This is what I have: Alexa Dot,Harmony Elite remote with IR blaster.
This is what I have on the way: Smartthings hub, Sengled Element Classic BR30 Smart Home LED Floodlight Bulbs(4 pack), Sengled Element Classic A19 Smart Home LED Bulbs(8 pack).
The floods are for recessed cans in the living room.Bulbs are for ceiling fan, lamps and side table lights.
I need to get a few plugs but I’m not sure which ones to get. Some say not compatible with Smartthings. Some say no hub needed…are those the best option or do I need some that will work with Smartthings?
Also I have a RF gas fireplace and a Bluetooth controlled ceiling fan. I’ve looked at the Libra Bond for controlling those two. Is that a good option? I’ll probably add some smart door locks in the future as well.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Tommy & welcome
The first thing to establish is: where are you?:
The reason this is always asked is because devices (and choices) differ dependent upon which country you are in.
If you are in the US then you have a lot more choices that those of us in the UK/Europe
You will probably want to get some outlets to help build out your mesh. Your bulbs that you are getting use the Zigbee HA 1.2 protocol so getting some Zigbee outlets would be your best bet. Smartthings is also compatible with Z-wave devices so it’s quite flexible. Since you’re in the US, my recommendation would be to get the Lowes Iris Smart Plug. They are Zigbee but also have a Z-wave Repeater radio inside. You can often find them on sale and/or use Lowes discount coupons that are readily available online.
As far as device selection, the device class features FAQ should give you some guidance on on that (this is a clickable link).
If you get the devices that say “no hub needed” many of those will work with your echo devices but will not work with SmartThings. So if you just want to use them with voice control, no problem, but if you also want to set them up to work on a time – based schedule or with sensors or based on someone coming or going from the house, then you may want to look at other options. But it really Depends on the exact details of how the device does the integration. So if it doesn’t say that it works with SmartThings, then you have to start looking at the protocol. The following will help a little bit with that, and you can always come back to the forum and ask.
Finally, there is a ton of information in the forums, but unfortunately, the search sucks. To help you find things, the community – created wiki has quick browse lists by category. And one of those categories is project reports, where you can find all kinds of interesting conversations and suggestions. In particular, you might want to take a look at the “get started” list, which has everything from “top 10 things to do with SmartThings” to “what device should I get next?” Lots of good stuff there.
You mentioned using the Bond with you ceiling fan and fireplace. The Bond works with rf and ir signals. I don’t think it will work with your bluetooth controlled ceiling fan, but if you email them specs of your remote they will let you know. As for the fireplace, support for fireplaces is due sometime in 2018. You can currently “trick” the Bond into thinking the remote is for ceiling fan and record the fireplace remote commands. I did this for my fireplace but I plan on using it for emergency situations only. I monitor my fireplace with temperature sensors and a camera in the room.
If you intend to use this, or any other SmartThings – controlled device, with the fireplace, make sure you check with your local township first. In most places in the United States it is illegal to set up a fireplace remote that can be operated out of sight (more than about 20 feet away). You may know that you never intend to be at your office 10 miles away and turn on the fireplace at home, but just the fact that you can will be a code violation in many places. And that in turn can void your homeowner’s insurance. This is why most of the nationally sold fireplace remotes are limited to a range of about 15 feet and don’t work with an offsite phone app.
If you check these forums, you’ll see that there are fairly common reports of lights turning on unexpectedly or even garage doors opening by themselves. Obviously that’s a very serious issue for a fireplace.
The community members who are using something to control fireplaces generally install one of the Z wave relays that has a built-in physical timer to limit the safety issues involved, but if you just use something like the bond, you don’t have that additional safeguard.
I 100% agree with JD. The remote system in my fireplace has a safety override that turns it off if it has been on continuously for more than a couple of hours. I am only using it for emergency situations and I closely monitor the fireplace.
Good stuff guys. Thanks for the responses. On the ceiling fan I believe mine is RF/Bluetooth so I’m thinking the Bond may work for me. It’a a Harbor Breeze if anyone has experience with them.
On the fireplace thing I definitely don’t want to burn my house down I just want Alexa to turn it on and off for me. Is there an easier option to accomplish that?
Unfortunately, no. As soon as you add Alexa into the mix, you have the option to use the Alexa app, which means you have the option to operate it from the office 10 miles away. Again, that in itself is a code violation in most places in the US now.
I understand the convenience of voice control (I myself am quadriparetic, so I rely on voice for pretty much everything) but even I don’t automate anything that wouldn’t be safe to leave running for 24 hours unattended.
“RF” just means “radio frequency,” and covers many different possible combinations and frequencies. There’s no one “RF” solution, and that includes bond.
For example, there are a couple of popular fan controls that either use a proprietary frequency, encryption, or both, and bond does not work with these. That includes the Lutron maestro fan controller, the Insteon fan controller, and some models of Casablanca fans.
The company has acknowledged that there are some fan models that it doesn’t work with, and just says that it hopes to add more in the future. But they don’t have a published list that I could find, so all you can do for now is try it and see if it works.
Yeah I’ll definitely reach out to Bond before purchasing. Not sure if it’s worth a hundred bucks just to add fan control to Smartthings anyway since it looks like the fireplace may be out of the picture. My bulbs should be in next week but the Smartthings is not going to get here till the following week. Can’t wait to get it to tinker with it then look at adding more goodies to it.
There are many choices out there and everyone may have different requirements. That being said, I do believe that the Lowes Iris Plug is your best option for several reasons.
It’s easily obtainable at your local Lowes store which also makes it easier to return if necessary
It has both Zigbee and Z-Wave protocols thereby extending both meshes
It will run locally (it will still work without Internet)
They will also report energy usage
You can purchase them relatively cheap with discounts
There is a switch on the device itself for manual operation
Very reliable so they rarely ever drop off the network
Won’t block the top outlet if you use the bottom plug.
It is best to get some repeater devices because Smartthings can only handle up to 32 end devices such as your bulbs. I use my plugs for a coffee pot, fans, lights, and even my TV. If you can’t find a use for them, you will eventually.