• You've been granted Beta access to this site, allowing you to explore some of the new features while they're still under construction. More information can be found in the Beta forum.

Appreciate your input as I make my hardware selections

First off, thanks to everyone for your informative posts - I've been an avid reader of the forums.  I completed all my prewiring for security, audio, lighting, thermostats (2 stage A/C and furnace), audio and video on our house.  Sheetrock is up and I need to make my final system decisions and order the equipment now so I'm ready for the install.  Here's what I've committed to thus far:
Lighting:  Radio Ra2 - have the switches/dimmers/keypads/main repeater ready to go and laid out
Cameras:  Picked up a great deal on the Honeywell Performance NVR/IP Camera kit HEN04111EB
Video - needs here are minimal - we're not home theatre people.  I'll use a FiOS Quantum DVR system, and a Harmony Hub remote kit.
Smoke/CO - wired for line voltage detectors.  Also will put in a couple of self-monitored low voltage detectors.
Audio - Leviton HiFi2:  I like the functionality (remote input modules) and modern look of the keypads.
 
What's open is security/thermostats/automation/choice - narrowed it down to two main choices which meet needs and budget:
1) Omni LTe:  I like the two-way integration with Radio Ra2, and the HiFi 2.  I would use the interlogix receiver for some wireless sensors, the zigbee module for door locks and future expansion, and hardwired Omnistat 2s for thermostats. Like the unified automation this would provide.  Dislike that Omni isn't particularly well supported (by monitoring stations and Leviton), its future murky, not great options for cellular monitoring (don't have POTs - use FiOS for landline), and the old-school keypads (Omnitouch 7 not in the budget, and seems poorly supported).
 
2)Honeywell Vista 20p:  With the 4232CBM module I can have basic one-way integration with RadioRa2 (can trigger scenes bases on 5 alarm states, but not from individual zones).  I would use the Tuxedo Touch for z-wave locks and thermostats, and a 6162rf keypad for wireless sensors.  I like that Honeywell is very widely supported, that the IP/Cellular monitoring options are robust, that the Tuxedo Touch is attractive and modern looking interface.  Dislike that I wouldn't have an integrated automation solution - I do get the locks/alarm integration, and the alarm/thermo/lighting integration for useful leaving the house/going to sleep/vacation scenes.
 
I guess the big driver is whether the integrated and robust automation of the Omni offsets the wide and robust support of the Honeywell, and its limited, but useful automation.  I've never had any home automation before, so I'm not exactly sure what things I can do with the Omni that are truly helpful.  I do like that it would add conditionality to RadioRa2, something it natively lacks, but I can't specifically see how that would be helpful.
 
Thanks you for your input.
 

ano

Senior Member
The Omni offers more possibilities than the Vista20p.  The difference is the Omni can do "real" home automation, the Vista can do simple automation, but its much more limited. If you add the GE wireless receiver, there are LOT of wireless devices for it.  For alarm monitoring, all these devices support a minimum of Contact ID, and there are several solutions depending on your monitoring company.  I would pick the monitoring company first, then use what they recommend.  Yeah, I'd stay away from the Omnitouch7 but it doesn't add much. Get Snaplink on your phone or possibly SPACE for the iPhone. Also you might want to look at UPB/HLC instead of RadioRA. There are pros and cons to both.
 
And the Omni is 4X the basic cost of the 20P.
 
I wouldn't sell short a more basic panel like a Elk EZ8 or even an M1G for the price of the Omni.
 

tannebil

Member
Space isn't an option anymore for iPhone. OpenHAB is the best potion I've come up with for Omni+iOS (although the lack of an active developer for the HAI binding is a concern) but I'm sure there are other options as well.
 

ano

Senior Member
DELInstallations said:
And the Omni is 4X the basic cost of the 20P.
We can assume the OP knows the cost of the two units being considered. The question was about automation functionality.
 

cobra

Active Member
tannebil said:
Space isn't an option anymore for iPhone. 
Maybe you mean Haiku?  Haiku is no longer for sale, but the replacement 'Space' is available for iOS (although the functionality is limited, given what I've read.)
 
I still have a copy of Haiku on my phone and like it, but it is no longer available for purchase.
 

cobra

Active Member
emrosenberg said:
1) Omni LTe:  I like the two-way integration with Radio Ra2, and the HiFi 2.  I would use the interlogix receiver for some wireless sensors, the zigbee module for door locks and future expansion, and hardwired Omnistat 2s for thermostats. Like the unified automation this would provide.  Dislike that Omni isn't particularly well supported (by monitoring stations and Leviton), its future murky, not great options for cellular monitoring (don't have POTs - use FiOS for landline), and the old-school keypads (Omnitouch 7 not in the budget, and seems poorly supported).
 
2)Honeywell Vista 20p:  With the 4232CBM module I can have basic one-way integration with RadioRa2 (can trigger scenes bases on 5 alarm states, but not from individual zones).  I would use the Tuxedo Touch for z-wave locks and thermostats, and a 6162rf keypad for wireless sensors.  I like that Honeywell is very widely supported, that the IP/Cellular monitoring options are robust, that the Tuxedo Touch is attractive and modern looking interface.  Dislike that I wouldn't have an integrated automation solution - I do get the locks/alarm integration, and the alarm/thermo/lighting integration for useful leaving the house/going to sleep/vacation scenes.
 
It kind of depends on your budget, maybe amount you want to spend over time, and how much automation you want to do.
 
If you don't want to do much automation with logic, then a Vista is a decent choice, and is a lower cost way to go.  And in the future you can always add another automation controller if you want for automation.
 
ano said:
We can assume the OP knows the cost of the two units being considered. The question was about automation functionality.
And for the price of the Omni, the OP will be hobbled on the security side and have little to no expansion capabilities, he could also get into an external controller, the 20P and have money left over.
 
