Student apartment and visually impaired. Automate it! :)

Hello everyone!

Before I start, I would like to kindly ask you to read the whole post. It's long, but all I am trying to do is to create as much context as possible. Thanks!

I spent about a month doing a little bit of research about home automation - getting to understand what Alexa, Google Home and HomeKit is and what their capabilities are. Then I watched a lot of videos about Zigbee, Z-Wave, RF (433) and IR and saw all kinds of devices in the process - actually, a bit too many. ^^;

Now I have decided that I want to start planning for making my teeny tiny 30 squaremeters apartment smart, as it also helps me with my visual impairment. Sure, I know where switches and sockets are around my own four walls...but I really hate running for them. A lot. With only so little space, getting everything I need in here and keeping it proper is hard - and sometimes, I end up burying switches... So, in order to help this out a little bit and possibly even make some visual aids for other visually impaired friends for when they are over here, I put a great amount of value on my lighting. I dont have specific lighting as of now, mind you.

So... I want to automate:

  • Two light switches that both control the same pair of roof lights. Both of the switches can turn the lights on or off.
  • One light switch that controls my balcony light and another controls my outdoor socket.
  • A "split switch", for the lack of a better term. It controls my electric blinds and works by flipping either one of the switches. The left one will let the blinds down, and to stop it or to use the other half of the switch, I have to flip it "off". Then I can flip the right one to pull the blinds up. Its an odd switch and I always forget which is which. They do have labels - but I can't see them.
  • A regular light switch controlling exactly one light - in my bathroom. There is also a fan in the wall infront of a vent to suck air out of that room. It's my bathroom.

Those are all the light switches. Now, let's talk sockets. I am an avid video gamer - yup, I see just enough for that - and have a whole slew of gear. About 13 just on my desk! My current solution would make any electrician faint, and I know it. Using a power strip plugged into a power strip to have more sockets. Mhm... ^^; Anyway, the most noteworthy of those devices are my Playstation 1, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, VitaTV, XBox 360, a Mac Mini Server from mid 2007, a HDMI switch, TV (IR controlled - important later), a gigabit ethernet switch and a printer. Soon, a PC with a 650W PSU will be added.

Now then - this is my setup. My kitchen doesn't need automation. Although a microwave/oven hybrid with some form of smart control would be handy. But as for the rest? I want to control which device is on and which is not.

Now, I have decided that I want to use a Hubitat - mostly because I am a developer myself! I can write programs in PHP, JS, C, C++ and if I really have to, I could also learn how to do so in Python... But seeing as Hubitat is user-expandable and thus highly customizable due to that while also being local and cloud service independent (minus Alexa integration, of course). I want to take advantage of this and build a smart home that I won't have to upgrade for a long time - approximately 5 years at least. So what I need now, are devices that can work with Hubitat: Switches, smart plugs, smart power strips, smart ceiling lights and smart controls for my blinds.

My ultimative goal is to be able to decorate my whole room with LED lightstrips - I mean, light strips going along the ceiling to shine some lovely RGB into my room. But when I want to head to the balcony, I want to ask Alexa to turn the outdoor light on and raise the blinds and when I go back inside I want to tell her to turn off the outdoor light and drop the blinds to about 80%, because this is my only window and I do like to have a little bit of morning light sneak in. For this to work out, I would need LED strips which can be connected up to some really, really long ways, while going around corners too. And in order to help my other friends find doors in the dark, I would like to have something like the LIFX beam I can stick around my bathroom and exit door frame. The LIFX Beam is interesting due to how it is already difused, which most random amazon light strips aren't - and, they are also colourful, so I could color code them.

So, this only leaves controlling devices other than light and general device power. I am talking about IR and RF devices. I did see the Logitech Harmony and the Broadlink - but neither do I know if they work locally as well, in case my internet decides to throw a tandrum, nor can I see which devices the Broadlink actually supports and possibly to what extend. Because I also have an alarm clock from Pure Audio (Siesta Home) that can be controlled through IR - and being the lazy dude that I am, I would like to tell Alexa to just kill the darn thing already ;). So I would need a reliable IR blaster that can work easily with the Hubitat.

Also, here is a small bonus point: Wake On (Wireless-)Lan packets. Can the Hubitat send those? Creating a routine where the power to the PS4 is turned on and then being woken by WoL would be really handy for when I want to remote-play from my parent's place!

Anyway, I hope I was able to get across what I want to do. But to drop a small summary here: Which smart switches, electric blind switches, smart power plugs and strips, IR/RF blasters and addressable RGB/LED strips (i love colors!) work with Hubitat and locally as well? I don't mind having to go for a Harmony, but having a more streamlined solution would be nice.

Thank you for reading this slap of an essay, and have a great day! ^.^

Kind regards,

PS. I really hope I put this in the right forum, actually. o.o;

I’ll chime in on the LED strips. :slight_smile:

Lots of them work! I use MagicHome—very inexpensive to get started with. I’m the developer behind the HE driver, and have my entire house fitted with them. I’m actually about to go install some WS2811 LEDs outside right now, with a MagicHome controller as the head of it all.

Being able to use a dedicated RGB, RGB+W, or RGB+W+W controller depending on the application is also a big plus for these.

That being said—I ALSO have some ZLL controllers. Those work amazingly as well! If you have a strong Zigbee mesh, these are a great option.

And I also have a couple Z-Wave LED controllers. Those are the most reliable, but they’re also the most costly.

Others will have to chime in with thoughts on the other LED integrations.

Now, for lights themselves...
I use the aluminum diffusers that are readily available on Amazon. My kitchen cabinets use them for lighting underneath where I have RGBWW lights. They’re pretty nice for the cost. If you don’t mind seams at their joints, they can be a good option.

In spots where I need longer runs, I’ve got PWM amplifiers. With my WS2811 lights, I just tap in an extra power supply when resistance gets too high.

There are tons of options out there! As long as you don’t get something like Tuya/SmartLife, a lot of other lights are well supported for integration :slight_smile:

Also, I’m curious about that shade controller of yours. I would have imagined a DPDT momentary switch would have been a better option there. Do you know how the wiring there works? If it’s AC, a Z-Wave in-wall switch with two relays might be a good option. Those can often be actuated with a physical switch, so it might even be a simple installation, but I’d like to learn more about what’s happening in that gang box before suggesting anything real.

Wake On LAN is supported by Hubitat (eg. app here), but the PS4 doesn't support WoL packets.

The PS app can wake the console from standby/Rest mode, but you can't get it to Rest mode from total power off without being present (to either press the power button on the console, or PS button on a controller).

So you'll have to leave the PS4 in Rest mode with power on all the time to be able to remote play :frowning: