Trying to decide-- a few n00b questions

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum. I'm a tech industry lawyer who is pretty savvy, but not a programmer and not long on time. I'm looking at trying to centralize my various IOT devices in a single place and I've narrowed down to Hubitat or SmartThings. (Home Automation gets rave reviews from the engineers I know, but I don't have the time to build and debug a Raspberry Pi.) Main limiting factor is that I have a Honeywell WiFi (not ZWave) thermostat that I need to integrate. It's supposedly compatible by linking with SmartThings, but in testing their app, it keeps disconnecting, so they lost what edge they had. I found a script on GitHub to link Hubitat to it via cloud, so I'm pretty close to pulling the trigger on a starter kit here.

A few lingering questions:

  1. I've got a couple other devices (mostly outlets) here and there. One in particular, is a Meross outdoor plug that I would like to keep because it fits a specific need. From reading that appears to be possible through IFTTT. My question is how does that work using IFTTT? Is it through a cloud link or integration with a cloud account? These are for outdoor decorative lights, so a minute or so delay in executing a command is not a big deal. Would this integration something straight forward, or something prone to failure? (The plug does not appear to be flashable, FYI.)
  2. I read over the documents on the Honeywell TCC integration and it seems like it finally works pretty well. Any additional experience here would be helpful.
  3. I have a few other WiFi plugs that appear to be flashable with Tasmota. Yeah, understood that flashing is always a bit of a risk, but anyone's experience with success rate would be helpful. (FWIW, the two in particular are Topgreener plugs someone gave me with energy monitoring which are cool, but honestly, I'm willing to replace them if they don't work because I want fewer apps.)

Thanks in advance for any advice. The biggest thing is the thermostat issue and just trying to understand if I can have a work around/link with the Meross. The Meross isn't a show stopper because it wasn't expensive, but finding another plug that fits is potentially an issue.

Looking forward to getting a system up and running.

I have a Honeywell thermostat that does use the TCC integration. Honeywell is pretty restrictive on how frequently you can connect so you do need to be sure to not have it try to connect more than once every 30 min. This can cause issues if you make adjustments manually to the thermostat again and again in a short period of time. But other than that it seems to work just fine for me. I can't speak to the other items as I don't use those.

I'll make the obligatory reference to Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2, and then move on to your query...

I went from Wink to ST to Hubitat, and HE is by far the superior product. In my opinion the only reason a lawyer would want to mess with ST is to get supporting evidence for a class action lawsuit. The biggest issue with ST is its reliance on the cloud for processing rules, and the fact that their cloud is notorious for multi-day outages. The ST solution is a little bit more out-of-the-box and a little bit less DIY, but with the DIY comes a lot more flexibility. The HE does need an internet connection for setup and to keep its clock current (apparently it does not have a hardware clock), and obviously for cloud-based integrations, but other than that the rules all process locally. You can lose your internet connection for quite a while and HE will chug along just fine. I've had my whole home network go down (thank you Linksys) and HE worked flawlessly until I tried to have Alexa turn on something :slight_smile: Another big advantage is HE does not push firmware updates. ST does, and sometimes it is not pretty. That is not to say that every HE firmware update is flawless (the last one was rough) but you can wait until you see they've worked the bugs out and then decide to do it on your own schedule.

IFTTT generally works by linking multiple cloud accounts. I have only been using it for a little while but I have found it better for things that are more of a convenience than a necessity. The way it works is you give IFTTT your username and pw to the target cloud app on each side of the automation and it connects to those cloud services via a web service or something similar. There is often quite a bit of latency (as you mention), and anything that requires a cloud-to-cloud link is subject to many more points of failure. I have two use cases currently... when my Arlo cameras detect someone on the front porch or approaching the front door, I have them trigger an HE automation that then uses my Echos to announce that someone is at the front door. It's helpful for packages and what not, and it has generally been OK but certainly not always timely. I have a "night mode" on my HE that deactivates motion sensors and some automations when I'm ready for bed (so the cats don't flash lights on and off as they chase each other through the house), and I have an IFTTT rule that arms my Honeywell Vista alarm system. It really does not work reliably at all, and I have a backup timer on my Vista panel that makes sure the system arms at night. If there's an HE LAN link to Honeywell I'd guess that's going to be much more reliable than anything cloud based.

