Time vs. Clock vs. Time Parameters Command Classes Explained

Introduction

Door locks, thermostats and other Z-Wave devices often need to know at least the time and day of the week. In many cases they need to know the full date and time to enable a lock User Code when a renters code is valid or set the thermostat into energy save mode. These devices need a way to determine the current date and time to within a few seconds of accuracy.

Z-Wave provides three different command classes (CC) for getting various parts of the date/time. Time Command Class is mandatory for all Gateways. Unfortunately, not all gateways support it yet, so most devices need to support one of the other command classes for use with older hubs. The question then is how is a device supposed to get the current date/time so the schedule can operate properly?

Time CC – Recommended

Time command class is described in SDS13782 (Z-Wave Management Command Class Specification). Time CC is mandatory for all Z-Wave Plus Gateways and thus is the recommended method for a device to set its clock to the current local date and time. Time CC Version 2 adds time zones and daylight savings time support if desired however V1 provides the necessary data in most cases.

The Z-Wave specification recommends having an association group to identify the time server node however the Gateway is expected to have an accurate time reference so using the Lifeline is acceptable.

The Time CC does NOT have a date/time SET command. Thus, the hub cannot set the date/time and instead must wait for the device to GET it. When a device is included in a network, it must send a Time GET command within the first few minutes to accurately set its internal clock. The device should then periodically send a Time GET to ensure the internal clock remains accurate to the local time. Note that for certification purposes a device CONTROLs Time CC, it does not SUPPORT it. The Hub is required to SUPPORT Time CC.

Time Parameters CC – Optional

The Time Parameters command can SET/GET/REPORT the year, month, day, hour, minute & second of the UTC time. However, it does not set the time zone which must be done via the Time CC V2. Thus, Time Parameters CC relies on the hub to send the current UTC time but the device can also send a GET and adjust its internal clock to match the one from the hub. However, this requires support on the hub software which is not mandatory so not all hubs will be able to provide the current date/time.

Clock CC – NOT Recommended

Clock command class is sent by a Hub and can set the local weekday and time. Thus, it only supports a 7-day schedule since it cannot set the date, just the day of the week. Typically, the Hub would send a Clock Set as part of inclusion in the network. Since the clock on the device will drift, the device must periodically send a Clock Get to the Hub and to maintain time accurately. This method is NOT recommended. However, on some old hubs this is the only method available.

Recommended Time Setting Algorithm

  1. Wait for Inclusion into a Z-Wave Network
  2. Wait for Security negotiation to complete
  3. Send a Time CC DATE GET
  4. Wait for a Time CC DATE REPORT for ~30s
  5. If DATE REPORT arrives, Send a Time CC TIME GET and wait for ~30s
    1. if the Time REPORT arrives then the date/time is now set and use Time CC for future clock adjustments
    1. Exit the search for the local time
  6. If Time CC DATE REPORT times out:
    1. Retry 2 more times with random delay of a few minutes between each retry
  7. During steps 3-6, If a Time Parameters CC SET or a Clock CC REPORT is received, use those to update the date/time but if a Time CC report arrives use Time CC
  8. Send a Clock CC GET
    1. If a REPORT arrives within ~30s then use Clock CC GET to update the date/time
  9. If CLOCK fails
  10. Send Time Parameters CC GET to get the current date/time
  11. If those fail, there is no source for the current date/time, disable all scheduling features

Depending on the accuracy of the local clock circuitry, the functioning time setting command class should be used to update the local clock at a sufficient rate to match the desired settings. Typically, this would be once per day assuming a 100ppm or better 32Khz crystal is used for the 700 series low frequency external crystal oscillator (LFXCO).

Conclusion

End Devices should send a Time CC Date/Time GET shortly after inclusion in a Z-Wave network and then periodically send Date/Time GETs based on the accuracy of the real-time clock circuitry. Updating at 3:10am ensures the clock will be accurate to daylight savings time should be sufficient for a low-cost 32kHz crystal. The algorithm above works for just about any hub that has at least minimal support for time keeping.

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