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Discussion Starter #1
I have been doing a lot of reading and searches on home automation and I think I am at the point of just CONFUSED now.

My home has no hard wire to what I figure would be the strategic locations needed.

There is also a shop out back that is an important part of the securing goal.


My goals and desires in order of importance and phasing:
  1. An expandable system that will not limit future product growth.
  2. A system that I don't have to sell the house to afford.
  3. SMS / email alerts or other
  4. set up a system to monitor my home for security. Door and Window sensors.
  5. Moisture and leak detection
  6. Lighting control and motion sensing.
  7. On to the funner playin around stuff.

I have been looking at Insteon devices with a ISY944 XXX (torn on optional features IR/IRPRO/...)

I like the thought of dual band and the potential to a more robust network that Z-Wave

Although Z-Wave has a larger produst offering that Insteon

ISY has a module for expansion to Z-Wave ... need to research more.


One day (again more research needed) I want to run the whole house from an iRule type remote controller


Who out there has Insteon and what are your thoughts?

ISY Controller options..... when is it to much?

What would you have done different?


Any feed back is greatly appreciated
 

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I have used Insteon for over 10 years, and I love it. Personally I use Insteon, Z-Wave and X-10 with my Vera and it works absolutely perfectly with all three. Your thoughts of going with the ISY and the Z-wave module is a good one as well, but I cannot comment too much as I have not used them, just have heard they work excellent. I do highly recommend using Insteon AND z-wave as they do complement each other in terms of devices, what one is missing the other most likely already has. Z-Wave does have alot more devices, they just issued their 1,000th product last fall and with over 250 manufacturers now worldwide IMO it is the way to go. But Insteon is really moving forward and just opened up their distribution channels to alot of other avenues, like us at HA World - we are now an Insteon dealer (as well as Z-Wave, X-10 and Zigbee). In fact Insteon just announced a partnership with Microsoft so they will be selling compatible Insteon software for Windows 8 smartphones as well as retail products in Microsoft stores.


Also, have you considered a VeraLite or a Vera3? We sell the VeraLite for 10% off right now.


Hope that helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #3

Quote:
Originally Posted by haworld  /t/1532667/ha-brain-overload-my-wife-is-tired-of-me-talking-about-it/0_100#post_24743935


Also, have you considered a VeraLite or a Vera3? We sell the VeraLite for 10% off right now.

Thanks for the feed back haworld.

I have not looked into the Veralite product and adds more food for thought.


If you don't mind I have some questions:

How have you found the support (manufacturers and online)?

How is the programming for the unit? (I was reading some comments on having to move the Vera or the device close together to get them to communicate initially.)

Where do you utilize the different platforms.... Insteon = lights..., Z-Wave = ?

Is the Vera a stand alone like the ISY's?

What are the app options like? The link to the android app does not have a good rating
 

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You are most welcome Waterboy!
Quote:
How have you found the support (manufacturers and online)?
Support for Vera is good, imo, every time I have needed tech support they have been there - I haven't had any issues with them and have called them directly on the phone a number of times to ask questions. I know alot of people disagree. It is true however, that your best bet with Vera is the Mi Casa Verde Forums, they are without a doubt the best I have ever seen and used, without comparison. I would be very surprised if there is anything that cannot be answered by someone on those forums. I myself (when I have time) read them and post and try to help every day if I can and I know at least a dozen people that are ALWAYS available to help. Plus you will get a reply within an hour or two at latest if you can't find what you need by simply searching for it.
Quote:
How is the programming for the unit? (I was reading some comments on having to move the Vera or the device close together to get them to communicate initially.)
Programming is very easy, although scene setup and events can be a bit tricky sometimes but you will find that if you use it everyday as most people do when they start their network, it becomes second nature. You do need to move the units within 3 feet of the device for the initial inclusion of each device, IF you want to or if you are including switches (hardwired devices). That is a fact for all Z-Wave devices and controllers as far as I know. I normally include my devices that are battery operated just by setting them next to the unit and plugging them in, afterwards move it to where it will be going finally. For hardwired 120VAC switches, you just unplug the VeraLite from the power and it starts up in inclusion mode powered by standard alkaline batteries and include right at each switch. Vera3 is a bit easier because it comes with a battery pack so you don't need separate batteries.


