Author Topic: Vera Alternatives  (Read 13015 times)

Offline Timon

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #135 on: May 19, 2017, 11:34:17 am »
So what I've decided to do is buy a HomeSeer HomeTroller Zee S2 for now as the cost is not that much different than a Vera Plus. I'll run the Zee S2 for the next few months so I can see just what I'm going to need as far as plugins.

After that I'll look at either just keep running on the Zee S2 or moving up to one of the other controllers. The advantage of going with HomeSeer hardware comes in when one sells the home. People will be more open to a system that's has support from a manufacture that's been around for a while.

Between now and the next sale I can play with the Pro versions using a virtual machine on my Mac, should have a new one by then, which will allow me to check out all of the Pro features and do testing without messing up the house.  When I want to try a different configuration, either under windows or Linux, I can just blow a VM away and start over without worrying about what was done before because it's a totally different VM with no remains of the previous version laying around to mess things up. That's the one thing I love about working with a virtual system and something I did all the time as a network admin.

Another side benefit, I don't think I'll have to worry about any trial time limits since no VM will ever last 30 days before being blown away. I should be able to do any testing I want and during that time while the Zee S2 runs the house less the couple of rooms I'll use for testing.

HS3 vs. HS3PRO

http://homeseer.com/home-control-software.html

The difference between hs3 and hs3pro is only 8 plugins that you probley wont need. And if you need 1 or 2 its still cheaper to buy seperatly. Sale or not you almost have to have a need for HStouch Designer plus atleast 4 of the other plugins on the list to justify the cost. And 95% of the people will not need more then 1 or 2 of the following plugins. So PRO is not widely bought.

HSTouch Designer   
UPB   
ADIO-100   
Global Cache   
Square Connect   
WGL Rain8   
DSC Security   
Current Cost Envi

As far as the Zee S2. Its a great start but usually the plugin limit is a problem before anything else. You get 5 plugins and zwave is one. Also if you using a mobile app (I use Imperihome and/or HStouch)  So you have 4 plugins after z-wave and 3 plugins after Imperihome or HsTouch. Add a weather plugin and you left with 2. That might be OK for some. I currently have around 12 plugins now myself. 4 Plugins were/are paid plugins the rest are free plugins. But I don't come close to fitting under the 5 plugin limit.

Other problem is when you find that 5 plugins are not enough your left with now doubling your HS cost unless you really feel that a used Zee 2 will bring good money. Right now you could get a Smartstick+ for 33.96 and HS3 software for 124.98 or 158.94 total plus tax and shipping if it applies to you.

The Zee S2 is on sale for 169.96 right now which is stand alone (compared to my other option) but cost more upfront, only uses Linux plugins and I'm almost sure you going to out grow and be back to speeding more money to do that 2nd time around vs. just from the start.

Now there is no problem with spending more (and maybe you won't need to upgrade) but I feel that HomeSeer gets a bad wrap for being expensive (which is doesn't have to be) and If I could save you some money it would only further prove that HS is not expensive if you don't want it to be. Either way you should enjoy it. Good luck.

Considering I have no PCs in the house to run HS3 on I'd have to purchase that hardware as well. Assuming everything goes well between now an the next sale I'll likely go with the HomeSeer HomeTroller-SEL PRO.

I can wait till the next sale to start working with HSTouch designs and other non-lighting equipment. What I do wish is that HomeSeer would upgrade HS3 Pi software to include a mode where it would act as a Z-Net so when upgrading the Zee-S2 can still be useful rather than trying to find a buyer. Still I'm thinking someone might want it for half off the sale price and I'm good with that.

Anyhow, the Zee S2 is now in-house and I'm starting to move rooms, which I can live without on the main system for a while, to the Zee S2. Lot of testing still to do. What's been interesting is that some of my dimmers that had stopped working with VeraLite started working again when moved to the Zee S2. I'm thinking the programming in the Vera was corrupted. I've lost almost the entire configuration before and had to restore from a backup. Then this is the same VeraLite that the Z-Wave controller will just stop working and I had to power it down to fix the problem since even a reboot wouldn't fix the Z-Wave controller.