16 Zones, with no direct RF device integration, no direct security monitoring integration and limited capabilities on the security portion....at 5X the cost. That's a huge thing. 20P would allow 48 zones with 16 dedicated fob zones or up to 56 total system zones (RF) and 16 available relays. The only item that is not onboard directly is a serial interface, but that's easy enough to solve with a short haul modem on the panel itself.
 
From installing literally ALL manufacturers out there, HAI is and always has been the product that people use if they only want to grab out of the same box and perform little to no work to talk to any 3rd party devices, just like a certain fruit hardware manufacturer. It's not that it's better hardware or performs better, and HAI (like the fruit people) charge a premium for that. 
 

pete_c

Guru
I like both the Elk M1 and the OmniPro 2 panel.  I chose the OmniPro 2 panel here and like the small footprint with much built in functionality.  That said though biased here relating to use of said panel cuz that is all I know.
 
Which is why I tossed the EZ8 out there. It's like a go between the lower Vista panels and the larger commercial panels and about half the cost of a M1G kit, but gets you into their platform with less restrictions than comparable HAI tiered systems.
 
ano said:
We can assume the OP knows the cost of the two units being considered. The question was about automation functionality.
Yes, that is correct.  I have some Omni consoles sitting around from the home's original owner (they had an old LT board), and there are some other expenses with the Honeywell that I'd avoid with the Omni so while the Omni would cost more overall, it's just $3-400 in an overall security/thermostat/audio budget of around $3k.  Not enough to sway my decision.
Increasingly I'm leaning towards picking up the Lutron HVAC solution, and then foregoing the tuxedo touch for now and just using Honeywell for security.  Then as I see what my needs/desires are for automation I can make a decision later on and perhaps go for something more robust like a CQR/Homeseer type thing, or if I'm not that interested I could go for the Vista or (hopefully) Lutron will bless Radio Ra 2 with Homekit and/or Alexa integration.
 
DELInstallations said:
Which is why I tossed the EZ8 out there. It's like a go between the lower Vista panels and the larger commercial panels and about half the cost of a M1G kit, but gets you into their platform with less restrictions than comparable HAI tiered systems.
I looked at the ELK, but the problem is the expense of integrating with the Radio Ra2 system was very high.  Can't recall the part # offhand, but it made it more expensive than the Omni.  And the nice thing with the Omni/RR2 is that it is native and easy 2 way integration.  Also, as mentioned above there is a headstart for me with the Omni, so overall I had to add $500 or so to make ELK comparable with Omni for my particular situation.
 

pete_c

Guru
There is also the Leviton HAI Omni IIe and Omni LTE to look at.
 
I have one OmniPro 2 configuration is a relatively small deep closet with a 28" Leviton MM can underneath.  It's been problem free and high on the WAF as the footprint is innocuous.
 
Lighting wise here started with HAI TW-523s and over time went to dual phased XTB device, then to UPB (mostly today all light switches are UPB), adding a Leviton Z-Wave VRC0P and Zigbee ZIM over time.  Thermostats are OmniStats. 
 
Cost wise here started with a base (prewired alarm wires) couple of keypads, panel, battery and Wireless receiver.  Wired most (not all in the beginning) terminations and rest was as time allowed.  Baby steps as the security wasn't really needed or a high priority over sound / lighting automation stuff.  Took my time and even that was low on the WAF a bit. 

Initially here started with Homeseer in the late 1990's and adding the HAI stuff in the early 2000's. The software and firmware compliment each other but also do not have interdependences.
 

ano

Senior Member
emrosenberg said:
Yes, that is correct.  I have some Omni consoles sitting around from the home's original owner (they had an old LT board), and there are some other expenses with the Honeywell that I'd avoid with the Omni so while the Omni would cost more overall, it's just $3-400 in an overall security/thermostat/audio budget of around $3k.  Not enough to sway my decision.
Increasingly I'm leaning towards picking up the Lutron HVAC solution, and then foregoing the tuxedo touch for now and just using Honeywell for security.  Then as I see what my needs/desires are for automation I can make a decision later on and perhaps go for something more robust like a CQR/Homeseer type thing, or if I'm not that interested I could go for the Vista or (hopefully) Lutron will bless Radio Ra 2 with Homekit and/or Alexa integration.
I also might want to give you this advice.  If there is one component where its worth it to spend more money to upgrade, its the main controller, because you get the most bang-for-the-buck.  At this point you may be telling yourself you don't need that feature or this feature, but over time, if you like to tinker, you may say, we'll let me look at adding this or that.  I also use the Omni Pro II and I actually started with one of the lower units thinking I would never need these features, but as time goes by, things do change.  If you think this will be a set it and forget it install, than certainly only get what you need now, but if you are the kind of person who may want to add to your system later, consider the better panels, even if it means waiting on another add-on.  If I had to guess, I'd say the value of my Omni Pro II represents maybe 3% of the cost of my entire system. Pretty small when you consider all it does.
 
That is where HAI missed the boat. They're not modular. You either need to buy up front or you're hobbled. Spend either $1500+ for the panel with the ability to truly do what you think you may need now and in the future or buy the lesser and hobbled panel, with less security abilities to boot. This is where Elk (though their hardware is getting long in tooth also) is a more attractive package. Same goes for the topology to install a serial port anywhere on the bus. That's huge if you're trying to talk to a piece of hardware elsewhere in the house. (yes, I know about IP232 and serial servers, the whole scenario, but that's not a beginner item).
 
This is coming from someone that has installed and serviced all of them, not just a tinkerer.
 
HAI is akin to Apple where Elk is more closely related to Android. Just the best analogies out there. Not that one works better than the other.
 
Top