LebGeeks

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#1 February 7 2018

ironman
Member

Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Hello guys,

While browsing the "homeautomation" subreddit, i found some really interesting stuff, however i have no idea about their availability in Lebanon. Any idea about home automation with Z-Wave (Availability of Hardware, Any reliable suppliers...)

Since my house is currently under construction, i am really interested in this concept of Home automation.

Thank you for your help.

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#2 February 8 2018

Guitaret
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Hello,

I don't know about Z-Wave but I am interested in the subject as well. We were having a bit of fun in the office with some smart stuff so I can be more experienced when I decide to apply EOT in my house.

I don't know how much experience you are in this but I will share the little I know so far:
We have started with Google Home, it is a good place to start with smart devices but you will soon need hubs like the SmartThings hub from Samsung (one from many brands). We ordered Sonoff smart bulb holder from aliexpress, and used eWeLink app & service and they are very professional. Chromecast with Google Home is very useful and fun but it will not do everything on your TV.

My main objective is to have an entry level smart home with an online dashboard but most importantly is to have it voice activated, and Google Home is more than great in this and so make sure to purchase it ASAP.
Items that I will purchase as soon as I get my life a bit organised:
Smart AC, smart electric curtains (requires motor, pole, tracks), bulb holders, hot water temperature, house energy monitor, house temperature and humidity (inside & outside), water level indicator, smart coffee maker ... Android pay will be super cool to order food online via voice commands but they still do not offer this in Lebanon.

Please bear in mind that in order to cover your entire house you need a really big budget so be happy to start a bit by bit. Making all your curtains electric and smart is not cheap so start in the sitting room if you are on a moderate budget and I advise you to account for the electric curtains (place for the motor and an internal path for the wiring) while in the construction phase.

Please keep us posted and share your future experience.

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#3 February 8 2018

rtwo2008
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

These guys have Z-wave products and installation:
http://www.softnet.me/Products.aspx

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#4 February 9 2018

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

I was really into this subject two years ago and even went to China to see some factories and suppliers to see if I could develop a brand of my own.

z-wave is a good option and works well for large homes (Arab style) where each device can act as a repeater for another, anyways, you've read all about that probably.

To answer your question, there was only one real company that I was looking at when I went to China, they were the goal that I had in mind in creating a new product and they had distributors and showroom here (according to their website)
https://www.fibaro.com/en/where-to-buy/

Beware they are expensive and I've read mixed reviews about their products two years ago, so they could possibly have fixed all their bugs.

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#5 February 10 2018

ironman
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Hey guys, thank you for your input regarding the subject.

Well my first point of action at my home will be to use Cat6-A cables through the entire home (Future proof 10GB...)
Second point of action would be using Mesh Wifi systems (Ubiquity 802.11 AC)
Third point of action would be using Automation Systems (where applicable)

While browsing the previously listed subreddit, i noticed interesting items / ideas such as Smart Switches with Dimmers (GE / Leviton Decora...)
the idea of a dimmer would be really interesting especially in the living room / bedroom ....

Another smart idea would be the electric curtains

let's share the ideas and keep each others posted since i think this is a really interesting subject.

Another thing to note is that if you browse the following link
https://z-wavealliance.org/find-an-installer/

There is a guy named Rabih Awad, which is a "Certified Distributor/Installer", i will try to contact him and see what happens

In addition, i advice you to read about "Home Assistant" https://home-assistant.io/ This is an Open Source system that runs on PI and Python, and controls most of the individual components under a single interface.

Those systems are Z-Wave oriented, however there are the HomeKit products which are more expensive but more user friendly...

Last edited by ironman (February 10 2018)

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#6 February 10 2018

rolf
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

What about fiber?
About home automation, I know Xiaomi have some affordable solutions. Their app is not that great though. That's all I know!

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#7 February 10 2018

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

You should look a little bit deeper into the subject, do not get fooled by thinking home automation is just simply turning the lights down or closing your curtains by using the phone. You are on the right track with the "Home Assistant" link.

Check out IFTTT compatibility with that when buying your devices. It is not a difficult job to do if you are tech-savvy, the whole idea that you should be focusing on is true automation.

