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My device needs a firmware update to fix a problem - what should I do?

With the launch of Z-Wave Plus it was added the possibility to update Z-Wave devices’ firmware OTA (Over the Air). This means that – theoretically – the end user can effortlessly update devices’ firmware.

Unfortunately, in the real world things are never that easy…

What is firmware and do I really need to update it?

Firmware is a small software that is embedded into a hardware device that controls how your device behaves. It acts as a bridge between the Hardware itself and the Software the end use will see. Firmware updates often fixes bugs, contains new features and protects you from eventual security vulnerabilities.

We all got used to regular firmware updates – from Smartphones to TVs there’s always something asking to be updated nowadays.

While it’s generally a good idea to keep devices up to date – especially if there are security risks involved - there are a few areas where we follow the golden rule: if it works, don’t fix it!

How can I do it?

That's where the troubles begin. While it’s technically possible for the user to do it, most manufacturers don’t really seem to like the idea or just use it as a way to up-sell their controllers.

Lets name a few:

“...return your devices to the retailer and they can update them...”


As far as we're aware the Fibaro devices are only able to be updated using the Fibaro HCL or Fibaro HC2 controllers.

Fibaro don't release the firmware files directly for use in other Z-Wave controllers - we've repeatedly asked them to change this stance but they won't budge.


Just like Fibaro, Qubino doesn’t seem to be too keen on sharing firmware files.


Aeotec was a refreshing change of pace by releasing firmware files to the public – learn something Fibaro and Qubino! Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends.

Similar to Fibaro, they only supply the firmware files within standalone PC applications, so you need a USB Z-Wave controller and a PC to update Aeotec devices - not much use for a Vera or Athom Homey user for example.

Can you do it for me then?

No, we can’t.

Manufacturers are a bit too keen to suggest returning devices to distributors for them to update – we’re not aware of any distributor (us included) that is prepared to do that due to the surrounding logistics and costs associated with that process.

What are my options?

We've been recommending that customers pick up a Fibaro HCL or an Aeotec USB Stick to allow them to update Fibaro and Aeotec devices respectively.

Obviously, this is a bit of a financial outlay but you can pick them up cheaper occasionally during our sales events.

The alternative is to ask the Manufacturer themselves to do it – after all, it's not the Retailers responsibility to provide a way to update firmware. It’s the same as…. (insert funny analogy here)

If the firmware update in question addresses a fault then customers are within their rights to return the device under our returns policy and have it replaced.

Problem is that firmware update that's released today might not end up in the retail channel for many months by the time it's filtered through distributors. Plus, most devices don't have the firmware version visible on the box, so even if we physically check each box we don't know 100% what version is in stock.

Therefor there’s a chance your “replacement” will have the exact same firmware version.

Copyright Vesternet 2018

Updated: 11/01/2018

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