I was checking out your list and just incase someone else wants to as well I added links.

HSTouch Designer   
UPB   
ADIO-100   
Global Cache   
Square Connect   
WGL Rain8   
DSC Security   
Current Cost Envi

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #136 on: May 19, 2017, 12:54:06 pm »
Considering I have no PCs in the house to run HS3 on I'd have to purchase that hardware as well. Assuming everything goes well between now an the next sale I'll likely go with the HomeSeer HomeTroller-SEL PRO.

I can wait till the next sale to start working with HSTouch designs and other non-lighting equipment. What I do wish is that HomeSeer would upgrade HS3 Pi software to include a mode where it would act as a Z-Net so when upgrading the Zee-S2 can still be useful rather than trying to find a buyer. Still I'm thinking someone might want it for half off the sale price and I'm good with that.

Anyhow, the Zee S2 is now in-house and I'm starting to move rooms, which I can live without on the main system for a while, to the Zee S2. Lot of testing still to do. What's been interesting is that some of my dimmers that had stopped working with VeraLite started working again when moved to the Zee S2. I'm thinking the programming in the Vera was corrupted. I've lost almost the entire configuration before and had to restore from a backup. Then this is the same VeraLite that the Z-Wave controller will just stop working and I had to power it down to fix the problem since even a reboot wouldn't fix the Z-Wave controller.

I was checking out your list and just incase someone else wants to as well I added links.

HSTouch Designer   
UPB   
ADIO-100   
Global Cache   
Square Connect   
WGL Rain8   
DSC Security   
Current Cost Envi

Enjoy!

Offline wilme2

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #137 on: May 22, 2017, 05:32:59 pm »
Any every year I remember why I don't leave for HomeSeer - lack of EnOcean support.  Now Vera's support isn't that great, but I have worked with Andrei to make it work well enough for Occupancy Sensors.  But I am not going to do battery powered Z-Wave for my 19 occupancy sensors - way too much battery changing.  With EnOcean solar powered sensors, they just work.
Long Live UI5!

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #138 on: May 22, 2017, 06:56:50 pm »
Any every year I remember why I don't leave for HomeSeer - lack of EnOcean support.  Now Vera's support isn't that great, but I have worked with Andrei to make it work well enough for Occupancy Sensors.  But I am not going to do battery powered Z-Wave for my 19 occupancy sensors - way too much battery changing.  With EnOcean solar powered sensors, they just work.
I saw your post on HS today and it seemed like not only is there a plugin but others are using it and have told you it works. I do see you have asked about a specific sensor which no one has to test and the developer has atold you it should work but try it out and if it doesn't send him your log so that he can make sure it does. This seems like it would be right along the same lines that you have worked with Andrei on the plugin here to make it happen. It actually seems really positive to me.

Here is the Dev's last reply from over a year ago that you just replayed back to today:
Quote
Have you tried installing the plugin and tested with pir to see what happens? If you enable console (developer mode) for plugins in HS3 and send me copy of the output when the PIR is triggered, then I might be able to quickly add support for PIR. If it's more complicated I might need additional debug or worst case a device for testing.

If there was a cost to try it out I could see the problem, but since
1) Everyone has a computer
2) HS3 is free for 30days
3) EnOcean Plugin is free (and everyone thinks plugins in Hs3 are overpriced)
3) You already have EnOcean sensors and a gateway of some sort to connect it to vera

It would appear you have everything you need to try out what others are already using.