I'll give you some examples that I was working towards:
If This Then That with your curtains for example (if time is = to sunset then curtain close).
Door locks combined with your motion sensors (if no movement in home then door lock)

And you can combine them to follow each other in a sequence, one idea I had was:
Water heater (a must for Lebanon), for me, I wanted to have it set that if 7:30am was reached then the water heater would turn on.
If movement detected in the bedroom motion sensor then the curtains would open.
If no movement detected by 8:10am then water heater turns off.
Followed by if movement detected in entrance, front door unlocks, front gate opens.

Focus on that, because believe me, the other way by tapping buttons on your phone will lose its gimmick quick. If you want "smart lights" then you can buy bulbs that have them built in. You can buy smart switches to turn any electrical item on and off by your phone.

If you think you are able to do it yourself, then go for it. It will cost you less and when something breaks (because it will), you will know how to fix it.

Last edited by beezer (February 10 2018)

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#8 January 17

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Reviving an old thread here instead of creating a new one. Does anyone have any leads to companies that are doing home automation in Lebanon?

I've been doing it as a side job lately in my area and am contemplating getting a big order of products and going all in on it (having a store front with showroom), but want to see what my competition is. So far the competition is Fibaro and KNX systems which are at least 3x as much as me.

Any help on leads that you know about would be appreciated. Or if you've seen some marketing for some. Everything I've found online has shown me companies that are not really into it, from their online presence at least.

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#9 January 17

Aly
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Hello Beezer, search for “IBS automation sarl” on facebook, never delt with them but i am following their page, looks like a professional company to me, best of luck.

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#10 January 17

rolf
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

beezer wrote:

I've been doing it as a side job lately in my area and am contemplating getting a big order of products and going all in on it (having a store front with showroom), but want to see what my competition is. So far the competition is Fibaro and KNX systems which are at least 3x as much as me.

I personally know an IT person who is interested in the topic and excited about the opportunities.
Maybe you can team up or something.
He tried to get me excited about it but I'm not too much into this stuff - I told him if he ever has a programming job he can let me know.

I see many are looking into it so I suggest you pool your efforts and resources, it's hard to get something started all on your own.

I'm happy to help.

Last edited by rolf (January 17)

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#11 January 20

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

I sent you a PM BTW.

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#12 January 20

Kareem
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Home automation is a headache... I've been integrating since 15 months almost everything in my apartment and the main problem was LAN cabling.

No matter what you read, DO NOT, and i mean it, DO NOT go wireless.

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#13 January 21

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

This is the first time time I've read something about not going wireless. Can you tell me your experience? Zigbee and WiFi seem to come up a lot with what I've been reading. Zwave seems to be region specific and gives headaches pairing in the beginning

I've been running a door sensor, 3 light switches, an outlet, and 2 motion sensors for over a week now in the same room. As well as a thermostat in another area. The lights are triggered by any of those sensors.

Not having any problems so far, I'm just wondering how this would scale on an entire house level. Now you're freaking me out.

Kareem wrote:

No matter what you read, DO NOT, and i mean it, DO NOT go wireless.

Last edited by beezer (January 21)

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#14 January 21

Kareem
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

beezer wrote:

This is the first time time I've read something about not going wireless. Can you tell me your experience? Zigbee and WiFi seem to come up a lot with what I've been reading. Zwave seems to be region specific and gives headaches pairing in the beginning

I've been running a door sensor, 3 light switches, an outlet, and 2 motion sensors for over a week now in the same room. As well as a thermostat in another area. The lights are triggered by any of those sensors.

Not having any problems so far, I'm just wondering how this would scale on an entire house level. Now you're freaking me out.

Kareem wrote:

No matter what you read, DO NOT, and i mean it, DO NOT go wireless.

I demo'ed products from many vendors and this is my own interpretation.  Wireless is not reliable.

You just said it yourself; it's a couple of light switches and sensors. Nothing major. I wouldn't call it automation, not even smart unless IR sensors and remote controls  are.

Once you start real integration ( Automation processor, Screens, GUIs, shades control, dimming circuits, AV processing ) you will find that latency is very annoying, even if you're not really streaming whatsoever, it takes around 1 second ( sometimes more ) to turn on the lights.

If you can live with that it's fine but I'd rather have something as quick as the traditional light switch.

Not to mention that it's almost never a good idea to have anything on WiFi for security reasons ( private ethernet network is ideally the best option )

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#15 January 21

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

So I've set up automation this way.
Batch 1:
I reach my house, the 3 lights turn on, each, one second after the other (I put the timer there cause it looks cool). This happens immediately as I reach the geolocation.

