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jyoung1
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since May 2010
1716 posts

Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
Thinking of starting to venture into smart home devices.

From quick research, it seems that home assistant is the best route to go.

I was thinking of getting light switches with z-wave, looking on amazon, there are a lot of different companies that make them.


1) Is home assistant the way to go (also will it work with my old arduino from college or should I just buy a Rasberry pi)?

2) Is z-wave devices the better route vs. wifi?

3) Can someone recommend a brand for light switches and other devices?

4) For anyone that has smart house stuff, what did you implement that you found pretty convenient?



Korkstand
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, LA
Member since Nov 2003
20093 posts
 Online 

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

Is home assistant the way to go
I would say yes as far as local control and future-proofing
quote:

will it work with my old arduino from college or should I just buy a Rasberry pi
Arduino cannot run HA, and yes RPi is probably the way to go.
quote:

Is z-wave devices the better route vs. wifi?
It depends on the device and what it does. For a light switch, z-wave is probably best. You will need a z-wave module for the RPi.


mchias1
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2009
386 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
I would go cheap Chinese wifi light switch for $10 over $40 zwave light switch. Flash the wifi switch with tasmota and keep control local. The only zwave devices I still use are fan switch and door lock.

Look up digiblur on youtube. He has a TON of videos on how to flash.

If you go with a raspberry pi either get an ext HDD or a very good and card. The constant writes/erases for the history and log will kill a cheap sd card. Best is to use an always on pc. Set up a VM on it with HomeAssistant.
This post was edited on 9/1 at 6:44 pm


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01
The Next
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2013
315 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
Welcome to the party. Prepare yourself for an addiction and a lot of wasted time.

There are more and more choices for a controller software on the market now and I've tried a lot of them. They all have their pros and cons but I've come to really like HA and they have come a LONG way from where they were. They've moved most of their setup away from config files to a more GUI-based setup which really helps newer or "simpler" users. Their automation setup takes a little getting used to. Its definitely the most complicated part of the setup. Once you start to learn more about it, I would recommend moving to Node Red for your automation. Way more flexibility.
Oh, and install HACS.

When you get a Pi, be sure to get at least a 4. A 3 will be fine to tinker with but if you plan on using it as your main controller, you will find it lacking in the long run. And get a USB zwave stick in case you move to a different device.

quote:

Best is to use an always on pc. Set up a VM on it with HomeAssistant.


This all day. Consider a NUC
Look up the installation on proxmox.

As for devices, I prefer zwave switches and with HA's adoption of Open Zwave, it will only expand the capabilities. They are more expensive though. I've found them starting at $30 on Amazon(zooz). I also have some wifi switches but I've found that their integration in HA is polling-based which means HA has to poll the switches in order to get their state (at least the ones I got). So I'm not able to trigger automation when I toggle one of my wifi switches because the state change is not reported immediately. If you don't care about that, then go with the wifi switches. Zwave does offer a wider range of devices like door locks, multi-sensors, etc. Also, zwave is more of an industry standard so the devices integrate easier without too much fuss.

Some of the convenient things I've set up:

- at night, a motion sensor in the living room will turn on just my undercabinet lights for 2 minutes. Handy for late night snack trips.
- when we enter our Home in Life360, our garage automatically opens
- when Blue Iris detects motion at my front door at night, it turns on the porch light for 5 minutes
- if the garage is left open for too long, it will alert my cell and ask if I want to close it. If I don't do anything, it will close it after 10 minutes.
- my house alarm automatically gets set at 10:30 every night
- if no one is home and lights are on, it turns them all off
- if we come home at night, all the lights will come on
- when the washer and dryer finish, an announcement is made over our echos
- when we start a movie in the living room, the lights dim and eventually go off. If someone calls us, the movie will pause and bring up the lights a little. If manually paused, it will bring up the lights.
- when my cell alarm wakes me up, the bedroom lights gradually come on

There's a lot more but these are my most handy.

Good luck.


mchias1
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2009
386 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

I also have some wifi switches but I've found that their integration in HA is polling-based which means HA has to poll the switches in order to get their state (at least the ones I got).


This is why you flash tasmota too the switches and don't keep the crappy firmware. Tasmota with MQTT will push changes and periodic status to HA.


gobuxgo5
Ohio State Fan
Member since Nov 2012
8553 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
I'm still holding out until they pay me for the equipment and a monthly fee for the data. Once they realize its a good business decision to pay for my data, I'll consider it.


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The Next
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2013
315 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

This is why you flash tasmota too the switches and don't keep the crappy firmware. Tasmota with MQTT will push changes and periodic status to HA.


I link to tinker but haven't gone down that rabbit hole yet. Might have to give it a try.


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CarRamrod
USA Fan
Spurbury, VT
Member since Dec 2006
51822 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

Is home assistant the way to go
I would say yes as far as local control and future-proofing
yea but the learning curve on it is STEEP.

