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post #1 of 34 Old 09-01-2017, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Wink or SmartThings?

I am tormenting myself trying to choose between Wink 2 and Samsung SmartThings in choosing a Hub as I kick off my HA projects. I have watched numerous videos and read plenty of reviews by now, but they all end with "Choose either"! Anyone here that has used both offer any guidance as to which they preferred over the other? Below are my plans...


  • Voice control through Google Home (GH)
  • Lutron or GE smart dimmers (depending on cost and local availability)
  • Harmony Hub for Home Theater Control (through GH)
  • Motion sensors for light triggers
  • Phillips Hue Light Strips (I realize I will have to add the Phillips Bridge as well)
  • Potential for electronic entry/locks (not sure yet)


Note: I could see myself dabbling in IFTTT to create some unique events if that helps the decision at all.


Thanks in advance guys, you are great!
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post #2 of 34 Old 09-01-2017, 04:42 PM
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I'd caution you to think long & hard about going with Wink. If you've done your research you'd know that Flex sold Wink to Will I Am of Black Eye Peas. And 2 of Wink's key individuals that helped get Wink going left the company recently.

Research Will's past tech ventures.
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post #3 of 34 Old 09-01-2017, 05:15 PM
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I have Smart Things.....love that system, easy as pie. And yes I do all of that with GH with it.
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post #4 of 34 Old 09-02-2017, 06:51 AM
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Neither. I prefer Vera and Z-Wave devices for many reasons. Z-Wave is the closest to a universal standard that we have for HA currently and Vera is one of the few that doesn't charge any fees beyond purchase of the equipment and also doesn't require communication with the outside world to function. The device prices are reasonable too. I've been rocking a VeraLite now for over 5 years and have around 50 or so devices connected. It's a great option and can do just about anything you might want for a good price.
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post #5 of 34 Old 09-04-2017, 06:20 AM
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I second Vera.

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post #6 of 34 Old 09-04-2017, 11:09 PM
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Smart things does Z Wave and Zigbee.........BYOD and program it in the system in minutes...right from your mobile device. All the programming power you could handle also.

Smart Things BY FAR, not even close.
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post #7 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 06:39 AM
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But will SmartThings continue to operate when your internet is down?

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post #8 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post
But will SmartThings continue to operate when your internet is down?

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Automations/scenes are stored on the hub and not in the cloud.

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post #9 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahard View Post
Automations/scenes are stored on the hub and not in the cloud.
Can you still connect to the hub when you are home and the internet is down?

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post #10 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post
Can you still connect to the hub when you are home and the internet is down?

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I'm not sure.

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post #11 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 09:55 AM
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I have used Wink in two houses for about three years, and it's not bad. Out of the box when compared with Smart Things it has more device support NEST, garage doors and leak sensors in my case). The wink power strips have also been awesome.
I have not upgraded to the Hub 2 and have been considering going with Smart Things just to try something new, but Wink has been good, my only complaint is you can't delete products, you have to have wink support do it.

The whole Will.Iam ownership does not scare me that much, come CES 2018 I hope someone else will have a better hub than both Samsung & Wink.
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post #12 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post
Can you still connect to the hub when you are home and the internet is down?

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You pose an excellent question. YES ST will still work if WAN is down, and be able to communicate over LAN as long as LAN is still running. BUT, the App control will not work. Even without LAN, the HUB will still carry out Z Wave and Zigbee schedules and tasks. Example, ST Security will still Arm/Disarm Security (scheduled arm/disarm), Wireless (Z Wave, Zigbee) devices still respond and work, etc. The ST hub itself has a 2 AA battery backup that keeps things going for a bit if power is removed from it, so all you'd need is a UPS on your Router (for instances of loss of power). If you are susceptible to Internet outages, I'd design the house to compensate for this and there are ways to do it. I think Smart Things brings enough to the table in the way of ease of programming and operation, that this concern would never steer my decision to own it.
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post #13 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuppiemike View Post
I have used Wink in two houses for about three years, and it's not bad. Out of the box when compared with Smart Things it has more device support NEST, garage doors and leak sensors in my case). The wink power strips have also been awesome.
I have not upgraded to the Hub 2 and have been considering going with Smart Things just to try something new, but Wink has been good, my only complaint is you can't delete products, you have to have wink support do it.

