Smart Things for Controlling Amplifier?


(Break Aes) #1

Hi All,

Currently I’m looking for something that will do just 1 thing. I want to be able to turn this amp: http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/EP4000.aspx on and off; since it’s in another room due to fan noise. It seems it’s hard to find a Z Wave outlet that’s heavy duty enough. So far the best thing I found is: http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-HA02C-Settings-Heavy-Duty-Appliance/dp/B000BJSDZO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377114006&sr=8-1&keywords=z+wave+heavy+duty but the manufacturer said they don’t make it any more, and the rep also said he wouldn’t recommend it.

The Aeotec switch looks promising: http://aeotec.com/z-wave-plug-in-switch/1014-high-power-z-wave-switch.html but it isn’t released yet. Would this be my best bet? I noticed some people mentioning Aeon at these forums.

Lastly, I haven’t bought the Smart Things hub. Would this be the brain I’d want? I may expand on the modules in the future, like to control the Firefly laser lamp when it arrives. Is there a monthly cost associated with using Smart Things? I think I’d just like to control things when I’m inside my house, at least for now, and I’m not currently worried about controlling them when I’m offsite.

Let me know what you think, thanks!


(Chrisb) #2

@breakaes

Can you post the power requirements of the amp?

I have a couple of Intermatic items and I’ve been pleased with how well they’ve worked. Don’t have the item in particular that you’re talking about, but I won’t be worried about buying and using it if it fit the power requirements of the amp. And yes, SmartThings would be able to turn this on and off from a different room.

Concerning whether you want SmartThings or not: SmartThings is a lot bigger than just turning things on and off. There is are LOT more brain here. Getting SmartThings just to be able to turn something on and off in another room would sorta be like getting a EUROPOWER EP4000 Professional amp to play the audio from YouTube videos. You’ve got way more than you need. If the only think you are ever going to do is turn outlets or lights on and off from a different room, you’d be much better served by getting a z-wave remote control: It’s a lot cheaper.

However, the way you are talking here reminds me SO MUCH of when people used to ask me how powerful a computer they should get back in the 90s or early 2000s. People used to always say: I’m only getting it for word processing and maybe email. They also thought of getting the cheapest available. But, especially if they were the type of person who list to tinker around, they inevitably want to do more and more and more with the computer and very quickly that cheap unit is pushed to it’s limits.

It sounds like this is the type of person you might be. (Granted, I’m basing this on 3 paragraphs, so there’s plenty of room for error!) If you think you might want to expand the system… maybe add some lights. Maybe an open/close sensor. Maybe a simple program that when you open the door and it’s dark out, a light comes on. Heck, maybe even if you turn on something like a TV, then an amp in another room automatically comes on… If things like this interest you then you’ll probably want to look at SmartThings.

Oh, and no… there is no monthly fee for SmartThings.


(Break Aes) #3

Hi Chris, thanks! Great to know that there’s no monthly fee for Smart Things! I thought I saw something about it, and I thought free service would only be for Kickstarter backers, and I’m not one of those.

The amp uses a 15 amp plug. I’m running it in 2 channel configuration at 4 ohms, so that’s 1,400 watts per channel. My speakers are very efficient, so I probably don’t get near the top end of that. So either that Intermatic unit, or something from Aeon would be my best bet for a heavy duty outlet then?

I want to control things with my phone since it’s usually in my pocket. This would be what I need Smart Things for, cause regular Z Wave controllers don’t have that functionality, correct?

Haha, actually that Behringer amp is pretty inexpensive, but from what I’ve seen it offers the best bang for the buck in terms of high power output. It’s a live gig amp so it has a lot of fan noise, and I didn’t want to mod it, so it lives in another room. $99 for the brain, and around $40-50 per outlet module is fine with me. That cost isn’t insane to me, so if Smart Things with a heavy duty Z Wave outlet is best for my application, then that’s what I’ll do.


(Andrew Urman) #4

@breakaes Most Z-Wave outlets top out at 15A and 1800Watts of total load. If you’re not hitting that you should be fine. A few choices out there from GE, Evolve, Intermatic. In-Wall, pluggable, wired, not wired.

If you plan on using more, there are some products out there rated for 30AMP but are typically contractor panels or rated for 240V. I’d guess if you’re not blowing your outlets or your breaker switch you should be good :stuck_out_tongue:

@chrisb would know better :stuck_out_tongue:


(Amr Ramadan) #5

@urman Recommendations for a Z-Wave outlet rated 240V? Looking to put a 1500Watt load on it.


(Andrew Urman) #6

@amrramadan The only one we have tested in house I know of is the ZBMLC30 - Home Automation Metering Wireless Dual Load Controller - Model #4040B

They have told me they also make a 240V model of the HA Wireless Metering Smart Plug - Model #5010Q if you ask for it.


(Amr Ramadan) #7

Thanks @urman, will ask them for the 240V model. :slight_smile:


(Break Aes) #8

I just saw the post in the Activity Feed about Revolv: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDctw8OEoLA

Since I’m not in a rush, I’m thinking about waiting for that. Any thoughts on which would be better, or would they be about equivalent?

Revolv is quite a bit more expensive, but I want whichever is the better product.


(Chrisb) #9

Yeah, I’ve see that too @breakaes

With the exception of Sonos and the Philips Hue, SmartThings can do all those things too if you have the right devices.

Do bear in mind that a video like that is much like the old commercials for iPhone apps… they only show you bits and pieces of the app working perfectly, none of the setup involved or limitations of the app.

