Tell us about your home automation!

Discussion in 'Home Automation' started by Mike, Dec 2, 2014.

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  1. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    Most of us have seen @nayr's awesome home automation build, but I would like to see / hear about everyone elses. What are you running? Do you have any customized scenes, triggers, devices, Luup code (MCV), etc?

    I'm running a VeraLite with a bunch of light switches, dimmers, outlets, temperature sensors, DSC alarm and more. It's been working well and I'm having a lot of fun with it.

    What do you have?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
    Myckie likes this.
  2. LittleBrother

    LittleBrother Getting the hang of it

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    I am about to install a wink hub. Currently at best buy $50 gets two $15 bulbs and a hub, but if you find a better deal you can get the hub for free (I did find a better deal). Reports are not stellar on the wink hub, but for its price I figured I'd give it a shot.
     
  3. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    Good luck with the Wink, let us know how it works out.
     
  4. bp2008

    bp2008 Staff Member

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    Some years ago I pre-ordered a kit of Luminode switches, but that never came to fruition so I had them refund me and I bought a set of z-wave gear. I have a motorized curtain track, 3 dimmer switches, an in-wall switchable outlet, and an external switchable outlet all linked to a VeraLite controller with z-wave. I almost never use the Vera's web interface directly. Instead I wrote a simple command line application that sends HTTP requests to the vera, and I have a small toolbar next to my system tray that contains a bunch of shortcuts to turn things on and off. I have an inexpensive but reliable Android phone mounted on a wall, which runs imperihome 24/7 so it acts as a touchscreen controller. Lastly, I have a USB numpad next to my bed which talks to custom software on a raspberry pi so I can control several of the lights in the house with the numpad there. I was not happy with any of the z-wave 'remote controls' and this was the next best thing. All of the above is used daily and was well worth the trouble of setting up.

    I also have an internet-controllable garage door opener, though to be perfectly honest we have never accidentally left the garage door open so it hasn't had any practical use yet. Nice having it there just in case though.

    My most recent acquisition is a z-wave door lock (Schlage brand) on my front door was supposed to be able to alert me whenever it got opened. This feature was extremely unreliable, working perhaps 10% of the time. It will unlock and lock on-command reliably though, so it will be helpful in the event I have to let someone into the house remotely without giving away a keypad entry code.

    Anyway, I am reasonably happy with the Vera. It does a good job of making sense of the utter mess that is z-wave, and it is controllable by http web requests which makes it easy to integrate with 3rd party applications.
     
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  5. Git

    Git Banned

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    I got into Z Wave several years ago with some Intermatic devices which was later taken over by Leviton.

    My house has a 'recirculator' on the hot water tank - and I was looking for a way to turn it off and on when we wanted to - versus letting it run on a timer...

    One of the reasons why I have a home server is to run the software, so when I became interested in installing some security cameras, Blue Iris was a no-brainer

    http://www.smarthome.com/leviton-cc...entials-2-1-professional-with-thinkstick.html

    Nothing real fancy - I have about 25 devices: light dimmers, wall switches, heavy duty wall switches that control my whole house fans, etc. I have an outlet in the garage that I have programmed to turns off for the night - so that the garage door will not open (accidentally or on purpose) until about 7:00 in the morning

    I almost bought the Vera this summer - but I really have no reason to change at this point. I have internet access by RDP into my Home Server
     
  6. Myckie

    Myckie n3wb

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    I am building my own home automation system.
    It's very rabbish, but it's my design, and i like it .
    I'm sorry if you do not understand anything, i'm from Catalonia and my english is very rabbish .

    The basic idea of the system is that all the components communicate it's state with my server via lan(windows running my software) .
    In this way, i bought a relay ethernet board (16 relay 10A, 4 analog inputs, 12 digital inputs).
    This board provides me state of inputs in a XML file .

    My software gets data from text files, xml files, http response, etc..

    For energy monitoring, i use EMONCMS.
    I have done my own sensors board (with four sensors), and with the help of arduino yun, i have this data in EMONCMS, and in my own software .

    I have three cams integrated in my software. This software can record on events if i need it , or take photos.
    (I have sensors around home, and the system trigger alerts on detection)

    I have done a JqueryMobile web for monitoring all the data incoming to my software, and for trigger actions.
    In this moment, i have as a part of the system:

    A garage door, three cams, weather station, Energy monitoring, External door fingerprint, air conditioning (only on/off) , automatic watering , alarm sensors, water tank control .

    Very important thing to me, is that i have push/mail notifications for events.
    It's a system to send push to IOS and Android. I use notify my android , and PROWL.
    When something happens at home, i know at the moment.

    Now, i'm trying to integrate blue iris in my software (i have alerts at blue iris, and in my software, i need to integrate alerts)
    And trying to code a nice interface for cheap tablets i will put in diferent rooms at home. I only have a windows aplication and a mobile web)

    Good thing is that the system is dinamic. I can add an object, and at the moment is available at mobile web.

    Next, i will show you screenshots (sorry if there are a lot of screenshots, but i want you have and idea of the project):

    My Home automation software:

    Main screen. Designed to show cams, and all the objects, last events, etc..

    [​IMG]
    Here is posible to see the photos and videos generated by events.
    [​IMG]
    Event designer.
    Event for automatic watering, with rainy days condition.
    [​IMG]
    You can choose which outputs to activate/deactivate, and duration (if not scheduled)
    [​IMG]
    You can choose to send push notifications, or record video/take photo from any cameras on the system .
    [​IMG]
    Schedule config. It's not very advanced system, but enought for my needs.
    [​IMG]
    General view of defined objects in the system (inputs)
    [​IMG]
    My nice ticket home . I can send access to friends for my system (they will have restricted/temporal access to mobile web)
    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the objects design screen (for inputs). Very easy to integrate new objects.
    [​IMG]
    With log feature for any object. You can access to rabish data..
    [​IMG]

    Web mobile:
    Direct acces to favorite objects:
    [​IMG]
    Defined groups with it's icon:
    [​IMG]
    manual activation of watering:
    [​IMG]
    Acces to cams (streaming from blue iris or direct acces to cam stream):
    [​IMG]
    List of events generated today:
    [​IMG]
    Detail of events, showing video/photo if taken .:
    [​IMG]
    Some data from server:
    [​IMG]
    EMONCMS web , very nice (This web brings to my sofware all energy monitoring data)
    [​IMG]
    I use Cumulus to store weather data, and acces it's realtime.txt file from my sofware to get the data:
    [​IMG]

    I think it's enought to show you my project ;)
    Sorry for the screenshots!!
     

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  7. Mike

    Mike Staff Member

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    @Myckie welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing, your system looks great!
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
  8. Myckie

    Myckie n3wb

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    Thanks Mike!
    I'm going to look into Veralite. I see lot of people with homeseer and veralite.
    I have no time to code, and perhaps i'm working for nothing if veralite or homeseer are enought for my needs..

    Doing this things by myself is difficult because you need to know about a lot of things (coding arduino, electronics, .net, mysql, php, javascript, jquery , and now android for a nice UI...)
     
  9. digger11

    digger11 Pulling my weight

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    We have a second home in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and wanted to have a way to keep an eye on things, and to be able to remotely control critical systems.

    I have a custom built Core i5 system serving a dual purpose as both a Blue Iris and MediaBrowser server.
    So far I'm only running 6 cameras, but will eventually add to that when I have the time to run more cat6 cable.

    I have a Vera Lite Zwave controller that I use to

    • monitor sensors on doors and windows
    • via a Fortrezz Mimolite, remotely open/close the garage door
    • via a Fortrezz WV-01, open/close the main water supply line
    • via a Intermatic CA3750, turn on/off the heat tape on the roof
    • via an appliance module, remotely power cycle the PC should it ever become unresponsive

    I also have an Internet connected Honeywell thermostat so that I can adjust the heat before we head to the mountains, or set the temperature back to 50F if we forget to set it back on our way out. The Honeywell server also sends me alerts if it loses communication with the thermostat, or if the temperature in the house drops below 40F or rises above 90F.

    After getting a $300 electric bill after letting the heat tape run 24x7 for a month, the Intermatic contactor was a no brainer. Now I only run the tape when the view from my roof-cam shows that it is warranted.

    The thermostat has alerted me to two situations where the furnace has shut down due to snow drifting over the furnace's vent/intake. Even though we keep the water shut off while we aren't there, I wouldn't have wanted to see what would have happened with no heat, and the outside temperature dropping to -20F at night.
     
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  10. Larebear

    Larebear Pulling my weight

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    Great topic Mike. Thanks for starting it.

    I started off using X10 cameras, switches, etc. quite a few years ago. I found X10 cameras, switches, etc. to be unreliable, so I switched to Z-wave about 5 or 6 years ago. I started with a Vera2 controller but a couple months ago I upgraded to a Vera Lite. My z-wave system consists of the following devices.


