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  #1  
Old June 7th, 2018, 10:55 AM
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zimmer62 zimmer62 is offline
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Big purchases in my near future... Any Advice?

I've been pretty absent from this board for a few years, but I'm back. I've lost touch a little bit and want to make sure I'm heading the right direction.

I just bought a new to me house and it's time to start automating it.

1) Patio Doors
I need two new sliding patio doors:
I've been looking at the Pella doors with the insynctive stuff Does anyone here have experience with them, it looks like it will tie in with zwave. I think I read you can tell if they are open closed, locked or unlocked.

2) Dimmers
I'm looking into a mix of insteon switches mostly pulled from my old house, and a few of the new homeseer zwave switches with the RGB LED's. I don't think any of this will be a problem, but if I do a whole room with the zwave switches, I'm curious if they can dim slowly from bright to off, or off to on in sync with each-other. And by slowly I mean 30 seconds, or settable for various scenes. I've been doing that for years with the smarthome switches, I realize I won't get the zwave and the insteon switches to work together very well in that aspect. But if I transition to the zwave switches I need to know that's still an option (especially for a theater room, or waking up in the morning)

3) Door locks
I used to have some old schlage zwave locks at the old house, the non motorized ones, I never found the zwave to be very reliable on those. I bought a new schlage camelot motorized deadbolt zwave hopefully it fits my needs, and hopefully it's more reliable.
a) Need to be able to lock and unlock remotely without human assistance.
b) Need to be able to check status remotely.
c) I need to be able to set / remove the user codes from homeseer
d) I need to also find some non-deadbolt versions that also unlock and lock using a motorized manor.
e) Is this even possible on a patio sliding glass door?

If there is something better than the schlage I can switch to that.

4) Blinds... I'm looking for some top down bottom up blinds that can be controlled in pairs to the same height via a preset from homeseer. Does anyone know of a product that can do this? The top down bottom up part will be important in a few rooms.

5) Casement windows with cranks. I'd like to automate the opening and closing of a few windows in my house. Has anyone found motorized casement cranks that can be controlled by homeseer, still manually operated or at least can controlled locally to the window?

6) Outdoor lighting.... RGB outdoor via homeseer, is this a thing?

7) Mailbox alert... I can run wires and thought about having an IP camera there aimed back at the house anyways, so I could just put a switch on the mailbox door. But I was wondering if there were any even better mailbox notification solutions that tie in with homeseer really well.

8) Driveway sensors... any that work well with homeseer?

9) Vehicle presence sensing unique to each vehicle in the garage? or on the property?

10) zwave color status / motion sensors
HomeSeer HSM200 Z-Wave Multi-Sensor These? Or Multi Sensor 6 or something else?

11) Does anyone know of any dimable LED bulbs that don't fade down to 20% and then turn off vs a very linear fade from 100% to 0% and vice versa?

12) Good recommendation for sprinkler system automation?
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Last edited by zimmer62; June 7th, 2018 at 11:26 AM.
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  #2  
Old June 7th, 2018, 11:39 AM
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Timon Timon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimmer62 View Post
I've been pretty absent from this board for a few years, but I'm back. I've lost touch a little bit and want to make sure I'm heading the right direction.

I just bought a new to me house and it's time to start automating it.

4) Blinds... I'm looking for some top down bottom up blinds that can be controlled in pairs to the same height via a preset from homeseer. Does anyone know of a product that can do this? The top down bottom up part will be important in a few rooms.
Look at Graber Blinds Virtual Cord. Other manufactures will have them soon but Graber was the first.

Quote:
6) Outdoor lighting.... RGB outdoor via homeseer, is this a thing?
Yes, more than one manufacture has Z-Wave modules to drive RGB LEDs but you're on your own wiring everything up.

Quote:
8) Driveway sensors... any that work well with homeseer?
Just use a Z-Wave contact sensor connected to a driveway sensor.

Quote:
9) Vehicle presence sensing unique to each vehicle in the garage? or on the property?
Looking for these my self.

Quote:
11) Does anyone know of any dimable LED bulbs that don't fade down to 20% and then turn off vs a very linear fade from 100% to 0% and vice versa?
I've found some but you basically have to test them to find one that work well although it's getting easier. It's a constantly change issue.
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  #3  
Old June 7th, 2018, 12:21 PM
MrMxyzptlk MrMxyzptlk is offline
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Things I learned building a new home, with all of the latest technology.

