What are you automating? (UK hub)

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project_getstarted

(Kraeg) #1

Hi All,

Just wanted to start a UK chat on this as we have a bit limited options than the guys over the pond. So answers for UK devices only please!

What are people automating now? Anything new just come out worth looking at?

I currently have all my lights automated with Hue
My heating with Hive created by a user on here
Every room has motion sensors and all doors have the multi.
Also got a few plugs doing things which I cant fit into the hue

I’ve looked at the Roomba/Thinking cleaner since there is an EU version and considered a sonos setup - but both are £100’s to do properly.

Was thinking of writing a quick website with UK only ideas on it, so any ideas on products would be fantastic. Only options I can see are Lights, Heating, locks (2 very expensive options) and Speakers…

I’m looking at end devices, I know there are hundreds of motion sensors, presence sensors, multi, temp etc…but they don’t actually do anything only give you options to control something else.

Kraeg


What cool things are you automating? (UK)
New Build. What should i get? (UK)
Looking for some advice before I dive in
#2

Since pocket sockets and in-wall relays are available for the UK, most things that can be made to work with an on/off mains-powered switch at regular current can be automated.


(Kraeg) #3

Only trouble with that is 99% of devices aren’t controlled by the plug. TVs are standby, washers and driers don’t just work because the plug switches on (they need programming) etc…so struggling

You are normally a fountain of information JDRoberts so interested in what ideas you have

Kraeg


#4

Yes, I understand the limitation. (I am myself quadriparetic with limited hand function, so I am very aware of every button push required. I’m still waiting for microwave that I could control from an iPad. :sunglasses:)

If the device has Wi-Fi and an open API, it will be possible to get integration that way. Some people use this now for some of the smart televisions.

And of course if it has an IFTTT channel, that makes indirect integration very easy.

I’m sorry, I don’t remember: is Logitech harmony integration working in the UK yet? I would think it would at least be working through IFTTT. That opens up a whole range of devices that are otherwise not integratable. Essentially anything that can be put into a harmony activity can be triggered from SmartThings even if the official ST/harmony integration isn’t working.

As for washers and dryer’s, I suspect we may have to wait about two years and then we’ll see a number of brands that can be integrated in a number of different ways. Once there’s an open API that allows the schedule to be set, many things will be possible.


(Kraeg) #5

I’m just after general ideas, Logitech is a good one…might look into that.

Hopefully over next few years more and more things will have IoT intergration. It makes life more fun and I’m a bit of a numbers geek, so like looking at trends for everything, so plugging SmartThings into more end devices is fun.

Kraeg


#6

IFTTT also has its new Maker channel. This lets you send a web request as a trigger command to IFTTT from all kinds of software, which opens up more options. For example, I have an IBeacon program which can send A trigger to the IFTTT maker channel so now my IBeacons can trigger anything that has an IFTTT channel. Including SmartThings and Harmony. :sunglasses:


#7

I have invested in Sonos - started first with one Play 1. I have all my music on a NAS and play it through Sonos. I have mine and hubby’s phones linked through SmartThings so that when I get home my Sonos plays Peters & Lee and when hubby gets home it plays the Italian National Anthem :sunglasses:

I have Hue bulbs in the sitting room and bedroom (both rooms are lamps) but have LightwaveRF light switches in all rooms and LWRF wall sockets in the kitchen and hall. I have a timer set in the morning to turn the kettle on at a set time. LWRF have promised that they will have IFTTT control in the next few days so I am hoping to link my Qmote button to my LWRF socket to switch the kettle on remotely if I decide to get up earlier than planned. Should be much better than trying to open the app up on my phone.

The kettle timer works well so long as I remember to ‘set’ the kettle the night before but I have put aside some money to buy the Appkettle when it appears on the market, hopefully in September.

Edited to add - I also have Honeywell Evohome for my heating which was a good investment and use IFTTT with this.


(James) #8

I’m based in the UK. Just thought I would confirm that the Harmony Hub does work in the UK. Not done anything significant. Just TV on/off at the moment. But with the Amazon Echo, it is so cool.


(Kraeg) #9

@foggy the Echo is cheating, not over in the UK - I really wish it was though!

