Author Topic: Goodbye Vera  (Read 8942 times)

Offline krementz

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2018, 04:36:44 pm »
Thank you, everybody. The Homeseer system look interesting, and seems to have a lot of support.

I do not want to run a freestanding server if I don't have to. As I understand them, they have both Linux and Windows freestanding controllers, with the Linux somewhat less expensive.

My regret is I have 4 Veras at present, and am unenthusiastic with scrapping them for a new system and resetting everything to new controllers.

Just a suggestion.

Could you list out exactly what you want to achieve HA wise and people could possibly make suggestions on what could best suit you. This would save you diving straight in and once again being disappointed.

I don't see anyone wanting to run a desktop server in this day and age. As far a I can see your best bet would be a Raspberry Pi 3B + and a copy of Homeseer 3 Pro. This will give you a licence to run a copy on both Windows and Linux and give you all the Homeseer 3 designed plugins included in the purchase price. Don't forget there are a lot of 3rd party Homeseer plugins that are free to use too.

Don't go making any further purchases until you are very clear on what is on offer and if it will meet with your expectations.

I am on a remote off-grid PV powered house. I have two Veras at this location. (The other two Veras are at other mainland locations)

Water Heating system consists of electric heater with both resistance and heatpump heaters. Secondary indirect tank has 2 heating circuits. One circuit is plumbed to WoodStove1, the other circuit is plumbed to WoodStove2. Wood stoves are primarily space heating and have coils. Stratification in tanks is significant, which is overcome by long pump run times. In addition to the EmergencyValve, there are 4 mechanical safety overpressure/overtemp valves in the system. I prefer to control where the hot water goes and not wait for them to release.

If (Loop1 = water AND WoodStove1FlueTemp > 220˚F), turnon Loop1Pump, else quit
If WoodStove1FlueTemp < 200˚F, turnoff Loop1Pump, else quit

(ditto for Loop2 for WoodStove2)

If TankTemp > 160˚F, (too warm)
   turnoff HiTempResitanceHeater
   turnoff HiTempHeatPump
   If Loop1 = water, turnon LoopPump1 for 2 hours
   If Loop2 = water, turnon LoopPump2 for 2 hours
   turnon RecyclePump for 2 hours
Then remeasure water temperature, if still >160˚ repeat for 2 hours, else turnoff RecyclePump, quit

If TankTemp >190˚ (too hot)
   open EmergencyValve for 30 minutes, then close
   send message or siren
  [repeat "too warm" commands for safety]

If PV has ExcessPower, turn on HiTempHeatPump, turn off at 6pm.

I also have another half dozen high energy loads triggered on the PVExcess Power relay. I expect to have more triggers based on BatterySoC, such as 80%, 50% and 20%, to disconnect loads when batteries are low. The PV items are triggered on Mimolite relays in workshop (location of the PV inverters and batteries). A second Vera in the Workshop monitors the Mimolites, and is ethernet wired with the primary Vera in the house.

Any thoughts or ideas welcome!



Offline peterxbmc

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #61 on: May 17, 2018, 05:00:49 pm »
My first observation here would be that I would be reluctant to entrust any form of mission critical tasks to any of the "off the shelf" home automation products on the market. Unless they are expressly UL listed you may well find yourself in a lot of deep water in the event of an insurance claim. Your solution would have to be professionally designed with the maximum of security and certified which a lot of HA products fall down on badly these days.

Notwithstanding the above, you are definitely in search of a reliable event driven solution and I imagine Homeseer would be the ideal candidate for you. As I previously posted, register with the Homeseer forum and download the trial version of Homeseer 3. You could probably reuse most of your technology including your Veras purely as ZWave controllers.

Homeseer's strength lies in its ability to drive multiple logical events which in turn can call other events based on these results. This coupled with its support for a wide range of technologies and a wide range of additional plugins seems to be the most logical choice for you. Coupled with a Raspberry Pi you should more than solve your problems.


