Full home Automation, Newbie, Renovation..HELP please


#1

Hi,

This is my first post on this forum but have been browsing for some time now.

I have been looking into home automation for some time now and keep coming back to SmartThings.

Its just seems the right one for me which can have plenty of add ons without going down the control4 route and spending £££££££’s

Ok well i’m an electrician so understand all that sort of stuff just never got into home automation.
Also pretty confident on copy and pasting codes lol

I want to fully automate my home during my FULL renovation, Full Rewire, Re Plumb and extension build. I think this is my perfect time to add all the av gear at the same time (Sonos route for audio).

But before I actually start my renovation I want to start buying the Hub etc. Wire it up with a few sockets and lights however messy it will look to trial it all and see if it will work. Maybe add some sensors swell for the trial to understand it.

Now my first Questions are pretty simple to allot of you but has me stumped!

I am going to have a fully fitted kitchen with integrated appliances. Tv’s on each walls etc. What sockets (single’s for appliances) do I need to buy that will link into my Smart things hub? I don’t want to buy the bulky adapter that plugs in afterwards. I think this looks very cheap and looks like an after thought. and they wouldn’t fit behind my appliances. I want to eventually change all my sockets (doubles aswell) to smart sockets. What are the best sockets to buy and do I wire them just as a normal ring main circuit like in normal houses? or is there special wiring configs?
I do like the look of Lightwave RF but believe this isn’t as straight forward to link into the SmartThings hub. Eventually there will be around 40-50 sockets so after a good but cost effective solution.

Second question.

Lighting.

I want to connect my lights to my SmartThings Hub. Normal spot lights GU10’s and some LED GU10’s.

Do I need special GU10’s for this? or Light Switches?
Ideally i want to be able to control the Lights like you normally do with a switch and also be able to control them via the App.

What is the best and most cost effective way to do this. I would like to purchase these things asap so I can connect them and have a play. Set them up and maybe buy some extra sensors etc etc. I want to be confident this is going to work for me before I renovate my whole house and realise its been wired wrong or Ive missed something crucial.

Help would be much appreciated!

Thanks


#2

Welcome!

The following thread ( this is a clickable link) should answer most of your questions about lighting:

Since you are an electrician, I would add that you will probably have the most options for both lighting and outlets if you use one of the in wall micro relays. Fibaro are particularly popular because they have some additional features, but the Aeon are also good. The Aeon come in three versions: regular on/off relay, dimmer, and motor control. Fibaro also has a dual relay. So these can be wired for either switches or outlets and let you have pretty much whatever aesthetics you want for the visible portion. It is good if you have a deep Patress box.

Alternatively, you will have many more device options if there is a neutral available. This is because most zwave switch control devices use the neutral to power the Z wave radio inside the device so that it can hear the next “on” command from the network even though the switch is in “off” status. Lightwave RF does not require a neutral at the switch, which is one reason it’s so popular. But as you mentioned, integration can get complicated.

the Fibaro 212 Inwall micro does not require a neutral, one reason for its popularity. The other in wall micros generally do require a neutral, but they can be placed anywhere on the circuit where there is a neutral, including the ceiling Rose, they don’t have to be placed at the light switch itself. So the micros generally do give you the most options.


#3

excellent and really appreciated your response!!!

So its better to use the Fibaros as they are really the better option?! and you recommend the natural option as its give much more flexibility? Yes the walls will be studded so plenty of room behind them with 45mm deep back boxes.

And faceplates with retractive momentary switches. This sounds ideal for lighting.
So basically around the £48 per light circuit?

What do you recommend for wall sockets which can be controlled in the same way. Via app and via the wall plate?

Thanks


#4

You can also use the relays for the wall sockets. :sunglasses: Just not usually the dimmer versions.

Take a look at the VFAQ I linked to previously, much discussion there of various momentary switch options for use with the in wall micros, from £2 plastics to very elegant (but also expensive) Multibutton panels in your choice of finishes. So lighting costs vary in part on your aesthetic choices as well.

If you are doing reno or a new build, I always recommend deep Patress boxes ((45mm is good) and a neutral wire at every light switch. That just gives you the most choice of devices. But if you only have two wires at a switch, there are options like the fibaro.

Vesternet is a reliable online retailer with excellent customer service and a wide selection of zwave devices. If you browse their lighting category, you’ll see a lot of the Switches that require 3 wire, so that would give you an idea of some of the options.

