Smart Home Documentation & Architecture

Hi all

My home set-up has been developed over a few years, some of which before Hubitat was introduced. During this time, I have introduced a number (too many really!) different architectures and manufacturers to address different requirements and been swayed by discounts in price.

The end result is that I have a myriad of devices managed by different Apps with links to various automation devices. This has got to the stage that I have had to document them to ensure I don't waste time trying to fault find in the wrong app! :crazy_face:

I have also learned to resist price discounts now and focus on a more rigid set of architectural principles. These can be grouped by:

  • Voice control - Amazon Alexa
  • Internal & External Fixed lighting - Phillips Hue, connected to Hue Hub
  • Internal Motion Sensors - Phillips Hue, connected to Hubitat
  • External Motion Sensors - Phillips Hue, connected to Hubitat
  • Non-fixed Lamps (e.g. Table lamps) - Smart plugs, Tuya, automation via Alexa
  • Outside lights not attached to the house - various manufactures but all wifi due to the improved range, automated via Alexa
  • Temp Sensors - Lumi
  • Light Strips - Lidl, connected to Phillips Hue hub

Do any of you have the same concept and are your decisions similar?

With regard to documentation, I use the notes field in RM to document the automation rules but have also created a Smart Home Asset Log, attached. (L - Linked, M - Managed)

Can others share their documentation styles?

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I have evolved to a very similar architectural approach over the years.

  1. Amazon Alexa for voice control
  2. Lutron Caseta for all in-wall switches, dimmers, fan controllers, and pico remotes (supports HomeKit)
  3. Philips Hue for all floor and table lamps, using genuine Hue bulbs (for HomeKit support)
  4. Lowes Iris v2 Zigbee devices, paired directly to Hubitat for Motion, Door/Window, and Leak sensors. I also use Iris v2 smart outlets as Zigbee repeaters throughout the house to build a solid mesh.
  5. Homebridge, Node-RED, InfluxDB, and Grafana running on 24x7 Windows 10 'home server'
  6. Logitech Harmony Hubs for entertainment system remote control (integrated with Hubitat) (works with Lutron and Philips natively)
  7. Ecobee thermostats (also work with HomeKit)
  8. AppleTV 4's, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches for end-user devices (works great with HomeKit)
  9. IoTaWatt devices for whole home Power/Energy monitoring

I have found this combination to be a very stable platform. I have chosen to use what I feel are 'best of breed' subsystems, which provide excellent uptime and performance, and increased flexibility. I can have all of my Lutron Caseta and Philips Hue devices integrated locally with Hubitat, as well as simultaneously with other home automation platforms for testing and experimentation. I try to make sure the devices I purchase work with multiple home automation systems/solutions, to ensure I will always have options available to me in the future.

I still have some areas where I feel there is no clear/obvious market leader, especially in the camera space. I use Ring for my doorbell, and Wyze Cams for outdoor property surveillance... but neither of these integrate well with other systems...but both do work fairly well with Amazon Alexa... :wink: I would still prefer a local camera solution that integrates well with multiple systems, and is not too expensive, nor require a lot of custom code to implement and maintain.

I do not have the system documented, although I can see the value in doing so.


Phillips Hue is expensive and gets a lot of grief but one of the best features is the 'Power on behaviour' setting IMHO. I haven't found another manufacturer that has this capability - there you go, someone will now inform me of my ignorance! :slight_smile:


I'm a retired Programme Director and seemed to have spent a large amount of my career, asking much more intelligent developers to document their work! :slight_smile: :nerd_face: :nerd_face:

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I agree! I also like the HomeKit integration. Both of these features require genuine Hue bulbs, but it is worth it in the long run, IMHO.

Do you need a separate hub for Philips Hue?

Yes, I use the Philips Hue v2 Bridge. I bought a used one on eBay for $15. I had to supply my own power supply, and I factory reset it once I got it. It’s been working great using Hubitat’s built-in Hue integration, which is 100% local - no cloud required.



FYI, even the obsoleted v1 Hue bridge still works fine with Hubitat’s Hue integration. I’ve seen them on eBay for $0.99 ...

But a used v2 would be a better choice because it’ll still give you access via the Hue app while your phone is not connected to your LAN, which the v1 won’t.


Hubitat now can do this with the advanced driver.

I personally wouldn't touch Philips with a barge poll is overpriced cheap crap. That is coming from someone who has payed and used there stuff. Now I look for alternatives, inner is good, best I have found so far is Ajax brought some the other day to test and use on a familys house and been very impressed so far.

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Hi Borris

Lol, I don't know why but Phillips Hue seems to have created a completely binary customer base - some love them, others hate them! I agree that they are expensive but it is the most stable smart device in my household, they just work! As a result, I forgive them a lot. :slight_smile:


Most of my bulbs sit on hue also, seems the most stable for bulbs imo

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That's my point though, for me I have lamps that are much more reliable than them. To be fair I did join them to a bridge a month ago and so far not had a issue with them YET. But lamps at half the price I have never had a issue with. There not even ZigBee 3.0!
Keep with good quality, latest standard products and your be good.


So, you are using the Philips Hue Bridge?

No. Joined direct hue and other crappy products on their own dedicated hub. I was going to try and join old lamps to the bridge but the other devices refused to join and the hue lamps were crappy with the bridge (slow and wouldn't transition correctly when off).
So now on HE hub and they all work the same, just I have seen hues drop off or miss events.

That's interesting but the opposite to my experience, :shushing_face: I've never had a Hue bulb drop out but my Hue motion sensors connected directly to HE will regularly stop triggering the HE rule they are linked to. (They still trigger when motion is detected but don't trigger the rule to switch lights on). I have to open the rule and deselect the sensor, save the rule, and then re-add the sensor, and save for the rule to trigger correctly again.

Software Documentation is like sex.

  • If it's good, it's really good
  • if it's bad, it's better than nothing!
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