Reasons to NOT switch to the VeraPlus controller and STAY WITH SMARTTHINGS!


(Jamie Lenz) #1

Long time stalker… First time posting… But people HAVE TO KNOW!!

I recently purchased a VeraPlus Home Controller to see if I liked the user interface any better. I’m dissappointed with the UI of SmartThings, but after this week found out this new VeraPLUS controller has been a nightmare! If your thinking of trying it, DON’T and here’s why! After this week, I eagerly took my SmartThings out of its box, kissed it, apologized and plugged it back in!

1). The first issue I’m having is with the System Alert’s in the yellow bar on the dashboard page. I cannot get these to ever clear… They’ll clear and come back, or clear from the logs under Settings, but not from the dashboard. They’re annoying, and make me think that something’s wrong with a device, when it’s reporting some nonsense.

2). The energy card on the dashboard shows no information. I have added my home energy monitor from aeotech (which you claim to support) and it shows up with the 3 different devices (also annoying and creates a lot of clutter) on the devices tab, reporting the information, however when I click energy, I get “Ergy gateway serial is not present in user: No cookie”. I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app; uninstalling then clicking on energy, accepting the user agreement then installed again; installing through the apps menu; uninstalling, rebooting, accepting and reinstalling but nothing works. When I go to the ergy website, it says that they don’t currently support the Vera platform due to changes in the UI. This is ESPECIALLY frustrating because that’s a big selling feature, and it’s yet another thing that doesn’t work.

  1. The weather in the upper right hand corner rarely shows the correct information. It’ll bounce back and forth between what is actually is and weather from someplace a lot warmer than my house… I have to go back in settings and update the location information and restart the box for the information to update.

4). You have a very limited database of truly compatible devices. I can pair a device as a generic z-wave or zigbee device, however half of the functionality either doesn’t work, or it shows up incorrectly in the Vera. Examples being, the motion sensors I have are Zigbee Motion sensors, but also should relay temperature… The temperature does not relay and there’s no way to change the settings of the device to add it (without cracking open a programming book). One of the GE Switches I have installed is ACTUALLY a Fan switch not a Light switch, and there’s no way to change the device icon to match the device. One of my plug-in Jasco dimmer modules won’t turn on half the time because it keeps saying the battery in it is dead (when it’s PLUG IN module and contains no battery’s) The Garage Door opener I installed showed up as a door lock, so everytime I clicked on unlock all, my garage doors opened as well… NOT something I wanted by any means…

  1. Your app integration is not reliable. I had applications crash, or mysteriously delete themeselves, and they all show up under the DEVICES menu under apps cluttering this interface even more.

6). The Bluetooth radio serves no function apparently. I could never get it to find devices, nor I find and pair with it from any device.

Smartthing’s IDE backend was more user friendly, allowing you to create custom applications and device types easily. I have kind of read up on how to do it with Vera, however, it’s going to require a lot more time than I’m willing to spend learning. The UI is slow and laggy… I have problems with adding devices because the configuration screen times out or the device will be added but the page never continues forward. Support has yet to get back on these issues (48 hours later) and I posted something similar that was sensor out in they’re forum…

So the moral of my post is this… Yes we all have frustrations with SMARTTHINGS and the platform HOWEVER, SmartThing’s overall functionality is 10x more reliable, it works with more modules (or there is an awesome community forum with reliable easy solutions) and the interface, both front and back, is more user friendly… DON’T CHANGE ITS NOT WORTH YOUR GARAGE DOOR OPENING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BECAUSE YOU WENT TO CLOCK YOUR DOORS AND IT THE EXACT OPPOSITE, unlocking all my doors, and opening my garage door, and I had no idea till the morning.


SHM Not working
Migrating from SmartThings to Vera Plus
#2

I’m sorry you’ve had so many problems. Based on the Vera forums, you are definitely not alone. :scream: :scream: :scream: Historically most Vera releases have been very buggy for the first few months. I would return what you have now, but they might be worth looking at again in a few months once things have settled down.


