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VeraPlus and VeraSecure - Australian Versions coming? Or make your own.

Posted by LiveHouse Automation on

Vera Control Limited has generally left Australia behind when it comes to their new controller launches. As Australia is a relatively small market by volume, they focus their launches on the US and European versions.

Consider the track record of forsaking us poor gadget loving Aussies:

  • It was almost 2 years after the launch in the US before we saw an Australian Version of the VeraEdge.
  • The VeraPlus was announced in 2015, released in the US/EU in early 2016. At the time Vera told me there were no current plans to release an AU version. It's still not available here.
  • The VeraSecure has just shipped in US versions only. No word on EU availability, let alone for Australia.

So it was with much interest (and a little scepticism) that I read this press release saying that VeraSecure would be available in the second half of 2017.

I reached out to Jerzy Zywicki at DHS to ask a few questions. I've known Jerzy for a while and he's a great (but not exactly warm) guy. So in addition to the official "not in the position to disclose to you the details of our exclusive distributorship of Vera products", he did hint that the VeraSecure might appear late 2017 or in the first half of 2018, and that the VeraPlus may become available in the mean time.

That's good news for Australian Vera fans. If you're a power user the VeraEdge's 128MB of RAM can be a limiting factor. The Plus delivers 256MB. The Secure 512MB and a Dual Core processor. Nice.

Yeah you get Bluetooth, Zigbee and the new VeraLink on the Secure (think 2GIG wireless security sensor compatibility), but for my home I need more memory and processing speed.

Prior to this announcement, I'd already decided to have a go at making an Australian Version of VeraPlus. So I got a couple from the US and started hacking. Now I'm not going to reveal in detail how to do this in detail in this blog, but I can tell you that it is possible to replace the Z-wave chip in a VeraPlus with an Australian one and convince Vera that she's an Australian Unit.

You'll need Surface Mount Hot Air Rework skills and some Linux SSH chops to complete it. The Z-wave Radio Module (ZM5304) is circled in the image below.

As I effectively neutered one Plus by removing the Z-wave capability and damaging the PCB (everything else works fine) I also learned that you can very easily get the same outcome using an Aeotec USB Z-Stick. Plug it in and change the Z-wave Port to: /dev/ttyACM0

The VeraEunuch is now used to monitor all of my IP Cameras.

That failure aside, I did create a fully working VeraPlus AU version with on board Z-wave module. I've been testing it and it works perfectly for range and functionality with AU Z-wave devices.

Why haven't I replaced my VeraEdge with the VeraPlus? Because I have a VeraSecure on the way from the US right now, and I'm hoping I can do the same conversion on it.

Speed. Memory. Luxury. As many damn PLEG instances as I want. You know what I'm talking about.

Of course this will mean I then have to completely reconstruct my Z-wave Network and Automation Logic. While I'm not looking forward to doing it, I should be able to capture a lot of the configuration as new "how to guides" that will be of use to those of you setting up your own systems.

Worse case I end up with a castrated VeraSecure that I can use as a battery powered siren.

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  • Hi Warren,

    The new Vera’s (Edge onwards) are expecting to talk to a Z-wave Plus chip. I don’t know for certain if there are any differences in the serial protocol between Z-wave and Z-wave Plus, but it’s possible that something may be missing if you take the old USB stick and put it on the Plus.

    Won’t hurt to try though. Worse case, pick up a new Z-stick and go from there.

    LiveHouse Automation on
  • Hi,
    I am currently running a USA Vera 3 with an AU/NZ Aeon Labs Z-Stick S2, and would love to upgrade to Vera Plus or Vera Secure. Is there any chance that I could use the current S2 Z-Stick to do this if I were to “acquire” a USA Vera Plus and plug it in? Or would I have to get a Gen 5 Z-Stick and rebuild my network from scratch?

    Warren Willis on

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