Need Advice : Light Home Security / Automation - What to buy?

Hey all,
I’ve been reading the forums for the last week and as things have progressed through the months i’m getting even more confused. What I’m looking to do is

  1. Possibly an automated lock that can unlock when we come to the door. Also if possible disarm the system.
  2. Motion sensors that I can put outside for the flood light (though i could just get a motion sensor flood light) front door light and back door light.
  3. Motion sensors on the doors or windows that if they open it’ll trigger an action
  4. If doors or windows open when armed certain lights turn n
  5. Siren alarm

It seems like a lot of people like the GE Zwave switches for the lights. Are there any cheaper / reliable options?
Any suggestions for what to buy would be amazing as it’s a little overwhelming right now. For video camera I think we’ll be getting an Arlo system and just do some light integration.

If you are looking for a security system SmartThings is not the platform you want to use IMO. If you want the things you listed to be more of a novelty then ST may be a good choice.

  1. Possibly an automated lock that can unlock when we come to the door. Also if possible disarm the system.
  • I have a Schalge Camelot lock that I love. I don’t have any locks auto unlock because presence detection is very unreliable. Some users have had luck using Life360 for presence detection. I have no experience with this so I have no opinion. The locks can auto-lock themselves either stand-alone or via HA technologies. If you choose to use ST as a security system you can disarm the alarm when a valid code is entered into the keypad or when the door unlocks. You can have multiple codes, time based codes, one time codes, etc. These codes can alert you to who unlocked the door.
  1. Motion sensors that I can put outside for the flood light (though i
    could just get a motion sensor flood light) front door light and back
    door light.
  • This depends on why you want the light to come on. If it is just when motion is detected a stand alone motion light would do the trick and wouldn’t be reliant on another system or your Internet connection being up (depending on how you setup the light to trigger). You would need to clarify.
  1. Motion sensors on the doors or windows that if they open it’ll trigger an action
  • For this you would probably want to use contact sensors not motion sensors but you would need to clarify.
  1. If doors or windows open when armed certain lights turn on
  • This is essentially the same as three above.
  1. Siren alarm
  • I have a Z-Wave siren and a Sonos that I use for alarms but I don’t rely on them, it’s just fun to play with. I have a professional security system I use for home security.

Thanks for the reply! What professional one do you use?

  1. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into the Schlage Camelot. I initially wanted an August back when it was first announced but it seems to have no good integration. What’s the best way to get the unlock code to “disable”
  2. Yeah more I think about it the more it make sense to get a normal motion sensing light for the flood light. For the front and back doors I want some outdoor motion sensor that will trigger the front or back porch light. What are some reliable but affordable light switches i can trigger with the sytem?
  3. This will be the “security part” I would like if someone is trying to get in through the door or window it would be able to trigger X amount of lights to simulate that someone is home basically.
  4. Yeah i’ve seen this is one of the more unreliable things. But I wanted to see some options. The sonos is to play certain sounds right?

I probably will still get some kind of monitoring solution but I really wanted the ST “security” to be more of deterrent system… with the lights triggering / siren etc.

I was looking at the scout system but unluckily they just announced that active monitoring is now required. I was hoping to just turn on the active part when we were traveling

Thanks a lot!!

I am using Abode security as they don’t require contracts and have on demand monitoring when we go out of town. Very happy with them and they complement well my 100 plus SmartThings devices.

For the outdoor lights, I use Aeon Labs gen 5 motion sensors, GE Link bulbs for dim contrrol ( I keep one bulb on at 3% and the rest off - they all come on at 100% when motion is detected).

Thanks Bobby. I didn’t see that Abode has the optional monitoring too.

I saw that their streaming camera doesn’t have “true” wireless as it needs to be plugged in. Do you happen to have a blog or somewhere where your setup is explained? I’m almost convinced to get an Abode already!


I don’t have their streaming cam (I use Arlo Netgear for outdoor and Nest Cam indoor), but Brian @diehllane does, so he may be able to chime in.

Here is a thread where we discussed Abode integration:

Thanks for the info Bobby, How do you PM on this board? I can’t find a link anywhere.

Nothing… Maybe I have to be a member longer. Well when I get access will definitely have a few final questions about Abode / ST. Adobe doesn’t have a clear explanation of it’s active monitoring.

I see I was summoned for some input on Abode.

When I opened the box, I was impressed. The devices are actually larger than I thought, but they feel more durable because of it. Most of the Home Automation/Security stuff feels very cheap (most motion sensors, minimotes, etc).

It looks sharp. The black and white scheme is very nice. It fits in well with my decor in the apartment. My hub can’t be seen as it sits right next to my desktop (did have to move my USB receiver for my keyboard/mouse combo to a front USB port due to the interference).
The motion camera is aimed towards my front door, but covers the majority of the living room. The streaming camera sits hidden on a shelf in my entertainment center.

For the streaming camera, wireless isn’t completely reliable. I’ve had it drop a few times while testing. I also don’t have mine plugged into backed up power because the UPS in that corner of the room is full. In a case where someone cuts my power, I’ll have to rely on my motion camera (I have my network equipment all on a UPS, but if the telecomms are cut then I’m probably still screwed as I have not yet opted for a SIM for the system). I’ll just put another network cable in one of these days, but I’m getting pretty full on network capacity here so I’m trying to avoid it for this if possible.

The contact sensors are nice but I wouldn’t buy more of them. I’m using a hybrid ST/Abode system so the Abode sensors went where I didn’t have ST ones. I wouldn’t want 2 sets of sensors on things (since I use my door opening as a trigger for ST automation tasks).

I was going to attempt to use Life360 to integrate the mode changes based on presence but that requires a second person and I live alone.
Luckily I can use my ST presence via IFTTT to change modes for Abode, and I’m already using RuleMachine to change it for ST (just for home and away, not for SHM currently).

I think these systems complement each other very well, as @SBDOBRESCU said. Once SHM gets to a stable point, it might let ST become an all-in-one system and my Abode can be passed on to someone who is really only looking for security, not automation (although small automations can be done, I think it’s IFTTT capabilities will really help it have a long life for someone)

The quality on the streaming camera is very good (not choppy or laggy at all). The quality from the motion camera is not bad. My motion camera is about 7 feet up and it’s 18-20 feet to my front door and it takes better pictures than I see in most of the footage on the news for local crimestoppers.

I do want to play with it more, but that will have to be a day off when I can trip it during the day rather than at 11 PM when I get home from work.

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Thanks for chiming in. Abode enabled mode triggers in IFTTT, so is now driving my ST actions. After last couple of ST mode/routine failures, I dropped the ST modes altogether and pretty much I just use Smart Light app for local and Rule Machine for everything else.

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So the smartthings door / window sensors work perfectly with the Abode?

Not yet…

BTW… Abode sensors are on a different frequency, which furter limits interference with other HA sensors. Brian is using SmartThings sensors as he is not relying on Abode to secure his doors.

I am using the Abode ones on windows that I didn’t have ST sensors on already.
I didn’t want to have 2 sets on my door (this is why my camera is pointed directly at the door so it can replace the need for a sensor if I am away)