Batch 2:
I'm home and I enter the room, the motion sensor senses movement and turns the lights on, it does take a second at maximum, but that's because I'm using a battery operated sensor, I'm getting a powered sensor to test with now.

Batch 3:
I open the door to the room if it's not open, immediately the room lights up. There is no delay with this sensor, hence why I'm trying a different motion one.

Batch 4:
I leave the geofence area, the lights turn off immediately once I leave.

I do not have curtain control because it costs a bit more right now and I'm trying to master what I have in my hands. I do not have IR blaster, but am finalizing the technical requirement for one as I've played with them before and know what I need.

Dimmers, I cannot find any WiFi LED dimmers that won't destroy the light after a while. So I've given that up for now. Dimmer control needs to have the right spec to make the LED lights last.

Aside from that, I find it to run really well and fast when I take over and do things by pressing the buttons on the phone. I am trying to find negatives before I really start to market this thing because I will be putting some cash into it. Any more thoughts are appreciated greatly! Maybe give me a hypothetical scenario to program and see how it goes? I am wondering how this would work out if 3 rooms are activated at the same time, say kids enter one room, lights should turn on, at the same time I enter my home office, lights should turn on, my wife leaves the tv room, the lights should turn off. Will that add lag or just make the system fail?

I'll be installing 3 other actuators for lights switches and 2 other motion sensors and one door sensor soon and give that a try. I believe that will be an example of a medium scale system (apartment/villa), what do you think? Seems you have more experience than me in this field.

Kareem wrote:

You just said it yourself; it's a couple of light switches and sensors. Nothing major. I wouldn't call it automation, not even smart unless IR sensors and remote controls  are.

Once you start real integration ( Automation processor, Screens, GUIs, shades control, dimming circuits, AV processing ) you will find that latency is very annoying, even if you're not really streaming whatsoever, it takes around 1 second ( sometimes more ) to turn on the lights.

Last edited by beezer (January 21)

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#16 January 21

Kareem
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

beezer wrote:

So I've set up automation this way.
Batch 1:
I reach my house, the 3 lights turn on, each, one second after the other (I put the timer there cause it looks cool). This happens immediately as I reach the geolocation.

Batch 2:
I'm home and I enter the room, the motion sensor senses movement and turns the lights on, it does take a second at maximum, but that's because I'm using a battery operated sensor, I'm getting a powered sensor to test with now.

Batch 3:
I open the door to the room if it's not open, immediately the room lights up. There is no delay with this sensor, hence why I'm trying a different motion one.

Batch 4:
I leave the geofence area, the lights turn off immediately once I leave.

I do not have curtain control because it costs a bit more right now and I'm trying to master what I have in my hands. I do not have IR blaster, but am finalizing the technical requirement for one as I've played with them before and know what I need.

Dimmers, I cannot find any WiFi LED dimmers that won't destroy the light after a while. So I've given that up for now. Dimmer control needs to have the right spec to make the LED lights last.

Aside from that, I find it to run really well and fast when I take over and do things by pressing the buttons on the phone. I am trying to find negatives before I really start to market this thing because I will be putting some cash into it. Any more thoughts are appreciated greatly! Maybe give me a hypothetical scenario to program and see how it goes? I am wondering how this would work out if 3 rooms are activated at the same time, say kids enter one room, lights should turn on, at the same time I enter my home office, lights should turn on, my wife leaves the tv room, the lights should turn off. Will that add lag or just make the system fail?

I'll be installing 3 other actuators for lights switches and 2 other motion sensors and one door sensor soon and give that a try. I believe that will be an example of a medium scale system (apartment/villa), what do you think? Seems you have more experience than me in this field.

Kareem wrote:

You just said it yourself; it's a couple of light switches and sensors. Nothing major. I wouldn't call it automation, not even smart unless IR sensors and remote controls  are.

Once you start real integration ( Automation processor, Screens, GUIs, shades control, dimming circuits, AV processing ) you will find that latency is very annoying, even if you're not really streaming whatsoever, it takes around 1 second ( sometimes more ) to turn on the lights.


Before I go deeper into this, let's agree on one thing. Whatever you're trying to accomplish is far from " Home Automation".

As far as I understand, what you're doing is turning "dumb" circuits into a something automated with the ability to control it remotely. But then again, this is not what home automation is for.

It's more like creating a single network where all devices are connected together and to a single control point; You create endless scenarios and possibilities depending on what you really need and want.