This doesn't really apply if you are using Insteon because pairing Insteon devices is done directly with the Insteon Modem, not with the Vera unit. After the Modem has the device addressing info, it then relays that info to the Vera via serial USB.
Quote:
Where do you utilize the different platforms.... Insteon = lights..., Z-Wave = ?
Control of everything is done within the Vera GUI. You control everything from a dashboard which shows your devices and each room you have them assigned to, a mirror of your home basically, then there are separate tabs for setup and config where you can program events, triggers, scenes, etc. Once a device is included it doesn't matter what protocol it uses, and it shouldn't. If its a lamp module, turn it on, if its a wall sconce, turn it off or dim it, or what have you. Whether or not the device is Insteon, X-10 or Z-Wave doesn't matter after you set it up. You do need the Insteon Modem which plugs into the Vera directly to its USB port, in order to use Insteon and X-10 so thats an additional $79 (we also sell them) and there is a free plug-in for Vera called Alsteon which you can get from the Vera store that opens up alot of Insteon additional features - I have never used it, I use my Insteon all by itself within the Vera UI.
Quote:
Is the Vera a stand alone like the ISY's?
Yes it is. You do need internet access for config and setup of devices but afterwards, control is done all within your zwave network which the Vera now controls. Communication between devices is done directly with the Vera Unit and not over the internet once everything is setup. That includes timers scenes and events as well. Now there is a limitation of the VeraLite in that regard as the Veralites internal clock is run by internet time, so if you aren't connected to the internet at all, your timed events and scheduling will be out of sync. This is not an issue for the Vera3 however, as it has its own clock, plus the Vera3 has a router built into it so it is more secure as well because it can be setup similar to a cascading router connection by plugging it into your home networks router, so you have a network within a network thats totally independant of the internet. You would of course need internet access from somewhere for remote control via smartphone mobile apps.
Quote:
What are the app options like? The link to the android app does not have a good rating
I have used a few Android apps for Vera including Home Buddy, AutHomation, and VeraMobile and find them all very good but my favorite is VeraMobile. It works perfectly in my network and because it is made by Vera it should work perfectly. Home Buddy is good as well and is the only one that supports widgets at present time, although I believe they are all expecting to have widgets included at some time. I haven't used AutHomation as much as I should but it is good too and you will find the developer himself on the forums every day as well helping people and answering questions. I don't normally go by ratings by others because I simply find people very fickle and 99% of the time I don't agree with what they say in the ratings, or at the very least I reserve judgement until I know what I am talking about and have first hand info. Nothing is perfect and this stuff takes time to develop so if you want perfect, don't get into HA to begin with lol. DIY HA is far from perfect just as is installed HA is and computers and life are in general. Just my opinion.


Well hope this answers some of your questions Waterboy, and any other readers as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
WOW haworld that's a great response.

Thanks for spending the time to answer my inquiries on the Vera


I have gone through the ha system comparison that is a great reference but unfortunately out dated (died in 2012)

Has anyone come across any more resent comparisons?


Can across this picture and had a good laugh as I did this when I was a kid.
 

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I will just add that with a vera you don't have to move the vera close to the device to pair. If you have a laptop/tablet or pc close to device you can pair the device using the vera interface provided there is a strong enough zwave network between your controller and device or the device isn't too far away (and if there isn't a strong enough network and the device is too far away the controller will struggle to control the device anyway when you move it back if you pair it using the batteries).


You can put your vera in inclusion/exclusion mode via the UI and then do the same for the device you want to include or exclude and the vera will find it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the feed back newlinx!

I been following you updates and experiences in your thread


How are you finding the programming in Vera?

What are the biggest pro and con that you have run into with the system?


I really light the concept / price point of the Aeon multisensory, is there an outdoor rated unit?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy77  /t/1532667/ha-brain-overload-my-wife-is-tired-of-me-talking-about-it/0_100#post_24751595


Thanks for the feed back newlinx!

I been following you updates and experiences in your thread


How are you finding the programming in Vera?

What are the biggest pro and con that you have run into with the system?


I really light the concept / price point of the Aeon multisensory, is there an outdoor rated unit?

Programming in Vera is not too bad. Not really a good environment to program in, but nothing I've written is complicated. I haven't written that much, and probably could have written less if I used the PLEG plugin.


biggest pro is the community, plugins, and previous examples. Also seems to support almost all z-wave devices. Price is a big plus as well.


Biggest cons are the programming environment and the UI, but they are easily overcome and not that bad.


the Aeon Multi-sensors I've bought are indicated by the literature as rated for outdoor or indoor use.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for you feed back Newlinux
Quote:
biggest pro is the community, plugins, and previous examples.

Would you or anybody else mind sharing any links to the forums and resources that you have come across?


Ones that I have been trying (part of the brain overload) to get some research done on are:
Cocoontech
Universal Devices
Smarthome
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Got a private message from @Dean Roddey on the charmedquark software

Looks like a good offering that I will consider in the future.


Part of the message
Quote:
If you go to the web site, then Try/Buy, there is an Information sub-section that answers a lot of those questions. But, to your specific question, the ISY itself is the device. In any cases like an Elk, Omni, ISY, Z-Wave, RA2, etc... where we talk to a controller and it talks to the individual modules, there's only one driver on our side that talks to the controller.


A client is any machine running our touch screen clients or a third party client. Our primary touch screen client is a Windows based one. That one has the most power and flexibility. Any Windows client from XP up will work, though we are dropping XP support in the fourth quarter of this year and moving up to WIndows 7 as the baseline. Same on the server side, any XP (or XP equivalent server version) or higher versions of Windows is fine, but again moving up to W7 or W7 equivalent server versions in the fourth quarter.


We also support iOS and Android through third parties, you can search for CQC on the iTunes store. These are RIVA clients, which is our Remote Intf. Viewer Architecture. They allow you to view the same interfaces you create within CQC on those non-Windows clients, though with some restrictions. There's also a more generate iOS client as well, which isn't customizable, also third party.