(Jamie Lenz) #3

See… I thought the same thing, but I purchased the VeraEdge controller right before I got my SMARTTHINGS… I remember now the reasons why I returned the box and went with SMARTTHINGS… Nothing changed, and things got worse!


(Tha Nerd ) #4

I’ve been using a Vera lite for several years now. By far one of the worst GUI I’ve ever had to deal with. Their Android app is plain and simple garbage and literally unusable. Whenever they release a firmware update they force it on you to update. This past week I updated my firmware which ended up bricking my hub. Contacted them and around 4 days of not having a working hub they messaged me to let me know it’s dead and I’m out of luck. Aside from turning my lights on/off, it was a pain in the @$$ to make it work with anything else. Now I’m planning to go with SmartThings since it looks like it’s far more polished.


(Geko) #5

“Polished” is an overstatement. “Less stinky” may be a description you’re looking for. :smiley:


#6

Every system has its pluses and minuses, and right now all of the low-end systems have churn, with customers moving from one to the other in both directions. And some moving back again.

Different ones will work for different people. They all have about the same Amazon review score, for example.

It’s hard to review a system until you’ve actually had it and used it for at least three or four months, though. :sunglasses:


(Tha Nerd ) #7

Yeah true, also didn’t like the fact that SmartThings depends fully on your WAN. Testing now Homeseer3Pro on a dedicated Windows server and really like it…


(Mryusef1) #8

I have been a long time Veralite user. About a 6 months ago I bought a ST hub, hooked it up and wasn’t impressed so I returned it and bought a Veraplus. Overall I was happy with the Veraplus but it didn’t have Alexa support. I got on the Alexa beta testing and all was good. About a month ago the Alexa connection went down for about a week. Out of frustration I bought another ST hub. I remembered that the Alexa integration and adding new devices was flawless with ST. Now I’m thinking looking into other options. Vera supports all of my door locks and allows me to easily setup pin codes for my guest. It also works flawlessly with my Vista alarm system via Envsalink. I have been searching the web and it appears I will have to pay $25 for an app that will let me setup pin codes and I have to setup a server on another computer to get my alarm to work. I have several different brands of cameras which worked with vera, but I found it easier to use Blue Iris and have to Blue Iris talk to Vera. Am I giving up to easy or is there a simpler way to setup pin codes and Vista Alarm systems. Also I Vera and ST phone apps both suck but Vera works with Imperihome which is awesome on Android, (its on Apple but I haven’t used it). If I switch back to Vera or another platform it will be something that works with Imperihome. Also I tried Home Assistant and guest what. I got everything to work but ST. My Hue and Vista worked with no problems. I see that HA supports Vera but not ST without running a MQTT server. Any help would be appreciated.

Any thoughts on Home Seer?


#9

Every system has pluses and minuses. For example, homeseer doesn’t have support for zigbee devices. So different things work for different people.

As far as code and costs, most community members are happy to share their custom code for free with other smartthings users. There are a few who do charge a license fee. In the case of locks, both Lock Manager by Erik Thayer (totally free) and RBoy’s lock offering ( behind a paywall) are very popular. You just have to look at the various features and decide what’s best for you.

The challenge for many people is in finding the custom code to begin with! Fortunately, there are quick browse lists in the community – created wiki which list both smartapps and device type handlers by type, and that’s usually the fastest way to find stuff. For example, in your case you would just look on the list for locks. Normally community members write something for themselves first, and then share it, so the features do vary.

Normally community members also have an author thread in this forum where you could ask questions or even make suggestions for additional features to any individual smartapp.

There is also a section in the quick browse list for project reports with lists on everything from pets to holiday projects. Those can also be helpful. :sunglasses:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section

In addition, there is a very powerful community – created rules engine, webcore, which is essentially a (free) scripting language for SmartThings and lets you do almost anything. If you have a strong technical background it’s worth looking at, and there are many community members who will be glad to help you if you get stuck on anything.

So at least the lock is easy to solve in SmartThings. :sunglasses: I know there are community members who are using blue Iris. You can check the quick browse lists to see if anything jumps out at you coming otherwise I would start a new thread in the devices section and just ask how people are using blue Iris with SmartThings. I’m sure you’ll get lots of answers.