Say It's 5:00 PM , the sunset -> Open shades -> turn on lights A,B,C -> Reduce A/C fan speed - > blabla

It's 8 in the morning, Shades do X , TV turns on , Music is played somewhere in the house,   water heater / boiler on for a shower.

Electricity goes off, generator on -> maintain a max 19.5A ( depending on what you're allowed to have ) drawing current  by controlling dimming lights, A/C units, turning off unnecessary appliances...

It's also the ability to control everything from outside. Basically you can do almost anything.

For Lights and dimming, I went with Tridonic leds and drivers ( 0-10V dimmers ).

For HVAC control if you can get a CoolMasterNet unit it's a piece of art.

For Shades you just need to install somfy motors and depending on which model you get there's a control unit you can install.

If you see the pic below, this is part of what I had to install to get part of what I want. Programming is very complicated.

It only includes lights ( direct / indirect ), shades control and Processor.

b461d02f903fb004dca4313530087f45.jpg

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#17 January 21

bobo619
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

The Iot (internet of things) industry has really taken off in the last couple of years. I have some experience in that field as i equiped my house 2 years ago with home automation. There is now way more cost effective and easier methods to do home automation with more functionalities. Like linking it to Google home, amazon echo and some cool platforms like iftt. I am sure you are well aware of that as i see you are passionate about it. As for the argument don't go wireless i don't find it valid because if a house is equipped with a mesh wifi system and a reliable internet connection all should be fine. I would highly recommend considering the new alternative if you want to invest in this market.

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#18 January 22

Kareem
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

bobo619 wrote:

There is now way more cost effective and easier methods to do home automation with more functionalities. Like linking it to Google home, amazon echo and some cool platforms like iftt. I am sure you are well aware of that as i see you are passionate about it. As for the argument don't go wireless i don't find it valid because if a house is equipped with a mesh wifi system and a reliable internet connection all should be fine. I would highly recommend considering the new alternative if you want to invest in this market.

The way I see it :


Easier to install  --> less secure

Cheaper --> more complicated to use

There's a reason why a complete " home automation " would cost anything between $2K up to $150k....

I've had many cheaper alternatives like KNX , Zigbee,Z-wave, Samsung smartthings etc... before pulling the trigger on a Crestron system and here's why

1 - They're in the business since the beginning of home automation and they are one of the most reliable; top reputation.

2- They offer a complete portfolio or solution to all your needs.

3- Although proprietary protocol, it's an echo system just like Apple. They can also be integrated with some KNX products

4- Support and Warranty


The major players in the home automation industry are 4 :  Crestron, Control4, Savant and Lutron for lighting probably.

-------------------------------------------

The cheaper alternative can't do AV processing and distribution, end of story.

Of course you can do multi-room Audio with Sonos or Airplay2 devices but just like Amazon echo, these are complementary, They are integrated natively in your home automation system.

Amazon Echo will help you control your HA instead of using the remote control or phone; it's far from being part of the automation.

My final interpretation is that anything that doesn't involve programming for integration and one control point ( One app / one remote control ) for everything  IMO is not home automation.

Regarding last statement, IF I really have to go wireless, the last thing I need is deploying a mesh wifi system ( Orbi, AmplifiHD,Google etc..).

AP with ethernet backhaul is the way to go. You will never beat even a decent wired AP system with any kind of mesh, even the attempts at tri-radio solutions. RF spectrum is a finite resource, and if you use one big chunk, it's less for everything else so I went for Ubiquity APs.

I wasn't happy when I had to do all the rewiring but unless you're going for the simple smart things, I wouldn't connect every wireless device, do AV steaming, video surveillance and download while controlling my apartment on single wireless connection.

And for the cherry on top, If for any reason you have to reboot your router, everything is down.

Last but not least, you won't really experience what I'm trying to elaborate until you really expand your integration while trying to cover the whole apartment.

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#19 January 22

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

You were pointing me in one direction and then you lost me when you said it's not automation.

Your example:
Say It's 5:00 PM , the sunset -> Open shades -> turn on lights A,B,C -> Reduce A/C fan speed - > blabla

Okay, maybe I'm missing something but I feel I'm achieving the same thing when I enter a geolocation and it is tied down to work only between sunset to sunrise. It may be inferior products but it does achieve the same result.

The CoolMasterNet system kind of helped me understand what you're trying to say, it's all on one system. But I'm still able to do the same controls through an IR blaster since all split A/C units are controlled that way. That same blaster will help me control the AV equipment. And the devices all do talk to each other, they check each others status before performing an action. Motion detector triggers the lights if they're not on.

