I finally got my hands on the new Homeseer dimmers (HS-WD100+) and switches (HS-WS100+). With very little effort I was able to set up the configuration according to my plan: double-tap on any dimmer/switch turns on/off all lights everywhere (thanks to Darwin for the device handler). However, the accomplishment is bitter-sweet. Overall experience is quite lousy.
First, Homeseer dimmers, like GEs, don’t have configurable minimal brightness level or the short boost at start. I tried variety of bulbs, and all off them - including Costco’s FEITs which have really broad dimming range - have the same issue: if the dimmer is turned off while at the lowest level, turning it back on brings up the zombie-apocalypse style random strobing. You have to go up and then back down to fix that, every time. Even the cheapest dumb LED-compatible dimmer is able to deal with that by having a very brief brightness boost at start.
I tried to workaround this via automation - turn brightness to the higher level automatically when lights are switched on. But that takes 2-3 seconds, during which my family members begin manually adjusting the brightness. Automation suddenly overrides it makes them feel as if dimmer is acting randomly.
Second, the double-tap action takes 2-5 seconds. It’s enough time to start wondering if it will work at all (although it does work 100%). This is absurdly long time considering the tiny amount of data transferred and trivial logic required for this action. Smart Lighting app runs on the hub, there is no referring to external resources - how can it take more than 10 milliseconds?
Third, simply turning the lights on isn’t instant. It takes 1/2-1 seconds between tapping the switch and hearing the click. That is enough time for my kids to come to conclusion that the tap didn’t work, so they tap again, which registers as double-tap and 5 seconds later all lights are on.
Fourth, there is no option to either turn lights to the pre-set brightness (instead of last brightness), nor there is a shortcut to the full brightness. I tried achieving both via use of triple-tap/Smart Lighting app, but that takes same 2-5 seconds during which people start adjusting brightness manually just to get it overridden later.
I suppose none of these is a disaster and one can get used to these quirks, but how much of expierence and convenience is it worth sacrifying for the sake of Smart Home?
All the issues above seem fixable programmatically, if only the code worked faster. Maybe the solution is to implement things in the device handler itself? I have some programming experience and could take that challenge, but before I start - may I ask for some expert advise.
Is the following doable in the device handler, and would it work in milliseconds instead of seconds:
- If dim level is below 20% when turned on, increase brightness to 50% for 0.1 second and go back to where it was
- When turned on, set dimmer brightness to configurable level (in 0.1 second or less)
- Refer to other lights directly from the device handler, not going via Smartlights app, for fast double-tap response
Or any other advice how to deal with the issues above would be greatly appreciated.
And yes, the “new” Homeseer switches/dimmers really are just old DragonTechs with a Homeseer sticker covering DragonTech logo in a home-made packaging.