DrZwave Bio – IoT Expert – PSoC5 and Z-Wave Engineer

I am an IoT Expert using Z-Wave to build devices like wireless motion sensors, Z-Wave interfaces for the Raspberry Pi, in-wall light switch dimmers, Z-Wave water valves and a variety of other “Things”.  My current job is as a consultant providing mostly firmware that runs on the Z-Wave chips from Sigma Designs. Express Controls is my company we just recentlyDrZWave IoT Expert Z-Wave moved into real office space as we’ve outgrown my home office. I have my own Blog at DrZWave.wordpress.com where I’ll discuss Z-Wave specific things but I’ll be an occasional contributor here on Alan’s blog with more embedded and PSoC specific topics.


I went to RPI in the early 1980s where I honed my skills soldering and writing software. My first two jobs were designing graphics workstations and some of very first (and very primitive) GPUs of the day. I went on to designing chips for video conferencing compression engines, the cockpit display of the F22 fighter, Wireless Ethernet (before it was a standard) and a variety of chips for big and mostly small companies. Most of the chip designs were done as a contractor while I was also starting my first company, VAutomation which made “cores” for 8 and 16-bit CPU as well as USB and Ethernet interfaces. I sold VAutomation in 2001 and started playing with Z-Wave in 2003. I am the 31st Z-Wave licensee (there are now several hundred). At that time I went to work for a camera chip company that Cypress Semiconductor purchased and then I moved into working for Cypress which is where I met Alan. I worked on many chips at Cypress and specifically on the PSoC5 family. I moved on to do my own thing in 2014 and have been building Z-Wave IoT devices since before the Internet of Things (IoT) was a “thing”. PSoCs are just so easy to use that I use them for my own products and recommend them to my clients.

If you have any Z-Wave questions – just contact DrZwave and I’ll try to respond in a timely fashion.


I am also a Solar Power enthusiast and renewable energy advocate. My 30 solar PV panels generate over 1MWhr each month of clean solar power which covers my electric bill. I volunteer with HAREI which is a group that helps people put solar power on their roof with paybacks in as little as 2 years.


Commentary on Zwave

This whole home automation space is crazy.  It is fractured into many many different and incompatible “standards”.  I have heard (though not verified myself) that many of the Zigbee radios used for home automation are not compatible and there are cases where the central hub has multiple radios to deal with the differences in the networking stacks.  Other physical standards, like WiFi, have standard physical layers (802.11) and standard network layers (TCP/IP) but lack standardization higher up in the application layer.

So, Zwave.  There are literally hundreds of compatible devices. And, as best I can tell, it can handle most anything that you would want or need to do home automation.  I personally think that it is really cool that I can buy Zwave devices at Lowe’s in Georgetown, Kentucky.  You can also buy them at Amazon, Staples and many other online places.  That is pretty awesome.   Zwave also seems to be one of the least expensive radio standards; you can buy modules in low quantities from Digikey for $5.  The least expensive WiFi modules are something like $15 in low volume.

But it is really annoying that Sigma tries to squash the low volume market by raping their would-be customers for development kits and software licenses.

On the hub/host side of Zwave there is OpenZwave, an open source project to provide host side control of Zwave networks.  The groups seems to be pretty active and I think that I will try out some of their stuff.