On the alarm system, that’s more complicated, and you probably will have to purchase some additional equipment. Again, check the quick browse lists and look in the project report section for security. They have been some changes over the last couple of years as far as how people do this, so I don’t know what the current options are as I myself just to have a completely separate security system.

As far as Imperihome, I’m not familiar with it, but I did notice a couple of threads in the forum about it. I don’t know if you’re already participating in those, but they look pretty active. I haven’t read any of the individual posts yet.

Sorry I can’t be more helpful on some of the specifics, hopefully other community members will chime in. But at least now you know about the quick browse lists, and they should help any future research. :sunglasses:


(Mryusef1) #10

Thanks. I was able to get my locks setup the why I like. I’m still working on the alarm system. I think It may be easier to use Home Assistant for that. Thanks for all your help.


#11

This is an interesting thread, I have IRIS, VeraPlus and Smartthings. And find that 90% of my devices have been cut over so far, and everything is working as it worked on ST, ST is muck more dynamic and usable. However the 99% dependency on the internet is not acceptable during network outages etc…I prefer if the network is down, or there is a security vulnerability going through the internet on IOT devices I can shutdown the connection and still be able to use my home automation system.


(Hari) #12

I literally just got VeraPlus in my hand less then an hour ago - and few problems right off the bat. I’m new to this whole thing; this is my first. I have Kwikset lock and a garage-door-opener module ready in boxes to be installed, but I waited for this VeraPlus thing to arrive first. I couldn’t decide between a Samsung hub and this one, then I picked this one because it advertized to support Nest thermostats (and I have one).

After plugging-in the hub into my router and the power, I followed instructions, created an account, got drained my personal information without any explanation (name, address, cellphone), then I landed on the setup wizard failing to install firmware update. I was patient; I waited; I power-cycled the thing, waited - it was still failing. It was telling me how I was offline, too. Got greeted with bugs - not a good sign. Finally it occurred to me to select “remove device” within the setup wizard, as that was available - but I did that with a sigh, thinking, if it fries, it wouldn’t surprise me. It worked that last time, although it took a bunch of minutes. I was reading this thread in the meantime, and it helped me not get too nervous.

After I landed on the dashboard, I got greated with a notification saying how a device isn’t responding. When I clicked on it, it took me to a blank alert list. It was still there, when I got back to dashboard. When I tried to delete the norification, I got “could not delete alert” popup. Worked the second time, though.

So far, everything’s been working for me after I tried again. #VeraTryAgain

I added my Nest thermostat as a device, it got added as device #6. Ignoring that for now; just funny. I authorized it via my Nest account - although instructions for that were wonky: my mom would never ever found this - and it’s super simple to send me to the “Authorize” tab instead of telling me to navigate there. It wasn’t clear if the thing meant the “authorize” tab in its own UI or within my Nest account. So, that took me some looking around, too. My “UI workflow” rating: 1 (out of 10) - and that’s because 0 isn’t an option.

The kwikset lock model that I purchased isn’t on the list. One is, but not mine. I don’t even want to try adding it using that template or something else. I thought this is about that z-wave protocol, and how details about the “what” aren’t as important as the fact that the device supports it (and maybe communicates its configuration interface using that" language" to other devices it pairs up with. Suddenly, it looks like every hub out there must be hand-coded to support a very particular model of each z-wave device out there - this is not what ads said; I can’t be more disappointed right now.

I’ll try setting up my garage door opener, and if that fails of has security issues like the OP reported above, this quonky thing is going right back where the F it came from. I’m not gonna deal with these bugs. And using vera isn’t free either: looks like they ARE saving information about everything on their end; accessing the device goes through their server first; why couldn’t it be local and independent/anonymous like every other router is doing; you want me to not be in the fear that this would continue to operate after they flip the switch and say “now, pay up”. F this…

I’m THIS close to send this back. I just want to try pairing up the garage opener, just for the sake of experience and fun.

Thanks for reporting, OP! :slight_smile: