Author Topic: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.  (Read 4206 times)

Offline integlikewhoa

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2018, 06:44:41 pm »
The answer is not that obvious, at least not for me.

Sounds like its quit obvious that VERA is perfect for you and if anyone says otherwise you have an anwser to prove that vera is the better choice for you now, I was that way at first too. 

    Personally I have used both for several years a piece, so I feel I can fairly argue for both systems but not all others. I'm in the USA (so is HS) and most the devices you named before are EU based which are not as popular in the US and I also think on this forum more people are US based so some things seemed to get more traffic due to that fact. Fibaro, despite a big company is not at the top of the US amazon search page, Not in local Bestbuys Homedepots or other big box stores in the US. It's not advertised on TV in the US or anything. So it's just not popular in the US as much.
     I owned several veras buying a new one every year (upgrading Lite, Edge, Plus around 120-150 each at that time plus my time) to get just a bit more Ram to solve some issues that were talked about one or two posts up not by me. Even after that I still didnt have a reliable z-wave network (could have used a working ui7 bridged system for detached building) or hardware. Since I bought HS3 software I have changed hardware or software but have added more devices and a few plugins. I did buy alot of HS switches recently to get rid of older GE ones and get double tap triple tap features. I have spent less money in HS then VERA over this course of time myself. But I did spend more upfront (I have two houses and one is larger then the other and has multipule zwave networks), but probley alot less then some would due to the fact I already had a Blueiris server running (at both houses) and only need 150.00 software and 35.00 z-wave stick to get started. I have around 100.00 in plugins years later with 16 plugins total.

Veras main sales point is cheap price. But really you get what you pay for. You can look past the short comings because of price but the fact of the matter is, to me stability is key (and I guess thats only me). When I'm not at my vacation home and I can no longer connect to it, devices are missing, phantom devices are there or my notfications didn't work because of a luup reload or what ever those are very concerining. When I shouldnt do an update remotly bucause there is a better chance of it getting stuck and needing manual reboot to get it back....... Those are way worse then my settings menu (UI, not mobile app) looks old. Myself an many others solution with vera was a wifi plug (yes only 30.00 more) to fix this problem and try to power cycle to get it backup when you not at the house.

So I know VERA is the perfect solution for many despite little things (like it quits working on you) and there is alot of 3rd party solutions to fix vera's short comings (that I have used myself too) but I have honestly never once had that issue with HS even if my web UI looks older then VERA's. I used to tinker with VERA alot more, but unless I add a new device I don't with HS much anymore. I say this is because there is not as many problems. I'm not starting over every year with a new vera, running restores after it crashes or a new update comes out and brakes more then it fixes (I was here for the whole ui5 to ui6/7 issuse with everyone complaing of the issues and holding at ui5 for years and posts a year later asking is is safe yet to upgrade). I deffently spend alot more tinker time with vera (not that I hated to tinker as a hobby). Now unless a new plugin comes out, or other software features I play more with new hardware then tinkering with HS3. New switches I added double and tripple tap and such. HS forums are quieter then here also because of it. It's not there are no complaints or problems, just alot less. So sections of that forum will be quiet for weeks or so vs. the post count here.

Priorities are different for everyone.

PS. I'm Andriod.

Offline kigmatzomat

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2018, 10:47:09 pm »
I suspect the last firmware issues combined with the May Homeseer sale resulted in multiple of us migrating at once.

Maybe, but there are also people who migrated moths or years ago :)
But what interests me most is the type of advocacy performed by them.
.....
In this thread it is similar - you have a lot of questions comments "why interface would be important for anyone" or "you shouldn't care about interface but about?" 
Maybe just my prejudice, but I got suspicious about reliability of someone's opinion every time I see that kind of argumentation.

UI is important. I personally dislike ui7s web2.0 layout. In part because the vera UI is so slow that multiple page loads just....takes....so......long.  but also because I like info dense uis. There are rationalizations for both sides. I personally value having responsiveness and plentiful data over pretty. YMMV.

