Multiple Lighting Systems with ST (new to this game but loving it)


(Dave Mb) #1

My first post after many hours of obsessive reading and watching vids and a little testing before I dive in with my order (hopefully Monday ) so your help will be appreciated.
I’m retrofitting my house (large 5,000 sqft) I have tested caseta pro with a few dimmers knowing the 50 limit, ( I was going to spring for ra2 select but didn’t want to spend 12k plus) So my plan is to run as much lighting as i can on lutron caseda in areas that make the most sense, avoid things like wall plugs, linking the caseta bridge with my ecobee 4, wall plugs (1 from lutron as a repeater) , minimize 3 way conversions to limit picos, etc. Then control everything from ST.
my key questions are:

  • does smart things do a better job at overall control of lighting (scenes, automation, voice commands etc) versus the luntron app? (seems that way to me as a newbie)
  • Can i run another lighting system separate from the Casesta (with other ST compatible lights/hubs like HUE in select rooms) use ST for basic on /off and ST to tie everything together for scenes, automations etc. I plan to eventually add garage door, motion sensors, cameras, locks etc . I want to run it all through Alexa, iPhone, pico scenes etc.

thanks in advance for your help


(MacTechGenius) #2

If you can hardwire motion/contact sensors…I would used Konnected securities from @heythisisnate. For light switches, I would use Z-Wave Plus but also put a few ZigBee devices to keep the signal strong. I am using SmartThing’s successfully in a 5,000 square foot home.


(Eric Vasilisin) #3

I’ll second that… most devices Z Wave Plus, some Zigbee… and I use Honeywell Vista alarm panel sensors too.

6,800sq ft


(Dave Mb) #4

Thanks for the help, it looks like i have some more reading to do as the Zwave+ and Zigbee as are new to me. (loL)
I have a full security system (not so smart) already with a basic app, and just looking to add some outdoor cameras and a video doorbell
If i understand you, i can run caseta as my main lighting, then selectively fill rooms or other areas with Zwave and zibee devices, then be able to get everything (caseta and zigbee/zwave+ devices) working in harmony from the ST apo? This will lift the capacity much higher than the 50 lutron casenta me, i would do isolated areas for zigbee wall switches so the need to match caseta is not a big deal (ie: guest suite or movie room) . I looked on amazon and found GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Lighting Control Smart Dimmer Switch, Is this the kind of alternative devices that could expand and enhance the overall system? Any brands you recommend?
Thanks again


(MacTechGenius) #5

Yup… GE’s are a great brand: http://amzn.to/2G3687G

I have had mine for 3 years without an issue!


#6

First, just to get it out of the way, you are talking about running multiple “Bridges” not multiple “hubs.” And, yes, to answer your basic question there’s no general problem doing that with SmartThings although it always comes down to the specific brands and models being chosen as to what exactly you can do. SmartThings is a multiprotocol platform, and many people mix and match lighting devices based on their particular needs for each specific room. :sunglasses:

As far as specific devices, If you think of Lighting Devices as falling into Good/Better/Best categories, then GE is a solid bargain brand, at the high end of the “Good” category in terms of engineering.They are very popular because of their price, and good enough for many purposes. They don’t have as many configuration options as the more expensive brands, and they don’t dim as low, but they’re widely available.

See the device class features FAQ (this is a clickable link) for more details. The Light switches discussion starts around post 40 in that thread. :bulb:


#7

Two more points:

Picos

Many people really like Picos, but if you use the official SmartThings/Caseta integration, the picos will be invisible to SmartThings. You can still use them in a virtual three-way with a Lutron master switch, but that’s the only way you can use them. You can’t set them up in a virtual three-way with a Z wave switch or use them to control other SmartThings actions.

If you get the Lutron smartbridge Pro instead of the standard SmartBridge model there is a community – created integration which would allow you to expose the pico to smartthings, but it’s technically much more complex to set up and requires an additional device running as a “man in the middle” server.