The other real problem I see is that EnOcean seems to not be widely used (in any HomeAutomation controller) period. I'm not a fan of wireless at all myself (my 30 something input sensors all come from my alarm panel) but I wouldn't even know where to purchase EnOcean sensors locally nor have I ever seen them in person. I think this is going to make all EnOcean out of the box support very minimal since probably less then 5% (if that) HomeAutomation users actually have EnOcean Devices. But even with that said it seems like both here and with HS3 you are getting support, it's just here you gave feedback and worked with the Dev.  There you haven't yet.

Offline wilme2

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #139 on: May 22, 2017, 07:17:37 pm »
If there was a cost to try it out I could see the problem, but since
1) Everyone has a computer
2) HS3 is free for 30days
3) EnOcean Plugin is free (and everyone thinks plugins in Hs3 are overpriced)
3) You already have EnOcean sensors and a gateway of some sort to connect it to vera

It would appear you have everything you need to try out what others are already using.

The other real problem I see is that EnOcean seems to not be widely used (in any HomeAutomation controller) period. I'm not a fan of wireless at all myself (my 30 something input sensors all come from my alarm panel) but I wouldn't even know where to purchase EnOcean sensors locally nor have I ever seen them in person. I think this is going to make all EnOcean out of the box support very minimal since probably less then 5% (if that) HomeAutomation users actually have EnOcean Devices. But even with that said it seems like both here and with HS3 you are getting support, it's just here you gave feedback and worked with the Dev.  There you haven't yet.

You don't take into account the cost of time.  Meaning I already had Vera installed and knew how to troubleshoot it before I started working on EnOcean.  I am just not (at this time) willing to learn HS just to see if I can get the EnOcean plug-in to work.  If they want to add in a new "Lighting & Primary Technology" as they refer to Z-Wave/ZigBee/X10, it probably should be a HomeSeer-written plug-in.  We should move this discussion to the HomeSeer boards.

While I guess I agree with you about few people in using EnOcean for home automation today, Zipato supports EnOcean with an add-on hardware module - they consider it a primary technology.  This may be due to the fact EnOcean is more popular in Europe.



Long Live UI5!

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #140 on: May 22, 2017, 08:18:46 pm »
While I guess I agree with you about few people in using EnOcean for home automation today, Zipato supports EnOcean with an add-on hardware module - they consider it a primary technology.  This may be due to the fact EnOcean is more popular in Europe.

Bingo! Homeseer is a USA based company, which so am I. I don't see Homeseer or VERA (Vera now working on their own wireless protocall) for that matter writing their own plugin for a device that has such a low adoption rate. I don't see that as a problem with either controller company but rather with EnOcean for not being able to push those number up high enough where controller companies would need or want that technology in their devices. At this point if I was a US based controller company and EnOcean sent me a whole slew of devices to test use and create a plugin for I would still pass even with devices in hand just due to the lack of customer base requesting this support. That in no way is fair for the few people that do want that support though.

With all that said I would love to see this working for you but not sure I could test or help much without any EnOcean products. How much does a PIR and a Bridge go for? Is the USB 300 the device your using? And which PIR?

EDIT: if you have a link for a US based "USb 300U" that would also be great. I can't seem to find one on ebay, amazon or anything with the US $ on it. I just spent 15min on google with no luck on even finding who sales this product. I did find on ebay alot of sensors and PIR's though.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 08:29:49 pm by integlikewhoa »

Offline wilme2

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #141 on: May 23, 2017, 11:35:52 am »
With all that said I would love to see this working for you but not sure I could test or help much without any EnOcean products. How much does a PIR and a Bridge go for? Is the USB 300 the device your using? And which PIR?

EDIT: if you have a link for a US based "USb 300U" that would also be great. I can't seem to find one on ebay, amazon or anything with the US $ on it. I just spent 15min on google with no luck on even finding who sales this product. I did find on ebay alot of sensors and PIR's though.

I appreciate the offer.  And I have a spare USB300 and spare occupancy sensors at 315 Mhz.  But when I went over my bi-annual (May & November HS sales) review, I realized that if even HS had EnOcean and Rainforest Eagle support, I am probably not ready to move.  Vera3 + UI5 is still working great - my only issue is the occasional slow-down due to processor speed.  I will revisit again at the next sale, and if HS looks better than VeraPlus + UI7, then I will work with the HS EnOcean developer.

