Cant decide btwn wink and ST - half the things I want work on each platform


(elite) #1

I just need to bite the bullet and get one or the other. I don’t love what Ive read as far as delay and reliability with Wink but I do like some of their supported items and their amazing customer service. I would suspect things will improve for them. As far as ST it seems more flexible and programmable. I would also imagine it’ll evolve (no pun) and have more support as well. I have a Harmony remote also that I think works with ST and the hub has BT and Wifi. So, I guess my question is should I just get the devices I want and whatever integrates ill deal, and the rest Ill use each wifi app?

I wanted this specific Honeywell thermostat supported on Wink but can just use their app.
Garage door - to work with crafstman non smart door
Security cameras perhaps (waiting to pick them out once I get hub)
Lights (a few 3 way dimmable LED spots IE living room, kitchen, etc)

Lastly I don’t know much about anything but I see people posting code to make things work and integrate. How do you apply that code…is there a tutorial for dummies (I feel like my dad who needs Dummies for everything lol)


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

Welcome!

It’s not that hard to load in some code that’s shared here, but it is a little hard to describe… And it’s been described many times in the threads of different Topics.

I’m tempted to make a screen cast video, but maybe it should be a collaborative effort, first starting with someone’s best written checklist.

I do give free quick demos via Skype if you Private Message me and we can figure out a time and example to use.


(elite) #3

@tgauchat thanks for the quick reply. I may take you up on that once I get the ball rolling but will also do some digging and try to learn a little more. Thanks!


(Ron S) #4

Wink doesn’t work for me at all. Period.

I spent one entire night trying to set it up. No go. Took it back to HD and they simply “threw” it back in of the return carts. No questions asked.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #5

You’re welcome.

We’re a little biased here towards SmartThings, even on days when ST is not running smoothly, because we love the customizable nature of the Platform and see that increasing and improving (slowly…).

Wink seems less open, but other folks here can offer more hands-on experience.


(Gary D) #6

What you choose very much depends on YOU. However, each platform has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. I’ll throw another one into the mix for you, just because I think it’s a bit underrated: Staples Hub Connect. (Huge advantage for the staples unit is local processing instead of depending on the cloud for everything.)

ST: Despite supporting less protocols than others, it actually just might have a greater range of well supported devices for the very reason that many people won’t like it: It’s very much community supported. If you don’t mind copying and pasting code from this forum to a website, you can support very near ANY z-wave device, most zigbee devices, and lots of other things. Another pitfall of ST right now is that it’s 100% cloud based. If your internet service goes down, or the ST servers have a hiccup, many devices will stop working.

Wink: As with ST, it’s cloud based. So, all the same negatives. Actually, in my own opinion Wink only have two positives. The first is that it’s mobile app is easier for some people two use. The second is that it supports Lutron devices. (That Lutron support can mean a lot…) However, it’s z-wave support is most certainly less than ST. Zigbee support is about the same. I, personally, didn’t find their customer support to be all that great. Spending 45 minutes on hold just to be sent to a voice mail telling me to leave a message for a future callback… That REALLY irritated me.

Staples Hub: I never played with their mobile app, but their current hub has a lot going for it. It supports everything the wink hub supports, AND has local (non-cloud) processing… meaning that, of the three presented here, it’s the only one that’ll work when your internet service goes down. However, from what I’ve read, it probably has the worst device support (which is ironic when you consider it has the best hardware in the hub.)

(On a side note, if the staples hub was as open as ST is, I honestly believe that it would put everyone else out of business.)

So… I’m sure I didn’t make your decision any easier. Hopefully, I gave you even more to consider, however. :smile:


(elite) #7

lol…what I was afraid of. its gotta work and or get better, especially with GE on board and all, some people have success although it seems more mainstream while STs seems more techy which I like.

@garyd9 …Good input. Read about the staples hub but id have to suspect eventually ST will be local as well as cloud…is that even possible? Obviously local processing is quick and reliable.

I dont mind copying and pasting, I just have to get going and learn how.

I like lutron, but I think I can accomplish similar results with leviton and or linear, correct? I have figure out of I have neutral wires in my current switches. My house is old, but I had the cans installed recently so maybe I have the neutral I need to make it easy.