So I just wanted to mention that it’s likely that you would be using alternative devices rather than picos for the other parts of your lighting system. See the following FAQ for some examples:

More info

You might also find the following FAQ on SmartThings and large houses of interest:


(Dave Mb) #8

JD (and others) I can’t thank you enough, I’ve read the link posts on this forum that have brought a better understanding versus the general product reviews I’ve been reading. I still have a long way to go but I think i’m getting it . Any links or advice is greatly appreciated. I’m willing to put in some passion time in learning but I’d rather ramp up sooner than later and reduce the learning curb with experienced people such as yourself if you can spare the time to help. Besides my wife want me to go back to office and work. Lol

Bridges versus hubs is now understood, although I’m not sure if i should be linking non native devices to each bridge if ST handles it natively (ie: caseta has my ecobee4 set up in the smartbridge pro, and I set it up in ST as well. I have no idea which one alexa is using or this is a bad thing.

The pico advice is a huge save for me. Sounds like I’ll be getting other devices (I saw your bento box post)
I don’t want to get deep into code or anything complex . I’d rather buy something that makes it easy to get bring things together.

I think Zwave plus is now a likely candidate. is it true that I’ll need to have a few of them scattered around the house to get good performance. Would 6 or so do it? Do all devices act as a repeater? FYI 2600ft up and 2600ft down about 90ft wide about 30 deep.

Here are a few things that may give you context that may sway your thoughts.

Design

  • Light almond is the colour of the day to match the house current electrical, Lutorn Claro are the wall plates (going o upgrade to that) . I know plug dimers/on-off and other similar devices may be white…thats ok.
  • There will be combo of caseta on/off/ dimmers/ pico for 3 way (no pico themes now that i know they don’t work with st) and regular (not smart) rocker switches. i don’t want mix too many styles but i hope use lutron consistently in much of the main level , and look at alternatives (to get well past 50 devices) in the walk out basement and or rooms like a walk in closet, that is more forgiving with design differences and don’t matter much and or won’t be used by guests.
  • not to brag, but it is a high end house so look matters, i just didn’t want to spend $130-$150 a switch for ra2 select and wanted to do more things with the budget. (everything in, outdoor security cameras, lighting, thermostats (2) , doors locks (2-4), garage openers (2) entry gate opener (1) some wall plugs, theme keys, motion sensors, etc I’m guessing about 10-11k Canadian (8-8.5k USA) I’m not looking for cheap so much as good value, reliable function and a design fit. No labour costs are in the budget as this will be a passion DYI and i have a son-inlaw who can score some big points. Looking to do it in 2-3 stages in the coming 2-3 months mostly to test things along the way or wait out a few items for compatibly .

list of priority on why i want this.

  1. This is too cool and I’m glad lived long enough to feel a little like George Jetson. I only started on this 2 weeks ago and my first axela did me in, (they just came out in Canada a few weeks ago) This is far too amazing to not do it! lol
    2 Sonos is big for us mostly for Alexa operation. I have 12 zones. Scenes with Sonos work on the lutron bridge ie: …play this music in this room with this scene) but i can live without that using ST. Hopefully Sonos will be fully supported by st down the line.
  2. two Garage openers, 1 gate opener (both liftmaster) (gate is complete and myq has add ons for garage openers or i’ll buy 2 new chamberlains. I read neither work with ST.
    Away stuff like ecobee4 , away and schedule lighting, 4-6 outdoor cameras, all remote access, couple of flood sensors, couple of door locks ETC.
    4 Lighting: Some groups/scenes/automation and remote access) motion triggers, Eco is also a consideration as i always for get to turn off lights. Much of the rest of lighting is the cool factor, mood setting.
  3. Probably more as it comes… see #1.

Where I’m at.
Love the look and operation of caseta so i’d like to commit to that (plus I can get it wholesale) i’ll limit to to areas that need that consistent look or operation. I’ll i’m guessing I’ll want about 20-30 more lighting controls down the road …which ones? Zwave plus? I’m open. I hope to order about lutron 40 devices tomorrow including , unless you put me in a holding pattern.
I have the lutron pro bridge, lutron repeater and wall plug, couple of lutron dimmers and a pico as test stuff. Also bought ecobee4, wemo wall plug, and gate opener myq.
Other than that I’m open to any suggestions or links for reading.

Sorry for the super long post…but i thought more context/info would help

Have a great day and thanks in advance if you have time to provide more feedback


(Dave Mb) #9

Thanks. Are you recommending z-wave plus and zigbee devices only, or with the Lutron caseta to get well over the limited 50 devices as i planned?


#10

Regarding where to place Devices, read the following post, then go up to the top of that thread and read the whole FAQ. :sunglasses:

Then read the following FAQ


#11

Given your budget, though, I’m surprised you’re considering SmartThings. SmartThings is a very low cost DIY system, usually for people trying to spend less than $2,000 total. It’s very flexible, but historically has paid for that flexibility with reliability issues, and at least one outage per month. People with a budget like yours almost always move upscale, typically to control4. Control4 works very well with Alexa, Sonos, and Lutron. If you want to use zwave you can add it, but generally use the control4 proprietary system, which uses their own version of zigbee. They have a DIY system you can take a look at, but most people go with the professionally installed version. Definitely before you go too much further, I would at least schedule a free planning session with them and see what they have. It will at least give you some more ideas about what use cases might be particularly appealing for your home.


(Dave Mb) #12

Can you retro fit control 4? I have some friends who have it and are constantly having to call someone (perhaps older systems) to program it. Your reply was timely, I was going to order today (providing i had a few last questions answered) but i think you just placed me on hold to rethink this.


(Dave Mb) #13

I’d like to spend less, and that budget included all the devices ranging from cameras to garage openers.


#14

control 4 usually requires a service contract. And is professionally installed and maintained. I would talk to your friends and see what they think about the system as far as how it works on an every day basis.

Then you have to decide for yourself what you would find more annoying: having to schedule a service call and paying for someone else to make changes to your system, or having things unexpectedly break once or twice a month and then having to spend your own time troubleshooting and setting up workarounds. Different things work for different people. :sunglasses:


#15

The $2,000 target also includes all the devices for the people who are trying to hit that mark. To be honest, a lot of the people who are using SmartThings are serious pennypinchers. :sunglasses: The kind of people who will buy an uncertified device from China even though they know it may be less reliable or electrically safe because they save eight dollars. (there are other groups who use it as well, including hobbyists who really enjoy building very complex systems and want the flexibility that smartthings provides even if it means something needs troubleshooting every two or three weeks.)

I’m just saying that most people who care about aesthetics, have a large home, are not maker type hobbyists, want to include audio visual options like camera controls and sonos sound systems, and have a budget over $3000 for their home automation project are probably not looking at SmartThings. :wink:


(Dave Mb) #16

I have a feeling that route may be a lot more money and less DYI but i’ll check. If smart things goes down can you fall back on your lutron, caseta, ge z-wave switches, or the direct apps for each device, or are you sitting in the dark? (Ps: i do have neutral wires)
I had no idea ST had those kind of issues but often wondered how $99 bucks could do so much.


#17

Not for the Z wave switches – – they don’t have their own app. They need a controller, which is what your smartthings hub is. Yes for Lutron. See the following:


(Dave Mb) #18

do you like the idea of lutron caseta as the main system, with some z-wave plus (like ge or levington) to get me past the 50?


(Dave Mb) #19

I will talk to a control 4 rep but perhaps i need to tone down my wants, my personality is to start small and quickly ramp things up. I never buy the base model (lol)
Sonos is awesome on its own and much better with Alexa.
I have my ecobee4 running fine in the lutron hub
Gate opener is working fine (just need to go to its own app)
security system is independent with sensors everywhere and has a app.
I guess lighting control is really the only thing I want right now and i’d be happy with caseta except for the 50 limit and i like how smart-things takes lighting control to a different level.
Cameras are a later thing but again, a seperate app will probably be fine.
Door locks make me nervous, probably hold on those.


#20

Different things work for different people, but I like Lutron very much and those are the switches I have in my own house.

As far as getting past the 50, I think it’s fine if you occasionally have some Devices of other protocols, I have a couple of Bluetooth switches for three places where I wanted it quick and easy solution and I didn’t want to pay an electrician for wiring.

But another alternative that some people do with big houses is just to set up one smartbridge per floor, giving each its own account. Whether or not that works for you just depends on how you plan to use the system.

I’m tired now, other people will have to continue the conversation from here. :sunglasses:

Also, just a reminder to everyone: I don’t read the private notes much.