Quote
I stay on here to watch the firmware releases (in the hopes of salvaging my Veras), share the luup knowledge I have with the people whose Vera's haven't flaked out, and keep an eye out for zwave devices I haven't heard of yet.

Vera is not top of its class device. But if I have to pay 4-5 times more for other solution, I would like to have 4-5 times better performance, which (for me) includes UI (before someone will correct me about price difference - the cost of HS Troller (EU frequency), even after discount, plus plugins needed to keep my current setup will be 4-5 times more than Vera. No, I will not buy software and Pi, as it has limitation for plugins. Software only is also out of the scope).

The pi version is limited. It's to ensure performance but it's still an absolute limitation. The irony is that a Zee has more cpu power and ram than the vera plus.  In retrospect, I could probably have gotten by with the Zee as I wound up needing fewer plugins than I thought but I wasn't willing to take that risk either.

Since I had had multiple issues where the vera support solution was "install new firmware -WAIT NOT THAT FIRMWARE!" I was going to wind up spending @ $350 on a fanless PC to host some kind of HA software, regardless.

I don't have anything bad to say about homeassistant except that my personal time/money ratio  means the headaches of installing & managing my own server software helped justify the SELpro. I am past the days of spending a Saturday surfing a repository, compiling software, and updating install scripts. (I just got in from spraying a pasture, driving by headlights. I value what fun time I have quite highly these days)

The 20% off black may sale helped quite a bit.

Quote
I also look around for other options, for now Zipato looks promising although it also have some issues or potential additional costs (i.e. it might have problem with integrating Netatmo weatherstation, which is crucial part of my current system).


I looked at zipato a couple years back before I bought the veraplus. I decided against it then because while the rules engine worked fine without their cloud, the rule editor did not. You wrote the rule on their webapp and it assembled the code and pushed it to your box. That failed my "no cloud dependencies except for actual cloud services" requirement. They may have changed it, I don't know.


Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2018, 05:10:59 am »
Sounds like its quit obvious that VERA is perfect for you and if anyone says otherwise you have an anwser to prove that vera is the better choice for you now, I was that way at first too.

If this makes you happy, then think exactly that way.
As for me, I see more colours than black and white and know that every choice has some trade offs.


I'm in the USA (so is HS) and most the devices you named before are EU based which are not as popular in the US and I also think on this forum more people are US based so some things seemed to get more traffic due to that fact.

Why so sure?
There are lot of discussions about Fibaro or Qubino devices here, which both are not very popular in US, for example.
Some of active plugin developers are not from US as well.
By the way, US-centrism of HomeSeer is one of its disadvantages for me (like potential issues with metric units and delimiters reported on some other forums).


Veras main sales point is cheap price. But really you get what you pay for.

I know trade offs of having Vera. Now I want to know wat are the trade offs of having other systems. The problem is that sweeping disadvantages under the carpet with declarations like "you'll not need that" is not helpful (at least for me). Let me judge what will I need or not.

OK, for you advantages overweight disadvantages in HS, but in my case it may be different. For example I don't resonate to your history of failures with Vera, because my story is totally different. I don't face most of the issues you described. Maybe my system if different (simplier?) maybe I chosed better cooperating devices for it, maybe I use it in a different way, maybe I'm just lucky, I don't know. My mainly bad experience with Vera is related to some occasional memory drains, which seem to be solved now by setting proper cleaning routines. Too soon to judge if those routines are efficient enough or not. If yes, then I don't see much need to move, except if for a better user experience (which includes better UI). If not, then it might be that I will be more willing to make some trade offs I currently don't take into consideration. Everything depends on how desperate I'll become over time :)

I also have slightly different approach to stability in general. I consider the quest for system which never crashes as just futile. And agree what Seve Wozniak said when he commented Toyota's issues with gas pedals couple of years ago (something like: In modern world you need to get accustomed that from time to time you just need to turn off the road, switch off the engine, switch it on again, then continue your driving)
The question is then not if your system never crashes, but if your system is stable enough for your needs.

Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2018, 05:52:38 am »
UI is important. I personally dislike ui7s web2.0 layout. In part because the vera UI is so slow that multiple page loads just....takes....so......long.  but also because I like info dense uis. There are rationalizations for both sides. I personally value having responsiveness and plentiful data over pretty. YMMV.

I don't complain much about usability of UI7, it's so-so.
From graphical design point of view, it is much to improve (starting from simple things like correcting adjustment of device tiles/panels). 
What is important for me about UI is accessibility of options. I don't need to have everything of the surface (in fact it can make interface too crowded), but I also don't accept necessity to click through dozen of menus to access the option I need.

The pi version is limited. It's to ensure performance but it's still an absolute limitation. The irony is that a Zee has more cpu power and ram than the vera plus.

The question is how much CPU power you really need?
I agree that Vera is underpowered (which is most visible in issues with storage memory), but from the other hand I would consider installing your system on the newest gaming PC as an overkill. Frankly speaking I have really vague idea what is "enough" here.

I am past the days of spending a Saturday surfing a repository, compiling software, and updating install scripts.

This was my major surprise when I went into the topic of home automation. I was expecting that if it is advertised for consumers it is mature enough to be user-friendly enough to be operated by most "non-engineer-thinking" people. But this seems to be a problem for all automation systems, unfortunately, and you can't avoid some part of "IT-configuration" in any of them.
For now, I wouldn't recommend any of them to my mother, for example.

failed my "no cloud dependencies except for actual cloud services" requirement. They may have changed it, I don't know.

No, it didn't change. Why "no cloud dependencies" is important for you in this case?
I thought about that and assumed that the probability that I would need to update rules while internet is gone is small enough to not consider this as a problem. Except that, controller should do fine without internet connection.
Any other reason to take into consideration?

Offline kigmatzomat

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2018, 01:14:18 am »
Couple reasons. First. It means if zipato goes under, gets hacked, has a prolonged outage or happens to be caught in the fallout of the American president's nascent trade wars, the unit turns into a zombie; plodding along but unable to deviate outside current norms.

Second, I have had extended outages of internet (lasting multiple days) usually from severe weather causing downed trees and the like, and often accompanied by multiple brief power outages as the lines are repaired. One time it was a total outage of power and internet lasting close to a week. A hurricane remnant generated 75mph straight line winds that blasted across two or three counties, killing a grid interconnect between multiple rural systems. Another time it was 2? of ice that killed power for almost 3 days.

When that happens, I change or disable some of my scenes, especially HVAC or power monitoring.  I have also moved around plug-in outlets so I can get strong zwave into my garage using outlets fed by the generator, particularly to a motion/temp sensor in the chest freezer.  The cold does a number on the batteries and the sensor may die too, so I only do that when I actively fear for the freezer.  In winter I put temp monitors in the bedrooms and set up battery/ups powered alarms to wake us if the temps drop too low.

My controller also manages pipe heaters. We had to reroute some water lines and the new ones were freezing 3-4 times a year. The pipe heaters now kick in automatically, and no more frozen pipes. I have it driven by both internet weather and a sensor on the porch. If the porch sensor has to be replaced, I need to be able to change the rules to use the new sensor.

So cloud independence is a must have in my book, followed by reliability.  Vera had both but I have lost confidence in the reliability.

Offline kigmatzomat

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2018, 01:44:33 am »

The pi version is limited. It's to ensure performance but it's still an absolute limitation. The irony is that a Zee has more cpu power and ram than the vera plus.

The question is how much CPU power you really need?
I agree that Vera is underpowered (which is most visible in issues with storage memory), but from the other hand I would consider installing your system on the newest gaming PC as an overkill. Frankly speaking I have really vague idea what is "enough" here.

Yeah, not sure. I went to a hometroller sel-pro, which uses a dual core Celeron CPU. A modern pi 3b can outrun it on tasks where all 4 arm cores can come into play, but in most cases the Celeron should be twice as fast because of all the extra extensions in Intel CPUs that the kernels can leverage. Even something integer based, like running Perl or NoSQL, is roughly twice as fast on the Celeron over a pi.

