Recently paralysed so installing some smart home, need help though please (UK)

I am also in the UK and have extensively automated my house.

Like Robin, I use Fibaro modules behind the regular light switches. They allow me to keep the look of the house, are 100% compatible with the rest of the family and mean I can automate any existing light without having to change to expensive bulbs. The only snag can be the depth of the wall box behind the switch. You really need 48mm boxes or you will have to add a spacer. Schneider make an OK looking spacer that you can get from Screwfix. A great source for Fibaro and other HA items is vesternet.com. They carry a good range and the service is excellent.

I personally like Z-wave devices and for me they have been very reliable. Both Zigbee and Z-wave create a mesh to connect all the devices to the hub and the key to stable system is a good mesh. I have found that having a Z-wave module behind all the light switches in the house enables a strong Z-wave mesh.

I would not worry about the hub v3 unless you really want to connect it to the internet via WiFi. otherwise the v2 works well and you can probably find a bargain out there. Be advised though that HA is NOT plug and play. To add some devices to the SmartThings system you do need to add a device handler. Some of these are official, but most are written by folks on here. There are other systems out there that are far easier to setup. Hive particularly in the UK works well. However, you are restricted on what you can do. Once you get your head around The SmartThings app, developer portal (scary title, but its where you ad devices handlers and community apps) and how to add new devices its not so bad. Then you can start to play with things like routine, automation and Webcore. Thats where the fun really starts :slight_smile:

All the best with the project. There is a wealth of info on here and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand anything. We’ve all been there.

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I’m glad the system has worked well for you, and I hope it continues to meet your expectations. A strong mesh is definitely helpful (I was a network engineer and had worked with both zwave and zigbee before I ever got SmartThings for my own home), but it can’t protect you from problems in the SmartThings cloud. And it doesn’t change the fact that ST can and does push out hub updates that can be neither refused nor delayed.

SmartThings has had at least one unscheduled outage in every month for the last 20 except, I think, Jan 2017. Sometimes more than one. And that’s not counting The planned outages for hub firmware updates.

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Bug:_First_Reports

Many people may not notice most of these because they are away from home when they occur, or because they have a Plan B of just walking over and turning on the switch.

In my case, I spend most of my life in one of two rooms, I can’t physically turn on the light switch, and I have to have someone else help even if the only thing that’s required to get things going again is to open the app, open an automation page, and save it again. So I do notice. :scream:

I don’t expect things to be perfect. I do expect an MFOP ( maintenance free operating period) for my home automation which is typical of most appliances: a minimum of six months, and preferably a year.

Since the fall of 2015, I’ve never gone longer than a two week MFOP with SmartThings, and frequently less.

I do get that MFOP from a number of other home automation systems, including the Philips Hue Bridge, Wink, Logitech Harmony, and Apple HomeKit. And in all of those cases I can delay maintenance updates until a time of my choosing, which significantly reduces the negative impact.

None of the systems are anywhere near as powerful or versatile as SmartThings, But they are more reliable even when using the exact same models of devices.

The issue isn’t the protocol or the network layout or anything done by the individual customer. It’s the cloud architecture and the development philosophy.

Of course that same development philosophy is what attracts many people to SmartThings: lots of exciting new features, lots of integrations, lots of customization options. But since this thread is specifically for someone who may not have the same “Plan B“ options as an ambulatory person, I do think it’s important to call out the MFOP issue.

Submitted with respect.

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Thanks for the reply’s.

So it looks like I’m best to install the Philips hue bridge ( it’s coming free with a starter kit) and then also the smart things? That way I have a back up for the lights and also Apple home kit on my iPad and iPhone, I’m guessing it’s possible to have all the smart things on different systems?

I think Yale are due to bring out a module that works with Apple home kit, but the only options they have at the moment was a standard module which I’m guessing is Wi-Fi or the Z-Wave one.

As for my standard light switches I will order a couple of the modules to install behind the boxes and go from there. Once I get the stuff installed I will keep you updated on how I’m getting on.

Thanks for the help so far though

Ben

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Hi,

So I’ve installed some of the lights yesterday and they work really well with the Hue app and Apple home, basically I’ve brought a light switch cover for the rooms with hue that hides the switches and allows you to install the hue dimmer.

I’ve alao had a look at the 3 rooms with all the spot lights that I would like to control with a smart switch or module. Now I’m no electrician, but this is what I’ve found :

in my kitchenit is a double switch that controls my ceiling lights and lights under the cupboards, there is 3 wires in there and an earth, then one small wire joining two switches together, the ceiling lights are GU10 and the under cupboard ones are led strip

My bedroom is also a double swithch and they control half the spot lights each, these are MR16 bulbs through transformers, picture of light box setup

The bathroom is a single switch and these are also MR16 bulbs picture like this

Any help on what I need regarding switches would be great thank you

Unfortunately you are in a lose lose situation here. 1st you have 16mm back boxes installed (dont even understand why people still install these) so you have 0 chance of being able to install a smart modular switch as you need 35 minimum, ideally 47mm. you then also don’t have a neutral down to the switch so this limits your options even further :frowning:

It may cost more depending on how many bulbs there are, but if you use Hue bulbs you should be able to use their new partner switches which are coming out at the end of this year. ( they should also work with the less expensive IKEA Tradfri models as long as those lamps are connected to the hue bridge.)

