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  • System Changeover

    Hey all,

    I’ve used Homeseer for around 13 years so am really experienced with the software and love it.

    Right back at the start I tried using some Z-Wave devices I imported to the UK from the USA. They caught on fire (I was an early adopter lol). So I ended up going with PLC-BUS interfaces and switches instead - which were reliable and also looked great (the switches are nice light up crystal ones).

    After many years the interfaces are starting to play up. Also whenever I need anything I have to import from Hong Kong. Add to this the fact that the sub-forum is virtually dead and it seems I’m the only one left I figure it’s time to move to something more current.

    So I’m thinking that I will gradually migrate the system over to something else - maybe just replace the modules for the moment and leave the old wall switches on the old system as they're still working and look good. As funds allow, move the whole system.

    I'm thinking that I will go with Z-Wave, simply because it seems like the technology is well adopted and there are lots of manufacturers out there now.

    Before I take the plunge, can anyone suggest if there’s a better protocol to go with? It's important to factor in that I'm in the UK in case of differences (e.g. the Z-Wave frequency - not sure if it limits the options in the UK).

    If everyone thinks that the Z-Wave option would be good, can anyone give me their opinion on the best interfaces for the UK. I have already seen the Homeseer comparison for the ones that they sell, but know there are a lot of others. It looks like the UK frequency has an impact on restore functionality for Homeseer Products anyway so was thinking of going with the Aeotec Z-Stick Gen5. The manufacturer provides a separate software for backup and restores so that element is covered.

    I would love to get your views and advice on what platform would be best.

    Best wishes,

    Jay

  • #2
    I don't have much UK experience with Z-Wave (I only started using it three/four years ago, having gone from a X10 based system) but I use the UZB1 and it has been fairly stable as a controller, I had some initial headaches with Z-Wave (that was likely to be more of a HS issue than a Z-Wave one) but I've left my network alone (no new devices/moves) for about a year now and it behaves itself for the most part. EU users will always be behind the curve with respect to new devices being supported as if it does not work then you are reliant on HS to add support, this can be a mixed experience depending on the device/user.

    I don't have much real experience with Zigbee or the like to really comment on it, I'm not sure if the HS support is 100% there yet? It's certainly cheaper than Z-Wave will likely be but I believe that is more of a licencing issue...although I'd be interested to know if some of the Chinese manufacturers (I have some Neo devices) actually pay their subs to the Z-Wave people.

    My Plugins:

    Pushover 3P | DoorBird 3P | Current Cost 3P | Velleman K8055 3P | LAMetric 3P | Garadget 3P | Hive 3P |
    Yeelight 3P | Nanoleaf 3P

    Comment


    • #3
      If you put "looks" or appeal in the mix then there are no EU Z wave wall switches and sockets like those of HomeSeer that I know of. But if you consider RFXCom with the plugin in the Updater then with Lightwave you will be spoiled for choice.
      More on LightWave here : https://www.vesternet.com/pages/lightwaverf-or-z-wave
      Else, I use HomeSeer with other interfaces including Z wave of course.


      Eman.
      The Closer.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here using X10, UPB, ZWave and Zigbee. They all play nice together.

        I have never been much of a wireless person and most of my in wall switches today are UPB.

        I am tinkering now with modded WiFi (MQTT with Tasmota / Espurna firmware) and like the look of the glass switches.

        Prices are reasonable and they are very much like little computers these days and look nice.

        Click image for larger version

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        - Pete

        Auto mator
        Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
        Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

        X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow thanks for the ideas guys. I think that the idea of a hybrid system that uses 2-3 protocols would open my options up a lot more. Z-wave I think would be a stable “known” protocol, but I REALLY like the modded WiFi / MQTT that Pete suggested. That sounds like a fantastic option as the kit is extremely cheap and it would mean I could integrate it into more things in the house. Currently I have all lights and Sonos system integrated, but it would be nice to hack more conventional gear with smart devices to get them onto the system!

          I need to get my head around what gear I need to start experimenting with MQTT as it’s cheap enough to play with even if it’s not the final solution.

          Thanks so much guys - I REALLY appreciate all your posts!

          Cheers,

          jay

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pete View Post

            I am tinkering now with modded WiFi (MQTT with Tasmota / Espurna firmware) and like the look of the glass switches.
            Hi Pete,

            Out of all of the suggestions your’s has been the one that has put the most ideas in my head.

            As I suspected, the range of products that are available in the UK for Z-Wave is far more limited due to the EU frequencies and smaller market size in the UK. In the USA the range is far better. Also the price of the units is higher due to the lower manufacturing volumes.

