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aspett

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#284676 9-May-2021 17:06
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I'm currently in the design phases of a new build for wife and I, and we have a few wants/needs around smart home setup.

 

 

 

Ideally we'd have light dimmers, ducted heat pump, cameras all hooked up smart - and it must operate when internet is down. I currently have a smart home going in those categories with smart bulbs, IR blaster, and PoE cameras hooked into home assistant running locally.

 

 

 

The builder we're using has said they'd likely point us towards a platform called econx which provides a mobile app, does automations, timers, etc. My concern is that they seem to be a pretty small outfit, since I can't find much about them online, and they don't provide a local network API  (though I'm sure one can be reverse engineered). Additionally, their mobile apps look dated because, well, they haven't been updated in 2 years, and it just doesn't seem like that appealing of a package all up.

 

 

 

Are there other platforms that people are using for new builds that they can recommend? Maybe it's fully integrated, or maybe there's a set of compatible hardware that works dumb but can be hooked up to home assistant, which I could do myself? I'm finding it difficult to find systems that are well reviewed. Hopefully there are some more experienced folks here!

 

 

 

Thanks in advance

 

Andrew


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mattenz
141 posts

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  #2704102 9-May-2021 17:14
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Clipsal's c-bus seems popular.

 

You might want a ventilated rack space for equipment.


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timmmay
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  #2704137 9-May-2021 20:13
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A recommendation I've seen on here at least once was that home automation is in its early stages, and to make sure you plan to replace whatever you put in at least a couple of times in the life of the house. Plenty of wiring ducts, plenty of ethernet ports, easy access, cupboard for equipment like switches etc - I have six devices in a wardrobe (fiber termination, fritzbox, switch, R.pi, curtain automation, yolink automation). I like my roman blinds which are electric, plan for power outlets curtains if you want that.

 

Is it super important for it to work without internet? Internet outages are rare, and you could probably put in 4G backup if you really wanted to. That might be simpler than making sure it all worked without cloud connectivity.


hairy1
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  #2704202 9-May-2021 22:04
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@timmmay has some good suggestions. I think things are still moving fast in the automation space. I think key is to plan for future flexibility. I wish I had run heaps more ethernet (although when we built wireless was the way of the future) and not overspend on a system that may not be future proofed.

 

I have put a heap of Shelly's behind the switches. They are cheap, certified and work brilliantly with standard switches. This may not be the way to go but I haven't overspent and can easily swap them out in the future.

 

It's a tough one but as Timmmay said, run heaps of wiring and consider carefully your lighting automation.

 

Cheers, Matt.





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lyndondrake
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  #2704222 10-May-2021 06:26
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I’m just at the same stage - about to get Building Consent and have the project planning meeting with teh builder. I have already given some consideration (e.g. we have a good option for a cabinet in the garage. Lots of ethernet is definitely planned, but I hadn’t thought about the wiring duct idea which is a great call.

 

I have to say that Home Assistant looks like a great system. At the moment we have a Fibaro HomeCenter and it (a) isn’t that great, and (b) has a really *slow* mobile app. I bought the Home Center to try it out in the current house with just a few lights automated, and I’m not super impressed. It has driven home to me that the platform might well change over time.

 

Apple Home is amazing for the limited range of things it does.

 

I like the Fibaro Z-Wave dimmers that we’ve installed, more than I do the Hue bulbs. I could see myself doing more Z-Wave and similar into a HomeAssistant controller, as long as I can get the automation installer to look after the config as I have zero interest in doing that stuff these days.


timmmay
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  #2704225 10-May-2021 06:55
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Home Assistant is a community project which is pretty good. It integrates with many devices, but not all. For example getting it integrated with my Panasonic ducted heat pump and TP-Link Kasa smart plugs was just about impossible as they go via the cloud. It is possible in theory if you cobble code from various forums together. Integrating with the Broadlink controlling my Daikin heat pump was easy.

