Building my new home from scratch (DIY) (Greece)


(Pavlos) #1

Hello Guys and Gals,

So I building my new home and I have reached to stage where the electrician is asking me what my requirements are. I also had some consultations with companies that are “experts” in building smart homes, and I found out the hard way that Greece and its so called “experts” are clueless to what the rest of the civilized world calls a “smart home.” Most of the products that I own an others that I am planning to buy not not available in Greece (Important note: Greece runs on 220V) and even the “experts” haven’t even heard of them!

So it is up to me now to basically educate myself and order everything that I need and install it myself with the help of my electrician, (who is also clueless but at least he straight up told me that he does not know about these things instead of calling himself an expert).

So, step 1, I am here asking the community for their advice and to help me by sharing their experiences and their mistakes. Even though I do have some basic knowledge with smartthings and I have a few smart devices currently running, I definitely need to educate myself some more. If anybody can recommend any videos, articles, webpages were I can learn about the basics and even advanced aspects of building a smart home, I would greatly appreciate it.

Step 2, let me try to explain what I would like to do in my new house. Lets start by letting you know what I currently own and what I plan to buy:

Things I already have:

1 Camera:
Netgear Arlo Pro:

2 Samsung Smartthings

3 Voice Control
Google Home

4 Thermostat:
smart thermostat (I forget the make/model but it is a zwave)

5 Wemo smart plugs

Things I want to buy:

Outdoor Camera
Ring Floodlight Cam: https://ring.com/floodlightcam

Doorbell:
Ring Pro:

Garage door opener (undecided)

Smart locks ? (undecided)

Lights for the house in general:
All lights to be dimable LED lights controllable by in-wall, wired z-wave Smart light switches. I will also have a few LED tape lights around the house. Correct me if I am wrong but the most economical solution for white lights is to make the switch/dimmer to be smart and just purchase classic dimmable LED light bulbs instead of buying something like 30 philips hue light bulbs for the whole house? I will have some limited colored hue bulbs and strips, but I read another article how I can make my own RGB strips compatible with the philips hue hub so i can save lots of money.

Currently we live in a smaller apartment that we rent and I have set up my arlo (as motion sensors and cameras, ST, Wemo plugs, and our 2 android phones as presence sensors. I have set up a few things having lights switch on when we come back home at night and others to trigger with motion sensors, but that’s about it.

So this is basically where I am now. Finding products that are compatible with ST and are also 220V is a challenge at the moment. I am open to all ideas and advice to help me succeed in this project!

Thank you all!
Pavlos


(Kirk Hilzinger) #2

Good luck. The Ring Floodlight Camera is still not integrated into Smartthings…STILL!!! I am asking Santa for code to get them to work with each other…just hope I was not on the naughty list.


(Mark) #3

Do you have a US or UK SmartThings hub?


(Pavlos) #4

UK, but all my other products are US versions. so far no problems


(Mark) #5

Not your z-wave thermostat, right?

Z-wave frequency in the UK/EU (868MHz) is different than in the US (908MHz). You’re gonna want to make sure you get devices with the EU frequency in addition to being rated for 220V


(Pavlos) #6

thermostat is from the US. But now that I think about it, I might just buy a US version of ST since most of the products that I want are not available in europe anyway!


(Kirk Hilzinger) #7

Be careful, the UK uses different frequencies because that is what their government allows.


(Andy - United Kingdom) #8

The other thing to remember is that most AC devices in the US are 110v not 220v


(Mark) #9

If your thermostat’s running on the US z-wave frequency then it won’t work with your UK hub.

You might want to double check what Greek telecom regulations say about operating radio devices on unapproved frequencies. Chances are it won’t be that big a deal, but you never know. There are some users from Australia that alluded to actually receiving warnings from their government for using unapproved z-wave devices in other threads.


#10

I believe @ktsi is in Greece and has been a SmartThings user for a couple of years. They may have some more suggestions for you.


(Pavlos) #11

Hi JD

Do you know of any European version of the below product:


#12

Do you just mean a zwave wall switch with dimming?

There are certainly UK versions of those, but you will have to have a neutral wire at the switchbox. In the UK this would be a blue wire, I don’t know if Greece has a fixed wire colour scheme or not. ( The US does not.)

Develo, Popp, and Zwave.me all make zwave switch options for the UK. There are some additional brands as well.

See the FAQ for UK Lighting for more detailed discussion of the various options:


(Pavlos) #13

Wow, thank you! that article is super helpful!


(Vagelis F ) #14

Καλησπέρα και καλή χρονιά.Ασχολούμε με Home Automation αρκετό καιρό.Με το Smartthings απο τότε που έχω πάρει το kickstarter campaign.

Εχω βαλει πολύ πράμα πάνω.Γενικα παίζω με 868ΜΗz Ευρώπης.
Σκεφτομαι και εγω για doorbell αλλά για διαμέρισμα (αδεια απο τον διπλανό και ίσως απο τους αλλους στην πολυκατοικια)

Smart lock έχω το Nuki, το οποίο παίζει τέλεια με Alexa και ifttt αλλά όχι ακόμη με Smartthings.(τσεκαιρνω το forum και το github αν βρεθει device type) το Nuki όμως δουλευει με Home Assistant άψογα!