IFTTT has some good things but most geared towards US market, I’d love some of the car tech to come this way, as I drive thousands of miles a month

Sonos I keep looking at, but taking the very expensive plunge is daunting on the bank balance

All good ideas so far

Kraeg


#10

Check to be sure, but I believe that although the Amazon echo is not yet officially supported for UK accounts, the Amazon fire TV voice remote with alexa is.

It’s not as great as echo, because it’s not an always listening device. You have to press the button to talk to it. But it is voice control that should work with smartthings, at least through IFTTT.

But again check to make sure before you spend any money on this.

The base model is £35, but you’ll need to spend another £10 or so to get the voice remote.


(James) #11

Must admit. I paid way too much for the Echo. I bought it off eBay. Just could not wait for it to come to the UK officially. You know what they say. The only difference between men and boys, is the cost of their toys. It definitely works with an Amazon UK account, but time and weather is US based.

Would be interested to find out if you can get the same functionality with a Fire TV.


(Andy) #12

Lol, me too. I paid £200 for the Echo, only had it a couple of days but it’s great. I have an ST hub, Harmony hub, a few motion sensors, hue bulbs, smart plugs etc.

Turning everything on by voice is great, hopefully the missus will eventually stop rolling her eyes and approve.


(Dominic) #13

I’ve just moved house and taken opportunity to get into HA. So far I’ve replaced the old wooden garage door with an electric roller shutter door. I’ve also installed 4 electric curtain tracks and some hue and lightify lights.

The garage door is also connected to my Risco alarm system utility output so I can remotely open and close it. I am using the ST multi sensor to check if it is open or closed. This is because the aux input to the garage door controller is just a single switch. If door is open it closes it and vice versa. If door is travelling it stops it. So remotely you aren’t sure if you are opening or closing!

The control unit itself has three separate buttons for up,down and stop. I am planning to wire parallel lines to these buttons and then integrate to ST. My issue at moment is I can’t find a ready made, low cost zb/wave relay. The only commercial ones I’ve seen are designed as appliance (ie mains voltage) ones. Hence I’ve purchased an Arduino starter kit and also a razbee hat for my pi. Between the two I am going to work out how to build the smallest multi channel relay - ideally one I can fit inside the existing garage door controller box and power from the controllers own aux power out.

Same thing applies to the curtains - need a small relay to trigger the open/close/stop functions.

Have also purchased some Hikvision ip cameras that I need to fit. Oh and a raspberry pi camera module - idea being if I end up using the pi for garage door I can also use camera to double check if open or closed.

Am also getting a video doorbell and electric Upvc lock and door opener. Idea being delivery guy comes, rings bell, I talk iPhone and remotely open door for him to leave parcel inside.

Longer term :joy: i am thinking about the oven. As you mentioned, most things now aren’t a simple on/off and although they are starting to produce smart ovens, washers, etc I don’t want to junk existing stuff. I am thinking about wiring parallel feeds to the various switches in the control panel and agin using a micro relay to “push” the buttons. This in conjunction with a small camera to observe the display panel as the buttons will often be context sensitive.

The other thing is the bath, which takes a while to fill. Thinking about using servos to turn the taps and waste operators and a temp probe and level sensor.

One day I expect to wake up, say good morning, and have my curtains open, the oven bake me a pain au chocolat, then whilst I am eating it and reading the paper the bath is filling to the correct level and temperature…


(Paul Ockenden) #14

The great thing about the maker channel is that it allows you to extend IFTTT to use multiple triggers. It overcomes the main limitation/frustration of IFTTT.


(Ben) #15

I’ve had a Tado thermostat for a while and works really well. Much better presence detection than ST. Although there are unofficial device handlers for it I don’t see a need to integrate it with ST at the moment.

My family would never consider pulling out their phone to adjust the heating and they haven’t worked out what the button does on the thermostat so I have created a button on my Smarttiles tablet to easily turn off the heating completely using IFTTT. If it is accidentally left off it returns to Tado control in the middle of the night so its not cold in the morning. Also used RM to create a boost button to boost the heating for 30 minutes again using IFTTT.

Also use Harmony and Sonos. I use the Smarttiles tablet (soon to be wall mounted) to easily start a Harmony activity. I have a few commonly listened to radio stations as buttons on the screen so easy to switch on without pulling out your phone or using the Harmony remote.

Not really rocket science but it just simplifies things for the rest of my family.


