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Topic # 185633 30-Nov-2015 10:11
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So I'm moving into a new house in a few weeks, and I need to do something about the non-pet-safe alarm system. Given that I also no longer have anyone telling me that I'm not allowed to spend money on things, I figured I would also take the opportunity to look into making things smarter.

It's a 4 bedroom single-level house, with internal access double garage, and already has a full house ducted heat pump (yay!).

So what I'm currently thinking is as follows. Please feel free to comment, advise, suggest specific devices etc. Budget is a consideration, but how much is yet to be determined.

- Dimmers in each room. I think there are 9 including garage, but may have missed a couple.

- Maybe on outdoor lights with a motion sensor as well.

- Security cameras - garage, entrance and possibly patio. I haven't settled on anything here so please recommend stuff - I'd like it to integrate with my existing Synology surveillance system, and also the smart system if possible. I would like HD cameras, and don't really need "smart" cameras since the Synology system takes care of that.

- Sensor and smart control for garage door. I always have "did I close the garage door" moments, and I want to be able to check and close remotely.

- Sensors on other doors (4 of them).

- Motion/temp/etc sensors internally with some form of "alarm", audible and notifications.

- Maybe a doorbell system like Ring - I've been looking at the discussions here and that looks awesome. It will probably depend on how much foot traffic I get, though I expect some given the position of the house (street front in West Auckland).

- Integration with the heat pump if possible - However, I don't know what is currently installed, so it's probably not worth commenting on this just yet. I'll update once I move in.

- Room to add more stuff as I think about it. :-)

Now, as mentioned, budget is a consideration. I've been looking at the Fibaro system, and really like the look of the it all. However, I'm also very technically savvy (and have a few Raspberry Pis sitting around), so would be comfortable implementing my own system with something like the Aeon Labs Z-Stick - IF it's going to be reliable.

So would people recommend a Fibaro control center and app over the Z-Stick? Lite or HC2? I'd like to have an easy path to install, so I think that may be better than the Z-Stick. Are the Fibaro modules the best to use? 

My first priority would be security. I'd like to get something up and running over the christmas break if possible.

I assume I would legally need to get an electrician to install the dimmers in the switches? I am planning to get an electrician out for other work as well, so that's not a big deal, but if I'm "allowed" to do it myself that is an option.

Would it be easy enough to do the setup myself (excl. dimmer install), or would I be better off talking to someone who can supply and install everything as well?

Thanks in advance for any advice that can be offered!

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  Reply # 1437697 30-Nov-2015 10:29
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Hey tarlen,

From the sounds of it you are more than capable of setting up a system like this (for the most part) by yourself. If you get someone in to do a *turn-key* solution you will end up paying ALOT of money. If that is fine then go with that option, as long as you very clearly define what you want and ensure you are able to make tweaks and changes yourself without having to pay for a technician to come and change a *turn on evening lights* rule so they come on half an hour earlier for example!

If you want to save a lot of money then I think you are probably on the right track with something like Fibaro or Aeon Labs. Relatively speaking they are pretty cheap, easy to retrofit to existing homes, and give you just about everything you need. The only question is whether you go with a dedicated controller/hub like the Vera or Fibaro HC2/Lite, or roll-your-own with the Z-Stick + Raspberry Pi (or other 24/7 computer you have).

My view is that if you want the most flexible solution (and most cost effective) then go with the Z-Stick plus RPi (see this blog post for tips on how to get started). The Z-Stick is only $120 and a RPi $40-50. Add in some open source controller software like www.openhab.org, and you have a fully functioning Z-Wave controller with rules engine and (free) iOS/Android native apps for monitoring and control. The beauty of this type of approach is that openHAB will allow you integrate countless other systems, devices and protocols and write rules so everything can interact - if you have a look at the openHAB WIKI there is a list of supported *bindings* - and the list is VERY long. Things like Sonos, Squeezebox, various smart TVs and AVRs, heat pumps, security systems, XBMC/Kodi, the list goes on.

The only downside with openHAB really is the UI is not the flashest, most slick, UI out there. But it does the job. And in reality most of the things that *happen* should be automatic - i.e. that is the point of home *automation* - so using the UI should be for monitoring/viewing state, and the odd action. I find the UI just fine personally, and being open source there are always people working on new designs etc.

As for the actual physical devices to use, Fibaro are very good for in-wall nodes - mainly for the fact they nice and small - and thus easier to fit inside your flush boxes. Both the Aeon Labs MultiSensor6 and Fibaro Motion sensors are very good little devices of similar size, the Aeon Labs having a humidity sensor which the Fibaro doesn't - apart from that they are pretty much the same.

