I'm as green as it comes when it comes to smart home automation. I got a Phillips Hue Bulb and a Phillips Hue Hub recently, plugged it in, saw the colors and thought I NEED MORE of this magic!!! Rather than trial/error I'm hoping to jump into home automation correctly from the start and add on without wasting money or energy in the process. Below I listed my starter goals. Now I just need to figure out how to put it together Ie: What brands do you personally like best?, How can I make this all work as seamlessly as possible using as few apps as I can and not buying 1000 different hubs?, do you prefer leaning towards zigbee or zwave devices in general and why (I know this is a personal choice).
Basically for all devices I want to be able to say Alexa do XYZ, use one app (remotely) or preferably sharptools dashboard to automate, or use manually as well. Please any suggestions would help!
My initial smart home device goals:
Amazon Alexa- Voice controller
Hubitat Hub- Hub
Light Switches/Dimmers- w/ manual switch use as well
Garage Door Opener
Automated roller BLINDS!!!!- Manual and remote control (This is my main want to start along with alexa and hubitat)
A few repeating devices to build a good mesh for better connectivity
Honestly I want to be able to turn it all "on" in the morning," all "off" at night, and make sure I lock it all up when I leave the house to start out.
Any suggestions for putting all this together would be greatly appreciated!!
Within reason I'd like it to work pretty reliably once it's all set up. From there I'll focus on learning more so I can start doing all the "cool" stuff you all have your houses doing in the HE community!
Stick to devices that are on the supported devices list. If it's not there avoid it.
Cheap devices are cheap. That's why they are cheap.
Research before purchase. Research everything including what's on the supported device list as what's listed and works from testing may not work well in real life.
Pick a protocol (Zigbee / Z-Wave) and build out a mesh and try to stick with it for best results
Lutron is the most reliable lighting solution you can use with Hubitat. There's flavors for any budget with various features as you go up in product lineup and is it's own world of adventure.
Pay now or pay later is the scenario you are walking into. Today you think spending thousands for a full automation system is crazy. A couple years from now depending on your habit you'll have spent that much but have a half-working mostly broken system if you don't plan and invest smartly in the beginning.
Plan the design, features, functionality you want. Then buy devices that work with your control system. Don't buy a bunch of "smart stuff" and just hope it will work or hope someone will hack a solution to make it work.
Thank you so much for that information. Honestly, I've read so many posts on here but it all makes so much more sense when it's written out so plainly like that. In theory any devices listed on the supported devices list will be able to work with hubitat and using only the hubitat dashboard or alexa so I won't need additional hubs correct? (I know that's probably a stupid question but I want to be sure I am not assuming only to be wrong down the line).
Your explanation of now vs. later and best hope for compatability/facilitation within my created system in terms of money spent was also spot on.
This 1000x - Take a look in the community and you'll find 100x more posts complaining about Z-Wave issues as compared to Lutron issues.
I also use Zigbee for motion and contact sensors. And most recently, I have started to move my bulbs over to a Philips Hue bridge.
I love that both Lutron Caseta and Philips Hue can be directly integrated with Hubitat locally, as well as directly integrated with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Logitech Harmony Hub, Node-RED, Home Assistant, SmartThings, etc...
For switches, dimmers, fan controllers, and Pico Remotes - Lutron Caseta via a Caseta SmartBridge Pro
For smart bulbs, Philips Hue
For motion, contact, and leak sensors - Zigbee devices
For smart locks - Zigbee
For voice control - Amazon Alexa (much better home automation integration than Google Home)
For Text to Speech speakers - Sonos or IKEA Symfonisk (made by Sonos) as these are natively supported by Hubitat
One other thing to note: when you initially start adding devices, you will have a weak radio mesh because you have only a few devices and your radio coverage will be poor. These documents give good advice about building your mesh:
Theory is a funny thing..... Person A tests something and says yeah it works. Then Person B buys it and nope... it doesn't work for them.... Person C buys it and it sorta kinda works.... then Person D buys it and yeah it works perfect....
What's the difference here? Same device, same hub but different environment and different skill levels are involved. You'll find posts on the forum ranging the gamut of all scenarios and skill levels and issue types and outcomes. Even the "solution" to the same problem for different people is.... different.
