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160 posts

Master Geek


# 255892 5-Sep-2019 08:49
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My electrician is recommending Control4 for home automation. We're doing a reasonable renovation, replacing lots of the lighting, gib off for some rooms, data cabling, etc., so now is a good time to add the automation. In due course we'll be linking it to a home theatre setup, some blinds, an alarm system, garage door, and maybe some cameras.

 

The main thing I've already noticed is the lack of HomeKit support.

 

Are there any similar setups that people prefer?


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250 posts

Master Geek


  # 2310942 5-Sep-2019 09:35
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I’m using an open source system called openHAB running on a raspberry pi and it’s fantastic! It does everything that you are after plus more.
We have the tv, amps (one for the tv/theatre space and another for the whole house audio system) a mixture of Philips hue bulbs that are in lamps and under bench/cabinet/bed lighting, main led spotlights that are controlled by fibaro in wall dimmer modules, the alarm, house door locks, heatpumps and even the robot vacuum. It’s very customisable and works flawlessly. It does take a little time to get set up how you want it but there’s heaps of help on the forum if you get stuck.

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Uber Geek

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  # 2310973 5-Sep-2019 10:13
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Depends how handy you are.  Like RickW I use openhab....there's a fair few here that prefer another open source program, home assistant.

 

The advantage of both of these is they can deal with many many different brands of products.  Meaning as your requirements change, they can adapt.  A solution like control4 once it's in, there's likely to be very little you cab add to it.

 

But control4 will be installed (theoretically) by someone who knows what they are doing, and can set it up right. 

 

Where openhab./homeassistant, it'll be you running it.   There is a possibility since you are doing major work now, that you could get a control4 system install professionally...but that may be accessible to home assistant or openhab....this will give you the best of both worlds....an extensive wired in system in all the lights....but then the flexibility of the open source systems for attaching and talking to many other device types and interacting with control4.

 

A quick look however found some very basic control4 access by openhab/home assistant but not a lot at all.

 

Link, Discussion on Control4 vs Openhab (same works for home assistant): https://www.reddit.com/r/Control4/comments/4gego6/control4_vs_openhab/





Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 10
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


 
 
 
 




160 posts

Master Geek


  # 2311082 5-Sep-2019 12:26
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If I get some Fibaro dimmers, how do I control them from the wall switch? Can you get a manual dimmer control that just signals the Fibaro unit (i.e. can control it equally from the wall plate or an app)?


250 posts

Master Geek


  # 2311176 5-Sep-2019 13:45
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The dimmers can be configured two ways. The first is to use a momentary switch (the same kind as your garage door opener) so you hold down the switch to decrease or increase the brightness. Or the second you have a normal bi-pole switch and that will turn them off or on to the last dimmed level. You can set the lights to 100% at any time by turning the light switch off then on quickly.

 

For the lighting at our place the modules are configured in the second method but it has been weeks since we had to touch a light switch. We have the lights controlled by “rules” in openHAB with motion sensors. You can set openHAB to calculate different “times of the day” and every day openHAB will recalculate these taking into account sunrise and sunset times. Here are the different times of day at my place today and these are customisable.

 

Click to see full size

 

Based on the current time of day and motion sensors, if there is movement in a room the lights will be set correctly and set a timer of x minutes and if there has been no movement in that area/room will turn the lights off.

 

As an example heres two examples.

 

if I walk out into the kitchen at 1am to get a drink. When I walk into the kitchen the center of 3 pendant lights that have philips hue bulbs in them in the kitchen will turn on at 5% brightness to a very warm white colour so that it isint too bright or harsh. A timer will be set for one minute and if there’s no movement in the kitchen by the end of the timer it will turn the light off but if there is movement it will reset the timer for another minute.

 

If I walk into the kitchen at say 5pm all the lights both hue (pendants, under counter and under bench lighting) and the Fibaro dimmers that control the led down lights will turn on at 100% and will set a timer for 15 minutes before they turn off and every time there is movement in the kitchen the timer restarts at 15 minutes again.

 

At any stage if we were to switch the switch in the kitchen it will disable the auto lights for 2 hours and give full manual control.


3594 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2311182 5-Sep-2019 13:53
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If you're asking questions re: Fibaro lights etc, then you'll most likely be into tech and wanting to integrate your own items in the future...

 

In which case, I can say C4 is NOT for you.

 

Basically, it's heavily locked down so only the installer can get into the programming.

 

Heck, if they don't make enough sales with C4 they lose access to all their customers via Control 4's portal and your system will be handed onto a completely different company... not to you... to another company.

 

 

 

Look elsewhere.


250 posts

Master Geek


  # 2311185 5-Sep-2019 13:58
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Forgot to add that you have full app control of each dimmer or a group of dimmers that you specify.

 

Im also not a programmer by any stretch. Most of my setup was from looking on the forums and copying and pasting with a few light tweaks.




