Aeon Labs Aeotec Z-Wave Key Fob Review

Aeotec Z-Wave key fob
The Aeotec key fob is a compact 4-button remote control for use with Z-Wave networks and a controller.

The front cover slides open to reveal the four push buttons:
buttons revealed

In The Box

in the box
The key fob comes very well packaged with the key fob itself, a Lithium CR2540 (3V) battery, a 2-pronged 'button pin' and the instruction manual. The key shiny surface (including the buttons) have a protective blue plastic film. It feels solid and well made and weighs 30g with the battery inserted. The sliding cover has a nice smooth feel but the button action feels a bit cheap, with the buttons wobbling slightly.

The key fob has 4 buttons and a tiny red/green LED on the front face. On the back there are two holes that allow the mode to be changed using the 'button pin'.

Setup

We found it quite difficult to open the battery compartment cover.

Z-Wave Inclusion

The key fob has three different modes and comes shipped in 'setup mode'. We went into the Vera Lite controller UI and entered the 'add device' section. We then entered include mode and usign the 'button pin', pressed the 'Learn' button on the back of the remote.

Our Vera Lite then discovered the device:
discovered device

We then chose a rooma nd named the device:
devices view

This is the resulting 'devices view':
devices view

Modes

Once the key fob has been included as part of the Z-Wave network, it needs to configured to the right mode. We want to use the remote to run scenes. The next bit of the instruction manual is particularly unclear on the required steps to do this :-(

The change mode, you use the 'button pin' to press mode button on back of remote. The green LED on front comes on for about 2 seconds. You can tell which mode the remote is in by what happens when you press the buttons on the front. If button 3 does nothing, then it is in setup mode. If the green light comes on for 1 second when you press any of the buttons, then it is in group/scene mode.

Scenes

To use the buttons to run scenes, you must create a scene for every button on the device. The Vera 'Automation' tab, select 'New Scene' and create one with a meaningful name. We chose to add these scenes to our 'Entrance Hall' room.

Having selected the new scene, we than add a trigger by selecting the 'Triggers' tabe and clicking on 'New Trigger':
edit trigger

We have given the scenes names like 'Fob1Key2' and the triggers similar names too. The scene number above is the number of the button on the key fob. As far as our Home Control System (HCS) is concerned this key fob is just another device or sensor (called 'KeyFob1') that generates events.

In our scenes we have added LUUP code to sent the events to our Home Control System (HCS).

The buttons on the key fob have a 'primary scene' function when pressed but can also invoke a 'secondary scene' when pressed and held down for 2 seconds or more. This effectively turns the key fob into an 8-button remote control. To get these to work on the Vera, you need to configure the triggers slightly differently:

edit extended scene trigger

The extended scenes use a trigger type of 'A scene is de-actived' and scene 5 uses the number 1 again (6 uses 2, 7 uses 3 and 8 uses 4). Note that this is different to the image shown in the manual. When you press the button down fr an extended scene, the green LED comes on after 2 seconds, to let you know it has been activated.

In Use

We have a whole load of possible usage scenarios that we have been looking to do with a Z-Wave key fob. This section will be completed in the coming weeks.

Because of the way we are using the key fob, the buttons do not have to have fixed functions. As well as being used to toggle things on and off (such as the house alarm), they can also adapt to context. As an example, each button could run a different scene depending on the house status.

Range

We will do some more extensive testing but, initial tests show the range to be very good. It works on our drive, outside the front door, in the back garden and even on the patio at the far end of our back garden.

The claimed range for the device is 20m (66ft) indoors and 50m (164ft) outdoors. With a Z-Wave network this just has to be to the nearest controller or relay node.

Personal Key Fob

Each key fob could also be associated with a particular person. We could see one being given to a cleaner or guest, to enable simple control of the house alarm system as an example.

Summary

Once you have the information to hand, it is very easy to set the key fob up and get the core functionality working.

Further Reading

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