1. Wired home automation devices, 100% of the time, no wireless unless absolutely necessary.

2. Manual control of ALL devices in addition to automated control; i.e. light switches all hard wired to lights, as in a non-smart home.

3. Buy from companies / devices that have open API's and that stick to standards.
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  #4  
Old June 7th, 2018, 05:41 PM
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S-F S-F is offline
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I use Pella windows almost exclusively as they have a strong presence in my area but Insynctive is garbage. We have two Pella outlets in my area. The presidents of both locations removed all of their personal Insynctice stuff from their houses and now they refuse to sell them. It's a great idea but it just isn't there yet.
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There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause
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  #5  
Old June 8th, 2018, 07:05 AM
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zimmer62 zimmer62 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S-F View Post
Insynctive is garbage.
Hmmm... Does that mean that using them with zwave is still going to be garbage? Or is the hardware itself the garbage, not the software?

That's really disappointing.
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  #6  
Old June 8th, 2018, 07:59 AM
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S-F S-F is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimmer62 View Post
Hmmm... Does that mean that using them with zwave is still going to be garbage? Or is the hardware itself the garbage, not the software?

That's really disappointing.

It's garbage all the way around. The hardware is apparently junk. The software is apparently buggy and the support appears to be shoddy to nonexistent.


It sucks, I know. I really wanted to install these products in my own home and my Pella rep told me maybe in 10 years or so but not today.
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  #7  
Old June 8th, 2018, 09:48 AM
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zimmer62 zimmer62 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post
Look at Graber Blinds Virtual Cord. Other manufactures will have them soon but Graber was the first.
I was on Lowes website and in order to do top-down or top-down/bottom-up I had to remove the motorized portion of the Graber blinds.

It looks like the hunter douglas can do this:
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  #8  
Old June 8th, 2018, 10:01 AM
Blackbeard Blackbeard is offline
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I just went through the same ordeal. Here's some thoughts from my experience:


Dimmers - I went insteon again this round and i couldn't be happier. I have had zero problems with them and they're reasonably priced. I could be biased because I've used them in my last 2 homes, but why change if you are happy?


Door Locks - I'm using 6 Yale Real Living locks. I'll probably pick up a couple more for our outbuildings. They look nice and have worked flawlessly. Getting them positioned correctly so they don't bind when you auto lock them was a pain, but I assume that's the same for all smart locks.


Blinds - I just got my Bali blackout roller shades from lowes. Can't say enough good things about them. They each have built in zwave antennas and each one comes with a remote. You can control them individually or in groups. Easy setup, decent price, and they look great. The people at Lowes have literally no idea how these things work and can't answer any questions, so you just kind of have to go on faith that you're getting the right thing.


Outdoor lighting - This was on my list too, but I have not made a firm decision. I'd be interested in hearing what you come up with. I've been looking at these Everlights for holiday lighting, but reviews are non-existent. I assume you're interested in landscaping lighting and such as well.


Keep us posted on your progress. It's about time I updated my thread as well!
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  #9  
Old June 8th, 2018, 12:47 PM
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zimmer62 zimmer62 is offline
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I'd love to use the Bali blinds, but again the top-down bottom-up no longer becomes an option once you pick the motorized version.

Yes for outdoor I was mostly thinking of landscaping lights. I saw some DIY that look pretty cool, but I just don't have the time right now.

For holiday light's I'd probably be happy tinkering with a raspberry pi and some addressable strings of lights if I ever find the time.
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  #10  
Old June 13th, 2018, 10:09 AM
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zimmer62 zimmer62 is offline
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Bump, still looking for some advice on 3d, 3e, 5, 10, 11, 12
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  #11  
Old June 13th, 2018, 04:24 PM
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Timon Timon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zimmer62 View Post
Yes for outdoor I was mostly thinking of landscaping lights. I saw some DIY that look pretty cool, but I just don't have the time right now.

For holiday light's I'd probably be happy tinkering with a raspberry pi and some addressable strings of lights if I ever find the time.
Actually I like to put together a DMX driver for HS so driving lots of landscaping lighting would be less expensive that running multiple Z-Wave dimmers. I just need to figure out how to create lights and assign them to 512 byte strings that a DMX512 driver can scan. That driver could either be a standard serial DMX512 driver or a E1.31 Ethernet driver. It would basically take no more work on HS's part than would any virtual device.

