Should I buy ST?


(Beau Patrice) #1

Hi all,

Sorry I am new to HA and looking to buy a ST Hub to automate some light switches and dimmers in my house. At this point I have no plan to automate anything else. My question is should I look into ST or buy Lutron smart dimmers and control them with their own hub.

I know ST has some compatible GE and Leviton dimmers but doesn’t support Lutron.

What are the advantages of buying one system over the other if I am only interested in automating my light switches.

Also I learned that Lutron can be controlled by Siri.

Thanks in advance for helping me out.


(Geko) #3

Lighting automation is not as simple as it seems. A lot depends on your particular preferences and requirements. The most frustrating aspect of SmartThings for me personally is its dependency on the cloud service and lack of local control. If you absolutely need local control, you may want to look at Vera Plus, although keep in mind that no automation system in this price range is perfect.


(Beau Patrice) #4

Hi Roberts and Geko,

Thanks for your quick response. Since, at this point I am only looking to automate some light switches and don’t have much time to trouble shoot or play with automating other devices in the house. I will take your advise and go with Lutron switches.

One more question though, should I buy just the dimmer switches as below and control these switches with Apple Home Link or do i need their hub too?

Regards, Beau


#5

I believe the Lutron SmartBridge is required to use Apple HomeKit with the switches, but you can ask Lutron to be sure.


(Bobby) #6

What kind of automation do you have in mind? Answering to this question will determine your best choice.


(Beau Patrice) #7

Okay I will check with Lutron or Home Depot.

Thanks


(Beau Patrice) #8

I am thinking to control my lights from my phone when I am at home. Set timer for them to come on or off automatically. My requirements are pretty basic.

It will also nice if I can control them remotely but I am okay if I can’t do that.

Thanks


(Ben W) #9

I have good experience using Ge Zwave light switches and Smart Lighting app to trigger off of motion. Smart Lighting is one of the few apps the execute locally for Smartthings. Smart lighting can do time based triggers (turn on at 5:30am).

Smartthings also has SmartTiles, which is a nice webpage based smartApp, that gives a phone/tablet a nice touch interface. I have a dedicated tablet running it and I used to use it a fair bit until I went motion activated for most my lights.


(Bobby) #10

Most home automation systems will be able to give you this ability. The question now is, do you want to control your lights from your phone even if your Internet is down? If yes, then ST is not what you need.

While this may seem a basic function, many of today’s HA systems fail miserably at it. This is one of ST’s weakest points. Even though the local hub scheduling seems to be more reliable than the cloud based, both fail at frustrating rates, so ST may not be your best system.

Many if not all systems will give you this ability, as long as your internet is working.


#11

Just one comment. I planned on setting up Smartthings for almost a year. Thought I had it all worked out. What I have now is not what I had planned. I keep figuring out better ways to handle things…


(Bobby) #12

Speaking of planning, I started my home automation journey with a plan to be able to turn the lights off in my teenager’s room from my phone while he is not home. Two years and 200 devices later, my home is fully automated including security, climate control and lights.


(Ben W) #13

Nearly 100% automated my self. Down to the last few rooms, just have to pick up motion sensors.

I say start small and plan. You don’t always need expensive zwave light switches with a separate motion sensor (total around $60-70) if all you want is to turn on/off light when there is motion. A $17 motion trigger switch or a programmable switch will do that job. I have 4 in bathrooms and a small pass through space. If you want just a couple bulbs with phone control, get Hue. Its easy to install and later can integrate with nearly any system.


(Beau Patrice) #14

Hi all,

Thanks for your valuable comments and guidance. I guess, I will start simple with couple of Lutron dimmers. I think hubs will take up too much of my time and seems like they are not that much reliable. I am even thinking on just putting on non-smart Lutron dimmers only.


(Keith Croshaw) #15

My summation of the current state of SmartThings is:

  • If it has a manual trigger (eg. I press a button on my smartwatch or phone or flip a switch that drives others.) It’ll work brilliantly.

  • If it is supposed to intelligently happen at a certain time or 30 minutes before sunset if people are home… Then it might work… sometimes… maybe…

Wish I had better news, the idea and the openness are amazing!
The server-side implementation and the User Interface / Stock Smarts are pretty poor…

All said, still my only choice based on my criteria.


(Bobby) #16

We scared him already, poor guy came here asking about smart home and after several hours, he said he’ll buy non-smart dimmers.


(John Hoss) #17

We scared him already, poor guy came here asking about smart home and after several hours, he said he’ll buy non-smart dimmers.

It might be better. My few motion controlled lights work when they are supposed to. And, I have never been yelled at because of them. :slight_smile:


(John Hoss) #18

Beau,
I am about 30 days into setting up ST. I opted to used GE Z-Wave switches and dimmers. No sensors yet and no plans for such.
Once you get past installing and wiring switches (for 3-way), the fun begins.
The GE switches are nice, easy to wire, and the only issue I have with them is (only on the toggle switch GE 12729) the cover plate holes do not always line up with existing plates on a multi-gang box.

Simple on/off, time controlled lighting all work pretty well. I have few routines that work. HOWEVER, many of the smartapps are complex. While ST is impressive for the price, it has some room for improvement.

Creation of routines must be conducted via phone or pad. They really should have a web interface.
And, if you have internet issues, the hub will test your patience. Or that of your spouse.

DO NOT overlook the need for manual controls.


(Bobby) #19

Ok, you got me very confused here. How is it that your

… if you have


(John Hoss) #20

Sorry. I did make a confusing statement. My few motion controlled lights are not connected to ST in any way. i.e. the laundry room has a motion controlled switch. No need to make it any smarter. AND, no trouble.


(Dale C) #21

You do realize your own posts warns of hubs then your original post speaks of the Lutron hub?