About to make the switch from SmartThings

A week or so ago I made the unpleasant discovery that the 50 "device" limit of the Lutron hub applied to the picos too, not just the actual electrically active "devices". :frowning: That meant I was out of capacity with at least a half dozen dimmers and switches to go.

That was a bummer, but while searching for a solution I found Hubitat, so it might have been a good thing overall. Now I have obsolete Smartthings and Lutron hubs, a new Hubitat hub and two Lutron Pro 2 hubs to replace them, and a lot of work to do.

In addition to my 40 Lutron switches and dimmers and 16+ Picos, I have three Schlage locks, a Trane thermostat, a few Z-wave and Zigbee outlet switches, almost a dozen assorted motion detectors, and four Arlo Pro-2 cameras. I also have six Hampton Bay Z-wave ceiling fan controls that caused more trouble than they were worth in SmartThings.

From my initial research (mostly reading threads on this board), it appears that:

  • The Arlo cameras (used as motion detectors) won't work, but I can work around that with IFTTT;
  • Everything else (including the ceiling fan controls) will work in HE;
  • I'll need a second Lutron account to have two hubs, and devices on separate hubs can't "see" each other, but that doesn't matter because HE will see all the devices on both;
  • The annoyingly long (and sometimes really long) lag with motion sensors turning off lights will be much improved;
  • There are some issues with the Alexa integration that I'll need to understand better, that will hopefully be fixed sooner or later;
  • HE's automation tools are way better than ST's;
  • The dashboard making software is pretty weak and needs some work, but the Alexa app has gotten good enough that I'm not sure how much I'll care about that.
  • The HE community is AWESOME. I'm looking forward to participating.

I see several threads with "best practices" for migrating from SmartThings, so I won't need anyone to "google that for me", but I suspect that HE systems with multiple Lutron hubs are fairly rare. Before I migrate from my existing hub to the two new ones, I'm hoping to hear from people who have already done it.

Thanks!

3 Likes

I would suggest searching out Lutron here. It is a huge topic. Good luck and welcome to hubitat.

Welcome aboard! Your initial assessment seems to be pretty much spot on for the things that you've highlighted. The best parts about Hubitat are probably the things you haven't mentioned above, or have yet to discover. In the one year that Hubitat has existed, I have seen more development that is focused on community requests than I have seen in the past 3+ years at ST. The Hubitat Team really does listen to its users, and actively participates in the community discussions. After all, they are all ST refugees as well!

Welcome to the community. While I always felt that ST had a strong community, I believe this one is stronger. Primarily because the are a LOT of past ST users that have moved over for similar reasons. You should see a lot of familiar names.

With regard to the Hampton fan controllers (I assume you meant Zigbee rather than zwave):
Unfortunately you will see the same connectivity issues you experienced with ST over here as well. That's because there is an issue with the devices themselves. I worked with @dcoffing (also known as dalec in the ST forums) to develop the driver on the ST side and the radio issues led to a lot of wasted time as we thought the issue lay with how we built the driver. Further research led us to realize they had similar issues with disconnects even on the Wink hub. The only way we have managed to get stability with this fan controller was to add a zigbee repeater in the same room as each fan controller. I have 4 of these and they have been solid for months with the repeater present (except for extended power outages but that's another story).

With that said, welcome again. Help is only a forum post away.

Stephan

I just ordered one too! Have been on the fence for a while, looks like its a busy place here. Getting more and more into automating smart switches with motion etc... so i figured the more local i can be the snappier it should be (hopefully).

1 Like

I think I'm one of the few here who didn't come from ST. I found HE on reddit (which we sorely overlook more & more as the community gets stronger. Pity.). I'm a long-time hand at forums, though, and bought the hub primarily because of the strength of the community driving development. I told others -some of whom have since bought HE- that it was obvious that some of the developers were definitely sleeping with the code and that they were hell-bent to get this one rolling.

1 Like

Welcome to the land of S P E E D ! :smile: It still puts a smile on my face when I press a switch or scene button (HS-HD100+) and things snap to action. I know I am going to get used to it sooner or later and will simply take it for granted but that will be a little sad for me. Between local control speed, the peace of mind having a Backup, entry/exit delays for Hubitat Safety Monitor and of course, having a community that supports is icing on the cake.