But, that said: If you had a presence sensor or your phone setup as one you could easily have an app that turns off a Z-wave valve running to your sprinklers when you come home and then wait like 5-10 minutes before turning it back on. The door lock you wouldn’t even need to open the app for… that would happen automatically.

All the other things (lights, temp, fireplace) can easily be done with existing z-wave light switches, outlets, thermostats, etc.

Just a couple of examples of how I use smartthings:

When I leave the presence sensor in my car tells ST to shut my garage door. When I come home the arrival of the presence sensor tells ST to open my door… then 10 seconds later unlock my side door. When I open my side door, if it’s after sunset, two lights turn on in my house. One of them (the entry light) turns off after 5 minutes. The other stays on until I turn it off manually.

In my daughter’s bedroom I have a hacked together z-wave switch that when she presses it, it turns on her overhead lights at a dim-ness of 15%. Every 20 minutes it drops that dim level another 5% until it’s off. The switch is “mounted” by her bed so if she wakes up in the middle of the night she can turn on her “night light” again.

In the hallway outside our bedrooms I have a motion sensor. If motion is detected at night time and the light is off, then it turns the lights on, but only at 20%. This way someone getting up to use the bathroom can see but not be blinded. The lights go off automatically after 6 minutes.

All these are programs I wrote myself or modified from existing SmartThings programs using very minimal level of programming knowledge.


(Cory S) #10

Many of the things shown in that video I think are purely conceptual. Nest for example doesn’t have an official API. There is a semi-undocumented one that can be used to hack together support (I’m using an app a member wrote now to control my Nest through SmartThings) but being it’s an unofficial API Nest could pull support for it at anytime…or simply not keep it compatible with upgrades they make on their end. Which is why you dont see other companies using it…it would be embarrassing to lose support for something you advertised because you jerry rigged it.

But, as Chris said it didnt really show anything that it claims to be able to do that SmartThings can’t, with exception to Sonos probably (which they are working on)


(Chrisb) #11

Also worth mentioning is that Revolv isn’t shipping yet. It’s supposed to be this fall, but as anyone who’s pre-order or “backed” (via Kickstarter, etc.) things like this can easily slip on their due date. Then when it does come out it will likely have issues and complications, again… like most other new start up technology things (including SmartThings).

The difference is that SmartThings is in the ‘wild’ and in use by many people already and has fixed some of those initial problems and complications.


(Break Aes) #12

Thanks for the replies. There are some good points you mention. It looks like hardware wise Revolv has the advantage with wifi connectivity, and 7 internal radios. Is having that many radios desirable? If the only advantage is wifi, I may just save $200 and go with Smart Things.

Here’s the blurb from their site:

All Wireless, No Ethernet Needed!

The Revolv Hub, unlike other home automation solutions, doesn’t require an Ethernet cable. Simply plug it into a central location in your home to get the best wireless range. Then magically connect it to your Wi-Fi network in less than a minute using our proprietary FlashLink™ technology. It’s not magic, it’s Revolv.

Industry Record: 7 Wireless Radios

While other solutions boast 2 or 3 radios, the Revolv Hub sports an unprecedented 7 wireless radios speaking 10 different wireless languages. That’s right: We’re setting the record for smart home device compatibility, starting with Z-Wave, Insteon and Wi-Fi compatibility. And with future software updates adding support for ZigBee and other languages, we’re on track to support hundreds of devices in the next year.

EDIT: Here’s a cool video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuWbRwZd2IA I probably won’t be using Google Glass, but that’s a nice demo!


(Cory S) #13

I will say having radios for all those different protocols is pretty nifty. People are working on bridges to replicate that functionality on smartthings.


(Chrisb) #14
All Wireless, No Ethernet Needed!

The Revolv Hub, unlike other home automation solutions, doesn’t require an Ethernet cable. Simply plug it into a central location in your home to get the best wireless range. Then magically connect it to your Wi-Fi network in less than a minute using our proprietary FlashLink™ technology. It’s not magic, it’s Revolv.

This isn’t that huge of an issue really. Most of the home automation protocals (Z-wave, Zigbee) use a mesh network meaning devices extend the range of the wireless net. The only think that may be an issue is some z-wave switches not giving instant update when physically pressed if not in direct communication with the hub. However, a firmware update is suppose to help with this soon.

And on a side note… how stupid to say: “Then magically connect…” then next sentence: “It’s not magic, it’s Revolv!”

Industry Record: 7 Wireless Radios

While other solutions boast 2 or 3 radios, the Revolv Hub sports an unprecedented 7 wireless radios speaking 10 different wireless languages. That’s right: We’re setting the record for smart home device compatibility, starting with Z-Wave, Insteon and Wi-Fi compatibility. And with future software updates adding support for ZigBee and other languages, we’re on track to support hundreds of devices in the next year.

Yeah, the more radios and languages it understands the better. Right now it isn’t a big deal for me because I don’t have an legacy devices that I need to connect but if I did it would be nice to be able to reuse things instead of having to replace them all.


(Rick Bullotta) #15

Don’t overcomplicate things by trying to find Zigbee/ZWave/XBee devices to directly switch a high wattage/amperage load. That’s what relays are for.

http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Overview/Catalog/Relays_-z-_Timers/Electro-Mechanical_Relays


(Break Aes) #16

Rick thanks for the reply. Do you have more information on how to set those relays up to work with Smart Things? I don’t know anything about relays.

I may just wait till Revolv is released and compare it with Smart Things then, since I want to make the right decision the first time.