Combined IoT SmartHome topic


#61

Lights and fans, primarily. Surely you have other non-smart lights plugged into the wall somewhere in your house.


#62

Hardly any. When we bought this house we had an electrician come in and install ceiling fans/lights in all the bedrooms, so no main room lights are plugged in. There’s a couple of floor lamps in the living room that don’t get used very often - probably one of them will get the smart plug (should I leave it named ‘tree’? :).

The other one is actually useful. Have a pair of Mackie CR-3s in the bedroom, and they have an obnoxiously bright green ring light that doesn’t lend itself to a black electrical tape solution. It’s nice to be able to turn on the speakers in the morning without getting out of bed.


#63

If you don’t use the lights, I don’t know if I’d bother. Just pack it away with your xmas stuff.


#64

Not specific to smart - but for the first time I used these lever clips instead of wire nuts while re-wiring everything in the box. Am now a big fan.


#65

I see a few have clicked on the lever-nut link, so I figured I’d add a few words about why I liked using them.

Need to join 3 14-gauge solid wires? No problem. (Even 4 or 5 - they make them with that many slots)
No futzing with keeping them all lined up right with one hand in a tight space.
You don’t even need to attach the wires at the same time, so I was able to wire up one switch and then come back to add the connections for the 2nd.
No trying to find the wire nut box (or use the internet) to figure out if it is OK or not to join 3 14-ga wires with an orange nut.
Need to back up and re-route one wire? No problem, just open its lever, move the wire, and stick it back in.


#66

I discovered Wagos a few years ago and have not used a wire nut since.


#67

From LG’s CES press conference, not remotely creepy:

LG laughs at your puny always-on microphones.


#68

Uh oh


#69

There’re still a few left direct from Google for $15.


#70

Already out of stock. I use two of them to stream music - one to an old Logitech Squeezebox Boom (an astonishingly great-sounding little speaker) and one to a pair of Mackie CR-3s. I’d but another just for backup if I can find one for $15. Not sure what the replacement for the same functionality would be (particularly for Home groups to stream the same music to multiple non-google speakers).


#71

I just ran across this thread. I’ve been doing home automation since 2009, and am spending part of today adding some dimmers and switches to the second house I’m completely smartifying.

I use a system called Homeseer. I haven’t seen it mentioned here. It’s software you run yourself. It supports z-wave (as well as many other interfaces like x10, insteon, etc. ). It’s very versatile and powerful software, with it’s main weakness being that the UI was obviously designed by an electrical engineer. Fortunately there’s a program you can use to create your own custom control screens and deploy them to windows, android and iOS (though the screen designer program also has a UI that looks like it was designed by an EE).

It would take pages to list all the hardware I have. I use z-wave for the many dimmers, motion sensors, and other devices I have. Back in 2009-2010 when I did the first house I used all Leviton dimmers. There was a model back then that didn’t require a neutral, with the downside that they are picky about led bulbs that work. For house #2 I’m using Homeseer’s dimmers and switches. They have a nice feature where you can set up double or triple taps on either side of the rocker to trigger events.

I’ve got thermostats from a couple of different manufacturers. Most recently for the second house I went with a GoControl z-wave thermostat. It’s too new to know if the battery life is good, but instant status seems to work for everything. Temp, operating state, etc.

Though since the software runs on a box in my house and on my network there’s no dependency on any cloud services. There’s an optional cloud service for accessing the web UI remotely, and you can also configure your own firewall to allow access if you want. The same can be done for the port the custom control screen uses. You can if you wish expose nothing to the outside.

I do use Echos for voice control, which requires using the homseer cloud service as a proxy. There is a voice recognition option built in (if you run it on windows since it uses the built-in window voice recognition) so even VR is possible without exposing things. It works find over a headset when you are speaking into a mic, but I never managed to find a good microphone solution for being able to yell out in an open room.

Pulling all this together, and making it a smart home rather than just a remote control home, I’ve got pages of events set up. In Homeseer there’s a UI to build simple logic for events, and there’s an entire API for C# and VB.net you can use to script things if you really want to get fancy. There’s even a whole plug in structure to extend the software.

Edit: For anyone replacing light switches that have companions, this link has helped me immensely: https://www.do-it-yourself-help.com/3_way_switch_wiring.html


#72

I was curious so I just looked at their pricing for the Homeseer HS3 software (which is the one that runs on Windows). $249, which I’m not willing to pay when all the other home automation solutions are either free or buying the hardware (a hub) is the price of admission. I liked what you described, but I’ll have to keep limping along with my combination of Amazon Echo, Vera, and HomeKit for control. I too have a mixed smarthome ecosystem (ecobee, lutron, leviton, koogeek, jasco/ge, logitech, sonos. envisalink) so I can see the appeal, though for me it’s not worth that price.


#73

I’m using HomeAssistant running off a Pi to unify my IOT stuff and keep it off the cloud.


#74

Ironically back when I purchased Homeseer it was among the lower cost options since it was competing with things like Control4. The Vera had just come out around the time I did my first house but it wasn’t mature yet. Not sure what I’d go with now for a central controller if I had things to do over again.


#75

I have the VeraLite, and it’s just been a solid workhorse for me over the last three or so years. People have written an insane amount of add-ons for it, most importantly the Envisalink one which lets me use the DSC alarm panel and wired motion / open and close / glass break sensors that were already installed in the house by a previous owner. And because Vera works with Echo, and Echo works with everything, I can build some pretty amazing routines.

I will say that when I first started with Vera (UI5), it very much looked as you describe Homeseer (i.e., designed by an electrical engineer). The current UI7 is decent, but definitely not great, and the iOS app has steadily improved over time. Overall, it was a very worthwhile $125 or so investment.


#76

(Put here instead of following up in the Alexa thread, because it isn’t Alexa)

Turns out there was a Google Assistant update a while back that added multiple, named timers. Happily using that with the Mini in the kitchen. If it is possible to give them distinctive alarm sounds or get google to tell you which timer is going off, I haven’t figured that out yet. That would be a great addition, as now I have to ask ‘hey google, which timer just finished?’