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Expert Recommendations Please :)


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#1 lvmikel

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 10:11 AM

Hi all.

Just purchased a new home and am trying to piece out what I need for an integrated smart home.
Things I have decided on:

1. Lutron Serena blinds with caseta smart bridge pro (I dont want to go through a dealer)
2. Lutron light switches that interface to caseta smart bridge pro
3. Sonos speakers


What I am trying to figure out...
1. Do I need another hub such as Samsung Smarthings?
2. Recommendation on smart doorlocks?
3. Key piece...what alarm system? Home is NOT prewired for door/window sensors, etc.
4. Thermostat recommendation?

I will want to ensure I can:
1. tie alarm events to window shade and lighting as well as other connected devices.
2. Tie door lock events to shade and lighting and music.

What I dont want to do:
1. A whole bunch of wiring...I dont mind a little bit, but I am trying to stay away from cutting holes in walls, etc.

I think you guys get the idea... :)
I appreciate the input!

Mike

#2 LarrylLix

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 03:59 PM

Typically you need wired sensors for security but most HA use wireless sensors. Overlap usage doesn't function well as security motion sensors are not likely in the right place for HA sensing. Sent using Tapatalk

Edited by LarrylLix, 16 June 2019 - 06:39 PM.


#3 cobra

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 06:00 PM

I went wireless for in house motion detectors. The down side is most of those only report motion every few minutes to conserve battery (once they trigger initially.) If you want them for lighting control as well, I’m finding I’d prefer wired for the continuous motion updating.

#4 lanbrown

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:31 PM

Be weary of closed ecosystems or semi-closed ones where they decide what can integrate in with it.  I don't believe any alarm system will integrate into a Lutron system.  Could you do something with SmartThings...maybe.  No you have system A needing to talk to system B and have things be exchanged properly.  To get more or less a real alarm system, you need to look at the legacy providers and find what fits your needs with what could be connected to SmartThings.  If being able to have the alarm system fully integrate into SmartThings and then have it also part of Lutron contol may not be possible.

 

Another thing to consider, if system A is cloud based and it needs to talk to system B that is also cloud based, that may not be the best approach.  As now you're needing everything to go to the cloud which does add latency as well as troubleshooting issues much harder.

 

Luton is also not the only system that can control shades.

 

My suggestion would be to think of the individual requirements you want from each system; alarm, shade, shade control, HA, etc.  Then start to look at what products meet those requirements.  Take the alarm system; you probably need wireless sensors, so look at what alarm systems will meet what you want from it and create a list.  Then move to the next item/system and do the same.  When you're all done, then you need to see what systems are compatible and what the compatibility means; i.e one-way, partial or full control.



#5 vcliff

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 04:46 PM

For an alarm system, you don’t need another hub. I’m using Nest Secure. I cover my 2,000 sq-ft home with the basic wireless system: three combo door/window/motion detector/night lights that are about the size of a pack of gum; a base unit that’s a little bigger than a hockey puck that sits on a shelf or table; and two Nest Tag keyfobs that are a little bit bigger than a quarter. You just tap them on the unit to arm or disarm.

 

I got it because it’s easy to install (peel and stick) and easy to set up and control using the Google/Nest app. Whole thing took about two hours, and you can add more sensors if your house is bigger than mine. I’m not a techie but it was simple.

I’ve had it more than a year, and I love it. I love the way it looks, and the app makes it easy to add other Nest stuff (I’ve also got a video doorbell and camera, but haven’t gotten their thermostat yet). You can monitor it on your own through the app, but I do mine through Brinks Home Security at $29/mo with no contract.

 

I’m not sure I can help with tying alarm and door lock events to shade, lighting, music etc. I’d check to see how they work with Google Nest Home, Amazon Echo, etc.

 

Hope that helps!



#6 lanbrown

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 06:42 PM

Google is changing the API in the near future, so I wouldn't even look at trying to see what it can do today as tomorrow it will most certainly be different.  For the better or for the worse remains to be seen.  The Works with Nest is being retired though.

 

Read it here:

https://nest.com/wha.../#faq-consumers



#7 Linwood

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 01:53 PM

I did lutron caseta also, and am in a similar scenario thinking about security.

 

Motion detectors I used (zwave in my case) for presence detection are, IMO, pretty worthless for security.  I've had them drop off entirely, and sometimes just stop reporting.  That's acceptable, occasionally, for temperature/humidity (why I really bought them) but scary for alarm.  So in my mind I'm completely separating the stuff I did for the automation, from what I eventually want to do for an alarm.

 

I would vastly prefer wired, but the entire periphery of my house has very, very low trusses in the attic with block walls - it's going to be a real pain to run window contacts.  Not impossible, but a real pain.   By luck of design door is much easier.

 

I use Home Assistant, and it has been really reliable, and very flexible.  But I wouldn't trust it for alarm, it's running on a VM and a rPi, neither of which (IMO) are safe for burglary or worse still fire.

 

So I think if I do anything I will get a more-normal-alarm panel, with cellular + internet, and then wire all the smoke/heat detectors, and maybe a combination of wired and wireless sensors (but real ones designed for alarms, which can be supervised from the panel).  But I have no idea which to get.  I had prior good luck with Elk, but it seems ancient and dying in comparison to Nest, etc.  But I just don't trust Nest (etc) as an alarm.  Which leaves me in analysis paralysis.

 

So will watch recommendations here with interest.

 

PS. Do consider home assistant with casetta.  it integrates nicely and has been really reliable, though Home Assistant, today, is only useful if you are a bit of a tinkerer.  They are moving toward full GUI setup ,but are not there.