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=raspberrypi-3-bplus&num=6

The HomeTroller Zee is a quad-core 1.2ghz arm CPU w/1gb ram, vs a vera plus running a single core 880mhz CPU w/256mb ram. So I would say the Zee is @6x more powerful than the veraplus, and the HomeTroller SEL is roughly 12x more powerful.

I am past the days of spending a Saturday surfing a repository, compiling software, and updating install scripts.

This was my major surprise when I went into the topic of home automation. I was expecting that if it is advertised for consumers it is mature enough to be user-friendly enough to be operated by most "non-engineer-thinking" people. But this seems to be a problem for all automation systems, unfortunately, and you can't avoid some part of "IT-configuration" in any of them.
For now, I wouldn't recommend any of them to my mother, for example.
[/quote]

I am an engineer managing a team of software devs in my day job so thats not a barrier to me. I just don't want to have to do it at home when I can buy an prepackaged appliance from someone who ostensibly focuses on this kind of work.

Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2018, 05:57:47 pm »
Couple reasons.

I can understand your position.
In my case it is different, because it is more probable that I will not have power than internet.
My internet connection is over mobile network, yet it usually keeps 4G, rarely drops to 3G, and that's more or less worst what can happen.
Bigger concern is the lack of power (I also have pipe heaters and during a winter, when house is empty most of the time, electric heaters keep it on antifreeze), but this also rarely happens, and usually don't take longer than couple of hours. I don't remember power outage longer than 3 days, and this happens once a year or even less.
And if you have backup power for the router, then internet connection is perfecly fine, as the base station is located couple of km away, where they have better powerlines (mostly going in the ground, so very reliable).

More of a problem could be hacking Zipato servers, but I don't consider this as very probable. Any trade wars between US and EU doesn't bother me, as both me and Zipato are located in EU. Maybe if there will be CroExit, but even in such case there should be plenty of time to migrate in worst case.

For Vera stability, I think some of the problem is due to bad reputation. Knowing that "Vera is poor" is very easy to blame it in cases where the real issue is caused by device, plugin, or user. There is a new plugin which (most probably) causes the issues with interface (like mixing icons etc.), but I've already red an opinion that "Vera UI is so buggy that..."
From the other hand, Vera is not helping in maintaining that reputation. I've recently switched from Win10 Vera app to the Android one. If I wouldn't have comparison I would say that Vera is very unstable. But seems that most of the trouble which I see using the Android app is not the case when I use the one on Windows, or just login via web browser. For example today I was switching some device off via an App, and it kicked me out in the middle to the panel where I can choose controller, not allowing me to access it again. I've checked lights (all on), so my first thought was "oh no, it went non accessible again". But I've tried to log via web browser (on the same Android phone) and everything worked fine, so the issue was not with the controller but with the app. Same with switching devices which for example on Android is way slower than on Windows, which gives you the impression that your system is sloooow (why in fact it is the app problem).
Same system, same developer of the app... huge difference. No wonder why imperihome is so popular among Android users.



Offline kwieto

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2018, 06:05:04 pm »
The HomeTroller Zee is a quad-core 1.2ghz arm CPU w/1gb ram, vs a vera plus running a single core 880mhz CPU w/256mb ram. So I would say the Zee is @6x more powerful than the veraplus, and the HomeTroller SEL is roughly 12x more powerful.

Yes, but the question is: do you really need that power?
I don't know, but I'm curious because sometimes you don't really need such power.
I don't deny that Vera is underpowered, but assuming that the higher CPU the better system is maybe also misleading

I am an engineer managing a team of software devs in my day job so thats not a barrier to me. I just don't want to have to do it at home when I can buy an prepackaged appliance from someone who ostensibly focuses on this kind of work.

