ST to replace current security system

project_security

#1

Hello All,

I just thought I would post my project / story to possibly get your input and or help others. First off I am totally new to ST, so I still have much to learn. Thankfully I have a coding backgrounds, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. In any case my project is to replace my current home security system with a ST system. My requirements are to keep everything as simple as possible to reduce the points of failure and keep the wife happy. I don’t want to get into bashing my current system, so I’ll just call it “current system”. It has worked well enough for us for the last 5 years, but I want to extend the functionality and have the ability to add / configure my own system.

Complete

  • 24/7 Monitoring
  • Signed up for Scout. So far so good. Still in the testing period, however everything seems to be working as expected. I would however like to see an Arm Night mode. In my current system Arm away, stay and night all have different delays before the police are notified. For example if it is armed night and an intrusion is detected the time to call is less than when away or stay. Not a show stopper nor really an ST issue just a nice to have / suggestion to bring up with Scout.
  • SHM setup and door / motion sensors all configured for the modes.
  • Auto arm based on presence / activity. Works great, but I would like better control over the rule sets. I think rule machine may help here. EX when I leave and its early and it’s a week day and someone else Is still home then arm stay…
  • Foscam integration - Thanks to the device handler and smartapps from @Rboy this is working great. Still a little to do, but working well enough.

Todo

  • Dedicated main control panel / dashboard (tablet): I want to have a dedicated control panel. I plan to wall mount a tablet we have laying around. I can use the ST native app, however it lacks tablet support and the dashboards are a little to be desired. I’m thinking of leveraging the SmartTiles dashboard. The control panel should be able to…
  • Arm / Disarm
  • Show all motion / open / close sensor status
  • Show / link to cameras (FOSCAM IP Cameras).
  • Open / Close sensor chime - I do not want the chime on all devices just the main control panel.
  • Alarm Siren - Looking at the Aeon Labs Gen5. Would be nice if the volume / tone could be set based on even rather than at the global level.
  • Intrusion audible warning before police are called - My current system beeps until the window to disarm has passed. If that window passes then the full siren goes off.
  • Dedicated entry keypad to activate / deactivate (could just be a 2nd tablet or old phone or keypad.
  • Send picture when front door cam detects motion (kind of working, but not in ST).
  • Cellular backup (plan to do at router level until / if it is ever added at the hub level).

So far I can say that I am happy with the system and its capabilities, however a bit concerned with the stability. The plan is to continue testing it in parallel before we decide to keep it around or return it. I’ve only had it for a few days and so far have noticed.

  • The app on android constantly has errors. Typically these are minor and clicking the action / button again works other times I have to close it out.
  • Hub went off line last night. What happens when it goes off line and monitoring is active? Will the hub return to its previous state (away, stay, home)?.
  • ST Open / close sensors much more responsive that existing system. We’re running both right now and ST is the first to send the notification.
  • ST motion sensor seems to be better at detecting motion than my existing system.
  • The capabilities seem endless. I really want to keep this around pending it is stable enough. I plan to add switches etc and am really excited about HA. I’ve been addicted to these boards the past few days and have been learning a lot from the community.

Thanks!


New SmartThings Users Needs Community Input
#2

You mentioned 24/7 monitoring.

UL listed security systems (which SmartThings is not) address three points of failure:

One) electrical power to the individual home

two) Internet connection at the individual home

Three) cloud service, in this case, SmartThings.

Although the v2 SmartThings hub does have batteries, it provides only a very limited back up capability. First of all, most smartapps and devices cannot run locally at all. That includes rule machine. And notifications. Basically if the hub switches to battery power, only smart lighting will run. They have said there will be more local operation eventually, but no specific timline.

The main point about two and three above is that even if your home has electrical power, SmartThings has no way of notifying scout if you lose either Internet or just the SmartThings cloud.

In just the last two weeks, we had two separate days when notifications failed for several hours.

Most security systems have a battery-powered cellular option which allows the system to continue to monitor the devices in the home and to notify the monitoring center when there is a problem even if all three points of failure occur. SmartThings does not have this. There are two USB slots on the back of the hub, but they are currently inactive.

