Newish to DIY and Want to Do It Right

Hello everyone,

I'm a tech junkie who allowed other companies to setup and do the controlling of my smart home for way too long, and want to use the Hubitat to integrate what makes sense to keep, and replace what doesn't with the most ideal devices on the market.

Current Smart Devices: Ring Doorbell Pro, Schlage Connect Z-Wave Lock, MyQ Garage Door Hub, 2 Z-Wave G Control GC-TBZ48 Thermostats, Nest Cam (wired older model), CCTV System with DVR (hardwired) and accessible via SuperLivePlus mobile app, Evolve LPM-15/TV-15W Z Wave Plug

Current Support Hardware: Aerotec DSD37-ZWUS Z-Wave Repeater x2

Context: All of the above was previously on a monthly paid monitoring setup and integrated using alarm.com, but I got tired of paying for something I could do much myself with their lack of actual support when I needed it and always trying to force sell me more equipment.

My home is a 1.5 story just under 2600 sq ft in total
The Ring Doorbell, and Schlage are at the front door, with the attached garage/MyQ to the left when at my front door. The first thermostat is nestled in a small hallway that leads to my garage from inside, the other is upstairs in my 1/2 story along with my router/modem, CCTV/DVR, and my office.

My big concern is that my 1/2 story is only accessible via a straight staircase (15 steps in length) and is toward the back of the house, and expands to border our walk-in attic over the garage going back toward the front of the house. Since it's not open like a loft I have concerns about the Z-Wave penetration and how successful a network even with repeaters might be. My staircase doesn't have any plugs along it for repeaters so best I could do is at the top of the stairs along my wall and perhaps somewhere downstairs and so on.

What I am really seeking in my post: Can a Z-Wave network be successful with my current setup/layout? I can move the router/modem if need be, but my wife requires it be out of sight so that limits the locations I can place it, and also requires reconfig of my CCTV using a repeater, and consideration of my office wireless connection quality dropping. Are there any devices that straight up should be replaced/upgraded to something more ideal for the DIYer? Price isn't a real issue for me as long as I can justify the investment and also because I can purchase it in parts if it gets really expensive.

If the info in my house layout isn't specific enough or you need anymore information please let me know. Thanks for your help and I am excited for the things to come.

Hey there and welcome to the rabbit hole!!! :hole: :rabbit2:

Z-wave is fairly low frequency at 908.4 MHz/916 MHz for the US so the signal is usually pretty good about penetrating things better than WiFi at least. The issue will be building a strong mesh so your devices can connect and route through each other.. Worst case is you "could" go to a multi-hub config if you really needed to but in my experience with that kind of sq ft. you should be okay. I have a client with a 3600 sqft colonial 3 story house built in the 1890s and one C-7 is serving the main house just fine (most every switch is a smart switch). I did have to go with a second hub for the detached garage though.

https://docs.hubitat.com/index.php?title=How_to_Build_a_Solid_Z-Wave_Mesh

Do you have any Apple Stuff? If so you might consider setting up a "headless" companion server and running HomeBridge.. you can expose your HE non-homekit devices TO Apple Home so they can be controlled by Siri and automated via Apple Home. You can also hook up your Nest and Ring devices as well. Unfortunately there is no way to control Homebridge or Apple Homekit devices in HE - to do that you would need to install another piece of software called Node-RED connected to HE OR set up a secondary smart hub server called Home Assistant (Warning! potential time suck!) and use the integrations available and bridge the HA devices to HE.

https://nodered.org/

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Thanks for your quick reply! We don't have any apple devices in our home and as long (as I can help it) plan to keep it that way. Do you think the repeaters I have are good enough/enough quantity to use with the Hubitat or would I need to upgrade them/add more?

I've seen a lot of buzz about the Aeotec Range Extender 7 and am glad to buy those if needed, just need to know how many of these I will ideally need for optimal coverage.

Lastly, is there anything in my current device list that there's a much better (efficient/quality/compatible) option out there of for this type of setup? We've tried many platforms over the years hence why we have a mixture of everything. I'm also in search of floodlights that might be integrated into IFTT but haven't even started that part yet.

I would consider the "Ring Alarm Range Extender".. it is cheaper and has a battery backup built in so you can detect power outages assuming your hub & network are on a UPS.

This IS compatible with HE even though they say it works only with the Ring Security System. I have 2 in operation right now.

In terms of floodlights, you could go with the Ring Floodlights as they integrate well with your Ring Pro doorbell. I have these and have had no complaints. You could also consider getting some cheap floodlights and installing these motion sensors..

Example:

The HS-FLS100+ G2 screws right into the base and is easily wired in with the existing lights.

If you go the Ring route then I would consider installing Node-RED + Homebridge OR HomeAssistant.. I have NR + HB and am using NR to control the Ring Floodlights when Ring motion is triggered - I have the motion lighting turned off (but motion events still on). This may a little roundabout way of doing it BUT I can completely control the behavior of the lights..

I've almost convinced @danabw to join me in my madness.. :crazy_face: with respect to this setup... but his SO may have finally taken him out in which case I probably need to go into hiding. :rofl: :hocho: :scream:

All if this is doable and works great but takes some tinkering and patience. The general setup of HE will get you very far and is probably the best way to start.

In terms of Z-Wave devices - I like Zooz switches and relays, Inovelli switches, Ring contact sensors and repeaters.

Aeotec has lost it's way a bit so am having trouble fully recommending - I have some older Gen 5 recessed door sensors that work but don't report battery. I've had a few newer Gen 7 sensors go bad on me.. (probably 3 out 10 or so) and they sometimes have issues reporting as well but I really like the hidden nature of the sensors. Having said that they may be taking over production of some of the SmartThings devices which have always been very good.

For locks I prefer Zigbee - Yale or Kwikset are the ones I've been using. They are fast and responsive and I have had no trouble with either so far it's been a couple of years with the Yale.

Note: One thing I am NOT a fan of is having my main system rely on cloud stuff if I can help it.. especially anything rule based so IFTTT is out. Prefer local as much as possible.

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