW162 uses some newer Z-Wave commands that aren’t supported in the version of OpenZWave that Home Assistant uses. Home Assistant relies on version 1.5 of OpenZWave and the new command classes that the ZW162 makes use of are in version 1.6.
That being said, you can still trigger automations based on button press of the doorbell in Home Assistant. Later in this article, I’ll show how you could capture video after the doorbell is pressed and send yourself a notification. But as of right now there is not much more you can do with the ZW162 with Home Assistant.
Performance and Features
First off, this thing is loud. If this is in a central place in your home you’ll definitely hear it go off. Aeotec’s website lists it at 110db. The device comes preloaded with 15 different tones so you can choose specific tones for any scenario (assuming your Z-Wave gateway supports it).
If you have multiple entrances to your house, it’s worth noting that Aeotec sells accessory buttons to pair to the chime. That way you can just add additional buttons to your entrances without buying new chimes.
The chime also comes with a battery backup. So if your power goes out, any other battery-powered Z-Wave devices could still communicate with the ZW162. This may be handy if you have Z-Wave battery-powered smoke detectors that could be in a group with the ZW162 to signal the siren. The battery is listed as lasting for 4 hours and is not detachable.
The chime is tamper resistant as well. Once added to your Z-Wave network, if you try to move the device it will start to trigger a siren alarm. You can associate other devices to the Z-Wave group to create automations when tampered with. You can also detect the tampering event in Home Assistant and trigger an automation.
From a performance angle, I tried pressing the doorbell around the house from various ranges and it always triggered right away. As long as you are within the advertised range the doorbell should ring instantly.
One thing I don’t love is how the chime looks when mounted on a wall. The power adapter cord comes from out the bottom of the chime and then must be plugged into a socket. Something to keep in mind when planning out where you want to mount your device.
Overall though I don’t have too many gripes with the Aeotec ZW162. I wish the integration with Home Assistant was better, but that seems like an issue more on the Home Assistant side than with Aeotec. I’m looking forward to the additional support the ZW162 when Home Assistant supports OpenZwave 1.6.
Home Assistant integration is still a bit of a work in progress for the ZW162. The Aeotec ZW162 makes use of some newer command classes that are only supported in OpenZWave 1.6, which Home Assistant hasn’t moved to yet. That being said, you can still trigger automations when someone presses the doorbell. I’ll be walking through how to add the device to Home Assistant and capture video when someone presses the doorbell.
Adding the Device
Adding the device is pretty straightforward. Go ahead and power the chime component by plugging in the adapter. The chime’s LED should start to blink.
Unscrew the back of the doorbell button and put the CR2450 battery into the back. You should now be able to press the doorbell button and hear it chime, be careful… it’s loud!
Now, open up Home Assistant and click the “Add Node Secure” or “Add Node” button on the Z-Wave Network Management panel. Your Z-Wave controller will send out messages to add a new device. Press the button on the back of the chime to add it to your Z-Wave network. The ZW162 should turn the LED solid for about 30 seconds before turning off, indicating it’s been added to the network.
In Home Assistant you should now see the new node.
Triggering on Press
To trigger a Home Assistant automation when the doorbell is pressed we’ll use a Z-Wave node event for the trigger. First, you need to add your controller to node group 4. Group 4 is for all associations related to pressing the doorbell. So essentially this enables our Z-Wave controller to get notified when the doorbell is pressed. You can configure this in the same Z-Wave control panel within Home Assistant.
Now you can go to the “Events” section under “Developer Tools” in Home Assistant to watch for events. Start listening to the
zwave.node_event event, and press the doorbell.
You’ll see two events like the ones in the screenshot above. This shows us the Z-Wave node events we can trigger on.
Writing the Automation
Now that we know what Z-Wave node events are happening, we can trigger on them like any other Z-Wave automation. There are actually a lot of Z-Wave events in Home Assistant if you are interested in writing other automations for your Z-Wave network.
The automation below triggers on the doorbell being pressed and sends me two Telegram messages. The first gives me a link to my cameras in my external Home Assistant instance so I can view it right away. A few seconds later I get a video sent over Telegram with a short recording of the activity.
- platform: event
- service: camera.record
- service: notify.zack_telegram
title: "Doorbell Rang"
message: !secret external_lovelace_cameras
- service: notify.zack_telegram
message: "Doorbell Rang"
- file: "/tmp/doorbell.mp4"
caption: "Doorbell Rang"
Let’s break this down a bit:
- The automation starts when the doorbell is pressed. It triggers when a node event happens on the doorbell with
basic_level: 0. From the event tab we saw that level happen when the chime stopped playing.
- The automation starts by using the camera record service to start recording the camera to a file. I’m just storing it in the temporary directory
- Next, a message is sent to my phone with a link to my cameras. This allows me to pull up the stream easily. It’s a link to my Nabu Casa remote URL so I can pull it up even if I’m not on my home network.
- A simple delay happens to make sure the video is done recording. Then the video is sent to my phone to give me a playback of the stream.
If you’re looking for a Z-Wave doorbell the Aeotec ZW162 checks all the boxes. It looks nice and is loud, comes with configurable tones and is locally controlled over your Z-Wave network. The functionality is limited in Home Assistant at the moment but you can still create some powerful automations based on the doorbell being pressed. I think it would be cool to use a Raspberry Pi to display a camera feed and have my TV automatically switch to it when the bell is pressed. The automation could also be improved by using presence detection and only sending the links when you are not home.
If you’re interested in other Z-Wave devices, check out some of my other reviews:
- Zooz ZSE29 Z-Wave Outdoor Motion Sensor Review
- GE Z-Wave Plus Outdoor Smart Plug Review
- Zooz ZEN22 Z-Wave Dimmer Switch Review
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