Pre-Game Research: Basics 101

So, after some youtube videos I bought a Hubitat Elevation when I saw them available again. It's on the way, so now is the time for research.

I'm mostly in a WiFi smart home set-up... but I have Smartthings sensors and some Sengled lights on the Z protocols. I also have some Notion sensors floating from before I started my Home Automation journey, "gifted" to me by my home insurance company.

The most basic question is will I be replacing the Smartthings hub? Or can the hubs work in tandem with each other tied to all the devices at the same time? I realize this seems super basic, and I am generally operating under the assumption I will be replacing the Smartthings hub, but if I don't ask I can't know.

Either way my next question is much more "fun" shopping advice. What motion sensors have good sensitivity options and control? I want to setup the hall lights to turn on when a person (but not a cat) gets up at night. Smartthings are not the sensor I want for this job. But, at the very least once I get the Hubitat up and running my system I'll have access to all sorts of sensors. What works best for you folk?

The 'best answer' is no. Not exactly. Using a tool such as HubConnect you can tie Hubs into one 'total system' and make it function as if all devices were available on any hub. But be clear... the ZWave / Zigbee devices must be connected to a single hub. SmartThings today, Hubitat tomorrow. Between those times, you can 'mirror' devices from ST to Hubitat.

Possibly, but not required. ST is cloud, as you know. There are other cloud services and having cloud to cloud functionality may be useful.

Your plan to migrate from SmartThing might follow your plan or deviate, but tools are available to ease the migration. HubLink, the built-in tool, provides a similar 'mirroring' mechanism to HubConnect.

What type of wi-fi devices? Hubitat may or may not support them directly or you might need an integration. Personally I try to avoid wi-fi automation devices (congestion, heck even number of IP addresses needed :laughing:) I have most everything directly paired to HE via ZW or ZB.

To add to what @csteele said, while your device are still on ST 'mirrored' to HE, you'll still be nagged by all the ST outages and delays. At some point might be best moving everything over to HE (and mirroring back to ST as needed), so that your device control is local, not dependent on the ST cloud.

As for the motion sensors, I like the IRIS motion sensors (but they are discontinued and harder to find now) as you can limit there field of view to make a "beam" sensor. I have a few of them setup this way and they work great. Mostly for limiting view to a certain area, and blocking others. I don't have cats, but know Mike does (why he made them I think I read).

If you don’t want a cat to set off your motion sensor, you should consider a sensor whose sensitivity can be adjusted. One that I like is the Philips Hue Motion Sensor. You can pair it directly to Hubitat, and it works flawlessly in my experience. They are a little pricey as I recall, but they seem to be well built. Sometimes you can find them for sale at Costco.

I use these...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011I95TVQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_NhCwFbST0F71Y

... Linked up via nodemcus/konnected.

The sensors are in a different class to your standard battery powered zigbee etc. I wouldn't ever use anything else. Shopped around and picked mine up for £7 each =)

Well, this all started this year. Wife and kiddo gave me a Nest thermostat for Father's Day. Pair of Ring doorbells were added because at the time they were the best non-wired video options. A couple Echoes were there too, mostly because Amazon had deals to add them for "free" with those purchases (one with Nest,one with Ring #1.) Then came the first great "failure" and motivator towards the whole endeavor: I tried to buy a decent video baby monitor that came with an almost Echo...

That monitor was garbage. So next came a couple Wyze cams, and some Tuya bulbs (house has old wiring and I was intimidated.) We loved it, and I had been bitten by the bug. Enthusiasm came before research (always an issue with me) and I started adding bulbs every paycheck. Then the idea of not having to ask for the lights added Smartthings and door sensors. Fast forward to the end of summer and I now have a very basic, but fair foundation for messing around.

My "gear" as it stands right now:
Tuya bulbs: too many 25-30 (I will replace most of these color wifi things with Zigbee Sengled bulbs that make more sense as they burn out. We don't really play with color everywhere and the wifi clutter is noticeable, but not terrible)
Sengled Zigbee bulbs: 4 I like these, but notice a bit of lag on the door sensor automation sometimes.
Smartthings hub and 6 door sensors, 2 motion sensors. Where automation begins. I'm not actually using the motion sensors right now, cats set them off and playing tug of war with an automation routine taught me a lesson.
Nest thermostat the device that started it all, I love and hate this thing. I think I would go Ecobee if I was starting over, but hey it was a gift.
Ring doorbell: I have 2 of the 1st gen Rings, these hate the wifi congestion I would go Eufy now that I know better.
Kwickset wifi locks 2 of these for my front doors, I would go with the Z-wave ones now, but you live and learn. I could see "upgrading" somewhere in the future.
Echo devices: 4 gen 3 Dots, 1 Echo gen 3 proper, 1 flex plug with nightlight, 1 show 8 inch gen 2, and 1 show 5 inch. Technically my living room soundbar has Echo light properties. 3 fire sticks: 2 older, 1 new.
Notion bridge and 2 sensors just kinda floating there. A gift from my home insurance company. If I could tie them into my system "yay in a deadpan voice" if not no big deal.
Wyze cameras 2 stationary and 4 pans with some acting as home security, and a couple as baby monitors. These are acting perfectly, my first step in this journey but it was a good one.
and just for complete transparency:
Asus AC3100 routers times 2 acting as a mesh system. Had one, loved it, wanted to go to a mesh system to give the cameras a little better coverage. Bought a Eero mesh, didn't love it; gave it to my Mother-in-law. She's happy. I added my second router and I'm happy.

Goals:
When things go "back to normal" and the house is empty during the day I want the lights to trigger when we get home. This has been working off door sensors and Alexa routines.
Lamps in the bedrooms need to keep color bulbs. "Dark" toned blue makes for excellent nightlights. We can sleep with them on and get up and dodge cats etc when we have to. I suspect this will come into play even more when kiddo #2 arrives in December.
I want to automate the hall and bathroom lights with good motion sensors. This is where I want true automation, everywhere else voice commands are quite fine.

All in all I'm at a happy spot, mostly. ST has outages, and for me sometimes a crazy amount of lag (door sensor closes, light turns on after 3-5 seconds normally not terrible... but every now and then I'll get a huge delay like a full minute or two) this is what made Hubitat (with local control) a next step in my progression.

Cats... Instead of motion sensors, focus more on contact sensors on the doors around the house. They make great triggers for all kinds of stuff... Laundry room, pantry, cabinet lighting, night routine, shower, entry/exit, kids going to school, etc. You can stick em on all kinds of stuff.

Lewis used to put 'em on his kids so he could tell when they were fighting...

:wink:

I have em on my gun closet so I know if anyone goes in there without disabling a virtual switch otherwise it sets of the sirens. I don't care if they fight but for whatever reason the older kids get along just fine. The twin 1 year olds fight all the time. It's pretty funny.

Twins...so I assume there's a lot of:

"Hey you, stop hitting the other one!"

:slight_smile:

We just let em go at it.

1 Like