My Home Automation Addiction

An addiction is an understatement… My total device count is just 1 shy of 200 total (only 17 are virtual), and as soon as any Lowes around me stocks their newest devices I plan on even more…


I glad to see there are more out there with the same addiction.

I feel the same way about all the color changing bulbs. Question is, will the prices go down or will they go up based on the popularity of the smart home?

I expect the price will come down a bit in the fall of 2016. Phillips just lowered the regular price of the white bulbs to $15, which is pretty amazing since that puts them in exactly the same price range as the Cree and the GE. But there isn’t really a competitor yet for the color changing bulbs, so they’ll leave them high for a while longer.

The color change involved is nice as a persistent notification device. Whether it’s “the laundry is finished” or “the mail’s arrived” for “Rain has been predicted.” Anything where you may want the notification to persist for a while as an active reminder until you get around to dealing with whatever it is.

But other than that, I use the white bulbs. I’m really pleased to see the price of those come down, because I become less happy with the GE links every month. They just don’t stay connected to the network. All the other brands do for me.

I came from the X-10 days where modules were about $10 so it was a bit of a sticker shock when I transitioned into Zigbee & Zwave devices which average around $30-50 per device. Of course there is a lot more flexibility and “smartness” with what we have now so I’m hoping that as more people jump onto the smarthouse bandwagon, prices will start to drop as companies start seeing economies of scale when they are able to produce larger quantities. Although I think there is going to be a “Battle of the Standards” as Apple and Google start throwing their weight around. I like SmartThings openness and interoperability to play nice with a lot of systems. There is also great community support with custom device types and smart apps.

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Curious at this point @JDRoberts, what are you looking to use for Window and Door Closing and Opening (I assume)

Haven’t really decided yet, it’s going to depend on a lot of things, including what controller I end up with. Since I’m quadriparetic, I really need both full control and full safety features. So if I do go with zwave for windows, I’m likely to end up with something like what said @sidjohn1 has. He put up a project report in another thread that was quite interesting.

For doors, safety is absolutely essential and we have to cover a lot of different use cases. I’m unlikely to use zwave for that. There are quite a few options available for people in wheelchairs, and they vary in price from $800 to around $5000 per door. Usually one for an exterior door costs much more than one for interior door.

There’s an interesting inexpensive model from Drive Medical which is kind of like a roomba that fits the bottom of the door and just moves back-and-forth. The only thing is it’s very slow.

The more expensive door openers usually can be operated manually pretty much a normal speed and then have an assist motor for the person in the wheelchair. But those are a lot more expensive.

Right now my service dog does the doors, and he’s very good at them, but it’s always good to have options. And I do have two gates I would like to have openers for. I’m also going to look into motorizing the dog door.

I may end up not getting any motorized window openers. Although pretty much all of the windows are inaccessible to me, I do have two housemates as well as part time helpers, so there are a lot of people to help with those. I’m just not sure.

Lights first, then doors, then windows

But the first thing I’m going to cost out will be light switches. And then if I’ve decided to replace any of my phase 1 stuff. There are some other things I want to do as well. Once I get a sense of all of those costs, I’ll start looking at door and window options.

And then the fun stuff…

And of course there are some devices that don’t exist yet but maybe they will. And the fantasy projects. I so want a microwave that is controllable from a tablet or by voice. And a refrigerator where the shelves are motorized and slide out to be more accessible . And then there’s this:

Anyway, lots of fun stuff to think about! :sunglasses:

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Thanks for the quick reply @JDRoberts. As you know I am a dialysis patient, not always wheelchair bound, but have had a recent bout that has returned me to the wheelchair for a while. So, looking to the future I need to have options as well.

I was curious about what you had found and was currently focused on, thank you for the information that you provided.

I love the idea of the Microwave that is tablet or voice based, although I think if you just provided a Wi-FI connection (or bluetooth) it would allow ST or Alexa to drive control of the device. (Now you have me thinking why haven’t we done this). And the fridge is a great idea as well. There are a number of aids out there, but they are often considerably more expensive. I would like to see devices like this near the same cost of the normal units. I know that is a dream. Perfect world we do not live in currently.

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Your monthly cost should be compared to the cost of using a security firm. I’m paying $62 per month to a firm and get old equipment, no mobile support etc. But the time you spend on configuring all these devices should also be included. If a device fails for me, a security guy shows up and fix it.

Security is only one aspect of Home Automation and doesn’t always take into account many of the convenience factors such as voice integration and color lights, etc. And for me, tinkering and setting up devices is half the fun.

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Oh, and don’t forget the “Totally awesome factor” as well!


I started this addiction with Verizon then switched to Nexia. I left Nexia as soon as it was announced that ST works with Echo.

I get that every time I say “Alexia turn on the TV”.

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I haven’t connected Alexa to my tv yet. Are you using the harmony hub? I have a harmony remote that I’ve had for a couple of years.

Yes, I am using the Harmony Home Hub. Echo talks to ST, and ST talks to the Harmony Hub.

Okay ,when I mentioned joining HAA, I didn’t think my first assignment would be tallying up how much my newly diagnosed addiction has cost me.
The disease started off simple enough a couple years ago when a tenant returned over a month after moving out and returned 3-4 keys more to the building that he had made for all his friends. I was tired of spending $50-$100 on new locks every time a tenant moved in/out so I spent $300 on 2 of the Schlage programmable touchscreen locks so I could just give tenants a code and delete it when they moved out. I never considered going any further.
As I looked into what the locks could actually do I was intrigued by this whole Z-wave thing. I remembered the old X10 from back in the 90s .
Then a few months later, I was wandering around Home Depot one day and saw a display with my Schlage locks in it along with something called a Wink and a few other things. " Free with any purchase " got my attention. So I grabbed a Wink Hub, 2 Wink Spotters and a few TCP connected bulbs $200 ( since they said the worked with Wink, did NOT specify it was C2C and you needed a TCP hub too ) .
I cane home and proceeded to put in my new bulbs on the porch and in the hallway, motion detectors and hub. Only to find out the bulbs wouldn’t work without their own hub. So off to Amazon to order a TCP starter kit with the hub and some more bulbs. Another $200
It didn’t take long to realize that the Wink/TCP integration was not the most reliable setup ( I later learned nothing was reliable with Wink ). So off to Big Orange again to get some of the Wink/GE bulbs. $100
Then came the Honeywell Thermostats that " worked with Wink" , Okay there goes another $350 for 2 thermostats that could turn down the heat when we left the house and turn it back up when somebody left work so the house was warm when they got home.
I was " happy" . Unlock the door and the hall and porch lights came on, ( When the Wink Spotter worked) The porch lights got brighter as you approached and dimmed when nobody was around. No need to actually program the furnace for everybody’s different work schedules if nobody was home heat was off, if somebody was home heat was on. ( Again “when it worked” )
I finally got tired of automations only happening 30-50% of the time and quickly went from one of Wink’s early adopters that got the newest toys and firmware updates to somebody whose phone calls and emails went unanswered.
I was in the market for a new router since my WD900 wasn’t the most stable or reliable appliance and came across this new All-In-One HA router by an unknown company called Securifi . I was leery about putting money up for a product that technically didn’t exist. I bought one of their other routers $100 to see how it worked. I still did not back the Almond+ on Kickstarter, but did join their Beta team and get an advance A+ for $149 not the retail of $249. I had looked at ST, but thought $149 for a router and hub with touchscreen was better investment that $99 for just a hub and still needing to buy a new router.
Then over then next few months I added a few O/C sensors and PIRs, in wall switches $500.
Then came Echo, Voice control !!! Okay we need 2 of those ( luckily was have more than one Amazon account ) $200
Echo works with Wemo !! OK need to get a couple Wemo switches just to see how this works $100
Now it has been almost a year with Almond+ and way too long without a FW update to address the multitude of issues and no real advance to the very limited HA abilities.
I had looked at ST before, but after the 10-30 second if at all trigger response with Wink cloud control I had shied away and gone with A+ for local control. Then somebody posts in the A+ forum about this new ST V2 with local control and I was done. Over to ST and pre-ordered my V2, $99 figuring with 30 day guarantee I had nothing to lose if Securifi actually released to long promised firmware update.
I had tried a couple times to pair GE outdoor modules to A+ without success and wound up returning them. When I saw them on Fleabay for $22ea I figured I had nothing to lose trying them with ST since I was having issues with Z-wave reaching a couple of my in wall switches since ST hub is not in the same room with A+ router/hub $45
Impatient for the fleabay order to arrive I was once again wander big orange and saw Leviton switches marked down ( well those will help enhance mesh too ) so 2 more in wall switches and a lamp module $150
Wait a minute I can integrate my Echoes with ST hub and Harmony remote and have voice control over TV/entertainment center !!! New Harmony Home hub/remote/ keyboard , done $100
I can set up an actual alarm with a keypad with ST !! $25
I can use an actual remote for lights with ST !!! 2 minimotes , WTH add a whole home energy sensor and an appliance module ,lets see how much it is really costing me to do a load of laundry . $75

