Home Automation (HomeKit, Alexa, ITTT, GoogleHome, etc)

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MelindaV

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#1
I've slowly been adding HomeKit controlled things around the house and was interested what everyone else may be doing (what should I think of adding).

So far I have this little collection of things:
Ecobee3 Lite
2 additional Ecobee room sensors
2 iHome receptacles
2 Vocolino bulbs
1 Leviton dimmable switch

I am considering adding:
MyQ capability to my garage door opener with their Hub & Bridge
August locks to the front door and interior garage door (either both or just the front door)

The t-stat is at the top of the stairs in a loft/hall area, the two room sensors are in the living room and an upstairs bedroom. The overall performance has been perfect. I have a 1500sf 2 story house with a single zone furnace, so having the room sensors react to the occupied rooms is much more comfortable than always defaulting to the temp at the actual t-stat location.
For the outlets, I have one controlling an LED tape light under the kitchen cabinets and the second outlet I currently have on a plug-in clamp on lamp in the garage.
One bulb is at a bedroom lamp and the other a living room lamp.
The wall switch (with dimmer) I will be installing in the garage to control the overhead lights. (I recently added 2 5-way lamp adaptors each with 5 100w equiv LED bulbs and my very dark 2 bulb garage went from hardly being able to see anything well to looking like a surgical suite.) Previously I'd changed out most of the wall switches and some of the outlets with Legrand Adorne, that I really like the look and function of, so will not be adding other wall switches inside.

for programming I have scenes set up both with geofenced and timed parameters and any scene or individual item can be voice controlled with Siri.
At 530a the bedroom lamp turns on at 10%, the kitchen LED tape turns on and the heat is set to 69.
When leaving, all lights turn off and the heat is set at 58. (by geofence or saying "I'm leaving")
When returning, the garage lamp turns on (will change to the wall switch and find a new home for the outlet), the kitchen LED tape, the living room lamp turn on and the heat is set at 69.
telling Siri "I'm going upstairs" turns on the bedroom lamp and turns off all downstairs lights.
telling Siri "I'm going to bed" sets the heat to 58 and turns all lights off.
This summer, I likely will use an outlet to turn on a fan for the dogs when the temp gets above a certain level. Since I don't have AC, in the past I've turned on on and had it running all the time I was gone and that always seemed wrong from an electricity standpoint.

With what I have so far, for the most part everything has worked really well. Everything I have uses my iPad as its hub, so nothing extra using an outlet. The second iHome outlet I got has shown as un-responsive a couple times, but easily corrected by either waiting, manually hitting its power button on then back off or unplugging and re plugging in (it is also at an outlet that is pretty easily accessible. if it were behind something, I would be much more annoyed with it). The light bulbs I have are color. they easily can be manipulated via the HomeKit app or their own app for that current time, but not so easily to set a temp/hue in the automation settings. I have them as some shade of white, so not using any crazy colors, but you are not able to access the 'saved' colors when in the automation programming. Not sure if this is an issue with the HomeKit app or the info the bulbs provide to the HomeKit app.

Hopefully more lower priced LED bulbs will begin showing up on the market, but at the current prices, it is hard to justify changing out bulbs in overhead lamps that each have 3-5 bulbs. If Legrand released a HomeKit compatible switch to match my other Adorne switches, I'd probably change out a few.

I also have Blink wifi cameras that are great at what they do (provide a totally wireless 'security' camera with free cloud hosting), but they don't have any connectivity to other systems. I think previously they did talk to Smartthings, but I'd not used that and think it has since been abandoned by Blink.


SO... what other useful automation scenarios should I consider?
 

garsh

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#2
I bought a programmable digital thermostat. I never really got around to programming it. I would just set it to 68 in the winter and 73 in the summer. Then one day it died. So I replaced it with a Honeywell thermostat with mercury switches. Those don't die.



You kids and your fancy gadgets....</getoffmylawn>
 

3V Pilot

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#3
I've gone a bit crazy with home automation but love the convince of it all. Everything in my house that I use on a regular basis is voice controlled and/or automated. I've had the MyQ garage opener before but would not recommend it. It was not always reliable and would need to be reset quite often. I've gone with this one which works much better:


Also in the way of locks I use these but August looks like a good product as well:


I run most of it from SmartThings but have several other systems tied in as well. Many Nest products, 3 Amazon Alexa controllers, Harmony Remote, and other items that all talk to each other.

If you do automate the garage door here is something I recommend for security:

1. Have a webcam in the garage so you can verify if it's open or closed
2. Also have a smart outlet powering the garage door opener itself. This way you can lock-down the garage and ensure no false opening.