I have my HA instance set up on a mini pc, in a VM on proxmox. I started to set up my schlage locks and there is not a straight way to do so and have an easy ability to see the codes and add and delete codes. So i have stopped with HA for this time. I really dont know what i want to do.
This post was edited on 9/2 at 4:20 pm


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20
DVA Tailgater
LSU Fan
Bunkie
Member since Jan 2011
1976 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

when the washer and dryer finish, an announcement is made over our echos


How did you set this up?


The Next
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2013
315 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

How did you set this up?


It helps that I have the LG connected W/D and there's an integration in HA. I have alexa integration set up as well which allows you to play voice announcements over echo devices and alerts on fire devices. Then, i just set up an automation to trigger when the w/d are finished a load and play the announcement. You can also set up groups on your echos so you don't blast it over the entire house. I just have mine go in my living room , kitchen, and master bed/bath.

I've also read of ways to put an amperage monitor on the electrical cords for the w/d that would detect when they are running and finished but i never even tried to go that route.


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USA
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CAD703X
Toledo Fan
Liberty Island
Member since Jul 2008
66386 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

I've also read of ways to put an amperage monitor on the electrical cords for the w/d that would detect when they are running and finished but i never even tried to go that route.


this is the next frontier. i've almost pulled the trigger several times on devices that claim to do this but ultimately they all are a little shaky to stand up and keep accurate 'signatures' of your devices.

i hate to say it but someone like amazon or google needs to step up and solve this. we are *this close* since this device simply connects to your breaker box and 'listens and learns' your various devices (you can power them on and then name them as it picks up the energy signatures) until you have a pretty good 'view' of your whole house.

then you REALLY can start saving money on your energy bill because you can easily plug in your kWh multiplier for your area and get accurate costs when they are running.

maybe its too 'geeky' for most people. we had a hard enough time getting smart thermostats into homes and those are an easy win.

kork may want to chime in..i think he may have tried standing one of these devices up or tried to roll his own with a raspberry.


mchias1
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2009
386 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
The devices exist. They can only tell when things like a dryer or ac start running as when their motors start they have a signature amp draw that can be detected. Things like lights don't have enough load on powering on to make the same kind of signature.

The easiest thing currently is to get CT clamps and put them on your dryer or ac wires.


guedeaux
USA Fan
Tardis
Member since Jan 2008
13209 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

he easiest thing currently is to get CT clamps and put them on your dryer or ac wires.



I have high amp smart plug attached to my washer.

Like someone mentioned, you can flash new software on many of these devices, and have them report to Home Assistant instead of going through the cloud. I use ESPHome to program the devices, but Tasmota is a great option also.


CarRamrod
USA Fan
Spurbury, VT
Member since Dec 2006
51822 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
so i think i have decided to move ahead and set up my HA with most of my smart devices. And until there is a eaiser way to set up the schlage smart locks, i will keep them on my smartthings hub.

I wish some coder would take up making a schlage applet for HA.


mchias1
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2009
386 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
What are you having trouble with? I got my schlage zwave lock set up easily. Only thing you have to do is convert your inputs to ascii hex code


CarRamrod
USA Fan
Spurbury, VT
Member since Dec 2006
51822 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
and can you easily ad and delete codes?

quote:

Only thing you have to do is convert your inputs to ascii hex code
yea idk how to do that. was there a tutorial you followed?


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Chitown_Badger
Wisconsin Fan
A one drink walk from Wrigley
Member since May 2013
16169 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

4) For anyone that has smart house stuff, what did you implement that you found pretty convenient?


In order:

1) Control of my AVR to turn on/off play pandora music, skip songs, volume up/down

2) The light in my bedroom (or wherever you want to turn lights on/off when entering a room)

3) Control over fire stick....Being able to play/pause content, search for titles, etc

4) The thermostat

Definitely just get the $10 smart plugs on amazon. They work great and are super easy to install.
This post was edited on 9/9 at 1:38 pm


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The Next
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2013
315 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
HA doesnt have anything native that manages locks well. There were a couple of community members that developed their own modules and they look pretty slick. Locks are my next adventure so I don't have any experience with them yet.

Zwave Lock Manager 1

Lock Manager 2

They look to only work well with Schlage locks.


mchias1
LSU Fan
Member since Dec 2009
386 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
pre-flashed tasmota devices

Can now buy off the shelf Tasmota devices.


guedeaux
USA Fan
Tardis
Member since Jan 2008
13209 posts

re: Smart Home (Home Assistant) devices
quote:

Can now buy off the shelf Tasmota devices.



Well that takes all the fun and mystery out of it hahaha

Do you follow Digiblur? He has the best resources for Tuya convert, among a lot of other things. Plus, he is a good ole Lake Charles baw.


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