But also just in terms of future options, having a neutral wire at the light switch should increase your choices.


#5

ok so its an option to use relays for the wall sockets also.
but what wall plates do you use for these relays?
Standard plug sockets?

also
What other options do we have.
At £48 a shot and around 50 sockets thats £2400 just in relays :cold_sweat: lol Thats serious! lol


#6

Yes, I think most people just use their existing wall plates for the outlets.

What other options do we have.
At £48 a shot and around 50 sockets thats £2400 just in relays :cold_sweat: lol Thats serious!

Well, now you know why people use the plug-in pocket sockets! :sunglasses: These can often be found for £25 to £30, sometimes even lower on sale.

Certainly for any outlets which are going to be behind furniture, a pocket socket will work just as well as an in wall relay, and be noticeably cheaper.

Also, any device which is going to be always on doesn’t need to be plugged into a controllable socket, so many people find they don’t need them for every outlet.


#7

yes very true!!

I have always had a 12 gang grid switch in my kitchen controlling all my integrated appliances and lighting you see. From Schneider.

What i want is now is tablet mounted to the wall with ‘tiles’ instead of the traditional grid.

How stable is this smart things hub using fibrous relays?

Thanks


#8

Smartthings is an extremely versatile, powerful system. But they have yet to solve the stability issues. They are definitely aware of the problem, and have said they are making reliability their top corporate priority. But they aren’t there yet. There was an outage of several hours just this last week.

Since last November, I personally have yet to go 10 days without an impactful SmartThings failure. So I have moved everything critical off of it that doesn’t have an immediately available Plan B.

If you use the Fibaro relays, they themselves are very reliable. And even if the smartthings hub goes down, The switches will still work manually.

However, your tablet on the wall will not work with smart things if your Internet, or even just your smartthings cloud account, is not available.

In fact, if your smartthings cloud account is not available, even the official mobile app on your phone will not be able to talk to your hub. Technically they could, it’s just not how SmartThings was designed. It’s a cloud-based architecture, still, although they have added a small amount of local processing for some lighting features.

So you do you need to design for a Plan B for pretty much everything. Certainly it doesn’t compare to the reliability of a control 4 system, but obviously those are many times more expensive.


#9

Wow, this is such a shame because having everything integrated would mean still having my grid switch on the wall as well as a tablet pc somewhere? just sounds silly?
But of reports this is the better system?

Loxone and few others are ok aswell right?

I want a fully stable system that can control my whole kitchen appliances, sockets round the house and all lighting.

Integrating all my AV stuff would be nice also?

I know this is a Smart Things forum but not being stable can pose problems for me. Especially on the final build I want to get rid of wall plates in Most rooms and use a Tablet in the wall.
Running locally is ideal really as we can’t always guarantee internet especially the way BT have been in my area!

Such a shame this isn’t a stable platform!
I Guess why people who want real stable home automation go for Control4 etc.

:frowning:

Realistically will SmartThings ever be the proper solution? Be stable running locally swell as cloud? and will it ever be better than control4?


#10

SmartThings gets very high ratings in its price class, which is at the very low end of the price points. It is remarkably versatile. The community is fantastic. And they have publicly made a commitment to improving reliability in the future.

But there’s no way it can fully compete with a closed system that costs literally hundreds times more.

Every system has pluses and minuses.

There are some systems that are very stable, run locally and are fairly inexpensive in the UK, notably indigo. But then you’re going with zwave only, and not even all Zwave device classes, as it does not support the security command set. So no zwave locks.

We’re all hoping that smartthings solves the reliability issue. They’ve taken some recent steps which may prove to be significant. They hired a new chief engineer who had been at Amazon and was responsible for several of their very large projects. And they went ahead and announced that Samsung’s expensive televisions will have a SmartThings component for the 2016 line which comes out later this year.

Personally, I can’t imagine that they would release this as a feature on their £5,000 televisions unless they’ve solved the stability issues. That’s a market that Samsung wants to keep happy. So even if the television-based model is stripped of some features, if it has better stability I would see that as a step forward. But then my own home automation needs are pretty simple, I know there will be other people who would be distressed unless the television based system has all of the features of the current smartthings hub and then some.

For now, you just have to look at the details very carefully and decide what is important to you.


(Wayne) #11

Yes, maybe and definitely no. In that order.
You want something better than control 4 you’re looking at the wrong budget level I think.