HE's biggest weakness :crossout: opportunity

The problem with smart homes - the biggest problem I see - is the recovery from a power fail.

When HE goes dead from a true power outage, how it recovers is (am I allowed to say pathetic?) poor.
Networks come back online and timing is random. obviously. But how HE recovers from the power failure is a fault that is responsible for a large amount of my frustration.
Instead of getting all devices back into a proper shape - it just ... moves on. No device resetting, no testing of availability of devices, no state checking and verification, no put things back as the were prior to the fail. This is by far the biggest problem HE has and does not address.
Don't believe me? Go throw your house breaker. I hope HE works hard to make the Hub smarter around this area in the future.

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Have you heard of UPS? works great for me. House shutdown for two hours to install charger for my car, power turned on and everything restored perfectly except for two Zigbee bulbs that relied on plug in repeater.

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You should have UPS on all important electronic devices in your "smart home". If you think HE is bad, go power cycle your "smart" cable box.

Besides that, there's a very lovely Rule Machine trigger called "Location event: systemStart". Build a Rule around that to reset/test/check/verify/whatever any devices you may have that aren't attached to a UPS that require extra help in rebooting correctly.

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that was a really smart answer-. gosh. how come I didn't think of that?! LOL. Now, I just gotta get one for all the devices in my home...
yea. a UPS on my door lock. and one for my garage door. and one for my cameras. shees. It's a feedback channel people. not a facebook group.
and me - I'm supposed to write rules because the product is wea... ... oh. I see what you did there. sucked me right in.

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When I ran a X10 Stargate it was battery backed up and could stay battery powered for almost 48hours with it's battery. Because that was integrated they had a flag for rules called power fail catch up. the Stargate understood the unit was on battery when the power line adapter lost power.

With the hubitat which is powered though 5 volt usb it's easy to use a power bank backup power or UPS. I chose the UPS because it drives my hole network stack from a single location. The next step is detecting a power outage. There are multiple ways but I use a multi step process.

  • Virtual switch devices to record the state of power fail and ordered shutdown
  • Web Pinger to ping a IP address of a non-ups device on the network if not pingable power is out or a UPS feed using NUT or other UPS device driver
  • A device that resets state when power is restored Sengled legacy ZigBee bulbs will always turn on when mains are restored. I have one in my wire closet that is only used for this purpose.

Now the fun begins, I have my UPS feeding data into the Hubitat also though NUT and this allows me to do a clean shutdown when battery gets critical. I have an virtual switch for this event that allows me to identify on the next startup of the Hubitat that it's a full restart from power off.

I also set another the virtual switch that is labeled "power failed". I then begin a rule waiting for a change in state in the Sengled bulb to be "on". When the virtual switch is true and the Sengled bulb is on I run my recovery rules which reinstates my scenes in the home. And then switches the Sengled bulb off and the virtual switch off.

Having to do this is not weakness in the product, Recovery from power fail means different actions for different devices and the general rule of thumb is that anything that is mission critical shouldn't be solely managed by a home automation controller, ie. you don't want your sump pump being switching on and off via hubitat rules when a simple float switch just works.

And it's not crazy to have multiple UPS or battery operations in a home, at my mom's home we have a battery backup for her garage door, her network equipment, her sump pump and her alarm system. You have to think in layers and always have a recovery plan from a power outage. Nothing and I mean nothing works better than a recovery plan and not all plans are "automatable".

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You could also use a Ring Range Extender for these two parts of the Rule like I do.

I chose to go with a Lithium Power pack to power HE since a UPS is so not efficient and will die on it's own just because of the lost in converting DC to AC and the up conversion of the voltage. When possible, if the power required for the device is DC always use a DC source not Low Voltage DC -> Higher voltage AC -> Lower voltage DC.

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My devices usually don't have a problem reconnecting after a power outage or if I reboot (shutdown, pull power) even without a power backup. Note: I do have a UPS on my hubs, Wifi and network switch etc..

Both my door locks are battery operated and my Yale even has a place on the outside for a 9 volt battery in the event the internal batteries runs out so no UPS required!

The garage door thing - if the power is off, not opening via the motor anyway but are you talking tilt sensor which is usually battery powered or the relay which COULD have a battery backup if desired.

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Last night when I wrote my feedback - I did it for the right reasons but was in the wrong state of mind. Although I meant what I said, upon re-reading it this morning I didn't write as carefully as I thought I had.
What I derive from all the time I spend with HE, the groups, the apps is this feeling of 'whats next'. The UPS model that is so prevalent (it seems everyone who's deep into their HE has one) it tells me that HE's should come with a built in UPS. Or a battery at the very least.
recall the evolution of the computer Mobo. The first ones would loose the clock. And compaq put a battery on the Mobo. This became the defacto standard. Then M$ put power detection into the operating system. And to this day when the power goes out to a server, on next boot your asked why the power went out.
I stand by my statement. I think the overall way that HE comes back online is so fraught with peril, so difficult to understand the state upon recovery, so prone to corruption - I hope the next 'big thing' from HE is to make substantial progress around this area.

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I have nothing constructive to add to this discussion. That said, I am going to post anyway - so please disregard...

"HE's biggest weakness = The users"

LOL.

crickets

Bah, to heck with you guys, I thought it was funny.

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I've had my all my network equipment (servers, router, switches, and home automation hubs) on UPS from day 1. We lose power often, so it really matters to us for things to keep working. In fact, we eventually went to whole-house battery backup. But I still keep the HE plugged into a UPS.