Fibaro have a very nice discrete door/window sensor that comes in 7 different colours so you can match your joinery.

There is a lot you can do and it really doesn't need to cost a truck load of money if you are technically savy and prepared to do a bit of tinkering.

Best regards,
Ben


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  Reply # 1437705 30-Nov-2015 10:45
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HD cameras I buy from dx.com, lightinthebox.com etc, I have QD520 (about usd$30ish, about 1 second delay on this camera, possible on others, but its good for my use).  The foscam cameras are good too but you're paying $120+ each for those, so adds up very quickly.

I would recommend against smart dimmers, most LED lights dont work well with them, and I just ripped 3 zwave dimmers out of my house last week because of this (one room in the end had the light barely visible when on no matter what bulb I tried).  I find zwave switches in bedrooms arent that useful YMMV, but in living areas, walk in wardrobes etc theyre brilliant.    also dont go cheap on the zwave modules, the aotec ones are pretty rubbish, Ive had lots of issues with them, would go with Fibraro next time (havent actually got any of these to compare against however).  Also put zwave switches on heat towel rails, theyre good there.

The aotec 4 in 1 motion sensors are also very flakely, only half of mine work.  If I can go wired, i try to go wired and connect them to GPIOs on a pi.  The PIR zwave kit from smartthingsnz.com might be a good solution, powered motion sensors I find a lot more reliable.

+1 for openhab or a vera lite/vera 3.

I keep putting off buying more zwave devices, its one of those things I try to buy when I'm not buying anything else since I need to get an electrician in to install them, I tend to buy a large amount in one hit, so it can be quiet costly so I end up spending money on other things.   I really need to get another wireless motion sensor though, so Ill probably end up buying a fibaro from smartthingsnz.com in a month or two (probably after xmas), if it works well Ill buy 3 or 4 more to replace the aotec ones.  Aotec have humdity but, like I said, half mine dont work.

 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 1437712 30-Nov-2015 10:55
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Great - thanks for that! I love the heated towel rail idea. I'm always struggling with setting up the simple heated towel timers just the way I want them. :-)

I must admit I had thought that switches in the bedrooms may not be as useful, but one specific use case is that my daughters have a tendency to leave their lights on. The idea of being able to switch off all lights in the house at once is very tempting.

So now I'm thinking I might get a Z-Stick and a couple of sensors/switches to try out over the next couple of weeks, and go from there.

Please keep the advice coming!

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  Reply # 1437717 30-Nov-2015 11:03
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Hey reven, the new Aeon Labs MultiSensor6 is a lot better than the old model. It is a heap smaller, has much better battery life and better range. I haven't used one in my own home yet, but am about to install one in the nursery as I would like to keep track of humidity. I do have a couple of the Fibaro Motion sensors around the place and can confirm they are excellent. The battery life is very impressive, and they seem very reliable. Can't remember the last time I walked into the ensuite and the lights didn't come on ;).

I agree with your comment about lights in bedrooms. But in the living areas and hallways/entry ways it is very handy.

The issues with LEDs and the dimmer modules is definitely a problem. I managed to find some GU10 LED bulbs from lzled.co.nz which work very nicely with the Fibaro Dimmer modules but I realise often this isn't an option if you have built-in LED fittings etc. Fibaro have a new version of the dimmer module coming out - literally in the next few days - which is supposed to work with any LED bulb by working out the type and auto-configuring itself to handle both leading and trailing edge dimmable bulbs. These look like they will be a lot better for handling LEDs.

As for motion/camera - I have a few cameras (Foscam/Dahua) which I monitor and control via the open source *motion* package. Again, it takes a bit of configuring but is pretty good at detecting motion and you can setup 3rd party scripts to run on certain events, which allows me to integrate it with openHAB so that I only arm the motion detection when no one is home for example, and if motion is detected to play a loud barking dog on the outdoor speakers!

BTW - I have about 30 Z-Wave devices in my house, and probably half are in-wall Fibaro relays for controlling lights, heated towel rails, bathroom fans etc - they have never missed a beat. Very reliable IME.

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  Reply # 1437718 30-Nov-2015 11:04
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tarlen - that is definitely the best way I think - it is very inexpensive to get started with a Z-Stick, and easy to add new devices as you go/have funds available etc!

