Smart home - lighting, CCTV, heating etc?

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
Yes Shelly has a very nice App that you can use. But you can also use any one of Smart Home Hubs to add more complex functionality with other smart home products. Homeseer happens to be my Home Automation platform of choice. The advantage with a HA Platform is that it doesnt care what the technology or brands are. It can make them all interact with one another based on your own rules set.

To expand on this - my internal lighting modules are all fibaro running on ZWave; my garden lights all use shelly running on wifi; my internal standard lamps are all Philips Hue (Zigbee); my cinema room GU10s are Philips Hue (Zigbee); my under counter lights are Fibaro RGBW (Zwave). I have various Phiips Hue (Zigbee) switches that operate both Zigbee and Zwave lights. Some of my lights are on timers (controlled by Homeseer) and some of them will react to various inputs from other systems. So if my Ajax a alarm goes off and its after sunset, all of my smart lighting in my house will all come on 100%. If I say to Alexa 'Emergency' all of my Lights come on 100%. Some of my lighting will automatically switch off or dim at midnight, unless I say to Alexa 'Goodnight' then she turns off all of my downstairs lighting, except for my hallway Philips lights, which dim to 20% until Dawn, then turn off. If I say Alexa 'Party Mode' she over-rides all of my indoor and outdoor timers for 24 hours to stop certain lights going off at midnight. This why I run a Home Automation hub, because it allows me to create complex rules, controlling different technologies seamlessly. It is really the next step for many home automators.

There are other platforms out there such as Homey, HASS, Homecentre, Hubitat, SmartThings, Mi Casa Verde (Vera), to name but a few. Starting from free to use to hundreds of pounds.

So how much would a HA hub cost that will allow me to do what you've done?
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
You'd have a point if I'd paid anywhere near that, pretty much all of my bulbs were on an offer of some sort in the various Amazon events.

I paid slightly less than £15 on average for white ambient GU10s and around 25-30 on average for the colour ones.

Decent offers do seem to be rarer in the current climate though.
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
So how much would a HA hub cost that will allow me to do what you've done?

At home I use the Hubitat Elevation at around £125, steep learning curve initially but worth it.


PS
Sorry £135

 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
Seb uses this https://www.vesternet.com/collections/zigbee-controllers-hubs-gateways/products/hubitat-elevation-hub-uk so he can talk to it better than I can. These are good for a simple home network https://www.vesternet.com/collections/z-wave-controllers-hubs-gateways/products/z-wave-fibaro-home-center-3-lite. Home Assistant Blue! is a hardware version of HASS (which is free and will run on a RPi). You dont need to spend a lot to do a lot more than just a basic setup. I wouldnt recommend Homeseer, its not very pretty and its klunky, I run it because of its stability.

Once again Seb beat me to it by abot 3 seconds
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
I would try out the Shelly App first as you can always add the controller later

As I mentioned earlier best to get a proper CCTV system that can be integrated into the whole HA system, either initially or at a later date rather than a proprietary (hyped) system .
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
None of my automations are complex. They are all pretty simple in all honesty. But having your lounge lights come on at night is nice to come home to. Having my outside lights come on when its dark is nice from a security perspective. Very few of my automations require me to actually do anything specific, they are designed to augment my daily life and activities.

My next automation will be with my Ajax alarm. If I return home after midnight then my hall light will be dimmed. If my Ajax alarm is armed and I disarm it, it will talk to Homeseer and Homeseer will bring my hall light upto 60% for 15 minutes and similar with my landing light. Then they hall will return to 20% and my landing light will turn off again. The landing light is Fibaro and the hall light is Philips Hue. The hub doesnt care they are all just objects to it. As long as it has an interface for the various transport protocols (ZWave, Zigbee, Wifi) its agnostic about them. Any of the hubs will allow these kinds of automation.
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Of course, not all of us find the “granny factor” an issue at all and have had many years of successful use out of smart bulbs for lighting and other off the shelf, plug and play smart home items rather than smart switches / modules needing wiring in, or the need for professional installation.
Same for me, I rarely touch a switch. Schedules, motion detectors and voice control switches my lighting.
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
Same for me, I rarely touch a switch. Schedules, motion detectors and voice control switches my lighting.
I think in a house with children, elderly, people with medical conditions or a lot of guests then the 'Granny Factor' is a must. For people who do not meet these criteria it is easy enough to get away with few / no switches. As an installer I have seen marriages come close to divorce when one partner made a unilateral decision to remove, change or limit switch use. Personally it is not something that I will do on any of my installs, for safety reasons if nothing else. Better to have a switch there and not use it, than remove them altogether (which I have seen done). Even Philips now offer a module for UK switches with a line / switched line install so that the light can still be operated by a switch. They cost around £38 per module but will only operate Philips Hue bulbs.
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
With the Varilight or Scolmore light switches you have a wide range of finishes available so you can keep the aesthetic of the room consistent
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
I think in a house with children, elderly, people with medical conditions or a lot of guests then the 'Granny Factor' is a must. For people who do not meet these criteria it is easy enough to get away with few / no switches. As an installer I have seen marriages come close to divorce when one partner made a unilateral decision to remove, change or limit switch use. Personally it is not something that I will do on any of my installs, for safety reasons if nothing else. Better to have a switch there and not use it, than remove them altogether (which I have seen done). Even Philips now offer a module for UK switches with a line / switched line install so that the light can still be operated by a switch. They cost around £38 per module but will only operate Philips Hue bulbs.
I have two young children, they have grandparents who visit often (not as much in the last year for obvious reasons). None of them have any issues with the lighting in the house.