These look just like regular switches but don’t require batteries as they harvest a tiny bit of energy when someone presses on them. They do physically require a hard press, But I understand that in your case that’s not an issue, and it’s not so difficult that people will complain about them.

Philip has announced these in both US and UK styles ( different partner companies) for release by the end of the year. They are going to work for a lot of people, I think.

If use them with smartthings, you won’t have control of the switches, but it won’t matter, because you’ll have control of the bulbs. The switches just become an alternate means of control. :sunglasses:

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Thanks again for the reply,

So it looks like my only way is the hue bulbs, it’s just a bugger as there’s so many bulbs in each room and there not cheap! I could then just use a normal hue dimmer with this adaption I used on the others

The only question I want to double check is that the hue bulbs will work with my existing sockets as they are the MR16 apparently throug transformers and the kitchen are GU10

Thanks for the help so far

You can still install a module behind those switches. The Fibaro Dimmer 2 works without a neutral, so your wiring is OK. You woulds need a spacer for the switch to create the room for the module. Like I said, Schneider make one that looks OK and you can stack them if you need to. Not ideal I agree, but it does give you an option that allows you to automate your current lighting and will allow light control even when ST cloud is unavailable.

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this is true and so does the nano aeotec but you need to make sure the lamp’s he has are compatible and are a high enough wattage if there is no neutral. If its not you will then need a bypass.

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Where is the best place to get the modules?

Thanks again people, I’m loving these smart home things though, just the lights so far are making my life so much easier

Vesternet is always good and will typically offer a volume discount if you get in touch with them if you need five or more.

https://www.vesternet.com

@anon36505037 May have other suggestions.

It’s always good to shop around. Amazon does have a good selection, but they don’t always have the best price.

You can check the list of sources in the deals section of this forum, both
US and U.K. Sellers are included:

A better option for you in ref to the modules is to install them in/ above the lights. This way you just change your switch to a push to make or centre off retractable switch and the modules will then have a neutral :slight_smile:

So I’ve been and brought SmartThings tonight and just now adding everything on, I’m just waiting for the z-wave modules to arrive tomorrow for my Yale Conexis Lock’s.

I was just wondering if I can ad my Samsung tv to it as well? It said to sign in to Samsung online on my tv and it should show up, however I can’t find my tv on there.

It’s a ue55hu8500txxu curved TV and I think from 2016 maybe. Do I start a new thread for this?

My understanding is that if your television doesn’t show up in the model list in the “SmartThings (Samsung Connect) app,” it’s not compatible. But you might check with support. make sure you check with UK support, as I believe the supported models do vary by region.

Thanks mate I will take a look

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Hi Mate,

Me again,

So I’m still setting this all up and added a eco dot to my bedroom last night as we got one free, it’s actusllg quite a good thing, I love how you can set the voice commands and then reactions in terms of what it does, it’s quite a simple layout.

I’m struggling a little with the smart things and getting it to do the automation I want, am I best just linking it to the eco and programming the voice commands that way?

On setting up Alexa I installed my skills for the Hue, SmartThings and sonos, however it’s shoeing up each room or bulb about 3 times along with my sonos speakers, why is this?

I only want to set a few simple rules, the goodnight one works well, but it would be nice if I could get it to lock my doors, turn off everything except one light, but then do the hue sleep setting where that light gradually fades out over 15 mins, is that possibly without using the app and only voice control?

I was hoping to set a command like put the kids to bed so it then dimmed there lights and faded them out over 20 mins and then turned there rooms off?

I’m just not sure how to get it all talking to each other right, but I think Alexa is so much better for voice control over Siri

If you think I should start a new thread just let me know, thanks for all your help

I like Alexa better than Siri also, that’s why I choose devices that can work with both. :sunglasses:

I personally always use the native Alexa integration with a third-party device unless there’s some reason why have to go through SmartThings. So the hue bridge, harmony, WeMo, etc are use with their own echo integrations. Not through SmartThings. SmartThings gives you an option to individually authorize devices for use with echo. That just means for use with the smartthings/Echo integration. So what I do is just not authorize anything that has its own independent echo integration. It will still work fine with its own integration, but it gets rid of the duplicate listings. :sunglasses:

Are the lights in the Kids rooms Hue bulbs on a Hue Bridge?

You can create a scene in the hue app and then you can discover devices from the echo and after that you can use voice to initiate that scene.

Even better, you can create An Alexa routine (Not a smartthings routine) that includes more than one hue scene, and then execute all of them at once with one voice command.

See the following thread:

And then you can go one step further: for anything which echo cannot do by itself, you can create a virtual switch in SmartThings, And then when echo turns on that virtual switch (either directly or with an echo routine), you can have smartthings respond to that switch coming on. So that’s how you could add a whole bunch of activities to your good night routine.

So you can end up with one single voice statement to Alexa, like “Alexa, bedtime” and use an echo routine to have several hue scenes start and several other things happen in SmartThings. :sunglasses:

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Right I’m going to have to read this a few times to understand it ha,

But the kids bulbs are hue bulbs in each room

Also how do I deactivate the items in smartthings to not show in Alexa and create duplicates?