Still trying to further this Smart Home journey. One thing that is consistent, I am driving my wife bonkers.
I visited the forums here back in Dec 2018 ( On the fence, please push me over).
Since then I have used Alexa and most recently SmartThings. Unfortunately, ST is becoming more and more unreliable as the days/months go by. As a band-aid, I spun up Home Assistant with a HUSBZ-H1 stick. I really like the premise but I think it s just outside of my technical grasp.
So to my question... ST is no longer a reliable/viable solution for me or the family. From a difficulty perspective, is HE more or less difficult than HA? My automations are very simple today. Open a door, turn a light on. Open a door, Alexa says something. Presence detection with notification (Alexa and/or text). My automations may balloon into something greater but nothing near term.
Thanks as always. Although I don't currently own, I still read the forums here...
Like all of the journeys you've described, Hubitat during the first 3 days is a difficult journey too.
It's got a browser based admin, so HA has trained you there. There are Apps and Drivers to 'install', so SmartThings has trained you there. But nothing trains you for where in the menus some specific thing resides. The first 3 days do that, get your mind and fingers finding where things exist. The importance is that a lot of the advice here is from people that are weeks into their journey and skip right over those first 3 days of memorization. We will say "take a backup" -- assuming you know where in the menu system that is. (Settings, Backup and Restore)
However, all you have to do is ask. There's easily 30+ people that will answer the "Where is Backup?" simple question. And you'll get an answer in minutes, occasionally less.
The MOMENT you think frustration is above 2 on your scale of 10, it's time to post a question.
I've had my HE for only a month or two now, and it's the first system I've ever used. I resisted home automation for a long time and still do to some extant. But now that I've got my toes in the water I'm looking at almost everything and wondering if HE has a way to simplify things for me. For example, all my Christmas lights turn on and off at the exact same time, and that time is based on sunrise and sunset. And on Christmas Eve, one click and they will stay on all night long. Try that using individual mechanical timers!
I graduated from Christmas lights to controlling my humidifier based on the 3-day weather forecast and then to recording the runtime on my furnace so I know when to change the filter. The possibilities really are endless, and I'm just barely getting started.
So stop thinking about it and just go for it already!
Like you I visited here back a couple years and didn't make the leap then, but I have now. I can't speak to differences with HA but I made the jump from ST to HE about a month ago now. In hind sight my only regret is not having done it sooner. Much Sooner!
I think the biggest difference between ST and HE is that HE Works!
It is Fast, Stable, Reliable, and has Fantastic Support!
It took a week or so to get acclimated but following that I found I was able to migrate all my devices, and replicate all my groups, scenes, and automations. Better than that I was able to improve on them. HE isn't bug free, nothing is! But, the bugs are few and far between and the HE staff are on top of them providing responsive quick support and fixes faster than ST can even figure out they have a problem.
Regarding WAF (Wife Approval Factor) my wife wasn't thrilled with the outage as I migrated. But, within a couple days of getting things up and running WAF hit an all time high for two reasons: 1. Things now work reliably; 2. Things now work quickly.
Make the leap, use the forums, and if your experience is like mine, you'll be glad you did.
There is a learning curve, sure. It's a tool. You can get more or less skilled with a tool.
But my opinion is that it's much less daunting than HA. With HA, you have to be a sysadmin of your hardware/OS, in addition to anything you want to do in HA itself. And dealing with the open-source weirdness**, was not for me.
** - I'm a huge fan of open-source. But there's good and bad open-source, and in my opinion, HA falls more to the difficult end of the spectrum:
- small utilities and modules
- large projects that have leadership and guidance
- conglomerations of functionality where there isn't a single designer or leadership, and you have to adopt all parts together, and tease apart the different philosophies and goals of the different people who made different parts.
So, after I purchase the hardware, I get started here?
IMHO the best place to start is YouTube. Hubitat has a series of very brief how to videos that are very helpful. After that do a YouTube search on "Hubitat" and you'll find plenty of good videos.
If you are transitioning from another system take the time to learn the correct way to unpair/disassociate your devices from it before shutting it down, and factory reset all the devices. With that done try adding a few devices. If I were starting over I would start with my ZigBee devices since they were the easiest. Then move on to Z-Wave devices.
As you work through those initial steps and have questions or run into issues hop on the forums here and post your questions. There are plenty of people willing to help.
I came from ST too. The first thing I did was check to see if all of my devices would migrate to HE and what kind of issues I might encounter while moving them. Then, like @tom, I watched all of the YouTube videos and also read the online documentation to familiarize myself with the tools available within HE. I found that most of the stuff I had to "jump through hoops" to make work on ST (overly complicated rules with too many virtual switches), HE had an app already built in to do it.
