Author Topic: Best remote home automation solution?  (Read 913 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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Best remote home automation solution?
« on: April 18, 2018, 07:46:13 pm »
What's the best wireless home automation solution?
I found this Z-Wave thing:
http://www.smarthome.com.au/z-wave.html

Need stuff like movement sensor, remote webcam, temp sensors, remote power point, and remote IR controller like this:
http://www.smarthome.com.au/remotec-z-wave-to-aircon-ir-controller.html

Any other similar solutions?
 

Offline kaz911

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 08:17:29 pm »
I have been using (samsung) SmartThings - but not great. I have just been too lazy to switch so far.

Vera has a good reputation as far as I know

Homey is the most flexible but has stupid voice control system : https://www.athom.com/en/

I use SmartThings mainly for light switching and to switch things off (and sometimes on)

My toilet with no windows - is light and fan automated.
Our TV room switch off all TV/Games stuff at midnight to save the 22-30w standby
I have alerts if doors open and we are not at home or if an entry door is open > x minutes.
I have a few "mozzie" sprays that turn on automatically at night and switch off 1am' ish when we are present.

Issues with all the systems:
1. Firmware updates - mostly no standards - so if sensors & control device is not from same company - PAIN

2. Quality of sensors - many sensors are made from "new" companies who have never designed plastics before. So for SmartThings it means most battery holders break / become brittle after 2-3 years. Double sticky tape will not hold sensors in place for long (Fibaro, SmartThings) so use the screws.

3. 3rd party sensor support - SmartThings supports a range of 3rd party sensors either via SmartThings developed or user contributed "plug ins" - Vera - I don't know - Homey - seems like a lot of 3rd party development (more than SmartThings) - each system have its own ups and downs. SmartThings are usually only implement a subset of features.  So my advice - find the sensors you need FIRST - then select system from that.

4. There are lot of systems on 800/900 MHz (868 in EU) MHz but there is also a lot on 433. My next system will support both (at least - for both Zigbee and Z-Wave & 433). SmartThings does not support 433 - so no reading of Oregon Weather station data etc or turn on/off the very cheap 433 MHz plugs. Homey is supposed to support them all. Vera can with 3rd party 433 MHz gateway (as far as I remember)

5. Many sensors have terrible battery life. Take out a subscription on Amazon for the batteries you will change every X months. :) - so I prefer mains wired.

6. Official Integrations - SmartThings does officially connect to Netatmo and other fun things. But bug's can take ages (we are talking YEAR(s)) to fix.

7. No provisions on ANY of the systems to hand system control over to fx a tenant or new owner - either permanent or temporary.

8. Many things in SmartThings relies on Internet connection. So some automation's will not run if internet is down.

9. Some sensors are very slow to respond or gateway is slow to pick up - so fx Toilet light automation works best with SmartThings own presence sensor. Else we could stand for 5-10 seconds in a dark toilet....

i have probably forgotten a lot of issues :) IMHO It is not ready for prime time anytime soon....

« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 08:19:08 pm by kaz911 »
 
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Online nidlaX

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 10:28:51 pm »
Wink currently has the best reviews and reputation for a commercial system. It's not perfect, but it does work reliably. It has very good compatibility with all Z-Wave devices and limited compatibility with ZigBee.

Don't bother with SmartThings, they've failed for 6 years to make their system reliable.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 10:31:09 pm by nidlaX »
 

Offline I_Code_4_Hugs

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2018, 10:43:58 pm »
Have you heard of http://www.openhab.org ?  I've been running version 1.x at home for years with mostly Z-Wave devices but it's vendor and technology agnostic.  They're on 2.x now which is more homeowner friendly as opposed to 1.x which requires a bit more manual fiddling with config files.
 

Offline Stray Electron

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2018, 11:08:54 pm »


i have probably forgotten a lot of issues :) IMHO It is not ready for prime time anytime soon....

   The biggest problem that I've seen is the POOR quality of the plastics and the electronics. I haven't seen any of the plastic bits that would last more than two years outside even in the shade and undercover.   And the electronics are made and built in China, so their life expectancy is from 3 seconds to a couple of years.

    It will NEVER be ready for Prime Time IMO.
 

Offline Wirehead

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 06:00:41 pm »
I'm using about 30 Z-wave modules at home in combination with https://domoticz.com/

Nothing in the cloud, all in my own control.
You're able to retrofit everything in an existing install and the Z-wave modules make a meshed network.

