EnvisaLink 4 vs. AD2SmartThings Honeywell Vista 20P?

Hello All-

I am both new to the SmartThings Platform and community and this is my first post. That being said, since integration of the SmartThings Hub v2, I have already integrated 20+ Zwave switches and outlets, (2) Ecobee 3 Thermostats, (2) Schlage Locks, Phillips Hue, Harmony Remote, Alexa with integrating custom API from the community along the way.

I started buying devices about 3 months ago using the WINK platform, but soon decided to change directions by going with SmartThings and having the ability to Geofence with multiple members of our family, as WINK only allows for the Main Member to establish a Geofence, so If you set rules up based on Geofencing and an additional family member is still in the home those activation’s would still take place, which makes no sense! In addition, I liked the idea of the “open” platform. Ironically, I see that Wink recently introduced a new device and it appears they are supporting open development. Interesting. Still I feel like I made the right decision :slight_smile:

All this being said, I want to now integrate my Honeywell Vista 20P Alarm System into SmartThings. I know there are a lot of threads based on these integrations, but I was hoping for some community help on deciding what is the best direction for moving forward based on my scenario. If this is somehow a duplicate thread, I apologize in advance.

I am moderately technical and not afraid to take on a challenge or project, but I am NO programmer! I realize that a lot of the API’s in the community were built in an effort to assist other members with “outside” the box solutions, but still a lot of them require the ability to change or edit programming to fit the individuals needs. This is something I don’t feel comfortable doing without a lot of direction.

What I am looking to achieve:

  1. Integrate Arm/Disarm using “SmartTiles”
  2. Use Automation Routines to automatically Activate or Deactivate alarm based on presence
  3. Utilize Hard Wired door/window contacts along with Motion & Smoke Detectors (I also have wireless garage door sensor and looking into getting glass break sensors) in an effort to set up rules/automation with existing hardwired/wireless contacts without having to purchase 3rd party door/window contacts.
  4. Currently have 17 Zones and want the ability to see activity by zone with the actual zone name associated i.e. Zone 1 / Front Door, Zone 2 Master Bedroom Window and so on…vs. Zone 1, Zone 2 ect and not know what that zone actually represents
  5. Not a must, but would be nice to have the ability to bypass zones, instant arm/disarm, Turn on/off door/window chimes, would love to have Apple and Alexa abilities to Arm/Disarm :grin:

About my home environment…

Again I have a Ademco Honeywell Vista 20P System that is integrated with Cox Home Life for Monitoring; as well, I have 4 outdoor cameras and 1 camera in my home. The camera solution is currently integrated with my Cox Homelife solution, but. I will likely look to integrating a different camera solution that is supported by SmartThings down the road. In my alarm panel, I already have CAT5E wired back to my data closet / No USB support in the panel location (Don’t think that is an issue)

Here are the two solutions I’m most interested in searching threads on the subject that have me most interested:

  1. AD2SmartThings - Project from @d8adrvn

Regarding this solution, I realize it has the ability use the existing hardwired door/window contacts to set up rules…Think this is done using “virtual” switches if I understand the project correctly.

Couple questions regarding this project:

  1. Can you name the actual zones? I see from the project you can view active zones, but they are generic Zone 1, Zone 2 and so on, but I don’t see names associated. I’m hoping the reason the zones are not listed as a result of just illustrating the project feature

  2. Can you use “SmartTiles” with this solution?

  3. Can this integrate with Home, Away, Sleep automation features?

The alternative Solution I was interested in was Honeywell / Ademco Vista 20P Integration thread from @redloro ::

This solution also looks like it would meet my requirements. I can’t find a lot of solutions using the EnvisaLink module with Honeywell panel. Most are using this solution with DSC Alarm Panels at least from the threads I have found searching the interweb :wink:
The advantage I see to this solution is having the ability connect via local LAN
The disadvantages to this solution I see is having a computer have to run in the background 24/7; as well, I heard there can be some delays with commands, as it has to run back and forth between SmartThings, Computer and Alarm Panel and viseversa.

