The short version is that I want to use dumb analog components like magnetic contact sensors, physical push buttons, float switches, etc. I’m looking for a smart device that will feed changes in those inputs to Hubitat so that it can make appropriate changes to outputs like lights. My priority is a low cost per input, but good response time is a consideration.
The longer version is that I’m building a tiny house on a tight budget. Since I have the opportunity to run power and data wiring anywhere I want, it seems silly to buy $20 wireless contact sensors, for example. I can get dumb versions for 50 cents, and route Ethernet cable through the walls as needed. Similarly, rather than buy light control panels, I’d like to mount physical push buttons on wood panels. It’d be cheaper, and I think the aesthetic and user experience will fit well in my home.
Anyway, I was hoping to find an interface device that could take like 12 or more different switch inputs and digitize them for integration into Hubitat, where I could program their effects. There are devices with inputs, but they aren’t really suited to what I’m trying to do.
The Shelly Uni has 2 inputs, and with the Labor Day sale we’re getting down towards $6/input. The Zooz ZEN16 multirelay has 3 inputs, and I picked up 4 units at cost of $7.33/input.
Since my light control panels will all be the same, I could wire the corresponding buttons from each panel in parallel, further reducing the costs.
One idea I had was to utilize combinations of ZEN16 inputs for different effects. For example if relay 1 is closed, that could have a certain effect. Relay 2 and 3 would each have their own effects. But I could also have a momentary pushbutton that closed both relays 1 and 2, another that closed 2 and 3, another 1 and 3. I could even have one that closed 1, 2, and 3. Then in the Hubitat I could assign different effects to the combinations, so one ZEN16 could potentially be used for 7 different inputs. Taking this further, the 6 inputs from a pair of ZEN16s can form 64 different combinations, and 9 inputs from three ZEN16s can yield 512 combinations. Actually wiring buttons and sensors to close multiple relays on ZEN16s would be a challenge, but I have some ideas. And even just closing 1-3 relays at a time leads to plenty of combinations. I’m not sure this is worth pursuing, but I might play around with it.
Anyway, if there’s a device out there better suited to this approach let me know.