(Christopher Masiello) #8

One of the big players that you’re missing, and I’m waiting for is the Google offering. (Not currently available.)
Google bought Nest as their flagship home automation brand. Then Nest bought Dropcam and, wait for it… Revolv.
Revolv is another very powerful hub with a bunch of radios and LOCAL processing. Then, they immediately halted Revolv’s retail sales. They’re retooling their new properties into a suite and then they will restart sales, presumably with the Revolv hub and/or Nest thermostat as the brains of their new juggernaut.
So they have an amazing thermostat and smoke/CO2 alarm, the darling of DIY surveillance camera, and a hub to tie their stuff together with a bunch of other third party products. (Somewhere in all of this fits their Android phones & tablets, plus their Chromecast device.) Not a bad start.
The knock on the Revolv hub has been a software issue, not a hardware one. Hmmm, what is Google really good at?
The one thing that Google always had figured out is to release early and patch/upgrade often. (Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Android, etc.)
My guess is that pretty soon, you’re going to see them put a very raw but impressive package out there.
I’m really anxious to see if this is major leap forward. If nothing else, it’s a major warning shot fired at SmartThings, Wink, Iris, and Staples.
Keep up or perish!


(Gary D) #9

That’s why I didn’t mention it (or Apple’s product.) It doesn’t exist yet.

Yes. One of the nice things about the Lutron switches is the little remote controls. Sure, you can use a minimote or some other z-wave remote, and in many cases that type of remote is actually better. However, there was something really nice about the tiny remote…

[quote=“elite, post:7, topic:11239”]
…to suspect eventually ST will be local as well as cloud…
[/quote]Probably not until May or June, and with a newer (not yet released) hub… (the “v2” hub)


(elite) #10

That could happen, ya. Honestly I love Google and use Android exclusively. but have no interest in a nest for 250. Also, the drop cam seems so mainstream. I feel like there are better solutions out there at better price points. I can wait, and wait, its like cell phones though, there is always something better coming out. Revolv being local is interesting though…if they do release a new solution. Thinking to wait for the new ST hub…isnt that coming out Q2? Maybe itll be better than sliced bread! :smile:


(elite) #11

@garyd9 Agree…apple/google arent around yet and I seriously am so anti apple :slight_smile: its a cult.

mini remote is nice, i have an IR remote but since using my programmable forever ago, and my new harmony having all the protocols I dont think for me thats a big deal. All the lights I want to control are all close and accessible on the lower level where I want to do most of the automating.

I could want for v2 and use web apps for now - IFTTT and make it work and or just get the hub for 100 now and get new if its that much of an improvement.

Gotta pick out lights tho…Linear seems good and cheap. Then a garage door solution. Decide on thermostats and how important integration is. Maybe in the moment there isnt the end all in one out there…maybe the support and code out there can help me get to where I want to be.


(Christopher Masiello) #12

"That’s why I didn’t mention it (or Apple’s product.) It doesn’t exist yet."
Gary - yeah, I agree with why you didn’t mention it.
If you’re going to make a move right now, you gotta go with what’s available. If you’re in the “wait and see” mode, Google’s offering could be interesting.
Obviously, I’m a SmartThings guy, but nothing’s set in stone. I also hope that Hub V2.0 will address some of the current shortcomings.
I’m also waiting on a few miracles from third parties. Hopefully Amazon opens up the Echo API (at least to IFTTT). It’s the nicest piece of hardware that I’ve purchased in a long time. I’m hoping it becomes the Sonos/Ubi killer that it could be.


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #13

Instead of a hub, think about what you want to accomplish, not the devices, but the actual AUTOMATION you want to achieve.

Or do you just want an app on your phone to turn on a light or bring up a camera or change the temp?

Smart Homes rely on programing. Internet of Things rely on apps. Two very different things.

ST excels in the programming aspect, where as a lot of others just give you an app to control IoT devices.

Focus on what you want to do, not what devices or hub can do it, and then its a pretty easy decision from there.


(elite) #14

@pstuart now im really confused. :smile:


(Mike Maxwell) #15

Well look at it this way. Home automation isn’t about just being able turn your lights on and off, run your dimmers and run your thermostat from one or any number of apps on your phone or a web browser. It’s about having a platform that allows you to have these activities and many more automatically performed for you based on how you want things to be.


(elite) #16

ya…its endless. there are so many ideas its continuing to evolve. its in its infancy and I guess there no right answers. just trial and error and test different products. anyone have experience with the harmony hub? I have it with my remote, i bought the bundle, seems like I may be able to control switches and such with that as well.

this may be a dumb question but can you pair an item with 2 diferent hubs…say I have the ST hub and the harmony? or would I control ST hub via harmony?


(Gary D) #17

I’ll give some generic “can’t lose” ideas:

All of the hubs support z-wave. Most support zigbee, but to different degrees, and it’s kind of hit or miss with some of the zigbee devices. So, I’d concentrate on z-wave devices.

