We have moved at community.getvera.com

Author Topic: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls  (Read 10045 times)

Offline catchingthezwaves

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: +1/-1
Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« on: March 19, 2014, 03:19:33 pm »
I am in research mode, considering jumping into the z-wave automation realm and i would like some insight.  My goal is to automate a lighting system, perhaps thermostats and less likely security in my home.  This house is about 3,000 s.f. on 3 levels including basement the exterior walls are SIPs (structurally insulated panels). The scope of my project would include automating all of the light switches in my house lets say 50 switches with 3 or so being 3 way non dimmed and another 6 or so dimmed, the main desire is to be able to have away mode and good night scenes enabled.  I understand that the z wave system uses a mesh network so conceptually the more devices, the shorter distance the signals need to travel.  However, I have also read that some users with 30 or so devices have seen very slow response times for light switches and scenes to turn on (3-5 seconds).  One of my concerns is whether or not the system will work instantaneously.    Secondly I dont totally understand whether i need Micasaverde to control this type of system or if they can be managed other ways.  Lastly i would like to understand whether router on the third floor would be an issue.  Thanks in advance!

Offline Z-Waver

  • Master Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 4437
  • Karma: +249/-120
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2014, 08:29:42 am »
However, I have also read that some users with 30 or so devices have seen very slow response times for light switches and scenes to turn on (3-5 seconds). One of my concerns is whether or not the system will work instantaneously.
A 3-5 second delay in activating a device indicates a problem. A large number of devices is unlikely to be the problem. A properly functioning Vera setup should have responses in 1 second or less.

Quote
Secondly I dont totally understand whether i need Micasaverde to control this type of system or if they can be managed other ways.
I'm not sure I understand just what you're asking. Vera can be managed directly from your local area network(LAN) and even remotely, utilizing a VPN, without Micasaverde servers or accounts. The Micasaverde servers provide an added benefit of automatic backups, alerts and notifications, easy and secure remote access...

If you are asking if there are other Z-Wave controllers besides Vera, then yes, there are lots.

If you are asking if a Z-Wave controller is necessary, then yes, a controller is required for the setup/operation of a Z-Wave network.

Quote
Lastly i would like to understand whether router on the third floor would be an issue.
There's no way to know this. Radio frequency(RF) propagation is going to be different in every location and we have no way of knowing what your home is like. A thick concrete floor with lots of wire mesh/rebar might be a problem where a wooden joist floor might not. Typically, Vera is plugged into the router with an ethernet cable and the wireless Z-Wave network is used to control devices. Trial and error will be the only reliable way of identifying the best location for your Vera.

Offline BulldogLowell

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1576
  • Karma: +191/-85
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2014, 08:42:38 am »
Just building on Z-Waver's excellent comments, regarding:

I have also read that some users with 30 or so devices have seen very slow response times for light switches and scenes to turn on (3-5 seconds).

It is possible that in your research you are seeing this issue as there are devices (Zwave switch) and there are devices (A/V systems, Arduino devices, Nest Thermostats, etc).  the typical zwave device adds easily and uses little system resources.  Other devices, serviced with plugins, are more needy with respect to system resources.  So when folks talk about lots of devices affecting their performance, invariably they are talking about plugins they are using to control the 'other' devices or to enhance the basic functionality of vera (e.g. PLEG, Heliotrope, etc.).

I hope that helps.  You came to the right place for help, there is a tremendous community of users to assist.  They helped me a lot; sometimes with vera's learning curve you may need a little push uphill.

Offline catchingthezwaves

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2014, 09:53:42 am »
This is incredible, thank you for your input.  I am clearly a long way from understanding the capabilities of the Vera and z-wave technologies.  i am excited about the opportunity to get going.  Is there a resource that can help me understand the breadth of elements that i will need to get started?  Aside from the 'starter' kits i have not been able to find information that breaks the system down.  Also i would like to understand YOUR suggestions for the best hardware to get started. Considering my scope. i would like to understand the "controller" and then switches  Thanks again!

