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(Karen Baker) #1

My name is Karen. I have a hub in my main home and in a summer vacation rental. Struggling with GE switches and the neutral wire, finding it mostly. Also want to get a smart app for my schlage lock. Makes no sense that I cannot program codes from the smart things app to my lock. Hoping to fully automate the rental so I can turn lights on and off, would love to do the same for the window air conditioner, that is tricky. Would love suggestions. I want to manage access and with an app so I can grant and cancel access without having to be at the house.

Love all this stuff, happy to help if I can.


#2

Welcome to the forums!

What’s the exact model of the window air conditioner?


#3

You most certainly can. Check it out.


(Karen Baker) #4

Danby with remote. 6000 btu


(Karen Baker) #5

Thanks, this sounds pretty cool…I am not at all technical and I got error messages when I followed the tutorial. Argh.


(HousePanel Author) #6

First of all, Karen - welcome aboard to the SmartThings community. There is a wealth of help here so hopefully you will have a good experience. There are many folks here who are not technical, but in my experience as I have watched and participated in this new world of smart things, those folks really struggle unless they embrace the do-it-yourself nature of SmartThings. In other words, my advice is to make a decision right up front about whether you want to become more technical or not. If you do, then dive in and start learning how to tinker with the SmartApps framework, learn about tweaking existing SmartApps, and learn how to tweak device controllers to suit your needs. If you do not, then you will likely become frustrated trying to get SmartThings to do what you really want it to do unless your needs are very simple without any custom requirements.

If you find yourself in this state, my advice would be to hire someone to help you with the technical aspects of configuring your vacation home to manage remotely. Okay, with all that said, so far what you are asking to do with the lock is fairly straightforward. Whether you can figure out the examples noted will be a good test to honestly assess whether you can take the do-it-yourself route - of course with lots of help here. Provide as much detail about what stumped you and why you think it might not be working and we’ll try to help.

The AC remote may be more tricky since this is a plug in AC with a thermostat that was not built to communicate with the Z-wave network. To get this to work remotely you will have to hack into your remote to get it to talk to Z-wave. I think I have seen some custom devices that control generic IR remotes over the Zwave network. I did a quick scan for IR control and found this:

I have no idea how well it works, and adopting this and trying to apply it to your situation will involve some technical know-how - nothing too complex but more complex than installing a smartapp to control your door lock. You could plug it into a Z-wave power switch and turn that on and off remotely, but I think an AC wall unit won’t automatically come on when it is first powered up, and even if it did, you would not be able to control the temperature set point that way. You’ll definitely want to connect a ST sensor to your remote somehow.

I started playing with ST about 6 months ago and in that short period of time I have learned enough to do just about anything I need with a little patience and trial and error. I hope your ST journey is just as fun and productive.


(Karen Baker) #7

OMG, you are so kind to include all this. Thank you. In addition to not being too technical, I am impatient. Both these things work against me, this I know. I wanted to do this myself but it appears I want things that have not been fully developed or integrated into the ST model. I know if I had central air the Nest would solve my problem. I was thinking it would be nice to be able to turn on the AC an hour before guests arrive so it is cool for them without asking the cleaner to leave it running when they leave. I will try and work this, I love thinking about what is possible.


#9

Although brand new to the U.S., Tado is a thermostat specifically made for air conditioners with remotes that adds WiFi control. Very popular in Europe (4 stars at Amazon UK). I think it’s worth looking at for landlords. Cost is about $200, but ease of installation is worth something. (global cache, a general IR blaster, is only $50, but you don’t get the thermostat app.)

Make sure you can return it if you don’t like it, but I really like this as a plug and play solution.

Doesn’t integrate with SmartThings, but that may be OK. Especially if the alternative is a non networked a/c.

The biggest drawback is the same as any IR remote–you need one per room.

Anyway, I expect to see more networked a/c s on the market by summer 2016, so it also depends if you can wait.

Personally, I like the Tado much better than the Quirky Aros. The Aros has good controls, but the a/c itself seems like a really cheap unit. VERY loud.

With the “Tado Cooling” device, you use any a/c you want that has a remote, you’re just adding a second wallmount remote that acts as a WiFi bridge. So the Tado is a little pricey, which is why I recommend waiting if you can. There will be more choices next year. But if you need something now, I like this one.

A solution I’m less enthusiastic about is ThinkEco. Does NOT work as a remote–you plug your a/c into this, and the gadget hotwires it to turn it on and off same as you would if you pulled the plug out of the wall. That can be very hard on the compressor, my main concern. It retails for about $150, but some cities, including NYC and San Antonio, will give it to you free if you sign up for a brown out program where the city gets to turn off your a/c if they have rolling brown outs. It’s been around for a few years, but not popular outside of the giveaway programs, probably because of the compressor issue. Also, ThinkEco requires that you have a PC running 24/7. Really feels like a 20th century solution.

The Tado approach is much more elegant engineering, so to me, the extra $50 is well worth it.


(HousePanel Author) #10

yea Tado is a great option - to integrate it into ST you would still need to do some fairly sophisticated cloud integration programming. Then again if controlling the remote house AC is all you need to do, just get the Tado and be done with it. Since you already have a hub there I assume you want to do more like remote unlock and monitoring who goes in what rooms and ensuring lights are off when people leave, etc. If that is the case then you would be well served to either figure out how to integrate something into your remote that also knows how to talk to the ST hub. All of this has stimulated an idea that I will pursue which is a generic IR blaster ST integrated device that I can build using an Arduino and an IR transmitter. I could use this to talk to my Stereo and TV since Logitech still hasn’t updated their old hubs to talk to ST and they probably never will. Anyway, I’m rambling… enjoy your ST journey. And by the way, in case you haven’t figured it out, @JDRoberts is one of the guru’s around here - I’ve learned to follow him and listen to his advice.


#11

Thanks for the shout, but since I started out in my professional career as a network engineer (my first install was at a nuclear power plant) I just tend to be more interested in the hardware and standards side of connected devices than most home automation customers. Well, hardware, standards, and not burning down the house. :wink:

The real gurus are the many coders and makers in the community.


(HousePanel Author) #12

Cool… small world. I’m a Nuclear Engineer and my first job was at a Nuke plant…


(Joel) #13

Tado are planning to integrate to st!


(Karen Baker) #14

I just ordered the TADO. Looks pretty cool…spendy for sure but I like being able to control the device remotely.


(Karen Baker) #15

Ordered the tado! Thanks for the suggestion.


#16

Let us know how you like it!


(Karen Baker) #17

I will for sure. Hope it is hear before summer is over :).


(Aaron Fisher) #18

My Tado comes in the next few days. I live in NYC and the cofounder was here a few days ago, we discussed Smartthings integration as it was promised on Kickstarter, and he was a bit cagey. He did promise IFTTT integration very soon as the channel is in private beta. I am going to write him an email once I receive my Tado unit about Smartthings/ Wink and IFTTT integration.


Tado window/wall A/C unit control
(Karen Baker) #19

Can’t wait to hear how you like it. I am hoping it controls on and off as well as temp control. Please report back!


#20

It should be able to do whatever your existing remote does, so it may vary depending on what you have.


(Aaron Fisher) #21

I had a chance to try it when I met the cofounder, it can indeed change modes and temperature settings of your AC. It performs the action either from the touch sensitive panel on the front or the mobile application.