            The Zigbee option looks really nice and is cheaper, but the range of devices (particularly the nice looking glass wall switches) is far less.

            Wi-Fi - purely because of the size of the market and accessibility to users that are not dependant on a Home Automation server such as Homeseer seems like a huge range of products - including lovely wall switches at low cost.

            Given that it’s likely that Wi-Fi devices will become more widely used, are there any drawbacks to using them with Homeseer - and are there any issues or restrictions controlling them from HS3?

            Finally you mentioned the modded Wi-Fi with MQTT firmware. I saw that the Zigbee uses this protocol but is there a thread you can point me at that is for the Wi-Fi firmware and are there any limitations on which Wi-Fi devices can be modded with the firmware?

            Sorry for all the questions and thankyou so much in advance.

            All the best,

            Jay

            Comment


            • #7
              Given that it’s likely that Wi-Fi devices will become more widely used, are there any drawbacks to using them with Homeseer - and are there any issues or restrictions controlling them from HS3?

              no

              Finally you mentioned the modded Wi-Fi with MQTT firmware.

              I saw that the Zigbee uses this protocol but is there a thread you can point me at that is for the Wi-Fi firmware and are there any limitations on which Wi-Fi devices can be modded with the firmware?


              Have a read over here relating to MQTT ==> MQTT Wiki

              Most if not all of these devices are utilizing ESPXXXX which are little mini computers..

              The ESP8266 is a System on a Chip (SoC), manufactured by the Chinese company Espressif. It consists of a Tensilica L106 32-bit micro controller unit (MCU) and a Wi-Fi transceiver. ... This means that you can program it like any normal Arduino or other microcontroller.

              Here being in to hardware modifications have customized basic WiFi switches utilizing options available on the ESPxxx chips. IE: put LED lamps under the kitchen cabinets. These are managed by modded reasonably priced RGB controllers (tiny) with additions of a temperature sensor (so each one of these RGB controllers also do temperature).


              Many or just about all of them are cloud connected devices talking MQTT.

              The firmware updates are opensource and allow you to manage the devices in LAN versus via cloud connection using MQTT.

              Baby steps relating to the use of these devices...start with the "off the shelf" mechanisms...see how it works for you....then look at your options of the variety of posted opensource firmware and use of said firmware.

              What is popular to utilize in the UK?

              Here started with X10 in the late 1970's and did not look at other options until the 2000's (Insteon, ZWave, UPB and Zigbee).

              Went slow introducting this stuff a bit at a time.

              Today in 2019 just beginning to look at WiFi switches. There are many options and there is no right or wrong here.

              Off the subject a bit ...just yesterday found an Alexa Show skill which displays CCTV cameras. Also tested a new generation of a smart camera board which talks H.264 with sound and is ONVIF compatible all on a 38mm square PC board. Years ago it was a 2-3 layered camera board. I am impressed too that we are now in the 5 MP world of cheap IP cameras. Same company is pushing on face recognition now with 20 Megapixel plus resolution cameras.

              Homesee speaks to all of the above.

              - Pete

              Auto mator
              Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
              Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

              X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jayceekeys View Post

                As I suspected, the range of products that are available in the UK for Z-Wave is far more limited due to the EU frequencies and smaller market size in the UK. In the USA the range is far better. Also the price of the units is higher due to the lower manufacturing volumes.
                Don't forget the UK and Europe and huge parts of Asia operate on the same Z-Wave frequency. I buy most of my Z-Wave gear from European online retailers at prices much lower than UK (vesternet etc.). The choice of brands and equipment are also quite extensive. I have reviewed cheap stuff like the Neo Coolcam series of Z-Wave gear that's excellent value - a quarter of the price of Fibaro etc.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Guys,

                  I’ve ordered a few devices and the interface to mod the firmware to have a play with the Wi-Fi Tasmota option. I love hacking electronics and building custom gear so I like the idea of integrating some of this inside other equipment. I will definitely get some Z-Wave kit soon to try that out too.

                  Cheers,

                  Jay

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here are some screenshots of my SonOff basic devices using Tasmota (Michael's GDO project), ESPurna for RGB LEDs, 1-Wire Temperature hubs.

                    Personally I like using ESPurna firmware a bit more than Tasmota firmware. The GUI has many functions, (IE: Domoticz, HASS, MQTT, NTP, Schedule, Sensors, Switches, et al).

                    I have yet to try to modify a WiFi wall light switch yet. With these having an ESPxxx chip and JTAG pins it should be plug n play.

                    With extra availble GPIO's I have been adding DS18B20 temperature sensors to my SonOff's, RGB-MagicHome controllers.

