To buy or not to buy. The $142 offer ends today


(Neto) #1

I first found out about Smartthings this past February on one of the TWIT podcasts. I did a little research, watching as many reviews and project videos as possible and I quickly fell in love with the idea of Smartthings without ever owning the product. I knew then and still know now that I do want to delve into home automation but I think my due diligence on taking the time to research various products has caused me to hesitate more and more as time goes on. I have read so many posts on issue after issue that I honestly am afraid to pull the trigger. But at the $142 price and willingness to reset my expectations of how i will use the product I don’t think I can pass the offer up. Initially I dreamed of automating every aspect of my home. But at this point, I have decided i will only include the following in my single family 2 story home

-Smartthings home sitter kit
-All GE GE link bulbs (30 total - I purchased these 2 months ago at home depot when they were a $24 special for 2 bulbs)
-4 additional motion sensors (brand/model tbd)
-1 wireless camera (brand/model tbd)

I wanted to but will not set up the following (yet)
-No entry via door or garage using presence sensors (this one will always be a NO actually).
-No sunrise/sunset or time activated on/off for lights
-No smartphones as presence sensors
-No smoke/fire alarm integration

My new expectations are that all bulbs will be set on/off via motion sensor in key rooms (kitchen, living room, hallways and garage or with manually triggering the wall switch The camera will also be initiated on/off wth motion sensorl. I know that smartthings can do more but what i really really need to do is sell this to my family first in as basic a format as possible. And if the basic works and remains stable then i can move on to more complex items.I believe this set up should be solid and stable, am I wrong? Does any one have this exact setup and is still experiencing issues?

Hopefully in 5-6 months I will reach out for tips/help as I move into the “now lets tackle the previous No items”

Wish me luck,

Netospeed


#2

If you turn the GE bulbs off via the nonnetworked wall switch, you won’t be able to turn them on again via the motion sensors.

Much discussion of this in the forums, the challenge of smart bulbs is that they need to always have current.

At my house, we solved this with the Amazon Echo, which is now our primary means of controlling the lights, plus the SmartenIT 3 toggle switch.


(John S) #3

I went with 18 smart switches and no smart bulbs for the reason @JDRoberts suggests - a switch works just like people expect it to. A smart switch tells the system when a human flips it, and the system can still do some smart stuff (like turn things off when people wander away, or dim lights late at night, etc) even when the human flips the switch. Plus the system can always turn the light(s) on.

Other than that, sounds like a good plan - please feel free to ask anything, anytime!


#4

@netospeed, Welcome to ST and our community! You will find a lot of people that are more than willing to help, as well as those more than willing to provide their experiences. Seems like more negative than positive at the moment…

For your reference, I have 161 (and growing) devices working very well. While I’ve had my fair share of issues over the last year and a half, I am overall very pleased with what I’ve implemented. I use a mix of ST default device types, and some I’ve created. I also use my own SmartApps, community SmartApps, as well as actions performed through the Dashboard. We are at a point now where all my family members use ST, including my wife! Here’s just some of the actions ST performs for our home on a regular basis, some for well over a year:

  • Motion senors in all our kid’s rooms turning off lights after inactivity
  • Motion sensors in bathroom turning off lights after inactivity
  • Humidity senors turning on vent fans in showers automatically
  • All outside lights controlled by sunset/sunrise (first and oldest action I’ve implemented 18 months ago)
  • Presence devices (Android S4’s, and Note 4, and ST’s tag) controlling thermostat settings and a ceiling fan
  • Ecolink contact sensor repurposed as a doorbell with notifications
  • First Alert Smoke/CO2 sensors (11 in total) turning on key lights in the house (no real life experience thankfully, but I test monthly)
  • Goodnight action widget I tap on when going to bed that shuts down all lights on first floor
  • “Pretend I’m Home” action for when I’m on vacation
  • Several leak sensors linked to a water valve that shuts off if water is detected (tested monthly)
  • Front stoop motion sensor turning on an outside overhanging door light only after sunset and before sunrise
  • Grovestream feeds of temp reading and HEM values
  • …and more…

I do not have a Hue anything, Sonos, wifi camera (non-ST supported), Harmony remote, or anything else needing ST Lab integration yet. I can wait for all that to mature, including my Amazon Echo (this excites me a lot thinking about ST integration).

All my devices are either Zwave or Zigbee, and consist of these:

  • Ecolink sensors (doors, windows, doorbell, door locks/latches)
  • ST/PEQ motion sensors
  • ST multi sensors
  • ST presense sensors
  • ST temp/humidity sensors
  • First Alert Smoke/CO2’s
  • MIMOLites (garage doors, and water valve)
  • Philio PSM01 (3-in-1 devices)
  • GE fan controllers
  • GE dimmers
  • GE switches (single, 2, and 3 way)
  • GE Link bulbs (working great btw, especially how we expect them to be used)
  • Vizia RF VRCS2-MRZ Z-Wave 2-Button Scene/Load Controller
  • Aeon HEM v1
  • Aeon smart energy switches
  • Everspring motion sensor
  • Everspring contact sensors
  • Evolve T100r thermostats
  • Utilitech Sirens
  • Everspring flood sensors

Next on my list will be door locks when the opportunity arises, and I’m sure Aeon’s new doorbell device. Somehow I have a feeling other stuff will show up here and there… I can’t wait for Echo to be integrated!

