Several beginner questions: Remote access, Scenes, Buttons, Schedules, etc

Hey everyone, I received my HE C7 hub last week and have more or less finished connecting a bunch of Lifx Bulbs. a Hue hub with some bulbs (which I received a day after the HE arrived), a Kasa cloud plug, a couple of Hue smart buttons, a Hue dimmer and an Osram 4 way swith. I'm starting to play around with buttons, scenes and logic now and need some help doing this right. Here are my questions, broken down into sections:

Remote Access
I am typically away on the weekends which means that I cannot work on the hub on the days that I have the most amount of time. I've currently set up Teamviewer but that requires me to leave my PC running the whole time, which I don't really want to do (I haven't been able to figure out wake on LAN, I am a complete networking noob). Are there any better / more convenient / easier solutions I can use to work on setting the hub up when I'm away?

Setting up buttons and controllers
So far, I have assigned two lights to one of the hue buttons, but that's it. The process was mostly straightforward, but I can that once I start programming all my buttons, I'm going to have a lot of clutter. I am currently using the built-in buttons app. Is there something that's more efficient / organised that I could/should use? I have a Remotec RC90 on the way and would like to assign scenes to each of the buttons. I'm assuming this isn't a different process, right?

Automating Scenes
So far, I've only had my Lifx bulbs and have set up three simple scenes in the Lifx app. I managed to copy one of the Lifx scenes into the HE Groups and Scenes app, but I haven't done the rest as yet because I wanted to find out if there's something else I should be using. I want to add hue bulbs to the mix now (figured out how to do it, pretty trivial) and instead of using the Lifx app, I want all scene control to be in one place i.e. on the HE (since I can't mix other bulbs in otherwise).

These scenes change the lighting colour and intensity at sunset + 30, sunset + 60 and sunset + 90 minutes; each scene fades in over 15 minutes. Scenes should only trigger if either my SO or I are home (if neither of us are home, then I want everything to be shut off).

Where can I set this up? Mode lighting? Motion Lighting? Rule Machine? Something else? I tried using the simple rules app, but I couldn't figure out how to make an "and" rule (if time is sunset+x and phone 1 or phone 2 are connected then activate scene 1 over 15 minutes).

Google Home integration
Having voice control for some things can be convenient sometimes. I already have my Lifx app and my Kasa app connected to my Google home app. I haven't connected hue or hubitat as yet. If I connect Hubitat, should I disconnect everything else from Google (since hubitat has all my devices in it?) What's the appropriate way to set this up?

Home screen shortcuts
Using the hubitat dashboard on my phone is a terrible experience. The thing isn't responsive and doesn't scale to my display's size. I have no idea if it's possiblet to make a responsive dashboard and how I could go about it (I know some CSS and HTML basics but I'm far from a web dev). I might just make a mobile-sized one, but that's also a bit annoying since the SO and I have differently sized phones (so I'm effectively going to have to make 3 or more copies of every dashboard).

In any case, I prefer having shortcuts / widgets directly on my homescreen for quick access to stuff I use regularly (specific scenes, the coffee machine, specific lights, etc.). At the moment, I'm using Action Blocks to make these shortcuts but I find the entire implementaion quite dumb. I have the coffee machine implemented as a toggle button via IFTTT, but I don't have pro, meaning I'll be limited to 3 widgets so that's not a solution either, unfortunately. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can achieve this?
(I already downloaded this app called "Hubitat Dashboard" which I can use to set up an always-on "control panel" on an old android tab I have lying around.)

Lots of people use a VPN (like OpenVPN; PiVPN uses OpenVPN and is really easy to set up), but it doesn't get you away from needing to have a computer of some sort on all the time to act as the server--but that can be something as small and unobtrusive as a Raspberry Pi. Your router might also have a VPN built in, so I'd check out that, too. What you need is a VPN server, not what a lot of people think of when they hear "VPN" in the sense of you being a client to mask your location and whatnot. This is more like a workplace VPN that would give you a secure connection to your home network when away. But TeamViewier might be easier aside from the need to have a full-blown computer on.

