SmartThings Community

Home renovation from the ground up, need feedback. Will all this stuff work well together? (EU/Greece)

(Alex) #1

Hi,

I am renovating my apartment. It’s an old apartment from the 70s so we are literally tearing it down and rebuilding everything including wiring, pluming, insulation etc.

I was always on rent so I never got to make an apartment the way I like. Because this one is mine I am quite excited for the project and decided to make it smart. I spent a week digging around, learning about components, hubs, protocols etc. It’s my understanding that to get the best out of everything one must combine different protocols and manufacturers of devices. I will have a couple of Ethernet sockets in each room with cat 6. I am completely avoiding wifi devices unless necessary, and thus opted for z-wave and zigbee components. It’s my understanding that the components will connect to the hubs, and the hub(s) will connect to the internet via Ethernet.

The apartment is a penthouse is around 140 sq meter (1500 square feet) net, with an additional 120m of porch around the apartment.

What I would ask of you is to check my list of components out and try to verify for me if everything will work seamlessly together. I want to avoid home assistant and raspberry pi for now, I want the devices to just work via the hubs. I would also appreciate your feedback and other suggestions in regards to the components chosen. Also please point out if there is anything I am missing.

These are the core of the lighting security and wiring. After those are decided I will move on to entertainment and appliances. Please note I live in EU

Thanks

hubs

Connectivity

Security

Lighting

Wall sockets

  1. Wall sockets - https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/smart-switches-and-outlets-walli-outlet-type-f/https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/smart-switches-and-outlets-product-range/ (ολη η σειρά)
  2. Antenna socket - https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/smart-switches-and-outlets-walli-n-tv-sat-outlet/

Other

  1. Theromstat - Nest https://nest.com/thermostats/nest-learning-thermostat/overview/
#2

Sounds like an exciting project! :sunglasses:

As far as your specific question, Most of it will, some of it won’t.

First things first, what country are you in? The device selection does vary somewhat.

Also, although there is a SmartThings version for Nvidia, you can’t add that to any other SmartThings network. So you would use either the Nvidia version or a regular smartthings hub. Not both. But then you wouldn’t need both. :sunglasses:

As far as the smoke sensor, smartthings only works with the older battery operated Fibaro model, not the one you linked to. But you might want to wait on selecting that until you know what security system you are going to have.

You have zigbee sensors on your list, but no zigbee repeaters except the Aqara switches, which don’t work well with SmartThings. Read post 11 in the following FAQ, then go up to the top of the thread and read that whole thread and you’ll understand much better what this requirement is. (The topic title is a clickable link)

There is no official nest integration with SmartThings, but there is a custom integration which is very popular.

Smartthings’ integration with any camera is very limited, and may not be what you are expecting. So I would look into that carefully before making those decisions.

Also, you may have already seen this, but I would suggest reading it as well:

#3

Also, you may have already intended this, but you will need a hue bridge for several reasons.

(Alex) #4

@JDRoberts

Hello, it is indeed an exciting project.

The house is in Greece, so we have to use with devices that work in EU (240v)

I didn’t get the nvidia version of smart things. Do you mean there is a different smart things hub that works with nvidia shield TV, and another one that doesn’t :open_mouth: ? Could you link to them please, because I haven’t seen anything like this.

https://www.smartthings.com/products/smartthings-link-for-nvidia-shield-tv - this smarthings link thing is US only :frowning:

Can you please recommend an alternative smoke sensor that works seamlessly?

Aren’t the Philips hue dimmers zigbee repeaters? The only zigbee devices in my list are the hue lights. Don’t the Philips bulbs also work as repeaters? I will read your two guides, thanks.

I thought I would do without the bridge, but OK. I will get the hue bridge as well. Thanks

Is it even possible to do the whole setup via smartthings? I don’t want to get into the rasbberi pi / Arduino projects, and I would appreciate if I could just use one app and voice assistant to control my home. I am very flexible with the devices I will choose, everything is fine as long as I can do things hassle free, I don’t want to spend my days configuring stuff, I just want to enjoy the place :slight_smile:

Thanks for taking the time to reply and guide me through things. I don’t have any hands on experience with home automation besides reading stuff on the internet.

#5

Information on repeaters is in the links I already gave you, but the short answer is that battery operated devices do not repeat. So the Hue dimmers do not repeat.

The Phillips bulbs will work as repeaters for each other once they are connected to the hue bridge. But they won’t act as repeaters for your Zigbee sensors.

Can you get IKEA products? Their tradfri bulbs and plug in pocket sockets (available in many different plug styles) Both work well when connected directly to the smart things hub and work well as zigbee repeaters. But their handheld remote and buttons only have a partial integration.

With regard to Nvidia, I meant the link device. But I didn’t know what country you were in when I made that comment.

(Alex) #6

@JDRoberts

Yes I can get IKEA products. However everywhere I looked when doing my search literally everyone says that the only bulbs that work without issues are Philips hue.