Just be warned that despite how wonderful low latency is, it’s not perfect. Updates will break things, especially if you don’t happen to use the same devices the developers use. Features you may depend on in one version may inexplicably disappear in another. Even the simple automations I utilize haven’t worked consistently since the last round of updates and appear to require my debugging each, again.
Once it’s working, treat it like it’s a Linux server circa 2005 and only update after the forums settle down for any given version.
This forum is the only reason I am able to make mine work acceptably with the devices I use.
Don’t let this scare you, it’s a great box but will require more of your time than any other appliance you own.
I, like you and also many people it would seem came from SmartThings. I also did some recon before jumping over. I personally found (and this is not a dig) that although the ST community is extremely active it only seems to be on a few topics, HE is also active but across a more varied amount of topics and the developers and staff are on here almost on a daily basis. Sure there a pros and cons for both but I don’t regret the move, I’m just a smart home hobbyist looking to build my home and try not to annoy the wife...
Yeah I think HA is cool and the interface looks great. Inevitably you end up mucking around in the configuration file(s) which does take some technical understanding beyond basic cut and paste. XAML ftw!
While I like to tinker these days a more packaged solution like HE is preferable (as is this helpful community) - nice to have as an alternate possibility though.
Should be mentioned that HE is built on opensource technologies too.
ditto, from ST myself. Wife hated it.
Now? Hubitat. She actually asked me if there was anything cool I could do with the xmas lights. She was begging me to install standard switches under st.
In my mind, I have renamed SmartThings to something more appropriate. I thought about giving the hub away but that just seems mean.
The hardest part of switching to Hubitat was just deciding to do it.
Just do it... it's not hard.
I've said this elsewhere. The plan was always to upgrade to hubitat somewhere down the line and give my ST hub to my parents.
It really wasnt worth the potential hassle. I binned it.
When I was making the move from ST to HE I used HubConnect to ease my transition. It essentially allows you to access ST devices from your HE. I created groups for all the lights, switches, and outlets I planned to use, and most of my rules were built using groups rather than individual lights or switches or outlets. When I migrated a light/switch/outlet from ST to HE, all I needed to do was update the group and any rules using the group automatically got the update. Sensors were a bit different - I moved those over first.
When I jumped from ST to HE, I only had about 20 smart devices. So for me, it was worth it to just do it all at once. I made myself a spreadsheet to work through:
- All devices to unpair/re-pair
- Descriptions of all automations at a high level (to re-create using RM and HE apps)
- Which devices were shared out with Alexa and HomeKit
Basically, re-creating the requirements for my system, so that I could go down the list and set things up in HE and know I wasn't missing anything that I had working in ST.
I had a lot of stuff in webcore. I used the transition as an excuse to tidy up (or rewrite) my pistons before transferring them. I guess that as time progresses, you gain a firmer grasp of anything and although I wouldn't consider myself an expert by any means, some of my original pistons were just horrible.
I had a fair amount of stuff running through smartthings motion lighting app, purely because it ran locally and I found it was best for reliability to use virtual switches and a bit of logic to control various bits without needing to rely too heavily on cloud. I first started converting all of that rubbish to webcore too, with the expectation of jumping ship soon.
I did find that it was helpful to ensure my pistons used variables to define devices at the header of each piston, so at least when I transferred over, I only needed to change a few variables to point to new devices rather than trawl through a million references to Switch1 or whatever it was that no longer existed. This was probably the thing which provided me with the most help.
A big advantage HE has over ST is how much less latency you'll experience with switches/buttons with the local processing. I was very happy with SmartThings for years until a friend gave me a Hubitat hub to play around with. When walking into an area and hitting a button to turn on lights, sound, etc., having to stand there for 2-4 seconds sometimes seems like 100 years when waiting to make sure the trigger was successful. Now with HE the lights come on milliseconds after my hand leaves the button, sometimes even before I release it.
I'd also argue that while HE does have a steep learning curve (much higher than Wink/ST, but much lower than HA), you can also help yourself by sticking to the built-in apps and wisely picking some of the most common community apps to extend your experience.
From there you'll start to become more familiar and then deep dive into even more.
Just signed up and my hub is a day or so from getting here. Looking forward to moving from ST. I've used ST for the last couple of years with good results...but the last couple of months have been absolute crap. I've eyeballed HE for a while now and am impressed by the community and how more involved Hubitat employees seem to be. HE seems to be more geared towards what I'm wanting, I just want to make sure I start off correctly. I've already watched several of the Hubitat videos, and have appreciated all the great advice found here.
Now to start the exclusions lol...