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  • Aug 8th, 2017 7:16 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 3, 2005
810 posts
23 upvotes

Home Automation

Hi All,

Just starting a new thread on people's experience with Home Automation.

Anyone able to put together a security system with sensors, security cameras, temperature sensors, thermostat control and lighting control all in one?

I'm okay with trying to use a raspberry pi to put everything together.

Would love to hear what everyone is using? I see products like Honeywell Total Connect 2.0 but not sure how it works with other devices?

For lighting there are switches like lutron and also philip's hue system?

Would like to have water leak sensors, smoke sensors, temperature sensors as well.
97 replies
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Feb 15, 2005
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It's been discussed here and in the computer forum.

Generally, pick a system and stay with it. Smartthings allows the most customization and tinkering with a huge community, Control4 and Crestron have absolutely zero customization for the end consumer because they are designed as professionally installed equipment, which means generally they will work as designed because you paid a professional. Everything else is in between.

Z-wave (+) offers the widest range of devices and probably the most mature. Lutron has the most radio experience with their Caseta, RadioRA and Vizio lines. If you can afford it, outfit your house with the Caseta and bridge. I only have a single Caseta switch but it's been amazing. Just waiting for the price to drop below $60/unit.

I have an Everspring leak detector, 3x Nest Protect, have 4x Xiaomi temp sensors coming. Smartthings has a Honeywell TCC smartapp that will link anything that can connect to Honeywell's TCC app/website.

You'll need lots of time and money to buy everything and make it work. Easiest solution is Control4 or Crestron at $25k+. If you want to automate your blinds, get Somfy or Lutron. I've given up on automating my Hunter Douglas blinds due to poor hardware and zero consumer support.
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Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
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Burlington, Ontario
We are actually putting together a number of plans for Apple HomeKit projects. I've tested many items and the integration is pretty sweet. Look for that soon.

Still do lots of Crestron, however those are for the big houses where the consumer grade stuff would not be suitable at all.
Audio - Video - Data - Security - This is what I do
Member
Jan 15, 2010
315 posts
70 upvotes
Toronto
rf134a wrote:
Apr 26th, 2017 6:36 pm
I've given up on automating my Hunter Douglas blinds due to poor hardware and zero consumer support.
If you have the powerview blinds and hub and really want to get this working, the easiest way I found was setting up the scenes in the powerview app and then using the home automation tool of choice to trigger them using IFTTT. Works pretty well but only good for triggering scenes.

I've gone further and hacked together scripts to integrate them into Homekit using homebridge. Its ugly but works.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
7445 posts
1548 upvotes
Brampton
Search up the HA threads and you'll find my experiences.

The DIY world is very much the wild west. Be prepared to spend money to get basic things to just work.

Homekit is also probably the worst platform for home automation. The only reason why it even has a chance is purely because of Apple's current market share and the Apple name.
Part of the reason for this failure is because Siri is just such an awful AI assistant.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 3, 2005
810 posts
23 upvotes
rf134a wrote:
Apr 26th, 2017 6:36 pm
It's been discussed here and in the computer forum.

Generally, pick a system and stay with it. Smartthings allows the most customization and tinkering with a huge community, Control4 and Crestron have absolutely zero customization for the end consumer because they are designed as professionally installed equipment, which means generally they will work as designed because you paid a professional. Everything else is in between.

Z-wave (+) offers the widest range of devices and probably the most mature. Lutron has the most radio experience with their Caseta, RadioRA and Vizio lines. If you can afford it, outfit your house with the Caseta and bridge. I only have a single Caseta switch but it's been amazing. Just waiting for the price to drop below $60/unit.

I have an Everspring leak detector, 3x Nest Protect, have 4x Xiaomi temp sensors coming. Smartthings has a Honeywell TCC smartapp that will link anything that can connect to Honeywell's TCC app/website.

You'll need lots of time and money to buy everything and make it work. Easiest solution is Control4 or Crestron at $25k+. If you want to automate your blinds, get Somfy or Lutron. I've given up on automating my Hunter Douglas blinds due to poor hardware and zero consumer support.
I guess I'm not familiar with all the products you have mentioned. Everything you mentioned works with the Smartthings hub? You mean if I buy lutron switch, I don't need the lutron bridge? Where did you buy all your equipment that you mentioned above?

