Smart Things and Home Automation

exceladdict

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Hi AFF,

Interested if anyone else on the forum has dabbled in smart things home automation? I'm slowly amassing a number of lights, speakers, plugs and most recently a tap timer. Moving to a new build in the next while, I'm looking to transition over to controlling everything through home assistant on a pi.

Being a travel forum, there might be some useful tips or tricks, particularly for things like sensors that might be helpful to keep an eye on things while away from home.

Keen for any and all related stories, advice and questions!
 

Daver6

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I've only done a couple of things and they integrate with Google Home. Most important one is the coffee machine so I can turn it out without getting out of bed :)

Otherwise it's just my garage door. I don't frequently use it to open or close, but I like receiving notifications on my phone when it opens and closes, pus an alert if it is left open. Also useful that I could open it if I wasn't home if someone is dropping something off and then safely close it.

What I'd really like is smart lock for my front door. The problem is it's really the security screen on the outside of it I want a smart lock on and I've not seen any options for that.
 
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I ran home assistant on a Pi4 for a while, but it wasn't powerful enough to keep up, so I run it on a HP microserver now.

I'm still using the Pi to host a USB Zigbee receiver, which I have a bunch of cheap lightswitches talk to - and I use the Bluetooth receiver on the Pi to keep track of my keyring (which has a NutTAG beacon on it) to determine if I'm home or not.

I have it automatically switch off the lights when I leave the house during the day, and automatically switch a few of them on at sunset or when I arrive home. And if I'm not home they switch off at different times in the evening.

Home assistant also controls my electric hot water system (via a "shelly" relay) so it runs in the middle of the night (off-peak power) but I can also run it during the day if I have excess solar - and I can easily switch it off altogether if I go on holidays & back on the night before I arrive home.

And I use it to adjust the charge limits on my EV twice a day - so I can charge from excess solar as much as possible, but I make sure it has at least 50% charge (~200km range) in the morning by charging from off-peak if required.
 

serfty

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I have 12 switches running in the Tuya ecosystem (smart life). Mainly lighting.

Aside from rhe Smartlife app, they are operated via a Google home mini, Google Assistant and Action Blocks. The latter being the assistant activated using onscreen tiles (e.g. "Turn All Lights Off", "Turn dining light on for Five Minutes").

I have a couple set up with the Smart Life app to turn on a few minutes before I normally rise for the day (an hour later on weekends).
 

exceladdict

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I've only done a couple of things and they integrate with Google Home. Most important one is the coffee machine so I can turn it out without getting out of bed :)

Otherwise it's just my garage door. I don't frequently use it to open or close, but I like receiving notifications on my phone when it opens and closes, pus an alert if it is left open. Also useful that I could open it if I wasn't home if someone is dropping something off and then safely close it.

What I'd really like is smart lock for my front door. The problem is it's really the security screen on the outside of it I want a smart lock on and I've not seen any options for that.
We're in the google zone for control at the moment as well, what coffee machine are you using?

I'm also keen on the garage door - perhaps not for remote open/closing, but certainly keen for an alert to let me know if i left it open.

I have 12 switches running in the Tuya ecosystem (smart life). Mainly lighting.

Aside from rhe Smartlife app, they are operated via a Google home mini, Google Assistant and Action Blocks. The latter being the assistant activated using onscreen tiles (e.g. "Turn All Lights Off", "Turn dining light on for Five Minutes").

I have a couple set up with the Smart Life app to turn on a few minutes before I normally rise for the day (an hour later on weekends).
Nice, I wasn't aware of action blocks!

I ran home assistant on a Pi4 for a while, but it wasn't powerful enough to keep up, so I run it on a HP microserver now.

I'm still using the Pi to host a USB Zigbee receiver, which I have a bunch of cheap lightswitches talk to - and I use the Bluetooth receiver on the Pi to keep track of my keyring (which has a NutTAG beacon on it) to determine if I'm home or not.

I have it automatically switch off the lights when I leave the house during the day, and automatically switch a few of them on at sunset or when I arrive home. And if I'm not home they switch off at different times in the evening.

Home assistant also controls my electric hot water system (via a "shelly" relay) so it runs in the middle of the night (off-peak power) but I can also run it during the day if I have excess solar - and I can easily switch it off altogether if I go on holidays & back on the night before I arrive home.

And I use it to adjust the charge limits on my EV twice a day - so I can charge from excess solar as much as possible, but I make sure it has at least 50% charge (~200km range) in the morning by charging from off-peak if required.
Which Pi4 were you using, and with how many devices total? I was hoping an 8gb would be sufficient but could maybe look at a nuc instead.

Any advice re: light switches? I was considering the bunnings deta (tuya) switches.

Love the use of solar to charge the EV. What brand of inverter do you have if you don't mind me asking? Will need to make a call on that for our place sooner rather than later as well, though with 3phase our options are a bit limited.
 
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Which Pi4 were you using, and with how many devices total? I was hoping an 8gb would be sufficient but could maybe look at a nuc instead.

Any advice re: light switches? I was considering the bunnings deta (tuya) switches.

