Migrating from Vera Edge to Hubitat C7

Aloha former MiCasaVerde & Vera users. Here are a couple pointers for those considering of making the transition to Hubitat.

The biggest question on your mind is probably, should I make the switch? My answer is, yes. While I am slightly technical, I am definitely not a programmer, never messed with Lump code or any other code for that matter or used more than a single hub with a dozen or so various switches. But lately, Vera has become so unreliable, especially with its Alexa integrations which I use 90% of the time when controlling my home. So, I would say that if you are currently enjoying your Vera set up and not experiencing any issues then maybe stick with it for a while but consider that it isn’t sold any longer and the company that took over (Eslo) seems to have killed the friendly “community” forum. Heck, maybe they’ll stop supporting it completely at some point.

For about $100, Hubitat is far more powerful, has more options, and has an extremely active community. Of the few questions I had to ask while making the transition, I received many answers within a few minutes and others within a few hours.

First, let me describe briefly my old set up so that you can see where I was coming from. These devices are all about 12 years old. A few I had to replace when they died and I replaced them with Z-Wave Plus, but all the others are just regular Z-Wave.

12 or so mostly 1st gen GE Dimmers and switches:

1 Leviton VRCZ4-MRM Scene Controller
3 GE Fan switches
2 plug in outlets
1 GE Outlet
1 Kwikset Deadbolt Lock
1 Honeywell Thermostat (T6)

In Vera, I was using scenes for most of my automation. These scenes were all tied to Alexa which I use 90% of the time. When I would leave my home, I’d press one button on the scene controller to run the “Leaving Home” scene. When I returned home, my door lock code would trigger my “Arriving Home” scene. I used a few other scenes for movie time, sleep, and when guests were around. I really enjoyed being able to turn on and off the lights and ceiling fan by voice when I was still in bed. We’re so spoiled, right? So that was my pretty basic set up, but after months of disconnects between Alexa and Vera (Vera staff confirmed it was their system with the problems) I knew I had to switch.

So, onto the tips… Out of the box it will do most of what you want, but when interfacing with Alexa, I found it best to use Virtual Switches rather than scenes. In Hubitat, the “Scenes and Controllers” app doesn’t see all my devices. Alexa can see all virtual switches I create which means I can create switches that I can control by my voice for virtually (pun intended) anything I can think of. Although it may seem like an additional step at first, when you realize the power, it really opens the door to a lot of new scenes that were never possible with Vera.

So, first I installed all my devices.

Tip #1, you can exclude them using the Hubitat. No need to exclude in Vera and then include in Hubitat.

Then I created virtual switches for all the scenes I used to use.

Tip #2, set them to turn off within 1 second, this way they can be triggered over and over. Trying to use the switch as an on and off scene controller didn’t work well for me.

Then I installed the Alexa Echo Skill app.

Tip #3, as you add devices you forgot in the first step, if you want to connect the device’s virtual switch for controlling a scene (don’t forget to create a virtual switch for each device you want Alexa to control), simply open the Alexa Echo Skill App and add your virtual switch to the group and Alexa will pick it right up. No need to go to the Alexa website – it’s all done in Hubitat! Side note – I did have to delete the old devices from Alexa that my Vera controller added. Easy-peasy though.

For some devices, members of the community have created special drivers that include additional functionality that the original driver(s) may have lacked.

Tip #4, if your existing device doesn’t have all the functionality you were expecting, hop onto the Hubitat Community page and use the search function to see if someone has created a new driver (and possibly a new app as well). Drivers provide functionality; apps make it easy to manipulate this functionality, but I found that with some practice you can tinker like a pro within the driver itself.

Once I had all my devices (real and virtual) installed and working as I liked, I created a Dashboard within Hubitat so that I could control them from my phone.

Tip #5, unlike Vera, your Hubitat web page is not published outside your network (typically your home). You can, for a small fee, get remote access to your Hubitat, but for me, I do my programming from home and only need to turn on a device or two when away and Hubitat’s downloadable app provides this access for free.

Okay, now… onto creating scenes. While Hubitat does support scenes, I didn’t find they worked well as creating RULES. Now, there are two kinds of rules, basic ones that do most of what you would want, turn this on to 80%, turn that off, etc., but what I ended up using were the Rule Machine.

Tip #6, use the Rule Machine because while they do take more steps to set up, they allow you to go back and edit them far more easily than the basic rules. If you decide you want to turn on or off a switch somewhere in the middle of your scene, oops, I mean rule, it’s easy with the advanced rules.

Okay, once you have all your rules set up and have tested them out, go back to your virtual switches and map each one to its corresponding rule. Then, if you haven’t already, connect each virtual switch to Alexa and voila! You’re all set for voice control.

Tip #7, if you’re tired of saying, “Alexa, turn on Leaving Home”, go into your Alexa app on your mobile device and create a “Routine” – it’s worth it, trust me. You’ll always have your virtual switch’s name to fall back on if Alexa goes offline, but now when I leave home I say, “Alexa, I’m leaving” (or whatever you want to tell her) and she’ll run my scene, plus say something nice like “au revoir” (again, whatever you want her to say). When I’m going to sleep it’s no longer, “Alexa, turn on Sleep”, it’s “Alexa, lights out”. Basically, you can ditch the “turn on” portion which is nice if you use Alexa as often as I do throughout the day.

That’s about it for my setup. I still have a scene controller I’d like to use that doesn’t have a working driver, but it’s super old and super rare. That said, one of the forum members who took a crack at building a driver for a similar scene controller offered to look and see if he could get it to work. The Hubitat forum is even better than the old Vera forum used to be!

I’ve set up a few more fancy things like turning on the porch light only when it’s dark outside (you can do this in Hubitat’s rules by setting the between sunset and sunrise setting), but for the most part, I just wanted to replace my Vera. The extra functionality Hubitat provides is truly a bonus. The best part, when I tell Alexa to do something, she does it. I have literally not had once failure from her or from Hubitat since I set it up. It’s faster, more reliable, and the community is awesome. Where did my Vera go? In the trash can.

Happy Automating!

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Oh, and one more tip...
Check out the How-To section here. I didn't when I got started and now realize that I probably could have saved some time if I had just RTFM :expressionless:

https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=How_to_Guides

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Download the Hubitat app