Should I pull the trigger on Hubitat?

Hey guys/gals. I am probably going to buy Hubitat anyway just to check it out. But it'd be good to know if it'd do what I want it to do before I try to make it "do it". LOL

So, 5 years back I used to run Homeseer on a PC server and had mostly X10 devices throughout the house. I made custom dashboard using its designer app and had tablets throughout the apartment running those dashboards. HS had really flexible rules that stack well with each other. But X10 is now obviously very obsolete and I have in any case moved into a bigger apartment that would be too difficult for X10 signals to traverse without latency.

So I bought and installed approx 30 NUE light switches from A3Smarthomes and a bunch of Hue sensors and garden lights. I have about 10 Echo devices littered throughout the apartment so that commands can be issued from anywhere without shouting. Everything is installed and working well in basic functionality. But I want more.

I have some AEON z-wave multisensors that I have never actually installed, but might come in handy if Hubitat supports it.

I have a bunch of Arlo Ultra hooked up too.

I also have a handful of Wemo/LIFX/Sonoff/Xiaomi devices scattered around gathering dust.

Anyway, the questions I have if someone could please tell me:

  1. Philips Hue hubs run into a 50 device limit - currently I have two Hue hubs to separate out the device to try to overcome this. But Alexa only sees one Hue Hub at a time. So it's problematic. Does Hubitat Hub allow me to connect 100 Hue devices without trouble?

  2. Hue devices connected to Hue Hub can be seen on Homekit, NUE devices on the Hue Hub cannot be seen in Homekit. Does Hubitat overcome this or not?

  3. My apartment is quite big. I know zigbee is a mesh but still wondering if anyone has had trouble with Hubitat's zigbee radio range being superior/inferior to Hue Hub?

  4. How reliable is the occupancy trigger by iPhone with the Hubitat App? The Hue App only triggers my rules 50% of the time when I return home. Arlo seem to have stopped arming/disarming automatically altogether overtime....

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As you have mentioned other ZigBee devices below it's best to keep the lamps ONLY on the hue bridge, HE has a local integration for Philips. So you want to disconnect your Alexa from Philips connected them to HE then connect Alexa to HE. That way you will see all of your devices in both HE and Alexa. Also everything would be controlled through HE so it will stay in sync.

Yes because you only connect the lamps to the bridge. Everything else connect's to HE directly.

Can't speak from experience here, HE signal has always been good for me.

For me the local geo-fence of HE added to a WiFi virtual presence device has been 100% reliable.

Actually... This is incorrect... Hubitat does not support Homekit... So Hubitat by itself will not work around this limitation.

However, you can - with additional hardware (Raspberry Pi, etc) and software (Homebridge) - make HE devices available through Homekit...

The Nue switches are repeaters so if they are spread out you can move them on to HE to build a sold mesh so this shouldn't be an issue.

I find the app isn't overly quick to respond (on android) but there is a community driver that will check if your phone is on your WiFi network. If you run a unfi network there is also a solution for this. There is also the ability to combined multiple presence sensors into one to improve detection with community apps.

These should work as there are on the compatible device list.

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I run a Aeon MS6 in my freezer out in my garage.
Works pretty well for being in a metal box. I do get some bogus readings occasionally that trip a notification.

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This honestly is totally reliant on how well your phone picks up location inside your home.. When inside your phone will use wifi location which can work well, but typically works best when it can see neighbors access points.. But you can expand the geofence to compensate for lower location resolution..

Where I live I can pick up many neighbors access points so my indoor geolocation is really good..

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Yes. You can connect both bridges with the Hue Integration and Hubitat Elevation will see all of the devices on the Hue Bridge, and in turn Alexa can access all the devices that HE can. This is also ideal for a healthy Zigbee network. Keep bulbs off the HE Zigbee network and you'll be happy.

Setting up Homebridge isn't too hard and for me anyway (running mine on an always-on MacBook Pro that runs other Node.js software for me too) is very stable. I never have to attend to Homebridge. Allows me to have just about anything that’s on HE, also in HomeKit, and additional Homebridge plugins allow other systems into HomeKit at the same time. If you're an iOS user, the Home app is a great way to control devices from your phone if you want, and it's one of the best free geofencing solutions too.

Zigbee needs repeaters if the distance is too great, or if you exceed 32 devices (but really you can have mesh issues with fewer than 32). Lightbulbs are terrible at repeating Zigbee signals for anything but other lightbulbs. Use outlets or dedicated Zigbee repeaters like the ones from IKEA and keep the bulbs on the Hue Bridge. If you use inexpensive repeaters like the IKEA Trådfri outlets or dedicated repeaters, you may need more than other repeaters because their signal isn't that strong.

If you run Homebridge with your HE hub, then you can simply use the Location events in HomeKit to flip a virtual switch for your presence, or trigger a virtual presence device on HE if you prefer. This is very accurate, but for improved accuracy, I also combine that condition with other factors. For example, my TP-Link Deco M5 mesh router has a very responsive IFTTT service, so our devices WiFi presence is one of the conditions. I also confirm that we have motion at the front door before auto unlocking. Once inside, any of the internal motion sensors will disable the unlock automation until we leave the geofenced area again. This prevents unintentional auto-unlock while we're in our home.