So at the present time, January 2016, there simply is no way to get 24/7 monitoring from a SmartThings system. Or rather you can get 24/7 monitoring provided none of the three points of failure actually fail. Which is not how most security systems are designed.

Just wanted to make sure that was clear. Different people have different priorities, and it may well be that the kind of monitoring that smartthings provides is sufficient to your own needs. It wouldn’t work for me, but that’s why I pay for a separate security system.

Just so long as you know that the scout monitoring depends on the SmartThings system being able to notify them, and at present that’s dependent on both Internet and the SmartThings cloud being available.


#3

I do understand that. As far as battery backup I have that set (additional backup). Internet is planned to be backed up at the router level. If ST ever supports USB cellular great if not I can at the router.

Right now my biggest concern is with the reliability of the cloud service / hub. My current system has failed a couple of times either battery, cellular or otherwise, but for the most part has been pretty solid. I can deal with minor outages, but not constant failures due to the cloud service.


#4

It all depends on how you define “constant.”

Back in August I was very happy with SmartThings. Then there were several platform updates beginning in late October and we began having a lot of reliability problems. Some rules didn’t fire, some devices started getting phantom events. Yesterday, for example, turn on with motion would work, but turn off after inactivity did not work on any of our motion sensors. Since November, we have not gone more than five days without a problem of some kind.

I should note that many people might not even notice these problems. They were often fixed just by A few minor app actions, or resetting an individual device.

In my case, I am quadriparetic, use a wheelchair with limited hand function. So I literally can’t take the batteries out of the device and put them back in. I need to pay someone else to do that stuff. So I’m very aware whenever anything stops working. Other people might consider anything that can be fixed in 15 minutes or less to not be a real problem. So I know I am more sensitive to these issues than a lot of people might be. It’s an individual assessment.


#5

Thanks for your feedback! I would consider what you describe as constant. I need the system to be as reliable / easy as possible. I would not be willing to reset individual devices once a week or once a month for that matter. Our current system needs the base station rebooted every now and then, but that’s easy enough for anyone to do.

Outages of the cloud here and there aren’t a real issue as long as the system returns to its previous state. Last night the cloud service went down I was unable to do anything, however after about 5 mins it all returned to normal and has been working ever sense. We’ll see how the next week goes.

Again thank you for your feedback.


#6

So far so good. I’ve been testing the system non stop for the last few days. Thankfully still in the testing mode with Scout. Instead of dispatching the police I get an email telling me what they would have done. All in all the system seems very responsive. I was able to get the dashboard the way I want it thanks to SmartTiles. Next on my list is an audible alert.

My only major gripe so far is the reliability of automatically executing routines. I have it set to arm / disarm based on presence and it works only about 50% of the time.


#7

@eveezy- you’re project is EXACTLY what I’m attempting. I’m a bit of a novice with this stuff, but I will be experimenting and following your progress closely. You’re ahead of me in the project so far, but I will try to catch up! Let me know when you’ve figured out the chime! I’m working on the dedicated iPad control panel now.


#8

@Guido glad to hear there are others. So far I can say it’s going well. No false alarms and very responsive. Still having issues with mobile presence, but that’s just a nice to have.

I’ve decided on the Aeon Labs door bell to use as a chime. I’ve also added several iris door sensors which are working great. I’ll update once I get the door bell. If you beat me to it please let me know what you did.

Thanks and good luck!


#9

Just a quick update that may help you. As of last night I am using PushOver to send a notification ONLY to my dedicated dashboard device to be used as a door chime. While it works well (very slight delay) it would be better if the ST app did this. I’m still planning on adding the Aeon labs door bell, but this should suffice for now.


#10

@Guido I got the chime working the way I want now just using my dedicated control panel and Pushover. I found that the Pushover smart app available in the marketplace was lacking so I created a basic device handler that acts as a switch or speech device. I then used rule machine to send a chime on contact open and close. This works great. Because it relies on the cloud there is a slight delay, but still works well enough for me anyway (less than a second delay usually). I also created a virtual switch that I use to disable the door chime, so now when we have people over I can turn it off from my control panel. All in all I think the system is working great and I am very happy with it. The old system has now been disconnected.