Just a note - in the US, the main EnOcean supplier is Leviton, and they brand it as "Leviton LevNet".  If you google that, you will see it readily available in the US.  They have switched from 315 Mhz to 902 Mhz, so you have to be careful on which frequency you want/need...
Long Live UI5!

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #142 on: May 23, 2017, 12:21:21 pm »
Just a note - in the US, the main EnOcean supplier is Leviton, and they brand it as "Leviton LevNet".  If you google that, you will see it readily available in the US.  They have switched from 315 Mhz to 902 Mhz, so you have to be careful on which frequency you want/need...

That's good info and helps me find it now. I don't find much under the 902mhz maybe its too new? 

https://www.leviton.com/en/products/lighting-controls/selfpowered-wireless-controls

I don't even see a USB controller on that page for 902mhz. I was able to find the "Leviton WSCOM-3W RF COMPUTER LINK_315MHZ" all over now. It looks to be less then 30.00 us$ from many paces so it's pretty cheap and available.

Offline wilme2

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #143 on: May 23, 2017, 12:37:59 pm »
I don't even see a USB controller on that page for 902mhz. I was able to find the "Leviton WSCOM-3W RF COMPUTER LINK_315MHZ" all over now. It looks to be less then 30.00 us$ from many paces so it's pretty cheap and available.

I bought my USB300s from Future Electronics.  They have the 902 Mhz (direct EnOcean, not Leviton)...   http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/technologies/semiconductors/semi-energy/wireless-transceiver-modules/Pages/5031297-S3054-K300.aspx?IM=0 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 12:41:18 pm by wilme2 »
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Offline Timon

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #144 on: August 15, 2017, 01:50:03 am »
Considering I have no PCs in the house to run HS3 on I'd have to purchase that hardware as well. Assuming everything goes well between now an the next sale I'll likely go with the HomeSeer HomeTroller-SEL PRO.

I can wait till the next sale to start working with HSTouch designs and other non-lighting equipment. What I do wish is that HomeSeer would upgrade HS3 Pi software to include a mode where it would act as a Z-Net so when upgrading the Zee-S2 can still be useful rather than trying to find a buyer. Still I'm thinking someone might want it for half off the sale price and I'm good with that.

Anyhow, the Zee S2 is now in-house and I'm starting to move rooms, which I can live without on the main system for a while, to the Zee S2. Lot of testing still to do. What's been interesting is that some of my dimmers that had stopped working with VeraLite started working again when moved to the Zee S2. I'm thinking the programming in the Vera was corrupted. I've lost almost the entire configuration before and had to restore from a backup. Then this is the same VeraLite that the Z-Wave controller will just stop working and I had to power it down to fix the problem since even a reboot wouldn't fix the Z-Wave controller.

I was checking out your list and just incase someone else wants to as well I added links.

HSTouch Designer   
UPB   
ADIO-100   
Global Cache   
Square Connect   
WGL Rain8   
DSC Security   
Current Cost Envi

Enjoy!

Just thought I'd toss in some updates. I've been running for three months with my Zee S2. I've not had any lockup with the old Evolve dimmers. So way back when Evolve told me it was a VeraLite issue I guess they were right.

The only funny thing I've seen a couple of times is some of the Evolve dimmers suddenly will go to full on then back to the dimmer settings. Every time that happens I don't see anything in the Zee S2 logs so I suspect it's something with the dimmer.

I'm going to be ordering several more of the HomeSeer HS-WD-100 dimmers along with accessory switches. These dimmers are great and I love being able to use the multi-tap functions as it really makes adding scenes to bedrooms easy compared to putting in a full scene controller.

