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Z-Wave Plus home automation hub runs Linux on Raspberry Pi

Sep 24, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 6,105 views

Z-Wave Europe and Popp & Co. have launched a “Popp Hub” home automation gateway that runs Linux on a Raspberry Pi, and supports Z-Wave and IP smart devices.

Z-Wave Europe GmbH, which bills itself as Europe’s largest distributor for Z-Wave wireless technology devices, is selling and distributing the Popp Hub smart IP home gateway on behalf of UK-based Popp & Co. The latter has previously launched products such as energy-automated wind and weather sensors, and a self-connecting smoke detector. The Popp-Hub’s underlying Raspberry Pi 2 SBC runs the Z-Way Middleware, which Z-Wave Europe says is the first Z-Wave controller certified for the new Z-Wave Plus standard.

Popp Hub front and rear views
(click images to enlarge)

The 89 x 71 x 25mm Popp Hub supports Z-Wave wireless enabled devices from more than 300 device manufacturers, including HVAC, security, lighting, alarm, windows and blind, and remote control systems, claims Z-Wave Europe, It can also work with many non Z-Wave devices like IP cameras and IP based devices and plugins, says the company.

Users can control up to 230 Z-Wave devices at once via a wall switch, a remote control, or a mobile Android or iOS app. Features are said to include remotely activating your heating system, or closing windows automatically based on weather changes. The app will also notify you when sensor devices set off any alarms.

Popp Hub beside its Raspberry Pi innards

The Popp Hub runs its Linux-based firmware on an embedded Raspberry Pi SBC, which packs a quad-core, 900MHz Cortex-A7 SoC along with 1GB of RAM. Major Raspberry Pi ports are exposed including the Ethernet port, an audio jack, and four USB ports, which can be used for WiFi or other wireless devices such as an EnOcean Wireless Stick. An internal SD slot with an 8GB card is also available. The basic Raspberry Pi functionality is augmented with a Sigma Designs SM5202 chip, a Z-Wave Plus certified static controller said to provide 48 command classes and enhanced security.

Annotated Popp Hub dashboard view
(click image to enlarge)

The Linux-based firmware supports 48 command classes, and allows users to group different “Elements” (devices) on a dashboard view. A Timeline view shows events such as sensor value or switching changes. An “Apps” function, meanwhile, lets you control time- and Internet-triggered actions using IF-THEN scripts.

Further information

The Popp Hub is available from Z-Wave Europe as the “Z-Wave Gateway” for 180 Euros ($201), including 19% VAT, but not shipping costs. More information may be found at the Z-Wave Europe Popp Hub shopping page, as well as the Popp & Co. Popp Hub product page.

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2 responses to “Z-Wave Plus home automation hub runs Linux on Raspberry Pi”

  1. sola says:

    This is nice but fairly expensive.

    DIY types can create a home automation solution from the following components:
    – a Raspberri Pi ($35, board only) or an Orange Pi PC ($22 board+case+power supply) as the hub/controller hardware
    – OpenHAB as the hub/controller software (support a fair number of home automation technologies)
    – based custom radio gateway + sensors + controls
    (see the net about these)

    At EUR99, the Popp solution would be more palatable. Also, it would be appealing if they used OpenHAB or other open solution as the hub software and contribute to it. Their hub software is probably closed source so you are on your own if they go out of business.

    • Mark says:

      @sola – in a world where software is free, this is overpriced. Of course free software relies on developers working for free. If you’re concerned about a company going out of business, giving things away freely is probably not a good business plan!

      @ericbrown – HomeSeer’s HomeTroller Zee was Z-Wave Plus certified several months ago. That also uses the raspberry pi 2 board. Other companies have also had ZW+ certified controllers out for about a year.

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