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Hardwired vs ZWave occupancy sensors for lighting control

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  • Hardwired vs ZWave occupancy sensors for lighting control

    New to Homeseer (current house has Omni panel, Crestron, Lutron ). Building a new house. Likely will use an ELK panel for hardwired security. Will use ZWave switches for lighting control. Intend to do a lot of occupancy based automation (lighting, HVAC, etc.). Am I better off getting hard-wired motion sensors connected to the security panel (with Homeseer triggers via integration with the ELK) or just go with ZWave sensors? I do not want to be changing batteries on sensors so if I do Zwave will probably run a hardwired low voltage power bus to all of the sensors anyway.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Bruce

  • #2
    Building a house... Been there, done that. Will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    In my opinion, hardwired vs Z-Wave is akin to asking which is better: Wireless LAN or CAT6 pulled to every room. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages. I think hardwired is always going to be more dependable, have more bandwidth and less latency as compared to the wireless counterparts. On the downside, you are limiting your future location options for devices that depend on a cable connection.

    Same with wired motions: Where you think is an idea location for a motion may turn out to be the same location your wife thinks is idea for the tall china cabinet. So the best solution usually turns out to be hardwire each room with your best guess for location, and then use wireless to fill the dead spots and unanticipated stuff.

    In our house I use a mix of each. During construction I pulled as much Cat6 and 22/4 wire as practical. All of my exterior doors are hardwired with open/close sensors in the jams and overhead garage doors use hardwired magnetic sensors. I put wired glass-breaks (flush mounted to the ceiling) in each room along with wired co2-smokes. I also put several Honeywell IS2560 wired motions in strategic locations that cover long hallways and large areas. The wired motions give greater detection distance (60'), reset faster, have better pet immunity and are far more reliable than any Z-Wave motion you'll find available. All the wired stuff is pulled back to a Honeywell panel and I use the Vista Alarm plugin to integrate with Homeseer. Works perfectly.

    After we moved in and had all the furniture located, I filled in motion dead spots with Econolink Motion Sensors ($39.99 from Amazon). These work great and rival the detection distance that the hardwired Honeywells offer. I also have several mounted outside exposed to the elements and have had no issues. I have several that are going on their 3rd year for the original battery. Recently I have also used Xiaomi motions where I wanted to tap into our Zigbee network. Though they are not as nice as the Ecolinks, they are a good low cost solution for smaller areas that you want to monitor. They also have a tiny footprint, which always makes the wife happy!

    Good luck,

    --Barry

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    • #3
      Thanks for the thorough reply. Yes, the WAF (wife approval factor) is always in play. Your comments confirm my preferences. I may use the Elk panel rather than Honeywell (unless I learn a reason why Honeywell is superior).

      Thanks again!
      Bruce

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      • #4
        Wired better than wireless, if doable.

        I have a mix, as installed in existing home. When wireless, I chose to use GE wireless motion detectors that pair with the ELK [instead of zwave motion detectors connected to HS] (and accessible by HS via the plugin) for two reasons. (1) the motion detectors can be defined as zones in ELK and become part of your alarm security plan. (2) ELK reliability will ALWAYS be better than HS. Dedicated hardware and software vs general purpose hardware, OS, and customized software. I use these motion detectors for my home automation via the plugin, and they also are used by ELK when the system is armed. Just my 2 cents.
        tenholde

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        • #5
          Excellent. Now I have a clear plan!

          Thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            Hardwire where you can and know for sure that it won't change and fill in with z wave motions where you find your needs change.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bfschroe View Post
              Thanks for the thorough reply. Yes, the WAF (wife approval factor) is always in play. Your comments confirm my preferences. I may use the Elk panel rather than Honeywell (unless I learn a reason why Honeywell is superior).

              Bruce
              Does Elk give you useful added useful features if you are a Homeseer user? It seems to me that the extra you pay for ELK is redundant with a good HA system. But I may not appreciate all the features of ELK compared to a more basic system with Envisalink.

              One area I particularly like having a panel are hard wired advanced sensors, like outdoor optex sensors and pressure mats. Pressure mats are underutilized as a near 100% accurate way to detect presence. Both indoors and at extreior doorways under the mat..

              Wired indoor motion detectors are still better than wireless, but the superiority is reduced with each new generation of z-wave and other mesh radios.

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              • #8
                Here are several benefits I like.

                1. It gives you is an alarm system.

                2. Alarm systems are well tested and very reliable.

                3. If using hard wired sensors (which I prefer) it is a bit less expensive to use an alarm system as opposed to other devices for hooking the hard wired sensors up.

                4. Battery backup

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dmiller View Post

                  Does Elk give you useful added useful features if you are a Homeseer user? It seems to me that the extra you pay for ELK is redundant with a good HA system. But I may not appreciate all the features of ELK compared to a more basic system with Envisalink.

                  One area I particularly like having a panel are hard wired advanced sensors, like outdoor optex sensors and pressure mats. Pressure mats are underutilized as a near 100% accurate way to detect presence. Both indoors and at extreior doorways under the mat..

                  Wired indoor motion detectors are still better than wireless, but the superiority is reduced with each new generation of z-wave and other mesh radios.
                  Would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of these pressure sensitive mats?
                  Originally posted by rprade
                  There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by S-F View Post

                    Would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of these pressure sensitive mats?
                    https://www.unitedsecurity.com/copy-of-hold-up-buttons

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've been using this low-cost pressure mat from Amazon and have had good results with it. I throw the chime part away and just use the pressure mat. I pair it with a $13 Xiaomi Zigbee Water Sensor which will also double as a dry contact sensor.

                      --Barry

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by logman View Post
                        I've been using this low-cost pressure mat from Amazon and have had good results with it. I throw the chime part away and just use the pressure mat. I pair it with a $13 Xiaomi Zigbee Water Sensor which will also double as a dry contact sensor.

                        --Barry
                        I do something similar under my bed but it's connected to my alarm panel through a debounce circuit.
                        Originally posted by rprade
                        There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                        Comment

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