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  Reply # 1089008 15-Jul-2014 08:21
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Thanks Mynx - yep I do need to improve the landing page. I want to add some testimonials (now I have had a few customers) and as you point out, a bit of a blurb about what we do. The idea initially was to keep the site very simple, and make it just a store and nothing more. I assumed anyone coming there would know what they are after and would have done research prior about the products they want. But based on the fact that home automation is a very young area and is gaining a lot of attention I guess there are more and more people interested in finding out what/how it can work for them, rather than just on the hunt for something in particular.

I will add it to the ever growing TODO list...thanks for the feedback tho - much appreciated.

BTW - using the smart energy switch you can do exactly as you assume - i.e. monitor the energy usage of any appliance around your house. However in order to control the switch and/or read the usage data you need a Z-Wave controller of some sort. That can be either the USB Z-Stick plugged into your computer running some controller software (there are a few open source alternatives) or a dedicated controller like the Fibaro Home Centres or the Vera Lite.

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  Reply # 1090007 16-Jul-2014 14:42
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Do you do Ninja Blocks etc? I see I got an email about their sphere. Looks interesting.



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  Reply # 1090012 16-Jul-2014 14:50
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Nope we don't do Ninja Blocks although I have looked into them. They are a very cost effective solution but are cheap enough to buy direct from Oz. By the time we add our margins and importing costs, it wouldn't stack up I don't think.

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  Reply # 1090018 16-Jul-2014 14:56
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The most useful upgrade to our familys technology integration lately was the upgrade to the Yamaha RX-A3030 amp, being able to send music from anywhere TO anywhere is really cool. I often look at lights automation and think it's a nice novelty but not that useful day to day.. I should look at other stuff. 



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  Reply # 1090022 16-Jul-2014 15:01
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Yep - well after upgrading my amp to the RX-A2020 I now have it fully integrated with openHAB which is very handy. I can mute the amp when the phone starts ringing, and un-mute when the call ends. I can press play (via my phone/tablet) on my living room Squeezebox and openHAB will detect this action and automatically fire up the receiver, select the correct input and default the volume (unless something else is already using the amp of course!).

Other rules are linked to XBMC so that lights automatically dim up/down when media is being played. 

All works very well and is seamless for the user - which IMO is the key to home automation. The wife absolutely loves it.

The other nice thing is using openHAB I know that when both the wife and I are away from home, everything is automatically shut off - lights, amps, coffee machines etc. Same when going to bed, no more running around checking lights, TVs, amps. Just hit the 'Bedtime' button (which is automatically triggered when my phone is put on charge via Android Tasker) and everything is shut off automatically.

Sounds a bit gimicky, but let me tell you, after living with all this for 6 months I am almost dependant on it now! Would be a nightmare having to switch on all the hallway/living room lights each evening when it gets dark, and then having to turn them all off again before bed...;)

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  Reply # 1090121 16-Jul-2014 16:32
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Yikes...

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  Reply # 1090187 16-Jul-2014 18:23
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I remember reading about some system that if the house smoke alarms are triggered, it automatically cuts the power to the oven. Since cooking fires are a leading cause of house fires it seems like a good idea to me. Can your systems incorporate anything like that?




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  Reply # 1090347 17-Jul-2014 08:05
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Yep that would be pretty easy really. There are Fibaro 3kW in-wall relays that would be fine for switching your oven. Fibaro have a smoke detector coming soon (it is just undergoing compliance testing and certification at the moment) which would be perfect for this. Alternatively if you already have wired smoke alarms then it is quite easy to install a Fibaro Universal Binary Sensor which is a parasitic sensor and simply reads the binary output from the smoke detector and sends a signal to your Z-Wave network.

Then using pretty much any Z-Wave controller it would be a simple matter of linking the two devices via a rule in order to automatically shut off the oven (and any other devices) if smoke is detected. I haven't got this in my place but I will be adding it to the 'ideas' list - great idea! I do have some rules surrounding my fire alarm, including turning on every light in the house (if it is dark) to help occupants get to safety in the event of a fire, and opening the garage door to allow easy escape and access for the fire department.

This is the challenge (and best part IMO) of home automation. Once you have different devices in your home 'connected' it is finding clever and useful ways of linking them together and automating common tasks.