I spoke to on installer about a security system and he recommended getting the Honeywell Total Connect 2.0, he says you can connect many things to it and for a nDVR system he recommended a FLIR DVR and FLIR cameras. Not sure if those systems are needed now. The FLIR cameras he tells me are good but I don't know if I could connect to the smartthings hub?
Deal Fanatic
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Feb 15, 2005
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If you're unfamiliar with this stuff, stick with z-wave. There's at least 6 different hubs that support z-wave, the protocol is standard, and there's a large variety of suppliers for different modules.

Lutron has several different product lines including z-wave switches. The Caseta will require a bridge ($220 including 2 switches) to be used with smartthings. Only Wink has native support for caseta. KISS: keep it simple stupid. Don't try to combine several eco systems unless you enjoy things not working properly. Sure, caseta is expensive but it works. If you opt for z-wave switches, you can easily switch or upgrade hubs. The TP-LINK HS-200 that's currently on sale for $30 can work with smartthings but requires an intermediary app to intercept and relay the commands. Apparently there's a handler for homekit. Or pay $60 for a z-wave switch and not worry about the intermediary apps breaking.

You can buy z-wave stuff on Amazon or aartech.ca. Monoprice has great pricing on a small selection of products as well.

TCC is really nice since their website allows complete integration of all Honeywell and Ademco products. I don't have any cameras so I can't really comment on this part of it.

Generally, zwave has the most variety and better pricing. For example, a temperature sensor costs as little as $30 or $90 on homekit (Eve). Leviton makes switches from $60 (neutral required) to $180 (no neutral).
↑, ↑, ↓, ↓, ←, →, ←, →, B, A, START

There are no apostrophes in plurals! "I have 1000 posts" = correct. "I have 1000 post's" = incorrect!
Could've, would've, should've. It's simple English, people!
Voila: French, meaning "There it is!" or "Look!" Viola: A medium-sized stringed instrument Wala: An island of Vanuatu.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 3, 2005
810 posts
23 upvotes
rf134a wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 11:31 am
If you're unfamiliar with this stuff, stick with z-wave. There's at least 6 different hubs that support z-wave, the protocol is standard, and there's a large variety of suppliers for different modules.

Lutron has several different product lines including z-wave switches. The Caseta will require a bridge ($220 including 2 switches) to be used with smartthings. Only Wink has native support for caseta. KISS: keep it simple stupid. Don't try to combine several eco systems unless you enjoy things not working properly. Sure, caseta is expensive but it works. If you opt for z-wave switches, you can easily switch or upgrade hubs. The TP-LINK HS-200 that's currently on sale for $30 can work with smartthings but requires an intermediary app to intercept and relay the commands. Apparently there's a handler for homekit. Or pay $60 for a z-wave switch and not worry about the intermediary apps breaking.

You can buy z-wave stuff on Amazon or aartech.ca. Monoprice has great pricing on a small selection of products as well.

TCC is really nice since their website allows complete integration of all Honeywell and Ademco products. I don't have any cameras so I can't really comment on this part of it.

Generally, zwave has the most variety and better pricing. For example, a temperature sensor costs as little as $30 or $90 on homekit (Eve). Leviton makes switches from $60 (neutral required) to $180 (no neutral).
So you have a smartthings and a Lutron Caseta bridge with switches? YOu have to have the Caseta bridge? So the startthings talks to the Lutron bridge? Any other hubs or bridges you need?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 3, 2005
810 posts
23 upvotes
tebore wrote:
Apr 26th, 2017 10:06 pm
Search up the HA threads and you'll find my experiences.

The DIY world is very much the wild west. Be prepared to spend money to get basic things to just work.

Homekit is also probably the worst platform for home automation. The only reason why it even has a chance is purely because of Apple's current market share and the Apple name.
Part of the reason for this failure is because Siri is just such an awful AI assistant.
Hi,

If you don't mind would you share what components you have in your setup? I remember seeing a post where you even said you had a Raspberry Pi 3? Sorry for the noob questions but I'm just trying to try to realize what is out there and what would be cool to set up. I don't want to mix too many systems but I don't mind even programming a Raspberry Pi even.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
7445 posts
1548 upvotes
Brampton
hello99 wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 2:24 pm
Hi,

If you don't mind would you share what components you have in your setup? I remember seeing a post where you even said you had a Raspberry Pi 3? Sorry for the noob questions but I'm just trying to try to realize what is out there and what would be cool to set up. I don't want to mix too many systems but I don't mind even programming a Raspberry Pi even.
I run OpenHAB on a Pi3 in place of an off the shelf hub.