Love the use of solar to charge the EV. What brand of inverter do you have if you don't mind me asking? Will need to make a call on that for our place sooner rather than later as well, though with 3phase our options are a bit limited.

It's a 4GB, and it wasn't running out of memory, the CPU just wasn't keeping up so it would take several seconds between pushing a light switch and the light turning on or off. And that's with only half a dozen (WiFi connected) lightglobes, the light switches and some temperature sensors.

I'm just using a bunch of cheap Xiaomi mijia zigbee lightswitches stuck over the top of the existing hardwired lightswitches.
It's not fancy, but it's cheap and it works 😀

I've got a Fronius inverter with Fronius smart meter to monitor my import & export, and yet another Raspberry Pi with RS485 cable to adjust the charge rate on my Tesla wall charger. I'm on single phase but the same thing can be done on three phase.
 

Daver6

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We're in the google zone for control at the moment as well, what coffee machine are you using?

I should have expanded more on how I have this part set up. The machine is a Rancilio Silvia that has a mechanical on/off switch. So the switch is left on all the time and on/off operation comes from the power outlet. At the time I set it up, wifi outlets were still very expensive so I got one of these Arlec Remote Controlled Power Outlet - Twin Pack (actually a 3-pack) which connects to a Broadlink RM Pro Universal. I wouldn't go that route again now given how cheap wifi power outlets are.

For the garage door I got this Smart Garage Door Opener Remote, APP Control, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and SmartThings, Multiple Notification Modes, No Hub Needed by meross : Amazon.com.au: Home Improvement which was simple to install (even for a handyman challenged person like myself). Also that current price is much more than I paid. I think I paid just under $70. It's frequently discounted.
 

pjm99au

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Any advice re: light switches? I was considering the bunnings deta (tuya) switches.

I run the delta switches and power points. They run well under their own native app as well as under google home but I haven’t been able to get them working under Home Assistant mainly by not trying too hard and a general lack of skill.

I also have a Samsung smart front door lock. This works really well with remote locking and unlocking, code and finger print control and notifications when the door is locked and unlocked and by whom. There is the problem that the screen door needs to be left unlocked to go totally keyless.

Another good solution was to add the Daikin airbase module to our ducted Daikin AC system. A decent native app and also google home integration via Home Assistant.

During lockdown boredom smart integration became a bit of an obsession
 

Daver6

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I also have a Samsung smart front door lock. This works really well with remote locking and unlocking, code and finger print control and notifications when the door is locked and unlocked and by whom. There is the problem that the screen door needs to be left unlocked to go totally keyless.

What sort of real world battery life do you get out of it? Also, how does it connect to your network? WiFi or Zigbee or Bluetooth gateway?

As I said, I have the same problem as you. The screen door will still require a key. Plus sometimes I only lock the screen door leaving the physical door open.
 

pjm99au

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What sort of real world battery life do you get out of it? Also, how does it connect to your network? WiFi or Zigbee or Bluetooth gateway?
I had to change the batteries this month and we got 6 months out of them. The app gives you warnings from 25% remaining capacity. It just uses 3 AA batteries and the changeover is simple without any loss of settings. I think the relatively low time was impacted by 5 people being locked down so a lot more opening and closing than normal.

The lock connects directly to wifi and then runs under its own native app for notifications. I have integrated it into google home but it is a bit of a pfaff with it wanting a pin to unlock so the Samsung app is easier
 

exceladdict

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If anyone comes across a smart lock that can be retro fitted to a security screen door, I've love to hear about it.
My understanding is these doors have a mechanism that have multiple key-driven latches (i think our last one had three - top, middle and bottom) so a retrofit would be tricky. But we will have these screen doors too (both sliding and pivoting type) so will be keen to know!

I am personally leaning towards sensors that notify if opened, as opposed to doors that can be opened via an integration. Still a bit tin foil hatting about that layer of security.
I should have expanded more on how I have this part set up. The machine is a Rancilio Silvia that has a mechanical on/off switch. So the switch is left on all the time and on/off operation comes from the power outlet. At the time I set it up, wifi outlets were still very expensive so I got one of these Arlec Remote Controlled Power Outlet - Twin Pack (actually a 3-pack) which connects to a Broadlink RM Pro Universal. I wouldn't go that route again now given how cheap wifi power outlets are.

For the garage door I got this Smart Garage Door Opener Remote, APP Control, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant and SmartThings, Multiple Notification Modes, No Hub Needed by meross : Amazon.com.au: Home Improvement which was simple to install (even for a handyman challenged person like myself). Also that current price is much more than I paid. I think I paid just under $70. It's frequently discounted.

Very cool. We just have a basic breville which has a non-toggle switch so might just have to turn it on manually like some sort of caveman

Thanks for the door opener, that's helpful too. As above not sure if i want to be able to remotely open, or just trigger it. I like the idea of remotely opening the door for package deliveries.

One thing I would really like is if the doorbell rang, I was prompted with an option to open or unlock a gate. Is anyone using smart doorbells or similar access control systems?

I run the delta switches and power points. They run well under their own native app as well as under google home but I haven’t been able to get them working under Home Assistant mainly by not trying too hard and a general lack of skill.