Assuming you mean the built-in Button Controller app, that's probably what I'd recommend. If you need more power, Rule Machine with a "Button Device" trigger type (not "Button," unless you have discovered that this is what you want) will give you a similar UI with Rule Machine features like variables. But I wouldn't start there. Is Button Controller lacking something you're looking for?

There are also community apps that may have a GUI you like better. Advanced Button Controller is frequently recommended. However, Hubitat's own Button Controller app should be able to anything ABC can do nowadays too.

Up to you! Personally, I like to use my devices' "native" integration with Alexa (I don't have GH, but same idea) whenever I can. That way, I'm not putting Hubitat in the middle for no reason, and it's a tad more reliable (not that Hubitat isn't, but if I'm applying an update and rebooting my hub at that moment, I can still control my Hue lights, for example). Sometimes this also gets you more features, though Hubitat has been expanding the types of devices allowed via voice integrations a lot recently. You can choose exactly what Hubitat devices to expose to Google Home or Alexa, so you'd just want to be careful to avoid choosing duplicates.

But there's no right or wrong way to do this.

A few ideas. First, look into the tile size options. By default, I think their width and height is specified, but you'll see that if you set them to 0, they will auto-size. On the flip side, this means you'll need to pick a number of rows and columns appropriate to the size of your screen. (Or you can just set width to auto-size, set a specific size for height, and just scroll up/down when you need to.) While you have three devices, maybe their screen sizes are similar enough that at least automatic width (and maybe height too if you can) will be enough to help.

Second, there are some community Dashboard "enhancers," Smartly being probably the most popular. Some (all?) people behind it got kicked off this forum for unrelated reasons, so you'll find more current information on that elsewhere that I'm afraid to link to, but some searching should help. :slight_smile: But if you're not unhappy with Dashboard after making the above modifications yourself, you don't really need this.

Sounds like you're on Android, and I don't know exactly what options Android users have found there. (On iOS, you could set up HomeBridge and integrate Hubitat devices to that, then use the various methods Apple allows for controlling these devices on mobile.) But one option anyone can do is create a Hubitat Dashboard with specific devices and then "pin" a link to that Dashboard directly on their main/home screen, no app needed (you don't need the Hubitat mobile app to access Dashboards; it's just a convenient way to get to them--they're just webpages, and the Hubitat Dashboard "child app" for that specific Dashboard in the Hubitat admin UI will give you a local or cloud URL you can use to directly access it instead). But I'm guessing there are more creative solutions others have found.

Also, as is tradition to say, "Welcome to Hubitat!" :smiley:

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I'll start with the scaling to your phone. I use these parameters and it fits my iphone perfectly

For remote access, does your router have a VPN built in? If so, you can set that up and use windows/mac built in VPN client to connect (typically l2tp, stay away from pptp)

First up, thanks a ton for the detiled response. I will have to look at most of this stuff on Tuesday since it turns out that WoL isn't working as intended on my PC. I put it to sleep via Teamviewer and can't get it to start back up again.

I'll double check, but I don't recall seeing any VPN options in there. Not surprising, since I'm using the ZTE H268N that my ISP (A1, Austria) has provided me. I don't know if I want to upgrade it right now though since I know we won't be in this apartment long term.

That's a bit of a shame. In that case it might just be a better idea for me to configure Teamviewer properly so I can use my own PC when I need to access the Hub instead of adding another system to the mix.

Only just a way to keep things organized, really. It would be neat to be able to sort and categorize all my controllers and buttons instead of having a long list of every single button. I will look into ABC and see if it works better at keeping things organised.

Makes sense. I'm a bit confused about how to set everything up. I have Lifx bulbs assigned to my "Living Room" in the Lifx app, Hue bulbs assigned to my "Living Room" in the Hue app and then I have a "Living Room" group in Hubitat which has both these bulbs (since I can't assign rooms in Hubitat in the classical sense). Now if I ask GH to turn off all the lights in the living room, it's got three different "Living Room"s from three different sources. Same for the other rooms and groups (for example, I have 4 bulbs in my ceiling fixture which are all assigned to a group in both Lifx and Hubitat). I'm not sure how to put this all together properly without having things conflict with each other.

Okay so both these things are super helpful. I'll have to go back and play around with the parameters and see how it behaves.

I did install Smartly, actually! There's a bit of a learning curve and it isn't as intuitive as I thought it was, but I'll figure it out eventually!

