Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FB October 18, 2016

just posted this response elsewhere and thought I should post it here so it is easy to find when asked again later.
A LOT of depends on what hub is right for you. So far I've BOUGHT and installed, in order, SmartThingsVera Control, Ltd.Iris by Lowe's, Hue, 3 more Veras, Amazon Echo and HomeSeer Home Automation to replace my X10 based system first installed in the 1990s. Vera can be easier to do simple stuff like turn on a fan when it is warm cause everything is an app in SmartThings. If there is one already that does what you want, great, if not you need to write one. Vera mainly uses a wizard of if this or that happens do this. You only write code for "complex" stuff like this AND this happens do this. Both Vera and SmartThings seem to be having a lot of stability issues lately. So much so I looked into Homeseer. Homeseer can do if this and/or that happens do this which is a bit simpler than Vera but the interface is aimed at installers not end users. They assume you will create an end user interface if needed with an optional designer tool. I'm a long time developer so the basic Homeseer interface is fine for me. It is way more expensive than than SmartThings or Vera though. That said, I now have moved all my day to day stuff onto Homeseer, shutdown my all my Veras and am just using SmartThings as a backup channel to my Hue lights. Homeseer also allows you to have and control multiple z-wave networks from one hub over Ethernet. For instance I can control my house and shop from in one screen now and do things like turn off or on all the lights in both places with one command. No matter what you go with I'd suggest you try and stay with devices that work with most hubs. One of the things I really like about Hue lighting is they will connect to multiple hubs at the same time. I would avoid anything that wants a monthly fee like Lowes Iris. (Iris has a bunch of other issues too. AVOID.) Read reviews! I would try and minimize having to go to the net for stuff too. For example another selling point for Homeseer to me is local login and actions. Other than IFTTT interactions of course. (Note Vera has no IFTTT or Echo support. Homeseer and SmartThings do.) SmartThings is mostly in the cloud and even Vera wants you to log on via their web site. You also might want to think about install base. Google some of the things you want to control and see how others have done it on the hubs you are thinking about. In the end you will probably end up having to write at least some code once you get into things deep enough so you should look at those interfaces and see which make sense to you. Oh one last thing, think about how the hub / interface will handle a hundred or more devices even if you only plan to do a few things. Most of the interfaces seem to be made for a dozen or two devices at most without getting slow and/or clumsy to use beyond that. You will be amazed how many things you end up adding after you get started. My current Homeseer is monitoring and / or controlling 678 things including monitoring 17 UPSs. And I'm not close to done yet! (Note a single device like an Aeon 4in1 sensor counts as 4 to 5 things depending on the interface.)

HomeSeer Home Automation Nice write up and comparison chart! A couple comments... our systems are compatible with the Mimo product from FortrezZ and there are 2 plug-ins available for Insteon and X10 too. I would recommend replacing the "Z-Stick S2" with a SmartStick+ or Z-Wave.me UZB for performance comparable to the Z-NET. Anyway, well done! 

 Round Mountain Rescue Ranch Yeah I did hook up the FortrezZ to my Homeseer but the reaction time seems so poor no matter what hub it is on I've abandoned it for a Raspberry Pi / PiFace solution I'm trying to work the bugs out of. Fortunately that is an option with Homeseer

Saturday, September 24, 2016

FB September 24, 2016

Think I've finally cobbled together a digital input device based on a Raspberry Pi that I can use for what the Timecommander used to do. Plus it talks to Homeseer! Only took evaluating about 5 APIs and learning the basics of a new (to me) programming language. Think I'll celebrate by turning in before midnight for a change.

Update: though this worked OK for awhile it started crashing on a regular basis so a better solution still needs to be found.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

FB August 31, 2016

With HomeSeer Home Automation I'm FINALLY starting to feel like my automation might get past where it was 10 years ago. Just setup so when Google Voice sends me notice of vmail or Amazon shipping sends me an update, a yellow light comes on in my office and it SAYS "check your phone". Last night setup Amazon Echo linkage so can tell to put house into ready for bed and night modes. REALLY liking the multiple remote Z-Wave interfaces bit too. Instead of having a hub in the house and the shop for instance, I can have one hub with interfaces that talk over my network in each location. That might make even automating the barn possible again.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

FB August 21, 2016 excerpt

Home controllers are even more messed up now than when I started the weekend. I think the Z-Wave stick on the Homeseer is bad. Ordered an upscale replacement but only have 8 days left on the Homeseer eval.
Moved UPS box sensor to the Vera Edge to try get that back online but it (and may be 1 or 2 others that replaced the Timecommander) just seem to have stopped seeing changes in the lines that are monitoring while otherwise responding fine. Yet the lines appear fine as well. Ordered a diff pro 8 input sensor block Homeseer supports but again only 8 days left to try.
Had a bunch of devices moved to the Homeseer before the device info got corrupted the first time that are still in limbo needing relinked.
So the next week is going to be REALLY jammed trying to sort if I should buy Homeseer or return a bunch of stuff and move everything back to a Vera.Tempted to just fall back to the Vera Edge (the Vera Plus still needs a reinstall) but so far the Homeseer appears to have some awesome features no other hubs have yet and other people don't seem to be seeing the issues I am so I'm hoping it is just bad hardware.

Friday, August 12, 2016

FB August 12, 2016

Looks like my HomeSeer Home Automation config got corrupted yesterday which makes me a bit dubious about buying after the trial period. On the other hand I REALLY like the options it has that the others do not. Like voice alerts when the UPS box is opened. Plus it could be too much was lost taking the "easy route" cloning the Z-wave network from the Vera Control, Ltd. hub. Looks like it is fire or flood outside this weekend anyway so I guess I'll be inside relinking most of my devices. Already had to do some and that was what I was probably going to need to do to sort the Vera hub anyway.