I understand that they’re the only component that is zigbee, and if I can avoid this I will. So if you can vouch for ikea smart lights and switches, and they are rgb, an I can also use light strips, I am fine with those.

Sorry, which zigbee sensors am I using? I am trying to avoid zigbee and stay with z-wave. It’s only the lights that make that impossible.

I will revert after reading your guides.

#7

I’m tired now, so I will let other people continue the conversation. But just very quickly.

Phillips hue used with the Phillips hue bridge Are excellent devices. I use them myself. But then they form their own mini network with the bridge and do not act as repeaters for your other zigbee devices.

Ikea Tradfri Bulbs do not have quite the same color range, But are much less expensive and are still good bulbs. They can be used either with the hue bridge or directly with a smartthings hub. And when used without the hue bridge they are excellent zigbee repeaters. There was much discussion on this in the forums, so just look around.

FAQ: Are Smart Bulbs Repeaters? (Updated Sept 2017: the new answer is yes, but may be inconsistent)

All of the smartthings brand sensors are Zigbee, not zwave. You had them on your list. :sunglasses:

#8

As far as the lights, Aeotec does make zwave bulbs and lightstrips, but they are more expensive than the zigbee versions and most people don’t like them quite as well. But they are an option for some people.


.

You do not need a separate bridge device for those, they work directly with your Z wave hub.

(Alex) #9

@JDRoberts

I am sorry I got you tired, I know it’s very hard to build this home automation project without hands on experience. I read your guide and I kind of got why I need to use repeaters and in what range etc.

I will take your feedback into consideration and try to update the list taking into account our discussion. I will also upload the apartment’s top down blueprint, showing where each device is going to go in the blueprint so I can help you guys give better feedback.

I am very thankful for your help and time, and I apologize for my ignorance.

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#10

You didn’t get me tired, don’t worry about that. I am quite ill, and it has been worse this week.

And don’t worry about just being at the beginning of your research journey. We have all been there. :sunglasses:

(Alex) #11

Thanks.

So I’ve decided to keep things simple. What I will do is I will create a z-wave only network of devices, controlled via smarthings and echo (I know echo is zigbee but it shouldn’t matter).

The only exception will be the lighting system for which I will use Philips hue, together with their bridge. AFAIK I won’t need any zigbee repeaters in this case, because the bulbs will act as repeaters for that “bulb network”.

Can someone please confirm if that reasoning makes sense, because It will need a lot of work to search again for z-wave devices and reenter everything into the blueprints. I will search for devices here - https://www.z-wave.com/

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#12

You need to make sure that you get Z wave on the EU frequency, and that you also get the smartthings hub on that frequency. That will make it much easier for you because those devices Will operate on the right current as well.

You can see all of the certified Z wave devices at the official zwave alliance site:

https://products.z-wavealliance.org/regions/1/categories

As far as where to purchase them from, Amazon.co.UK or any of the European Amazons are usually good.

Vesternet is excellent with excellent customer service and you may be able to get a discount if you are buying four or more of any one thing.

https://www.vesternet.com

And there are additional retailers listed in the following FAQ. The ones marked “UK“ will usually be selling on the right frequency.

List of Home Automation Retailers

It’s true the echo has a zigbee hub inside it, but You won’t be using that because a zigbee device can only belong to one hub. Instead, you will be using the official “cloud to cloud“ integration between smartthings and echo.

With the hue bridge, it supports both ethernet and Zigbee. It will use zigbee to make its own mini network with the devices you attach to it. Then it will use your local ethernet network to talk to smartthings using the official integration. :sunglasses:

@RobinWinbourne is in the UK and has done to complete houses with Fibaro kit, so he may have more to add.

(Alex) #13

@JDRoberts

Thanks a lot, I greatly appreciate your time and contribution. The links you sent are awesome, especially z-wave alliance.

For EU I also found https://shop.zwave.eu/ , which should be the store of z-wave.com for EU, so I can safely assume everything sold there will work for me. It doesn’t sell retail though only B2B, but at least I will be able to know the exact SKUs of the devices I need.

I guess you are giving me your “blessing” to go ahead and work with z-wave only (excluding the Philips hues), so I will take a couple of days to dig through z-wave devices to replace everything zigbee in my list. Then I will update the floor-plan blueprints with the location of each device, and post once more a new list + floor plan to ensure that what I am trying to build makes sense. I can provide also information on wiring, wall materials etc at that point if needed.

Thanks again for your time.

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#14

It’s completely up to you. Some people use only zigbee, some people use only Z wave, some people choose device by device to see what works best.

If you can find all of the devices you need with all of the features you need using only Z wave, then that’s great. It’s not a matter of needing my “blessing“ or not. :sunglasses:

(Alex) #15

Now that you mentioned it I considered in the beginning to do the whole project with the Fibaro kit (including their hub), but when I searched on the net all I found was complains about things not working.

