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skywalkr
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Looked like all the subjects on this were pretty old. I am looking to set up a home automation system when we move into our new house, mainly something like turning on and off lights when we aren't home so it looks like someone is there, adjusting the thermostat, and maybe a lock that I can open/close all via my iPhone along with possibly opening/closing my garage door.

As far as lights I was thinking the Belkin WeMo might be the way to go there, it seems like a pretty easy solution for that, anyone have any experience?

For thermostat that seems like it would be pretty easy with the Nest thermostat.

As for door locks and a garage opener I have no clue what to go with. I don't even know if the garage thing is possible but I figured there should be some way to do it, anyone have any experience with either?

12/30/2013 3:44:23 PM

AVON
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I use a Vera2 from MiCasaVerde http://getvera.com. It controls most of the lights in the house via ZWave or Insteon dimmer switches, and i have it programmed to turn the lights on in the AM automatically, movie mode, etc... Also use for the door locks, and they trigger the lights to come on if it is dark outside etc...

It´s a pretty good system for a DIY type person, and not crazy expenseive. Garage door is possible, although it will take some programming to do it.

Forgot to mention, that there are several iphone companion apps that let you use your mobile to control stuff remotely -- unlock a door, turn the lights, off etc...

12/30/2013 5:05:13 PM

skywalkr
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That looks pretty sweet, I like how there is no monthly fee, I couldn't justify that when we spend so much on other stuff every month just to turn on lights and whatnot. Thanks.

12/30/2013 5:20:22 PM

Smath74
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my wife won't let me get a Nest because she doesn't think a computer should learn our personal routines... and it look like HAL. we all know how that played out.

12/31/2013 12:43:27 AM

kiljadn
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I've had a Nest for ~3 weeks and it's massively changed our heating/cooling habits already. I'm excited to see if there's a significant change in our gas and electric bills this month.

Was getting ready to buy some WeMo switches, but I'll check out this Vera thing.

12/31/2013 5:59:05 PM

DoubleDown
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Just installed my Nest yesterday, pretty cool so far

12/31/2013 8:07:22 PM

afripino
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For garage doors, use Chamberlain openers with MyQ built in. That's what I use and it handles home automation very well.

1/1/2014 10:33:29 AM

skywalkr
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I actually just picked up some openers with MyQ, I didn't get them for that, just happened to be the ones I bought at Home Depot. How do you use those for home automation?

1/1/2014 4:51:08 PM

afripino
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You get the MyQ internet gateway and then download the MyQ app. You can get MyQ accessories to control light switches and power outlets too. You can even set it up like I did and have it turn on a hallway light when you open a garage door.

[Edited on January 1, 2014 at 10:43 PM. Reason : ]

1/1/2014 10:42:28 PM

skywalkr
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That is pretty cool and not very expensive either. Thanks, that looks like another really good option, I really like the idea of turning on house lights when opening the garage door. I have a deal with my alarm system so I can have all the alerts with my garage door but I can't open or close it. They have some automation features too with lights and whatnot but it seems like they are more of an afterthought than anything, I do like that I can make an opened garage door trigger my alarm system though if we are in vacation (you can turn the alarm function on or off since you wouldn't want that on every day deals).

1/1/2014 10:49:02 PM

llama
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I've using a VeraLite to control a bunch of z-wave devices. Got door and motion sensors (Aeotech) for security, and I can arm/disarm them with my z-wave deadbolt (Yale YRD220). My thermostat (Honeywell YTH8320ZW) is on a schedule, and although I could do that without z-wave, now I can check the temp from work and adjust it if I'm going to be early/late. A temp sensor outside and downstairs will let me see the temp everywhere around the house. My front porch light is on a schedule, and once I get it mounted outside I can have the motion sensor turn the driveway flood lights on/off at certain times of the day, like the next time some jackass tries to break into my car at night. Switches are all GE/Jasco 45609.

There's no z-wave garage door controller that I know of yet, but I think Aeotech is working on one. There's a number of people that have z-wave outlet devices wired to relays to simulate pressing the garage door open/close button. I'm personally just going to wait for a product that does it.

1/1/2014 11:12:00 PM

Master_Yoda
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Vera looks cool, but their deadbolt thing is def a no go at 250 a pop. Rest of it is reasonable though. Might do a package as ive been looking into a DIY security system.