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  Reply # 1437721 30-Nov-2015 11:13
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tarlen: Great - thanks for that! I love the heated towel rail idea. I'm always struggling with setting up the simple heated towel timers just the way I want them. :-)

I must admit I had thought that switches in the bedrooms may not be as useful, but one specific use case is that my daughters have a tendency to leave their lights on. The idea of being able to switch off all lights in the house at once is very tempting.

So now I'm thinking I might get a Z-Stick and a couple of sensors/switches to try out over the next couple of weeks, and go from there.

Please keep the advice coming!


the only bedroom I left the zwave light switch in was my sons room :)  However, a wifi bulb might be a better idea in that room, I have a zwave + wifi bulb in his room.  That way I can adjust brightness if its one of his "im scared of the dark" nights.  the zwave module isnt needed with the wifi bulb (i put in the wifi bulb after the zwave module) and the wifi bulbs work with openHAB/vera.

One use for bedroom lights I can think of is an "All Off" command, so when you leave the house you can easily switch everything off (but the 2 or 3 times I left the house with a bedroom light on would of cost me a few cents/dollars in power vs $300 in zwave modules + install).  You could achieve the same result using wifi bulbs in the bedroom for $16ish a bulb.

wifi bulbs pros
- cheaper than wifi modules (depending on how many bulbs per room)
- easy to install
- dimmable
- can choose the color (color leds, or white/yellow, I like the white color)
wifi bulbs cons
- dont work if light switch has been turned off, so useless in high traffic areas (unless just wanting for a global off scenario)
- cant adjust brightness on physical switch, need to use app/remote.

zwave pros
- always work
- can adjust brightness with physical button (if you replace them) and use traditional bulbs
zwave cons
- need an electrician to install (well I did)
- dont work with LED lights (not even dimmable ones, well I tried 5 different brands and none worked, not even "dimmable LED bulbs")
- cost more than bulbs (depending on room size)


so basically I use both, depending on room and situation.


for the garage, I was using a raspberry pi and a relay switch, but I found the relay switch would randomly trigger and my garage door would open.  So I got a zwave garage door opener from zwave.com.au (cos smartthingsnz.com dont sell them), this works well.  I have 2 reed switches attached to the garage door to tell if its open/closed going to a raspberrypi in the garage roof, also have a cheap motion sensor to the same pi and another reed switch in the garage internal door to see when thats opened.  That lets me turn the garage lights on/off automatically with motion, when garage door is opened etc.

Also I bought a yale touch pad lock with zwave module off trademe, $400ish which is brilliant.  I wanted one with a keypad so I didnt need to take a phone/anything with me if I went for a run/walk.  That lock is probably my favourite smart thing in my house.  With a keyless entry car, that smart lock I never have to take my keys out of my pocket these days, its so cool.

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  Reply # 1437723 30-Nov-2015 11:16
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SumnerBoy: Hey reven, the new Aeon Labs MultiSensor6 is a lot better than the old model. It is a heap smaller, has much better battery life and better range. I haven't used one in my own home yet, but am about to install one in the nursery as I would like to keep track of humidity. I do have a couple of the Fibaro Motion sensors around the place and can confirm they are excellent. The battery life is very impressive, and they seem very reliable. Can't remember the last time I walked into the ensuite and the lights didn't come on ;).

I agree with your comment about lights in bedrooms. But in the living areas and hallways/entry ways it is very handy.

The issues with LEDs and the dimmer modules is definitely a problem. I managed to find some GU10 LED bulbs from lzled.co.nz which work very nicely with the Fibaro Dimmer modules but I realise often this isn't an option if you have built-in LED fittings etc. Fibaro have a new version of the dimmer module coming out - literally in the next few days - which is supposed to work with any LED bulb by working out the type and auto-configuring itself to handle both leading and trailing edge dimmable bulbs. These look like they will be a lot better for handling LEDs.

As for motion/camera - I have a few cameras (Foscam/Dahua) which I monitor and control via the open source *motion* package. Again, it takes a bit of configuring but is pretty good at detecting motion and you can setup 3rd party scripts to run on certain events, which allows me to integrate it with openHAB so that I only arm the motion detection when no one is home for example, and if motion is detected to play a loud barking dog on the outdoor speakers!

BTW - I have about 30 Z-Wave devices in my house, and probably half are in-wall Fibaro relays for controlling lights, heated towel rails, bathroom fans etc - they have never missed a beat. Very reliable IME.


for my cameras I bought BlueIris (windows software) that runs on my server, so the dumb IP cameras become smart IP cameras with motion sensing etc.  When my zwave alarm is set (I use still use my traditional alarm + the zwave one), any movement in the house is automatically recorded and uploaded to dropbox.

