Author Topic: Vera 6 years later..... Home Assistant!  (Read 4879 times)

Offline undertoe

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Vera 6 years later..... Home Assistant!
« on: June 22, 2018, 12:00:26 am »
I just wanted to share with all you who are looking at vera or have been using vera for a long time. So let me start of by saying vera was a great system when it came out. It offered a lot in the ways of locally controlled devices and offered customization even though it was a bit complex.

Over the years i feel vera has become clunky and out dated from the backend all the way to the ui. I am a coder by profession so I would always want to write stuff for vera and have written 3 published plugins for it. But again the code and the backend were just average.

So for about the past 2 years i been on the hunt for the perfect home automation solution that would cover everything i threw at it. So openhab right, seems like it was exactly my flavor. Well long story short i did not like it.

Ok next option pony up and drop some coin on homeseer, because it "looks" great? Why the I will not swear not. So I buy a homeseer system and hated it. Surprisingly for all the reason I grew to hate my Vera. Let me just make this personal assessment about homeseer from a coder. It's hands down a bloated pieces of poop. Its slow, overly complex and UI is horrible.

Then about a month ago i somehow found out about Home Assistant, which i am not sure how i missed this out. Runs on a raspberry pi, docker, etc. Has premade images so with 3 clicks you have a sd card you throw in your pi and your off and running.

After an hour of reading and browsing their components page i realized i had found true home automation love. They had support for everything i can think of and had in my home or had wanted to buy for my home. Just to name a few: Hue, Lutron, Neato, Honeywell Alarm Panel, Zwave. They even had support for I will not swear I have not even thought about!

Setup was super easy and for all you zwavers like me zwave was a breeze. My one and only zwave complaint is the lock code management is not like vera its there just a little different. But honestly for all the goodness HomeAssisstant offered I was jumping ship. A week later my Vera3 was on ebay and I was smooth sailing. Something you would need paid plugins for Vera and jump through a bunch of hoops is just this simple in home assistant. Here is my automation for turning on my rack fan (zwave switch) when my everspring temp sensor (zwave) is above 85 for 10 mins.

Code: [Select]
- alias: 'Rack - Fan On'
  initial_state: true
  trigger:
    - platform: time
      minutes: '/5'
      seconds: 00
  condition:
    - condition: numeric_state
      entity_id: sensor.everspring_st814_temperature_and_humidity_sensor_temperature
      above: 85
      for:
        minutes: 10
  action:
    service: switch.turn_on
    entity_id: switch.switch_4

- alias: 'Rack - Fan Off'
  initial_state: true
  trigger:
    - platform: time
      minutes: '/5'
      seconds: 00
  condition:
    - condition: numeric_state
      entity_id: sensor.everspring_st814_temperature_and_humidity_sensor_temperature
      below: 85
      for:
        minutes: 2
  action:
    service: switch.turn_off
    entity_id: switch.switch_4

You want to be able to control your Neato Robot Vacumn cleaners? Simple add this to your home assistant config file.

Code: [Select]
neato:
  username: YOUR_USERNAME
  password: YOUR_PASSWORD

Anyways i will leave you with some screenshots of my interface, most of which is easy to setup and standard componets with HomeAssistant. The goal of this was to just inform other vera users that there is a pretty kick ass world out there. For $80 bucks (raspberry pi + zwave stick) you can be smooth sailing.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 10:11:24 am by undertoe »
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Offline undertoe

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2018, 12:01:36 am »
more screenshots

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Offline akbooer

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2018, 03:10:03 am »
Typo on your network panel... 'Badnwidth' should be 'Bandwidth'.  ;)

Nice looking system, though!
3x Vera Lite-UI5/Edge-UI7, 25x Fibaro, 23x TKB, 9x MiniMote, 2x NorthQ Power, 2x Netatmo, 1x Foscam FI9831P, 9x Philips Hue,
Razberry, MySensors Arduino, HomeWave, AltUI, AltHue, DataYours, Grafana, openLuup, ZWay, ZeroBrane Studio.

