New Hubitat User and What I Like So Far

Hi all,

I just switched over to Hubitat from SmartThings. I was on SmartThings for a year or so and before that, HomeSeer for probably 15 years. I also briefly messed around with Home Assistant and OpenHab.

Here's how I would describe the other platforms from my own experience:

  • HomeSeer - "It was working fine yesterday"
  • SmartThings - "I'll just go get another cup of coffee while I wait for my devices to load"
  • OpenHab - "Step 1: Drill for oil. Step 2: Process oil into plastic. Step 3: Create PCB for Raspberry Pi..."
  • Home Assistant - "I built my home automation using a mix of community and my own code and 2 weeks later I have no idea how any of it works"

The migration of all my devices, scenes and rules to Hubitat has been the easiest of any platform so far. Not without a few challenges but in general I was able to build everything out over a weekend without spending days scouring through documentation or running into bugs. It all just kind of makes sense if your a little tech savvy. There's tons of power if you need it but the basics are pretty straightforward.

The Alexa integration is great and I like how it allows you to filter the devices you want to sync with Alexa vs SmartThings which just imports everything into Alexa and makes a mess.

The cloud endpoints used with IOS shortcuts app is AWESOME. I was using the SmartThings widget for my top actions and every time I swiped right to see the widget, it would reload just as I was about to push the button. The shortcuts app works perfectly and gives me 8 easy-to-access buttons on my swipe right screen.

The dashboard system is amazing. I couldn't believe how easy it was to connect to Sonos and Harmony hub and add tiles for those integrations so I can turn on xbox/sonos, adjust receiver volume, control Sonos.

The cloudless, local control is great and fast. I suspect the SmartThings cloud is a mess just based on their various cloud "shards" that may have you operating out of a datacenter/region nowhere near you.

Integration with Konnected alarm panels is working flawlessly and FAST. There's zero delay for rules that turn on lights for motion or contact sensors

I'm very happy to be able to easily create virtual switches with built-in auto-off. I started off with buttons but Alexa doesn't like buttons. Virtual switches with auto-off work just as well.

Overall very impressed with this platform. Kudos to the development team.

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I agree - Hubitat is the "It just works!" home automation platform. I started in HA with Homeseer years ago but was always having to mess with it. I used the Universal Devices ISY for a very long period (years and years and multiple homes, Insteon then z-wave) but found the user interfaces so horribly bad and the company so unwilling to do anything about it (with a user community that shouted down any criticism of the platform or company) that I started searching for replacements. The ISY was rock solid reliable (its big selling point) so that was a high bar to match in that regard. I tried SmartThings in one property we owned but found the cloud and lack of customization lacking.

Then I found Hubitat. Wow, was that a good day. I'm less than a year in, but things just work across three hubs in three buildings. So far it's as reliable as the ISY (which is to say no lockups or need to reboot to get things working), which was my big concern (and my too-frequent problem with Homeseer). Much better z-wave radio and performance (700 series instead of 500) than the ISY, and a user interface that, while not perfect, is significantly better in my opinion both for setting up and adjusting devices, and for day-to-day use. And the company itself actually listens to its customers and addresses issues, which is greatly appreciated. Moving to Hubitat was the best move I've made in the 15 + years I've used home automation, and I wish I had done it sooner, which would have saved me much aggravation. Loving Hubitat!

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I didn't see any Vera listed. So I would add my description:

Vera - It stopped working, support connected remotely and cleaned up files, repeat every 30 days and don't ask for support on PLEG.

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I agree. Hubitat is the most well rounded system out there. I would also argue the best in local control and reliability as well.

I used ST for a while, and have to say it wasn't bad until their 'migration' to a cloud free environment began. I had maybe 1 cloud outage every few weeks, which was livable and usually for just a few minutes. When they began migrating things I usually saw more than 1 outage a day, which is not usable. Jumped ship to Hubitat and I'm glad I did.

At one point I tried to get Home Assistant up and running and boy was that a mess. Usability was complete trash, and you have to be an expert in Yaml to somewhat understand what is going on. This was a few years ago, so I hope it is better now, but man it makes me wonder why anyone likes it. I mean I understand they have a platform that has the best device compatibility, but it doesn't matter to me. I can find most devices I need that support Zigbee or Z-Wave, and they work with Hubitat. Most of their compatibility comes from wifi devices, which I don't really want anyways. The only wifi devices I have are Ecobee, Harmony, and some ESP-8266 boards I custom wrote with Hubitat compatibility (thru HTTP requests). All of which are compatible with Hubitat, and are very reliable.

Hubitat is so well rounded it just takes the cake. Nice web UI to get things setup and new devices paired. Pairing new devices is super easy, and just works. Great compatibility with most devices, if not stock there is usually a community driver of some sort. Local execution is amazing and all my devices respond very well (especially nice with motion sensors turning lights on). Never have to worry about it not working when there is no internet or a cloud goes down.

