Author Topic: Home automation in 2019  (Read 974 times)

Offline wilme2

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Re: Home automation in 2019
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2019, 02:43:54 pm »
Just guessing here and am looking forward to the answer but I think it is a matter of scaling. I believe that I went through this stage when I only had a couple of dozen of zwave devices and few integrations and was willing to put up with the occasional luup reloads. At some point I got past that, starting to scale up and integrating more and found out how limited and buggy the system is. As you will see in the forum, many have turned it into a device/radio bridge. Even as a bridge, it has its strange quirks but advantages too. I like the object oriented device architecture/GUI, the API (Luup), scene and plugin handling (Lua), device overall support (though sometimes requires a lot of expert tweaking). What it lacks is stability, command stack handling and power.

I have just over 150 devices, about 60 z-wave, 20 EnOcean, 20 via my DSC alarm.  (The rest of the devices in the list are plug-ins, z-wave child devices, or PLEGs)  I have 12 PLEGs running with just about everything automated I can think of.  (HVAC, all lighting, hot water circulation, pet lighting [lizards] and feeding [cats], window blinds, some AV where it makes sense, security... everything IMO but multi-room audio).  All directly on a VeraSecure.  Not perfect but few problems and maybe a weekly restart.  (I did recently have my z-wave network become corrupted, but that is why we have back-ups.)

I think the difference is that I troubleshoot each and every LUUP reload.  My PLEGs are intentionally separated so as to minimize their overhead, and within each PLEG I make sure no two z-wave actions are called during the same pass.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 03:28:45 pm by wilme2 »
Long Live UI5!  (OK finally made the switch to UI7 in January 2018, and am pretty happy....)

Offline sebby

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Re: Home automation in 2019
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2019, 02:56:44 pm »
just a stupid question, but for those of you that have a ton of devices, what the hell are they?  ???   i've replaced every switch, at least one outlet in every room of the house, door locks, and only have about 50ish zwave devices.  Maybe my house is too small... ;)

Offline wilme2

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Re: Home automation in 2019
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2019, 03:24:32 pm »
just a stupid question, but for those of you that have a ton of devices, what the hell are they?  ???   i've replaced every switch, at least one outlet in every room of the house, door locks, and only have about 50ish zwave devices.  Maybe my house is too small... ;)

Budget another 20 devices for Occupancy Sensors to automate every light.  And another 20 devices for window and door sensors on very window and door to help control the window shades and coordinate with the HVAC.   ;)

In truth, I use other technologies integrated with Vera for those sensors, but they could have been Z-wave...


Long Live UI5!  (OK finally made the switch to UI7 in January 2018, and am pretty happy....)

Offline Catman

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Re: Home automation in 2019
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2019, 03:43:55 pm »
I am using a Veraplus and has no complains at all. I have automated everything in my house and am looking for some new ideas :)

I do find the polarity of experience here fascinating.  Any ideas why yours seems to work so well? Can you give us a 10c overview of what you've actually done?

Cheers

C

It's a reasonable question. I am one of the Vera users who is happy with my system and finds it to be reliable and problem-free. Let me share my experiences and hopefully hellovn and others can share theirs.

1. Controller/Z-Wave
When I replaced my UI5 Vera Lite with a UI7 Vera Plus, I excluded all devices and rebuilt the network from scratch. This was not as much of a pain as I expected. I spend considerable time experimenting with placement of the VP to obtain maximum RF performance. I added powered devices starting with those nearest the VP and worked my way out in a spiral pattern. I let the system settle overnight and presumably do a network heal. All devices were rock solid. I then re-added the battery devices and again let the system settle. One of the annoyances of Z-Wave it that it can take several days (in my experience) for the system to adjust to new devices. I then rewrote my scenes from scratch, and have updated scenes to take advantage of DelayLight and Reactor when they came along. It is possible for the Vera configuration to become corrupted. Having local backups, hopefully daily ones, is imperative.

2. Plug-ins
Use as few as possible,  and only those that are either rock-solid, as shown by forum experience, or are actively being maintained. For example, System Monitor, Countdown Timer, Virtual Switch, ALTUI, DelayLight, Reactor, LuaView are on my system and work well. I'm sure there are many others; I simply haven't needed them. Be aware that deleting a plug-in does not remove its files from your Vera.

3. External Devices/Cloud Services
These are devices or services that are cloud based and require API integration with Vera to work, e.g. Nest, Alexa, Google, etc.  I don't use any of them. This was a conscious decision and why I chose Vera in the first place. I don't want anything that requires a cloud connection or cloud control due to performance, security and privacy concerns.  I realize that Vera itself uses external cloud resources for backups, alerts and time sync (among other things) and @rafele77 has done excellent work in discovering exactly what Vera does and how to disable or replace them with local functionality.

4. Cameras
Cameras have always been a challenge in Vera, and I stopped using them. I went to an external NVR system to avoid burdening Vera.

5. Routine Maintenance
The battery levels reported by many devices are pretty much useless. Some will work reliably with battery reports of 1%; others fail at 90%. You have to figure out when to change batteries based on experience. I have had battery devices cause network problems under low-battery conditions.
Sometimes devices lose their configurations for unknown reasons and a reconfiguration is needed for both battery and powered devices. Powered devices may require a power cycle. I've had dimmers lock up (not responding to Z-Wave or local control) and a power cycle brought them back. It's rare but can occur. Z-Wave devices with a corrupted configuration can also cause havoc on the network and it can be very tough to troubleshoot.

I use System Monitor to keep an eye on Vera's memory usage. I also extrooted (moved the root filesystem from the internal 128MB FLASH to an external USB 120 GB SSD) using @rafele77's excellent thread. My system was stable prior to the extroot, but I now don't have to worry about FLASH space.

No two people will have the same Vera experience as the layout of your home, local RF environment, types and brands of Z-Wave devices, plug-ins, scene complexity, etc will all be different.

Thanks for the detailed response.
I don't really buy the 'letting it settle thing' as that, to me, just indicates a badly designed system. It's *meant* to work straight off ;)
Very interested in how you defined / measured network performance when you were moving the VP around? I also had to re-write *everything* when I moved from a lite (UI7) to a plus (natch also UI7) so also all my scenes were from scratch.
Plugins: I only have AltUI, Foscam (more later), Day or Night, House Modes, PLEG / PLC and Multiswitch now.
Clouds: Only use Alexa and only that recently.
Cameras: Hmm have the Foscam plugin. Perhaps I should ditch that, but I'd rather have concrete evidence (like a log file!) telling me that there was a problem with it than removing it to see if things got 'better'
Battery devices: To me this seems like another way of saying 'It just doesn't work very well' although you raise some interesting points. I'd expect some kind of consistency with devices (like my SRT losing config at a given battery level, not 'for some reason' at a random battery level)

The extroot seems really interesting (especially given my recent issues with memory and space) so that I am going to read up on. Really appreciate your feedback!
Cheers
C