I apologize in advance for proving so much information, but I am trying to paint a clear picture of what I am trying to accomplish and my main goal is in determining which is the best solution with my circumstances. I could not find any strong comparisons anywhere on this subject/comparison…

Thank you in advance for helping me on this matter :slight_smile:

Very ambitious!

For your specific questions, I would ask in the author threads on those projects. That way both the original author and others who are using that specific method can chime in.

There’s a quick browse list for security in the projects section in the community– created wiki which should help you quickly find the appropriate threads. :sunglasses:


My 2 cents… I built this app to address two issues which were important to me:

  1. Wanted something that was as generic and out-of-the-box as possible to provide ease of implementation, support and hopefully could be used by many
  2. Wanted to keep all local traffic on my local LAN. I am a big believer in Cloud but not when all my devices are sitting on my local LAN. The ONLY way to get async notifications from a third party device back to SmartThings was to go through the SmartThings cloud… I wanted to keep local device chatter on my local LAN

The EVL module works on both DSC and Honeywell/Ademco panels… since I have a Vista 20P, I built the connector specific for the Honeywell/Ademco panel. Note that anyone who is using this solution also has a Honeywell/Ademco panel cause it currently doesn’t work with DSC panels.

Now regarding your questions…

  • Everyone is running the middleware on different devices, but the Raspberry Pi is very popular… I have mine running on a Mac Mini that does other things for me on my local LAN.
  • There is absolutely no delay in processing commands… the thing is so fast that when your motion sensor triggers, you will see the status change in the app while you’re walking… it’s basically as fast as the status changes on the alarm panel. Any alternate approach to send async system updates back to SmartThings will go through the cloud, which will obviously introduce longer delays.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

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@JDRoberts thank you for responding. This is good information.

I included both contributors in hopes they would interject.

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@redloro that you so much for providing your feedback! I have never worked with Raspberry Pi before, but I understand the benefit. I have both Windows and a MAC Mini w/windows on my LAN that I could run the middleware on.

I like you like the EnvisaLink in that it offers more of an out-of-the-box approach vs.having do a lot more work, though I can see some of the benefits. I also like the idea of keeping device chatter on my local network.

Curious, since you like me have a 20P, did you also look into the alternative approach of using the Arduino solution? Are you happy with the Ennvisalink solution?

My friend who uses Vera vs. SmartThings also has a Honeywell 20P and went with EnvisaLink. He is very happy with the solution and is very tech savvy, but like you, he wanted more of an out-of-the-box apporach in an effort to save time and energy.

Last question :slight_smile:
Based on the list of what I would like to accomplish with the solution to integrate SmartThings with my alarm system, is their anything referenced in the API you built that doesn’t offer what I need or would I be required to change any of the code in order to accomplish my goals?

I assume having Cox Homelife will not be a factor, since the EnvisaLink acts as an additional keypad more-less? I also know based on my conversation with there tech support that have a feature that would prevent having an existing service provider be an issue by bypassing or something of that nature…

Thanks again for your assistance!

Yes I did… I actually have several Arduinos but didn’t want to mess with it and the alarm system. I was already using the Envisalink standalone to do online monitoring through their service and it was a no brainer for me.

I am also an ex-Vera user… actually bought their system, implemented and even diagnosed several issues with their engineers before giving up and deciding to give SmartThings a shot. ST is light years ahead of Vera in every way and I’m real glad I made the switch… but yes I also had the Honeywell panel + EVL working with Vera.

I think it’s pretty much all there… you may need to use other SmartApps to do automation routines and/or Alexa integration, but that should be pretty simple. I think I’ve got some screenshots of the app in action which should give you a good idea, but feel free to post your questions on the actual device integration thread as I’m sure many of the users can share their own unique experiences with it.

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Really appreciate all your feedback!

If you didn’t have EnvisaLink prior, would you still have gone that direction or would you have opted for the Arduino solution?