I've had my phone gps on more than one occasion thinking I've left the house and returned, that will open the garage door when I don't want it to. Also had the battery in the garage sensor go out and give a false "open" indication so the camera is a great way to double check it. When I go to sleep I put the house in a lock-down mode and the alarm sets, garage door is powered off (and lots of other things happen as well). In the morning a singe command turns off the alarm, powers up the garage and it works great. I also like the ability to turn off the garage door power if I'm out of town or gone for more than a day.

I just installed the new Nest doorbell as well. Had the Ring Pro but I think the Nest is much better. Better picture, faster app and fewer false motion detections.
 
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3V Pilot

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#4
I really wish I could find a way to use the Model 3 and it's map location as the proximity sensor. The phone GPS doesn't update often enough unless it's actively navigating and the screen is on. Without using nav on my phone my garage door opens up sometimes but not 100% before I get to it. I know it's a trade off for phone battery life and I understand that, just wish there was a better way to have everything react perfectly.
 

mig

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#5
I really wish I could find a way to use the Model 3 and it's map location as the proximity sensor. The phone GPS doesn't update often enough unless it's actively navigating and the screen is on. Without using nav on my phone my garage door opens up sometimes but not 100% before I get to it. I know it's a trade off for phone battery life and I understand that, just wish there was a better way to have everything react perfectly.
Can you trigger off when your phone (eventually the car) joins your home wifi? Not sure how your garage door opener works though.
 

3V Pilot

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#6
Can you trigger off when your phone (eventually the car) joins your home wifi? Not sure how your garage door opener works though.
I don't know of a way to trigger the garage off of WiFI connection but the Tesla will automatically trigger the door to open (Via Homelink) at a preset point. That is an easy fix but what I really want is for the garage to be fully open just before I pull in so that I don't even have to stop and wait. When my phone is in NAV mode it works very well, just wish I could get it to work without that. The map in the car is always active and if it could be used that would be the perfect solution.
 

MelindaV

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#7
I don't know of a way to trigger the garage off of WiFI connection but the Tesla will automatically trigger the door to open (Via Homelink) at a preset point. That is an easy fix but what I really want is for the garage to be fully open just before I pull in so that I don't even have to stop and wait. When my phone is in NAV mode it works very well, just wish I could get it to work without that. The map in the car is always active and if it could be used that would be the perfect solution.
I currently press my old remote button as I am just coming into view of my house (guessing it is about 160ft away), so as long as Homelink has an equal range as my remote, I'd set it for the max distance for arrival, less for leaving (I think that is an option with Homelink).
I was mostly thinking of adding the MyQ to the garage because I end up with my niece or a friend doing overnight dog sitting once every couple months. It'd be nice to be able to just add them to have access to everything instead of me needing to remember the keypad code to remind them of what it is when they arrive and realize they forgot what it is. (most of the time it goes like this... "try this, if that isn't it, try a 5 for the last digit" ;))
 

3V Pilot

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#8
I currently press my old remote button as I am just coming into view of my house (guessing it is about 160ft away), so as long as Homelink has an equal range as my remote, I'd set it for the max distance for arrival, less for leaving (I think that is an option with Homelink).
I was mostly thinking of adding the MyQ to the garage because I end up with my niece or a friend doing overnight dog sitting once every couple months. It'd be nice to be able to just add them to have access to everything instead of me needing to remember the keypad code to remind them of what it is when they arrive and realize they forgot what it is. (most of the time it goes like this... "try this, if that isn't it, try a 5 for the last digit" ;))
As long as you don't have it automated to open for certain "events" I guess you wouldn't need all the precautions I laid out above. I'm just paranoid and have a manual backup for everything that's automated. All my doors that have electronic locks also have manual locks, everything is on battery backup, and the automatic mini gun laser firing death ray thingy is mostly working, well, except for that one neighbors dog but I don't really miss him anyway......lol. :)
 

SoFlaModel3

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#9
You’re getting me thinking — I’ve started to accumulate devices (latest being Logitech Harmony) where “Alexa turn on hockey” is pure magic. That says I haven’t played with IFTTT or similar. Maybe it’s time!!
 

Ken Voss

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#10
I have been using INSTEON for over 3 years and it works great, its fully integrated with Echo so I can use voice commands to turn on/off lights all over the house. It uses a mesh network consisting and uses home wiring and/or wifi so there is a level of redundancy that others don't have, plus the wireless feature is great for outdoor applications where you don't want to (or cant wire for a new switch. I can control my garage door by voice or with my phone app and I can check the status when away. Did I shut the garage door when I left? Just open the app and take a look, if I forgot I can close if from anywhere. Can also set timers and turn on/off anything remotely with the app or with Echo
 

Guy Weathersby

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#11
You’re getting me thinking — I’ve started to accumulate devices (latest being Logitech Harmony) where “Alexa turn on hockey” is pure magic. That says I haven’t played with IFTTT or similar. Maybe it’s time!!
I have yet to find anything actually useful to do with IFTTT, but it is great for practical jokes. You can very easily get it to do a script. So for example you say "Hey Google this is Frank." and have it respond, "Glad to meet you Frank,. I keep hearing how pretty your wife, Mary is when do I get to meet her?" That should impress him.
 