I'm absolutely no opposed to installing another app, actually. I installed the Hubitat Dashboard app both so I could have quicker access to the dashboard as well as set up an old android tab as a home control panel. I'm trying to find a solution that doesn't need me to open a dashboard on my phone at all. Something like this:


"Daylight" activates a Lifx scene and the other buttons control individual Lifx bulbs all via the Lifx App. The "Espresso Switch" toggles a Kasa HS110 via IFTTT (with very significant latency, I might add). The Lifx buttons - those are implemented with Action Blocks which basically "plays" a voice command to the Google Assistant (and is hence also not very snappy).

I'm not even sure where to begin looking for a Hubitat version of this sort of a solution.

Apart from the scene automation question I asked in my post, here's another one I'm having trouble figuring out -
I have a hue smart button in the kitchen. The kitchen has an LED Strip and a Hue bulb. When I press the button, I want it to toggle the strip and the bulb. This is trivial and quite easy to set up.
If I long-press the button, I want it to toggle ONLY the hue bulb and NOT the strip. Also pretty easy to set up. Now the tricky part - if either of those two are switched on, then the next short press of the button should turn everything off (otherwise, you get caught in a loop of strip toggles on, bulb toggles off, strip toggles off, bulb toggles on, etc.). How and where can I set something like this up? I'm probably going to want to do this for multiple buttons in multiple rooms.

I have that as a TODO item for the Hubitat dashboard. it's not trivial to implement but I've worked on this before when I worked for Wink.. so, will just require a little time.

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For the home screen, you can also use Tasker to interact with the maker api.
Tasker can use http requests to do all the actions or querying you need, but it's not that straightforward to set up..
I have two shortcuts in Tasker using maker api, one for mode changes and one for my driveway Gate and they work very well.
When I click the shortcut this is the pop-up I get:


Let me know if you have questions about it

I have heard of both but used neither. I will check this out though. Thanks :slight_smile:

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The Kasa app has widgets. There's no need to get IFTTT involved. Also, check out the community integration for Kasa, it works way better than IFTTT.

For you to use Teamviewer's WOL function, you need to make sure that WOL is enabled in your computer's BIOS (usually under Boot) and in your network adapter's settings. Setting those up is going to vary depending on manufacturer, model, and OS. Google is your friend.

If you are using a Wi-Fi adapter, WOL will only work if you have a WoWLAN (Wake on Wireless LAN) capable laptop and you use sleep mode instead of hibernate or off. Also the laptop must be on AC power when being put into sleep mode.

I know. I'm not a fan of how bulky they are though. I wanted a small toggle button not something they takes up half the screen width for one device. Besides, I had IFTTT in place so I could toggle the plug via a shortcut on my desktop. I've had it in place for the past 2 or more years. Now that I have Hubitat, I want to transition away from IFTTT. I'm already using the community integration and it's snappy AF.

It's all done. I need to set up a Dynamic DNS which I don't know how to do. I'll have to look more into it next week. If it turns out to be too complicated or expensive, I might have to look into a different option like Anydesk.

Have a look at duckdns.org

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Thanks! I'll play around with this later this week.

There are a couple other ways to get remote WOL through Hubitat. There's WOL functionality built into WebCoRE and there's also a community app if you don't want to go down that rabbit hole.

Also, I have to say, the teamviewer method is SO annoying to use on a mobile.
If you set up a VPN server as suggested, it's as if your device was still on your LAN, so you can use the regular mobile browser, for example.

Check out WireGuard VPN. It's very fast and easy to set up.

I believe you can control the android client app via Tasker as well so could trigger the tunnel automatically as soon as say the @jpage4500 android dashboard app comes up etc.

Note: this is NOT a VPN provider but secure tunnel software.

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I see. Though if I manage to figure out how to set a VPN up and can access the hub directly, I won't need WOL.

Is there any way to set a VPN up without adding another computer to the mix (I am completely out of LAN ports on my router)

I run OpenWrt on my router, and have wireguard installed on that. It makes it super easy to VPN in from my phone or laptop when I am on the road.

I got the router from my ISP. It's severely limited and doesn't have a VPN :frowning:

Download the Hubitat app