SmartThings Community

Need help building a setup|

Hi i want to design a smart home system using smartthings.

1 Socket (for coffee machine)
1 boiler
1 IR sender (For media Eq in my living room)
2 camera (DVR)
2 door locks(one for the front door one for inner door can be cheap)
2 blinds (W1.5 M on H 0.50 windows)
7 light switches

i wanted all connected to one switch one software, i do not except anyone of curse to give me links here
i just want to ask in general?

  1. what kind of problems will i be facing?
  2. will all this work under one single protocol?
  3. how much money will this cost (rough)
    4.i have RM2 broadling is there anyway to combine this as the IR sender?
    if not what is the other option to control IR Equipment
  4. do i need more then one HUB? (i have good WIFI on the entire area if it matters?)
  5. i see allot of talk about sensors, what kind are recommend?
    how can i kill two birds with one device ,maybe a camera with sensors?

sorry for all the Qs but this is a very confusing subject :slight_smile:

thanks for listing…

Welcome! Different people have different preferences. And different use cases need different solutions. It often comes down to very small details. Some people want the LEDs on every light switch in their house to match. Other people don’t care about that. :sunglasses:

Usually the simplest way to begin is to think about each problem you are trying to solve individually and sketch out the must-have parameters for that solution. Then before you actually make any decisions, go on to the next first stage problem. And then once you have three or four of those sketched out, start thinking about the overall platform solution.

Wi-Fi won’t really make any difference at all. It’s not one of the protocols that SmartThings uses. In fact, very strong Wi-Fi may interfere with zigbee devices! That’s OK, though, because smartthings is a multi protocol platform. In particular, it supports direct communication with both zigbee devices using the zigbee home automation profile (ZHA 1.2) and Z wave. There are pluses and minuses to both, but one of the big pluses to Z wave is that Wi-Fi doesn’t interfere with it. :sunglasses: So that just tells you that you may want to lean somewhat towards Zwave devices for your house.

Oh, there are some Wi-Fi devices that SmartThings communicates with indirectly, cloud to cloud, like WeMo, so strong Wi-Fi does help with those individual devices.

Anyway, to answer your question, you can do everything with one protocol. But most people end up using at least two. They just do what is best for each individual problem. But again, that’s up to you. I would note, though, that since you’re also talking about IR, that’s a separate protocol. So, probably like most of us, you will end up with multiple multiple protocols, and that’s just fine.

How do you choose which device to use for each of your individual use cases? By first thinking about the details of what you want to do and then looking at what’s available in different brands and models of devices. The following thread (this is a clickable link) discusses many of the different kinds of features so it can help. But again, thinking about the devices is the second step. The first step is to think about the problems that you want to solve.

Budget is another major factor. There is a lot of difference in the cost of different solutions. So it’s good if you have an idea going in to each individual problem about how much money you’re willing to spend to solve it. :wink: Even devices like motion sensors generally come in a good/better/best range. Cost can vary a great deal and you may not need the advanced features of the “best” models.

Just as an example, here is my project report on my phase 1 home automation. I’m not saying you have exactly the same use cases as I do, but the decision process might be interesting:

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As far as “how much will this cost?” That’s going to depend on the specific devices you choose, and the choice will depend on the specific features you need.

For example, just consider a camera at your front door. There are $99 cameras and there are $5000 cameras. The $99 cameras Will still be a good solution for some problems, but not all problems. It’s the problem that defines the solution you need, not the price. But of course budget matters.

You will probably have quite a few use cases where you will say “I want to do this, but only if I can do it for $300 or less.” And that’s valid too.

Some people just work with an overall budget, some people assign a separate dollar amount to each individual use case. Some do both. That’s really up to you. :sunglasses:

Again, just as an example, I use quite a few smart bulbs, but most of them are the $15 white only bulbs. I like the ones that can do in 15,000 colors, they are very cool. But it’s $60 per bulb, they were outside my budget for most of my lighting needs. However, I do have one RGB W (that’s red/green/blue/white, which gives you a full color range) Smart bulb which we use for notifications. Things like turning green when the laundry is finished, turning blue when I come through the front gate so that my housemate knows I’m coming home, etc. we wanted a notification that was more persistent than a text, but less annoying than a beep or siren.

If I’d had the money, I would’ve put an RGB W bulb everywhere, but I didn’t, and the white bulbs are good enough. So those kinds of decisions also come into play.

thank you so much so much information, i will need to do more reasrach i guess …

i am having trouble understanding the IR, RF signal use here in smartthings ?

SmartThings itself does not have an infrared transmitter. So to use IR commands, it needs to communicate with a device that is an IR transmitter, typically either through cloud to cloud communications. or or in a few specific cases through LAN integration, although that one is harder than it sounds because smart things does not have an open API for the hub.

There is an official integration with the Logitech Harmony home hub, which is how most people do IR integration. That is, anything that you can put into a harmony “activity” you can then indirectly control from SmartThings. So you could have a SmartThings controlled motion sensor turn on your television. Or use a SmartThings controlled Temperature sensor to turn on a harmony-controlled air-conditioner, but only if you are home.

People who are more technical may set up a Mac or PC to control a global cache IR blaster and then have smartthings talk to the laptop, but that’s not an out-of-the-box feature and requires significant programming skills.

@scottinpollock has done a lot with IR and may want to say more. :sunglasses:

If you’re asking about what network protocols smartthings uses to communicate with devices like light switches and sensors, see the following:

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As someone who has used Harmony remotes for many years, I would recommend the Harmony hub as the simplest, out of the box IR integration for SmartThings. However, when it came time to integrate ALL of my stuff with SmartThings…

1.) I was handcuffed by Harmony’s device number limit with my three rooms of gear.

2.) I ran into some reliability issues in turning on some activities. This included proper ordering to ensure HDCP sync over HDMI, interference with IR signal on LCD based displays when initially powered up, and some commands not playing nice with some devices under a variety of circumstances.

Successfully addressing this can be a somewhat painful, trial and error procedure with Harmony. The added granularity provided by Global Caché iTachs allows tweaking IR codes, ensuring the order of commands, and exactly specifying the timing of things. This made for a much more reliable set of command sequences. It is however initially more work**. In my case, commands and sequences are sent to the iTach via Python scripts. These scripts run from a Mac server that also contains my music and video libraries. While it is possible to speak directly to an iTach from SmartThings, all of the above makes it a lot simpler to just fire off a script from my Mac.

** Note however that once you get things set up, it is significantly more convenient to change things up if needed by editing a handful of scripts, rather than have to go through Harmony’s process.

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