UK Specific - NEWBIE - Tips and Help

Hello All,

I hope everyone is well and safe in these challenging times,

I bought a hue light system during Black Friday and the home automation bug started to grow. I would love to go further in this and go 99% local with hubitat. :slight_smile: It seems a great community!

I’m a software engineer, but have 0 experience in electronics, sensors or robotics.

I am have been reading these forums and online articles and I can grasp some concepts and stuff, but I am feeling overwhelmed on tech details and bugs and things that work or not, and country specific things. So I would like to start a post so that the community could help me make sense of UK specifics and start with the right sensors...

  1. I read when you buy sensors you can’t buy anything you can find in internet because it needs to be compatible with your country frequencies. How can I know the ones for uk? What is safe to buy in eBay US or Amazon US? I find most of the sensors are American and we have very few alternatives in the uk market. I found this uk specific shop (Vesternet) with zwave and zigbee devices that seems nice, but expensive. Where do other uk users buy?

  2. I would like temperature, humidity and motion/presence detection in 3/4 rooms of the flat. What do you recommend in uk? The above shop has Aotec multi sensor 6 & Aotec trisensor, but they cost GBP45+. Any tips?

  3. One big objective for me is automate my combi boiler to save energy when I’m not home and automate simple rules based on temperature and open/close windows. I want a smart thermostat that is local (not cloud). From my research, most non cloud options aren’t available in uk. The only one I can find is Trane XR524 (TZEMT524AA21MA ) number 14942771. Anyone has any tips on this? And typically you install it yourself? SECOND PART - One room heats quicker than other...so I would like one radiator to stop heating while other continues to target the set temp...what do you use? TRV smart valves? ... I read in some posts these can deteriorate pieces in the boiler due to pressure in the system if the valves are closed at same time or opening and closing wrongly...I have no knowledge on heating systems so if anyone could chime in..

  4. I am planning to buy the hubitat hub for uk market from hubitat website. Is it the best option?

  5. I read hue light work better connected to hue bridge (that I have now) and then connected to hubitat. That will be my starting point for my home automation. Anyone with this configuration/architecture?

Lots of questions! Any help from the community would be helpful!

Thanks in advance
J

Zigbee devices use the same frequency world-wide. So, those are often the safest devices to order as they will work globally (as long as you can get replacement batteries for them in your country.) Zigbee uses 2.4GHz RF for communication, so one needs to select the Zigbee channel and the home WiFi 2.4GHz channel to avoid interference.

Z-Wave devices operate in the ~900MHz range, but the exact frequency varies by country. It is important to only buy Z-Wave devices specifically made for your country's Z-Wave frequency.

The only difference in the Hubitat C-7 Hub worldwide in the included power supply. The C-7 hub comes with both the Zigbee and Z-Wave radios built-in. As mentioned previously, Zigbee is standard globally. The C-7 includes anew 700 series Z-Wave radio which can be set to the correct country specific frequency via software. So, as long as you purchase a C-7 hub intended for the UK market, it will come with a power adapter that should just plug into your home's wall outlets. What vendor you buy it from is up to you.

Most all Philips Hue + Hubitat users leave their Hue bulbs connected to the Hue bridge. Hubitat communicates to the Hue bridge over your local network, so not internet/cloud is required. This is the recommended method of integrating Philips Hue + Hubitat. I personally have ~10 Hue bulbs paired to my Hue bridge (using Zigbee Channel 15), which are then integrated into Hubitat using the built-in Hubitat Hue bridge integration. It works great. I make sure my Hubitat hub Zigbee channel is on 20, to prevent conflicts with my Hue Bridge on 15.

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Point 1.
Zigbee uses a common frequency worldwide so a zigbee devices frequency is not an issue, compatibility is though.
The Z-Wave frequency IS country dependant though. Make sure you buy devices with the correct frequency (Europe).
Personally I try to go for zigbee devices when I can as in my experience they are faster than z-wave devices.

Point 2.
Have a look at the Sonoff devices. You can get them for around £10 from ebay.co.uk. Make sure you go for ones that are posted from the UK or you will end up waiting up to a month for them and may have to pay import costs now we have left the EU.

Point 3.
I'm using Tado which is cloud dependant so cannot help you with this one.

Point 4.
Since we have left the EU the only place to get a hub without paying import duties is from Vesternet.

Point 5.
I have my Hue RGBW strips connected to HE via a Hue bridge and I would recommend you do the same. You can connect them directly to HE but as you have a Hue bridge, you may as well use it.

Oh, and welcome to the mad house........... :wink:

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This is where I got my Hubitat from. I decided to get it from here because I had read a lot of people ordering direct from the manufacturer got stung with import taxes - which cost more than the Hub from Vesternet

It all depends on your budget and desire on how deep you want to get. This would be relatively cheap if you were to hardwire it all and use something like an Arduino using Hubduino (absolutely awesome @ogiewon ) . If your budget stretches far enough get the Aotec devices or look at Fibaro, if not look at Sonoff zigbee sensors SONOFF SNZB-03 - ZigBee Smart Wireless Motion Sensor I have bought the ones I have from ebay uk

If you're not sure yet, just buy a couple of devices to start with and see how it goes.

Have fun and welcome

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@EVOLVING.HOME and @bobbles, thank you very much for your help and comments. I am happy to announce that I received my hubitat c-7 uk yesterday plus some sonoff sensors I bought in Amazon.co.uk (great tip EVOLVING HOME! They are not expensive at all. Great for starting up and newbies!). I connected them all successfully, and connected my hue bridge with CoCoHue excellent integration app. Built some test dashboards to start and the experience has been great.

Quick question: I noticed that the Sonos temperature is being reported only when there is a variance of +-0.5C. The configure button on the sensor doesn’t go anywhere. Is it possible to change this somehow? Or is this something related on how sonoff built the sensor?

Thanks in advance