Best Path to Move Forward?

Hello community,

I purchased my Hubitat last year but never got around to setting it up due to the mess of current smart devices we have scattered everywhere. We have about (18) Sengled Element smart bulbs, (14) Gosund smart outlets, (3) Woods WION outdoor outlets, and (2) Emerson thermostats running on a Wink hub and (5) Amazon Echo's scattered throughout the house. Like I said, it's a mess of devices that I went with based on pricing when first getting home automation going. I purchased the Hubitat after having some issues with the Wink hub but then after realizing the daunting task of switching all the devices over, plus the questionable ability to have the Gosund devices work, caused me to keep the Hubitat on the side until now.

While everything works now, I'd like to add the ability for some smart buttons to better control scenes and possibly help trigger my recently added (4) Arlo Pro 2 security cameras instead of needing to use the app all the time to arm and disarm. The ideal situation would be to have a button by our back garage door entry that we could tap when we come and go to arm and disarm, as well turn on/off groups of lights in the house. Likewise, a remote by the bed to trigger scenes would be a plus as well. I've been reading on here and it seems that the Lutron Caseta hub and Pico remotes might be able to manage all of this as well as work with the Hubitat hub, is this correct? Will the Arlo cameras be able to be triggered off and on this way as well?

I'm not tied to the current group of smart bulbs and smart outlets and the idea of having the ability to use a wall switch to control groups of lights is appealing as well, especially since Alexa does not always respond to my wife as needed sometimes. :slight_smile: What would be the best option to replace the indoor smart outlets though to manage the table lamps and tv's that they control?

Sorry for so many questions but just need some guidance on the best path forward. I'd rather spend the money now to create the right environment then try to use what's in place now if it will provide the control I'm looking for.

Thanks in advance!

Welcome to the community! I don't really use any of these devices except for the sengled bulbs. I like them and discovered them after cree bulbs killed my mesh network. They don't repeat and you'll find that bulbs make terrible repeaters. So these just do what they need to do and nothing more. There are built in apps for zone motion and groups and scenes that work well for what you want to accomplish. They're native apps. Also, button control is built in as well. One of the main reason I'm responding to your post is because your comment about your house not responding to voice commands is lowering the WAF. I don't use voice commands or dashboards and I don't use switches, although they're there. So, once you get your above listed problems sorted out and you want to roll into other automations, please let me know. I don't want to take away from your original questions.

You may want to peer into the future a bit.. to answer a question you might want to be asking yourself and family. Does your home work best with Control? or with Automation... in other words, are buttons and switches mandatory? @april.brandt mentions it, that there's no need today to ever touch a switch or button, if your home is going to take care of you and not you taking care of the home. There are some amazingly simple automations possible with one Motion sensor and one switch or dimmer either Zigbee or Zwave. There can be complex ones too that involve multiple motion and contact sensors (some even added onto phone chargers) to define situations that your house can respond to.

Lutron's Smartbridge PRO and Pico's are flat out amazing. They can be placed in so many locations with ease. Lutron's switches and Dimmers are the same. Superior to the majority of Z-Devices in terms of ease of use and reliability. But expensive in comparison. (Z-Devices are very expensive already, Lutron's are a buck or 10 more.)

I'm in the Automated Home category. I haven't touched a switch in a very long time. We have a Pico on each headboard and they turn on and off lights and fans by clicking or pressing. (A 5 button Pico is actually 10 buttons because you can distinguish between clicked(short press) and Held/Released.)

All the switches/dimmers in my home have been replaced by ZWave devices. Zigbee is rare in my house, but I did buy some Zigbee motion sensors, which are great because they are fast and have long battery life. I also bought Zigbee Ceiling fan/light controllers out of impatience, and the required array of Zigbee repeaters.

Temperature + Time of Day and month of year all combine to turn on the fans automatically at a speed that makes us comfortable. Increasing or decreasing as the temperature changes.

A Controlled Smart Home is great. And when I have guests over, I whip out a Dashboard to show it off. But that's the rare time that I want Control. 99% of the year is Automated.

2 Likes

The Gosund devices are Tuya smartlife based, and should be able to have the firmware converted for use with HE using tuya-convert...

In my personal opinion, I keep security separate. It’s no fun when a troublesome device causes a delay or hang in your system, and the result is your alarm blasting at the worst possible time, but you cannot turn it off. That is just one of many reasons.

A Ring Alarm with @codahq β€˜s excellent Unofficial Ring Integration is what I use now. This works perfectly, plus you get a fully backed up alarm system, with free cellular backup and no fees, but the option to have professional monitoring if you want. You can also then still use the Ring Alarm sensors in HE, and they respond just as fast as if they were directly paired with HE. It can also control the Ring siren and the Ring Hub can trigger HE based on its state.

3 Likes

Thank you so much for the reply and info. That's good to know for the Sengled bulbs and they have been very solid for me to-date, it's just been the Wink hub that's been flaky.

Thanks again!

1 Like

Thanks for the detailed info and I guess I would say we do not use switches now to control lights as most of the time it's either voice controlled or automation via the individual apps or Alexa routines. What I'm really looking to accomplish is to string together automation and voice/button commands to better control certain flows.
An example would be either say or tap a button to turn off all downstairs ceiling lights, dim living room lamps, set thermostat to a certain temp, and then arm the Arlo cameras. Likewise when we need to reverse that flow when we come home. While I have automation now to individually control all of these devices base don time of day, I'm looking for a way to expand to what I described above.

It sounds like the Pico's may be able to accomplish this but I also need to do more research to better understand the power of motion sensors and the Hubitat alone to maybe do more than I'm even wanting now.

Ideally I want to automate as much as possible while also being able to trigger certain flows easier than we're able to now.

Thanks!