General question: why are wireless programmable thermostats so freakin much? Half tempted to build one. Wifi dongle, and a regular programmable thermostat. Maybe some control panel and coding. Ok for Nest you are paying for the algorithms ya, but for the rest that dont learn...?

With that last one, someone want a project and Ill pay for parts? Rasberry Pi and a programmable thermostat. Go.

1/2/2014 7:40:10 AM

llama
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Vera doesn't make a deadbolt. Are you referring to my Yale deadbolt? I got it for $200 on amazon. There's a number of other z-wave-capable deadbolts, like Kwikset and Schlage, that are cheaper. Kwikset's SmartKey technology is supposed to be super simple to pick, so that wasn't too appealing. Schlage's devices are advertised with their Nexia service, and, while Nexia uses z-wave, I've heard some people complain that it doesn't actually conform to the standard. I've got no proof of either, but I didn't want to take the chance. Plus, I like the look of the Yale better.

Wireless programmable thermostats are expensive because programmable thermostats are more expensive in general (coding, testing, maintenance, maybe a touchscreen, etc.), plus they have to incorporate the wireless technology, like a 802.11b/g module, or a z-wave module. They have to pay extra for the z-wave license, too. I believe maybe Trane has a z-wave thermostat that's relatively inexpensive because it's not actually programmable--you just let your z-wave controller do the scheduling.

As far as z-wave device pricing goes, I highly suggest shopping around using Amazon, ebay, and a few of the online home automation stores. A lot of what I see as packages aren't really great deals.

1/2/2014 11:20:40 AM

AVON
All American
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Vera can run insteon as well if you get an adapter

1/3/2014 4:45:50 PM

CalledToArms
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Can I tack on to this to get input on currently available security systems out there? Looking for something with the basic motion & door detectors with a local siren, the ability to access + arm/disarm my system from my phone, and no requirement for a land-line.

I don't need full automation since I already have multiple programmable timers for lights and a programmable thermostat that takes cares of HVAC + lights while we are gone but I would be interested in updated opinions on security options.

1/3/2014 4:55:20 PM

llama
All American
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^ you probably want the alarm system thread since you're not actually interested in the automation options

http://thewolfweb.com/message_topic.aspx?topic=624920

1/3/2014 5:16:57 PM

CalledToArms
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ah thanks. I searched for "Security" not "Alarm".

1/3/2014 5:17:44 PM

BobbyDigital
HomieDOESplayDat
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heh, I saw a thread on Vera elsewhere and am intrigued.

once I get all of the other breaking crap in my house fixed/replaced, It's time to start modernizing shit.

1/8/2014 2:31:19 PM

llama
All American
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For those of you with Vera devices, does the UI randomly become unavailable through cp.mios.com for you? I'll leave the house, forget that I didn't arm the sensors, open the mobile app, and it will fail to connect. Then get on a remote computer and it still won't load. If I set up an ssh tunnel to the local address it comes up, so I know the device is on and accessible and that my network is not down. Other times I'll actually be on my desktop at home, decide to pull up the UI and it will just sit there trying to connect. Again, if I go to the local address it comes up just fine.

1/11/2014 3:41:21 PM

nacstate
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I was looking into http://www.smartthings.com products. Decent selection of compatible products plus you can write your own apps to control devices.

1/12/2014 8:41:03 AM

Novicane
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Control4

1/12/2014 11:21:54 AM

AVON
All American
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^^^ Never had that problem, but I typical don't use the web interface, just the iPhone app.

1/12/2014 12:08:40 PM

Agent 0
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I haven't received it yet, but I have an order placed for an August Smart Lock. They sent an email a little while back saying they expected to ship in the spring.

http://www.august.com/

I also have a Nest and Nest Protect throughout my house.

1/12/2014 12:39:09 PM

puck_it
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It looks like most of these your only real selection is the hub/app... All the devices run off z-wave?

If that's the case, I guess if a company has an implementation you really like you can switch for the cost of the hub, instead of all new equipment?

1/12/2014 1:37:48 PM

Agent 0
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Also appropriate to post here, but Google just bought out Nest Labs.

I would imagine they're looking at reaching deeper into homes and life management via Google Now-type applications. Nest is a good platform to work from.

1/13/2014 4:12:09 PM

skywalkr
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A few years ago that would have been exciting to me, now it makes a nest less desirable to me. I might get the thermostat that works with the alarm.com app because I use it for my home alarm already. It looks like I might be able to do some decent automation with lights and all as well but I need to research it some more.

1/13/2014 8:35:49 PM

DoubleDown
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Quote :
"Also appropriate to post here, but Google just bought out Nest Labs."


For $3.2 BILLION cash. Can you imagine seeing a deposit by Google in your bank account for 3,200,000,000

That pretty much assumes that Google expects every modern appointed house in America to have one of their devices

1/14/2014 1:08:50 AM

CalledToArms
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I just can't imagine nest is worth that much. I'm not saying that they don't make cool-looking products; however, what they do is not really hard to do, they just packaged it prettier. Companies like Johnson Controls have been doing this on the commercial side for years but never ventured that much into residential because I just don't know that the market has been big enough. Technology and coding for this has been there (and companies like JC or Trane or Honeywell etc. have it down to drop-in modules for just about anything you want to do) and cheap for awhile.

Nest did it well and marketed it well (and I'd consider it for my own house if I was building brand new. Certainly not to replace what I have now). I just don't know if what they did was worth $3.2B to a company like Google.

PS I can certainly think of a lot of ways google could integrate with Nest, so I'm also not saying the potential for cool stuff isn't there, but does it generate $3.2B anytime soon for Google? If someone who is a Google fan (enjoys direct-from-google products and utilizes apps like Keep vs something more robust like evernote simply for the google integration) and is also an HVAC nerd who works some with commercial building automation doesn't see much value in the price-point of home automation yet, I just don't know how big their market is.

I suppose the acquisition is more about the hardware/manufacturing?


[Edited on January 15, 2014 at 1:49 PM. Reason : ]

1/15/2014 1:29:05 PM

kiljadn
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Just think about ti this way - NEST did for the thermostat what Apple did for the smartphone. They took an existing product that was compelling to a small subset of users and make it extremely compelling and easy to use for the masses.

I don't think this acquisition is so much about what they have now - the thermostat and the protect - I think it's about platform... the manufacturing, the brand, the APIs, the ability to interop. Google's biggest competitors in this field would be MS and Apple, and Google, by acquiring NEST, have taken the most compelling product line and made it their own.




Anyway, I just bought some belkin wemo light switches, and installed one last night. Plan on doing the rest this weekend. VERY EXCITE

1/16/2014 8:23:42 AM

dtownral
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Think of how much that information is worth when Google knows everything about when you are at your house

1/16/2014 8:31:18 AM

CalledToArms
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Quote :
"Anyway, I just bought some belkin wemo light switches, and installed one last night. Plan on doing the rest this weekend. VERY EXCITE"


I've looked into those before. Pretty cool. My problem is that the majority of the light switches throughout my house (at least any I would consider doing this with) are actually multiple lights and fixtures. I had considered getting just one to put somewhere but couldn't come up with an area that would be useful and was only one switch. Also, I am not 100% sure our router does n because it is fairly old

Definitely report back though once you have more of them in.

1/16/2014 9:27:53 AM

Stimwalt
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I'm considering buying Nest, and just wondering what other Home automation devices you would recommend for a condo, versus a home. I'm not dealing with sprinkler systems or outside lights, or a garage, so I'm thinking Nest is a good investment, but not much beyond that.

1/16/2014 12:20:23 PM

Lionheart
MEHGA
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If they can get it down around $75 I'll jump on it definitely but a little hard to justify at that price point.

[Edited on January 16, 2014 at 5:16 PM. Reason : Clarification: The Protect not the thermostat.]

1/16/2014 5:15:50 PM

kiljadn
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So I found out that these switches don't work with multiswitch stuff (1 light, 2 switches), which is a little disappointing. I installed 2 that control the outside lights, but I've got 2 extra that I thought I might use for interior stuff that I'll need to re-think.


Found these the other day, too :

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zuli/zuli-smartplugs

However they seem to require you to carry your phone around with you all the time, which is something I don't do.

1/18/2014 1:37:19 PM

puck_it
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It should... Sounds like the multi switch light was wired poorly. A switch is a switch.

Never mind, I would figure they'd have double throw

[Edited on January 18, 2014 at 2:59 PM. Reason : .]

