Migrating from SmartThings to Vera Plus

Continuing the discussion from Cloud Talk:

Vera Plus ($149.95, ordered from Amazon) arrived yesterday, on schedule. Set up was a breeze. Updated firmware to the latest version and ready to migrate the devices. Boy, it’s good to see everything in the web browser on the laptop instead of the tiny phone screen. :slight_smile:

(to be continued…)

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I wish you good luck! And keep us updated how you like your new controller. I know you mainly have zwave devices, but do you have any Centralize?

For starters, migrated a few Z-Wave plug-in switches and dimmers today:

Exclusion from SmartThings is a bit of a pain because the mobile app does not indicate when the exclusion is complete. I had to look in the IDE for the exclusion events to show up in the hub event log. :frowning: Had no problem with inclusion into Vera so far.

Set up a couple of automations (scenes) in Vera: one based on sunrise/sunset (with offsets) and another with absolute time. So far so good. :slight_smile:

Nice thing about Vera automations is that they can be easily enabled/disabled with a push of a button. This is not possible with ST’s “Smart” Lighting rules, for example.

How does Vera integrate with Echo, IFTTT, Harmony, etc?

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While answering that may I add:

  • Does Vera Plus allow calling external apps, web servers, etc?
  • External calls to Vera Plus?
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Official Echo integration is on the road map, AFAIK. There’s a third party integration based on ASK.

IFTTT integration is possible via the Maker channel, but for me personally, it’s not a deal breaker. My goal is to reduce dependency on the cloud, not increase it.

Don’t know much about Harmony, as I don’t own one and don’t want it either.

Absolutely. Vera plug-ins can make external HTTP calls. Likewise, Vera runs a web server that can accept HTTP requests.

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Are you planning to keep the ST Hub in case you plan to switch back?

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Yes, I’m going to keep it, so I have an excuse to hang around the Community. :wink:

Seriously, I will continue using ST were it makes sense. For example, I have a Samsung SmartCam that works reasonably well with ST and the monitoring is free for the time being. ST is great for remote monitoring where you depend on the cloud anyway. And should ST implement local control in the future, I’ll consider switching back.

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Well thats good news.

Shortly after the start of this year I gave up on any ST rules and routines and moved that work to EventGhost (EG). Any motion, contacts open/close, temperature and what have you that triggers an event is sent to EG. This was intended as a temporary solution and I had planned to move all that processing back to ST when they got their s…t together. 6 months later and I am still waiting.

EG has been a saviour but it does add another level of complexity I dont need. I have been looking at other options but found most “boxed” me in their setup. Definitely will need to take a closer look at Vera Plus

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Can it also send strings, appended with return-linefeed via tcp?

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Vera plug-ins are written in Lua and use standard Lua socket API’s. I don’t know for sure, but I’d be surprised if there were any restrictions on the line termination characters.

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I’ll be curious to see how it performs when you get a lot of devices added. My recollection is that Vera always had issues running out of resources.

BTW, did you look at the current Universal Devices offerings before deciding on Vera Plus?

Vera Lite was resource constrained, running on a 500 MHz MIPS CPU with 32 MB Flash and 64 MB RAM. Officially, it only supported up to 50 Z-Wave devices. Vera Plus runs on a 880 MHz MIPS with 128 MB Flash and 256 MB RAM. So, it’s 4X memory size and 76% faster CPU.

BTW, did you look at the current Universal Devices offerings before deciding on Vera Plus?

Yes, I did. Universal Devices ISY994i does not have Zigbee and Bluetooth radios and is more expensive than Vera Plus. It’s not Z-Wave Plus certified, so I assume it uses older Z-Wave radio.

Is the mobile app as bad as the reviews seem to indicate?

I wouldn’t say the mobile app is “bad”. It does not crash of bomb you with red banner errors at every turn like ST does. It’s nothing fancy, but at the same time it’s simple to use. You have the Dashboard where it shows your current mode, alerts and favorite devices. Then, you have the Devices view where you can see and control all your devices grouped either by rooms or by type. Then, there’s the Scenes view where you can manage your scenes. So, it covers all the bases, IMHO. You cannot include/exclude devices form the mobile app, but that’s ok with me. It does not use screen real estate very efficiently, but neither does ST app. All in all, it’s definitely less confusing than ST app.

P.S. One advantage of the Vera app over ST is that it has an iPad version and works in the landscape mode. Being an active iPad user, I really appreciate that.

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I was reading the Android reviews; pretty consistently harsh.

Is the web server outward facing, or local only?

The web server runs on Vera, so it’s local, if that’s what you ask. One could set up port forwarding to access it remotely, but I don’t need that. You also have root access to Vera box via ssh. :wink:

Vera has a web service for remote access that the mobile app uses to connect to Vera outside of your LAN, but it’s not accessible to third parties, AFAIK.

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Yup, read the same reviews :slight_smile:
A bad app is not a show stopper for me. I started my HA adventure with Wemo. Have you seen their app? Fortunately, someone wrote WemoManager/Server and I have never needed to load the Belkin app again except to add new Wemo devices.

I dont mind the ST app but the rules and cloud processing annoy me. Again, I found (mostly) a workaround to ease the pain of its limitations. The biggest annoyance is that almost 1 year ago I bought V2 hub. A waste of money IMO. To date I see no advantage over the V1 hub.

I have also been playing around with an Aeon z-wave stick and Home Automation (HA) software. This setup convinced me that I want to move entirely to local processing. Its so fast, when I open a door the lights are already on before I can step in. With ST, at times, I stand there waiting what feels like an eternity. The HA showstopper is the configuration.yaml. Cryptic as he11 and a nightmare to maintain.

If Vera Plus has local processing and provides me means to add on tho what ever its shortcomings may be, look out, I may be heading your way :slight_smile:

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I still have a number of things running local on Indigo; I actually moved a fair amount of things back to it after I realized SmartThings shortcomings.

But I currently use the SmartThings hub as an endpoint for my Alexa skill. I love that I can not only control everything by voice, but ask things like “Alexa, ask SmartThings about low batteries” and have Alexa read me back a report.

I really want a new set up to be capable of this. @geko any ideas?

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