I just use a small portable UPS like a BE425M for my HE C-7. That, along with a 50' ethernet cable, let me move it around when I was trying to pair some tricky devices early on.

Other people have had more interesting DIY approaches:

This is far from "HE's biggest weakness" and not something Hubitat needs to address any time soon.

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Let's be serious here - I'm looking at you @JasonJoel !

If we are serious about this matter, then we must consider the market forces which are working against a small player in the Home Automation arena (even one with some very good ideas).

The market forces that are aligning (Apple, Google, Amazon) are enough to swallow any firm, of any size. HE must be careful and cautious when those types of players get it into their heads that they want to dominate the market. After all, they are multi-billion dollar players! Who can afford to throw around a few millions here and there in the hopes of developing something!

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No argument there!

This was definitely one feature of the ST hub that I liked, integrated battery back-up. It would be nice if HE had a small built-in battery backup and was set up to do an auto shut-down when power failed. The battery power would only need to be big enough to provide time for an orderly shut down of the hub.

That said, like others here I have my network devices/NAS devices on a UPS. IMHO, anyone that doesn't UPS their networking stuff is just asking for trouble, especially if outages are a "normal problem." As long as you're putting network devices on a UPS, adding the HE hub should be small additional effort.

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Resilience is important.

Maybe the desire to monitor and control important systems (notice I didn't say "critical" to avoid triggering the Industrial Controls folks out there) in a manner that is highly fail-safe isn't a universally held requirement as much as I would have expected. Yet I bet it really is ...more often than not...., and more importantly I bet there are people STILL shying away from Home Automation out of fear that it's not addressed.

Sure, throwing a UPS on there (as I have on both hubs) is proper prudence. But having lived through multiple events in my life where a UPS didn't cover the duration of power loss....have I thought about HE + my expanding device network recovering the way I'd like it to? You bet I have. Because the last thing I need after one of those events is to have to go around reconstituting a monitoring & controls environment that I very much depend on. Never mind the added complexity if I'm traveling. You guys do travel right?

Here come all the retorts, "this isn't a $50K+ system you can rely on like that".

I guess you all are just simply turning on/off the lights, putting on the jazz music, lowering your home theater screens, and staying home 99% of the year. I know that's not the case based on the complexity of what is regularly presented in this forum.. but hey, it was fun making that provocative of a statement :grinning:

So give OP a break for suggesting this topic be one of concern to Hubitat. This isn't "a failing" as much as it is an opportunity. You guys that are knee deep in this stuff have lost some of the 10000' generic customer vantage point.

If Hubitat can say it has a built in battery, or better yet...an optional and replaceable battery pack that is integrated & monitored.....that is marketing resilience.

If Hubitat can say it does everything possible to know, update, and store everything it needs to about it's device (monitoring & controls) states in order to reconstitute the environment (to the degree the devices allow) to the way it was before power losses on some or all of said environment....that is marketing resilience.

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OMG - thank you PunchCardPgmr
You said exactly what I was trying to say. Thank you.

Actually if you think about it, in today's world, anything less than a whole house generator is failure.
Refrigerator holding 100's of dollars of food, air conditioner, lights and internet. Who can go 5 minutes without internet ?

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With unlimited data plans my kids never even turn on Wi-Fi on their cell phones... I'm not 100% sure whether they would even notice that the power went out.

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But then you need fuel and oil, and you know you can't get it because the power is out at the gas station or you go natural gas and the gas is shut off or you never topped off the propane. So then you build a solar plant to use batteries instead and then realize that you don't have enough battery to take you form sunset to sunrise. The list goes on and on.

Mad Looney Tunes GIF by MOODMAN

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Yes, but depending on where you live....A good portion of my state has access to piped in natural gas, which I haven't seen go out in over 50 years. Many house generators run dual fuel, natural gas or gasoline.
Now I'm going to pontificate....
We are all too isolated with our technology. I see people get together and everyone is on their dam phones, hypnotized by everything except the people around them. Scary. It's like "electronic Haldol"

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I've already spoken my feedback - but that generated a good dialog which in turn triggered more thinking about the issue since...
Putting the HE on a UPS is only a small part of the problem. Actually a very small part. It's the recovery that to me is more critical an issue. In my most recent case, while away my home lost power. When I returned nothing seemed wrong with the exception the porch light was on. Previous power fails I've experienced didn't have that effect so I can't use that as some form of sensor of what happened.
I just reviewed my Watchdog report - and learned 4 devices hadn't reported in. A contact sensor on the garage door, a Philips Hue motion sensor, a RMPro and an Outlet. the contact sensor was showing 'closed' in the garage and when I opened the garage it continued to report CLOSED. The solution to 3 of the 4 devices was to reset them and rejoin them. It's nice Hubitat said 'previously device found' but how can a device go belly up and hubitat be completely unaware? Is that supposed to be on me? I'm supposed to:
A) somehow be fully aware of any power failures that occur.
B) visit every device in the network and verify they are working.
C) Trust complex codes and rules that are reporting.

It's really astounding that 10000 hours of sw dev and the hardware of it all is untrustable. Is it HE's fault? No. BUT. What then should I trust? I use recommended devices. I follow recommended guidelines. And still I have no trust in the home automation. We worry about Zwave security tech and still can't be certain the states reported on basic devices is true. Where is this going, I ask myself. Is it a forever DIY project? I have to ask myself and be honest about the reply.

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