I think you are more focused on streaming, but I don't understand how home automation works with streaming aside from say "movie time", lights off, projector screen down, AV system on. What part of the home automation system will handle streaming or video surveillance? Or am I mixing things up? The cheaper alternative can't do AV processing and distribution. Help me understand.

Amazon Echo helps control the automation but Alexa also has Skills & Routines that help do the automation just like IFTTT.

I have 3 access points in my house and they are all connected by cables. Most of the equipment connects ZigBee or 2.4ghz while the 5ghz is for my Echo/FireTV/Xbox so I really don't see any congestion impact.

I looked at KNX and read a about it, and you're telling me what you're installing is superior to that. When I read about KNX, almost every single thing said that this is for commercial usage and for large scale things like business complexes or hotels and was complete overkill for a home. Just didn't make sense after reading that to have to install a couple of breakers and an entire panel, oh and do all this expensive cabling in the house for home automation, it makes me feel like the old days when you needed a huge room for a computer to do simple calculations. And now we have calculators.

When I think AV processing I think things like Plex server which isn't what you're thinking or trying to achieve.

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#20 January 23

Kareem
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Alright it's like 3 in the morning and I'm a bit sleepy but it's an interesting conversation. Let me tell you where's the real difference because it's getting more complicated.

First, we should agree that KNX is not a product or solution, it's a protocol and it was done specifically for residential home automation with the option to expand. It's more like an open source OS compared to a proprietary one such as Crestron or Control4 and yes Crestron is, according to every review specialized in HA far superior but that's not the point of the debate.

IMO, Home Automation is not only controlling A,B and C. It's about entertainment as well and that's why the AV solution is very expensive, because you can't achieve it with entry level products.

When I talk about AV processing and streaming, I'm not talking about Plex.  I'm talking about 4K HDMI switchers and multiplexers.
I am also talking about multi-channel - multi-room Amplifiers.

Every room has it's own Audio and Video channel. Say you're in the living room watching football, you tell Alexa to switch output to bedroom 1 or you do it from your phone or Crestron remote control.

You can also tell Alexa to turn on the A/C in Bedroom 1 before you join. The audio signal of the channel you're watching is redirected to the speakers in the room you wish to sit.

Say you're playing on spotify, Deezer or Tidal, you can play the music in each and every room or you can airplay / cast from your mobile to the AV processor and get the output anywhere in your house through ceiling / wall speakers etc..

The whole idea behind it is a clean setup. No need for Sat receiver/ Blu-R player etc..  in every room. There's a centralized solution say in a server closet that's handling everything.

In my situation, the AV Processor is connected to two CableVision receivers, Nvidia shield and one BR player; the multi-room amp is connected to an Airplay2 receiver,  Bluesound node2i for music streaming and internet radio / FM tuner.

The Video signal is transmitted through Cat6a cables so no need for coaxial cables.

As for the video surveillance, the camera is communicating with the HA through RTSP so the HA app or screens can access the live or recorded sessions, can do whichever scenario you want  when detecting motions ( inside or outside )  etc...

I got myself this which is a bit overkill but IMO totally worth the money as it's a replacement for NVR, NAS and server. It's a Ubiquity Xeon server running Ubuntu, it does 4K trans-coding when necessary and has 12 TB of RAID1 storage. Mostly FLAC music and Ripped DVDs

It also has the wireless controller that manages the access points to minimize/eliminate the hand-off.

808f7892130848720651d48a4477d0f8.png

4b02887ac1cea3d4161e674e24ae764a.png


To Sum it up... if you can give me a product or solution that does :

-Centralized automation using one control point
-Clean integration and simple interface
-Endless customization
-AV processing
-Reliable Direct and indirect lighting control for led lights including dimming
-Complete HVAC control
-Software upgrade and support

i'll be glad to switch tomorrow. People are not stupid to spend thousands if there was the same for less. And no I don't think your argument about the computer room is valid. It's more like comparing an iPhone to a Chinese replica where you need to look for any app you want on the internet so you can download and install it. It's more like DIY vs ready to go.

BTW, KNX is really good and it was a 2nd option but for an all-in-one, I went with Crestron. More expensive but less headache.