I'm glad to see so many new users joining Hubitat. Especially with the fall of ST and wink, it seems most are either going Hubitat or Home assistant. Though it's good to see Hubitat growing in users as having a good community behind it really helps the product grow as well, or at least help to keep the users that are having a hard time get back on their feet and keep tinkering.

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I don’t think Home Assistant has changed much :slight_smile: Yeah, who wants to write that much code just to make the basics happen?

The other thing I like about Hubitat is the common hardware platform. Apple products and Xbox have great stability because everyone is on the same hardware and OS. Everyone encounters the same bugs which developers can focus their efforts on instead of a giant range of hardware and OS integration issues.

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Hubitat was my first attempt at home automation when I bought a house a year ago. My first priority was complete local control, anything without it was a deal breaker.
I started with just wanting to make a single light automatically come on, and stay on, at night. I knew that was overkill for a smart home, but I figured that I may want to control other things in the future so I went for it. Boy was I right.
A year later and I have spent entirely too much money adding things. It has been a lot of fun for a tinkerer like me, and has actually improved the quality of life for the family. They especially like the motion controlled kitchen night lights. No more fumbling around for a switch in the dark and then getting lights that are way too bright for sleepy eyes. Also, my wife loves the ability to turn on and off bedroom lights, and control the thermostat and ceiling fan, without getting out of bed.
Definitely a great product. My only critique is probably one of the most common. Setting up dashboards is a pain. Not a huge deal for me though because they are very powerful, and once setup they work great and my family can understand how to control things just fine.

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I agree! I started in my old apartment with around 20 Tuya smart switches, and had one wall switch by the time we moved out. When we moved into our current home a couple years ago I decided to ditch all the wifi stuff (aside from ecobee and harmony) and switch fully to a true hub to handle everything. I started with ST, and bought 3 dimmer switches. It was enough to get me started, but now about 2 years later (and the switch to Hubitat) I have about 70 physical devices and am always looking for more to add in to make things better.

Quality of life is also a huge improvement with having a smart home setup. I know its not as essential as having a roof over your head, hot water, and electricity, but it is nice in many more subtle ways. I now have accent lighting throughout my main floor, and the most used rooms of my upstairs. Most of which is motion sensing. I have a hot water recirculation pump which runs based on bathroom occupancy, which is especially nice having 3 floors (2 story but water heater is in the basement). I have a reminder setup to let the dog out, which is especially nice as we have been working from home. It makes sure we don't get too caught up in our work and forget to let him out. Main floor cleaning is done automatically every day, and upstairs cleaning is done when we are not home (as to not interrupt us working). I have more, but don't want to takeover this thread too much haha.

I agree as well with the dashboard point. It does take a lot of time to configure it and get it operational and aesthetically pleasing. But typically once the dashboard is done, I tend not to change anything for a while.

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I finally ditched Wink after multiple outages. They suckered me into a few months of subscription service mostly because I was too short on time to try and convert to the HA I had bought almost 6 mo ago. Finally made the plunge and converted my stuff over. Mostly bulbs and switched of various brands.
I can't believe I waited so long. A bit of a learning curve but the community has been sooo helpful getting me started.
Now I'm doing automations, making dashboards and writing rules. I love this thing!
My wife is complaining that I'm spending too much time "playing with it" but she likes the automations.
I'm a happy retired guy with a new hobby. :+1::+1::+1::grin::grin:
Had a typo. I converted to HE not HA.

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I am also a new user. I started looking for a central way to control the devices I was buying after getting fed up with multiple apps on the phone. I did buy into the Aqara ecosystem but that was just so painful - say you are in the EU and most devices aren't supported, but say you are in China and get response delays. I also had other manufacturers devices which wouldn't connect so it didn't resolve anything.

Hubitat appealed to me because it wasn't the "full on" tech end of the spectrum (like HA) but seemed to offer great flexibility. And I have to say I love it. All my Aqara devices work as do the cheap devices I got from Lidl. But the thing I love the most - the community. The experts on here are phenomenal in their coding and advice. There is no problem they can't seem to solve (well at least for me) and I pop in every day just to see what is being discussed.

So it's a big thumbs up from me.

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I can only repeat, what the others have written before. I got my HE about 2 months ago ans started my Smart Home in general 4 Months ago. I have no background in IT or anything related and can get most things easily up and running. What I like the most so far is the community; Even the most dumdum questions get answerd over and over again. Perfect for people like me. :slight_smile:

If you are into things Apple then Homebridge is an awesome addition to the HE echosystem. Also recommend getting a HomePod Mini as well.

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Hubitat has been my second attempt at home automation, my first attempt was with Home Assistant but it seems that home assistant is needing work and I just want a system that works not a system that’s a full-time job. My main priority was local control, anything without it was a no go as I wanted no reliance on the internet for my security system.

After purchasing the Hubitat system a couple of months ago and adding sensors and getting the basics I’m now looking at converting some of my own sensors to the mix, and attempting to get a handle on the programming side to add my sensors to HE, I feel that I’m going to be asking for help on this side of things from you guys.

Most of my time at the moment has been spent on this forum reading and gaining some knowledge on the journey ahead.

