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New to home automation

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
All,

I am wanting to get into the home automation game. Debating between Insteon and Zwave. Would like to have the following capabilities from the Internet/iOS devices:

- arm/disarm alarm system (currently a Brinks system)
- Turn on/off lights
- control thermostat (2x)
- raise/lower garage door

My buddy has the ecobee and another has Nest, while another friend is getting 2Wave stuff in his house.

I have tried reading through all this - just gets more confusing :-)

Thanks all for any input you can provide!
post #2 of 24
I don't know anything about Brinks. What brand and model of alarm is it?

I'm guessing you'd need a new alarm system, one that can receive commands from another controller.

If you were to replace your alarm with an Elk M1 or HAI OPII, you could use that alarm controller to 'talk' to the other systems - lights, thermostats. It could be wired to the garage door for that function.

HA can be very expensive, and time consuming. HAI OPII + UPB lights + HAI thermostats will run you about $3000, for a small house. Plus hundreds of hours to figure it out.

If you can skip the remote alarm control, you can get some z-wave lights and thermostats controlled with a Vera for much, much less.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
I see some of the 2gig stuff to easily replace an alarm and looks cool! In using zwave technology, am I stuck paying a monthly service?

I will take a look at the Vera today.

As for my current alarm, it's their default keypad that usually comes with installs.

Thanks!
post #4 of 24
The ecobee theremostat allows for remote temp sensors, the Nest is supposed to be the next gen thermostat. Both are wifi capable. The 3m can use a zwave module, so you can control from a zwave panel.

The big thing is costs, and which system will need a professional install, vs a diy. Also the control software & panels can be costly, so add it up, what is going to hit you the hardest in the pocket book.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Understand that!

So, if I understand it all, I can use ANY Zwave controller with ANY Zwave device, correct?

Ecobee and Nest are very cool devices. Just a lot to choose from!

BTW - this is going to be a DIY install
post #6 of 24
Some early generation z-wave devices had issues with communication between devices of different manufacturers. Although most of it has been sorted out, I think, I would probably still try to use a proven, working solution - make sure someone else has done it first (via forums), and it works well. Don't be a guinea pig.

That's one of the advantages of a professional install - they know what works well from experience. DIY is often a crapshoot.

I have heard good things about 2Gig as well, but I've read it doesn't 'integrate' well, with other manufacturer's devices. If you stick with 2Gig devices, you'll be fine, but don't expect to buy a Nest and integrate/control it with 2Gig.

Do your research, and read the manuals thoroughly before buying anything.
post #7 of 24
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckg1999 View Post

I see some of the 2gig stuff to easily replace an alarm and looks cool! In using zwave technology, am I stuck paying a monthly service?

I will take a look at the Vera today.

As for my current alarm, it's their default keypad that usually comes with installs.

Thanks!

I am not impressed with vera for a home automation system
post #9 of 24
The Nest can not be used with zwave, 2gig, etc. It can only be used with the app, and works off of your wifi. The ecobee is the same way. You have a lot to figure out in what you want, and how you want to do it.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
What are peoples thoughts on Insteon compared to z-wave? Having a hard time deciding...

zwave is nice, b/c its easier to integrate a remote front door lock (ie: schlage)
post #11 of 24
Depending on when your brinks contract runs out call a local DMP security dealer. DMP supports Z-wave and even has an iPhone app that can control your alarm and zwave.
www.dmp.com
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckg1999 View Post

What are peoples thoughts on Insteon compared to z-wave? Having a hard time deciding...

zwave is nice, b/c its easier to integrate a remote front door lock (ie: schlage)

Check out the ISY 99, it's a controller for insteon, makes set up way easier, gives internet access, is programmable and just overall a great product. I have a house full of insteon lighting controls and an ISY 99 IR pro, I'm very happy with the setup. I understand that Universal Devices (the mfg of the ISY) has a new model that controls insteon and z-wave, this might be the exact thing you're looking for.
post #13 of 24
+1. Insteon is great with no monthly fees. They have the ability to lock/unlock doors (morning industry locks). With the io link you may be able to integrate some aspects of your alarm system with insteon. With insteon, I'd definitely recommend getting a couple of dual band products along with their regular power line products. This will actually increase its reliability. (It gets better the more products you use. Also 2 dual bands should cover you)
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
I went out and grabbed an HAI omnipro IIse plus keypad and thermo yesterday. Having a bit of buyers remorse after seeing the isy controller. That stuff is expensive!

I read about isy and it doesn't look like they are doing zwave yet.