I'm doing a How To Guide on how to take an existing interconnected smoke alarms and connect it into your Home Automations System safely. This only works with Kidde, or one of their other brand names, equipment but it does work great. I've also been able to connect my inside garage door to a magnetic release so I can leave the door open but if the smoke alarms go off the door will close plus I can release it from the HA system. I'll post both of these here once I've completed the How To Guide since it will work just as well with Vera and it does with HomeSeer.

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #145 on: August 15, 2017, 12:50:05 pm »
Just thought I'd toss in some updates. I've been running for three months with my Zee S2. I've not had any lockup with the old Evolve dimmers. So way back when Evolve told me it was a VeraLite issue I guess they were right.

Glad to see your happy with even the Pi version of HomeSeer. I feel the Pi hardware is underpowered and the 5 plugin limit wouldn't work for me. But compared to Vera........

I'm going to be ordering several more of the HomeSeer HS-WD-100 dimmers along with accessory switches. These dimmers are great and I love being able to use the multi-tap functions as it really makes adding scenes to bedrooms easy compared to putting in a full scene controller.
Firmware update-able and the features of the switches do make them an obvious choice for smart things and homeseer users that can take advanatge of the features. I think Vera doesn;t support instant status or the double and triple tap options like smartthings and Hoemseer.   

Offline Mike Yeager

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Re: Vera Alternatives
« Reply #146 on: August 17, 2017, 10:39:58 am »
The 5 plug-in limit is what caught my eye. Now, if you can link several of them together in a master/secondary arrangement and get around that, it might not be an issue. Don't know how many plug-ins I might need, but it seems that 5 could go mighty quickly.

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: Vera Alternatives
« Reply #147 on: August 17, 2017, 01:30:22 pm »
The 5 plug-in limit is what caught my eye. Now, if you can link several of them together in a master/secondary arrangement and get around that, it might not be an issue. Don't know how many plug-ins I might need, but it seems that 5 could go mighty quickly.

I might not be the normal, but personally have 15 plugins and altho not all are critical (like sprinklers I'm not really using for automation or events) There is no way I could keep it at 5.

Also out of the 15, 11 are free plugins and only 4 are paid (I know most people think all plugins or the majority are paid and cost a ton).

You can have remote plugins, and remote z-wave (z-nets) networks, but all is calculated from the master as the master still has control even if it off loads some of the work.

Also multiple Pi software's cost more then just getting the full HS3 liscense. When you buy HS3 (249 list or 125.00 on the 50% off twice a year) you get to run it on windows and/or linux. So people do run full HS3 software (same as pi but no 5 plugin limit) on a PI. I personally think your getting into vera territory if you start pushing the Pi to far software wise with alot of plugins. I'm also a windows person myself. A lilttle nuc or other headless mini PC runs just fine and has endless storage for backups, logs or what ever plugin data you want to store. 

Another thing is if you buy the software separately its not tied to HS hardware. So if you buy a HS complete unit hardware and software and want to upgrade. HS doesn't want you saleing off Hardware with a license you took with you. On the flip side if you buy only the software you can move and use that software on any windows, linux, VM you want and more then one at a time (for testing) really.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 01:32:41 pm by integlikewhoa »

Offline zedrally

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Re: Vera Alternatives
« Reply #148 on: August 17, 2017, 05:23:49 pm »
Just to balance this out, all I use is 1.
Living in the Land of Oz, give me a vegemite sandwich. Home Seer, Vera Lite & Edge, Popp, Black Cat Smart Hub & Vera G, Black Cat Lite 1 & 2's a Black Cat Dimmer or 2, then some  Black Cat Cat's Eye PIR's & Door-Window Sensors plus a Z-UNO or 2.

Offline Mike Yeager

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Re: Vera Alternatives
« Reply #149 on: August 18, 2017, 07:02:22 pm »
A RPi3 is likely far more capable than the Vera hardware to begin with. I wasn't aware you could run the full version on a RPi. Haven't looked into it much as I haven't had the desire...