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  Reply # 1437724 30-Nov-2015 11:18
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Hey @reven - which Yale door lock did you get in the end? I am still looking for one that looks nice enough to install on the front door ;).

And how do you interface with the Z-Wave module? Do you use your Vera as a bridge?

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  Reply # 1437729 30-Nov-2015 11:23
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I got this one.

I also have this one on my garage internal door.  This one doesnt report which pin code was entered, just it was unlocked (doesnt say with key, code or via latch) so I cant use that to turn the alarm off.  But the Yale one does, so when someone enters a code the zwave alarm is automatically switched off.   

I was going to get this one before I found the trademe one.  The one from zwave.com.au is older than the TM one + GST import fees

I was also looking at getting an android head unit and use GPS to automatically turn the alarm off if the garage was opened via the cars android headunit if the car was in a certain gps geofence, but havent found a headunit running android 5 or newer.

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  Reply # 1437731 30-Nov-2015 11:27
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And this is controlled thru a Vera? (NB: for others reading this openHAB doesn't currently support Z-Wave door locks)

How do you find the batteries? And did you install it over the top of an existing lock, or cut a new hole etc?

Sorry for the questions - just very interested in these!

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  Reply # 1437743 30-Nov-2015 11:37
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SumnerBoy: And this is controlled thru a Vera? (NB: for others reading this openHAB doesn't currently support Z-Wave door locks)

How do you find the batteries? And did you install it over the top of an existing lock, or cut a new hole etc?

Sorry for the questions - just very interested in these!


np, this stuff is fun to talk about.

I cut a new hole for the lock.  Batteries are very good, 4 months not flat yet.  I have a google calendar event to remind me to charge them every 4 months, but I'm sure you can get over 6 months easy without a recharge, think its closer to a year, but I charge every 4 months to ensure they never go flat.

There is this yale lock that has a handle on the lock, you might be able to use the NZ/AU zwave module (sold separately on trademe) in that if you want an all in one.  Check with Yale first though, the NZ company arent bringing them in for some reason.

The yale locks works great with the vera lite (had to upgrade to UI7 though).  Also the yale lock has an auto lock feature (programmed via the lock itself, so you can do this without a zwave module at all), so after 30 seconds I have it to automatically lock (the time is adjustable).  I might change this to 5 minutes (to be a backup), and switch to auto locking when the door is detected as closed by a recessed zwave door sensor I have in place (just havent gotten around to it).

To lock the door, you just hold you hand over the screen, so easy to lock without keys.  And I have given people their own codes, so the fingerprints dont show the buttons pushed, as every button is pushed.  Also the codes I use repeat some numbers just in case.

It really is a great lock.

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  Reply # 1437747 30-Nov-2015 11:48
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Sweet - I already have a lock on my front door like this - http://www.windsorbrass.co.nz/view,shop,130.html.

So ideally I would like something that can retrofit over the lower part - i.e. the lock itself - and have it Z-Wave enabled.

Battery life sounds reasonable - and if you are using rechargeables and they have enough grunt then all the better.

My biggest problem is controlling it, without a Vera. Although if I got one it might spur me onto adding the security/lock support to the Z-Wave binding...although it has been a couple of years since I helped write that bit of code!

Thanks for the info - definitely keen to grab one of these. I see this one is on special for $329 - http://www.trademe.co.nz/home-living/security-locks-alarms/locks/digital-locks/auction-989683733.htm - I can't see any difference to the one you linked earlier can you?

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  Reply # 1437749 30-Nov-2015 11:52
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Thats the one I original bought, then had a moan at them about not including the zwave module, as I asked if it worked with NZ zwave frequencies, and they said yes.  but no the module is separate.  They later updated their auctions with this

Communication module (Sold Separately)
The ZWM-1 Z-Wave communication module allows the SYEDDB/220/NZ


When I bought it they werent selling the module separately on TM either.

I managed to get the module at cost, so cost me $430ish all up.

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  Reply # 1437750 30-Nov-2015 11:52
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Gotcha - thanks for that!

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  Reply # 1437866 30-Nov-2015 14:08
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Thanks guys, this information is really interesting. I was going to start playing with zwave when I got openhab, mqtt, 2x raspberry pi’s and a rely to open my garage door. zwave.com.au are showing out of stock for the garage door openers.

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