Kind regards Arthur

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Welcome. A lot of knowledgeable folks on here, so if you get stuck or just want to float some ideas around feel free.

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Feel free to reach out if you need a hand. Once you get the hang of it, it gets a lot easier.

Wink - "It really doesn't work and now they want me to pay for it not to work."

I agree, home assistant is quite the undertaking for anyone wanting to get into home automation. I played with it a bit, but it was just too tedious to get it working reliably. Hubitat is a great mix. Local control, reliability, and has a solid set it and forget it factor.

I have been using ESP8266 boards to build up some projects that use Hubitat as a backend (or webcore rather). I have built my own custom smart blinds that I can control with Hubitat. I built a key fob controller that I can lock, unlock, and remote start my truck via Google Home. It only works within range of the remote which for me is at home, but that is the only location I plan to use it anyways. I modified an air purifier to run off of a ESP8266 board, rather than the integrated electronics. Now I can set schedules for it, and use a motion sensor to detect when my cat is 'doing his business' to kick up the fan and have it reduce the smells of the litterbox. I use one with a Harmony IR blaster to control a fan in my office right from the stream deck attached to my PC. And I am also working on a fully automated cat feeder, since the wife always forgets to feed the cat. Even when I have Hubitat send her a reminder notification every few days haha.

ESP boards are super cheap (only downside is they use wifi rather than zigbee or zwave). Half of the fun is just seeing what I can build with one, or how it can be integrated into an existing project. Keeps me pretty invested in the hobby side of things.

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@jakokln

Very interested in the DIY blinds - care to share ? =)

Was quite the fun project, and my first in learning about the ESP8266! I have a 3D Printer and that was the real hero here. The style of blinds I have are the louver kind with one rope to tilt them open and closed, and another rope to pull them up and down. For this project, I just automated the open and close function, as getting a motor to lift these heavy suckers would have been a challenge. Also, the only time we open and close them is if we open our windows, which is only a few months out of the year (mid-west, USA) the rest of the year is too hot or cold.

I custom designed and 3D Printed gearboxes that use a standard hobby servo as the mechanism. The blinds I have use a square rod to actuate the open and close mechanism, and the gearbox attached to the rope actually broke in one of them. Thus, giving me the idea to automate it (it was either that or all new blinds for my upstairs). I designed and printed the gearboxes, gears, and adapter to the square rod. All of which have been working wonderfully and I have had them up for about a year now.

As for the electronics, the brain is an ESP8266. This allows for wi-fi control as I use Webcore to send it http get commands telling the ESP to open, close, or partially open the blinds. I could have built in much more fine controls, essentially a 0-100% dimmer option to allow for much more granular control; but I decided against this. The 3 options is plenty. Usually they are fully open or closed, but having the partially open option is nice if the sun is shining in, and we are trying to watch tv, or just want to relax, but not in total darkness. I also used a 6V power source ran up the wall in cable channel that blends in perfectly with the window. Looking thru the blinds makes it really hard to spot. I also used a voltage step down module to drop the 6V to 5V for the ESP. It would probably be fine on 6V, but it never hurts to be extra safe. The reason I chose 6V, is because that is what the servo motors were rated for, and I wanted maximum voltage potential so they would have max torque.

The programming was the most challenging for me, as I have a lot more experience with mechanical and electrical systems. Though with the help of the internet, it was not too bad. The gist of it is pretty straightforward: Control servos with ESP, run a small webserver (has its own webpage with simple buttons) so I can send it http commands, and then some basic logic to open the blinds to a certain position based on the http command.

Onto the webcore side of things. I use a virtual window shade dimmer to be able to toggle it from Hubitat. Webcore logic was pretty simple as well, if window shade switch is opened, send command to open blinds. Same with closed. And then another if statement so if the shade dimmer was turned to 50% it would partially open. I then linked this to Google Home, and we usually end up controlling them by voice. Decided not to automate as this is in our master, and it is hard to predict when someone may be showering and walking out of the bathroom naked to grab clothes. So usually the last one to shower just opens them when they are dressed. Although, I do have a vacation automation to open and close them once daylight and dark to help make it seem like we are home.

I know this is a lot, and it took a while to get these fully up and running. Luckily I have 3 windows right next to each other with around 6" of drywall and studs in between them. I drilled thru each stud area where the blinds are mounted and ran wires thru the wall to each blind. This way I have 3 blinds all powered and controlled from 1 ESP module. I made it so I can control each servo individually, but in a year, I haven't done that once.

The pictures aren't the greatest quality, and unfortunately I never took enough to really get the full grasp of the project.

The 3 modified blinds


Gearbox Pieces from the 3D Printer

Picture of the gearbox assembled

Picture inside the top of the blinds

Picture of the control module with 3D Printed base

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Well, that's utterly beyond me (3d printed gearbox???), but appreciate the reply. Great stuff!

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Many thanks I'm sure I'm going to need help along the way, at the moment I'm in full learning mode going through the forum on topics of interest...

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