The whole Will.Iam ownership does not scare me that much, come CES 2018 I hope someone else will have a better hub than both Samsung & Wink.

The great equalizer to your point is IFTTT, Stringify, and device handlers. Makes Smart Things and Wink absolute equals when you talk about who has more support. For example, I have Nest products in my home working fine with my ST system.
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post #14 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 10:42 AM
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Wink or SmartThings?

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Originally Posted by MOTILAC View Post
The great equalizer to your point is IFTTT, Stringify, and device handlers. Makes Smart Things and Wink absolute equals when you talk about who has more support. For example, I have Nest products in my home working fine with my ST system.
I have ST and have IFTTT and Nest, can I ask what you use these together for please out of interest

Thanks

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post #15 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 11:10 AM
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Vera can be connected directly on the local ip address without the need for internet at all to get into it and do configurations or control devices, scenes, macros etcetera. You will not be able to get notifications as those go through Vera's servers but other than that, you do not lose control over your system relying on a cloud based app. For this reason and the fact that there are no monthly fees I prefer Vera. The plugins are immense and development is consistent. Support is quick and is on the ball to assist.

The OP asked about whether to use Wink or SmartThings. I don't have nor have I used either of them. They may be very fine products indeed. I looked into them when deciding myself but for the reasons stated above I chose a different path and couldn't be happier with it.

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post #16 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post
Vera can be connected directly on the local ip address without the need for internet at all to get into it and do configurations or control devices, scenes, macros etcetera. You will not be able to get notifications as those go through Vera's servers but other than that, you do not lose control over your system relying on a cloud based app. For this reason and the fact that there are no monthly fees I prefer Vera. The plugins are immense and development is consistent. Support is quick and is on the ball to assist.

The OP asked about whether to use Wink or SmartThings. I don't have nor have I used either of them. They may be very fine products indeed. I looked into them when deciding myself but for the reasons stated above I chose a different path and couldn't be happier with it.
Sounds good. BTW, be clear that there are no monthly fees for ST...
If you are willing to do Cellular backup (many standard security systems have this anyway, and it's easy to do with ST), it solves the issue of WAN being down...so there are solutions available.

I'll have to get tuned up on Vera, you do have me interested to know it better.
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post #17 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 12:08 PM
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post #18 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 12:36 PM
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BTW, Vera has failover 3G too. It is requires a dongle on the VeraPlus but is built into the VeraSecure (which wasn't even available when I setup my system).

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post #19 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 12:51 PM
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In all fairness..

https://community.smartthings.com/

https://wiki.winkathome.net/Community_Links#Forums (I find it disheartening that they don't have their own dedicated forum. That, in and of itself, would caution me on going down this path)
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post #20 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 01:45 PM
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There are other options if you are willing to climb up a slightly steeper learning curve, which are all local and commercial quality but DIY friendly. Our CQC platform is one such. Because of its tremendous flexibility it will require more up front effort, but long term you will have a much more powerful tool to work with.

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post #21 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:05 PM
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There are other options if you are willing to climb up a slightly steeper learning curve, which are all local and commercial quality but DIY friendly. Our CQC platform is one such. Because of its tremendous flexibility it will require more up front effort, but long term you will have a much more powerful tool to work with.
So this is bring your own server and devices? Does it control Z-Wave? Do I have to buy a Z-Wave dongle? Do I have to script it in XML? I'm confused as to what I actually get for $849 and $95 a year? This sounds reall spendy for a DIY project. Am I missing something?
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post #22 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:12 PM
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It does control Z-Wave, though that's not our recommendation generally. Z-Wave is fairly low endy and less robust than other options. But we do support it and you can use it if you want. There's no programming at all, it's all point and click. You do provide your own server. You would use a Leviton VRC0P to interface CQC to Z-Wave.

If you want to understand it more, go through some of the videos in this main playlist as a starting point. The first video is very high level. Then it gets into installing and configuring the product. You can go through the tutorial videos without actually connecting any real devices. The videos use device simulator drivers that act like devices, so that you can do it all standalone at first.