If you're handy with java, and a knowledge of REST interface you're going to be able to build one hell of an HA setup without a lot of money.
The HA market for the average person is terribly fragmented. Each OEM/Vendor wants their own protocol and methodology of access.

Zwave and Zigbee products are your best bet, but they're not cheap (not terribly expensive either).

I have the following integrated:
Nest 3rd Gen
3 Nest Protects
DSC Alarm integrated via Envisalink
MyQ Garage Opener
MyQ outlets
MyQ WallSwitches
Home Depot Ecoplugs (outlets)
Wemo Wall Switches
No name Chinese Wifi RGB strip controllers
Multiple Echo Dot (Alexa)
Logitech Harmony Hub
Broadlink RM3 (Similar to the Harmony Hub)
Kodi
Aeon Zwave stick

and I'm still on the hunt for the next bigbox HA clearout.

As much as I could I moved all the HA stuff off of IoT and made it a LAN of things.
I've played with Smartthings & Wink. For out of the box ease of setup I like the Wink 2 but the Smartthings hub has significantly more potential, but from my perspective if you want that near unlimited potential why not go full unlimited potential with Openhab.

My setup is a hodgepodge of things. The important thing is that it all works and works consistently. From the user's perspective they don't know it's a hodgepodge of what was onsale at the time. All they need to know is they can say Alexa Turn on Netflix or Turn on Movies to get the lights to dim and the TV to turn sitting waiting for them.
High Wife Approval factor is key.
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May 9, 2009
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rf134a wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 11:31 am
The TP-LINK HS-200 that's currently on sale for $30 can work with smartthings but requires an intermediary app to intercept and relay the commands.
Total newbie question here. I'd like to automate my porch lights. The switch is in a 3 gang box. I wouldn't be able to use something like the TP-LINK HS-200, right? I'd have to get smart bulbs instead?
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
4302 posts
330 upvotes
Burlington, Ontario
tebore wrote:
Apr 26th, 2017 10:06 pm
Homekit is also probably the worst platform for home automation. The only reason why it even has a chance is purely because of Apple's current market share and the Apple name.
Part of the reason for this failure is because Siri is just such an awful AI assistant.
Perhaps my experience is too limited.. however what experience I have gained is very positive with HomeKit. Incredibly easy to set things up. It is an Apple only environment which does somewhat shut out those with Android devices, however Apple products go to a slightly different market.
Audio - Video - Data - Security - This is what I do
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
7445 posts
1548 upvotes
Brampton
BuildingHomes wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 6:16 pm
Perhaps my experience is too limited.. however what experience I have gained is very positive with HomeKit. Incredibly easy to set things up. It is an Apple only environment which does somewhat shut out those with Android devices, however Apple products go to a slightly different market.
Before someone thinks I hate Macs or Apples I use an iPhone and I enjoy using it. For the scope of discussion I'm only talking about off the shelf HA DIY products not Crestron or Control 4.

When it comes to Homekit and home automation it's a matter of the right tool for the right job.
Homekit is great and terrible because it's so closed up. Those items that are Homekit compatible function very well in their narrow scope.
Because of it's closed off nature is why it's the worst Home automation platform to invest in, integration and interoperablity is key.
The auto in the automation part also relies heavily on Siri and the integration Apple allows Siri to have, which has to wait for major OS updates.
Siri itself is an incredibly poor personal assistant, I have a couple Echo Dots, phones with Google Assistant, Tried Google Home and hell even Cortona. Siri to start has incredibly poor situational/contextual awareness given the information it has access to. It's also ironically very poor at natural language requests considering that was Siri's claim to fame.
To me part of owning a smarthome shouldn't require you go issue awkward commands and it should offer good integration to help make your life easier. Google Home wins this, Amazon does a damn good job despite not officially launching in Canada.
Cost is another major pain point the equivalent HomeKit compatible product has always cost more.

I haven't even touched on the fact that your home Automation shouldn't really be tied to a single technology platform like Google or Apple and locks out others. The HA should ideally still if your hub manufacture disappears. You shouldn't be punished for Wanting to use iOS or Android or a dumbphone, it should run independently but that's my design goal.

My Experience with Homekit is via native Homekit products (iphone, AppleTV and homekit compatible plugs/switches/locks) and hacking it using Homebridge integration in to OpenHAB. If you've never experienced what an "Open" system is capable of you don't know what you're missing but once you have a system that can has no limits you can't go back. Heck even with a system/ecosystem that has less limitations (Wink or Smartthings) you really start to hate the closed nature.