Offline Quixote

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #62 on: May 17, 2018, 05:24:24 pm »
Homeseer would be a lot more interesting to me if there were a plugin for local control of LIFX devices (not IFTTT).
As it stands, the Vera is managing well enough to make the expense superfluous. I rely on my Elk for "mission critical" tasks and the Vera as a sort of auxiliary system that communicates with the Elk. I can understand the appeal for someone with a more elaborate set of devices and the need for one, rock-solid device as the central pillar, though.
I guess as someone once explained their perspective; the Vera should not be used as a home automation controller, but as it was designed for -- a Zwave controller.
Over the years I've learned to adapt my home automation system to be modular: each component in communication with the next, but if one fails the rest will continue to function regardless. It can still be frustrating, but has saved me countless serious headaches.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 05:30:34 pm by Quixote »
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Offline jeubanks

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #63 on: May 17, 2018, 05:43:12 pm »
Homeseer would be a lot more interesting to me if there were a plugin for local control of LIFX devices (not IFTTT).
As it stands, the Vera is managing well enough to make the expense superfluous. I rely on my Elk for "mission critical" tasks and the Vera as a sort of auxiliary system that communicates with the Elk. I can understand the appeal for someone with a more elaborate set of devices and the need for one, rock-solid device as the central pillar, though.
I guess as someone once explained their perspective; the Vera should not be used as a home automation controller, but as it was designed for -- a Zwave controller.
Over the years I've learned to adapt my home automation system to be modular: each component in communication with the next, but if one fails the rest will continue to function regardless. It can still be frustrating, but has saved me countless serious headaches.

There is a LIFX Plugin

But I think Homeseer if WAY overkill for just controlling light bulbs...but to each their own.

And for the rest of your post...YES Vera is a really good z-wave controller... it just falls down under the load of plugins.

Offline Quixote

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #64 on: May 17, 2018, 07:16:21 pm »
There is a LIFX Plugin
But I think Homeseer if WAY overkill for just controlling light bulbs...but to each their own.
And for the rest of your post...YES Vera is a really good z-wave controller... it just falls down under the load of plugins.

My understanding is that the LIFX plugin is only IFTTT, not local control, but I could be wrong. I only looked at the Homeseer plugin listing and didn't make any inquiries.
I use the Vera to control the lights and the Elk for other stuff additional to security, like output control and monitoring aquariums. I had the Vera working on infrared remote control as well until they decided to scrap the USB-UIRT support for some inexplicable reason, as well as some media control until they snatched DNLA from us. Homeseer sounds like it might fit the bill as a replacement one day.
My "Karma" has been modified by 2 or 3 douchebags that didn't like that I criticized the plugin that they worship. I'm not actually a bad person.

Offline jeubanks

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #65 on: May 17, 2018, 10:59:37 pm »
There is a LIFX Plugin
But I think Homeseer if WAY overkill for just controlling light bulbs...but to each their own.
And for the rest of your post...YES Vera is a really good z-wave controller... it just falls down under the load of plugins.

My understanding is that the LIFX plugin is only IFTTT, not local control, but I could be wrong. I only looked at the Homeseer plugin listing and didn't make any inquiries.
I use the Vera to control the lights and the Elk for other stuff additional to security, like output control and monitoring aquariums. I had the Vera working on infrared remote control as well until they decided to scrap the USB-UIRT support for some inexplicable reason, as well as some media control until they snatched DNLA from us. Homeseer sounds like it might fit the bill as a replacement one day.

I won't post a link or I think I'll get slapped but here's the info you are looking for. 
--------------
UltraLighting3 is a HomeSeer3 plug-in (HSPI) that allows you to use HomeSeer to set your LIFX LED lights to suit your mood or life style. The UltraLighting3 HSPI uses the LAN protocol which allows the fastest control of your lights. With LIFX there are no cables or hub; all you need is Wi-Fi, your iOS/Android device to initially configure your LIFX lights. Once your lights are configured, the UltraLighting3 HSPI will automatically discover and configure them for use with HomeSeer.
---------------

Here's the rub with Plugins and Homeseer.  Yes they cost money.  Are they expensive, well that depends.  I think a Hue Color bulb is expensive, I think a LIFX bulb is expensive.  Do I have them? No.  Am I going to buy them? Yeah one or the other.  Out of all of the stuff I have I'm going to pay close to $50 for a stupid light bulb.  At that point am I really going to complain about another $40 bucks to be able to control all of them and have SUPPORT if the plugin has issues and breaks?

Offline Quixote

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #66 on: May 18, 2018, 12:24:30 am »
Thanks. That is good to know. I'll definitely be looking more closely at that option in the future. I don't mind paying a little extra for quality and reliability.

By the way, I highly recommend the LIFX bulbs. The hardware is great and support is responsive and helpful. I haven't tried the Philips Hue bulbs, but I wouldn't want yet another hub to worry about and I heard the colors/brightness don't "hold a candle" to LIFX.
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Offline jeubanks

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #67 on: May 18, 2018, 12:01:05 pm »
Thanks. That is good to know. I'll definitely be looking more closely at that option in the future. I don't mind paying a little extra for quality and reliability.