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post #23 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:23 PM
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So how does it control devices? WiFi? Wired protocol? Zigbee? Proprietary Wireless? I'm confused. For something "Low endy" it seems that Z-Wave does a lot and some of the Z-Wave devices are not low priced. Each switch is in the $30 to $50 range. Granted, using the power of a PC for Control is going to be more robust server-side but what devices are used and how are they connected? My PC's are already working for a variety of things (IP Cam DVR, Download Clients, Media Servers to name a few) as it is so at some point it becomes a need for more speed as demand goes up.
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post #24 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:43 PM
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It's software, not hardware so it can use anything for which a driver is available. It ships with a couple hundred drivers, and BTW we don't charge for drivers so that can make for confusing pricing comparisons since a lot of companies do and they add up. Here is the current shipped driver list, there are others on the forum as well.

http://www.charmedquark.com/Web2/CQC...page=/Overview

Z-Wave is a fairly simple wireless protocol, as such things go of course. It's not as robust as things like Caseta, Zigbee, Radio RA2, and other higher end products. It's also gone through a LOT of changes over the years and has a lot of evolutionary baggage. It takes a huge effort to interface to compared to its competitors and the quality of modules varies a lot from vendor to vendor, whereas something like Caseta or RA2 are single vendor solutions and you know it all works together without issues.

It doesn't use much memory or CPU by modern standards. You can put it an existing server, though it's often best to just get a small, dedicated machine. It can be quite small since any modern machines will have plenty of oomph to act as an automation server.

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post #25 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 02:58 PM
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So each one of those would need a USB radio dongle? I have a pretty extensive Z-Wave mesh network that runs pretty reliably so I'm unclear as to how it is not robust. I have Z-Wave devices in every room of my house in some form or another and even several outside in places you wouldn't think the signal would get to so it seems pretty robust to me.

These other devices.. Where to get them? What frequency do the opporate on?

I can see the possible need for a more robust controller at some point maybe but I really don't want to or think I need to replace all the devices in my network as they work fine.

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post #26 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 03:44 PM
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Not everything is a wireless device. That's a fairly recent thing. It's interesting how much the current crop of hubs have skewed people's understanding of how this stuff works. The bulk of devices out there are of the sort where the automation system talks directly to them, via a serial cable, or over the network, or via USB, or IR control. It's really only lighting type systems that have various types of devices controlled wirelessly. Those 'lighting' systems also often include sensors and thermostats and other bits. But they aren't by a long shot all of the devices involved in a home automation system. Even lighting systems at the higher end, aren't wireless.

But, basically there are those devices where the automation system talks directly to the device, and there are those where the automation system talks to some 'gateway' box that gets it onto some sort of network, wired or wireless. The latter sort are things like Caseta, RA2, Z-Wave, UPB, Insteon, and Zigbee. Of those, only Z-Wave tends to use USB dongles. Caseta and RA2 have a central controller box that the automation system talks to via eithernet. Insteon have various means, we use the ISY 994. Z-Wave can use a USB dongle, or some other means, such as VRC0P which the computer talks to via a serial port.

Anyhoo, you don't have to replace all your Z-Wave stuff. But it's never really been designed to be used within the context of an automation system, that's always been something added on by third parties after the fact. And it can sometimes not be quite up to the task when you use in those more ambitious settings, which is a lot more stressful on the wireless network than the basic applications that most folks use it folk.

You can of course, if you use a hardware agnostic system, use more than one such system at a time, and that's not uncommon. Then just replace one thing at a time over time to another system. Plenty of our customers might use, say, Insteon or Caseta but combine that with a Hue hub for colored lights. Hue is Zigbee underneath the hood, but a proprietary version of it. You could add a Caseta, for instance, and run it in parallel with the Z-Wave stuff, and move over to it slowly. It will be more robust in the long term.

But lots of other devices like TVs, thermostats, A/V receivers, media players, weather data sources, pool controllers, security systems, energy usage monitors, and so forth, they have nothing to do with any of the above. They are standalone devices and the automation system talks directly to them, usually via network these days, but sometimes via serial connection or IR control.

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post #27 of 34 Old 09-05-2017, 03:55 PM
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Okay.

The short of it is that I went Z-Wave for simplicity of installation. Pair it and it works. The more you add the more vibrant the network becomes. Wiring door and window sensors in my house was not something that I even wanted to consider doing at all so after much research I went to Z-Wave.