This is an output system only, so you never have to worry about what someone else sets the lights to. If done correctly and if the E1.31 controllers support priority then when a lighting show starts it would override the landscape lighting commands because it has higher priority but when the show stops then after a few seconds the landscape lighting would take over and the lights would go back to where they were before.

Don't have to worry about speed since one doesn't need to update any DMX system more then once a second unless a value changes or needs to go thought a dimming cycle. That way it really doesn't take a lot of processing power. The biggest difference is that DMX512 protocol considers that the lighting value is 0 to 255 absolute values not 0 to 99% dimming values so one has to decide how to handle that. If you're trying to do color then you have to use 0 to 255 absolute values. I've never had color so I have no idea how HS handles it.

Anyway a more in-depth discussion should be in another thread that I started HERE last year. Oh, when I was doing light shows they ran using an old RPi model A with thousands of RGB LED lights. I know the people that build the show software that drives a large percentage of the shows and I likely could get them to design in a simple landscaping protocol so all of the dimming would be done there That way you could build scenes in the Show software. The software is XLights and it's free.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 02:56 PM
rileydogmi rileydogmi is offline
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Driveway:

When I built my house in 2004, I ran a Cartell driveway sensor under the driveway - it has worked now for 14 years without issue, and I live in Michigan (lots of snow). My Cartell hooks into a Cartell controller box which ties into my security system (contact closure, as a zone) - I use the Elk M1G to Homeseer via Ethernet. There is a plugin for the ELK to Homeseer.

Today, I would do the same thing, except run 2 Cartell sensors so I can detect direction of travel - would be nice to announce someone is coming, someone is going - but, the hardcoded approach to me is still the best.

Mailbox:

When I built my house, I ran a 2-wire cable to my mailbox and hooked to a wired contact closure (a standard cheap window sensor) to the mail box door. Worked great for about 5 years until an animal broke my cable somewhere in my yard, In the next few weeks I am going to do this:

https://community.smartthings.com/t/...-gate/14810/22

I have over 200 Z-wave nodes so I am well covered - my mailbox is ~80ft from a node but with Z-Wave+ having longer distances, I am hopeful this will work.

Vehicle location:

Another project I am working on, using USB RFID trackers that would plug-in to the car. Those would work with a standard iOS app (I use Geofency) which works with PHLocation plugin) -- This can then note where the car is at.

Motion sensors:

I use hard wired in critical locations to my security system, but also use the HSM-200's in more "passive" locations (like bathrooms, pantry, laundry room). I also have a few Fibaro ones too - all worked great so I would choose based on needs and application.

Dimmable bulbs:

I recently bought several of the Homeseer dimmable Z-wave bulbs and to me, they worked great - ramped well, didn't notice a drop below 20%. But, in general, not a fan on these bulbs because of the manual override - if someone turns a lamp off manually, the bulb is dead to homeseer. It is difficult to keep things in sync to display proper status. I find it is better to get a smart outlet so that the lamp that is plugged-in can be controlled by simply turning on the outlet/turning it off.

Sprinklers:

I use the Rain Machine and honestly, just use the iOS app. There is a plugin for basic controls. This solution is like Nest, in that it learns based on weather and sunlight inputs and just does it based on a baseline program you establish. To me, this is the future - I think nobody wants to control anything in their house, they just want whatever it is to be smart and do it without human interaction. I used to have the Rain8 with a plugin sold on homeseer and spent hours programming/monitoring it. Now, I don't touch it at all and just have status displayed in HSTouch.

Window blinds and curtains:

I went with www.rollertrol.com (using Z-Wave controllers) for my blinds and www.automaticcurtain.com for curtains (also Z-Wave control). Very happy with both. Even have them integrated with Alexa which is the preferred control method.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 05:42 PM
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Timon Timon is offline
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Might I suggest you use something other than that sensor Out of the two I bought one came with a bad battery sensor plus then tend to be a PITA to setup.

I believe the DWZWAVE2.5-ECO has both external contact and magnetic in the same package. It's also Z-Wave Plus. Haven't used one my self but I'm sure other here have.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 05:43 PM
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Timon Timon is offline
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Might I suggest you use something other than that sensor Out of the two I bought one came with a bad battery sensor plus then tend to be a PITA to setup.

I believe the DWZWAVE2.5-ECO has both external contact and magnetic in the same package. It's also Z-Wave Plus. Haven't used one my self but I'm sure other here have. It also has tamper which the Aeotec doesn't.
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