First Alert Z-Wave Combo Alarm - 2nd Generation?

Hi,

I want to get one of the Ring compatible Z-Wave Smoke/CO Combo alarms and am a bit confused if there is a 2nd Generation version that is about to be released.

Amazon shows two versions:

Z-Wave Combo Alarm, Model Number: ZCOMBO. (in stock)

Z-Wave Combo - 2nd Generation, Model Number: 1044807 (currently out of stock)

First Alert shows one version on its website:

Z-Wave, ZCOMBO-G, Model number 1039833. (Unclear if this is first gen. Model number is different from Amazon’s 2nd Gen)

Finally, ring’s own store has no model number or any other identifier.

They all look identical - does not have any differentiating markings, etc., on the face.

Does anyone know what the difference is between some of these and if there is indeed a 2nd generation with new capabilities or improved compatibility that is coming (as per Amazon).

Thanks.

Hi @njarwala. I can’t speak to any of the listings on Amazon for the First Alert Z-Wave Smoke and CO Alarm, as there’s no way for me to guarantee that it is the correct model that works with the Ring Alarm system. With that said, if you check our website here, there is a note that we are planning to release a Gen 2 First Alert Z-Wave Smoke and CO Alarm on 9/30. If there are no complications on the release, you should see the Gen 2 listed on our website tomorrow. Purchasing directly from us will help you ensure that the device you receive will work with the Ring Alarm system. I hope that helps clear things up! :slight_smile:

Ah… this must be a very recent update! I did look at this on ring’s site just before I posted.

Thanks, it does clear things up. Will wait for gen 2 to launch tomorrow!

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what’s the difference between the 1st gen and second gen

I went to setup some new First Alert Z-Wave Combo alarms today that I just received. There is no way to know if its 1st or 2nd gen. I selected 2nd gen and it seemed to work without any problem but now the Smoke and CO alarms show as a single device in the Ring app, the devices I setup previously (few weeks ago) show both Smoke and CO as separate alarms.

Not sure what is the correct way to determine how to set these up.

Hi @ceeeeej. Would you mind sharing a screenshot of how your First Alert Z-Wave Combo is shown in the Ring App? I’d be happy to take a look and make sure everything appears to be in order. Did it complete the setup process successfully on your end, or did you receive any error messages at all?

I actually realized it was showing correctly, separate sensors for smoke and CO.

However it is not apparent at all when to select Gen 1 or Gen 2 for First Alert ZCOMBO setup. How do we know? The app doesn’t clarify this at all.

I selected Gen 2 and it worked but no idea if that was right.

@ceeeeej Glad to hear it is displayed correctly and working properly! It sounds like you selected the correct option upon setup. Where did you purchase the First Alert? It will likely specify which generation it is on the original packaging, which is a good place to check, although you should be all set if it was successfully setup.

It was purchased from Costco (https://www.costco.com/first-alert-z-wave-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarm%2c-3-pack.product.100487243.html). There is no marking whatsoever on the packaging indicating Gen 1 or Gen 2.

The model number on the package says ZCOMBO.

First Alert makes no mention of different Gen 1 or Gen 2 on their website either, their model number indicates ZCOMBO-G (https://www.firstalertstore.com/store/products/z-wave-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarm-zcombo-g.htm)

I’m wondering if it is Gen 1 but still worked with selecting Gen 2 during setup.

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@ceeeeej Thanks for letting me know! If you take a look at the attached image, you should be able to compare it with the back panel of your First Alert to determine which generation it is. The 300-Series ZWAVE on the left is the 1st generation and the 500-Series ZWAVE PLUS on the right is the 2nd generation. If that doesn’t help, please reach out to First Alert’s support directly at 800-323-9005. I hope that helps! :slight_smile:

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Very helpful, thanks! I happen to have gen 2 with the Zwave Plus logo on the back for all 6 of my sensors.

I setup the initial 3 on the previous Ring app (didn’t ask for gen 1 vs. gen 2) and the 4th one with the new Ring app update (asked for gen 1 vs. gen 2). Do we need to setup again and pick gen 2 or did it migrate and I just need to setup the new ones specifying gen 2?

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I ended up setting them all up as new just because it was fairly easy.

I don’t like how the setup creates two sensors with these names:

Smoke & CO Alarm

CO Alarm

The first one labeled “Smoke & CO Alarm” is actually just the smoke alarm. I ended up renaming them properly to:

Smoke Alarm

CO Alarm

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Has anyone been able to get any info on the differences between Gen 1 and Gen 2? I tried calling First alert but they had no clue. From the description at least the smoke/CO sensors appear to be the same. Perhaps some updates to the Z-Wave protocol? A bit odd that no one from either Ring or First alert appears to know even though it is marketed as Gen 2.

My understanding is that the only difference between Gen 1 and Gen 2 is that in the back of the Gen2 device there is a QR code which you use to install in the Ring app just like contact sensors. In Gen 1 my understanding is that these are manually installed by scanning zwaves and adding them to your security system.

If you were adding multiple Gen 1s at the same time you will not be able to tell which sensor goes in which room because all will show up in the app at the same time and you’ll just name them all Smoke/CO Alarm1, Smoke/CO Alarm2, etc. A solution to this is to install the batteries in just 1 at the time and add them one after the other and you’ll know it this way. The above was explained to me by a friend who owns a Ring alarm system and a few of these detectors.

@njarwala wrote:

Does anyone know what the difference is between some of these and if there is indeed a 2nd generation with new capabilities or improved compatibility that is coming (as per Amazon).

Thanks.

The difference between the First Alert devices is in the generation of Z-Wave technology used. The 300-Series ZWAVE technology is used in the 1st generation First Alert and the 500-Series ZWAVE PLUS is the 2nd generation. If you look underneath the device and see this ZWAVE PLUS certification logo then you have 2nd Generation. For most the best benefit is the increased wireless range to about 150ft from about 100ft from the base station or plug-in repeater. Battery life increased by 50% as well. ( I believe all Ring Alarm branded 2nd Gen products use the 500-Series ZWAVE PLUS micro-chip whereas their Ring Alarm first-generation used the older 300-Series ZWAVE technology? You know you have ZWAVE PLUS when it is able to use QR Codes for easier setup. That is why there are two choices when installing the First Alert in Ring Alarm. First Alert gen 1 is a more manual setup whereas First Alert gen 2 can scan the QR code on the back. )

With a little bit of research, I was able to find this for you here.
The Z-Wave protocol is an interoperable, wireless, RF-based communications technology designed specifically for control, monitoring, and status reading applications in residential and light commercial environments.

For consumers, homeowners, integrators, and service providers, these enhancements offer tremendous benefits in terms of shorter and easier installations, richer device profiles, improved self-healing, and longer battery life. With the Z-Wave Plus certification program, the Z-Wave Alliance provides a series of packaging logos that will be located on every Z-Wave Plus™ certified product, informing the consumer this product incorporates the enhanced capabilities of the Next Gen, Z-Wave 500 series.

Features

  • 50% improvement in battery life
  • 67% improvement in range
  • 250% more bandwidth
  • Three RF channels for improved noise immunity and higher bandwidth
  • New Plug-n-Play Network-wide Inclusion feature
  • Improved self-healing and fault tolerance with Explorer Frame feature
  • Standardized method for Over the Air firmware updates (OTA)
  • Improved product information capture for product certification database
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