160 posts

Master Geek


  # 2311242 5-Sep-2019 14:18
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Oh cool, so you can just buy switches from an electrical supplier and use them to do the control thing? That's kind of awesome. Plus presumably it's possible setup scenes and control them from a  Z-wave multi-button panel, if I understand some of what I'm reading?


 
 
 
 


250 posts

Master Geek


  # 2311249 5-Sep-2019 14:36
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Yup your 100% right. We have gone the Alexa route tho as it looks a little less intimidating to guests. So one of my scenes i say Alexa turn the lounge tv on and she will dim the main downlights to a level determined by the time of day, if I’m home alone turn the hue lights beside the tv to reds yellows and oranges, if my partner is here too the hue lights will be purples and blues, turn on the tv, turn on the amp and set the volume to an appropriate level based upon the time of day, wake up the Apple TV and open the Netflix app. 

 

Another scene is turn the theatre on which does almost the same as the above but adds turning off the lights when there is a movie playing. If you pause the coloured lights come on beside the tv and in the kitchen to 20% brightness as 9/10 you pause to get a drink or a snack and the lights above the couches turn on at 5% brightness. if you stop the movie or when it finishes the lights all turn on on an appropriate brightness depending on the time of day.




160 posts

Master Geek


  # 2312619 8-Sep-2019 08:47
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So, if I go with Fibaro etc., is there a good bridge between e.g. OpenHAB and HomeKit? I like the way HomeKit is integrated into the Apple ecosystem.

 

Ideally, I'd have control of

 

  • lighting and other powered items
  • heating/air con (Siemens underfloor and Mitsubishi heat pump/ventilation)
  • alarm system
  • door locks

and if possible,

 

  • reuse the alarm system's wired PIR sensors for presence detection (Konnected looks like the way to do this? with a Bosch alarm)

I don't mind the setup of OpenHAB or Home Assistant etc as long as HomeKit can see it all too.

 

I notice that Fibaro also make a HomeCenter which I guess is a Z-Wave hub? Do I need one of those in addition to OpenHAB etc., or can I just use that HomeCenter to bridge to HomeKit?


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  # 2312628 8-Sep-2019 09:27
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OpenHABs homekit implementation I find a little funny. I think home assistant does a better job. But I prefer the setup and rule engine in openHAB. I may look at moving my homekit to homebridge also. There are many options. Hopefully 2.5 of openHAB might stabilise some of the homekit aspect. Just for temps and switches it’s fine. But if you want alarms and thermostats, home assistant is much better.

I wouldn’t base a home automation software decision on homekit, but how you find it for setup and if it has the functions you’d want for your primary control.




Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 10
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex




160 posts

Master Geek


  # 2312979 8-Sep-2019 14:21
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OK, so I don't need a Fibaro HomeCenter then? Just a rPi or similar to run OpenHAB or Home Assistant, and I guess a Z-Wave USB stick?


439 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2313028 8-Sep-2019 14:48
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+1 for Fibaro gear. If you do end up getting a Home Center don't go for the lite one. The pro one supports more Z wave items and you can customise programming using LUA (similar to C#) to virtually do whatever you want to do. The main reason I like Fibaro so much is you can use conventional wiring. I can't count how many unhappy C-Bus, Control4, and other automation customers I've run into that say they are just absolutely fed up with the glitches and problems they just want a normal switch -- which you can't do without rerunning cables or installing extra low voltage relays ($$$$$$$$$$) everywhere with those systems

 

There are also plugins pre made for the HomeCenter (I'm sure there are for the other systems mentioned in other posts too). Anything non-network you can use other things like Global Cache gear for IP to IR (for example a heat pump that can't do wifi/network) 


250 posts

Master Geek


  # 2313031 8-Sep-2019 15:19
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Yea you don’t need a homecenter, I started off with a hcl but it was too restrictive and wasn’t allowing me the control I needed, eg I couldnt setup a group of lights to come on in specific colours and I couldn’t integrate the Philips hue motion/temp/lux sensor.

My setup is exactly as you say. A rpi 3 and a aeon z stick. Then pick what you want for the software, openHAB or home assistant. I havnt looked into too much about home assistant it’s on my to do list to compare them when I get a chance.

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  # 2313037 8-Sep-2019 15:43
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I moved from a rpi (actually an odroid c2) to an old amd a6 media machine (like a nuc). Found the zwave performance faster (ie less that 2 seconds, mostly sub second (ie for lights that are triggered off a contact sensor).




Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 10
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


250 posts

Master Geek


  # 2313115 8-Sep-2019 16:29
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davidcole: I moved from a rpi (actually an odroid c2) to an old amd a6 media machine (like a nuc). Found the zwave performance faster (ie less that 2 seconds, mostly sub second (ie for lights that are triggered off a contact sensor).


How does the c2 compare to the rpi in terms of speed? Were you running anything else on it that’s quite intensive? I had a similar issue with slow response times on the zwave network and a reinstall of openHAB fixed it. I have a contact sensor on the front door and when it opens it triggers a rule in openHAB to turn the inside lights on. We have a delay of maybe half a second, it’s pretty instant. It’s also one of the furthest away nodes.

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