I do have things running through Plugins that are XML or IP protocol such as Autelis Pool control and Serial / Ethernet control of my Denon Receiver but they all run off the VeraPlus Hub. I can see a need for another hub eventually but they can be set up in Parallel. A PC doing the job would be much better but I really think most of this could be run off a dedicated PCB or rPi as linux has much less overhead.

The hardest thing I've come across right now is integrating Insteon (basically for Fanlincs) into Vera. I'm still trying to work that through but since they are merely fans and lights I'm not too worried about of-loading that to the cloud with an insteon hub and then using either their separate app or Alexa for voice commands. I have both the USB PowerLink Modem and an insteon hub and am attacking this from both angles with the ultimate goal of having it run by Vera.

All that said, at some point I will probably look into a server model but at present I'm pretty pleased with what I have.

The OP, OTOH, might want to look into this option starting out.
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post #28 of 34 Old 09-08-2017, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremyhelling View Post
Neither. I prefer Vera and Z-Wave devices for many reasons. Z-Wave is the closest to a universal standard that we have for HA currently and Vera is one of the few that doesn't charge any fees beyond purchase of the equipment and also doesn't require communication with the outside world to function. The device prices are reasonable too. I've been rocking a VeraLite now for over 5 years and have around 50 or so devices connected. It's a great option and can do just about anything you might want for a good price.
And Vera now works with Amazon Alexa for voice control:

http://support.getvera.com/customer/...exa-user-guide

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post #29 of 34 Old 09-08-2017, 07:04 PM
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And Vera now works with Amazon Alexa for voice control:

http://support.getvera.com/customer/...exa-user-guide
The Alexa skill has been in beta for months now and has worked pretty darn well. Just another reason to like Vera.
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post #30 of 34 Old 09-17-2017, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
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Automations/scenes are stored on the hub and not in the cloud.
Not true. ST will only work without WAN if you are using exclusively ST approved devices only, AND with automation apps 100% Smartthings origin. Even those apps have "beta" features which if used, force the code to WAN only.

It is virtually impossible to do automation with SMartthings and have the system work with a WAN link that is down. I've also found that a busy web connection (like a few kids on Netflix) will slow the system to the point where lights on after motion may take a few seconds.

I have a home system on ST with about 120 devices, (lights, Zwave locks, custom garage door relay, Harmony hub integration, various lighting systems, HRV control etc.) and a business system using VeraEdge with approx 90 devices including DSC security integration, full HVAC, 9 ecobee3 stats, and window automation. Vera has a higher learning curve but is 100% local processing and has been dead reliable. I use the PLEG plugin on Vera to do any heavy lift automation. Example, main floor window opening is detected by Vera hub (via security system) and HVAC in those zones is turned off. We also use active night cooling which manages a few clerestory windows, ecobee stat sensors, and building fan. We precool at night based on ambient temps, building sensor temps, HVaC mode and forecast temps for next day.

My recommendation for all lighting and motion sensing is Philips HUe. The HUe hub is 100% local processing, lights can be powered off for minutes or days without losing hub connections (number one frustration with Smartthings), and HUe motion sensors are cheap, reliable and did I mention reliable? You can tie the HUe hub into ST or Vera. That one tip will save you hours of wasted time!!

Vera has excellent support by phone that actually works. Vera has a backup and recovery system that I've tested with perfect results. Vera supports secondary hubs, ST does not.

ST has zero backup or restore options if you brick a hub, or upgrade you are starting from zero!

If you want to truly "automate" with either of these products you are using CORE app on ST (zero local processing, flaky at times timer) or PLEG on Vera (100% local with a dead reliable timer).

Having used both systems now for several yrs, my advice to a power user..go Vera. To a casual user who only wants light control and motion sensing, use Hue. Regardless of what system...use HUe lighting and stick with their bulbs if you want near 100% reliable behavior.

Use ST if you just want to play around with a few devices, and you don't mind if things stop working from time to time. Expect to reset ST motion sensors every few weeks. Same goes with their leak sensors (this is one item that should be dead reliable!!!) Don't use ST under ANY circumstances if you have a slow or unreliable WAN connection.
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