Google Home, Smart things and Wink are working on a lighting pace to integrate everything under the sun. Google Home Relies heavily on connected (IoT) products. Smart Things and Wink(Wink2) do as well but they have the beauty of localised technologies like Zigbee and Z-Wave integration)

For example if you have a Google Home + Wink you can easily issue more naturally sounding commands to activate scenes and you can utilise tried and true ZWave switches or Lutron Clearconnect switches (Which I consider one of the best in the business).
You also get the beauty of Harmony Hub Integration with Google Home so it feels magical when you can say "Ok Google turn on sports" lights dim, entertainment system turns on.
Homekit has a lot of catching up to do and based on my personal experience it's not going to make significant headway.

In my original list that's what I'm running personally on a daily basis. As for how I get to play with so much it's because I have some friends that are all starting to dive in to HA and I get to experiment using their setups.
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Feb 15, 2005
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hello99 wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 2:21 pm
So you have a smartthings and a Lutron Caseta bridge with switches? YOu have to have the Caseta bridge? So the startthings talks to the Lutron bridge? Any other hubs or bridges you need?
Yes, the Caseta system requires a bridge to work with Smartthings. Only Wink has the 433mhz antennas to work with Caseta/Kidde protocols.

My system is a mess and I wouldn't recommend my setup. I have a Smartthings with a Hue Hub, Chamberlain MyQ gateway and Honeywell Redlink gateway. Choose a system, stick to it. That's strength of z-wave: a variety of parts for almost everything. The Redlink gateway is required to interface some Honeywell products to their TCC website.
psyko514 wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 4:30 pm
Total newbie question here. I'd like to automate my porch lights. The switch is in a 3 gang box. I wouldn't be able to use something like the TP-LINK HS-200, right? I'd have to get smart bulbs instead?
If they are the only lights you want to automate, the HS-200 is fine since it doesn't require a hub. If you want all the lights to be automated on a set and forget way, a simple timer should be more than sufficient.
https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.vizi ... 32512.html
↑, ↑, ↓, ↓, ←, →, ←, →, B, A, START

There are no apostrophes in plurals! "I have 1000 posts" = correct. "I have 1000 post's" = incorrect!
Could've, would've, should've. It's simple English, people!
Voila: French, meaning "There it is!" or "Look!" Viola: A medium-sized stringed instrument Wala: An island of Vanuatu.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 3, 2005
810 posts
23 upvotes
tebore wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 4:01 pm
I run OpenHAB on a Pi3 in place of an off the shelf hub.

If you're handy with java, and a knowledge of REST interface you're going to be able to build one hell of an HA setup without a lot of money.
The HA market for the average person is terribly fragmented. Each OEM/Vendor wants their own protocol and methodology of access.

Zwave and Zigbee products are your best bet, but they're not cheap (not terribly expensive either).

I have the following integrated:
Nest 3rd Gen
3 Nest Protects
DSC Alarm integrated via Envisalink
MyQ Garage Opener
MyQ outlets
MyQ WallSwitches
Home Depot Ecoplugs (outlets)
Wemo Wall Switches
No name Chinese Wifi RGB strip controllers
Multiple Echo Dot (Alexa)
Logitech Harmony Hub
Broadlink RM3 (Similar to the Harmony Hub)
Kodi
Aeon Zwave stick

and I'm still on the hunt for the next bigbox HA clearout.

As much as I could I moved all the HA stuff off of IoT and made it a LAN of things.
I've played with Smartthings & Wink. For out of the box ease of setup I like the Wink 2 but the Smartthings hub has significantly more potential, but from my perspective if you want that near unlimited potential why not go full unlimited potential with Openhab.

My setup is a hodgepodge of things. The important thing is that it all works and works consistently. From the user's perspective they don't know it's a hodgepodge of what was onsale at the time. All they need to know is they can say Alexa Turn on Netflix or Turn on Movies to get the lights to dim and the TV to turn sitting waiting for them.
High Wife Approval factor is key.
I'm not a Java programmer but I am a programmer...so I was thinking of giving OpenHAB a shot...have you made your own modifications to the code? So, I don't have experience with NEST but I assume that you can use the NEST app to monitor or you use the OpenHAB to monitor it? Both work?

How is the DSC Alarm? What do you have connected to it? Can you see each of your sensors via OpenHAB?

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