Hi, new to the forum, I have just started to dabble in smart devices - first of which is a smart wifi switch by Tuya, for which I have been controlling with SmartLife app & timer control.
I guess from the googling I have done I do not fully understand how it seems to work… I presume that the information I have put in my phone sits on a cloud somewhere and activates the switch accordingly.
I would like to move onto my next project, smart heating. I am not too bothered about having a smart thermostat connected to m boiler. I would just like control of each room using a smart TRV. I do not have a smart hub, and for compatibilities sake I will get a SmartThings Hub with zigbee & z-wave.
To set this up, can I buy any smart TRV with zigbee/z-wave and be able to control this through smartthhings app? If I buy for example a honeywell smart TRV, will this be able to talk to the smartthings hub and run through the smartthigns app, or does this need a separate app on top of this? Must the same brand smart TRV have its own hub, to speak to smartthings hub?
I thought the point in a hub was to bring everything together, so surely having to get a hub of every brand you may want to buy would be awkward.
Correct. That is how most WiFi smart home devices work these days, including anything that uses the Tuya Smart Life or eWeLink apps.
(The exception for WiFi devices is Apple’s HomeKit, which runs everything locally except the voice assistant. So if your internet goes out, your home automation still works as long as your WiFi router is working.)
As far as your questions about the TRVs, the first rule of home automation applies: the model number matters. Some smart TRVs Will be able to connect directly to a smartthings hub, some won’t integrate at all, some will be able to get partial integration through an intermediary like the IFTTT service or Alexa routines. And some will work using custom code and possibly other devices through projects developed by the community. Also some will require their own hub and some will not. There’s just a lot of variation, sometimes even among models from the same company.
Set the first thing we need to know is what country you are in, as the device selection does vary.
The point of a hub is to establish a network to allow individual devices to connect to that network so you can create schedules and other rules that apply to multiple devices that are connected to that network. Seriously, that’s what a hub is for, from a technical perspective. There’s nothing in the definition of “a hub“ that tells you exactly which devices will be allowed to connect to that network.
The hub might be able to work with devices of multiple brands or it might not. That’s not the point of its existence. The point of the hub is to let you control multiple end devices connected to the network at one time.
Some hubs, although not all, are “multi protocol,“ which again from a technical point of view means that not only do they let you control multiple in devices at one time, they let you put devices that use different Radio frequencies/message protocols into the same rule. So you can have a zwave handheld remote turn on a Zigbee Smart bulb even though the two devices can’t talk to each other directly.
Smartthings is a multi protocol hub for Zigbee and zwave, but that just means it has a radio for each of those two frequencies. It still doesn’t mean it can talk to every device on the market that uses Zigbee or zwave. Again, the model number matters. And it can’t talk directly to devices using other radio frequencies.
So many communications are what is called “cloud to cloud“. Smartthings hub talks to the smartthings cloud via the Internet. Smartthings cloud talks to you, say, the Tuya cloud, again via Internet. The Tuya cloud talks to its own Wi-Fi devices, and, you guessed it, again via Internet.
A Zigbee device that lives in your house might be either “hub connected” to your own smartthings hub or connected to its hub which then goes out to its cloud to talk to SmartThings. Again, it just varies by model.
For controlling eTRVs under SmartThings, you’d need the ScheduleTstatZones smartapp which can leverage all your ST connected temp/motion/contact sensors to adjust your zoned rooms’ setpoints. The smartapp is based on the concepts of rooms/zones/schedules. The smartapp can create virtual zone devices which allow you to set different sepoints (offsets) for your colder/hotter rooms.
There are many features & use cases supported by the smartapp, refer to this ST community forum thread for more details:
I have ones where you set a temperature/setting, and the TRV will do the rest according to the temperature, rather than ones that have a pre-set flow that is fixed, and only changeable when you twist it. I presume this is what you mean?
Thank you for your suggestions, I will check out those valves. Cheers