What Instructions Are You Searching For And Can't Find?

Home Automation feels like it is a teenager.... It has some established companies who are confident in their own identity, whilst jostling for our attention and money.... Alongside those are companies looking to forge their own path, offering sometimes very different features compared to their forebears....

Analogies over... :slight_smile: It can be a confusing space to move into for those new to Home Automation with all the logic and networking concepts... let alone those looking move between platforms with slight variations in the features offered or the names used for similar features....

So what was your biggest hurdle in terms of knowledge when transitioning to HE? Were you a complete HE noob having to learn a lot about the basics of IF-THEN-ELSE that people like me take for granted? Or were you a HA veteran from the platforms I only see here on the Community from the 70's :wink: ?

Wherever you have come from..... What information were you missing as you moved to HE?

For me.... It's been 3-4 years... so hard to remember.... I'll need to think about it some more.... :slight_smile:

I came from SmartThings, and I started looking for alternatives when ST first started hinting that they would be moving away from Groovy (that was a few? couple? years ago).

I decided on Hubitat, and then I lurked in the community here for a year or so before actually moving -- that was intentional... It gave me lots of time to get a solid understanding of potential issues (e.g. z-wave being comparitively finicky) and differences (e.g. dashboard setup), and time to prepare my conversion plan-of-attack in detail. The migration then went very smoothly overall when I finally did it.

If I had made that jump in a shorter timeframe, it would've been a heckuva lot messier... Unfortunately, I'm not sure much can really be done to soften the shock if someone just dives in versus spending time ahead to prepare -- there are just so darn many moving parts!

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Perhaps my analogy of a teenager is not too far off the mark... :wink: And kudos for taking the time and effort to research the platform and Community... Like you said, you may be somewhat unique to have taken your research to that extent... And I can understand it is hard to isolate what you learnt during that time compared to the last X years.

But more to your specific question, there are soooo many great nuggets of info just tucked away within the community here...

For example, I decided to resuurect a Zooz humidity sensor from my stash, and I knew it needed a f/w update... Not my first rodeo doing an update with a battery device (using built-in updater), but I could not get this one to start going... Searched the community and ended up finding a post by Robert in some old thread where he mentioned disabling the device before attempting the update. That worked like a charm! I'd never had to do that before, but now I have another cool tool in the ol' box.

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HE was my first foray into home automation. The HE hub was the easy part (learning curve for sure, but that is expected). What is difficult is understanding all the options for the devices. You are looking at different protocols and then different manufacturers all trying to sell their devices as a solution. I wish there was a informal guide on protocols and devices based on a users expected financial costs to automate their home. Obviously any guide like this would be up for serious debate, but there is no doubt HE has users from all over this spectrum. I wish I saw something like this:

HE adopter that was considering a $50 000 Control4 install has decided to go the HE route, and wants the best: Lutron ra2, Sinope thermostats and receptacles, Sonos, etc...

HE adopter willing to spend $4000 - $8000, cost is secondary to quality and reliability: Lutron caseta, Sinope thermostats, inovelli fan switch, Jasco recptacles, Honeywell thermostat, etc...

HE adopter willing to spend $1000 - $2000, cost is a concern: various zigbee or zwave switches plugs and outlets, ikea stuff, etc...

HE adopter that wants to spend under $1000.00, just interested in some basic automation: wifi stuff (kasa), cheapest stuff you can find that does what you want (sometimes, lol), etc...

Obviously a list like this can generate a lot of debate, but the problem with a brand new user to HE (or at least the problem I had), is you don't know what systems are considered premier and top-notch vs. stuff that belongs in the throw away cheap consumer electronics category. No manufacturer ever states their device is of lesser quality than a competitors.

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I got here after using rotary plug-in timers back in the 1970s ► X-10 appliances controlled by HomeMinder (by GE/Radio Shack) in the 1980s ► RF remotes and wireless X10 components (plus alarm!) added in the 1990s ► Vera Plus hub controlling a few Z-Wave devices with X-10 USB interface, from 2009-2021 ► Ezlo's buy-out of Vera Control, followed by new owner's scorched-earth policy toward even their most devoted customers (me) and finest developers ► co-founded SmartHome.Community in 2021 and assisted with development of Multi-System Reactor (formerly Reactor for Vera) ► moved all HA logic off Vera onto Reactor from Feb-Sep, 2021 ► purchased Hubitat C7 hub based on unanimous advice from SHC crowd and moved all logic from MSR to HE in Oct, 2021 ► moved all my poker chips into this Forum and never looked back!

You ask, "What info was missing?" at the time? I already knew the Docs section was barebones at Hubitat, but certainly no more so than Vera's were back in 2009. A bunch of us (mostly me) rewrote or fleshed out all of MiCasaVerde's entire Vera Wiki, which – even if we were to embark on the same project for Hubitat – took years and frankly could never quite keep up with changing firmware and API evolution.