Just a question for you. I just got a Lutron Smartbridge Pro myself and waiting for it to come. With the number of devices you have doesn't it make sense for you to make the jump to the next Lutron hub up that HE supports, RA2 Select I think it is called.

My understanding was that RA2 isn't compatible with my $2000 worth of Caseta switches and dimmers, and the RA2 alternatives are much more expensive. (Not to mention the huge effort of pulling the old ones out and installing the replacements.) I just need room for another dozen devices (with half of those being picos). Two pro hubs seemed like the path of least effort.

RA2 select supports the caseta line, but adding another pro hub is a no brainer.
I have two, each covering different sections of my home, another staff member has three in his house.

Update:
After almost two weeks of too many other things to do, I finally got some time and spent the last two days on my SmartThings to Hubitat conversion. I'm not quite done (I never will be though, will I?) but I'm close.

  • Caseta stuff: I have 43 devices (I believe counting the hub) on the main floor hub, and 22 more in the (finished) basement. I still have a bunch of Picos to install, but the only other conventional switches I could convert are in bathrooms and closets, and most of those are already motion sensing. One hub is near the front of the house upstairs, with its plug-in dimmer repeater in the back. The basement is similar, with the hub and its repeater about 30 feet apart.
  • Getting these switched over was easy. I left all three hubs connected at first, using my email address with "+HB" and "+HM" (Hub basement and Hub main, aliases that "just work" with gmail, and pass right through to your primary account.) As long as I unpaired devices from the old (non-pro) hub first, they paired just fine with the new hubs. Once I was done with that, I pulled the old hub.
  • I'm seriously learning to HATE Zigbee. I have a bunch of SmartThings Motion Sensors (5 paired so far, but I have 8 total, and 8 more MS's of different types.) They don't behave as documented (supposed blink their LEDs when you hold down the reset button but do nothing), and take forever to pair (as in a device will suddenly appear several minutes after I try to pair it).
  • The Zigbee outlet switches paired more easily. They're working but not reliably. (see below.)
  • My Z-Wave (Trane) thermostat paired, and seems to work through the device management page, but not being able to use Alexa to control it is a disappointment.

My only remaining devices to pair are a couple Z-Wave outlets switches and my Schlage locks. I also need to "pair" my Arlo cameras by setting up IFTTT events to make virtual switches mirror the cameras' motion sensors. (Is that the "best practice" or do I need to read up on this topic?)

Observations so far:

  • Speed is awesome. Three of my outlet switches are powering transformers for under-cabinet LED light strips. I have simple rules that turn these on whenever the kitchen ceiling and/or kitchen island lights turn on, and turn off when either or both go off. With SmartThings, they'd go on a few seconds after the other lights finished ramping up to full brightness (Caseta dimmers). With Hubitat, they're on before the other lights finish turning on, and off before them too. I'd say the delay is 1/4 to 1/8 as long.
  • Using Hubitat on the phone as a "web app" works fine. There's really not much need to build web apps for this purpose. The dashboard stuff really needs some work, but I know they know that and are working as fast as they can.
  • My biggest disappointment is the Alexa integration. The latest version of this is good enough that I rarely used SmartThings itself to control anything. For things it didn't want to do, I created a few virtual switches that Alexa could turn on that would trigger things like mode changes. I can live without the thermostat integration for a while if I have to, but this part is a serious problem.
  • The Alexa app also takes much longer to initialize when first started, and shows a bunch of devices with "* device is unresponsive" messages, even though the devices will work when I try to turn them on and off. The Zigbee switches are the worst (and did this before with the SmartThings integration), but now even the Casetas are doing it sometimes.

So, the TL;DR version:

  • Caseta stuff was easy, even with two hubs;
  • Zigbee requires more patience than I usually allow for;
  • Z-Wave thermostat works but might need to swap for one that works with Alexa?
  • Alexa integration is more limited than I realized but hopefully will get better soon;
  • Either Alexa or Hubitat is having a problem that makes Alexa think devices are unresponsive;
  • Hubitat is MUCH faster than SmartThings, and far more powerful.
  • The switch was worth the effort, or at least, will be over time. (Took lots of effort).