Still would have done EVL 100%

@redloro Great to know! Thank you for all your feedback!!

I have going to order the board today :slight_smile:

Only question that you answered that I was a little fuzzy on, was in reference to [quote=“redloro, post:3, topic:59355”]
Wanted to keep all local traffic on my local LAN. I am a big believer in Cloud but not when all my devices are sitting on my local LAN. The ONLY way to get async notifications from a third party device back to SmartThings was to go through the SmartThings cloud… I wanted to keep local device chatter on my local LAN

What do you mean by “async?”

Also on this comment:

When you say, “it’s basically as fast as the status changes on panel,” do you mean on the “SmartThings” app? With your approach, does everything stay local since SmartThings and EVL are on same network?


Thanks for you help!!

@redloro One more think…:grin: LOL

You can use the existing hardwired door and window contacts to control automation for lights and such correct? I assume this is done using “Virtual” Switches?

@got_toys I worked with @d8adrvn on the latest AD2smartthings release. You can name the zones, that is a configuration you make in the device handler code. There is a SmartApp that will automate the creation of virtual devices that you can then use by other apps in ST. There is also a bidirectional integration with smart home monitor as well.

This project does require a ST Thing Shield:

And unfortunately they have been out of stock for a while. Another similar option you have is from Alarm Decoder:

They make the board that is also required in the AD2ST project, but they recently have a packaged solution that integrates with ST. @kevin_nutech can help answer any questions with that solution. This solution doesn’t require any additional hardware.

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Asynchronous notifications… meaning that changes from the panel are automatically posted back to SmartThings in realtime; there is no polling, refresh or other timed event to capture the notifications and update SmartThings… basically as the alarm panel broadcasts changes, these events are posted to SmartThings.

No… I mean basically as fast as the events show on the alarm panel by your door… like Front Door Open… you’ll see these same events in SmartThings. Obviously there is a delay… but it’s under a second.

Yes - all comms between the alarm panel and the SmartThings hub is kept on the local network.

Yes - I believe so… haven’t done this but every zone can be configured as a switch to tie into other SmartApps.

Hi @ritchierich and thank you for taking the time to reply. As you mentioned in your response, I have been keeping my eye on the ST Shield and even contacted ST Support regarding availability; however, they could not give me a definite on when it would be available, only to say it could be this week, next week or ?

That being said, I am ready now to implement this project. I did briefly look at the Alarm Decoder project from doing research. I wish there was an easy answer on how to proceed…LOL

I am really looking for the simplest implementation possible, while achieving the goals I mentioned above. The best solution would be one that is out-of-the-box with an API that has addressed everything I am looking to do :slight_smile:

I will include @kevin_nutech to pose some questions :slight_smile:

@kevin_nutech did you get the message I sent you regarding your product? I am very interested in having a conversation, as I want to make a decision as to how I want to move forward.

Thank you!

Hi, I don’t frequent this place very often, afraid I may have missed it. At any rate, for better responses about our products, please contact us at alarmdecoder.com

Hi @kevin_nutech,

I sent you a private message yesterday via SmartThings. As well, just now I submitted a request on Alarm Decoder.

Hoping we can touch base regarding.

Yes I saw finally, replied :slight_smile:

I can’t seem to tell if any of these solutions can be implemented on a system that is currently being monitored. It would be great if I could use the sensors to trigger automations without having to give up my current monitoring service.

AlarmDecoder works regardless if you are monitored or not. You can use it as a selfmonitoring solution, or you can use it in tandem with a monitoring company. You may have to loop them in on installation, but that’s about it.

@maxduracell agree with Kevin. I am using the AD2Pi and my alarm panel is monitored by ADT. ST gives me additional flexibility to control it without walking to the keypad and be alerted in certain situations. Plus being able to leverage my hard wired sensors in ST.

@got_toys it appears the ThingShield is back in stock in the event you decide to go with the AD2SmartThings project.