Anyway, moral of my story is don’t believe everything you read, ask questions - a lot of questions - and do your homework, ST’s support can be your friend, have a plan, this can be fun, have patience at times and complain appropriately, HA is developing like crazy with their own ecosystems, and lastly be prepared to learn a lot.

Sorry for the long reply!


Completely Disappointed
(John S) #5

Oh man… these are the things I like the most. Get contact sensors on those doors too. There is nothing like doors that lock themselves, and nothing like never needing a key (assuming your locks have keypads) I don’t regret that purchase at all!


#6

Every time I walk past them in Lowes they call my name…one day soon, one day soon!

I’ve got sensors on doors, as well as Ecolink sensors repurposed with a very small microswitch inside the manual locking mechanism in the door to let me know the door is locked. At least I know the door is closed and locked. It’s not a bad set up actually, but something I will replace.


(Neto) #7

So midnight came and went in my neck of the woods and I still didn’t pull the trigger. Mostly because I believe i should wait for V2 and it’s possibility of local processing. After I started this thread I revisited the V2 thread and saw that Ben posted that “We are releasing the next generation hub (v2) in a matter of weeks”. I have waited this long and i think i should wait a little longer to at least find out the specs of the local processing in V2. I also noticed that the deal is still on past midnight, but not sure for how much longer. But I would also imagine that if V2 is not what i was hoping for that there would probably be even deeper discounts on V1 at that point. So for now I continue to wait. I know ST is what I want to go with, it’s just a matter of confirming the specs of V2.


#8

@johnconstantelo i am in same boat as @netospeed , I am planning on few automatons but waiting on V2 hub. One of priority areas is bath, garage and hallway lights. Can you help me understand the difference between a motion sensor Switch and a ST enabled motion senor. If my task is just to switch the lights on when i enter the room, is there a need to connect using ST or i can rely on motion sensor switches alone… Also, are there are integrated motion sensor switches that can be integrated with ST… Thanks for your time…


(Evan Leal) #9

So it seems that hubs and kits are now all sold out… Could this mean that the V2 will be selling soon?


#10

@johnconstantelo may want to add more, but since I just answered the motion sensor question for someone a week ago, I’ll toss in my two bits on the motion sensor question…

It is possible to buy nonnetworked switches that fit in a one gang box that have both a light switch and a motion detector in one device. In office buildings, these are typically called “occupancy switches,” although that term isn’t usually used in residential automation.

Once you go to networked switches, though, particularly zwave, the problem is that the network antenna is pretty big. So you just literally can’t fit a motion detector and a networked switch into a one gang box.

So what do you do?

There are three popular possibilities.

  1. Two Devices. Use a separate motion sensor device, typically battery powered so you can put it anywhere, and have it control a separate networked wall switch. I think this is probably the most popular approach in the ST community right now.

:heavy_plus_sign:

Pros: because you can put the motion sensor part anywhere you want, you can really fine-tune the control. You can even set up a zone with several motion sensors. This removes the problem you see in a lot of office buildings where you have to stand up or wave your arms from time to time to keep the lights on. Or where you always have to walk into the room along the right wall before you turn left to go over to your chair because otherwise the lights don’t come on at all.

It also lets you have a wall switch that looks like pretty much anything you want. A lot of people prefer this from the decorating standpoint.

The fact that the wall switches are themselves networked means that everything works the way people expected to. You can turn on the wall switch if you want. Or you can walk into the room with your arms full and have the lights come on automatically.

Cons: there really aren’t many. There may be a little extra cost with having two devices, it just depends on the exact models that you pick.

2.) Use Zigbee instead of Zwave. this is becoming increasingly popular with hotels, hospitals, and office buildings. Zigbee antennas are smaller than the wave antennas, and there are some that can fit in a single gang box with a motion detector device. I think the one that is most likely to work with SmartThings is one from SmartenIT. But it will probably require a custom device handler. This particular device can be either battery powered or hooked to the mains. You would combine it with a smart bulb, not a smart switch.

http://smartenit.com/product/zbms3/

Pros: Smaller size. You could also put it in a double gang box next to a conventional switch.

Cons: no conventional switch unless you use the double gang option. Very “futuristic” aesthetic. More expensive than some other devices.

3.) Wait for Zwave Plus. The newest generation of zwave, zwave plus, just came out recently and allows for considerably smaller devices. It may well be that by this time next year there will be some single gang zwave switches with motion sensors built in. Not here yet, but definitely new devices of different types coming out every month right now.

Pros: Potentially more style options than the zigbee device. Possibly a built in button override.

Cons: Same as all wall switch single units: placement may not be the most effective for catching motion.

My personal preference is for the first option. I just think separating the motion detector device from the wall switch gives you maximum flexibility both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. This is especially true in a multi platform system like SmartThings so can mix very small battery operated zigbee motion detectors and have them control zwave micro relays inside the switch boxes. It also lets you use zone detection if you want.

But different people have different preferences, and there are some choices. :blush:


(Neto) #11

Yes I noticed this as well. With no inventory to generate sales there has to be a push to release V2 asap.


#12

@Meero, I couldn’t have said it and better that @JDRoberts:

“My personal preference is for the first option. I just think separating the motion detector device from the wall switch gives you maximum flexibility both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. This is especially true in a multi platform system like SmartThings so can mix very small battery operated zigbee motion detectors and have them control zwave micro relays inside the switch boxes. It also lets you use zone detection if you want.”


#13

@JDRoberts @johnconstantelo Thanks so much for the detailed reply… it really makes sense to separate sensor from relays if you need to control them through hub…