This is what I use as well, having said that, it would be awesome to see what kind of rules and setups you (and others) have with Ring? I'm sure I'm only scratching the surface as I normally manually set Ring Alarm on when we go on vacation and do some triggers based on Alexa Guard.

Happy to share what I do and would love to learn from others.
Maybe a fork a new post here?

You could automate this based on mode without having to physically or consciously make an effort. For example. I have modified Qi chargers that when our phones are docked one phone or two, mode changes accordingly. When two are docked then hsm arms, mode changes to night. Lights dim and turn off. Doors and windows are checked. Alexa bids us good night. when we leave, mode changes to away and only certain lights interact. When we're watching tv harmony flips a switch in HE that triggers a rule to dim the lights for optimal viewing and keep them on even though motion has stopped. The buttons are nice, but the box is much larger than that. Your only limitation is your imagination. - I just wanted to add in that I have no special talents. I'm not a developer. I don't know much code, but I have one helluvan imagination. Start paying attention to you habits and think, "what common things can be automated to trigger something?" Oh the possibilities!

[EDIT]
I have a dashboard that I can use if I'm away and want a light on to see where the pupdogs are. I also have lights and my garage door tied into Alexa for some convenience, but we don't really use any of that. I set automations for visitors according to garage codes. So if my parents stop over to feed the dogs, the mode will change to home and not bother with "someone is in the house" notifications.

[ANOTHER EDIT]
I have it so that when my domestic engineer comes to clean, she asks Alexa to help her and the lights all turn on and adjust to bright white so that she can see the herd of hairballs that roams my house. She loves it. After she's done, she thanks Alexa and things go back to normal. Of course Alexa tells her how great she is.

1 Like

Curious, what does the command for this look like? This is brilliant.

1 Like

Man my head is spinning now. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

We also have a Harmony Hub as well but it's only been used to combine multiple remotes into one simple Harmony remote with a button pressed activates "Streaming TV (Firestick Input, TV On, Receiver to correct input)" and I always then say "Alexa Movie Time" where the lights dim...I've never thought or knew this could all be one automated flow.

I have some research to do now to figure out how to do all that we can do with the automation and or triggers. The motion sensors may be one way to automate some things downstairs for sure but not sure how to even start mapping this out.

And here I've been feeling pretty tech savvy on having a "smart home" all this time. :rofl: :rofl:

1 Like

I can show you some rules, but they probably won't make a lot of sense. I tie rules to rules. It just the way I do things.

What I do is have Alexa routines shut the house down and lock all doors, except for the front, and start the alarm countdown when I say "Alexa, I'm leaving". I can also press the middle pico button just above my keypad that also serves a nearby light and that does the same thing. This turns on Alexa Guard too.

I also have it setup so that when we return to the geofence, it disarms. I also have my door lock codes setup to disarm automatically, in case the geofence disarm fails.

I had the optional Dome siren, but it's battery failed in just a month, so I also have the siren from it triggering panic on my old iSmart Alarm (for now) and also the siren on my Aqara Gateway. This works if Panic is activated from the Ring hub too.

How are you doing the cout-down? I love that idea.

Love this. I need to think about what this would mean for our garage, as I also don't want someone breaking into it (or opening it) to disarm.. hmm..

I'm working from memory because I'm not at home to look at it, but I have alexa speaks installed on my smartthings hub and I set up a routine in the alexa app. When she arrives, she says "alexa, please help me clean" She responds with "Sure thing." Then Alexa turns on a virtual swtich in HE that trips a rule that turns on all the lights to bright white, pauses all the corresponding rules. Then when she's done she says "Alexa, thanks for helping." Alexa says' You always know all the right words to say. You're the tops. See you in two weeks!" and then she turns off all the lights and resumes all of the rules by turning off the virtual switch. I can get you my RM rules later if you would like.

Just grab a piece of paper and write down how you use your house. My kitchen is my favorite automation. That will be too overwhelming for you right now. Step back and look in. You'll be amazed at what you can find. Then come here and ask the questions. You'll get input. You made a great choice coming to HE. The community is the tops when it comes to helping others!

Me too!

[Edit]
I recommend automating big things in phases. That's what I did with my kitchen. Sometimes you need to get one thing working to act on another thing to trigger something else. As you move along, you'll figure it out. Guaranteed.

2 Likes

count down is part of the Ring alarm hub. I just have to activate ARM from HE.

Disarm will only works if the code is entered into the lock and LCM then acknowledges that code was just entered. I don't think I would use that with a garage door personally. If any of it fails, then you've still got the count down, so I can always just disarm at the keypad.

1 Like

Awesome, that's what I was looking for!
Edit: I'm thinking a ways to make my small kids do some things, and this seems brilliant!

1 Like

You could come up with a cleanup song and when they ask her to help, she responds to them and starts up the song. When they say they're done, you could have her direct them to daddy and ask if he would approve. Or give them words of encouragement. haha. they'd be like "shit, now alexa is after me to do a good job." Haha

[Edit]
You could start a bedtime routine where she does a count down on getting ready for bed and interrupts to remind them that time is getting short. I programmed mine to interrupt my Domestic Engineer next time she is here. I'll throw a random trivia question in there or something funny. She loves it.

There is an integration for harmony that creates switches in HE. The switch can become a trigger. What's nice about it is that you can also turn off said switch from afar and it's like turning it off through the remote, so your automations will still trigger just from that switch. I don't have harmony control any lights directly, but i have rules tied to the switches to dim or brighten the lights and keep lights alive by adding in that the harmony switch has to be off for the light to turn off. It's been so natural. No extra buttons to press. I strive to integrate automations into every day activities like charging a phone or working at the counter.

awh .. just caught this... thanks for the poke. So nice.
:kiss:

1 Like