                    IE: the garage GDO is a modified Sonoff basic with 4 GPIOs being utilized.

                    Currently have only some 10 WiFi devices and these are all connecting to one Ruckus SSID and work fine. Dedicating another SSID for wireless tabletop HS3 Touch tablets.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	ESPurna.jpg Views:	0 Size:	60.0 KB ID:	1321599

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	Espurna-LED.jpg Views:	0 Size:	69.8 KB ID:	1321600

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	sonoffbasicgdo.jpg Views:	0 Size:	76.9 KB ID:	1321601
                    - Pete

                    Auto mator
                    Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
                    Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

                    X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here is an Itead Sonoff wall switch that can be upgraded with ESPurna firmware.

                      ITEAD_SONOFF_TOUCH

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	ITEAD_SONOFF_TOUCH.jpg Views:	0 Size:	10.9 KB ID:	1321604
                      Click image for larger version  Name:	ITEAD-Flashing.jpg Views:	0 Size:	113.4 KB ID:	1321605

                      The Sonoff Touch is a bit tricky to flash since GPIO 0 is not connected to the button as in the TH or POW. So you have to locate the pad for GPIO 0 and short it to ground while powering on the device, once it is on in flash mode you can remove the GND connection.

                      The picture above shows the location of the GPIO 0 pad. The other required pins are available on the header at the top which has to be soldered in the existing slots.

                      Once flashed you can use OTA to update the firmware without having to open the device.

                      Issues

                      The original Sonoff has some connectivity issues. This is probably due to the antenna placement close to live lines. It works fine if it's near the AP, otherwise, it's often reported to lose connectivity.

                      The header cannot remain after flashing. At the bottom, it comes too near the powerlines while at the top, it does not fit behind the front.

                      Here's a video on converting a WiFi dimmer to Tasmota.



                      Itead 4 gang wall switch with espurna


                      - Pete

                      Auto mator
                      Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
                      Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

                      X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Pete Thanks for the links and the videos. I’ve actually got three of those wall switches arriving later this week.

                        My first attempt to flash two S26 plugs ended in two scrap units today I “think” I flashed them ok and the software said everything was good, however when I plugged the units in I didn’t get the normal Sonoff-xXX access point I got an ESP access point and no matter what u couldn’t connect to it.

                        I went to re flash both units but the tiny solder pads on the S26 plugs literally fall apart if you try soldering to them - especially if you need to do it twice. So I have two units ready to bin. I’ve not given up and have ordered two more to try again tomorrow. I will try and use the larger contacts on the main board and then just dab the 4th connection onto the tiny pad rather than solder it. I’m also going to try an older version of the Tasmota image as I suspect it’s a firmware issue not being able to connect to the AP.

                        Onwards and upwards!

                        Cheers,

                        Jay

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here is a little blog on using Espurna with the S26.

                          is the itead Sonoff S26 supported? #980


                          - Pete

                          Auto mator
                          Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
                          Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

                          X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            For the MagicHome, SonOff, et al devices here prefer to utilize serial then the Espurna firmware with first boot being in AP mode. Once connected to AP mode make my AP adjustments. Typically utilize 3 SSIDs. Once configured once then utilize wireless and rarely change the firmware that I started with.

                            It is similiar for the Tasmota firmware. I personally have had issues with the AP mode and depend on first firmware update with the AP already configured such that I do not utilize the AP mode on the Tasmota firmware.

                            The smaller the board the more difficult it is to solder JTAG wires to it (temp).
                            - Pete

                            Auto mator
                            Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.00
                            Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.00

                            X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My two bits. I was asking myself the same question some four years ago. I went for z wave at UK frequency. The reasons are stated as under:
                              1. z wave builds a mesh network so that there are always multiple paths to a device much like the internet. This is a much more robust and reliable network.
                              2. z wave operates at around 900 MHz (depending on the region). This has much more penetration than zigbee or wifi which operate at 2.4 GHz. Thus if you have devices embedded in walls behind switches / sockets they are much more easy to reach at the lower frequency.
                              3. The choice of devices at reasonable prices is now quite big. You can pick up stuff of ebay at incredible prices and they all seem to work reliably.

                              As far as controllers go I iterated a few times; started with Vera, then Fibaro and then finally Homeseer with two ip based z net V2 remote controllers.
                              The Homeseer system has worked reliably and flawlessly. Homeseer and HSTouch do not limit you in any way. If you can think of it you can do it.

                              As far as hedging your bets and going for multiple systems in parallel - do not do it. Multiple systems indicate that basic research before taking a decision has not been done. Research and go for the one system.

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