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216 posts

Master Geek

# 205707 23-Nov-2016 20:07
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I am embarking on a home automation gig and am not sure the best way to do my lighting (same applies for wall outlets, but less so).


My home is 30 odd years old, well wired, lots of lights and switches. Some switches I can't even work out what they do yet! My current control setup is a raspberry pi running Home Assistant I don't want to use "cloud" based services if possible. Don't trust 'em!


I have 4 Philips Hue bulbs:


Pros: work well, pretty, open documentation, well supported.


Cons: expensive, and if someone who knows no better turns the wall switch off they uncontrollable.


I guess what I really want is a replacement for the light switches, that just fits in the same place in the wall, and is both controllable and monitorable. This way people can either hit the switch, or use the "system", and in addition the "system" will know the state of the light and be able to follow scripts to turn on and off at certain times/ on certain conditions.


So far I have tried/considered:


1. An ASEER touch panel . This is RF (433Mhz) controllable, which I can do from the raspberry pi - see


Pros: controllable from my own system without some cloud solution, moderately cheap


Cons: No feedback, so control system doesn't know what state it is in, doesn't have neutral or earth connections.


2. ITEAD Sonoff switch


Pros: open system with hacker firmwares to connect as I want to my network, feedback to controller, cheap.


Cons: Only single gang (one of my switches has 5 gangs!), still no earth connection.




Does anyone have any better ideas?

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4201 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1676352 23-Nov-2016 20:10
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Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.

216 posts

Master Geek

  # 1676716 24-Nov-2016 13:42
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hmmmm a little on the expensive side, but they do seem to do what I was after.


4201 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1676722 24-Nov-2016 14:00
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hmmmm a little on the expensive side, but they do seem to do what I was after.



If you look around you can find them cheaper overseas (be careful to get the NZ/AU versions!)... I have installed a couple as a trial for a new house build and they work perfectly so far. I have the integrated with an OpenHAB install on a Raspberry Pi3, and an Amazon Echo for voice control.




Cheers - N



Please note all comments are the product of my own brain and don't necessarily represent the position or opinions of my employer, previous employers, colleagues, friends or pets.

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1022 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1676736 24-Nov-2016 15:01
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Great to hear you're using Home Assistant!


I got some Aeon Labs & Fibaro Z-wave gear from


Not for lighting, just some appliances. But I do wonder if Wi-Fi rather than Z-Wave might be a lower cost way of doing it.


What is the rationale - are you going to do motion detection to turn them on/off - this will also double the cost unless you've got an alarm which you can interface and use it for motion detection.







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Master Geek

  # 1676753 24-Nov-2016 15:47
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LOL the rationale is probably "because I can" - but I'd like some things automated, like the hall light I turn on every night and off every morning. It's pretty important to have it on at night because of some stairs that are very hard to see in the dark. So a combo of presence detection via PIR and a sunrise/sunset based control would be great for it (Turn on for 5 mins on detection of some old guy stumbling out for a pee between half an hour before sunset to half an hour after sunrise).


I'm also going to get the garage door thing going, although that will be in conjunction with a UPS as there is no side or internal door to our garage. Got stuck without a car for the day when the power was off recently.


Having lights go on and off when you play/pause/stop kodi playback is pretty cool.


I have a heatpump with a pebbleair, but have yet to hack the protocol to get that to fit into the HA system.


I have ordered two cheap android tablets to mount on the wall as control dashboards, playing with hadashboard at present. Doesn't run well on pi1 so ordered a pi3 which should sort that out.


Having said that, there are those in the house who won't be bothered, which is why a manual switch is a requirement.

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Uber Geek


  # 1676822 24-Nov-2016 16:23
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Don't worry I'm not judging - my heated towel rail is on a Z-Wave switch


I've got a Hue Lightstrip Plus in the kitchen which is awesome if you get up in the middle of the night and it fades in for 5 minutes when motion detected by the alarm


Not sure there is really much better choice in NZ than Z-Wave to do it properly, some nice stuff overseas but not NZ frequencies.


Have you got a packet capture of the Pebble control traffic? would be interested to see if it is similar to what I've been doing for HA with IntesisHome - otherwise could get an IR blaster for the Pi and do it directly from there I assume

216 posts

Master Geek

  # 1677259 25-Nov-2016 10:15
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The packet capture for the pebbleair is on the list of things to do. I know it is based on the electric imp platform, and I have looked at some electric imp documentation. 


Pissed me off buying a NZ product, loyal old me, to find they have no API, no ability to use their product other than through their server and no intention of fixing any of that. More research required in future I think.


5149 posts

Uber Geek


  # 1678017 26-Nov-2016 17:51
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I am using Insteon devices for my HA. Micro modules for light switches and plugin modules for devices that plug into an AC outlet.


The NZ Insteon hub is not supported by Alexa but using HABridge and the Hue emulation they work fine.


They use both RF frequencies and signals superimposed on the AC lines so are pretty robust.

Staying in Wellington. Check out my AirBnB in the Wellington CBD.  Mention GZ to get a 10% discount


System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR and Plex Server running on Gigabyte Brix (Windows 10 Pro), Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Pioneer AVR, Raspberry Pi running Kodi and Plex, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma, Google Chromecast

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen, Denon AVRS730H 7.2 Channel Dolby Atmos/DTS-X AV Receiver, Samsung 4K player, Google Chromecast, Odroid C2 running Kodi and Plex



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