Set up advise please

(Jack) #1

I am new to the smart home concept but I like the idea and thus I am in the process of setting one up. So far I have bought quite a bit of Philips Hue stuff, though I have only used a few of the bulbs and the rest is still all boxed up, and the SmartThings starter pack. On the things to buy along with the below is a thermostat (probably nest or hive), nest fire and carbon monoxide detector, chrome cast and google home mini. I am after a bit of advise on what to buy in an attempt to avoid buying twice.

Motion sensors
Philips Hue motion sensors (with a device handler) or the SmartThings motion sensor? The SmartThings motion sensor is the obvious choice but doesn’t have a lux sensor whereas the Hue motion sensor does so offers better value for money in theory and also avoids having sensors everywhere. I will use the motion sensor for the alarm system but also for the lights and therefore lux is important too. Thoughts please.

Window/Door sensor
SmartThings/fabaro/sensitive strips/aerotec. I have the SmartThings multi sensor and it seems to work fairly well but I need to buy more for the other windows and doors. Which one offers the best value for money as I have a few to buy? Value for money is important but alternatively I can buy one for the back door and rely on motion sensors rather than getting sensors for all of the windows.

I want to get a siren in order to setup an alarm system. I have seen the D-Link one. What’s this like? Is this one a good one to get or am I better off with the Fortrezz, Aerotec or something different?

Dimmer switches
I am in the Uk and I have nickel coloured light switches and plug sockets. Friends who have hue have made white plastic covers that screw on top of their light switches and the Hue dimmers then sit in this cover - prevents the light switch being switched off and makes the dimmer easily assessable. The problem with this is that they are white and just wont go in my house, plus when the battery runs out in the dimmer it’s a bit of a faff, not to mention the cost of the dimmers. Is there an alternative light switch I can fit that’s smart and works with SmartThings and the Hue bulbs? I have found plenty of solutions in the US but nothing in the Uk. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for all of your help.

(Tom Guelker) #2

Your setup is very similar to mine, so I"ll chime in with my 21 cents worth (inflation, you know)

I have a Samsung SmartThings v2 hub, a Google Home, two Google home Minis, a plenthora of things.

I have two Zooz 4-in-1 sensors which are used strictly as motion sensors.

ZOOZ Z-Wave Plus 4-in-1 Sensor ZSE40 VER. 2.0 (motion/light / temperature/humidity)

As for the bulbs, outside I have 3 Sylvania Lightify RGB bulbs.

Indoors, I have regular LED bulbs controlled by Leviton plug in dimmer switches.

The front door lock is a Kwikset 914.

By the toilet/washing machine/water softener/kitchen sink/bathroom sink/etc I have a SmartSense water leak detector. When any of these detect water, the hub sends a signal to my Dome water valve which shuts off the main water supply to the house. I chose this valve because it is compatible with most any 1/4 turn ball valves, and has the power to do the job. I see no need to spend $200+ for a smart water valve that uses proprietary valving.

I also have two Zooz metering switches connected to high load appliances (refrigerator and desktop computers) simply to monitor their energy usage over time. If it weren’t for these, I would have continued using our late 50s Westinghouse refrigerator that drew 500 watts, was off for a few minutes,then back on sucking dollar bills from my wallet faster than a Shop Vac.

Welcome to the Dark Side. This is like a gold fish bowl; always on the hunt for a bigger bowl or fish or scenery to buy.

(Jack) #3

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your reply. It sounds like you have a very nice smart home! The Zooz 4-in1 sensors sounds very good. Have the battery problems been sorted now as I gather they now use AAA batteries which give a better indication of the charge levels? I would definitely like to get one of these in my bathroom, linked to a relay that controls the extractor fan as well as the lights. Given I will need an custom handler for it, it probably doesn’t make sense replacing the 2 Hue motion sensors that I have bough, albeit still in their box, for it though so I think I will probably just set these up in my kitchen and hallway with the customer handler.

Do you have a siren for your alarm system? Any advise of this?

How do you find the smart switch and standard LED bulbs? Presumably it is much cheaper setting it up that way as the bulbs are much cheaper but you need a switch on lamps etc., too inorder to control them as well? Do you have any experience with a hardwired smart dimmer and Hue bulbs?

(Tom Guelker) #4


The Zooz 4-in-1 sensors use CR123 batteries. Mine are all above 80% and are about 6 months old.

I do have a siren. In fact, I have so much “d*mn smart stuff” (wifey speaking) that I might need an intervention soon.

The siren is an Aeotec Gen 5 and it is LOUD. It plugs into a wall outlet. Did I say it was LOUD? It wails like a barn full of stuck pigs when a water leak is detected. This is happening as the water valve is closing to avoid a real disaster. It can be set to wake up the dead with several different alarms. Did I say it was LOUD? Some people use it to alert when motion is detected, and it can be used for many other things.

I do not have any hard wired dimmers. After much research, I bought some GE three way smart wall dimmers but found they will not work in my house because no neutral is available at the box. I chose to use smart dimmable LED bulbs which do the same thing as a regular LED bulb connected to a dimming wall switch.

I can’t see you needing anything that needs a handler. Zooz makes a metering switch (Zen15) that can be turned on and off with the SmartThings app. It also measures power consumption. It has a grounded plug at one end and a groundedsocket at the other, since it was meant to be plugged into a wall and something plugged into it. You will void the warranty, but you could cut off the socket and plug and hard wire it to your extractor fan. Then all you need is to create a routine in the SmartThings app to turn on the fan using the Zen15 and if you use smart LED bulbs in the fan, you can turn them on in the routine also. There might be other Things that do the same as the Zooz Zen15, but I only have experience with this brand. It can handle about 1650 watts or 15 amps @ 110 volts. Your extractor fan probably draws less than 60 watts.