    • 2 Kwikset door locks
    • 11 motion sensors
    • 13 lamp/appliance modules
    • 21 wall switches
    • 4 home-made relays
    • 3 z-wave hand-held remotes
    • 1 furnace/AC thermostat

    I use the system to control the following both locally and remotely:


    • All lights/lamps in house, garage and shed are controlled with z-wave motion detectors and z-wave switches
    • Z-wave door locks for front door and walk-in garage door
    • Gate control using appliance module and home-made relay
    • Both 9' roll-up garage doors using appliance modules and home-made relays
    • Sprinkler system control using appliance module and home-made relay
    • Fill bird baths every 8 hours or can be done remotely on demand
    • Office camera monitoring

    I have some scenes/schedules set up to do the following:


    • Goodnight scene shuts off all lights, locks doors and turns on bedroom fan (z-wave remote)
    • Good morning scene shuts off fan, unlocks doors and talks to me telling me that the fan is disabled and doors unlocked and starts the coffee/espresso machine (scheduled)
    • UPS/FedEx scene opens gate at a scheduled time when I'm expecting a UPS or FedEx delivery whether I'm awake or not.
    • Scarecrow scene turns on motion activated sprinklers at dusk and turns them off at dawn (Don't want UPS/FedEx guys to get soaked) :)
    • Front garage lights scene turns on the exterior garage lights at dusk at 33% level and turns them off at dawn

    Anyways, really enjoy the z-wave hobby along with IP camera (addiction) hobby.
     
    Mike likes this.
  11. n4gry

    n4gry Getting the hang of it

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    I just ordered Vera lite. Nothing else just the controller. ? I have no idea why....
     
  12. Larebear

    Larebear Pulling my weight

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    Good choice. You'll have fun with it after adding a few Z-wave devices. :)
     
  13. n4gry

    n4gry Getting the hang of it

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    As always the cost has just begun! Same as the cameras. Looking at a thermostat to start with. Then, if that works, I will expand it for security first! Trying to keep cost as low as possible.
     
  14. The_Penguin

    The_Penguin Getting the hang of it

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    Maybe I'm getting older, but after returning home 1 block into my drive to work in the morning to do a "drive-by" to check that I really DID close the garage door. Then sitting on the couch at 8PM to have Mrs. Penguin come home and say "Why is the garage door open. Again?"
    I decided it was time, and started down the slippery slope of automation.
    That and a co-worker sharing a story of a failed toilet water connection, and reading a thread on a home improvement forum on water heater failures, I'm gettin' paranoid.

    So for starters I got an ISY994i controller, and Insteon devices including garage kit, 3 leak sensors, 1 outlet and a switch. First thing I did was program it to send me a text if the garage door is open for more than 5 minutes. Also texts and emails if leak detected, or if leak sensor heartbeat lost.
    I replaced an under eave outdoor power outlet with an Insteon so now I don't have to mess with Christmas light timer any more.
    The Insteon switch is for the front outdoor lights, with an added bonus, double-on of the outside light also turns on the Christmas lights, double-off turns them off. Love this system!
    Down the road I may replace our old alarm system with an Elk, and integrate all of the door sensors and motions.

    Interestingly enough, got a call at work from Mrs. Penguin shortly after, "Can you check the garage door? I think I left it open"
    Me: "Hang on..."
    "hurry, if i have to go back my exit is coming up"
    me: "If it's open I can close it from here"
    Her: "Really? wow!"
    And of course it wasn't open [​IMG]
    Have since added several more switches, a motion sensor, and 2 magnetic switches on the gates, as well as an 2 outdoor modules to turn on/off led strip lighting on the deck etc.
    Also a smoke detector.
    Not sure if I can integrate my cameras or not. I may try to write a program or 2 to get the motion/magnetic switch detection to send a record-start command to the appropriate cameras, though they're set to motion detect anyway, and work pretty well.


     
  15. LittleBrother

    LittleBrother Getting the hang of it

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    As somebody on reddit said, they paid a bargain price for their wink hub and are having a bargain experience.

    I'm using it only for turning some lights on and off at sunset/sunrise. For that it works most of the time. Notice I didn't say all, but enough of the time that it's satisfactory. I guess I can say it's doing what I need it to. Also a light in my basement that the kids regularly leave on I now have set to turn itself off at certain times so that if they leave it on it will go off. That's a pretty usable, good example of where this technology really makes sense (plus the sunrise/sunset I really do like).

    My impression of home automation now is that it's either very basic, or requires a massive time sink up front and potentially ongoing to ensure it works as it should. I don't intend on investing more money/time into it until it matures further, as I already have enough hobbies to put my time into.
     
  16. nayr

    nayr IPCT Contributor

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    I dont think home automation will really progress much further than that...

    You can wire up every switch and appliance up so you can remotely control them, but then what? The home is not going to be intelligent until someone programs it and that programming is going to be unique to the house and people that live in it.. You can come up with some generic protocols that work well for everyone (turn off lights in daytime after 20mins being on) but none of that is really where the automation kick starts to shine.

    The Smart Home is going to remain in the realm of those creative enough and willing to put the intelligence into there Smart Home, they have really easy programing/scripting with drag and drop gui's and never need to type anything (See Blocky) but someone has to be clever enough to write stuff for it to do.