I also bought a RFXTRX device which controls the cheap 433MHz modules (doorbell ringers, garage openers, etc..)

You can use scripting to automate or "blockly" (= puzzle programming :) )

I've configured everything to do it's work without you noticing there's home automation.. E.g. Lights are dimmed at night when the TV is on; or bathroom ventilation when there's an increase in humidity (irrelevant of base level of humidity (season changes etc..)).

It works very well, even remote.  :-+
"to remain static is to lose ground"
 

Offline nfmax

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2018, 06:42:30 pm »
There is no single best solution. You will have to mix and match sensors, lights, and switches using different technologies, many of which are proprietary. This means either using a universal multi-standard 'hub' or rolling your own based on a Raspberry Pi or similar low-power computer. The major drawback of commercial offerings is their dependence on the cloud. A proper home automation system must continue to function when the Internet goes away. You can cover most options with WiFi, a Z-Wave USB 'Z-Stick' from Aeotec, and the RFXtrx433E USB 434MHz transceiver from RFXCOM (http://www.rfxcom.com/epages/78165469.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/78165469/Categories). It is becoming common to use the cheap SONOFF WiFi relays, which can be reflashed with software providing local control: https://github.com/arendst/Sonoff-Tasmota, though I haven't tried this myself.

There are lots of useful ideas at http://www.dreamgreenhouse.com/index.php, but no software. Domoticz has already been mentioned, but a lot of people roll their own. Personally, I can recommend Node-RED (https://nodered.org), which uses a graphical flow-based programming environment and has drivers ('nodes') for most of the home automation technologies (including Alexa skills) - though it isn't primarily a home automation environment - and an active and supportive user/developer community. Disclaimer: I am the author/maintainer of the RFXtrx433E node https://flows.nodered.org/node/node-red-contrib-rfxcom.

Another useful resource is the Domotica Forum at https://www.domoticaforum.eu/, based in the Netherlands - where home automation is big, for some reason.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2018, 01:30:45 am »
 I have a Samsung SmartThings hub, it does both Z-Wave and Zigbee. I only have a few sensors and stuff so far (years ago I had TONS of X10 stuff). For a front end to that I use an app called Stringify.

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2018, 07:27:26 pm »
Does anyone know if it's actually possible to get a temperature log/graph using the Vera Edge system. Bugger if I can find a way to do it...
 

Offline madires

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2018, 08:00:04 pm »
Z-Wave Downgrade Attack Left Over 100 Million IoT Devices Open to Hackers:
https://thehackernews.com/2018/05/z-wave-wireless-hacking.html
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2018, 10:03:16 pm »
Z-Wave Downgrade Attack Left Over 100 Million IoT Devices Open to Hackers:
https://thehackernews.com/2018/05/z-wave-wireless-hacking.html

Unfortunate. This is why I wouldn't use it for locks..

Author of that article needs to learn to do his research and fact checking.
 

Offline luma

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Re: Best remote home automation solution?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2018, 12:30:03 pm »
Notably, locks from Schlage were not impacted by that as they default to Secure Include.  Z Wave can be secure if implemented correctly and has several benefits for the specific purposes of home automation.  The technology is mature and well standardized.  ZigBee is more open, but lacking in maturity and compatibility between devices can oftentime be problematic.  I suspect this is a situation that will change over time, but for the moment, Z Wave devices can be counted on to Just Work providing you have a healthy mesh (something ZigBee also requires).

I can strongly recommend checking out Home Assistant.  It's fully open source using modern development practices, offers a super simple installation on a raspberry pi, and has a large and active development community.  The platform is entirely local by default but also supports cloud integrations where needed.  Everything is under your control and all of your local devices continue to work as expected if your internet is down (cloud-native devices like Alexa excepted of course).  The UI is entirely web driven so you don't need to install mobile apps and you can configure the system using the web ui or by hitting the .yml configuration files directly. With a $50 USB radio it will support both Z Wave and ZigBee including all modern security features.

As a former SmartThings user Home Assistant solved every single problem I had with ST and I can't believe I waited so long to switch over.  Anyone reading this forum is likely to be the sort of person that would benefit from the level of control and features that Home Assistant offers to the skilled user.

Finally, let me throw in a pitch for a project I designed for use with Home Assistant: the HA SwitchPlate, an open hardware/open source LCD touchscreen that mounts in a wall switch box to control your home and display information sent to it by your home automation system.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 12:41:19 pm by luma »
 


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