Another new home thread... - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Home Automation > Another new home thread...
tmwilson's Avatar tmwilson 12:21 PM 08-07-2014
I have noticed a few other threads started by members and wanted to startone for myself. For one, not to hijack their threads, and two, my situationwill yield different results. I am hoping to document my process and use it toeducate myself and others that have similar questions. So, here goes...

I should be getting the first run of blue prints back on my ranch stylehouse today. We hope to be moved in by January. Around 1850 upstairs and 1600 downstairs, subject to change if we makechanges to the plans. I have an IT background, so have a general understandingof things. I have been doing a lot of research the past few weeks and stillcannot come to a final decision on things because DIY home automation seems tostill be in its infancy, but things like Vera, Nest, and Revolv are changingthat.

What I will have:
1 x Cat5e ran to every room.
2 x Cat5e ran to every TV.
I plan to use SONOS for most of my home theater and speakers throughout.Expensive, but amazing and convenient.
I will have a networking closet in the basement.

I am leaning toward Leviton Z-Wave.
VRMX1-1LZ, for everywhere I will need dimming. They are newer and a littlemore expensive, but they support LED and I would rather spend a couple extrabucks for something that works.
VRCZ4-M0Z zone controller as a remote where needed.
VRCS4-M0Z as a scene controller.
Simple On/Off switches everywhere else to save initial costs until I canreplace them with Leviton RF+ devices.

One reason I am trying to stick with one brand is to keep the programming ofit easy. I believe all it takes is a USB from Leviton and you can use theirfree software (RF Installer Tool) to initially program everything.

I was looking at Insteon, and while it they have tons of options andproducts, there are a lot of complaints on switches failing after a coupleyears.

I like the potential of Revolv, they seem to be ramping up their developmentand addition of features. I also like the geo sense aspect of it.

Garage doors, I would like to get doors with MyQ, unfortunately that only seemsto be planned for control with the Wink hub from Home Depot. I am sure Revolv will pick it up in thefuture, until then I will be content with using a separate app and externalsensor. Revolv also supports Insteondevice which there garage door sensor/opener seems to work fine.

I don’t need a robust security system. Probably won’t get one supported by a third party. We live in a small Midwest town. I plan on using a couple Dropcams or IPcameras for monitoring things like garages, basement, and front door.

I am sure there are things I am missing, but just looking for someadditional input from people that have experience with these things. I am looking forward to anything anyone hasto add. Thanks.

greenbone's Avatar greenbone 06:20 PM 08-07-2014
i think before you commit to a certain type of system within a framework (or infrastructure), make sure you know whats available first. theres more than one way to do this, especially so with new builds

here are 2 popular types of automation infrastructure. there may be others; these are just the ones i know of. im not being specific with vendors but there are many options in both spaces

1. decentralised / protocol configuration:



- the end points (power outlets / light fittings in this example) are "smart". switching is completed at the end point
- protocol comms can be wired or wireless

pros:
-easy retrofit
-no single point of failure

cons:
-more components =increased risk of failure
-limited design / colour /pricing options for end points


2. centralised configuration



-the end points are "dumb". switching is completed at the outputs of the control box
- not reliant on protocols for communication

pros:
-less distributed components=more centralised but lower risk of failure
-large range of design / colour /pricing options for end points

cons:
-difficult to retrofit
-centralised system isolates failure to a single point
tmwilson02's Avatar tmwilson02 07:11 PM 08-07-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbone View Post
i think before you commit to a certain type of system within a framework (or infrastructure), make sure you know whats available first. theres more than one way to do this, especially so with new builds

here are 2 popular types of automation infrastructure. there may be others; these are just the ones i know of. im not being specific with vendors but there are many options in both spaces

1. decentralised / protocol configuration:



- the end points (power outlets / light fittings in this example) are "smart". switching is completed at the end point
- protocol comms can be wired or wireless

pros:
-easy retrofit

cons:
-more components =increased risk of failure
-limited design / colour /pricing options for end points

2. centralised configuration



-the end points are "dumb". switching is completed at the outputs of the control box
- not reliant on protocols for communication

pros:
-less distributed components=more centralised but lower risk of failure
-large range of design / colour /pricing options for end points

cons:
-difficult to retrofit
-centralised system isolates failure to a single point
greenbone, those are great examples. I think I am leaning towards something that can be retrofitted in the future. Like I said I have an IT background and love to tinker, so I would rather put something in that I can change out over the weekend if I desire. Also, I think that the increases in the home automation technology is just really getting started for the DIY person. Leaving Z-Wave as the best option. I like the idea of Zigbee more, but the selection is limited as far as I can see. Maybe Google's new thread platform will change that, but not soon enough for my new house, again with the retrofitting ability.

I think the decentralized model leads to a lower initial cost and easier modifying in the future. If a company comes out with some great Z-Wave devices the chances of it being compatible with the current planned set-up are greater as I see it.
tmwilson's Avatar tmwilson 07:23 PM 08-07-2014
I would also like to add that I will be installing a geothermal heating and cooling system. I would love to install a Nest, but so far it doesn't seem to play well with geo.
Pvr4Craig's Avatar Pvr4Craig 07:39 AM 08-08-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmwilson View Post
I would also like to add that I will be installing a geothermal heating and cooling system. I would love to install a Nest, but so far it doesn't seem to play well with geo.
ecobee supports geothermal:

http://www.ecobee.com/

https://www.ecobee.com/wp-content/th...geothermal.pdf

Craig
ellisr63's Avatar ellisr63 10:59 AM 08-11-2014
Did you decide which way you are going?
tmwilson's Avatar tmwilson 08:47 AM 08-13-2014
After combing through the Lutron RadioRA2 thread I am leaning that direction. RA2 doesn't seem to be as easy to integrate into third party controllers like Revolv, but with something that I use everyday, like lighting, I want to make sure I have a solid reliable system. I haven't really got a clear answer on the reliability of the newer Leviton RF+ switches, but there are plenty of people supporting the Lutron RA2.

