Home Automation Plan

Cree bulbs are able to be dimmed. I typically don’t use any of mine at 100% brightness.

Thank Phil… I just got back from Home Depot. I bought the last SmartThings Hub and they were completely out of the Cree Connected, they only had the Cree Replacements. Their price on the Cree Connected vs. Amazon and other places was enough to wait until next Home Depot’s next shipment coming in next week. Now I just have to look at the SmartThing hub in a box and not play with it for a week. That might be torture :slight_smile:

Eric had a great point on picking a protocol to standardize on… Sounds like Zigbee is established enough with a lot of products on the market, I can expand on that for a long time.

I don’t think I need to go to a pro to wire in the smart switches when I get to them but I very well may reach out for advise if I have questions.

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As far as zigbee versus Z wave, some people use just one, some use a mix depending on each individual use case.

Zigbee sensors tend to be a bit smaller and a bit faster than the similar Z wave ones. But very strong Wi-Fi can drown out zigbee and doesn’t affect zwave. This is probably the reason why historically Z wave has been much more popular for light switches and door locks, both of which are fixed location devices. Typically one of the ways that we address Wi-Fi/zigbee interference is just to move a device a few feet over.

For example, I’ve previously mentioned that we had a situation at my house where a Wi-Fi booster plugged into the north wall in one room would cause all of the SmartThings-controlled zigbee devices to the west of it to lose connection to the network. But if we plugged in the same Wi-Fi booster on the east wall, there was no problem.

It’s usually very easy to move the sensor out of a dead spot. Not so easy with the doorlock or light switch. :wink:

But if you live in the US and you want to use just zigbee, you certainly can. It’s more challenging with SmartThings than with more expensive controllers because the SmartThings hub doesn’t do channel hopping. But there are some community members using it that way. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Z-wave_versus_Zigbee

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Thanks JD. In looking at things that work with SmartThings, there seems to be enough products that are compatible with SmartThings that I will not be at a loss for devices. Thanks for bringing to my attention the speed on the sensors, that is a good point to consider. What do you consider a STRONG Wi-Fi?

JD, What are some of the more expensive controllers that DO channel hopping?

Most people who have issues have their SmartThings Hub right next to their wireless router. You should allow about 5 feet of space around the router or any other devices that use wifi (repeaters, desktops) to reduce interference.

I live in a very crowded 2.4 ghz area and don’t have issues with zigbee (about 25 devices). I did purchase a couple of smart outlets to help boost the mesh.

Good read on channel hopping.

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Another thing to remember with SmartThings, is that there are a ton of products that are compatible with SmartThings that are not on the Works with SmartThings list. If you see something that looks like something you might want, search for it on the forums and likely someone has made it work with a custom device handler. It’s a little more complex than using the Works with SmartThings certified devices, but not by a lot. Basically just cut and paste. You are definitely not limited to just the devices listed in the Things Marketplace on the SmartThings app.

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Control 4 does. It’s an excellent system, but very expensive – – typically 10% of the cost of the home plus an annual maintenance fee. If I had the money I would definitely get their system, but I don’t. And if you use them you have to use their devices mostly, because they have a lot of proprietary encoding.

The systems used by most of the cable companies, including Xfinity home and Time Warner, do channel hopping, but they also limit the devices you can add and they have a significant monthly fee.

I’d consider anything -50 dbm and above to be a strong boosted signal. Different people have different thoughts on this. If you’re streaming video, you probably need to be at at least -57 or -56. -70 would be fine for just email or browsing. If you’re at -60 you’re probably going to see Netflix buffering, which is when people usually start looking into boosting. :sunglasses:

Any certified Z wave device from the same region should work with smartthings as far as “basic”(that’s a Z wave term in this context) operation, which typically means on/off/dim. For other features, a custom device type handler may be required, but zwave is usually pretty straightforward.

Zigbee is a whole different story. The zigbee standard allows for different profiles, including manufacturer proprietary, and they can’t all talk to each other. They don’t even use the same addressing scheme. So just being “certified zigbee” isn’t enough to work with SmartThings.

SmartThings uses the “zigbee home automation profile” (ZHA 1.2) , so most devices which also use that exact same profile can be made to work with SmartThings, but they almost always need custom code. If the community has already create a custom drivers for specific model, you can find them using the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Device_Type_Handlers

So it’s easier to shop for Z wave devices, but you learn what to look for if you want to use zigbee.

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I cannot recommend using switches over bulbs strongly enough. Even if you think it will be easier in the short term to use bulbs, the ease of use and reliability of switches can’t be beat.

That said, I think the best way to tackle any HA project is to start small. Pick a room, automate it, live with it, and then adjust based on your use case. As @JDRoberts likes to say, “all home automation is local.” My house is a living record of my attempts and lessons learned.

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Paul, Thanks for the feedback. My issue is I have more lamps I want to automate than lighting fixtures. I want to be able to walk into my bedroom and say Alexa turn on bedroom lights. With that in mind I am limited to the balls or the outlets… Do you have any feedback on doing it through the outlets gives you better performance?

Dang it… Now you gonna make me stop what I was doing a research boosting :slight_smile:

For nightstand lights, the bulbs will probably be cheaper ($15 each) and dim lower. Pocket sockets or wired outlets controlling dumb bulbs can be brighter per bulb, since most smart bulbs top out at 800 lm. So just depends on what you need. :sunglasses:

In my opinion and experience, using sockets for lamps is a much better experience. For example, if you lose electric power in the middle of the night, all of your connected bulbs will turn on at full brightness when power is restored. I would never put connected bulbs in my bedroom.

Sockets… just by themselves ready for any light bulb?! Where do you buy those?

Someone did try to make a connected lamp socket… I can’t remember the name and I don’t know if they ever made it to market. It might have been this:

Sorry, when I said “socket” I mean’t “wall outlet” or “lamp module”

Something like this:

or this:

And they make dimming ones as well.

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And just since this seems like a good time to mention it, “Pocket socket” is the term often used in the forums for a plug-in module. :sunglasses: Just makes it easier to distinguish it from an in wall receptacle. They come in several different shapes:


They’ll generally work the same as the wired receptacles.

For me, the power doesn’t go off at our house very often, and when it does, I like to know so I can check things . So the bulbs coming on because the power went off and was restored works fine for me. Different things work for different people. :sunglasses:

There are a couple. Idevices has one which works with Echo or HomeKit that just came out a few months ago.

Seems like a weird idea to me, especially since it costs almost $80, but choice is good. :sunglasses:

Everspring even has a Z wave one, but again, expensive.

https://www.amazon.com/Everspring-Z-Wave-Screw-Socket-Module/dp/B00G3OEW9C

What software/app are you guys using to control all of your devices?