Not sure actually admitting all this is helping my condition though

God I’m glad the wife isn’t in this forum to actually see how much I’ve spent.


Isn’t the first step is to admit you have an addiction? Then it’s good to tell your story. :smiley:

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Hello my is Dawn and I too am a Home Automation addict. I started by believing that everything related to Home Automation was $199.00. First the SmartThings HA kit $199, Hue starter kit $199, Each Sonos 1 speaker $199, the Ring $199. Then a whole bunch of sensors, leak detectors, motion sensors and a plethora of light bulbs, etc… But those don’t count because they weren’t $199… Right? :neutral_face:
Then I got in a little deeper, a Schlege the door lock. That’s where I started getting into the justifying of my HA addiction. A HA Lock… oh that is for security reasons, and the Rain machine that was mostly paid for by the water company. Next a few light switches… oh they are for my birthday, a few more light switches… oh they are for my boyfriends birthday, the Phillips Hue go… oh that is for the cats birthday. The new ST Hub 2 …well I have to upgrade now that I have more stuff.
Well I have finally hit rock bottom. :flushed: Last weekend, off the big box store I went with my 20% off coupon and purchased cellular shades with Somfy.
As a professional HA addict, I can tell you (because I’ve heard it here before) light bulbs are the gateway tool to HA addiction.
As a side note, I gave my sister my old Hub… We’re going out looking for light bulbs this weekend :wink:


So feeding my addiction, how accurate presence sensors are ? I want to put them on my dogs collars to automatically turn on the yard lights when they are outside and turn them off when the dogs come in the house :blush:

It is the one thing I have not had any luck with. First I can not keep a battery alive more than 6 weeks.

Not that accurate. I don’t think you will be able to get the geo-fence around your house that small.

@ErnieG is correct, the arrival sensors are intended to Mark arrival at your home network. You won’t be able to distinguish between in the yard and in the house. Besides, they’re not waterproof or durable enough for most dogs. I know they give the example in some of the marketing materials, and it may work for some individual households. But in general, no.

The other problem if you have multiple dogs is that anything you put on one dog’s collar may be chewed on by another dog. This is a real issue with a lot of dog trackers.

I would think a much better alternative would be to use a pressure Mat like a welcome mat right outside the door. Then stepping on the mat outside the door turns on the yard lights. You have to decide how you want to turn them off. You could have a second mat inside the house but then they might get turned off while someone was still outside. You might just have the mat outside the house turn them on for a set period of time. There are things you could play with. But something like that would probably be more practical.