Below is a nice article comparing different solutions for lighting only, note that Lutron are pioneer in this field, and that's just lighting :

https://www.customcontrols.co.uk/blog/l … s-zwaverf/

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#21 January 23

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

First off, this is not a debate. I'm trying to learn the difference.

From what I gather, your main goal is to server media throughout the house from one central location. Changing inputs on your TV is not the end game, but that it is all being served from one server. Okay, I personally see that as a media server of sorts, not really home automation, but that's fine.

Yes, my cheaper solution of FireTV's is not as sophisticated but it does get the job done when I want to resume something upstairs and I'm watching it downstairs (yes if it is streaming content, and yes that is the only thing my wife and I watch, 5 years without seeing a commercial or credits). Xbox Remote Gaming works as well, I play on 3 different TV's in the house, they each have crappy cheap Intel computer sticks in them. It is not as beautiful as yours possibly, but it works, and it does so without any problem (as long as the xbox is connected by a network cable).

I remember I visited this house a long long time ago that had audio cables spread throughout the house and it was something similar to what you wanted, it was much less technologically advanced but it was cool how they had one central location for all the audio needs and could send audio to whatever room they wanted. I think it lost its appeal within the first year for them, they never used it because having one central location for audio serving was really uncomfortable.

Now this is where it becomes a debate:
So in your case, you have your sat receiver and DVD player in one place serving the entire house. I'll give you my house as an example why that won't work. We have 3 satellite receivers in the house (my LNB has 4 outputs) and they are each playing something different at the same time for at least 1 hour everyday. My parents will watch something, my kids will watch something, and the maid will watch something. The DVD player is another thing, if it wasn't for streaming movies it just wouldn't work. My kids watch their streaming shows, and then I want to watch my show, if we had one DVD player, it wouldn't work. Plus, getting up and going to another room to change the DVD? I don't know if you have kids, but using a FireTV is the best thing ever, I have kid mode on and let them use the remote control, and being more than one kid in the room, they watch parts of 3-4 different shows in the span of an hour, each one fighting about what to watch for 15mins. Spotify which is a great example because we do use it in the house, already plays in every room that has a TV (using FireTV) or Echo device in it which I already do, or hell even our phones. I will be listening upstairs and my wife will be listening & working downstairs. She doesn't have an Echo there but she has a cheapo Lenovo tablet that doesn't give her any problem for streaming any AV. And with Spotify, we can decide if we want to broadcast it to other devices from whatever phone/tablet is in our hand already playing. Now let's say I didn't want to do this the legal way of subscribing to these streaming services, well that's where Plex would come in handy and you know that plays on everything. The only part where I see this really being an advantage is with the cameras, our current NVR is tucked away hidden somewhere, I could connect it to the internet but I don't like doing that. My 2 dlink cameras that I have inside the house however can be viewed from the FireTV and if I had an Echo Spot or Echo Show I could view them from there as well.


Anyways, to answer your question:
-Centralized automation using one control point - Alexa / HomeKit / Google Home can achieve that
-Clean integration and simple interface - same as above and I think this is more geared towards personal taste of what is clean/simple. I find Android cleaner and simpler than iOS for example.
-Endless customization - same as above, but combined with IFTTT and apilio.io
-AV processing - DEF. not how you want it. I've never even read home automation and media serving together in how you want it. But OK.
-Reliable Direct and indirect lighting control for led lights including dimming - Like I said earlier, I couldn't find dimmers but the light controls are reliable.
-Complete HVAC control - This I would like to learn more about from you.

So with HVAC. We're talking radiators/furnace as well as your AC I take it? So how are you handling those requests? For the AC I'm using an IR blaster like mentioned before. For the furnace, I have 3 options, I can setup a thermostat wherever it's wired. Or I can setup a thermostat with a remote sensor. Or I could forget that main thermostat and just put a controller to start/stop the furnace and setup different thermostats throughout the property and each one can give the furnace the start/stop command. So if room 1&2 are OK but room 3 is cold, it gives the start command until it reaches the temperature.

All in all this is very educational for me, appreciate the discussion.

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#22 January 24

Kareem
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

beezer wrote:

First off, this is not a debate. I'm trying to learn the difference.

From what I gather, your main goal is to server media throughout the house from one central location. Changing inputs on your TV is not the end game, but that it is all being served from one server. Okay, I personally see that as a media server of sorts, not really home automation, but that's fine.

