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Unread 2015-06-19, 09:00 AM   #1
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Default BuddyLee Home Automation Build

Since I am building a new home I plan on integrating home automation wherever a can, starting immediately after I close. I plan on updating this thread as I add things to the home and my experiences with the system and devices so that others may learn from my my successes and mistakes.

I plan on building the system around a Smart Things foundation. Smart Things is a Samsung owned company that is an open platform. It's designed to work not only with Smart Things branded products, but also other third party systems that support Z-Wave, Zigbee, or are Wi-Fi connected.

Their control app is free for both Android and iOS, and there are no monthly fees. The only startup cost is their Smart Things Hub, which costs $99.

They also have an incredible user community and forums so there is excellent help for integrating products that will work with Smart Things, but aren't yet officially supported. Feel free to learn more at their site http://www.smartthings.com

I also have ordered two Liftmaster garage door openers that have the MyQ feature. This will integrate into the Smart Things system.

From there I will begin adding additional devices and as I do I will share with you all here.
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Unread 2015-06-19, 09:02 AM   #2
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I use MyQ and it works well.

I use Honeywell thermostat and home automation which also works well.
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Unread 2015-06-19, 09:04 AM   #3
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My goal in all of this was to have one piece of software to control them all. I don't want a handful of apps on my phone that each control one thing.
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Unread 2015-06-19, 09:06 AM   #4
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Have you check this out : http://home-automation-systems-revie...enreviews.com/
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Unread 2015-06-19, 09:24 AM   #5
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It's a great site for sure. Homeseer is certainly the industry leader but Christ their stuff isn't cheap either.
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Unread 2015-06-19, 09:47 AM   #6
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here's more open source http://www.fastcompany.com/3038442/e...ojects-we-love
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Unread 2015-06-19, 10:06 AM   #7
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Subscribed. I've always been interested in doing something like this. Thanks for taking the time to let us know how the installation goes!
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Unread 2015-06-29, 11:52 PM   #8
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I ordered my first wemo deal last night. Gonna use it in my garage for some Lights I rigged up to an outlet.
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Unread 2015-06-30, 09:15 AM   #9
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I ordered my first wemo deal last night. Gonna use it in my garage for some Lights I rigged up to an outlet.
Let me know how you like the Wemo interface as well as its responsiveness.
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Unread 2015-06-30, 09:49 AM   #10
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I use several things. The main thing is my alarm is controlled by Alarm.com and it's awesome. The alarm control box in the basement has a z-wave (I know, ancient tech) module that can be easily paired with z-wave light switches, dongles, locks, thermostat, etc. I have almost 20 lighting devises on it now and it is awesome. The exterior light switches have been replaced with z-wave units and are now automated which is nice. I have a ton of lamps on dongles so there are various lamps on in the house at any given time in the evening and I never have to worry about turning them off before bed. If the alarm were to go off, every light in the house will turn on. I use exterior dongles for Christmas lights and that is awesome.

I also have numerous motion activated cameras on the exterior of the house which can be viewed anytime in the Alarm.com app.

My thermostat is the new Honeywell WiFi one that Home Depot carries and it is awesome. It has an app that also works great.

I also use the MyQ garage door link and it works great as well. My overhead door has a contact break for the alarm so my alarm will send me an alert if the door gets left open and I can use the app to close it. The App will also send you alerts but my alarm does it already. The app also tells you how long the door has been up or down which is nice.

Lastly, I have a couple Monoprice interior pan/tilt/zoom cameras that have their own app for viewing. They record in a look to an SD card and can be set to record to the app server as well for secure loop recording.

That's about it. I basically have 3 apps that can control just about anything I would ever want to. I had a z-wave thermostat but it died and I wanted to try the new Honeywell and it has been awesome.
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Unread 2015-06-30, 10:01 AM   #11
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I use several things. The main thing is my alarm is controlled by Alarm.com and it's awesome. The alarm control box in the basement has a z-wave (I know, ancient tech) module that can be easily paired with z-wave light switches, dongles, locks, thermostat, etc. I have almost 20 lighting devises on it now and it is awesome. The exterior light switches have been replaced with z-wave units and are now automated which is nice. I have a ton of lamps on dongles so there are various lamps on in the house at any given time in the evening and I never have to worry about turning them off before bed. If the alarm were to go off, every light in the house will turn on. I use exterior dongles for Christmas lights and that is awesome.

I also have numerous motion activated cameras on the exterior of the house which can be viewed anytime in the Alarm.com app.

My thermostat is the new Honeywell WiFi one that Home Depot carries and it is awesome. It has an app that also works great.

I also use the MyQ garage door link and it works great as well. My overhead door has a contact break for the alarm so my alarm will send me an alert if the door gets left open and I can use the app to close it. The App will also send you alerts but my alarm does it already. The app also tells you how long the door has been up or down which is nice.

Lastly, I have a couple Monoprice interior pan/tilt/zoom cameras that have their own app for viewing. They record in a look to an SD card and can be set to record to the app server as well for secure loop recording.

That's about it. I basically have 3 apps that can control just about anything I would ever want to. I had a z-wave thermostat but it died and I wanted to try the new Honeywell and it has been awesome.
So which app do you prefer to use to control it all?
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Unread 2015-06-30, 10:09 AM   #12
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Alarm.com.