We've been around for something like 13 years now, and are about to release 4.5. It's a very mature product. 4.5 is a big step forward as well, particularly in terms of the user interface since we've not finally completed our move to a fully inertial dragging type of interface, so it feels completely modern now. The current officlal version was an intermediate step that only supported 'flick' type moves, not dragging.


There are lots of screen shots on the web site, and on our forum. Here are some shots of some interfaces I'm working on, which are the source material that we are using to auto-generate a set of starter templates for you based on configuration info you provide. But you can do all of this stuff yourself, fully customized. There was zero code written to create these, it's all point and click. They were done using our built in interface editor. It's a full graphical application development environment, fully integrated into the product.

Has some good screen shots:
www.charmedquark.com/Web2/PostImages/4_5Previews/NewAutoGen_Idea28a.png
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b344/rsxer63/The%20Rack%20Series/Denon-2807-FM.jpg
www.charmedquark.com/Web2/PostImages/4_5Previews/NewAutoGen_Idea28d.png


Focus at the moment is initial security and lighting control

Any feed back or options welcome
 

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Discussion Starter #12
 @jautor

I noticed that you had Insteon and made the move to RA2.

Why did you make the move?


From What I can see Lutron does not have all the product for my particular security requirements.

But maybe its something I am missing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
 @Swancoat


I just read you blog http://nerdhome.jimdo.com/2013/04/10/lighting/

Very well written and thought out explanation of your decision process


Sorry to read about your Thermostat problems hopefully you find a reliable solution and share with us


Any feedback on what I am trying to do would be apreciated
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy77  /t/1532667/ha-brain-overload-my-wife-is-tired-of-me-talking-about-it#post_24772160

@jautor

I noticed that you had Insteon and made the move to RA2.

Why did you make the move?

Because I couldn't figure out how to get "scenes" working, and then it appeared that I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted without getting the ISY or other external controller.


And since I could DIY the RadioRA stuff, and was able to get it "cheap" (still 2x the Insteon parts), and it *is* rock-solid and would absolutely do what I wanted, I went that route. Also, the keypads look a lot nicer and have more options... (again, at a cost)


It may be possible that the Insteon solution could be made to work, but at the time (3+ years ago), the documentation was poor and frustrating. The RadioRA stuff has been very simple and quite robust.
Quote:
From What I can see Lutron does not have all the product for my particular security requirements.

But maybe its something I am missing.

Haven't looked back at your security requirements (I assume you mean integration with security system), but I'd be surprised if they aren't covered with RadioRA2. Look at the RadioRA2 Visor Control Receiver unit - that's where the security system integration occurs. There are inputs there to signal for alarm mode (all on, flashing exterior lights, etc.) for example...


See their note on security integration:

http://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/3672146_RA2%20Security%20Opp.pdf



Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Jautor

Unfortunately I do not have an existing security system and rewiring for it will be a major undertaking.

Therefore looking for a wireless solution for doors and windows
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy77  /t/1532667/ha-brain-overload-my-wife-is-tired-of-me-talking-about-it#post_24772418


Thanks Jautor

Unfortunately I do not have an existing security system and rewiring for it will be a major undertaking.

Therefore looking for a wireless solution for doors and windows

Ah, gotcha... Yeah, RadioRA2 will integrate with a security system, but it won't provide those functions itself...
 

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It might be arguable that there is no such thing as a wireless security system, right? They may be more along the lines of 'temporarily providing a sense of security' wireless systems. Given that (as a practical matter) no one seems able to create a truly secure device these days within the roiling complexity of the networked world we live in, there's maybe a lot to be said for wired for security.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dean, In a perfect world I would have wired sensors but the cost to do all the runs would be significant.

Don't most new install security providers run wireless sensors now?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy77  /t/1532667/ha-brain-overload-my-wife-is-tired-of-me-talking-about-it#post_24773458


Jautor, Can you DIY the Grafik Eye and RA2?

I thought the dealer had to set them up.

In my situation what would you recommend?

GrafikEye certainly. Any electrician can install it, too.


Doing the RadioRA2 system requires a few hours of training that you can do online for free. You have to do that and pass the (open book) exam to gain access to the programming software.


The nice thing about the GrafikEye (the QS models, which are RadioRA2-capable) is that you could start with just that, and later join it to a RadioRA2 setup if you wanted. But for just doing one room, I would stick with IR control for the GrafikEye. And the QS models also have an IR input jack on the back - I should have mentioned that earlier. Other models lack that...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waterboy77  /t/1532667/ha-brain-overload-my-wife-is-tired-of-me-talking-about-it#post_24773465


Dean, In a perfect world I would have wired sensors but the cost to do all the runs would be significant.

Don't most new install security providers run wireless sensors now?

I think (hope) Dean was referring to WiFi systems - not just wireless sensors, which, as you mentioned, are absolutely commonplace with security systems - especially retrofit. Wire the sensors where you can, but the rest can be wireless.


Jeff
 
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