Question Replace Fibaro HC Lite with Vera Plus or something else?

muppetman74

Active Member
So, a bit of background....I've got a Fibaro Home Center Lite controlling about 20 devices (mostly Fibaro Dimmers, Relays (for lights and heating/hot water), a few non-Fibaro sockets and some Aeon Multisensors. I've been building this up over the last 3 years or so.

Basically, I had a bit of a false start with reliability (kept losing devices from the Z-Wave network) until the 4.x Fibaro HC firmware came out, and then I've had good reliability since. However, since I've upgraded the firmware to 4.1xx, I've been having problems again. I spent a long time adding/removing devices as well as moving some plug sockets (to aid the Z-Wave network repeating) and it all seems sort-of OK at the moment.

However, I want to start building some more complex scenes and I need LUA to do everything I want - which means upgrading the Z-Wave controller. I'm considering either upgrading to a Fibaro HC or going for a Vera Plus but I'm stuck on making a decision.

Fibaro HC - Main advantage is that I know my way around the system, it works well with my setup of mostly Fibaro modules and I can use my HC Lite as a secondary controller. BUT it's expensive and Fibaro seem to release firmware that breaks stuff on a regular basis, which is bloody annoying and takes hours of troubleshooting!

Vera Plus - Seems to have much more community support and plug-ins etc, is much cheaper and has the advantage of a plug-in available to control my Visonic alarm system (which Fibaro doesn't have). However, the big disadvantage for me is that the Fibaro modules aren't as well supported and the UI doesn't seem as "polished" as Fibaro's and forums feedback seem to suggest the Vera system is a bit "buggy".

Does anyone have any recent experience of both systems? Googling doesn't bring up much, as most of the user experiences reported are on older firmware versions. Are there any other controllers I should be considering?
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
I have an HC2 and got fed up with some of the firmware updates so jumped ship to a Vera Plus....and hated it :/
It went back within a few days and after a few tweaks I'm more than happy with my HC2 again. The grass isn't always greener.
 

muppetman74

Active Member
I have an HC2 and got fed up with some of the firmware updates so jumped ship to a Vera Plus....and hated it :/
It went back within a few days and after a few tweaks I'm more than happy with my HC2 again. The grass isn't always greener.

Thanks, Desmo - that's exactly the sort of experience I was looking for and exactly what I was worried about! The problems with researching this stuff is that there are forums full of folks complaining about all the different systems an no one has anything good to say about any of it!

Funnily enough, I actually commented on your previous post saying how happy I was with my Fibaro setup....how things change!
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
So you did :D

I just couldn't get on with the Vera UI. It may well be rock solid (although I'm sure you'll find issues there too in reality) but it just felt wrong after the HC2.

One thing I do do is regularly reboot the HC2 once a week. This is done from a scene so all automated and runs at 3am Saturday morning so doesn't interfere with anything. I think since then my system has been pretty solid.
 

chrisfraser05

Active Member
I use the Vera Edge which is basically a plus without the zigbee and Bluetooth.
Both of which Vera haven't really done anything with support wise yet.

Vera UI is crap there's no denying.
To be honest though why you would use it for anything other that adding new devices is beyond me.
There are many app's you can use to control the Vera such as tasker and Imperihome.
Also the main objective with HA is to actually automate not just add an extra layer of control.
The more you can get the house to do things without you interacting the better.
I feel having to turn a light on/off these days even if it's by app is a chore, like micro managing the house.
My reality is I tend to press 4 buttons per day.
One to wake the house, one to set the alarm when i go out, one when I come home and one when i go to bed.
The house just does it's own thing now based on this.

I've never had a problem with Vera even it comes to the Zwave side of things.
All the devices up until my latest purchase have worked fine.
I've just bought a Fibaro button which at the moment only works with single press, Vera claim to be working on it for the next update.

As you say the community around Vera is great, the third party apps are great such as the harmony app etc.
The absolute clincher in my opinion is PLEG though, a really powerful rules engine which is easier to make very complicated scenes than learning LUA. It can't do anything that LUA can't, but it can do all the same things.
Vera like the HC2 can do LUA though.