    Its not until everything is connected that you even start to think of the possibilities.. example:

    Back Door is open, point the PTZ at the backdoor to record who's coming going..
    Back door did not close, house must need some fresh air.. What do we live in a barn? lets turn down the furnace so were not heating the outdoors..
    The Sun Just set and the backdoor is still open, lets hold off on turning on the back patio light so we can avoid attracting bugs... but lets turn on the Bug Zapper
    The temperature is now below 65 degrees outside and the door is still open, lets Notify the residence they might want to close the back door now.
    Ah finally the backdoor's been closed for 15mins, lets turn the furnace back on and the back patio light..
    Whoah boy the temperature sure dropped after dark, now that its under 50 degrees outside we dont need the Bug Zapper anymore.. lets kill that.

    I didnt have to do anything but open/close the backdoor for all those events to occur all on there own, but without the programming to back it up all I would of had was a log when the back door opened and closed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2015
  17. nayr

    nayr IPCT Contributor

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    another really nice thing about Home Automation is, Big Data.. With all these sensors and items connected together alot of datapoints are being gathered.. It opens up alot of cool metrics you can discover but it requires you to use and parse the data available..

    for example, my attic needs a powered exhaust fan.. How can I tell this? well by looking at my temperatures in the living room at night with all the windows open compared to the outside temps, I am holding onto a lot of heat and its not until an hour or two before the sun has came back up that the inside of the house starts to dramatically cool down. I am going to spend ~$100 to install an attic exhaust fan with its own thermostat, and if it performs well I expect to see the cooling system working less and the inside temperatures falling much quicker after the outside temp's have.

    I know my attic is hotter than crap in the summer, but I didnt realize how that heat was keeping the house warm at night.. requiring the evap cooler to come on more frequently after sunset than they would have on a day that did not reach the same highs... lets say we have two days, one with the high of 75F and one with the high of 95F... at 3am the following morning its 60F on both days, inside my house is a nice 70F @ 3am on the day with the high of 75F, but on the day with 95F my house is 78F @ 3am.. Its pretty obvious that the hot attic is heating my house long after the sun has set.. Forcing my pretty loud swamp cooler to cycle on/off all night long, even though the outside temps are well below my desired inside temps.

    Now I will install the fan, look at the data afterwords and see if the investment was adequate at removing the excess heat from the house.. or if I need to tweak anything to get the performance I desire.. I will monitor how often the swamp cooler comes on, the time it takes to reach the desired set point, and other metrics to come to my final analysis.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2015
  18. fenderman

    fenderman Staff Member

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    @nayr, very cool, let us know how the fan works out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2016
  19. devastator

    devastator Getting the hang of it

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    My setup at the moment excludes any cameras, still in the process of determining what I need ...

    I use HomeSeer3 to control the following:
    * Alarm
    * Garage door
    * Front Gate
    * Lights (PlugWise and RF)
    * A/V
    * Reminders of all kinds...

    Some of the events I use:
    * Send reminder when nobody is at home for 10 minutes and alarm is not activated/front gate open/garage open.
    * Notify me when gate or garage is opened when I'm not home (-> will push image of camera with it)
    * Notify my wife when the washing machine is done
    * Turn on air de-humidifier when the relative humidity gets too high (wooden floors ...) and automatically turn it off when preset level is reached
    * Notify me when the reservoir of the de-humidifier is full
    * Turn radio (Sonos) on with low volume to predefined radio station when we get up in the morning
    * Turn radio (Sonos) to favourite radio station (depending on time of day AND person dependent) based on who enters home
    * Voice reminders when gate/garage is left open for more than 10 minutes
    * Automatically turn on lights to simulate that somebody is home when we are not
    * Turn off lights + activate alarm when we both put our mobile phones on the night cabinet + deactivate alarm when our phones' alarm clock is triggered.
    * ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2015
  20. UkiwiS

    UkiwiS n3wb

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    I have a Vantage Infusion Control system. It's now 6 years old and was already installed when I purchased my home. I've found it to be a very good system but it does cost an arm and a leg if you want to make any changes...unless you can figure out how to do it yourself. :) They seem to be a fairly closed system and like to extract $$ from home owners up front and throughout the lifetime of the system. I've been quoted $125 per hour to do even basic stuff. With it, I can turn my lights on/off remotely. I also have a Honeywell W-Fi Smart Thermostat which I can control from anywhere I can get an internet connection. I also have a RainForest Eagle which connects to the Smart Meter for energy monitoring and I can view virtually real time data of my Rooftop Solar PV System.

    http://pvoutput.org/intraday.jsp?id=41203&sid=39052