I’m brand new to this forum, and looking for some advice before I start spending money.
I am in the middle of building an annex for my disabled parents and I want to make things as easy as possible for them. They have Amazon Alexa and use it for switching on Kasa TP-Link plugs, so I want the new house to be as accessible as possible.
So I’m planning to buy a Samsung Smarthub and TKB Home light switches for control over lighting scenes in the house. I will also have a Nest Thermostat. From what I can see in forum conversations so far neither the TKB switches or the Nest products are officially supported.
I’m fairly handy with tech (I custom-build my PCs and know my way around networking) but this is new to me.
Any advice from the old hands out there would be very much appreciated.
Your research is unfortunately correct.
There’s a popular unofficial integration for nest, so you can talk to the people who are using that. The integration appears to work well, but it is technically a violation of your nest terms of service, which means there is the possibility that nest would find a way to turn it off sometime in the future.
As far as the TP Link Kasa Devices go, there are two community created integrations. When requires an additional server to act as a “man in the middle” and considerable technical skills. A more recent approach offers a cloud to cloud approach which doesn’t need the additional device, but you still needs strong technical skills to get it set up correctly. You can find both of these on the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki in the device type handler section under “Lighting.”
TKB Home makes a number of devices. Their Zwave devices do work directly with SmartThings, so that’s a much simpler integration.
I’m curious how we violate the TOS?
We are using there official API and are following there guidelines. We went through the official review process but they won’t proceed because we can’t secure our developer token Id and Secret without using ST Oauth install.
BTW–you can also look in the quick browse lists in the project reports section and there is a list for accessibility projects. I myself am quadriparetic, use a power wheelchair and have limited use of my hands, and can honestly say that inexpensive home automation has significantly improved my life.
That said, I have to also be honest and say that over the last year and a half I have moved almost all of my critical use cases off of SmartThings because it just doesn’t have the reliability that I require. I do continue to use it for some of the things that it does better than any other system in the same price range, such as a convenience notification that the guestroom window has been left Open when rain is expected and the guest is out of the house. But when it comes to just turning on the lights at sunset every day or turning the television on, I’ve moved to other systems.
Since your parents will be living with you and I assume you will be doing the maintenance on the system, it may not be as much of an issue for you. Often times the SmartThings glitch just requires popping the battery on a sensor or opening the app and closing it again to get things restarted. If you’re going to be around to do that for your parents then you may not need to worry about those issues.
Also, just like the TP link devices, many devices have their own direct integration with Alexa, and that in itself can provide a good Plan B if SmartThings is being goofy. If the lights that are supposed to come on at sunset fail to come on but you could just ask Alexa to turn them on and they do, that may also be all that you need.
So I did just want to mention the issue as something to be aware of in your planning. Smartthings is a very powerful, very versatile system for its price range, but it is not the most reliable.
Thanks JD, much appreciated. I’ve been doing a helluva lot of research over the past few weeks, and it was either going to be Samsung or Vera for the hub. There doesn’t seem to be a perfect marriage between hubs and devices unfortunately.
I don’t have unlimited funding, which is why I was looking at the TKB light switches instead of putting in smart light bulbs. If money was no object I would go for the Lightwave RF switches sigh.
Based on what SmartThings staff have said in the past, Nest requires that all third-party integrations adhere to their restrictions on what can be done with the device. For example, if someone has set a minimum/maximum range in nest for safety reasons, you’re not supposed to provide the user with a way of going around it.
Since SmartThings integrations expose pretty much everything that’s available through the API, that doesn’t meet that requirement. Which is why even though SmartThings would like to have an official integration with nest, they don’t.
Essentially if it isn’t approved through their official process, then the use of third-party code to reset the thermostat violates the TOS as I understand it.
But again, it’s the official SmartThings support pages that say it’s a violation, so presumably they know.
If you get your smartapp approved by nest, then there wouldn’t be any problem.
LightwaveRF is a really nice line, no question, but I understand the budget issues. The Hue White Light bulbs are only £15, if that helps any. You need the hue bridge (one Bridge can support up to 40 hue devices), but the echo integration is excellent and the system is very reliable. You can also use them simultaneously with another home automation controller if you like.
If you have a neutral wire at the switchbox, I would also definitely consider the Devolo/Popp switches as well as the TKB Home if you are going with a Z wave system. Vesternet is a popular online retailer in the U.K. with A wide selection of devices and excellent technical support:
Thanks again JD. I’d not come across Devolo, just looking at them now.
I live in Ireland, so the Hue bulbs are a little more expensive but then again with Sterling so low maybe I should think again. The big advantage of the TKB light switches (for me) is that even if the network goes down they also act as a hardwired switch. This would also be a help as my Mam isn’t as savvy as my Dad and often prefers to switch things on/off herself rather than put Alexa to the bother (her words!!).
I’ve heard that the Hue bulbs can get stuck on when they lose the network.
I think that’s probably a reference to the fact that if the power goes out (not the Internet) then when the power comes back on the Hue bulbs will come back on as well even if they were off when the power went out. That’s true of most smart lightbulbs. A lot of people don’t care, but some people find it annoying.
Otherwise I don’t know of any situation where hue bulbs “get stuck on.”
Have you had a chance to look at the UK lighting FAQ? It might give you some more ideas.
Also the Hue system offers two battery operated switches which you can put anywhere. They aren’t shaped like conventional UK switches, but they do work well. That gives you a physical switch you can use. We have one of these in the guestroom and guests find it very intuitive.
If you put the bulbs in a fitting and you want to lock out the existing wall switch, The easiest way is just to get a child safety lock and then put the battery operated device on the wall next to the original switch.
But different things work for different people, it’s always good to have choices.
Lots to think about, just as well I enjoy research
@CyberByte27, i’m from Ireland too, so i find myself always in a similar boat, where we get hit a lot for various devices espically when the sterling exchange rate is not in our favour and then then delivery charges
In stead of hue lights, consider the Ikea light range that are reasonable priced and have been integrated into ST. Also depending on what you purchase from overseas using one of the motels with a uk address can help reduce costs too.
Hi Darren. Thanks for the input. I knew about the Ikea smart range, but I thought you had to use the Ikea gateway hub, I didn’t realise that ST have support for it.
There’s no official support yet and integration is still a bit wonky. It’s not a certified zigbee device yet although they’ve said they want to go that way.
@CyberByte727 I guess my statement maybe misleading, yikees, as @JDRoberts says its not officially supported, but a community DH exists for some of the bulbs (not all) created by @Edvald which doesn’t require the hub. I’m using it with 6 GU10s currently and its working great, at least in terms on basic automatic on/off scenarios.
@CyberByte727 I’m on holidays and typing on a mobile otherwise I’d get the links, but have a look at the mi energenie thread, may be something there that may suit. Alternatively depending on the lighting in the annex and fiabro switches which are placed behing our light switches may work.
Another alternative for lighting, is a new option in the kudled thread, if the developer of the new DH chooses to share. Work from the bottom of the thread up, in this case he used the knowledge acquired from the kudled switch for this new switch. Its one I’m interested in.
Its with the assistance of people like @JDRoberts and others in this community that has helped me over the last 18 months espically when so much is US based, but we do have some options
Drop me a line anytime, I maybe in a position to point you towards the experts
Now that is very interesting Darren. I’m heading up to Ikea on Tuesday - I might get a couple of these bulbs and see how they work for me. It could be a cheaper option than the Hues. Thanks for the heads up!