Απο φώτα έχω lifx,easybulb/milight και osram lightify. Όλα δουλεύουν με smartthings,εκτός απο milight/easybulb που περιμένω να τα βάλω σε smartthings μέσω esp8266/nodemcu και ενός wifi controller(chip). To chip το περιμενω απο alliexpress.Σε home assistant δουλεύουν τα φωτα αυτά.
Wemo motion+plug παιζει.

Αν θες για φθηνά wall plug (wifi) δες για sonoff.Παίζουν με Alexa ίσως και με Google Home. Θα τσεκάρω και με SmartThings (μου φαινεται ένα device type)

Επίσης για διακόπτη είχα βρεί εναν στο aliexpress ο οποίος δούλεψε αλλά δεν μπορούσα να το βάλω στην θέση του παλιού,λογικά κάτι ξεκόλλησε απο το PCB αλλά μπορώ να σου προτείνω δοκιμασμένα.

Επίσης απο aliexpress εχω παρει CoolCam motion sensor και wall sensor δουλεουν κανονικα σε ST.

Γενικά επειδή δεν βρίσκω πολλούς Έλληνες κάνε με κάνα add να μιλήσουμε!


(Mihail Malo) #15

HENLO. I am new!
Where in Greece can I get the cheapest SmartThings Hub?
This is the only one I found so far - 99€ Haha it’s not even a real site.
I sure am an idiot!


(Pavlos) #16

Hello @qm3ster

Unfortunately I have not found any place in Greece that sells smart home products. I order everything from amazon.de or amazon.co.uk


(Hendre) #17

You could also try www.vesternet.co.uk. They are fast, helpful and deliver worldwide.


(Douglas Krug) #18

Cetainly challening. My first thoughts for North American audiences when someone is going the DIY route and wants wall switches is the Lutron Caséta line, but 240v changes that immeadiately. I actually don’t understand why Amazon is setting 120v Caséta product on the UK site.

Since there’s a lack of local smart home expertise in Greece, my next thoughts turn to micro dimmer modules such as these from Aeon Labs or this one or these from Fibaro. However, if you’re dimming standard LED, you may get flicker and may need to also add bypass modules like these.

My next thought would be a Philips Hue Bridge, with relatively inexpensive Ikea Trådfri bulbs that are now Hue compatible as long as you get the correct firmware revision or buy an Ikea hub to update them to the latest firmware. That keeps your cost down, but it does require that you either keep all your switches turned on or you simply forgo any switches at all, but I think no light switches is a radical move and a bad one for resale at this point in time. Might be standard practice in the future. The micro dimmer modules solve that issue by allowing the local electricians do what they know how to do and you take care of the configuring. It also gives you the flexibility to choose the switch style you want, but unfortunately it does not give you dimming control at the switch, so you’d have to either do that by voice, by app or by mounted remote control.

Zigbee switches and a Hue Bridge are a nice option, since it seems to be possible to pair just about any Zigbee remote to a Philips Hue Bridge and a Zigbee bulb while still having control over the bulbs from the Hue Bridge (and SmartThings). I’ve done this in my home for many of my lights and it works great. Groups of lights connected to a Philips Hue Bridge turn ON/OFF all at once, and respond very quickly and smoothly, even when the Hue Bridge is controlled from SmartThings. Since the Zigbee remote gets paired to the bulb and the bridge, it solves the problem of keeping local control over the bulbs, even if the internet or cloud service is down, but still allows app and voice control when everything is connected. This is the method Ikea uses too. Here are two examples of the pairing of a Lutron Connected Bulb Remote (hard to find now) and an Ikea Trådfri remote to a Hue Bridge (although the guy in the second video puts forth considerable more effort than is necessary). The problem you may encounter is finding a Zigbee option that fits with the square style outlet boxes you have in Greece.

I would definatley steer clear of any switch or lighting type that links only to SmartThings for light control. That will be a problem when your hub cannot reach Samsung’s cloud. Hue does not have this issue with their dimmers, which unlike other Zigbee dimmers, are fully visible in their bridge and highly programable with either Hue Labs or third party apps like iConnect Hue, and they function even when there is no internet. The problem is, they are very ugly.

Lastely, I would like to suggest reaching out to Kris from Customised as well as listening to and reaching out to great resources like @richardgunther on the Home: On podcast, Stacey Higginbotham on the IoT Podcast and @SethPJohnson & @jasongriffing on HomeTech.fm podcast.

Have fun with the project, despite the contractor headaches and congratulations on your new home!


(Douglas Krug) #19

Also wanted to add one additional bit of advice. Be aware that if you build a smart home based on SmartThings as the central point or control, you are relying enterly on the cloud when you need physical control over your smart home.

Philips Hue Bridge will be controllable even when you lose internet, and their app will launch. Insteon is another system I have that will be controllable even when you lose internet, but only via local control. Their app won’t launch, but I’ve setup Homebridge with the Insteon local control plug-in, and it enables me to still control my Insteon lights via HomeKit, even if the internet is down.


(Douglas Krug) #20

Thought of your situation when I came across this zigbee controller