I don’t recommend removal of light switches, but with automations, sensors, voice control, and well placed Philips dimmers, not a single person ever needs touch the original switches.

They are simply not the luddites you seem to believe they are. My kids have been using tech since they were 2 (they both have their own iPads, which are used for both learning and play) and are perfectly capable of using the Philips dimmers / Amazon echos in their rooms to control their lighting. Visitors never need touch a light switch as everything is automated anyway.

With the new broadlink light switches (no neutral required, though they will require the broadlink hub) you can even have the best of both worlds and use them to control smart bulbs.
As much as he irritates me, Paul Hibbert recently showed them off here
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
..,and now for something completely different.

@Smurfin as you can see there are various approaches and solutions to automated lighting. Some people are very ‘passionate’ about their own solutions. I have been playing with this since the days of X10 and have installed everything from X10. Crestron, Lutron, C4, Clipsal. CBus and lots of other oddities. I am not married to any one solution, but I know what is cost-effective and what works well as an installer. I have to maintain what I install. It’s one reason that I suggested in my original post that you try out various solutions and see what works for you. As my dad used to say, ‘circumstances alter cases, like different noses alter faces’.
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
..,and now for something completely different.

@Smurfin as you can see there are various approaches and solutions to automated lighting. Some people are very ‘passionate’ about their own solutions. I have been playing with this since the days of X10 and have installed everything from X10. Crestron, Lutron, C4, Clipsal. CBus and lots of other oddities. I am not married to any one solution, but I know what is cost-effective and what works well as an installer. I have to maintain what I install. It’s one reason that I suggested in my original post that you try out various solutions and see what works for you. As my dad used to say, ‘circumstances alter cases, like different noses alter faces’.
As usual, anyone that offers a alternative opinion to you is of course just a fanboy.
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
I believe the OP has already stated the cost of Hue could be a deciding factor maybe best just leave it to them to decide
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
I believe the OP has already stated the cost of Hue could be a deciding factor maybe best just leave it to them to decide
Where did I tell the OP to go out and buy Hue? There are other smart bulb alternatives which are cheaper.
(In fact, I believe this is the first post in the thread in which I’ve even posted the word Hue. I’ve posted about Philips dimmers, but these can be configured to do a multitude of things other than control Philips hue, via other smart home platforms)


Having seen the amount of threads on this forum where people are struggling with wiring in the wall modules (Shelly etc) that keep being recommended, some people may wish to have a more plug and play solution to their smart lighting.
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
There are some examples on here of people struggling with the wiring , that’s not an issue with the modules more the people’s knowledge and confidence .

I produced my diagrams to help with that but if anyone isn’t confident or sure what they are doing they should ask an electrician
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
I wasn’t going to respond here as I don’t want any more bad blood in this thread, but I will. Before I do, @Inked if I have said something here that offended you, I apologise. None of my comments here were directed at you or your family and I did not even have you in my mind when I responded about the ‘Granny Factor’.
To explain my position and maybe Seb’s (I can’t speak for him directly) we are Integrators. We spend a lot of time testing components with other components to see what works and what doesn’t. Often you will find components that either work well on their own or in a system and you tend to stick with these, because you know they just work. I have never met Seb and Seb has never met me, yet you see our answers in threads are very similar which is done without any collusion. The reason they are similar is that we both independently have tested components and found that they work well. The advice that we post here is based on that extensive testing and our experience. The fact that it is similar should, in some ways be testament to the reliability of what we recommend. That is not to decry others solutions or advice - such as @Inked or @Jamie, they also have perfectly valid solutions. When you do this professionally you have to stand by your installs and products and often that is not always a huge repertoire. So I am sorry if it sounds like a broken record to many of the old hands around here, but the advice is offered sincerely to people who maybe are just starting their HA journey.
Mushii
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
For light switches I use Varilight Grid system but Scolmore are also good

I'm guessing from looking at some of these products that you can't select scenes from the switches? I'm used to Rako so I liked that, although mostly I used the Rako to change scenes, and to be honest nowadays I'd change them by voice I guess?

I'm a little confused by the dimming aspect. I looked at Scolmore (no idea how much they are but look nice!) and they just seemed to be on/off switches, no dimming?
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
For dimming with a Shelly module you need a retractive 2 way centre off switch

press up once for on, press up and hold to dim up
Press down once for off , press down and hold for dim down

The switches are originally designed for things like electric blinds
 
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Deleted member 24354

Guest
With some devices you can select scenes, just by multiple button presses. For dimming you use ‘retroactive’ switches - these are spring loaded so they return to their original position when released. 2 Position retractive hinge at one end so have 2 positions, pressed or released. 3 position retractive are hinged in the middle, press and hold the top, lights go up. Press and hold the bottom, lights go down. Press top once, lights on, press down once lights go off. Then with multiple presses or up or down you can load scenes. Pricing, single gang plate £10, switches any thing from £3 to a fiver depending on which switch module you use.
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
This is a varilight version

2D515809-FFC2-4E31-B4A6-23FEAB16AA8B.jpeg
 

Smurfin

Distinguished Member
This makes so much sense...and makes stuff like Rako and Lightwave look soooo overpriced? Or am I missing something?

Where's the best place to buy the varilight or scolmore from?
 

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