Offline undertoe

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2018, 07:56:21 am »
I am a typo fool, thanks buddy :)
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Offline kfxo

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2018, 09:28:06 am »
+1 on home assistant. However, I took a different approach. I am running a vera(plus)/home assistant hybrid. I let vera handle the zwave devices and home assistant handle just about everything else. I was able to move hue, denon, honeywell, ping sensors, my alarm system, harmony remotes, and wink all from vera to home assistant. Not that I had any issues, but this takes a load off vera and lets it handle in my opinion what it does best, zwave. Home assistant brings in a ton of functionality not available through vera and in my opinion together they provide a great system.

Offline intveltr

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 09:49:56 am »
+1 on home assistant. However, I took a different approach. I am running a vera(plus)/home assistant hybrid. I let vera handle the zwave devices and home assistant handle just about everything else. I was able to move hue, denon, honeywell, ping sensors, my alarm system, harmony remotes, and wink all from vera to home assistant. Not that I had any issues, but this takes a load off vera and lets it handle in my opinion what it does best, zwave. Home assistant brings in a ton of functionality not available through vera and in my opinion together they provide a great system.

I followed a similar approach but I use OpenLUUP / AltUI in combination with Vera.  I get very good results with that, stability is outstanding and it is easy to build complex scene logic using a state engine (using Workflows). It's mostly compatible with existing remote control apps for Vera (HomeWave has options to authenticate with a secured OpenLuup, and support for Workflows), and many plugins for Vera will run on it.  The biggest shortcoming of OpenLuup at this time is a lack of support for triggers or scene controllers; for things like MiniMotes you'll end up making a scene in Vera which triggers a scene in OpenLuup.

However using Vera as a Z-Wave radio does not address the issue of device support.  I checked out Home Assistant and I'm pleased to see support for devices like the new(ish) Fibaro TRV or the Logic Group Gira wall remote.  Vera still doesn't support these...
HomeWave is available in the App Store!  Turn your iPhone/iPad into an easy-to-use remote control for Vera.

Offline fooey

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2018, 09:56:28 am »
if Vera is the zwave controller, then the devices still need to be fully supported by it - therefore certain devices like the Fibaro double switch, which Vera does a secure inclusion of, would still have issues even if you used a different automation layer, such as HA/HS etc.

Other controllers give the ability to include devices as non secure - Vera just needs to enable this  ability!

Offline undertoe

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 10:17:44 am »
+1 on home assistant. However, I took a different approach. I am running a vera(plus)/home assistant hybrid. I let vera handle the zwave devices and home assistant handle just about everything else. I was able to move hue, denon, honeywell, ping sensors, my alarm system, harmony remotes, and wink all from vera to home assistant. Not that I had any issues, but this takes a load off vera and lets it handle in my opinion what it does best, zwave. Home assistant brings in a ton of functionality not available through vera and in my opinion together they provide a great system.

Nice! yea i had considered that but i just was ready to jump ship. To be honest with you the zwave on HA is hands down better than vera. Latest and greatest zwave tech just by replacing a usb stick.Where as if i wanted zwave plus i would have had to upgrade my Vera and drop coin. I love that i can have my zwave network auto heal or send me alerts when devices go "dead" something vera doesn't do. I would come home and notice a device not turned on and i would then have to I will not swear with vera.

I was intimidated by zwave on non-vera systems but honestly its very simple.

Buy the stick and plug it in.

Add this line

Code: [Select]
  usb_path: /dev/zwave
  network_key: "Long Self generated Key"

The other great thing is you easily have access to your zwave network key. So if you need to replace a zwave stick your up and running in no time. If fear is all that is holding you back from zwave on HA take my advice and just run with it. I started moving stuff slowly to test. A couple plugin dimmers once i ran them for a couple days with no issues. I spent a couple hours switching all the other stuff.
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Offline jeubanks

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2018, 10:29:02 am »
Home Assistant is great and has "ok" z-wave support.  I'm not saying this as a negative, just a reality of the current "State" of the Open Z-Wave project that HA relies on. 