If anybody has hands on feedback of any “all in one solution” like Fibaro or zipato - https://www.zipato.com/ or other solutions, I would be very interested to get all components from the same supplier. It’s just that these are small EU companies, how can they compete with samsung etc…

(Alex) #16

@JDRoberts

Thanks a lot. You’ve opened my eyes in regards to how much work I must put in to this project so as to make it work. It seems that I will have to spent my evenings configuring routers, devices and searching in forums for compatibility. Then I will be having to upgrade devices all the time, trouble shoot problems constantly etc. It’s not like I can’t do it, I’ve been building my own computers and configuring networks for a long long time, but it’s that I don’t really want to. I just want to enjoy all this stuff. I know from experience that’s it’s too easy for our starting goals (like better entertainment, security and cool factor) to be replaced with this never ending cycle of tinkering, updating, fixing and improving tech with no particular purpose. I’ve done that for far too much time in my life.

With that in mind I am considering a second (or third :stuck_out_tongue: ) option now, to go towards a professional solution, like going with control4 - control4.com. The house will have a built in home theater with a high quality 200 inch screen, projector in ceiling, good grade amps and speakers etc, and It seems that home made solutions like smart things are too early to get into this level of automation.

Adding to that the fact that I might order all this stuff to find out something doesn’t work well with the rest, or that I messed up with the mesh network somewhere, or everything else that can go wrong because of own lack of experience, it sounds like a recipe for disaster even though professionals will install the components. Using control4 I will probably have to pay 2-2.5x the amount that I would pay with a smart-hings solution, but I can live with that.

What do you think ? Still considering my options…

#17

You described the challenges very well. What was that old poster:

I don’t have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem. :wink:

As I have mentioned before in the forums, I would get a control4 system if I could afford it, but I can’t.

Before I got sick, I used to enjoy technology tinkering, and probably would have been very happy with a SmartThings solution, but now my physical situation has changed and I have to put reliability at the top of my priority list. I can’t even pop the batteries in a sensor on my own. Also, about two years ago they broke voice navigation on the SmartThings app and it is never been fully repaired, even in the new app, so I can’t even use the app on my own. So it goes.

I decided to give up (for now) on the Jetsons house and go with much simpler logic and fewer device choices in order to get more reliability. I was already using iOS devices, so I moved all my critical use cases to a combination of HomeKit and Amazon echo. Each of these has continued to get better over the past two years while maintaining excellent reliability so that solution has worked well for me.

As I’ve also mentioned before, I continue to use SmartThings for some convenience use cases like getting a notification if the guestroom window is left open, rain is expected, and the guest is away from the house. It just does that better than anything else in a similar price range, and if I don’t get a notification, it’s not that big a deal.

It seems pretty clear that smartthings continues to have a “run fast and break things” development philosophy. They are adding new features and new integrations all the time, but they still don’t have a backup and restore feature, a migration utility, A way to change the mode without the Internet, a way to use the app without the Internet, or a way to delay updates to a more convenient time. Or an app that works with voiceover. :scream:

Whoever their target market is, it isn’t somebody who relies on this stuff every day the same way they rely on a dishwasher or a refrigerator or even a streaming box.

Other Alternatives: adding even more devices

I’m happy with the solution that I found, but different things will definitely work for different people. So it’s just a matter of finding what’s right for you.

Some people have been happy with a combination of smartthings and hubitat. Hubitat can run much of the same custom code, but not all of it, and the third-party integrations aren’t as smooth. But hubitat runs locally, has backup and restore, has deferred updates, and doesn’t have a cloud to add instability.

I suspect if I weren’t sick I’d be very pleased with that particular combination. There would still be a lot of tinkering required every week, but, like I said, I kind of enjoy that, and I would know that primary functions would be covered by hubitat even when smart things was being glitchy.

or changing your own requirements

in my current situation, I really need something which can be managed by me telling somebody else who isn’t very technical what to do. So I’ve also stripped back my “support of complexity” requirements.

I need geopresence triggers, sunrise/sunset triggers, Voice control of both the devices and the app , time schedules with the ability to set different schedules for different days, motion and contact sensor triggers, simple device state triggers (“if switch A turns on, turn on switch B”), and a totally hands-free smart lock. Plus your typical smart lighting and smart socket control.

If getting that reliably with an MFOP of 6 months means I only have a choice of three models of sensors, and none of them are under $20, I can live with that. If my budget limits means I can only automate one light switch in a room or skip some rooms altogether, I’m OK with that.

But again, different things work for different people.

(Alex) #18

I am sorry to hear about your sickness. I am glad that your talent is not wasted. You are providing brilliant information here in the most specific, articulate and concise matter.

Will continue updating the thread with floorplans, schemas, costs and equipment lists, maybe that will help someone in the future, besides helping me get feedback.

Forgot to mention that the dealer suggested a lighting solution via KNX in combination with control4.

Thanks again

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