I will probably still get a Revolv to control and manage some other devices though. For instance, I think Revolv is going to start supporting MyQ for garage door openers, I believe it has already been stated that it will be supported by the Wink soon.
Dean Roddey's Avatar Dean Roddey 09:15 AM 08-13-2014
I would imagine that Lutron is supported by more serious automation solutions than Revolv, which is a fairly new player. Also, I would just paint with a fairly broad brush and say, be careful of a lot of these new 'internet of things' type devices you see out there. Too many of them are effectively just hacker bait, because they are often a lot more about buzzwords than security and reliability. I go through this with a lot of new customers, who think that we are somehow behind the times. But they eventually come to understand that automation is about reliability and safety and security and that those things are almost always more likely to be better baked in dedicated automation gear from companies who have been doing it for a long time, not from someone who figures out, hey I can put a wifi chip and a lock in a box, put "Internet of Things" all over my web site, and maybe get Google to buy me out for a hundred million dollars.

Even something seemingly as no-brainer as automatic integration into the automation system upon plugging in can be fraught with security issues. You shouldn't let any device into your automation system automatically, IMO. I appreciate the desire to make automation easier, but not if it comes with significant security risks, and many of these types of devices have already been hacked.

I'm sure I'll probably get abused for saying that, but I think this is definitely the case.
Dean Roddey's Avatar Dean Roddey 02:04 PM 08-13-2014
BTW, you might want to see this about Wink:

http://www.cepro.com/article/amid_po...m_medium=email
ahard's Avatar ahard 06:26 AM 08-15-2014
Tm,

I moved into a new home in Feb of 2013 and the builder supplied a new Nexia Z-wave controller, z-wave deadbolt on the front door and a Trane Z-wave thermostat. From that point I've added several GE/Jasco Z-wave light switches that have been working as they should since Feb 2013. If you haven't looked into the GE/Jasco switches that maybe an option for you to explore in addition to the Leviton switches.
ahard's Avatar ahard 06:47 AM 08-15-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
I would imagine that Lutron is supported by more serious automation solutions than Revolv, which is a fairly new player. Also, I would just paint with a fairly broad brush and say, be careful of a lot of these new 'internet of things' type devices you see out there. Too many of them are effectively just hacker bait, because they are often a lot more about buzzwords than security and reliability. I go through this with a lot of new customers, who think that we are somehow behind the times. But they eventually come to understand that automation is about reliability and safety and security and that those things are almost always more likely to be better baked in dedicated automation gear from companies who have been doing it for a long time, not from someone who figures out, hey I can put a wifi chip and a lock in a box, put "Internet of Things" all over my web site, and maybe get Google to buy me out for a hundred million dollars.

Even something seemingly as no-brainer as automatic integration into the automation system upon plugging in can be fraught with security issues. You shouldn't let any device into your automation system automatically, IMO. I appreciate the desire to make automation easier, but not if it comes with significant security risks, and many of these types of devices have already been hacked.

I'm sure I'll probably get abused for saying that, but I think this is definitely the case.
Dan,

I agree with you regarding the internet of things trend. However, there are secure Z-wave systems out there that don't include wifi chips. It would faster for a criminal to kick down a down than to try and hack a z-wave controller. And your typical criminal even the most sophisticated doesn't have the necessary tools.

The IOT trend is the new hot thing and with Apple introducing the Homekit, which is basically a certification program and Google buying Nest, people are all of a sudden waking up to home automation and how wonderful it can be.
tmwilson's Avatar tmwilson 07:37 AM 08-15-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
BTW, you might want to see this about Wink:

http://www.cepro.com/article/amid_po...m_medium=email
I was just using the Wink as an example of the adaptation of MyQ with third party controllers. I have seen the poor reviews and don't intend to purchase it unless they get it all straightened out.

I don't fret too much on the IoT security issues. Maybe that is because my basic understanding of network security is greater than the average consumer, being in IT at a hospital. I also feel that if someone really wants to break into something they will, and there isn't much we can do. The crackers will always be ahead of the security trying to stop them.

I intend to have most of my home network hardwired and plan to use radio frequencies for anything that allows access to the house, if I automate them. I am most of the way through the RadiRA 2 training. I also have a secure wireless router and have it set-up correctly. I just like the idea of tinkering and having the option to control multiple devices.
Dean Roddey's Avatar Dean Roddey 08:55 AM 08-15-2014
The issue isn't so much criminals, but just folks out there who will do whatever they can to abuse people behind the anonymity of the net. They don't need any promise of material gain to do it. They'll do it just for the thrill of getting away with it. If they can blow your speakers, or wake you up in the middle of the night, or crank your heat up to 100 degrees, or flood your yard, they'll probably do it just for fun.

And, not to say that they wouldn't also just post found vulnerabilities on the web for anyone in a position to take advantage of it to do so, or sell such information to such folks. The criminals don't need to know how to create the tools to do the work, just to have the tools to do it. Just like so many viruses and such aren't written by the people who put them out, they are just using kits to create them.
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