Still to do (in this order)

  • Intrusion audible warning before police are called - My old system would beep until the window to disarm has passed. If that window passes then the full siren goes off. I’m thinking this might be simple in rule machine.
  • Alarm Siren - Looking at the Aeon Labs Gen5 siren or doorbell, but must have the warning figured out first. I do not want it going off immediately.
  • Cellular backup (plan to do at router level until / if it is ever added at the hub level).

#11

I’m probably just talking to my self at this point, but figured I would continue to update my project.

Complete

  • 24/7 Monitoring. Signed up for Scout. Working well no false alarms that I see others reporting.
  • SHM setup and door / motion sensors all configured for the modes.
  • Auto arm based on presence / activity. I found Rule Machine to work better than the ST routines. With this I have much more control over auto arm etc…
  • Foscam integration - Using the @Rboy device handler and smart app to send notifications when there is motion from the camera.
  • Dedicated main control panel / dashboard (tablet). Using SmartTiles.click which is working great. My control panel shows the status of all sensors, weather, Nest, and cameras.
  • Open / Close sensor chime - Using the Aeon Siren thanks to the Aeon Labs Aeotec Multifunction Doorbell device handler from @krlaframboise .
  • Alarm Siren - For now just using the same as the above from @krlaframboise. The doorbell device itself isn’t that loud, so I may add the Aeon siren.
  • Intrusion audible warning before police are called - Using rule machine and the Aeon doorbell for this.

Todo:

  • Dedicated entry keypad to activate / deactivate: I have a few old phones laying around that I will use along with SmartTiles.click.
  • Cellular backup (plan to do at router level until / if it is ever added at the hub level). I haven’t had time for this yet, but it shouldn’t be an issue with my current router.

(Joe) #12

Don’t be too sure. I’m quietly watching as an interested in this, but tying to decide if I want to go this route, w/ scout, or hook up the envisalink and my current DSC box, currently monitored by a third party, mostly so I can turn on/off alarm system remotely. Like disable when maids come to house and I forgot. Or turn back on when they leave. My concern is that I’m not a coder, and the thought of having to hook DSC-Envisalink-Raspberry Pi-ST scares me a little.


(Jimmy) #13

Which Foscam models do you have working? Might have to pony up the money for access to RBoy’s site.


#14

@Ag99JYD To each their own. ST replacing my old system was a step in the right direction for me. I only wish that they supported cellular backup right at the hub level. Let me know what you end up doing.

@prjct92eh2 I’m using the FI9853EP’s. The thing that attracted me to device handler from @RBoy is the ability to use the motion alarm as a motion sensor. There are other free device handlers out there that worked, but in the end I just paid and don’t regret it.


#15

I am also tracking your updates as I am headed in the same direction. I have my sensors, dedicated key pad, Samsung indoor camera with motion etc and have set up my echo to run routines which will set my alarm to arm disarm etc (currently testing this feature for accuracy) I have also been researching the different alarm/sirens and am considering the skybell hd doorbell with video.


#16

@Tuff1253 let me know how you like the Echo integration. I’m trying to justify one myself! Next on my list is to add a few of the GE Toggle switches / dimmers. I really like how those look over the paddle style. Just waiting for a sale.


#17

I will keep you posted just got it this last weekend so I am just starting to use it. So far so good. I have been reading the forum regarding the harmony remote integration with ST and Echo and I think I just may break down and go buy so I can have Alexa turn on my tv.


(Ben W) #18

Just discovered my alarm was always running in the cloud since I had a 3rd party device type. I switched it to a generic and it allowed the alarm to run locally, and the device still works great.

To check that your alarm is running locally go here: https://graph.api.smartthings.com/localInstalledSmartApp/list


(Ben W) #19

Also wanted to mention the Aron Siren did not meet my requirements. It was loud but really sounded like a phone ringing more than alarm and had a high pitch whine. I did like that it was plugged in and had a battery backup. Went with Iris siren (works with default z-wave siren). It is loud, sounds like a siren and like $20 cheaper. Downside will only sound for 3 minutes.


#20

Im a newby to this world so what exactly am I looking for? when I log into the link provided it states “localinstalledapp” I am assuming that means it local otherwise would show cloud?