Most people (not all) agree that switches are better than bulbs. If you buy/install a smart bulb, you have to leave the light fixture on in order to use the “smart” ability of the bulb. Turn off the fixture, and that “smart” bulb is useless. With a smart “switch”, you have a physical control in addition to any mobile app control. I don’t know the arrangement of bulbs you want to use and if there’s a switch controlling them…

For z-wave switches on a budget, the GE switches that Lowe’s sells with their “Iris” system are z-wave compatible (and work great with ST and pretty much every other z-wave compatible hub.) The only issue is that the older GE dimmer switches do NOT work properly with LED’s. (The reason is that they don’t use hot/neutral to load the z-wave radio… instead they use the hot/load to load… which causes LED bulbs that require very little power to flicker and do odd things.)

  • If you find the GE “smart” dimmers in a green/gray box, they DO work with LED’s (and do require neutral’s)
  • However, if they are in a clear plastic container (the kind that sucks to open), they are the older ones that don’t work properly with LEDs. On those, you can see the back of the switch through the plastic and see that they don’t have a neutral connection.
  • If you can’t find the right GE dimmer’s, Linear z-wave dimmers work fine and can often be had for cheaper via amazon.

For the garage door opener, you have two choices (at the current moment): A “kit” from Linear (GD00Z-4) that contains everything needed. It’s UL listed, and at least ST, Staples, and Iris support it. (The same kit is rebranded by Lowes as GD00Z-1. It’s the exact same thing as the GD00Z-4 with a different logo.) The second choice is to put together a couple of different pieces (contact or tilt sensor + z-wave relay) to control the garage door. ST support combining these two things in the mobile app. I don’t think the other hubs do.

I can’t speak to the security camera’s, as I don’t have any yet that integrate with any of the hubs.

For the thermostat, I’m using a first generation Nest, so I’m unsure what hubs support what there. (My nest can work with ST, but it’s easier for me to just use the nest app.)

If you want to try the staples hub for “free”, there’s a coupon code floating around the internet that can be used to get a free hub with the purchase of two “staples connect compatible devices” over $30 (or something similar.) That’s how I got one (I purchased two ecolink door/window z-wave sensors, and took the free hub. It’s still in the box.) (http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/1400342/)

Trying “wink” can also be inexpensive. They usually have something in store that lets you purchase the hub for $20 if you buy a couple of GE Link light bulbs. (The light bulbs are zigbee devices, but work with both wink and smartthings. That’s $50 for 2 smart dimmable lightbulbs and a hub.)

After you’ve become annoyed with the limitations of Wink and the poor device support from Staples, we’ll all love to help you get going with ST. :wink:


(elite) #18

Thank you so much for the in depth reply @garyd9 .

For the light situation ill spend whatever, I dont want to cut corners, I want it to work properly. Ill check into GE/Leviton/Linear as well as my wiring. I have to do homework to see how to check if I have neutral wiring or not. Its a basic 3 way light setup, 2 switches. I have 4 cans on each. Both are using Fiet bulbs that flicker here and there with the current older lutron regular dimmers from a few years ago. Im hoping to make the Linears work because they seem nice and are prices well. Again id do the Leviton but if they work, its all the same.

Garage deal looks simple, the Linear kid for under 100 seems reasonable Not worth futzing with few pieces to save a few bucks I dont think.

If I get either of the thermostats ill use their app and get the most control. If it integrates so be it.

If I can find a use for the bulbs ill check out some cheap options to try wink or staples.

Again thank you so much for the advice!!!


(Joshua Lyon (SharpTools.io Dashboard)) #19

As an Android user, you might be happy to hear that SmartThings has a set of Tasker plugins developed by the community (eg. me) called SharpTools.

I agree with that sentiment and it seems to apply to technology in general sometimes. It can be a struggle to decide between the ‘wait and see’ or ‘buy now’ approaches. Compared to a $600 smartphone I guess it doesn’t burn quite as bad, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the hub still costs money!

That being said, the ST hub is expected to come out summertime and should add support for local processing.


(Mike Maxwell) #20

In regards to Harmony, tons of threads on it, currently the home/ultimate integration is broken for new installs.
The action is in Harmony’s court to fix, which they do not seem to be in any hurry to do.
The consensus on this forum regarding which Harmony (Home control vs Ultimate) is that the less expensive Home control remote is more functional than the ultimate.
In either case devices are associated with their native hub, (harmony: IR, hue: hue, zwave/zigbee: ST) and their respective functions/capabilities are then available within the other hubs/systems within the limits of the API that’s provided.
Harmony -> ST being your configured activities + the Off button.
ST --> Harmony is a list of devices that you select.
API’s are always going to be a subset of the overall functions available via the native ecosystem.