It's not my main goal, it's part of the entertainment; AV is a major part of home automation at least for many, it gives you the "Wow" effect when everything is setup the right way.


beezer wrote:

I remember I visited this house a long long time ago that had audio cables spread throughout the house and it was something similar to what you wanted, it was much less technologically advanced but it was cool how they had one central location for all the audio needs and could send audio to whatever room they wanted. I think it lost its appeal within the first year for them, they never used it because having one central location for audio serving was really uncomfortable.

That means it's not setup the right way. One central location without accessibility from every room is a waste of time. When you put everything together in one location, you forget about it, you don't touch it.
For instance each room has its own in-wall screen where you can choose what to listen to ( Spotify,Deezer, DLNA, FM, etc )  what to turn on ( lights, shades, indirect light, A/C) and what to watch ( source) on your tv with voice commands.

beezer wrote:

Now this is where it becomes a debate:
So in your case, you have your sat receiver and DVD player in one place serving the entire house. I'll give you my house as an example why that won't work. We have 3 satellite receivers in the house (my LNB has 4 outputs) and they are each playing something different at the same time for at least 1 hour everyday. My parents will watch something, my kids will watch something, and the maid will watch something. The DVD player is another thing, if it wasn't for streaming movies it just wouldn't work. My kids watch their streaming shows, and then I want to watch my show, if we had one DVD player, it wouldn't work. Plus, getting up and going to another room to change the DVD? I don't know if you have kids, but using a FireTV is the best thing ever, I have kid mode on and let them use the remote control, and being more than one kid in the room, they watch parts of 3-4 different shows in the span of an hour, each one fighting about what to watch for 15mins. Spotify which is a great example because we do use it in the house, already plays in every room that has a TV (using FireTV) or Echo device in it which I already do, or hell even our phones. I will be listening upstairs and my wife will be listening & working downstairs. She doesn't have an Echo there but she has a cheapo Lenovo tablet that doesn't give her any problem for streaming any AV. And with Spotify, we can decide if we want to broadcast it to other devices from whatever phone/tablet is in our hand already playing. Now let's say I didn't want to do this the legal way of subscribing to these streaming services, well that's where Plex would come in handy and you know that plays on everything. The only part where I see this really being an advantage is with the cameras, our current NVR is tucked away hidden somewhere, I could connect it to the internet but I don't like doing that. My 2 dlink cameras that I have inside the house however can be viewed from the FireTV and if I had an Echo Spot or Echo Show I could view them from there as well.

I think we're confusing things here; You're talking about HDMI splitters; I am talking about HDMI-Matrix. Say I have 3 TVs and Cablevision wants to install 3 boxes; it doesn't have to be installed in every room. They all are connected to one HDMI matrix. You chose any source from the TV you have many options like ( Cablevision SAT, DVD, Plex MS, Netflix etc.. ) the HDMI matrix will send you the signal of any CV box not in use. So every TV has everything as if it was directly connected but the difference is that the TV is wall mounted with nothing really attached to it.


beezer wrote:

Anyways, to answer your question:
-Centralized automation using one control point - Alexa / HomeKit / Google Home can achieve that

No they can't. How can they? Does Alexa change the fan mode of your AC or turn off all lights when you leave you apartment? It has to be connected to a HA system that is capable of  doing that.

beezer wrote:

-AV processing - DEF. not how you want it. I've never even read home automation and media serving together in how you want it. But OK.

Quoting Wikipedia : Home automation or domotics[1] is building automation for a home, called a smart home or smart house. A home automation system will control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, and appliances. It may also include home security such as access control and alarm systems.[2] When connected with the Internet, home devices are an important constituent of the Internet of Things.A home automation system typically connects controlled devices to a central hub or "gateway"[3]. The user interface for control of the system uses either wall-mounted terminals, tablet or desktop computers, a mobile phone .application, or a Web interface, that may also be accessible off-site through the Internet

Also quoting: "Smart Home" is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.

Actually home automation strongest selling point is the AV integration and that's what vendors always work on to improve because the technology is always evolving and with everything being streamed nowadays they try-hard to keep up with the market needs.
And to be dead honest if it wasn't for AV i wouldn't have gone for HA in the first place. Nothing really interesting about telling Alexa to turn on the lights whatsoever, at least for me.

beezer wrote:

-Complete HVAC control - This I would like to learn more about from you.

