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Home Automation

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Anyone played with automation technologies at all? I added a few z-wave devices in my house over the past couple weekends along with a controller. I can now control a few lights/outlets and lock/unlock my door from the web or a couple apps on my phone. Wondered if any others have played with automation of any form. It's fairly addictive, though partially novelty.

I guess I did also get my WiFi thermostat on the controller, so while I could control the temp and heat/cool cycles remotely before it was nice to just add in through this new interface as well for central management.

Back to novelty, really who needs to turn on or adjust the dim level of lights if you are sitting in the room. Neat to show and do for a while. There are some very practical uses though. One I want to probably add is a moisture sensor that could alert me if the sump pit were overflowing. With the lock, I could let someone in if I was not home and needed (such as to check on said sump, or on the furnace like I had to get a buddy to check last winter). Can also add pins to let people access the house and monitor when those other PINs are used. Scenes would also be kind of nice, where if a certain code is used, or some action is taken it would automatically deal with lights.

I like to picture it as automating Kevin's solution to make the burglars think the family was home in Home Alone. I just need to get the stereo hooked up to play rockin around the Christmas tree....
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
They have alot more stuff coming out. I have seen the wireless thermostats, lights, even remote door unlocks. I like the automated windows blinds, those are pretty sweet.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
These guys have some pretty neat products coming, like the smart filtm: http://aeotec.com/

Currently I'm using the Vera3 controller from Mi Casa Verdi to run all the Zwave, but I want to get the Aeotec Z-wave USB stick to hook up to a PC and play with http://www.lab-of-things.com and see if I can use a PC in the home. With the Vera3 I could develop some stuff of my own if needed, but would need to learn a new language. With LoT, it would at least be .NET and I could more easily create as needed.

Beyond that, I have

Schlage deadbolt, so I can remotely unlock my door as nodle mentions possible: http://www.amazon.com/Schlage-BE469NXCAM619-Touchscreen-Deadbolt-Built-In/dp/B00AGK9KZK/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1381439801&sr=8-12&keywords=schlage+z+wave+deadbolt

Then I have one dimmer light switch, one light switch, and one outlet that are zWave. All are labeled as GE, made by Jasco or something like that.

A few years ago, I put the Filtrete 3M-50 thermostat in. Made by Radiothermostate, have since had remote control of it through web, but now I can control it with the Vera3 as well, which puts it more at my fingertips. I'd note they do also have some support for Nest, but as Nest just finally released a semi-public API I don't know how reliable that would be outside of their official site or apps for the time being.

http://www.radiothermostat.com/filtrete/products/3M-50/
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Well, I updated recent purchases with the list of zwave stuff I've picked up over the past few weeks. Since starting this thread, I added a couple switches and have one order of stuff coming today.

Added 3-way switch for the garage lights (indoor) and a switch to the security light on the back of the garage. Dogs frequently get taken out through this path, and frequently I'll notice the outdoor lights will be left on. Now we can remotely turn them off. The bigger reason for this though is that zwave is a mesh network, so having some switches in the garage will extend range for...

... the GE outdoor modules. Our house has an outlet in the soffit outside the front door typically used for the Xmas lights. This outlet is on a switch and also behind a GFCI outlet. I replaced that switch with a zwave one for an ability to manage the attached lights. Typically we also have junk on display in the yard or otherwise, so with the outdoor modules I can setup scenes in the controller allowing quickly turning on that switch as well as outdoor modules. No more multiple switches/remotes/manually plugging/unplugging things this Halloween/xmas when stuff is up and plugged in.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
Man you are really getting into this home automation stuff. The only thing you are missing is one of these, I always wanted one growing up.

 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
I want to get some more of the lights moved over, but am still researching and looking at options for ceiling fan control as I'd also like to switch out the light in our entry way with a ceiling fan to help exchange air between the upstairs and downstairs. I'm also interested in getting some window/door sensors to assist with scenes.

