I’ve mostly kept this blog around virtualization technology. Over the last few months, I’ve had more and more conversations about home automation and how my house is tricked out. A lot of people seem to be interested in my setup, so I’m going to start sharing more on the gear, workflows & results. 🙂
Starting with my gear, this is a list of lights, switches, and other sensors to get ideas from.
Also: this is not an invitation to rob me. 😛
Let’s start with the central hub(s). My primary orchestrator is a Fibaro Home Center 2, which has awesome possibilities for workflows. It controls most of my sensors via Z-Wave and I try to write all workflows in it.
If for some reason, I can’t do it with the Fibaro, I have an Athom Homey to fall back on. The Fibaro can’t do 433Mhz sensors, so Homey controls that spectrum.
Most of any future posts will probably be about custom workflows on these two. They also talk to each other, where the Fibaro mostly triggers Homey using HTTP calls. https://apps.athom.com/app/com.internet
Also, I wouldn’t call them really orchestrators, but an Amazon Echo with Alexa and a Google Home are used to execute workflows on the Fibaro and Homey.
You can’t beat Phillips Hue lights when it comes to functionality and reliability, but you can beat it on price (they’re pretty expensive). I’ve got a combination of color bulbs & strips and white ones. Hue Sync is also awesome to run and sync your lights to your computer screens (I sometimes play live music and the light show reaches into my office).
Lately, because you can beat Hue on price, I’ve added a few Ikea TRÅDFRI lights. In order to control these, you can couple them with a Hue Bridge.
All lights are switched based on light brightness and motion. It’s awesome to have the light follow you throughout the house. 🙂
Z-Wave Sensors & Switches
Attached to the Fibaro are a bunch of sensors and switches. Here’s a list with the sensors and functions:
- Fibaro Wallplug. These are very reliable power switches and energy meters. Overvoltage protection is a plus. I’ve got a few, mostly for the big appliances (and my home lab).
- Fibaro Motion sensors. Again, very reliable, stable motion sensors. These trip mostly light workflows, but also are included in the ‘is someone home’ detection. Plus alarm workflows if everyone (authorized) is away and the first one comes home.
- Fibaro Door or Window sensors. On all external (and some internal) doors and windows to make sure nothing is left open when leaving the home. Also attached to alarm workflows.
- Fibaro Smoke and CO sensors to alarm on any nasty business that’s in the air.
- Fibaro Heat Controllers to control the per room temperature. These are awesome, can be controlled remotely and locally and can rely on the actual room temperature (not the temperature next to the radiator).
- Aeotec WallMote. Very sleek and pretty switch. This has 4 buttons and can be controlled by taps, holds, and swipes. Has a battery pack so you can hang it anywhere.
The Fibaro sensors are not really cheap and I might choose other and cheaper sensors now, based on experience with the 433Mhz sensors & actors I added later.
433Mhz & Zigbee Sensors
These sensors & actors are controlled by Homey.
- Klik Aan Klik Uit power switches. These are Dutch and really cheap switches that usually come with a plastic remote. Homey can control these to incorporate them in workflows. These control holiday lights, an A/C device for my home lab, and a water cooker.
- Flower Care (Xiaomi) sensors. Chinese and really cheap sensors you can use to monitor plant health. Coupled with Homey, they actually make sure my plants don’t die (they never lived on for more than 2 months before this 😉 ).
- Beddi Alarm Clock. While it looks pretty good, I mostly got this alarm clock because it can execute actions (such as HTTP and IFTTT calls) before and on the moment the alarm is supposed to go. Mine calls the Fibaro to start a wake-up light routine 15 minutes before the alarm and start playing music on the Sonos when the alarm goes. Important fact: these calls are made from your phone and you have to keep the app open during the night (so Beddi is not a standalone device), which is a drawback.
- Netatmo rain, wind & temperature modules. Besides it being cool to be notified it’s raining (and maybe you’ve left something outside), these are mostly used to determine whether it’s safe to extend the sunscreen. It’s coupled to the Fibaro to automate sunscreen movement.
- Ring video doorbell. First off, it is awesome to be able to answer your door from miles away. It’s also coupled with Homey, so it can doublecheck the alarm status if needed, and take a couple of pictures of the front door for archiving.
- Sonos speakers. Beautiful sound and remotely controlled. Coupled with the Fibaro, they’re incorporated into my morning workflows.
- Flic Buttons These round 3cm Bluetooth buttons are just cute and really good for hiding, so you don’t see them. They can be controlled via your phone or a hub (which I have) to control all kinds of cool things. I mostly use them to fire off HTTP requests to the Fibaro or Homey and execute a workflow.
The devices themselves aren’t really the point of home automation, it’s the workflows that you create to make your life easier. I’m going to start posting some of the workflows I’ve got in place and publish the code behind them, in hopes to add to the community.
Till next time!
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