Zwave locks/nexia/smartthings

zwave

(Igor Belagorudsky) #1

Hi, I am new to home automation and ST and I am confused about Nexia. I am looking at some locks (Shlage) and I watched a lot of videos and I can’t tell if I need Nexia or why Nexia is even a thing if I don’t need it.

That is, I found topics on this forum that say that I can connect a z-wave lock to ST without Nexia… but then how is Nexia even still around at $10/month - why would anyone use that over a hub like ST or Wink?

Thanks!


Want to Switch from Nexia to Smartthings, need advice
(Edward Pope) #2

I sometimes ask that same question. Answer, for those who do not want the FULL HA system Nexia works for them


#3

The Nexia bridge is a Z wave controller, and you have to pay a $10 subscription fee to use it every month.

The SmartThings hub is also a Z wave controller, but has a one time purchase. And also includes a zigbee controller, which the Nexia does not.

Because the schlage zwave locks are certified Z wave devices, their Basic functions will work with either SmartThings or Nexia ( or any other certified zwave controller) , but you will only have access to some advanced nonstandard manufacturer-provided features with the Nexia service.

Whether those specific features are important to you or not, is just a matter of individual priorities.

As for the whole subscription versus one time purchase thing that’s again a matter of individual preference. Subscription services typically provide more installation assistance and ongoing maintenance support. Again, you just have to see what’s offered and what do you need it.

If you just want basic lock features for a single-family home which is your own residence, it’s unlikely you would need the advanced Nexia.

If you want the lock for a rental property 1000 miles away from you, and you want to be able to change schedules on the fly and have different time schedules for different lock codes, then you may want to look into other options.

There are a lot of people in the community using Schlage locks so I’m sure they can say more about which features they use and why. :sunglasses:


(Kevin Tierney) #4

I’m not using mine since I am a ST user, but our builder includes the nexia hub plus a year of service for free. They also include the nexia lock, Z-Wave thermostat and a single plugin module. I know several of my neighbors are using it, though not sure if they’ll continue after the free year.

It seems the nexia is a little more limited, but uses an easier rules based setup. The one interesting feature my neighbor mentioned, though I haven’t actually seen it is some sort of energy audit reporting related to AC usage


(Igor Belagorudsky) #5

Thanks! This is very helpful. Is there any way to tell what “advanced” functionality on a specific device would not work without a Nexia hub? I’d prefer to pull everything together through ST without unnecessary hubs.


(Kevin Tierney) #6

There are several features, such as auto-lock, tamper alerts (some models) and disabling code unlock that arent available with the stock ST device type. There is a community device type that adds all the features. There’s also an app called lock code manager here in the forums that gives you great flexibility for managing lock codes


(Igor Belagorudsky) #7

Oh interesting. So what you’re saying is (sorry if I am using wrong terminology - I’m new to this) the lock exposes those properties/methods/etc but ST doesn’t pick them up because they’re meant for Nexia but there’s an “aftermarket” device that acts as a Nexia-like bridge between the lock and ST that marshals those features to ST… but if it does that and the ST app knows what to do with that, why would it not have picked them up in the first place? Or does the device translate them into something ST can use? And if ST actually does have some advanced lock capabilities, is there a lock recommendation out there that I can use with ST without any other bridges or hacks? Sorry for so many questions!


(Kevin Tierney) #8

The ST device type, which is like a device driver on a pc is the code that sends and recieves data to/from the device. The ST stock Device Type is sort of the ‘least common denominator’ in that in order to support more devices, they only include the most basic commands that all z-wave locks have, namely lock, unlock, and battery life. Several community members have created new device types that are specific to a smaller number of locks and thus support more of those features

Here are the device type options

  1. Free one by @garyd9
    (Enhanced) Z-Wave Schlage Touchscreen Lock

  2. Pay one (10$ one time pay-pal fee for all device types/apps by @RBoy)
    [RELEASE] Universal Enhanced Z-Wave Lock, Schlage Lock, Yale Lock, Kwikset Lock, IDLock, DanaLock, August Pro and Samsung Lock Device Handler with Alarm Control, Notification, RFID, Door Sensor and advanced features

This free app by @ethayer handles code management

The one big down side is as ST expands local processing with Hub V2, User-created devices/apps won’t initially be supported for local processing, though this may come some day


(Igor Belagorudsky) #9

Thank you! This explains some of the other posts I’ve seen and clarifies “Device Types” for me. I actually have the V2 hub - can you clarify what you mean by “local processing”?