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  Reply # 1091013 17-Jul-2014 20:43
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Had a good look at your site and it is very easy to navigate with a clean look. One thing I would possibly look into adding is a disclaimer for purchasing your products when the units are needing to be connected to 240volts. A little speal at the bottom of each available item that needs connecting to the 240. Similar to this from another site but name changed........

Installing this 'item' involves working with 240V mains wiring. If you are not comfortable doing this you should consult a qualified electrician. Smart Things NZ Ltd do not accept any responsibility or liability.

Also Have you thought of adding in some AV IR/RS232 controllers for Purchase? Easy to add into the Fibaro network by the looks and anyone starting or looking at automation likes to control their AV gear first.

Good luck with your adventure Ben.




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  Reply # 1091018 17-Jul-2014 20:57
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Appreciate the feedback @overkill. I was actually just thinking about that very topic the other day. I will update the site right away, thanks for the suggestion!

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  Reply # 1091033 17-Jul-2014 21:14
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SumnerBoy:

This is the challenge (and best part IMO) of home automation. Once you have different devices in your home 'connected' it is finding clever and useful ways of linking them together and automating common tasks.


This is the best part alright.  We have one that we implement and every one of our clients who has this rates it at the top of their 'automation list'.  When the phone rings, the Sky, DVD, Bluray etc pauses (zone related), no need to find the remote straight away, only when the call has been answered.  I thought it was a little gimmicky to start off with, but use it ourselves and wouldn't not have it now.....  This can be turned off at anytime, but it's just one of those gimmicky ones that actually is quite good.

I was thinking the other night about a page dedicated to "automation" and what clever things can be done, listing controllers and hardware needed, based around the DIY market.




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  Reply # 1091035 17-Jul-2014 21:16
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Sorry, didn't answer your question about the IR/RS232 control. I agree that stuff is very handy, I have one of the RedEye IR blasters which I have used for years and had great service from. Unfortunately they have since ceased trading. There are other alternatives out there but I have yet to come across something that really sticks out as 'best-of-breed'. And these days most TVs and receivers are all controllable directly via IP which is far better than synthesising IR commands IMO. 

I recently just upgraded my AVR for this very purpose, and now everything is integrated with openHAB providing a much better experience - volume control especially is quite difficult using IR devices. 

If you know of anything in particular you would like to see let me know and I would be happy to have a look and check out the pricings etc.



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  Reply # 1091036 17-Jul-2014 21:20
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Ha - snap! I recently added that to my system as well - anytime an incoming call starts ringing the caller id is displayed on XBMC (and my phone via Pushover notification) and XBMC will pause, automatically resuming when the call ends. I agree, it sounds gimmicky but in reality is very useful. 

To be honest that is one of the hardest things I find when telling people about what HA can do. You tell them about these 'features' and they just raise their eyebrows as if to say, 'are you really that lazy!'. Not until you live with it and use it everyday, without even noticing, that you look back and realise how good this stuff can be!

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  Reply # 1092021 19-Jul-2014 15:03
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SumnerBoy: Yep that would be pretty easy really. There are Fibaro 3kW in-wall relays that would be fine for switching your oven. Fibaro have a smoke detector coming soon (it is just undergoing compliance testing and certification at the moment) which would be perfect for this. Alternatively if you already have wired smoke alarms then it is quite easy to install a Fibaro Universal Binary Sensor which is a parasitic sensor and simply reads the binary output from the smoke detector and sends a signal to your Z-Wave network.

Then using pretty much any Z-Wave controller it would be a simple matter of linking the two devices via a rule in order to automatically shut off the oven (and any other devices) if smoke is detected. I haven't got this in my place but I will be adding it to the 'ideas' list - great idea! I do have some rules surrounding my fire alarm, including turning on every light in the house (if it is dark) to help occupants get to safety in the event of a fire, and opening the garage door to allow easy escape and access for the fire department.

This is the challenge (and best part IMO) of home automation. Once you have different devices in your home 'connected' it is finding clever and useful ways of linking them together and automating common tasks.


laughing

I thought of an idea: electric blankets can be quite risky with causing fires. If you had a dedicated circuit (I know, it would add expense to a house), you could use your smoke alarm rule to kill power to them. And any other appliances you deem to be risky.




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