In general, if a $75 purchase in home automation is pulling a trigger, then home automation may not be for you, :wink: but it sounds you are already aware that you will easily spend that on a single device, many times over. :grinning: Doesn't sound like you're a stranger to this.

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That's me rush reading the comments, I didn't see the home kit just can hubitat see all the devices at once with 2 bridge's. Which it can the bit after is up to the OP.

Hubitat will let you connect both HUE bridges to it and then from there you can expose the devices on the bridge that is not connected to Alexa to Alexa and you will have voice control over devices on both HUE bridges, one natively through the Alexa/Hue integration and one through the Alexa/Hubitat integration. Hubitat lets you pick what devices you expose to Alexa so only expose the HUE devices on the bridge that is not already connected directly to Alexa.

This is exactly what I do and is a great solution for managing multiple HUE bridges with voice, because of this I have left all my lights on the HUE bridges :slight_smile:


Just so we’re clear.......
From the device list you've provided, it is sort of suggesting that you’d be best off establishing at least 3 meshes !
1 Zigbee mesh for lights (Hue)
1 Zigbee mesh for Sensors, locks etc
1 Zwave mesh for Sensors

Each of those meshes would require repeaters for them to be strong and as such, careful planning.

The OP has 2 bridge's so that would be four!

Alternatively it may be better to have a dedicated hubitat hub just for lamps that way the OP can get rid of the 2 bridge's. Then a another hub for all sensors and locks with repeaters.

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I like your thinking

Thanks for all the replies, guys/gals. This looks like a very active forum! Enthusiastic user base is always a good sign for a product.

SmartHomePrimer, thanks for the clear answers. I did actually run Homebridge with Homeassistant on my 24/7 server last year when I had a very hybrid set up at my intermediately sized apartment (LIFX, Wemo, Milight, Z-wave). It wasn't too onerous but by the time I dealt with the repeated and constant Windows updates and restarts, virtual machine updates, virtual machine restarts etc etc... it was just too much hassle. I have been seeking the ultimate "grail" of really easy to use OOB automation solutions where connectivity/compatibility isn't a barrier. I enjoy "programming" the triggers, complex rules and scenarios, but really don't have the time to weekly troubleshoot compatibility/connectivity these days, unlike 10 years ago LOL. The result is that I have something like 100 "spare" devices lying around because I pretty much gave every tech a go. What $75? LOL

My latest acquisition is a Samsung Smartthings V3 hub.

Anyway, Hubitat Elevation looks very promising too. So... Bang!!! (trigger pulled).

A follow-up question on zigbee repeaters. I have a few devices on my mesh that only responds to Group Messages to turn on/off. Individually they show up as "unreachable". So I plan to install 5-10 repeaters (Ikea brand). The question is: I have two Zigbee meshes at the moment. Does each repeater repeat both channels? Or one channel only? In the same vein, is a repeater a dumb device that just repeats whatever it detects or does it need to be paired to a hub?

Congratulations! Welcome to the Hubitat Community!

A repeater, can be a dumb device that only routes, but it can also be an active device. An example would be a Zigbee outlet. Repeaters (routers) are always mains powered, since battery devices would quickly die if they had to repeat signals 24/7. Battery devices are known as end device, They do not forward the signal. The concept is similar for Z-Wave, but the technologies are very different otherwise.

Repeaters will only forward for a network they have joined. If they are not joined to a controller (a hub) then they will not do anything.

Here's some info about the two network types.

Zigbee is quite a bit more forgiving and will automatically rebuild its own mesh. Z-Wave Plus has that capability, but everything must be Z-Wave Plus for that automated rebuild to happen, and even then, it's not perfect at that task and still requires more manual care than Zigbee.

For anyone unfamiliar with the pitfalls you can run into with Z-Wave, this is some very good information to be aware of. Not bashing Z-Wave. It has some advantages over Zigbee too, but my personal preference is Zigbee for common devices like contact sensors and motion sensors, Z-Wave for the unique devices that I can't get in Zigbee. :wink:


Out of interest what devices are these?

If you have 30 NUE light switches they are all repeaters so I doubt you will need anymore.
When you get your hub and set up your mesh you will be able to see at the zigbee devices and the routes taken at http://hub-ip/hub/zigbee/getChildAndRouteInfo.

Yes it's weird. Most of my NUE switches are in-wall plates - dimmers, two gangs, three gangs. They are evenly spread out the apartment on a single Philips Hue hub. The two non-responders are the in-ceiling type:

Those two are the only in-ceiling types in my mesh. And neither individually responds, only to group messages.

There are numerous other NUE in-wall plates in close proximity to these ceiling units (approx 5 metres).

So I am not sure what's going on....

I assume the in-ceiling type must be repeaters themselves. And even if not, why should they not respond to individual messages and only group messages? Range really ought not to be an issue with that many devices spread around. And responding to group message indicates they are both within range anyway.

That is very weird.

I gatherer they are all on a Hue hub now?
If this still does happen when connected to HE you still should be able to use them by making a group with only 1 device.