New House and newcomer to smartthings (UK)

Hi all

I have just purchased a new home (in the UK) and would like to implement some smart features. This is all rather new to me so I am looking for some guidance.

If there is an existing thread on the forum that I have missed that would give me what I need can somebody guide me to it?

What I want to do is :

  1. Use Google Home ideally, and Smartthings of course.

  2. Install home security. So a siren, cameras, window sensors and motion sensors.

  3. Install Smart lighting

  4. Make my heating system smart

  5. Keep costs down as much as possible. For example I’m a big Xiaomi fan so any of their stuff that is good I would be keen to use.

Ideally I want to go down the simple route. So the installation and integration needs to be easy.

Does anybody have time to help me out with some recommendations?

Thanks

Welcome: you mentioned that “installation and integration“ need to be simple. But what about maintenance?

If you want to keep things as simple as possible, then the best advice is to only choose Devices from the official compatibility list, use the new app (“SmartThings (Samsung Connect)”), And only use the official features.

UK devices on the official compatibility list:

However, that’s not what most people in this forum do for two reasons. First, smartthings is capable of supporting much more sophisticated logic and a much wider range of devices than the official integrations. Second, the official integrations are not necessarily the least expensive.

However, there is a cost to going to the unofficial options as well. For example, the Xioami Devices Are not intended to be used with anything except their own Gateway. So they are somewhat “idiosyncratic” and don’t work well with everything else available. Also, occasionally smartthings updates something On their platform and the Xioami devices will stop working Until someone in the community figures out what’s going on and hopefully finds a workaround.

In addition, the whole installation process is much more complex if you use custom code.

Smartthings often tells us that their typical customer has 15 devices or less and never uses any custom code of any kind. If they run into problems, they are problems that the official support channel can help solve pretty quickly.

However, the majority of people in this forum are “power users“ who tend to use a lot of custom code and consequently have to solve their own maintenance issues by coming back to the forum. They also often like to tinker and appreciate being able to save some money by using noncertified devices even if they end up requiring a lot more time to maintain. And at present they have to use the older “classic” smartthings app as not all of those features are available in the new app.

So the first thing to do is to be honest with yourself about your own priorities. Are you willing to buy £20 sensors instead of £10 Xioami devices In order to simplify installation and maintenance? Do you want the expanded power of custom code, and are you willing to invest Future maintenance time and complexity to get it?

It’s not an easy question, and it’s not one that anyone can answer except you yourself. But once you have that answer it will be much easier to move forward regardless of which path you pick. :sunglasses:

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Thanks for the fast response.

I would rather pay more for ease and simplicity, and certainly in the short term I would like to set everything up and just leave it to do it’s thing.

However, once I am up and running I will inevitably start to experiment. But I’m never going to go down the route of custom coding I suspect.

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Start with wired zwave / zigbee devices so you can build out a strong mesh network. Then add your battery operated devices which do NOT relay messages and thus do NOT strengthen your network. You are likely to run into issues if you buy all your security related sensors without first building out the mesh network. Stick with Zwave Plus and Zigbee 3 if you can.

Smart lighting can be bulbs or in wall dimmers/switches. Ups and downs for both… I typically relegate smart bulbs only to table lamps that do not have their own wall switch. The table lamp’s switch is always on and control is via voice, app (including automations) or buttons (remotes). I prefer inwall dimmers/switches for all ceiling lights but then you can’t have coloured lights (ie: LiFX / Hue) (EDIT: With a switch you CAN have a coloured bulb but turning the switch off defeats the purpose of a smart bulb… and I hate to see offline devices. You CANNOT have a dimmer controlling a bulb with electronics).

Smart heating is an easy one… just replace your thermostat with a wifi version. I integrated my ecobee thermostats with ST but have never used the integration.

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Thanks arufell.

So if I kept it simple and used a Google Home Hub, the Smartthings Bridge and Smartthings sensors would that be a good easy start?

I’ve used IFTTT before so I’m comfortable with that.

Does anybody have any good recommendations for a siren (internal or external) and cameras?

i tried Google as a test to see how it compared to Echo… Echo wins for us at Smart Home use, Google wins for search question results

Home security… here in the Uk unless you are miles from anywhere and have no neigbours within earshot you could try Smartthings with a bell outside but if you have neighbours close by… dont, the amount of false alarms, testing and setting up will mean that bell will drive everyone mad, including yourself, in theory Smartthings seems like the perfect choice, honestly it is not. However having said that there are many members on here that do use ST in one form or another for security including myself but i do not use an external bell, also remember Smartthings open close sensors are battery operated, do you really want to trust your house security to a battery device !

Cameras are something i prefer to keep outside of ST, there are choices but few work well within the ST app, i use an external camera, a dumb movement sensor, power sense plug, Samsung TV and an automation to detect movement at night and switch the Tv to a relevant input, the camera records 24/7 and has its own app for useage, for reliable security use the strengths of each item and combine where possible

If you need plugs for electrical devices, try to stick with zigbee or zwave plugs, wifi plugs work via IFTTT usually BUT if your net goes down so do the plugs and getting some of them connected back to there various apps can be a nightmare, especially if you put one somewhere difficult to get too, zwave and zigbee reconnect on there own quite happily, so wifi plugs work but are harder to keep running

St seems like a simple system, it is and it is not, the more you learn the more complex it can be but the more you can achieve, ST gives the answers to questions you never had, it is rewarding and frustrating

one day you will even look to automate things just for the sheer hell of it, it has no use and no need but because you can … you do :slight_smile: welcome to Smartthings

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