While there are an increasing number of LAN integrations available for HE, I think it's fair to say it's really a Zigbee/zWave world. There are plenty of zWave/Zigbee plugs that work great, including a couple of outdoor options. I think you'll find that simply replacing your plugs (both indoor and outdoor) with one that has native HE integration is much more cost-effective than spending the time on some IFTTT cloud integration, especially at lawyer billable hour rates! And there are plenty that have energy monitoring should you wish. Just read up on best practices for establishing zigbee/Zwave mesh networks and I think you'll find it all works pretty well.

Hope this helps!

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Thanks a bunch to both of you! Super helpful. I've seen the TCC restriction issue.
As you might imagine, most of the time, it's when someone thinks the schedule makes the house too cold and wants to crank it up for a few hours, so that's doable. The only real reason I want to keep the one WiFi plug in particular is because of space issues because the former homeowner cut the plug too short, and that limits the device I can get to fit. It's a real PITA. But, like I said, it controls all the landscaping lighting, so if it gets delayed a few minutes bouncing around the cloud, NBD.

One other question: In a perfect world I would put the HE hub in the middle of the house. The router, however, is in my office in the corner. Do you need to leave it plugged into the LAN forever for it to work? Or can I plug it in, set it up and then move it where it has the best coverage? I have a decent WiFi network, but like any older house, sturdy walls create a few weak spots. The ST hub is completely wireless for setup. The HE instructions are to plug it in to the LAN for setup, which is fine, but if I had my preference after setup I would put it elsewhere permanently and that place doesn't have an ethernet port and connect it to the 2.4GHz Wifi Network. (The LAN plugs into a dual band wifi router with a mesh repeater system, and I use the 2.4GHz for non-video.)

Why not replace your Honeywell with a cloud thermostat that is well-supported by Hubitat (eg. ecobee), or better yet, with a zwave or zigbee thermostat?

It can work without having it pluged to the LAN, but wince it does not have WIFI, you will not be able to use the Dashboards to control stuff or check status or whatever you might need the Dashboard. I'm not familiar with your thermostats, or the community driver for them, but from what I have read above, you will need the connection for that also.

On another note, if you want your WIFI plug to work, you will also need the connection :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

You might be able to use a WIFI extender pluged in HE but never researched it, I know we use to be able to do that with the xBox since it did not have WIFI built in. So you might have to research this avenue?

You might be able to do what I used to do with my old Smartthings and that is put the hub on a wireless extender that has a ethernet port on it. Something like:

Or you could use something like:

I have an older home, too... lathe and plaster makes a great faraday cage. I'm using a 5-node meshed network. Each meshed node also has a couple ethernet ports on it, so I have a few switches installed that connect to the wireless network and beyond.

There's no wifi radio in the HE, so it has to be connected to Ethernet if it is to be connected at all. However, there are some pretty decent ethernet - wifi devices out there. In fact most meshed network nodes also have a couple of Ethernet ports on them... maybe you can plop one of your meshed network devices next to it.

On the subject of whether the HE needs to be connected to the network... technically no, practically yes. Especially if you're using IFTTT, Alexa, or any other cloud-based service. And as someone else pointed out your wifi devices :slight_smile:

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Thanks. I didn't realize it had no radio at all. Not fatal if I use the mesh ethernet. Just more wires. (Wife hates wires.)

A best practice - configure your DHCP server to give it a static IP address.


Also, the clock will drift over time unless the hub can talk to an NTP server. And there is the issue of firmware updates. Heck, haven’t we had several dozen this week already? Seems like it.

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Oooo...violent threats delivered in a refined, snobbish way. I like it. :wink:

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Oh no, no violent threats intended. Refined and snobbish, I'll own up to :slight_smile:


Given my experience with a couple of those firmware updates I think I would have been better off with no internet connection.


Brad, my house is also lathe and plaster and I am not goign to start reffering to it as a Faraday Cage.

Thank you for the chuckle.


We can start a support group. Neutral? You expect me to have a neutral? Hell, I'm just thankful there's no knob and tube.