Brett

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#12
This is actually kind of a step backwards but I want to mention Logitech Pop switches.

The Logitech Pop switches are awesome (though way too expensive). Basically they're just an extra button you can stick to your wall (or anywhere) that you can program to interact with any/all of your smart things. You get three events per button: single, double and long press and each event can do any number of things. First I just put them near all of my existing switches so that family, friends could easily access my preferred settings. Since then I keep ordering more as I come up with other uses like adding "three-way"s to hallways that didn't have them before or adding a secret button under the side table that actives Movie mode (dim's the lights).

I upgraded most of my house to smart wall switches and LED lighting using Lutron Caseta. The best part was being able to turn on/off whole zones at once and having every light come on at just the right level. It worked great for me as I could control everything from my phone or Harmony remote but I found others were still just manually using each wall switch individually. Mostly that was an issue because my LED light are way too bright and I like it better to have all of the lights on at ~30% instead of one bank on at full power; that's hard to do from the Lutron switches. With the Pop switches you just have to hit one button. Plus it's fully intuitive even for people who don't know that the house is wired for smart lighting. They just find the button right where a button should be, press it, and everything turns on like magic.

This sorta turned into a commercial for Logitech but I really feel like these switches "completed" the automation project for me.

 

3V Pilot

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#13
This is actually kind of a step backwards but I want to mention Logitech Pop switches.

The Logitech Pop switches are awesome (though way too expensive). Basically they're just an extra button you can stick to your wall (or anywhere) that you can program to interact with any/all of your smart things. You get three events per button: single, double and long press and each event can do any number of things. First I just put them near all of my existing switches so that family, friends could easily access my preferred settings. Since then I keep ordering more as I come up with other uses like adding "three-way"s to hallways that didn't have them before or adding a secret button under the side table that actives Movie mode (dim's the lights).

I upgraded most of my house to smart wall switches and LED lighting using Lutron Caseta. The best part was being able to turn on/off whole zones at once and having every light come on at just the right level. It worked great for me as I could control everything from my phone or Harmony remote but I found others were still just manually using each wall switch individually. Mostly that was an issue because my LED light are way too bright and I like it better to have all of the lights on at ~30% instead of one bank on at full power; that's hard to do from the Lutron switches. With the Pop switches you just have to hit one button. Plus it's fully intuitive even for people who don't know that the house is wired for smart lighting. They just find the button right where a button should be, press it, and everything turns on like magic.

This sorta turned into a commercial for Logitech but I really feel like these switches "completed" the automation project for me.

Those are very cool. I hadn't seem them before, thanks for posting. Now you've got me thinking about what I might be able to add on to my system.
 

Guy Weathersby

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#14
I've been fooling around a bit with home automation since I picked up a Google Home Minii last Black Friday. I now have, off the top of my head, 2 Minis, 6 Wemo sockets, 5 Phillips Hue lights, 2 Smart Life bulbs, 1 Nest Thermostat, 1 Nest Protect smoke and CO detector, 3 TP-Link wall switches. All of them work fine. I plan to buy more Smart Life bulbs and Nest Protects. If I had it to do over again, I would probably skip the Hue bulbs, they are perfect, but more expensive and require a hub.


A quick tip, if you are thinking of an automation project decide first what category it goes in. Category A is anything that will improve your life in some practical way. Category B is anything you are really just doing it impress people or because it amuses you. Throw out everything in category A! No home automation project is worth the cost and effort. But they can be a lot of fun.
 

MelindaV

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#15
since posting this a couple weeks ago, I've given in and picked up a few Hue things... their hub, (2) white ambient bulbs, (6) static white bulbs and a motion sensor.
I've also been able to use my Blink camera's motion sensor to control other things with IFTTT, but that only works when they are activated, which I generally only have set for when I am not home or sleeping, so not sure how practical that is for what I am looking for.
And most recently, picked up a Raspberry Pi to install Homebridge on that currently is having it's OS installed - mostly got it to try out some of the motion or door sensors that are much cheaper but not otherwise Homekit compatible.

so... here's the current layout:
garage overhead lights controlled with wall switch/dimmer. Hue motion sensor turns on/off.
living room overhead lights and floor lamp controlled by time of day. Ecobee sensor here to control the temp.
kitchen with under cabinet lights controlled by time of day with wall plug. Electric water kettle controlled by wall plug as part of waking up routine (as long as I remember to fill it and set the kettle's switch to on, it's ready for pour-over coffee by the time you get down the stairs)
loft (top of stair landing) overhead light controlled by various routines and motion detected by camera
bedroom overhead and table lamps controlled by various routines. Ecobee sensor to control temp (tried to use it's motion detection with the lights and it was too annoying).

would like still....
colored flood light to replace my exterior can light. This is on the same switch as my garage exterior lights that have photocells, but this one is on 24/7. I have a Blink camera here, so it could work with that and if color could be fun for halloween/christmas/etc.
MyQ - @Mike Land hasn't scared me away from it, but just haven't gotten around to it - mostly because the current version of the Bridge only seems to be available directly from Chamberlain, with an earlier available for more $ on amazon and can't find either locally.
window/door sensors to automate lights in rooms that either are always closed (closet) or always open (bathroom) when not being used


see... this is what happens when waiting for a new toy to be handed over :oops:
 

SoFlaModel3

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#16
since posting this a couple weeks ago, I've given in and picked up a few Hue things... their hub, (2) white ambient bulbs, (6) static white bulbs and a motion sensor.
I've also been able to use my Blink camera's motion sensor to control other things with IFTTT, but that only works when they are activated, which I generally only have set for when I am not home or sleeping, so not sure how practical that is for what I am looking for.
And most recently, picked up a Raspberry Pi to install Homebridge on that currently is having it's OS installed - mostly got it to try out some of the motion or door sensors that are much cheaper but not otherwise Homekit compatible.

so... here's the current layout:
garage overhead lights controlled with wall switch/dimmer. Hue motion sensor turns on/off.
living room overhead lights and floor lamp controlled by time of day. Ecobee sensor here to control the temp.
kitchen with under cabinet lights controlled by time of day with wall plug. Electric water kettle controlled by wall plug as part of waking up routine (as long as I remember to fill it and set the kettle's switch to on, it's ready for pour-over coffee by the time you get down the stairs)
loft (top of stair landing) overhead light controlled by various routines and motion detected by camera
bedroom overhead and table lamps controlled by various routines. Ecobee sensor to control temp (tried to use it's motion detection with the lights and it was too annoying).

would like still....
colored flood light to replace my exterior can light. This is on the same switch as my garage exterior lights that have photocells, but this one is on 24/7. I have a Blink camera here, so it could work with that and if color could be fun for halloween/christmas/etc.
MyQ - @Mike Land hasn't scared me away from it, but just haven't gotten around to it - mostly because the current version of the Bridge only seems to be available directly from Chamberlain, with an earlier available for more $ on amazon and can't find either locally.
window/door sensors to automate lights in rooms that either are always closed (closet) or always open (bathroom) when not being used


see... this is what happens when waiting for a new toy to be handed over :oops:
Some easy and helpful automation I just picked up came from the Logitech Harmony.

Now I can walk into the family and say “Alexa turn on hockey” or “Alexa turn on Netflix” and it will turn on the tv, the DVR (if necessary) and set the source and/or channel (if necessary). I love it!
 

John

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#18
I added a Teslafi skill to Alexa so I can ask questions about its status, do remote control stuff.

"Hey, Alexa: ask my car what its status is."
"Your battery level is at 85%."

"Hey, Alexa: ask my car how far I can drive."
"TECH has 258 miles of range available."

"Hey, Alexa: ask my car what its temperature is."
"TECH is sleeping, but the last reported temperature readings were 90 degrees inside the vehicle, and 70 degrees outside. The temperatures were last updated 2 hours and 2 minutes ago."
-or-
"The inside temperature is 90 degrees, and the outside temperature is 69 degrees."
 

FrancoisP

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#20
I've added a skill to my Google Home to talk to my Tesla: it's called EV Car. You have to say "Hey Google Talk to EV Car" and then say one of the commands listed below.

For the initial setup I used the Google Assistant on my Android phone where I had to provide my Tesla Account credentials. There are two ways to go about this: (1) enter the Tesla login and password, or (2) enter a token. I don't like to give my Tesla credentials to strangers so I went the token way. Getting a token is a little tricky. I wished Tesla just gave us one in our account. Basically I followed the instructions from this link (posting #43). It requires the installation of a program called Postman that will send the command to the Tesla API and display the token: the "access_token" is what you need. I used Google Keep on my PC to share the token with my phone.

Here are some things you can say:
stop (to end the conversation)
get charge status
get car status
get climate status
get location
turn climate on
warm up my car
cool my car
set driver temperature to 72
set passenger side to 73
start charging
stop charging
honk the horn
flash lights
turn climate off
stop climate
stop heating
stop cooling
how warm is my car
how cold is my car
dude where's my car
get ready to take off
go into hyperdrive
how far can I drive
how far can I go
whats your name
switch cars
set charge limit to 85 percent
start charging to 90 percent
whats the charge limit
lock the car
unlock the car

You can also say Hey Google Ask EV Car to get the car status. That works too.

You can build Google Home Routines with them.

Have fun!
 
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