Offline curiousB

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 229
  • Karma: +6/-6
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2014, 03:11:45 pm »
Best way to learn is by doing. I started with a single deadbolt lock and two plugin lighting modules. Add as you get more comfortable and ready to take on more.

VeraLite (1), Leviton VRI10-1LX (8 ), VP00R-1LZ (5), VRS15-1LX (1), Intermatic CA3500 (10), CA5100 (1), Aeon Labs DSC26103 (5), Foscam FI8918W (2) , FI9821W V2 (1), DLINK DCS-932L (2), DCS-930L (1), GE45604 (2), GE45603 (5), Honeywell RTH8580WF (2), HA-09WD (1), Kwikset 910TRL ZW (1), Aeon MMote (2)

Offline bucko

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 659
  • Karma: +27/-9
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2014, 08:48:29 pm »
The learning takes place right here. It's all in the forum. With patience and steady reading posts, you can know all there is, including photos, schematics, connections of everything HA.

The key is having the interest in learning it. If you are not really too interested, so your goal is to only DIY a system to save $$ and move on, you may find HA a daunting task at best.

To be successful and satisfied with your end result for HA, look at it as a serious hobby first or it will frustrate you to the point of disappointment in the end.

But as I say about this forum,"If we don't have it......you don't need it!"
Vera 3, 40+ Fibaro relays & dimmers, IPUX cams, Elk M1 Gold, M1XEP, M1SP, XVOR, M1RB, Elk124, Monoprice HDMI matrix & 6 zone amp, Denon AVR, Panasonic A8000, BI DV,On Controls

Offline catchingthezwaves

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2014, 11:16:11 am »
I am generally convinced that i will move forward with a Vera Lite.  I feel that the wiring and programming will come. (with this forum's help)  i am still concerned about the reliability of the infrastructure that i have in place.  We live rurally, so in ground ISPs are not available.  We experience coverage outages during weather events, such as heavy snow.  I assume that the lack of internet connection would likely make remote access inoperable.  Does reliability of the ISP affect the functionality of devices like light switches?  Is there anything else that i should be concerned with?

Offline aPL

  • Developers
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: +1/-2
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 11:45:29 am »
Does reliability of the ISP affect the functionality of devices like light switches?  Is there anything else that i should be concerned with?

What will you lose when internet is down:
- ability to connect remotely via browser or android app
- sms / email alerts from mios server
- video recording on mios servers

The automation / controll part is done fully on the unit, it will work as well regardless of the status of the internet connection
working @ Vera / MiOS | anything stated is my own opinion and does not reflect the thoughts and opinions of my employer

Offline catchingthezwaves

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2014, 01:08:44 pm »
All helpful info.  I have another question.  Regarding real estate and resale of the property, is this system adequately reliable to hand off to a future owner without concern?  Not that I am wanting to sell off right away or at all for that matter.  I just dont want to install a system that has to be removed when/if our family needs to move on.


Offline SirMeili

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1052
  • Karma: +43/-20
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2014, 05:12:44 pm »
All helpful info.  I have another question.  Regarding real estate and resale of the property, is this system adequately reliable to hand off to a future owner without concern?  Not that I am wanting to sell off right away or at all for that matter.  I just dont want to install a system that has to be removed when/if our family needs to move on.

With the investment I have in this system, I will likely take it with me. Normal switches and outlets are cheap enough to buy. If I install an alarm panel, it will stay but the rest goes with me.

I could also seeing this being a con for some potential buyers (if you market it as having a HA system). It depends on the market for your house. Some houses it is expected others it may put off potential buyers  who want to forego the complexity of such a system.

Sent from my XT1053 using Tapatalk

VeraLite (Live); ISY 994i (Live); Vera 3 (Waiting to replace VeraLite); Vera Edge (Waiting for all the bugs to be fixed); Xuan StackBox (Testing and waiting for more plugins and for it to mature)
Countless z-wave and insteon devices :D

WackyZWave

  • Guest
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2014, 05:30:00 pm »
All helpful info.  I have another question.  Regarding real estate and resale of the property, is this system adequately reliable to hand off to a future owner without concern?  Not that I am wanting to sell off right away or at all for that matter.  I just dont want to install a system that has to be removed when/if our family needs to move on.