By the way, I highly recommend the LIFX bulbs. The hardware is great and support is responsive and helpful. I haven't tried the Philips Hue bulbs, but I wouldn't want yet another hub to worry about and I heard the colors/brightness don't "hold a candle" to LIFX.

I'm not very happy with the Hue bulbs myself.  The "bridge" doesn't bring me any extra value.  It just sucks more power.  I was thinking of getting some color bulbs and from the reviews I saw the LIFX are much better.  The Hue lights even just the white lights aren't very bright.  When I get a "dimmable" bulb I want it to be BRIGHT otherwise what's the point of it being dimmable if you never need to dim it? :)

Offline krementz

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2018, 04:59:26 pm »
I have a setup with the Philip Hue and bridge. One nice thing about the bridge is that you can use their wireless non-battery-operated wall switch, with three lighting options available. I installed it a few years ago. It is very robust, and does not depend on Vera or internet to be working.

Just recently, I have used the bulbs in Vera scenes, which seems to be working.

Offline ndstate

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #69 on: May 22, 2018, 05:01:29 pm »
I have had very few issues with Vera over the past few years... I guess I am lucky.

Many of the issues being described come down to one main thing: money. We are not charged a monthly fee, hence they only make money on our initial purchases. They don't have a lot of money to hire developers, etc. I suppose if we want more support/better features we will need to pay monthly.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #70 on: May 22, 2018, 05:17:11 pm »
I have had very few issues with Vera over the past few years... I guess I am lucky.

Many of the issues being described come down to one main thing: money. We are not charged a monthly fee, hence they only make money on our initial purchases. They don't have a lot of money to hire developers, etc. I suppose if we want more support/better features we will need to pay monthly.

This is a different business model you are referring to. It is not the issue with vera: It does not meet the specifications it is being sold on. It has fundamental design flaw from the get go which need to be fixed. It has nothing to do with hiring developers and improving support for more and more devices. The initial code is flawed which is taking too long to fix in the best case and instead we are being exposed to more and more bugs. The monthly fee would be acceptable for a cloud service which paradoxically is the antithesis of Vera's strength: local processing. How many other products do you have which charges you a monthly fee for bug fixes and firmware upgrades?
openLuup (97 devices, 134 scenes, 20 apps) controlling HomeAss + VeraPlus (131 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 199 devices, 20 scenes , 2 app) Bridged to Homekit and Alexa

Offline ndstate

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #71 on: May 22, 2018, 05:46:12 pm »
I have had very few issues with Vera over the past few years... I guess I am lucky.

Many of the issues being described come down to one main thing: money. We are not charged a monthly fee, hence they only make money on our initial purchases. They don't have a lot of money to hire developers, etc. I suppose if we want more support/better features we will need to pay monthly.

This is a different business model you are referring to. It is not the issue with vera: It does not meet the specifications it is being sold on. It has fundamental design flaw from the get go which need to be fixed. It has nothing to do with hiring developers and improving support for more and more devices. The initial code is flawed which is taking too long to fix in the best case and instead we are being exposed to more and more bugs. The monthly fee would be acceptable for a cloud service which paradoxically is the antithesis of Vera's strength: local processing. How many other products do you have which charges you a monthly fee for bug fixes and firmware upgrades?

I never said it wasn't a different business model. I am pointing out the facts. If you don't have people available to add support for new devices, fix issues, etc., it won't happen. People need to be paid for their work.

Vera is meeting all of my needs, just because it doesn't do everything possible doesn't mean it is inherently flawed. What specifications (that it is being sold on) aren't working? I was sold Vera because it could control Z-wave devices. It works for me for that.

Every piece of software has flaws, bugs etc. Sure some are solved "for free" by open source communities, but many times someone is paid to fix issues. There are many products that charge monthly for fixes, upgrades, etc. Nevertheless nearly all pieces of software have to have money flowing into them to support development. Look at Ubuntu, sure there are a lot of people that contribute to it for free, but Canonical has over 500 paid employees.

My point is this. We paid a fairly small fee for the Vera device. They can only hire enough developers/support people from that initial money (and I think I remember hearing something about a small commercial services side). That is why we get features/bug fixes/etc at the speed at which we do.

Offline rafale77

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #72 on: May 22, 2018, 06:08:41 pm »
ohh boy where do I start on specifications? I can probably browse the forum to find out:

Zwave: The vera plus was supposed to be able to support 255 devices.. It starts crapping out between 20~30. I read a lot of people reporting zwave issues with even smaller setups.
Zigbee: For almost a year the radio would entirely drop off the luup engine. I suspected a driver issue. It was also limited to only 8 devices. This was also fixed one year later.