 

It's a shame Alexa and such aren't very flexible with timers and such. Many devices are made to be compatible with Alexa / Google Home these days and if you can piggyback that integration things will likely be easier.


lyndondrake
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  #2704229 10-May-2021 07:18
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Actually that's another thing I need to talk to the builders about: I don't want any cloud services, so e.g. I think Mitsubishi heat pumps can be automated on the local network? And Daikin? So for the heating side of things I'll head down that route.


hairy1
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  #2704231 10-May-2021 07:37
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I think Home Assistant is your best bet for aggregating as many devices as you can. The trick is to remain flexible for the future as any manufacturer could change their API (TP-Link did this) but I guess that is a risk with any vendor.





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timmmay
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  #2704232 10-May-2021 07:45
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lyndondrake:

 

Actually that's another thing I need to talk to the builders about: I don't want any cloud services, so e.g. I think Mitsubishi heat pumps can be automated on the local network? And Daikin? So for the heating side of things I'll head down that route.

 

 

I think you're trying to push water uphill with that approach. Many new devices only automate via cloud services.

 

I can tell you Panasonic ducted heat pumps seem to require a cloud service. Don't buy Panasonic heat pumps, don't even consider it. They're really, really loud. Heat pumps with IR control can work with Broadlink RM devices, which work on the local network quite easily with Home Assistant, but ducted heat pumps don't tend to have IR interfaces.


mattenz
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  #2704236 10-May-2021 08:00
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Maybe look at Intesis for heat pump control.

hairy1
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  #2704242 10-May-2021 08:16
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I am using Timmmay's method for controlling my Panasonic. A $20 Broadlink and wireless door sensor (for feedback that Heatpump has changed state but not required). I am also using wireless temp sensors for the room temperature.

 

 

 





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timmmay
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  #2704243 10-May-2021 08:18
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hairy1:

 

I am using Timmmay's method for controlling my Panasonic. A $20 Broadlink and wireless door sensor (for feedback that Heatpump has changed state but not required). I am also using wireless temp sensors for the room temperature.

 

 

The Broadlink devices have worked well for me for years. The apps are really quite poor, buggy, etc, but usually work. They do work fine with Home Assistant.


  #2704245 10-May-2021 08:22
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aspett: ...I'm currently in the design phases of a new build for wife and I, and we have a few wants/needs around smart home setup...

 

 

 

Sounds like you're where we were two years ago. We didn't fancy the amateur options with their half-baked solutions or the professional options with their heavy price tag.   

 

 

 

We had already chosen to a builder, and like you, we wanted everything to be automated as much as possible for an affordable price. The sub-contractor engaged to build and install the our heating / cooling / ventilation system offered a solution from a New Zealand based company in Hamilton - ATA Touch - and I drove down from Auckland to see them as I wanted to see a working system before committing our money.

 

We now have a home automation system for our air-conditioning, hot water, low voltage LED lighting & security that we can control from touch-sensitive switches in each room, a central control pad at home or by using the mobile app when we're away.

 

While this system doesn't yet connect to our Alexa controlled devices or our POE cameras, We're pleased with what we've got as we didn't need to raid our bank account too much.


lyndondrake
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  #2704247 10-May-2021 08:32
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timmmay:

 

I can tell you Panasonic ducted heat pumps seem to require a cloud service. Don't buy Panasonic heat pumps, don't even consider it. They're really, really loud. Heat pumps with IR control can work with Broadlink RM devices, which work on the local network quite easily with Home Assistant, but ducted heat pumps don't tend to have IR interfaces.

 

 

 

 

The problem with IR interfaces is that they lose track of state - e.g. I’m using a couple of Sensibo controllers to test them out and they are great but lose track of state too often to be useful


timmmay
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  #2704255 10-May-2021 08:57
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lyndondrake:

 

The problem with IR interfaces is that they lose track of state - e.g. I’m using a couple of Sensibo controllers to test them out and they are great but lose track of state too often to be useful

 

 

Yes, it's one way communication only. That's good enough for me 99% of the time, and it's cheap.


hairy1
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  #2705264 10-May-2021 10:31
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The climate integration in Home Assistant can take a boolean sensor for the Air con state. I use a small wireless door sensor on the flap of the heat pump to sense the state of the Air con and feed that back to the Climate integration in Home Assistant. Total cost $25.





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