(Kevin Tierney) #10

Local processing means the hub acting on the command locally without having to go roundtrip to the ST cloud. This means faster processing and the ability to process commands when your internet goes down.

Last I heard, I think it was limited to the Smart Lighing app only. Eventually that will be expanded to other ST apps. Right now you have to be using the default ST Device types.

There has been talk that at some point, developers will have the option to use local processing even if their app hasn’t been published as an official ST app, but no date for that has been set. It may be some time


#11

This may also help:


(Igor Belagorudsky) #12

That is precisely what I needed. Thanks! So then if I understand correctly, I need a device handler for a lock to expose additional functionality and a smartapp to be able to control that functionality. But with V2, are only whitelisted apps available? Meaning that I can’t write my own yet or does the whitelisting refer to something specific? I see instructions to go to the developer section of the website - are those instructions not applicable for V2?


#13

You can still write your own smart apps, or use smart apps written by other community members. The instructions are all pretty much the same. In fact it’s one of the most powerful things about SmartThings. :sunglasses:

When you publish them to yourself, they will show up in the “my apps” section of the marketplace section of the mobile app.


(Igor Belagorudsky) #14

Perfect. This is exciting! Much appreciated!


(BC) #15

Thorough response. We went with Automated Home Security 3+ years ago when we purchased a vacation condo. At that time many products were still in their infancy. We found that Nexia and Z-Wave at that time was much more advanced than other vendors. As well at that time we were seeing alot of flaws in vendor to hub patches - where hubs were not functioning after a patch upgrade or required physical and manual efforts to resolve. Again Nexia was much more stable. For the past period we have been very pleased with the stability of the hub and the additional funcetionalities available thru it have been great. Honestly we have NOT encountered a single Nexia issue since our golive date. We are in the process of migrating now to Smartthings as our needs have changed. Samsung appears to be very committed to this product and the users are generally very pleased. The $10 monthly Nexia fee was fine when we were renting the condo … now that we are moving into it - our needs have changed. We will slowly transition our devices and hope for success. Can anyone offer up their findings on device transitioning? All of our devices are Z-Wave. Thanks


(Scott Johnson) #16

I just have to chime in here. I have used X10 for over 10 years, and found it to be pretty good for lighting controls in a small house. I still use it for perimeter lighting because the motion sensors work very well. I installed Smartthings V2 in January of 2016, expecting it to augment a small burglar alarm in my vacation home. I am a former assembler programmer/bit fiddler, so I didn’t expect to have allot of challenges. The nuances of the Groovy language have been a challenge for me but I have been able to do what I wanted with it. I recently decided to add some HA to my primary home, but given the constant performance issue with Smartthings I decided to try Nexia. I have had a Nexia controlled thermostat for a couple of years and it has not had issues, so I added the Nexia bridge and a Schlage lock, a light fixture and a sensor connected to my generator error handler. I also have a Schlage lock in my vacation home and it is controlled by Smartthings. I had to do allot of work on the Smartthings device handler to get it to process an alarm coming from the lock. I also used Rboy’s “single use” app to change codes remotely. Of course none of this works when the Internet is down. I have a backup Internet connect for Smartthings but Smartthings convergence is very slow, so the backup is only good for an extended outage. After installing the Nexia bridge I was really pleased to see the rules engine was so complete and simple. It took about an hour to have a fully functioning Schlage lock on Nexia, vs maybe 2 weeks for less functionality on Smartthings. The real Nexia benefit is that it just works with full functionality right out of the box. Nexia says that most automations that don’t need notifications are executed locally, but I have not tested that. Most anything in Smartthings needs a good internet connection, and if there is a hiccup in the internet, the functionality is lost. As far as I know, the only functionality in Smartthings that is done locally are a couple of lighting apps that were written by Smartthings. So I guess my take away so far is, if you like to code and play with allot of wiz bang stuff, Smartthings is a good choice. If you want to implement something that is easy and works solidly, then Nexia should be your choice.


(Steven Schochet) #17

I use Nexia, would live to switch to free smartthings hub wasting away on my shelf…Nexia offers some great lock features though…i get notifications when people use their codes ie. kids get home from school. Also scheduling of codes, dog walker or cleaning girl’s codes are only enabled on scheduled days and times.