Integrations: Most 3rd party/community plugins actually work fine... I can't say the same of the mcv ones. Last in date the Philips Hue which is a disaster... Now the problem is... the memory and cpu are so limited that one can't install that many.
It is claimed to be able to run without internet (a major selling point), without the community here, it's not the case. It's unable to keep time between reboots and needs to phone the internet, I also discovered it periodically tries to launch a call to ergy even though it is not installed. The shear amount of time spent of stabilizing the setup is insane.
It randomly restarts the luup engine for no apparent reason which can cause catastrophes. Example: A scene runs to water my lawn. It starts then runs a luup reload forgetting everything including the fact that it needs to shut it off... I end up with a flood.

I would argue that by buying the controller at the price we bought it, we already paid for the software development which we are not getting.
The fact that you had no problem is great but I get the impression that you are using only a very small portion of the capabilities sold us on and is not the reason to say it is ok and we should pay a monthly fee.
Having dealt with CC numerous times and discovering issues after issues with them has been puzzling. I have dealt with great variance in their competencies and have wondered how some of these problems were never discovered or tested. A lot of money could be saved by focusing more on development and testing rather than after market support.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 06:18:04 pm by rafale77 »
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Offline Quixote

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #73 on: May 22, 2018, 11:17:30 pm »
My point is this. We paid a fairly small fee for the Vera device. They can only hire enough developers/support people from that initial money (and I think I remember hearing something about a small commercial services side). That is why we get features/bug fixes/etc at the speed at which we do.

Well, I understand the Devil's advocate's perspective, but if you really contemplate the strategy here, it's that the development and support is what sells people on buying this device initially. At least that's what sold me on "upgrading" from the Vera 3 to the Vera Plus. Those sales offer a continued income for development. What really ticks me off is that they seem more focused on said strategy and enticing people to make new purchases rather than supporting their established customer base. This is plainly illustrated by the numerous problems we have been expressing here.
That's great that your limited installation has not experienced any technical difficulties, but since I discovered that features that I already had with the previous iteration of the unit were eliminated in the most recent build, I felt a little jilted and betrayed. It's not like I expect the latest version to start washing my dishes or something -- just keep doing what it does already and at a faster pace. Not unrealistic expectations if you ask me (and most others here).
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 11:19:52 pm by Quixote »
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Offline rafale77

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Re: Goodbye Vera
« Reply #74 on: May 23, 2018, 01:13:25 am »
My point is this. We paid a fairly small fee for the Vera device. They can only hire enough developers/support people from that initial money (and I think I remember hearing something about a small commercial services side). That is why we get features/bug fixes/etc at the speed at which we do.

Well, I understand the Devil's advocate's perspective, but if you really contemplate the strategy here, it's that the development and support is what sells people on buying this device initially. At least that's what sold me on "upgrading" from the Vera 3 to the Vera Plus. Those sales offer a continued income for development. What really ticks me off is that they seem more focused on said strategy and enticing people to make new purchases rather than supporting their established customer base. This is plainly illustrated by the numerous problems we have been expressing here.
That's great that your limited installation has not experienced any technical difficulties, but since I discovered that features that I already had with the previous iteration of the unit were eliminated in the most recent build, I felt a little jilted and betrayed. It's not like I expect the latest version to start washing my dishes or something -- just keep doing what it does already and at a faster pace. Not unrealistic expectations if you ask me (and most others here).

And to add to Quixote's insightful comments, I also disagree that we paid a "small fee" for these. Given the fact that the hardware can be built for <$40 and I paid $200 for it (Yes I have also a superior hardware setup in the pine64 which has >6x faster CPU, 8x more RAM, 1000x more storage, with the zwave module, I paid $50), we already paid a large premium for the support and software. For comparison let's look at a Sonos Play 1 for example... It has more storage, more memory, more CPU and it is a speaker! Has software development, support and marketing etc... The vera is not cheap. It is just went on the market early and got a lot of us hooked.
For MCV to charge a fee, their service would have to work nearly flawlessly from the get go which... it is nowhere close to be. I appreciate all the support team's work but again, wish it was never needed in the first place and don't think it should have been. So I understand people leaving... and no charging a monthly fee is not the answer.
openLuup (97 devices, 134 scenes, 20 apps) controlling HomeAss + VeraPlus (131 zwave nodes, 8 Zigbee nodes, 199 devices, 20 scenes , 2 app) Bridged to Homekit and Alexa