1/18/2014 2:54:22 PM

kiljadn
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Yeah, I would've thought so too, but the instructions say not to as the second warning as soon as you open the box. Bummer.

1/19/2014 8:41:03 AM

nacstate
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Thats why I decided against wemo and plan on going with smartthings stuff. Most of the light switches I want to replace are three way switches.

1/20/2014 12:38:28 AM

Str8BacardiL
Real Estate Agent
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I really want a home automation system but am not paying $39 per light switch and $199 per door lock, that shit is insane. My alarm system actually has a z-wave module in it, but for the amount of money I could spend on all of the locks, switches, thermostats there is absolutely no way it would pay of practically in money saved.

Remote door locks are cool but if your alarm is on they only have 30 seconds before it goes off and calls the police, so even if you forget the lock the door is still bugged.

1/24/2014 10:02:35 AM

skywalkr
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$199 for a lock isn't too bad when you consider an electronic lock with a keypad will run you over $100 anyways. I see the value in it for instances where you need to let someone in your house but you aren't there, I don't ever leave my house unlocked anyways. What I really want to set up is the remote garage door opener because the wife can leave that open by mistake and I have too many tools and whatnot in my garage that I would hate to have walk away.

1/24/2014 10:36:58 AM

CalledToArms
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remote garage door openers are easy. $100 retrofit kit from the manufacturer usually if it isn't already a model with it enabled. Basically a relay in between your router and the door opener that you can access with a free phone app.

As far as being able to let someone into our house, it would be nice but there are other ways that work just as well. We have a keypad entry into our garage and we keep a house key secured and hidden in the garage. If we really need to (which hopefully would be never or an extreme scenario), we can tell someone how to get to that. I'm still not convinced of the security of these residential electronic door locks and most of them look pretty ugly too.

[Edited on January 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM. Reason : ]

1/24/2014 1:23:33 PM

AVON
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To me, having the lights and everything turn off automatically after I push the lock button in the morning was worth it.

1/24/2014 10:42:42 PM

baonest
All American
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picked up 2 wemo light switches and 2 wemo plugs.
work great so far. setup was easy. hardest part is making the faceplate work with what you have.

the belkin app is pretty easy as well. currently trying to find some wifi cameras to hook up.

1/28/2014 5:05:45 PM

puck_it
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My concern with august, and other Bluetooth paired automatic locks) is having my phone in hand, and walking up to my door to look to see who is there. I envision it unlocking my door before I make a judgment call on whether I want to or not.

I'm not against one where I actively toggle the lock on my phone.

1/28/2014 5:38:35 PM

Wadhead1
Duke is puke
20897 Posts
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I've been hesitant on the locks that have the keypads just for the simple fact of people potentially being able to guess the combination. Anyone have a similar concern or am I being paranoid?

1/29/2014 9:49:31 AM

baonest
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its probably easier to kick the door down.

1/29/2014 10:00:33 AM

llama
All American
841 Posts
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Quote :
"I've been hesitant on the locks that have the keypads just for the simple fact of people potentially being able to guess the combination. Anyone have a similar concern or am I being paranoid?"

Most will lock you out after a certain amount of failures, and you can just set a longer PIN. But, even at 4 digits no one is going to stand at your front door trying a bunch of random numbers. They're more likely to just kick your back door in.

1/29/2014 10:06:42 AM

BobbyDigital
HomieDOESplayDat
41666 Posts
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The 'smart' door locks are the one thing that have the least appeal to me. My garage door has a combination pad outside, so i can always use that door to meet any use case of a smart door lock.

1/29/2014 10:41:38 AM

OmarBadu
zidik
24850 Posts
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i think the smart door locks make a lot of sense for people that regularly come in via their front door and not a garage - i'd like some sort of 'smart lock' for when i go running in the neighborhood and i can just easily enter the front door without worrying about a key or going around to the garage - but it's completely a nice to have and the price point isn't there yet for me

1/29/2014 10:57:10 AM

llama
All American
841 Posts
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I know nothing about them, but WeMo has been mentioned a couple of times so I figure this might interest people

http://slickdeals.net/f/6659946-amazon-gold-box-deal-of-the-day-up-to-33-off-on-select-belkin-wemo-products-39-99-to-59-99

1/29/2014 1:17:48 PM

aaronburro
Sup, B
51448 Posts
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automagically set em up --------->

1/29/2014 2:31:21 PM

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