There are lots of devices available that do lots of things and some function very well for some people and are garbage for others. This usually is an environmental factor and you'll read it over and over again about "mesh" issues. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it's not. You'll need to learn to debug and troubleshoot this yourself or you'll be spending hundreds on devices constantly looking for devices "that work" when it's not a device issue but it's something else in your environment.
DIY home automation is a dynamic/fluid thing. Not all devices are fully compatible as things change the system, apps, drivers have to change and change causes breakages. You will learn patience and valuable research skills
If you want a solid, stable, do lots of really freaking cool things and costs the price of a small car. Gimme a call I can do that. If you want to learn some tech and have some fun and frustrations but do it in a community of cool people. Welcome to Hubitat.
Not necessarily. Many of the devices listed in Hubitat's Compatability list do required their own hub/bridge device. Lutron Caseta/RadioRA2 and Philips Hue are both examples of this. I am sure there are others as well.
I think I'll start smaller than I had even first considered in this case. I'll get an Alexa device and a Hubitat hub, DO my research on devices I'd like to add category by category. Now the question I have to figure out is if I should start building my system with 1) security (motion sensors, cameras, etc) or 2) go for what my lazy self really wants (automated blinds and dimmers/switches)
All awesome suggestions I will look into. One additional question though... when it comes to Lutron I know that they are LAN. But that is the extent of that. I don't understand the difference/superiority between this vs zwave devices. Could you touch base on that at all?
Go for lights and switches. Better instant gratification, then add motion detectors to control the lights, Ect. At this point your success will drive you to spend LOTS more money on toys. Wellcome to the rabbit hole.
The communication between Hubitat and the Lutron bridge/hub is via the LAN. The communication from the Lutron bridge/hub to the switches, dimmers, fan controllers, and Pico remotes is all via Lutron's proprietary Clear Connect RF protocol. The beauty of it is that 'it just works', all of the time, every time.
I've been known to be all or nothing in life, and since I refuse to give into absolute failure, I'm sure this will be no different and I'll be poor in no time! But my automated house will be amazing. hahaha
I completely agree with this, and have just over 50 Caseta switches and dimmers on my Lutron hub. The Pico remotes can also be used for other purposes with Hubitat.
The only non-Lutron wall switches I have are GE/Jasco Smart Motion Switches and Dimmers (26931 and 26933). They have a nice motion sensor in the middle of the switch buttons. Combined with Jason Bottjen’s (@JasonJoel’s) Component drivers, which separate the switch/dimmer into a separate device from the motion sensor, they are easy to use in automations. I chose them because guests had complained about the motion sensors in the bathrooms, believing them to be cameras; the built-in motion sensor in the GE/Jasco devices is unobtrusive.
If you want a reasonably priced (or at least, what I consider reasonable ) switch, I like GE/Jasco/Honeywell switches. I've used them since I started w/SmartThings years ago and have never had a problem caused by them. Once paired they don't fall of the mesh, they don't stop working, they don't need FW updates, they just keep chugging along w/out issues. I never have to think about them, ever. The only down-side is that if my Z-Wave mesh is having problems due to another Z-Wave device failing, then the switches can get taken down too. You can find them for $25-$29 apiece on Amazon, and Costco carries them two for $49 on a regular basis.
If you want "never fail" reliability in your switches then Lutron Caseta. You'll pay about twice what you will for the GE/Jasco/Honeywell switches (maybe less if you can wait for sales), but since they run on their own hub that is integrated w/HE, they don't care if your Z-Wave or Zigbee meshes go south and they will always keep working. They have a different design, some people might want a more traditional switch.
As others noted, go Zigbee for motion, contact, and locks.
This is the wrong/backwards approach as sensors/battery devices do not help with building a mesh. If you start with this approach it's starting with failure.
If this is what you really want then Lutron will give you lighting and shades with full automation integration. Plus it's a stand alone system which is very reliable and does not tie you to one control system for automation. It works very well with Hubitat and with almost every other platform.
It's very common on this forum that when you say "Lutron" EVERYONE jumps to Caseta. Caseta is ONE product line from Lutron but not their entire offering. The residential lineup of Caseta (entry level), then RA2 Select, next RadioRA 2 and finally HomeWorks QS. All at different entry price points. Do your research, ask questions.
I agree with everything you said. However, the learning curve is steeper for the levels above Caseta. Even ignoring the entry price, in my opinion, it’s easier to get started and learn on the Caseta level, and then migrate the switches up, if desired.