For MOST devices the z-wave support is great.  For other things it is catching up.  Example is "Barrier Class".... commonly known as Garage Door.  Without using a beta version of open zwave there is no support.  It is possible and not difficult to pull the beta, compile, install and all is good.  Just saying HA is not a "drop-in" replacement for ALL z-wave problems that Vera has.  But having used HA it is still ahead of Vera in almost every way.

Offline kfxo

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2018, 10:35:09 am »
Nice! yea i had considered that but i just was ready to jump ship. To be honest with you the zwave on HA is hands down better than vera. Latest and greatest zwave tech just by replacing a usb stick.Where as if i wanted zwave plus i would have had to upgrade my Vera and drop coin. I love that i can have my zwave network auto heal or send me alerts when devices go "dead" something vera doesn't do. I would come home and notice a device not turned on and i would then have to I will not swear with vera.

I was intimidated by zwave on non-vera systems but honestly its very simple.

Buy the stick and plug it in.


Initially my plan was to move everything over including zwave. What is ultimately holding me back is my complex PLEG automations. Re-doing these in home assistant would be a massive undertaking.  The only reason I investigated home assistant was from all the negative feedback on this forum and my fear that vera may fail me someday.   

Offline undertoe

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2018, 10:41:39 am »

Initially my plan was to move everything over including zwave. What is ultimately holding me back is my complex PLEG automations. Re-doing these in home assistant would be a massive undertaking.  The only reason I investigated home assistant was from all the negative feedback on this forum and my fear that vera may fail me someday.

Yea i hear ya but I can tell you this I ran a ton of PLEG and had to buy it if i ever switched my vera or got a new one. I have purchased it 3 times. Converting my PLEG realistically took me about a 4-6 hours. If you throw me a screenshot of your most complex PLEG i'll give you an example in HA. Might help you make the move when you see how easy it is.
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Offline kfxo

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2018, 11:08:20 am »

Initially my plan was to move everything over including zwave. What is ultimately holding me back is my complex PLEG automations. Re-doing these in home assistant would be a massive undertaking.  The only reason I investigated home assistant was from all the negative feedback on this forum and my fear that vera may fail me someday.

Yea i hear ya but I can tell you this I ran a ton of PLEG and had to buy it if i ever switched my vera or got a new one. I have purchased it 3 times. Converting my PLEG realistically took me about a 4-6 hours. If you throw me a screenshot of your most complex PLEG i'll give you an example in HA. Might help you make the move when you see how easy it is.

Yeah definitely would take me days and a partial system for weeks to transfer everything over. I have a PLEG just for my kitchen that has 40 conditions. Also, the overall logic is different which would take some rethinking. I use a lot of sequence expressions in PLEG (x happens and then y happens) and home assistant does not appear to handle that.

Offline undertoe

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2018, 11:37:03 am »
Sure does platform: event_sequence
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Offline kfxo

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2018, 12:16:28 pm »
Sure does platform: event_sequence

You have a link? What I am talking about is a condition in PLEG for example (A1 AND B1 AND B1;A1) is much more difficult to write in home assistant. I'm pretty sure that single condition would take at least 3 automations in home assistant. How would you write it?

Offline jswim788

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Re: Vera 6 years later.....
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2018, 12:56:23 pm »
So for about the past 2 years i been on the hunt for the perfect home automation solution that would cover everything i threw at it. So openhab right, seems like it was exactly my flavor. Well long story short i did not like it.
I'm curious about what you didn't like about openHAB.  I'm starting to use it and I find the Z-wave support is quite good.  Chris is really responsive and the issues are getting very low.  I don't run many Z-wave devices with it yet, but I'm ramping up and don't see any problems.  The openHAB rules are a bit convoluted, but I'm getting used to them.  And it is not too hard to bridge devices on openHAB to openLuup where I have a familiar automation environment.