#8 vc1234

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:16 AM

I use Home Assistant, and it has been really reliable, and very flexible.  But I wouldn't trust it for alarm, it's running on a VM and a rPi, neither of which (IMO) are safe for burglary or worse still fire.

 

So I think if I do anything I will get a more-normal-alarm panel, with cellular + internet, and then wire all the smoke/heat detectors, and maybe a combination of wired and wireless sensors (but real ones designed for alarms, which can be supervised from the panel).  But I have no idea which to get.  I had prior good luck with Elk, but it seems ancient and dying in comparison to Nest, etc.  But I just don't trust Nest (etc) as an alarm.  Which leaves me in analysis paralysis.

 

So will watch recommendations here with interest.

We just bought a property in Fl, and I have the same problem as you do/did in trying to decide what to do with automation/security. In my current house, I have Elk+RA2+Zwave but I am reluctant to go with Elk  again for the same reasons as you described. RA2/Caseta main problem (for me) is lack of security meaning there's no lock control now or in future, plus my increasing dislike of Lutron marketing tactics and their frivolous patent enforcement nonsense (instant status). Perhaps, the most rational choice would be just to abandon the whole automation thing  for now because basic control hardware is so depressingly stagnant.

 

With respect to security, Envisalink + DSC/Honeywell looks like a reasonable inexpensive choice that can easily be integrated with Home Assistant if need be.



#9 Linwood

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:21 AM

RA2/Caseta main problem (for me) is lack of security meaning there's no lock control now or in future,

 

Could you elaborate on what that means? 

 

Do you mean that someone could come into your house and somehow take over control of a switch by holding the program button programming to a bridge... where, in their house?  



#10 vc1234

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:17 AM

RA2/Caseta uses a protocol that transmits commands and receive status in clear text, i.e. unencrypted.  A while ago, I managed to intercept (and decode some) Lutron traffic using a TI CC1101 module (RFM69 or similar would work just as well).  Decoding Pico hex commands was relatively easy, dimmers are more complicated and I lost interest in trying to decode dimmers traffic.  I could  emulate Pico commands though quite easily and control light, therefore, by transmitting a command with an RPI controlling the CC1101 module.

 

However, someone crawling  at 30-50' feet outside my house and switching my lights on and off does not bother me too much.  More importantly, lack of protocol encryption means that Lutron Clear Connect will never support locks or any other security devices requiring encryption. So what one is supposed to do if one wishes to use remotely controlled locks ?  The only reasonable choice in my opinion seems to use zwave for locks (or zigbee which has its own set of issues). As long as you are forced to go with zwave locks you might as well  go with zwave lighting, or build an Elk + zwave+RA2 Frankenstein as I did in my current house.  I did experiment with HA zwave implementation and in my experience its reliability was worse than what I was getting with Elk's zwave module+vrc0p.

 

So, in my case, I am not sure whether re-playing the automation game in the new house would make sense at all: Lutron does not support security devices and does not provide any receptacles (e.g. I'd like to control my 20A espresso machine), just dimmers and switches. Zwave does support locks and receptacles, but zwave modules are pretty ugly esthetically speaking and less reliable than Lutron's dimmers/switches.



#11 Linwood

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:31 AM

Ah... I didn't connect "lock" control with "door locks" I thought you were talking about some kind of security lockout or feature.  Got it. Silly of me, sorry.
 
It didn't bother me to mix Clear Connect with zwave, and it won't bother me to also have some things wifi (though at the moment that's pretty limited at my house).  I think zwave locks might bother me.  While I have had decent luck with them, the zave components (temp, humidity sensors, thermostat, one outlet strip) have not been nearly as reliable as the caseta stuff.  I don't mean to imply they are really flakey, as the problems have been very few, but very few is still infinitely more than zero, and zero is what I have had since getting the pro bridge in place for caseta.  Of course that's one data point only.
 
Honestly I'm not sure I will ever do exterior door locks, there are just so many issues those potentially have, and I just don't have trouble using a key, and have zero desire to allow amazon (etc) to come in when I'm not at home.  But 10 years ago I would never have said I needed a computer to control my bathroom exhaust fan, and 40 years ago I laughed at people who had electric door locks in cars or electric windows.  So who knows. 
 
FWIW.
 
PS. Just replace that espresso machine with one of the new ones, I'm sure soon they will have an AI built in that will do artwork in the froth, custom roast the beans, and misspell your name on the cup just like a Starbucks barista.  And with an AI on board, it will soon be illegal to turn them off anyway (cruelty to robots and all that, I'm sure someone in California is working on that law even now). 

Edited by Linwood, 25 June 2019 - 11:31 AM.


#12 vc1234

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 04:39 PM

Zwave locks (Yale) have not been troublesome for me at all, and I like that I do not have to have the door key on me while running or doing some work outside and fear of losing  it.  There were several instances during last five years that zwave communication failed and the culprit in the majority of cases  was elk itself(no command was sent to vrc0p) and in a couple of instances vrc0p failed to send a zwave message. I feel that I have a good grip on my current zwave network reliability.  However, there are a couple of factors that make me reluctant to rely on zwave in the new house: lack of a decent controller supporting secondary controllers with good diagnostic abilities; lack nicely looking  zwave remotes; lack of nicely looking dimmers/switches. Also, there are some weaknesses in zwave implementation that would take too much time to elaborate here.

 

As to the espresso machine, it's not lack of automation but the fact that the machine has two boilers and needs a 20A switching ability that even the ugly Lutron appliance plugin module  (  http://www.lutron.co...s/Overview.aspx ) does not provide.






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