The thing about hai is the cost of everything ~ 1200 usd.

Is HAI just that good?
post #15 of 24
HAI will be a good bet for you.

Hardware is readily accessible and priced fairly.

Software is easy to get, and pretty easy to use.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradKas View Post

HAI will be a good bet for you.

Hardware is readily accessible and priced fairly.

Software is easy to get, and pretty easy to use.

Good deal. As for the software/setup, my dealer has PC Access sold out until next week. Can I still program everything without that?

If not - where can I grab PCAccess?
post #17 of 24
Read everything you can find on the internet about z-wave planning and installation. Pay attention to range limitations and attenuating factors. If your garage is unheated or detached you have more issues. Do you have a long ranch-style house? A large house?

Think about living with scenes as opposed to controlling individual devices. Incremental network additions require multiple steps.

Did I mention range issues? Don't think for a minute that you will actually have 30 ft in the real world for most of your links. Maximum of 5 hops. Unit signal strength is not equally omni-directional.

Some of my common uses occasionally fail and repeated tries may or may not work. I am guessing there is interference from something in the house which I have yet to identify.

Oh, and if your house is old your wall switches may not have a ground wire. Two-wire dimmers require a minimum load of 40 w. And the switch boxes may be metal which reduces link range. Some modules, e.g. GE outdoor modules leak a small current when off. See some of the z-wave forums for more on this. Many of the devices have a minimum operating temperature of 32 F degrees. How cold does your garage get?

The above thoughts are based on 1+ years experience. Except for the outdoor modules everything I have is Leviton Vizia RF+. About 20+ pieces. To get around some of these issues my garage units are in a heated polycarbonate enclosure. I have 3 programmer/timers at the North, South, and near mid-point of house. They all control the same events with their timers offset by a minute. So every event is signaled three times about a minute apart. This solved several problems.

If I were in your position I do not think I would do it with z-wave. Unless someone who really knew what they were doing did it for me.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Understand. I think the combo UPB, ZWave and ZigBee that HAI can provide will be best.

As for PC Access software for the HAI, anyone know where I can obtain a copy today?

Thanks all for your input!
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, I had everything ready to go thinking I could run wire from my current alarm panel. Alas, I was fooled! So, I am returning the HAI and am now debating on Insteon, as long as I can use it with Zwave.

Whats the best? the ISY99i?
post #20 of 24
You could try homeseer
post #21 of 24
The Omni Pro II is a security controller as well as automation controller.

You would wire your existing security contacts, etc. into the Omni II and use HAI consoles & keypads.

Insteon would be a major downgrade compared to HAI with some good sub system components.

HAI Omni Pro II for security & automation.

RadioRa 2 for lighting and either Ra2 or HAI for your stats, and you have a professional grade system.

Have HAI monitor the state of, and control the garage doors for automation needs, and wire the Ra2 VCRX control in parallel for control from their Visor Controller.

There are some great apps available for both HAI and Ra2 for control from a smart phone.

There is no way you can duplicate this price vs. functionality with any other DIY grade system.
post #22 of 24
It looks like you have settled on something now, but I'll just add that I am still using MiCasaVerde Vera and I am happy. Their latest UI5 has been working well for me. I don't know of another device this inexpensive that allows me to combine all of these different control technologies seamlessly into the Square Connect SQ Remote App, so whether I am controlling IR, IP, Z-Wave, X10, Serial, etc. it is all very quick to respond to the iPhone/iPad. I chose to use the SQ Remote from Square Connect to control Vera, but SC has some other great solutions including a WiFi IR Blaster and other controls which I will be using more of as they are great.

There are several Alarm plug-ins or 2Gig could be setup as a secondary controller. The alarm plug-ins allow you to use all of the alarm sensors for scenes in Vera, too. Of course the thermostats and Locks are the killer apps for Z-Wave and lighting controls can be inexpensive too. Thanks to watching the net and jumping on sales I was able to outfit the entire house and I am still under $2000 (including sprinklers). For basic stuff there isn't much of a learning curve, but more advanced automation can take some learning (the forum is there to help). They offer free secure remote access and you don't have to buy a native app for control but it elevates the system to feel like more expensive offerings.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
I would love to use the HAI, but I can't run any new cables to where the alarm panel is currently located.

One thing I have thought about is switching out the alarm to a DSC system and using a HomeSeer plugin to control it that way.

Thoughts on that approach?
post #24 of 24
Anyone using Fibaro and Vera2? Is it really true that it can work without neutral wire?

Mike
http://www.domotics.sg/forum/
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