Hopefully, as I learn more and as the software evolves, this stuff will just keep getting better.

1 Like

@sesummers - Do you mind telling me a little bit about this? Do you have a wall wart plugged into the outlet or is there a more elegant solution I want to build a LED under-cabinet lights and would love to power them with a smart plug and looking for a hidden transformer.

I'm also thinking of adding a ESP8266 into the mix and doing RGP lights to have some flexibility.

Thanks!

I've done nine LED strip light installations in the past few years. A couple of them were small enough to use a wall wart style transformer, but the 12V strip lights take about 1A per meter so you'll probably need something bigger than a wall-wart unless your counter space is pretty small. But size doesn't matter much if you just set the power supply on top of the cabinets. That leaves it out of sight but not tightly enclosed where it could overheat. Then you can drop the low voltage wires for the strips down between the cabinets. Of course, that only works if there's a power outlet in a position to feed the 120V to the top. In the several I've done this way, there was power for the microwave oven in the cabinet just above it.

I'm also thinking of adding a ESP8266 into the mix and doing RGP lights to have some flexibility.

I wouldn't use RGB LED strips under counters (at least, not a kitchen) because they're not very good at producing white light and would make food look weird. You could use RGBW strips (they come in warm white and cool white), but these alternate a white LED chip with an RGB chip, so they have half the brightness if you just want it white. You can also put in both RGB and white strips next to each other.

You can also get dual WW/CW strips. I put those in the kitchen at my old house and that worked well, but I found that setting the color temp to the middle at full brightness was the best setting, so if I did that again I'd just wire the two color lines together and not even use a controller.

That said, I recently bought one of these to experiment with (in my theater room, not the kitchen, but still...:slight_smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FTD9H7T/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09__o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1*
I'll do a post on it if I can make it work with Hubitat.

I'd be happy to share more if you have additional questions, but we should start another topic in that case.

1 Like

Both the Fibaro RGBW and the Qubino Flush RGBW devices are (or will be) supported. The Fibaro RGBW (beta)driver is already available and does work for both, albeit with occasional errors when used with Qubino. The errors are fully harmless on my combo of Qubino + Waterproof RGBW LED strips. I have 3 Qubino now and one Fibaro.

Tackling yet another controller might be fun, but then again, maybe not :smiley:

I'm hoping it won't require code changes. According to one of the reviews, "Hue App controls the device perfectly as well as the smartthing app via the HUE integration." If it imitates a Hue bulb well enough, it might "just work".

Wow lots of great info here (I read it twice) thanks. I didn't realize the RGB would not work well for white light. The 2 strip idea is a good one.

Unfortunately my cabinets are all the way to the ceiling. Only power source is a plug in the backsplash. Wall opposite is a fireplace so I'm limited. Since it's a dark backsplash I could probably get away with a flat plug and run the wire straight up then put transformer under cabinet. That would not be too bad.

I have 2 other spots for these first and they have powered lights already so that'll be my starting point. They're only 2 ft so I might try the 2 strip solution as you suggest.
Thanks!

Adding a box and socket into the top of the cabinet directly above the socket in the backsplash would be something I'd tackle. Have to watch for a firebreak, but that's a great endorsement to get an Electrician to run that wire a couple places around the kitchen. They have the drill for that :smiley:

Thanks. This project is still a ways off. I'll do the exposed wire thing first just to make sure I can justify getting an electrician out (I'll so some wiring myself but not this job)

I’m in the process of migrating from ST which after seeing so many people in the same boat. I’m really hoping that this goes better then my best my head against the wall experience with almost working ST. Worst part is I have their entire Family Hub/smart appliances in the kitchen that I can’t afford to replace, wish I could lol
Anyway I’ve not been able to pair any of my zigbee bulbs to the new hub. Even though I have done the reset at least twice. Rebooted the hub & just tried a third time. So far only my Samsung buttons have been paired up. Any hints how to kickstart the bulbs to pair?

Which bulbs?

1 Like

Every bulb has a different reset procedure. We need to know what brand of smart bulb you're trying to pair to offer advice. If it's Philips Hue, you need either a Hue Dimmer or a Hue Bridge to reset them.

Please advise which bulb brand you're using so someone can help.

Download the Hubitat app