New to home automation - straightforward newbie q's re: device selection and connectivity

I am a 100% novice with home automation, but have been reading up and browsing the Hubitat forums, and am technically capable (I'm a software engineer). I haven't been able to find answers to a few very basic questions, so thought I'd ask here before I buy devices:

Is it correct that devices listed in the Compatible Devices Wiki can connect to and communicate with the HE directly? Ex: the primary application I want to set up is for air conditioning to be turned off when a door or window has been left open for longer than 5 minutes. If I get door/window sensors that are on the list and a thermostat that is on the list, is the software that comes with the HE all I need to get them talking and responding to the HE?

I don’t see drivers mentioned in the descriptions of devices (where they are sold), but notice that some of the devices listed in the Wiki say they require custom drivers. Do all devices require drivers to connect?

If I want to consider devices that are not on the list, what specs/protocols allow a device to be seen and controlled by HE? I see that there are a lot of ZWave and Zigbee devices on the list. By definition are all ZWave and Zigbee devices compatible?

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Easily possible. I have xiaomi zigbee door/window sensors and an ecobee thermostat. I've created rules in Rule Machine to do what you want and it works really well.

I'll let others chime in on the actual hardware that will make things easier. Even though my setup works it was a pain in the ass to get the xaiomi sensors stable and I can't really recommend them unless you really want to spend the time doing the research to get them working properly.


No, only the ones that say custom drivers, the remainder are built into the hub already.

We support Zigbee ZHA 1.2 (home automation profile) and Z-Wave with S0 security, we don't support Zigbee 3.0 or Z-Wave S2 security, however the latter two security enhancements are by definition backwards compatible.

Virtually anything Z-Wave or Zigbee will pair, the compatibility list defines devices that pair, and have available drivers, either built in community supported.

If there isn't a device in that list, it doesn't mean it wont work, it just means that you or some one else will have to write a driver for it.

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Probably good to also point out that Zwave gear is region specific. That is, there are different frequencies used around the world. This means you must ensure all your Zwave gear is the same frequency.
Example: Zwave gear is cheaper in the US than in AUS but operate on a different frequency.
Zigbee is a common frequency, world wide.

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Thanks, Mike, for your reply and for the supported protocols/specs - that is really helpful. Are all such specifics documented somewhere that I may have missed?

Gavin and njanda - thank you both too for your quick replies and good advice. Gavin, I'll be choosing different sensors, thanks! And njanda you give a good heads up - I am in fact installing the system in a rental place in the Caribbean (where unfortunately I do not live :)) so will make sure I get everything here in the US for the US so everything is on the same sheet of music. (That is part of the reason I am hoping to get it right the first time as I won't be on site to tweak and fiddle
and correct mistakes.)

no, but it's sort of the most common denominator for hubs that support Z-Wave and Zigbee, in other words if you can't manage to pull that off, you just don't have a hub...

I see - though as a new user this is new info to me that is good to know, so I can successfully identify devices that will work with the hub before I buy and minimize the trial-and-error aspect - I sure would find it helpful (and probably other newbies would too?) to have a list of tech specs/protocols posted - good knowledge to have, maybe on the Compatible Devices Wiki? :slightly_smiling_face:

In the meantime the info you gave is what I need for the moment - I appreciate your help!

Funny enough I was talking with family in Jamaica about similar stuff and planning as well. One of the important things you may want to consider is the installation of a UPS. Down there they constantly have power fluctuations and outages that we had to deal with. Put your hub and internet routers on the UPS so if power goes out at least they don't have to deal with the surges and can gracefully shut down or power up.

Also since its a rental, if you go with a UPS make sure its one where you can disable the beeps that notify you when the battery is bad. It will drive the renters mad if something is beeping in the middle of the night and they can't find it.

Hi Gavin - well that means we're practically neighbors :slight_smile: - my rental place is on Grand Cayman. There seems to be a well trod path between Cayman and Jamaica, with people going back and forth for work, shopping, school, etc. Anyway I did think of surge protectors but not UPS - that's a better idea. Thanks for your advice!