I think you'd find either the Vera or the HC2 will fit the bill, certainly there is nothing else on the market at the moment I'd have other than those two.
 

chrisfraser05

Active Member
I've attached a quick screenshot of one of my PLEG devices.

I use PLEG to monitor the condition of my motion sensors and have an icon on my tablet in my hallway which lights red to indicate a fault condition. Also I have a line of test display on the tablet to indicate which sensor is at fault.

I'll break down a line here;

((tLiving and (tLiving ; now > 21600)) or (!tLiving and (!tLiving ; now > 86400))) and (Night_Mode or Home_Mode)

tLiving is the livingroom motion sensor.
So tLiving ON and the time tLiving triggered compared to time now greater than 21600 seconds ago (6 hours)
OR tLiving OFF and the time tLiving changed to off compared to time now greater than 86400 seconds ago (24 hours)
AND its either Day or Night mode then it will trigger fault.

If a sensor triggers and doesn't untrigger, or a sensor doesn't trigger for a given time we get the indication.

this is purely a diagnostic tool for myself as I don't use the Vera UI or notifications but it shows how simple the logic can be once you get your head round it.
 

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muppetman74

Active Member
I've attached a quick screenshot of one of my PLEG devices.

I use PLEG to monitor the condition of my motion sensors and have an icon on my tablet in my hallway which lights red to indicate a fault condition. Also I have a line of test display on the tablet to indicate which sensor is at fault.

I'll break down a line here;

((tLiving and (tLiving ; now > 21600)) or (!tLiving and (!tLiving ; now > 86400))) and (Night_Mode or Home_Mode)

tLiving is the livingroom motion sensor.
So tLiving ON and the time tLiving triggered compared to time now greater than 21600 seconds ago (6 hours)
OR tLiving OFF and the time tLiving changed to off compared to time now greater than 86400 seconds ago (24 hours)
AND its either Day or Night mode then it will trigger fault.

If a sensor triggers and doesn't untrigger, or a sensor doesn't trigger for a given time we get the indication.

this is purely a diagnostic tool for myself as I don't use the Vera UI or notifications but it shows how simple the logic can be once you get your head round it.

Thanks, PLEG isn't something I've heard of so I'll look that up. I fully agree with not having to interact with mobile apps etc. and rely on the automation to just do "stuff", that's my goal. And that's where I'm coming to an end with the Home Centre Lite - simple (to my mind) tasks seem to require LUA, which the HCL doesn't support. I've no desire to learn LUA (all the tasks I want are fairly common), so examples appear online which I can copy and paste! So Pleg might be more useful for me.

In general, how stable is your Vera setup? How many devices do you have?
 

chrisfraser05

Active Member
Zwave and ip wise I haven't got any stability complaints with Vera to be honest.

I did find early on in my Vera experience I would sometimes get a delay while Vera did a restart (a few seconds) even returning to home mode.
To be fair though I had LOADS of things happening with my alarm, av, heating and lighting all triggered by this. It simply ran out of memory.
I added a virtual switch for each mode (home delay, away delay etc) and moved half my logic to trigger by these. So when getting home my alarm would disarm and my lights would come on, then a few seconds later the heating and A/V would do their thing.
No problems since.

Zwave wise I have about 20 devices, I have multiple ip devices and about 15 433mhz devices using the rfxtrx plugged into the usb.

The 433 is the only area I find flakey. Zwave has been rock solid.
For some reason a couple of 433 devices need taught every so often. Also every few months all will fail to fire . A quick Vera restart solves this. I wouldn't call that a Vera problem as such. I got the 433 stuff to see if it would be any good and to be fair it's been ok, as it's about £6 per outlet vs £20 for the cheapest zwave it allowed me to build the system faster at the start.
I wouldn't do it again though and am slowly swapping them out for zwave.

The Vera plus I believe has more memory so it should avoid the issues I had.
 

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