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Author Topic: New System for Vacation Home  (Read 5380 times)

Offline gmoore

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New System for Vacation Home
« on: January 12, 2012, 02:18:37 am »
Newbie here and I am looking at options for home automation for my vacation home, this is a vacation rental that I used periodically through the year and is 1200 miles away.  I would like to be able to program codes into my door lock, control the thermostat and possibly the alarm panel, some lights and an external camera.  Since I do not have anything currently I will need to purchase everything and would like to save time in obtaining compatible devices with good track records.

For front door locks it appears that Schlage and Yale are good choices and the thermostats being Trane and Honeywell (if there are other recommendations, please provide).

My current alarm panel is a 1998ish Ademco wired in panel.  Does anyone know if a module can be added or do I need to change it out to an Ademco Vista in order for the Nutech AD2USB to connect?  Are there other options such as changing out the keypad to a model that would communicate with Vera as well as the older wired Ademco panel?  I would like to be able to remotely enter alarm codes for cleaners, maintenance personnel and guests, I imagine I would still want my alarm company to monitor the alarm panel due to occasional power outages, etc.   I would also be interested in an experienced installer performing this for me (Phoenix area) since I have no experience and all the alarm companies I have contacted want to charge me a monthly fee for remote access as well as sign me up for a lengthy contract.

For the external camera, any recommendations for one that would have good night vision and works well with the Vera?  Ideally I would prefer not to go the dvr route and I would like the camera/vera to email me when the camera sensors are tripped.

Any and all recommendations are greatly appreciated.


Offline Les F

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Re: New System for Vacation Home
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 05:59:26 am »

I have a 2 year old smart eye on my cabin... its got GREAT night vision, they just came out with an HD model too.
http://www.ipcam-central.com/   The specs say night vision to 120ft and they are pretty close.

What I don't like is the motion detection on the camera itself.  Not that its the camera. Even with being able to choose up to 4 areas of motion and size them I found false alarms all the time.  The reason is unlike a PIR motion sensor which looks for heat / motion, the camera just detects that something in its view has moved.  So even if you take and define say a 6 inch area at your steps or a 6 inch area in the middle of the driveway to catch a vehicle.  You will also get an alarm if a bird flies in between the camera and that spot, or if a small animal happens to wander through.  Or if leaves blow past.  Now that being said, the smart eye has external alarm triggers on it as well.  I have great pics/vids of dogs, crows, deer etc.  On my list of things to do is to wire a real PIR sensor to that alarm input so the camera can email me (or just store shot on SD card). When an event happens.  All of this really being independent of Vera. (Yes the camera does talk to vera too).

If anyone else has any input on motion detection via camera and has had better luck, post back with make/model please.


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Offline Don Diego

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Re: New System for Vacation Home
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 06:56:01 am »
Hi Greg -

  I have used a Vera 2 for my vacation rental property for the past two years. It has worked very well. Some suggestions though:

     1. Put Vera on a UPS someplace inaccessible to the renters but still gives you good z-wave access. Nothing is both power and renter proof.

     2. Look at the Kwikset door locks vice the Schlage door locks. The Kwikset locks can be operated remotely when the renters can not figure out the door opening code/process. Also the Kwikset Vera interface appears more robust. I had pairing and reliability issues with the Schlage locks which hasn't happened with the Kwikset locks (I have 3 Kwikset and 2 Schlage locks).

  I hope this helps

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Offline kgrr

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Re: New System for Vacation Home
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2012, 01:59:21 am »
Greg -
I would avoid the Schlage deadbolt locks because they do not operate the deadbolt by themselves.  They only engage or disengage turning of the deadbolt knob.  As a result, the guest may have closed the door, but actually left it unlocked.  There is no way to remotely lock it.  For a homeowner, this quirk can be easily understood, but weekend guests unfamiliar with the lock may not remember to lock up.

The Schlage lever locks work in a similar way.  The mechanism only engages or disengages the handle movement.  The guest has to move the lever to open and close the door.  Fortunately, the if the door is closed, it can be locked remotely.  The Schlage work well for interior hotel or bed and breakfast room doors, but would not work well on a cabin because there is no deadbolt action.
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Offline Lonestar10

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Re: New System for Vacation Home
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 05:39:30 pm »
I agree with others who give a nod to Kwikset over Schlage.  I own both -- I like both -- but the ability to mechanically turn the bolt is a HUGE plus, especially when you're 1,200 miles away.

I have found that most people who encounter the Schlage lock for the first time -- with its keypad and weird knob/handle -- aren't sure what to do once they enter the code.  They hear the lock beep, but nothing happens (they have to manually turn the knob within a few seconds).  The same is true when people are locking up.  They entered the code, but did they turn the knob?  Did they turn it in the right direction?

There's just too much to chance for a lock in such a remote location.

With the Kwikset, guests enter the code and the deadbolt turns automatically.  Vera will indicate if the deadbolt is locked or unlocked.   The Kwikset lock looks and feels much like a regular door knob.

However, Kwikset and Vera, and for that matter, Schlage, cannot tell you if the door is actually CLOSED.  You may want to use separate door sensors or a camera to help verify the door/lock status.
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