Could I switch from Fibaro HC Lite to Smarthings?

Hi - I have 7 TKB TZ88E 13A UK plug in switches with inbuilt power metering

Also 2 Aeon Multisensors. And a three bayonet (British) lamp switches - no dimming, all simple on/off relay types.

My usage is:

Timers/scheduled events turn heaters on and off.

We use the phone app to manually switch stuff as well.

I use the power graphs for the plug switches and temperature graphs for the Aeon sensors.

Can I expect to dump those devices on a Smartthings hub and get similar usability? Getting annoyed with Fibaro being unstable…

Many thanks,


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Well… you’ve asked a very open-ended question – over Thanksgiving weekend.

Your endpoint devices, if they are Z-Wave and you buy the correct regional SmartThings Hub (because Z-Wave frequencies are different in US vs UK, vs …), will likely be recognized now or with a little Community help to customize a Device Type Handler.

The scheduler and phone control functionality is inherent to SmartThings (with some reliability issues … SmartThings requires internet connectivity and their cloud is a failure point at times).

The power and temperature graphs are not available as SmartThings features, but there are some “not to difficult” options, which due to SmartThings’s openness and Community, can add this capability (such as Xively, Initial State, etc.).

Hi - forgot about Thanksgiving - we don’t do that over here (England), it’s just another working day…

Happy Thanksgiving!

OK - thanks for the tips - it’s good to be clear about the lack of charts - and I suspect I think I know what it might mean to implement it.

From what I could find on the forums here, the TKB TZ88E seems to work as a switch, but that’s all. It’s not officially on the list.

Would you say overall - cloud service notwithstanding, that it was basically a reliable system?

All the best, Tim

I have no impression of the “average consumer experience” because there is likely some bias on this Forum. Many folks only come here when they have a problem, so that gives negative bias. On the other hand, there are also folks here that are pushing the limits, so their problems aren’t average either. And there are a lot of problem solvers who then have a net positive experience.

There are no professional “deep-dive” reviews that could objectively measure reliability. I don’t trust SmartThings themselves to provide objective information (their Status webpage, is frequently not updated for small events and updated late for large events thus making them look like shorter outages).

Plenty of folks express satisfactory reliability though. Objectively, most of the stuff I need to work, actually does work, most of the time. If a schedule fails and my garden lights fail to turn on at sunset or off at midnight, once every month or two, or for a few days one month every 3, then, meh… it’s annoying, but bound to get better eventually). If an App upgrade suddenly crashes constantly and I can’t control anything for 3 or 4 days … well… that’s horrendous and unacceptable even if once in 6 months.

Your success will vary, but it helps to have a high tolerance level for glitches – i.e., have relatively low expectations, and they will be exceeded.

Thanks for that.

Smarthings are now owned by Samsung aren’t they?

I’m actually looking for something simple and reliable to control some electric heating until I get gas heating installed - my Fibaro HC-Lite used to be not bad but recent updates (beta admittedly) have made it extremely unstable. I’m going to phone them tomorrow and ask how to do a downgrade, if it’s even possible. So I do have a bunch of 13A plug devices to carry over :slight_smile:

From your device list, am I right in assuming you’re in the UK?

If so, I would probably stick with the Fibaro for now or look at other systems, maybe Zipato or Vera.

The UK version of SmartThings was just released about a month ago, and does not have all the same features as the US yet. It also has quite a limited device list. Your wall switches, for example, are not going to work as they do with systems that have full Zwave scene support. If you can wait a few months, I would expect to see a number of improvements over that time. And then you can reevaluate.

What kind of issues are you seeing with the Fibaro?

Hi - yes, UK.

Massive stability issues with the Fibaro HC Lite. They have been really slow in getting v4 software out, which is in beta. Up until recently the upgrades have been fine. But the latest minor from 4.057->4.058 has made the hub crashy, timed scenes are not reliable and email notifications flakey.

I know what it is to be on beta code (I work in IT with Linux). I do expect however, that if a release is crap, that they actually offer some assistance such as looking at my system to find out why, or at the very least, bothering to answer my request to downgrade to the previous firmware (not something I can see any way to do myself). They’ve lost a huge amount of my confidence.

I did test the VeraLite and found it wanting - I guess I could take a look at Zipato. Thanks for the suggestion! Tim

Hmm - Zipabox does look rather cool. Fibaro tell me downgrades are not possible (pah) but there will be a new beta release in a week or so, so I’ll see if that calms it down…

Most of the systems don’t allow downgrades anymore. Even if they do, if there’s a cloud service component you can’t roll that back so you are usually stuck with current state.

I’m sorry to hear about the Fibaro issues. Nothing is more frustrating than a system that works great when you go to sleep on Monday and then fails when you get up Tuesday morning.

Right now it seems like most of the home automation vendors in the inexpensive range are rushing each other to push out the most features and device integrations to attract new customers without fully committing to the idea that their existing customer base needs this to work at least as reliably as the dishwasher since they’ve already integrated it into their daily lives. It’s all just: “try a reboot and see if that helps.”

There are a few exceptions in the United States (staples connect, whose target market is small businesses, has made reliability their number one priority from the beginning) , but they generally get that reliability by severely limiting the features and specific devices supported. Similar to how the inexpensive security systems work. That meets the needs of some people, particularly those just interested in putting lights and window coverings on a schedule, but is less than what a lot of people want to do with home automation. So every system has its pros and cons.

My personal belief (but this is just a guess) is that by December 2016 in the US there will be several candidates for a stable, reliable, low-cost Home automation system that will meet my own needs. I expect homekit/Insteon to be one. Works with nest to be another. SmartThings may be a third, perhaps even with thread support, But they aren’t there yet. We’ll just have to see. I’m not even going to draw up my own candidates list until May. It might be another year on before similar systems were available in the UK.

Meanwhile, it’s just a question of whether what you have is worth the time and money it requires to keep it running. And that’s a very individual calculation.

I don’t know if it would be of any interest, but here’s my project report on what happened in my first phase of investment:

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It’s depressing watching how few software engineering principles are applied by these manufacturers.

  1. Versioned APIs in the cloud and on apps - so that old and new firmwares still work (OK, you cannot support everything, but you do need to support stable, stable-1 and beta (and beta should not be deprecating APIs, unless it’s crossing a major version). You really need this anyway as you cannot upgrade everyone simultaneously.

  2. Dual firmware - like high end network switches. OK consumer embedded devices like to shave off pennies, but flash is so cheap now, would the manufacturer not be better off being able to update image1, whilst image2 still has the last known working version.

It’s also such a shame that the ZWave frequencies are different in the US compared to Europe - or at least not software tweakable like WiFi chips. It does seem like the USofA is at the leading end of the good solid stuff.

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How do we know that SmartThings Hub V2 isn’t using this model?

Having a “last good version” available is critical to ensure the Wink hub-bricking disaster doesn’t occur.

Just because SmartThings may have a workable version of the previous firmware (Vx) on the Hub, doesn’t imply that they will rollback to it in the case of “minor” regression bugs discovered post-deployment and boot of Vx+1.