For example, there are a couple windows we generally open if it's cool enough out and warm inside. Of course if we open these, I don't want the furnace kicking in to heat the house. With some window sensors I can have it so if the windows are open the furnace will be shut off. I could also monitor the temp of the house and if it was getting to cold turn it on (in case a window were to be left open accidentally).

Other things I'm considering would be if a certain door opens then turn on certain lights so you don't walk into a dark house. Possibly some monitoring of activity in/out and defining some scenario where maybe the outdoor lights on the front of the house would come on with the assumption we are home and a guest has arrived and it is dark out. Or maybe if we are not home then some certain lights flip on/off at different intervals to give the appearance of being home.

Lastly for now, with the USB Z-stick that I ordered I plan to do some experimenting with http://www.lab-of-things.com as a potential replacement for the Vera3 controller I'm using now. Being a beta/research thing I'm sure it will be more work/development for me to setup, but might be more flexible. Also, dev will be in a language I know rather than starting from scratch with LUA scripting on the Vera device if I were to have to dev there. Fortunately on the Vera everything has just worked and been pretty straight forward so far.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
I was trying to think of other stuff for you. Do you have one of those Rumba vacuums?
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Added 7 switches over the weekend. Technically 4 controllable lights I guess since I replaces one 4-way circuit (3 switches - one main, two auxiliary) and one 3-way circuit (one main, one auxiliary). Aside from the control aspect, one of these upgraded to a dimmable switch as well.

Tried to add a door sensor to trigger the entry light, but I guess the Iris system that Lowe's is selling using multiple technologies and the door sensors they sell in store are not Z wave :(
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
Nest Thermostat



Available in the US

$250

Website

One of the more well known smart home products, the Nest Thermostat is a wireless thermostat that learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone.

Canary



Available July 2014

$199

Website

Canary is a singular, all-in-one device. Housed within the curved, sleek-looking body (available in white, silver, or matte black) you'll find a 720p HD camera with a wide-angle lens and night-vision capability that you can monitor remotely at any time, along with built-in sensors capable of detecting changes in motion, temperature, humidity, and air quality.

DoorBot



Available soon

$199

Website

DoorBot is the Wi-Fi enabled, video doorbell that allows you to see and talk

with visitors through your smartphone from anywhere in the world. Initial reviews are less than stellar.

There's also a similar product called SkyBell.

Nest Protect



Available soon, worldwide

$129

Website

Another Nest Labs product, Nest Protect will message your phone when its batteries run low or the alarm goes off.

Nest Protect lights up in different colors and speaks with a human voice, telling you where and what the danger is. And it won’t just start yelling at you—Nest Protect gives you a friendly Heads-Up before turning on a loud alarm.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
The Nest thermostat is nice, though it's more about learning than setting. If everyone in the house has a similar schedule it would be good. I've considered one and the home auto controller I have does have a plug-in that will work with it.

The protect is intriguing, but it sure is an expensive smoke/CO alarm.

The others haven't been reviewed too well. Also, they are all independent, so you have multiple things to manage them or multiple apps to deal with.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Ha... X10 is still around, but I doubt that controller is still around for it. I did add one more outlet for control around the house over the weekend.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
bah, the Belkin stuff is junk. The product itself might be fine, but it's a very limited number of devices and proprietary. Devices using Z-wave, X10, or other standards are better options since you have a much bigger selection, one controller (assuming you stick to one standard) and can manage it all without switching between numerous apps (i.e. Belkin app for Wemo, Nest app for thermostat, etc, etc if you start piecemealing a system)
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Nest had a good thermostat product, but they didn't follow any normal home automation standards. The Nest Protect smoke alarm is a neat idea, but expensive.

Anyway, in general they had nice looking products and maybe a good vision, but I'm not sure they were worth what Google paid. I'm interested to see what GOOG plans to do with them, given they don't have any real home automation presence I'm not sure what their plan would be.
 
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