I also have a Samsung smart front door lock. This works really well with remote locking and unlocking, code and finger print control and notifications when the door is locked and unlocked and by whom. There is the problem that the screen door needs to be left unlocked to go totally keyless.

Another good solution was to add the Daikin airbase module to our ducted Daikin AC system. A decent native app and also google home integration via Home Assistant.

During lockdown boredom smart integration became a bit of an obsession

I do fear it will be my next timesink, am also investing heavily clock-wise in drawing up network maps and choosing between wifi AP systems!
 

VPS

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I've just put a Yale smart lock on my front door - I'm in an apartment so no screen door. Just waiting for the bridge to connect that lock to an app on my phone and I can then unlock the door from anywhere. It also gives me a lot of options for various combinations eg the cleaner has her own code that will only work for 30 minutes either side of when she should be there.

I also have a camera inside on a smart power point and can switch that on remotely and the check out the place.

Just about to put security cameras outside as well so I can lie in bed and check who is making a racket
 
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jb747

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I guess I have lots of stuff, and this was in mind when we built our house. We initially went with Sonos and Philips Hue, eventually using 63 Hues. The Sonos has been good, the Hue somewhat less so. Failure rates from the globes have been pretty high, so I stopped replacing them, and went with TP-Link Kasa, which work well, are not temperature sensitive, and do not need a hub (unless you want to tie them to Homekit, in which case you just run an app on any always on computer). I've got a bunch of the Kasa power points as well. No issues. Garage door is a standard B&D with an iSmartGate add on module. In Siri, it's called the 'pod bay door', though I can't get Siri to answer to Dave.

Wifi in the house is pervasive, with multiple Ubiquiti access points. There's also 10 Ubiquiti cameras. The network is partially 10G capable, but that's a work in progress.
 

Daver6

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For those of you with a heap of wifi connected smart devices, are you segregating them onto their own vlan?

That's the one thing that makes me nervous. I don't trust that the firmware updated frequently enough to cover exploits. IoT devices are notorious for being the entry point onto networks, so I figure I need to isolate them from things I actually care about.
 

tgh

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Faced with usurious variation fees, our new build is mostly stone age.
We do get fttp and I have funded a couple of extra data points.
Over time I will quietly upgrade stuff myself but the security and the everyday "usefulness" are moot
 

TheRealTMA

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For those of you with a heap of wifi connected smart devices, are you segregating them onto their own vlan?

That's the one thing that makes me nervous. I don't trust that the firmware updated frequently enough to cover exploits. IoT devices are notorious for being the entry point onto networks, so I figure I need to isolate them from things I actually care about.
Yes. That’s a sensible precaution. Put all the smart devices on their own sub-net with no access to your internal house computer network. We do that for cameras, switches, lights, pool monitor, ring doorbells, etc.

We use telstra on NBN and the gateway modem router connects to my router for internet etc and peripherals are connected by cable or wifi to the gateway device on a separate sub net.
 

exceladdict

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I guess I have lots of stuff, and this was in mind when we built our house. We initially went with Sonos and Philips Hue, eventually using 63 Hues. The Sonos has been good, the Hue somewhat less so. Failure rates from the globes have been pretty high, so I stopped replacing them, and went with TP-Link Kasa, which work well, are not temperature sensitive, and do not need a hub (unless you want to tie them to Homekit, in which case you just run an app on any always on computer). I've got a bunch of the Kasa power points as well. No issues. Garage door is a standard B&D with an iSmartGate add on module. In Siri, it's called the 'pod bay door', though I can't get Siri to answer to Dave.

Wifi in the house is pervasive, with multiple Ubiquiti access points. There's also 10 Ubiquiti cameras. The network is partially 10G capable, but that's a work in progress.
Nice. Thinking of going the unifi route myself. Still a while away though so hoping they'll release the wifi 6 in wall APs, as I think they'll be great in bedrooms etc.
 
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For those of you with a heap of wifi connected smart devices, are you segregating them onto their own vlan?

That's the one thing that makes me nervous. I don't trust that the firmware updated frequently enough to cover exploits. IoT devices are notorious for being the entry point onto networks, so I figure I need to isolate them from things I actually care about.
Yes, separate vlan that can only access my homeassistant instance. Not my LAN or the Internet.

I'm using Unifi access points and an Edgerouter.
 

Daver6

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Yes. That’s a sensible precaution. Put all the smart devices on their own sub-net with no access to your internal house computer network. We do that for cameras, switches, lights, pool monitor, ring doorbells, etc.

We use telstra on NBN and the gateway modem router connects to my router for internet etc and peripherals are connected by cable or wifi to the gateway device on a separate sub net.

Not clear to me. Is your NBN gateway routing internal traffic as well or just working as a gateway to a second router? I'm guessing it actually must be the latter as I can't imagine the Telstra supplied router is going to handle multiple subnet and restrict traffic flow between them.

Yes, separate vlan that can only access my homeassistant instance. Not my LAN or the Internet.

I'm using Unifi access points and an Edgerouter.

How are you updating IoT device firmware if they can't route to the internet?
 

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