With the investment I have in this system, I will likely take it with me. Normal switches and outlets are cheap enough to buy. If I install an alarm panel, it will stay but the rest goes with me.

I could also seeing this being a con for some potential buyers (if you market it as having a HA system). It depends on the market for your house. Some houses it is expected others it may put off potential buyers  who want to forego the complexity of such a system.

Sent from my XT1053 using Tapatalk

would you say then it does not affect value?

Offline TC1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1088
  • Karma: +90/-88
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2014, 08:02:31 pm »
All helpful info.  I have another question.  Regarding real estate and resale of the property, is this system adequately reliable to hand off to a future owner without concern?  Not that I am wanting to sell off right away or at all for that matter.  I just dont want to install a system that has to be removed when/if our family needs to move on.

A properly thought out and designed Z-wave system has the advantage of still operating, even when the controller is down or gone. Meaning, you could move away and take the controller with you, but leave wall switches, sockets and thermostats in place for the next owner. But since each wall switch generally runs >$40, it would probably be worth it to uninstall them and replace them with standard $1.50 switches from Home Depot.

The key to designing a system that will function adequately, even when the controller is gone/down, is picking the right devices:

Thermostats- Don't be tempted to get a low-cost Z-wave only thermostat, it turns into a manual thermostat without a controller. Instead invest in a Z-wave thermostat that also supports local scheduling on the unit itself. When I move, I can leave my thermostats for the next owner and they can be programmed/scheduled right from their own faceplate.

Dimmers and switches- Get dimmers and switches that support direct associations, this will allow you to setup N-way lightning control without a central controller having to intervene.

Use in-wall Scene Controllers- By using Scene Controllers, you can control scenes from the in-wall controller once the controller has been added to the network and the proper associations made. Leviton Controllers and Dimmers/Switches are very good at this, some HA installers create entire house lighting systems without a central controller.

Ultimately what you do need a central controller/gateway for is complex scheduling or conditional scenes, and remote access of your HA functions. One the biggest WAFs is being able to unlock your front door and turn on the lights before you even get out of the car (you don't necessarily need Internet access, just be close enough to your wifi network), or adjust your HVAC system for cooler or warmer as you're heading home (you do need Internet access).

Hopefully some of these ideas will help.

-TC

Offline catchingthezwaves

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2014, 09:44:40 am »
Thanks all for the excellent info.  One more question for now.  Is there a sticks and bricks store that has z wave devices for sale? I would like to understand the aesthetics, so that there is a visual consistency between all of the switches. While of course considering functionality.  Thanks


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline TC1

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1088
  • Karma: +90/-88
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2014, 02:41:19 pm »
The only big box store that I am unaware that hase z-wave devices in store is Lowes. They sell some zwave devices under their Iris home security/automation brand. You have to be careful though, some of the Iris stuff is Z-wave and some is Zigbee (a competing home automation protocol).

Your best bet is to simply look at devices online. Almost all the z-wave dimmers, switches, locks, thermo's, etc have online pdf manuals so you know ahead of time exactly how they will operate. There's also enough hi-res photos to see how they look.

What I and along with many others here have done is buy one of each different design on the wall dimmers/switches to see how we'd like living with them day-to-day. That way you don't make a big $$$ investment in something that is going to be all around your house.

And finally, just keep asking questions in the forums.

-TC

Offline catchingthezwaves

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2014, 03:32:02 am »
Back to my original question of creating a lighting control system, with all of the input that i have seen to date the concept of using a vera controller is secondary to adding lighting control devices to the house as long as I design the system to have control-ability with z-wave scene controlling switches. Once the system is in place the addition of a vera controller would add even more control-ability.  It further seems to me that the lighting control devices would not be much different with or without the vera controller (exclusive of any t-stats and locks) 

So to boil my question down, is the following correct? To have lighting only scenes that are controlled within the house, you need to have scene capable devices, and once the Vera is in place those same devices are needed to allow you to control lighting along with the other systems, like HVAC and Security.

Cheers!