My very first attempt to plug in my C7 resulted in a green light but no Web connection ... so that was a fun few hours of puzzlement. Turns out it happens routinely to n00bs, judging from posts you see here on occasion. Could something more have been added to the in-box manual regarding Troubleshooting?? Probably.

Now that I've been a Community Forum member for nearly a year, I've come to appreciate (in the sense of "understand" but not quite "embrace") how HE devs would rather focus their efforts on debugging the OS, enhancing the UI feature set, and rolling out daily firmware updates... than to devote much time on Documentation or (long-requested) "niceties" like in situ tooltips or cleaning up the GUI (which, not surprisingly, accounts for 82% of all the guff given Hubitat by techie reviewers over the years).

All in all, I appreciate the heads-down philosophy shown by the men and woman working for Hubitat, the refreshingly dedicated attitude of their followes (us, here), and the pleasant atmosphere we all enjoy throughout the Forum ... which, let's face it, is the Docs/Help/Support/Wiki/Tutorial section!! :smiley:

  • Libra
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For me, this has always been a combination of my own advice and that I got from Youtube... Always start small when venturing into some new part of your automation setup, plus look to choose devices or eco-systems that are versatile.

I've talked about my choices quite a bit... But, as an example, my blinds are Somfy motors, controllable via the pphysical remote they came with, the Bond app for the Bond bridge I bought as a result of recommendations here, plus my HE and other platforms that integration with Bond.

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D'y'ever wish Hubitat put out more of their how-to videos on YouTube? (I subscribe to their channel, but precious little content seems to originate there these days.)

To be fair, and not that I look.... I don't see many official videos from other platforms....

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It's hard to get a truly independent view, in my opinion @Stephan.J. I think that is why so many people run multiple platforms for a period of time as they assess and slowly migrate their setup, if they are fortunate enough to have the time to spend doing that...

That said, I think the comparison of devices, if only based on the experience of Community members, for others to learn from, would be a valuable resource. So I expect the usual suspects of compatible devices and preferred choices are all things new users are looking for.

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I started with X-10, then bought a ST 2nd gen hub when first released and now on HE for the past year. So no stranger to home automation.

I find it difficult to find specific how-to or step-by-step instructions on implementing intermediate and advanced customizations e.g, sending email notifications, text to speech announcements, building own garage door open/close controller, integrating non-natively supported devices (e.g. Eufy, PumpSpy, Feit), etc.

I am really frustrated that this forum [RELEASE] topics also include many individuals trouble-shooting discussions which makes it very difficult to find the specific instructions about how to correctly implement the device driver or app.

I suggest that there should be separate topics for [RELEASE] and individual user support questions or issues. [RELEASE] topics should only include developer instructions, updates and notes.

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My biggest issue which is not really for HE for the most part has been trying to figure out pairing/reset/exclusion modes for devices especially ones that have been installed for a while - there is no standard. Have to search for the manuals online and sometimes you can't even find it there - have to scour various forums.

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The prefixes people put on their topic titles are, from what I understand completely open to people's choice / convention. That said, perhaps a more structured form that developers could fill in and maintain, beyond the Community topic structure could provide a more reliable experience....

That kind of experience does highlight the need for the active nature of this Community (and others) to capture that missing info.

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Can specific topics be made read-only except for the original author or authorized editors so these instructions are not polluted with individual trouble shooting discussions or diverted to non-relevant chatter?

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There is a wiki topic type, but I think there are certain controls around the creation of those. I have the admins (from memory) convert one or two of my topics into wiki's. Just because it is not common today, does not mean it could not become more common. Does sound reasonable that there is a "wiki-style" topic for a Community integration plus a standard topic that provides the more general discussion, with FAQ's and general troubleshooting also captured through the Wiki.

I feel the developers have been continuously improving the documentation for novice and developers as well.

See: http://docs2.hubitat.com/ <- THAT IS 1st CLASS

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You discovered the new docs! Yay! :smiley: (Many links have been updated already, and the rest will be with time.)

The new documentation platform is much easier to work with than the old one. Most of the current content was "migrated" from the old platform, plus some updates including some necessary for the 2.3.3 release, which this should mostly match now and should all soon. There is some entirely new content (e.g., a developer overview) and some that is IMHO much better formatted (like Rule 5.1), using features that were not available or difficult in the old platform.

This move should make creating and updating content easier going forward--and given that the migration is (mostly) done, more time can be focused on the actual content. Along the lines of content: if anyone finds anything that is clearly missing (or wrong) and would be helpful for new or average users, feel free to post about it! The goal is certainly to get everything well documented, but priority will generally be given to things the average user would need. Many of us here should keep in mind that this is not always the same as the needs of a developer who is already scouring the forum for an esoteric use case. But some day: both. :slight_smile:

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I saw your handwriting all over this work Robert - very nice work indeed and an invaluable resource. :ok_hand: :+1:

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