If I wanted to, I could go back to a z-wave thermostat and it would be controlled by the Alarm.com app instead of the Honeywell one. Same goes for interior cameras. I could buy the much more expensive alarm.com compatible interior cameras and those could be viewed on the Alarm.com app as well. My next house will likely be all Alarm.com stuff or whoever is leading the market in that area at the time.
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Unread 2015-08-06, 12:29 PM   #13
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Looks like I am going to be going with the Ecobee3 for my thermostat. It's getting the highest marks from the SmartThings community and their API is open.

http://shop.ecobee.com/products/ecobee-3
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Unread 2015-08-06, 01:04 PM   #14
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Looks like I am going to be going with the Ecobee3 for my thermostat. It's getting the highest marks from the SmartThings community and their API is open.

http://shop.ecobee.com/products/ecobee-3

This is the same one that Username:* is using at the moment and testing out, I am kind of curious about it myself w/ the probes and how the A/C and furnace are going to utilize them
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Unread 2015-08-10, 08:52 AM   #15
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So looks like after a week Username:* is sending his back, still going to go with the thermostat?
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Unread 2015-08-10, 09:03 AM   #16
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So looks like after a week Username:* is sending his back, still going to go with the thermostat?
Looking into the Zen as well. I am still researching trying to decide the route I want to go. I am seeing a lot of other people very pleased with the Ecobee3 on the ST forums. The Zen is highly touted as well.
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Unread 2015-08-10, 01:15 PM   #17
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I have an Ecobee3 brand new in box I'm not going to use I'd sell for discounted price.
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Unread 2015-08-10, 08:36 PM   #18
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This Venstar thermostat is creeping up to the top of my list as well. Open API and excellent ST integration.
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Unread 2015-08-21, 08:00 AM   #19
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So the more I read and the more I look into various models of thermostat, I have decided to go with the Zen Thermostat.

http://zenthermostat.com/

First off, the Zen is officially supported by SmartThings. This is pretty big in terms of easy integration.

Second, I want SmartThings to control the stat, so I don't need the stat itself to learn anything about me, or have tons of it's own built in smart features.

Finally, I love the simplistic look of the thermostat.
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Unread 2015-09-14, 08:16 AM   #20
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So after finally getting Internet about a week ago, I was able to begin the journey of automating my new home.

As I state before, I have decided to use Smart Things as the hub for my automation. The hub is moderately priced at $99. It comes packaged very simply and is cake to unbox and set up. The app download is free and you basically have a alphanumeric letter code that you plug in to the app, alone with your Smart Things account information (registration is free), and your are up and running.

The first thing I have done is to get the app loaded on to the 3 smart phones in the home. This allows SmartThings to use the phones to detect who is home. At any time, any one of us can look in the app and see who is present and who isn't (as a parent, I enjoy this feature). I plan on getting a couple arrival sensors for the little ones to go in their back packs https://shop.smartthings.com/#!/prod...arrival-sensor

So currently I only have one thing able to be automated and that's my garage door openers. They are Chamberlain openers, equipped with their MyQ technology. Now this device isn't officially supported by SmartThings, however, that didn't stop it from working with SmartThings. I simply journeyed over to the SmartThings community and was quickly able to find someone who figured out how to make it work.

It's as simple as copying and pasting code into a web interface and then telling it to push to the app on your phone. On my phone the app lets me break out my house room by room for control, so in my garage room, I have a custom thing to open and close my garage doors. It also polls them continually to show me if they are open or closed. I do have to say that the polling isn't as responsive as the MyQ app itself, but it's only about a 10 second delay, which I can live with. The actual opening and closing of the door happens within about 1-2 seconds of me pressing the door icon on my app.

All in all I am pretty excited about where this is headed. Just need to keep saving up for things to connect up. Next will be a Zen thermostat, once I get the scratch together for it.
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Unread 2015-11-02, 10:56 AM   #21
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I bought a couple Z-Wave Motion and Temp Sensors from Monoprice for $22 and a Aeon Z-Wave On/Off Switch from Amazon to start me off with my Smart Things Hub.
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Unread 2015-11-02, 11:37 AM   #22
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So far the biggest negative to the SmartThings Hub is it's inability to allow multiple users. The feature is supposed to be there but when you try and do it you get a message that says this feature is coming soon.

The SmartThings forums are awry with complaints about this and people asking when it's going to be fixed. Supposedly it's top priority for SmartThings, but it's taking them months and months and some people are beginning to lose hope.
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Unread 2015-11-02, 12:41 PM   #23
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Is there any benefit to having a system that requires a hub, versus something like Wemo that doesn't require one?

I picked up an Amazon Echo, and it has the ability to run products (with voice controls) from Wemo and other brands that require a hub. I am thinking about giving it a shot and wondering if there are any pros/cons for certain brands.
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Unread 2015-11-02, 12:50 PM   #24
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Is there any benefit to having a system that requires a hub, versus something like Wemo that doesn't require one?

I picked up an Amazon Echo, and it has the ability to run products (with voice controls) from Wemo and other brands that require a hub. I am thinking about giving it a shot and wondering if there are any pros/cons for certain brands.
With Wemo, you're pretty much locked into their brand of products. Plus there is a lot of user feedback about how slow the responsiveness of the app is.

I can't speak for other hub based systems, but SmartThings allows integration of multiple manufacturers, including Wemo and it officially supports Echo as well. To me that's a huge benefit. I can have one interface both hardware and software, that controls all of my stuff.
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Unread 2015-11-02, 05:57 PM   #25
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With Wemo, you're pretty much locked into their brand of products. Plus there is a lot of user feedback about how slow the responsiveness of the app is.

I can't speak for other hub based systems, but SmartThings allows integration of multiple manufacturers, including Wemo and it officially supports Echo as well. To me that's a huge benefit. I can have one interface both hardware and software, that controls all of my stuff.
Yeah, there was no reason for me to get the Echo until I started buying my home automation stuff.
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