So with HVAC. We're talking radiators/furnace as well as your AC I take it? So how are you handling those requests? For the AC I'm using an IR blaster like mentioned before. For the furnace, I have 3 options, I can setup a thermostat wherever it's wired. Or I can setup a thermostat with a remote sensor. Or I could forget that main thermostat and just put a controller to start/stop the furnace and setup different thermostats throughout the property and each one can give the furnace the start/stop command. So if room 1&2 are OK but room 3 is cold, it gives the start command until it reaches the temperature.

In my case it's totally different. I have one fireplace and A/C indoor unit in every room that is part of a central A/C. Say it's Mitsubishi, every indoor unit is connected to one main central control panel ( big remote control ) which is connected to the CoolMasterNet connected to the HA processor.
For the fireplace, it has it's own mertik maxitrol box. It connects to the home network and what's nice about Crestron is that they have a logic that can control it. You just need to download it and the processor will take care of it. A nice GUI page will be added to the control screen.

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#23 January 24

beezer
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

No they can't. How can they? Does Alexa change the fan mode of your AC or turn off all lights when you leave you apartment? It has to be connected to a HA system that is capable of  doing that.

Alexa through the Echo Plus (which accepts ZigBee devices) is my one control point, it does all that you're asking in that sentence. It literally turns the lights on when I reach the geolocation by talking directly to the devices and then turns them off when I leave.

Now I have some WiFi devices that are in another system but that system works with Alexa through the Skills feature. So I guess you can say it's not a central point, but I never open the other app, I use Alexa that talks to it. The only thing I did with that app was register the device.

I'm waiting on my next few shipments to expand this test, after that I will see and judge for myself if wired is better than wireless to justify the headache and cost.

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#24 April 23

elserge82
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

Just entered this field lately .
Currently using Lenovo smart display as my main control ( google voice assistant)
with some "smart life"  and "ewelink" apps/products. Everything is wireless it's been two weeks so far with no problem.

My little kids love to stream their favorite animations on the  ultra chromecast using voice commands.

Last edited by elserge82 (April 23)

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#25 April 23

Elitism Guru
Member

Re: Home Automation (Z-Wave)

elserge82 wrote:

Just entered this field lately .
Currently using Lenovo smart display as my main control ( google voice assistant)
with some "smart life"  and "ewelink" apps/products. Everything is wireless it's been two weeks so far with no problem.

My little kids love to stream their favorite animations on the  ultra chromecast using voice commands.

Same here, guess some people like complexity and have too much time. I would only do it the industrial/wired way if it was an actual industrial building. I had an early 2000s apartment with Z-Wave, around ~15 years and still rocking. My current house is mostly Vimar Z-wave for wiring devices.
I have 3 of this same setup with zigbee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXLI0IBb67Y for 3 years now, not a single drop out. I ofcourse wouldn't do such thing for a production building, where 1 minute downtime is worth a fortune, its just a simple house. Talking about security is way too paranoid realistically, I would start with an electric fence which I'm sure non here use, neither a heavily loaded security cameras around a house with an alert system. Automation security breach could be more use of trolling and privacy issues like data collection. I would like a reasonable example of such safety issues. (not to mention that even a node of a wired device can be hacked as well, lets not talk about the 99% that still uses modem/router combo which always has outdated firmware)

Now here's the other side of a (maybe) useful complexity:
I'm switching to LoRa soon for auxiliary sensors which I'm using them for the following:
-3 weather stations on each side of  the house (depending on sun angle etc)
-Cistern level, water tank level
-power quality
-solar power delivery info(soon)
-outdoor lights control based on sun angle and outdoor light intensity
-controlling and deriving info of an old generator with rs-485 signal
-manual breaker auto re-closer override for private electricity (breaker is a bit far from the house and no Z curve breaker available here) also useful for accidental overload.
-water heaters (5) low temp warning (2 of them only run on public elec., manual override to private in case they go cold)
- DIY made Private/Public/Backup-Genset notification light mounted in each room on one outlet with spare socket. I added a strobe function as well since the house mostly runs on UPS, difficult to notice switch overs. Beep sound is annoying while sleeping.
-Selectivity system for UPS which is also DIY, Z-wave for monitoring and notification only. Useful in case a socket is overloaded, keeping all other sockets alive. Selects based on average load (e.g Socket A pulling 70%, socket B starts pulling 50%, drops B even if A goes 0% for few seconds, needs ~15 seconds to have the remainder power on B socket)

Edit: Btw I'm using domoticz with Lua scripting for custom and complex automation, way trivial than dyi-ng a backend.

Last edited by Elitism Guru (April 23)

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