#16

I think one of the main stumbling blocks (apart form availability of HA) is non techy family. I have a husband who rolls his eyes whenever he discovers my latest purchase :wink: I have only just trained him how to change the radio channel on the Sonos (using a CR100 controller - trying to get him to use a phone app would be a step too far.)


(Ben) #17

Yes my wife rolled her eyes yesterday when I fitted another Hue and motion sensor but she would be the first to complain when a light is left on on the top floor and she has climb two flights of stairs to turn it off. I think the trick is to keep the smart technology simple to control with local overrides when things go wrong so they don’t have to think too much about it.


(Steve) #18

The wife is not massively resistive but has her own set of requirements (read: concerns!). These span around ‘I don’t always want to pull my phone out to turn on a light’, or ‘what if we have guests or baby sitter’, and as the ST is heavily cloud drive, the ability to keep the house ‘working’ at a basic level even if there is a service outage… So you just need to work around everybody’s needs, as well as your own which is how HA should be done. It should not be to the benefit of a single person.

At the moment, I am simply using mine as a glorified timer but as I buy more stuff it will increase in options and increased automation.

First job was to sort out the outside lighting at the front. These can be powered 24/7 so ended up with a set of wemo bulbs connected directly to ST. They are set at a dim level unless we return home or open the door (future plan is to have a PIR sensor to brighten it up but that’s more polishing later).

Now I’m working on the kitchen. We have 2 sets of under counter lights which are on separate switches. I find it annoying that they can only be controlled separately so using Aeon micro switches I can now sync them together, whilst keeping the original switches for manual control. Turn one switch on, both sets come on. Now I know they work as expected, I can roll the micro switches out through the house and introduce smarttiles wall panels in the hall, and at the bottom of the stairs.

Although I wont be using ST as my primary security system because of the wobbles as well as my own concerns overall about any HA platforms, I will be using it as a secondary. IE to check if doors are opened, external gates or garage, maybe setup “away of home” lighting patterns and integrate CCTV cameras.

In the future, being able to offer the kids in the rooms freedom of maybe having a TV and games console in their rooms, but for us to control when they use it through remote controlled switches which they cant over ride… Another goal is heating. I have a close eye on Evohome and hopefully when I’m ready to pounce on it the costs may have come down and integration into ST is finished to a decent, stable level.

As for things like washer/dryers/dishwashers as you have to load them up and close the doors yourself anyway… I personally don’t see the need for it other than having a reminder to say 'the washer/dryer/dishwasher cycle is complete" would be great and can be done with existing sensors. IE keep an eye on the wattage and if its not sucked much juice in 5/10 minutes, send a reminder…

I wont be going daft with HA, but certainty aiming just to give my house a slight ‘edge’ with increased control and comfort over what we have now… Evo home is on the cards one day when I can justify the £600-700 that I need to sink into it!


(Brian) #19

I remember a similar thread a few months back
UK-users-setups but here’s what I’ve got automated on my side in the UK. All interfacing with ST

  • Lights via Hue
  • Lights via Fibaro dimmer
  • Led Strips via Fibaro RGBW
  • Lights via Lightwave with Raspberry Pi
  • Heating via Nest
  • Smoke alarms via Nest
  • AV system via Harmony
  • Electric Heaters via Harmony
  • Power via Samsung Smartplugs
  • Weather via Netatmo
  • CO2 via Netatmo
  • Sound via Nest Camera via IFTTT
  • Noise via Netatmo
  • Notifications via Lametric
  • Internal Motion using ST sensors
  • Doors via ST multi’s
  • Temperature via everything
  • Presence via Android
  • Audio via DNLA devices
  • External Motion via Fibaro
  • Garage charging with Z-Wave switch
  • logging via google sheets
  • Events via goofle calendar
  • Xmas lights were via Lightwave

Likes
I would like to get appliances automated but that will be a few years
I’m still on the lookout for a good doorbell solution
I’m hoping we can integrate with Sky boxes one day
When ST stabilizes I’ll consider locks and alarms
Would like a nice integrated alarm clock
Would love for an integration with desktops or my windows server where it could trigger backups and routine tasks
Still looking for an interface to Android Wear
Chrome cast is also not there yet
Finally room occupancy based on bio-metrics or image capture (were are the Kids, cats and dogs) would be a really nice to have

Lots done lots still to do in general we are not as limited in the UK as it looks on first glance but official support of devices is definitely lower


(Alex Lee) #20

Thought I would mention some of the less well known integrations I have set up in my house with ST. Due to lack of official integrations, I had to build a few quirky integrations for some of these devices via ST and a Raspberry PI.

Hive Active Heating/Hot Water - I created and released a Device Handler for this on this community. If I must say so, it works very well :slight_smile: Advantages of integration with ST include setting Hive Heating and Hot Water to off when Away as Hive doesn’t do any presence detection and auto boosting based on various temperature readings within the house using Rule Machine. https://www.hivehome.com/

Heatit Underfloor Heating - This already had a custom device handler built by a community member. It’s a very nice ZWave thermostat that is simple but does the job. I have 2 of these for main bathroom floor and ensuite. It’s nice to have underfloor heating plugged into ST as when you’re away you want these automatically turned off. Big cost savings there if you need convincing to spend the money. http://www.amazon.co.uk/HeatIt-5430499-Wall-Thermostat-White/dp/B00YMTBTBE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459764857&sr=8-1&keywords=Heatit

Warmup 4IE Underfloor Heating - The kitchen underfloor heating thermostat. No API (it’s coming apparently) and just an awful web UI so have built a Python app running on a Pi that takes commands from a custom ST Device Handler that literally logs into the website and clicks the right buttons to control the thermostat. Amazingly, it works perfectly. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Warmup-WiFi-controller-Bright-Porcelain/dp/B00RXC1X8G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458738453&sr=8-1&keywords=warmup+4ie

Energenie MiHome eTRV for radiators - I have 4 of these attached to my radiators alongside the MiHome gateway. I created and shared a SmartApp and Device Handler for these on this community. This allows temperature control on an individual room basis and is great for spare rooms and my office that are not in constant use. An example is that for the spare room in the loft, we turn on a ‘Guest’ switch that heats the room up for the night and turns on the underfloor heating in the ensuite for one night. MiHome has a documented API that meant creating an integration into ST was very easy. For the office, as I will always use the PC in the room, I have a logon script on my Windows 10 PC that turns on an office presence switch in ST. Rule machine then sets the Office raditor eTRV on. When I log off, a script turns the ST office presence switch off in turn setting the office radiator eTRV off. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Energenie-MIHO029-Heating-Bundle/dp/B00V52HKQE/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1458740142&sr=8-7&keywords=mihome

OVO Smart Gateway - This has actually become the most interesting integration (according to the missus). When OVO fitted a new smart gas and electricity meter to my house as part of the UK government program, they gave me the option of having an OVO Smart Gateway that reported live meter readings to a web site. I found out that underneath that web site, there was a good API that I used to build a device handler. So now I get live usage and billing info fed into SmartThings that provides insights on current running costs for electricity and gas and how that compares with the previous day’s running costs. At midnight, a push notification summarising daily energy usage and costs is sent. When we’re away, it also keeps check on energy usage and I use Rule Machine to re issue an ‘Off’ command to all thermostats and various smart plugs if usage readings go over a certain threshold while ST is in Away mode. It will also send a notification that unusually high levels of gas and electricity are being used in Away mode. It’s such a shame OVO stopped supplying this gateway but rumours are they will start again later this year. https://www.ovoenergy.com/ovo-answers/topics/smart-technology/smart-gateway/whats-a-smart-gateway.html

Neato BotVac Connected Vacuum - Even without ST, this is a great time saver that cleans and navigates downstairs very well. Thanks to a hacker forum, I was able to create a bridge between the closed Neato BotVac API and ST via a Raspberry Pi. I have rules such as disarming SHM when BotVac is turned on and we’re away or automatically scheduling a clean two days after a previous clean and only starting when no one is in the house. ST sends a push notification when we are home to instruct us to clear obstacles when it is about to schedule a vacuum next time we are away. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neato-Robotics-Botvac-Enabled-Cleaner/dp/B014J7N1KA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458739027&sr=8-1&keywords=neato+botvac+connected - EDIT: CostCo UK is currently the cheapest price http://www.costco.co.uk/view/p/neato-botvac-connected-wi-fi-enabled-robotic-vacuum-196423