There is a difference between doing developer job because you want to and because you have to.
I also can learn programming, but I simply don't want to.
But it seems that a bit of that is needed in most of HA systems, unfortunately

Offline kigmatzomat

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #38 on: July 01, 2018, 12:00:00 am »
The HomeTroller Zee is a quad-core 1.2ghz arm CPU w/1gb ram, vs a vera plus running a single core 880mhz CPU w/256mb ram. So I would say the Zee is @6x more powerful than the veraplus, and the HomeTroller SEL is roughly 12x more powerful.

Yes, but the question is: do you really need that power?
I don't know, but I'm curious because sometimes you don't really need such power.
I don't deny that Vera is underpowered, but assuming that the higher CPU the better system is maybe also misleading

I honestly don't know if you need more than the pi. The mix of 4 faster cores and 4x the ram of a veraplus seems like it would be enough. But it might not; the VeraSecure is dual core and it doesn't seem trouble free.

I don't know what Homeseer's rationale is for the 5 plug in limit. However on other forums HA system developers really don't like zwave be cause of the way the network management puts load on the controller. That makes me suspect that HS is leaving a lot of headroom for the zwave system.

Or they want to push you to the bigger boxes.

Offline litby

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #39 on: July 01, 2018, 04:54:32 am »
Well I can report that Homeseer is officially off my list. I found it impossible to make it work on Debian so I installed it on Windows and it worked with the few devices I had included. I also made an attempt to transfer the network from my other Vera to my second Z-stick which resulted in some 30 devices from my 10 thermostats, none of which worked. So I deleted the network and the controller - but the devices are still there.

I then discovered that it is designed to run as a logged in user - there is no provision to run it as a service  ???.
A $600 automation software that stops working if Windows reboots unless there is an auto login on boot? Jeez. And it didn't even install itself to autostart. There is no tray icon so it really is a pure user mode app.

Yeah, it may be worked around using nssm, but there is no way I'd trust my automation to something that is designed to interact with the desktop.

Never meant for this to be a HS bashing thread - but $599? Really?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 05:21:31 am by litby »

Offline kigmatzomat

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2018, 10:26:58 am »
Can't speak for a self-install. I bought the SELpro for $600 during the sale, which is the Celeron based Linux unit with HSPro.

I will be honest that their instructions seem to confuse people who have already had a HA controller.
I had to delete my first zwave network and then go through the set up process again, making sure I really read the directions carefully.

I didn't try to migrate anything off my vera; I had too many phantom devices to want to try it.

Offline Tillsy

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2018, 10:01:59 pm »
Well I can report that Homeseer is officially off my list. I found it impossible to make it work on Debian so I installed it on Windows and it worked with the few devices I had included.... I then discovered that it is designed to run as a logged in user - there is no provision to run it as a service  ???.

I did my eval testing using a notebook running Debian 9 - and kept notes of exactly what I did, so feel free to contact me if I can provide any help.  My final setup on the Pi I also did manually using Rasbian Stretch and, like Debian, setting everything up myself - several times to be sure I had the whole process perfected.

I did do some experimentation in Windows - and yes I was horrified to find it doesn't run as a service on that platform, but thankfully I had no interest in running it permanently on Windows was just for a few tests.

I didn't migrate from Vera but rather started from scratch.  But bear in mind migrating between controllers is problematic at best - another false Z-Wave promise.

Offline litby

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2018, 05:17:54 am »
Well I can report that Homeseer is officially off my list. I found it impossible to make it work on Debian so I installed it on Windows and it worked with the few devices I had included.... I then discovered that it is designed to run as a logged in user - there is no provision to run it as a service  ???.

I did my eval testing using a notebook running Debian 9 - and kept notes of exactly what I did, so feel free to contact me if I can provide any help.  My final setup on the Pi I also did manually using Rasbian Stretch and, like Debian, setting everything up myself - several times to be sure I had the whole process perfected.

I did do some experimentation in Windows - and yes I was horrified to find it doesn't run as a service on that platform, but thankfully I had no interest in running it permanently on Windows was just for a few tests.

I didn't migrate from Vera but rather started from scratch.  But bear in mind migrating between controllers is problematic at best - another false Z-Wave promise.

I am sure my problems with the Linux version were due to the pass through of USB ports on my ESXi host in combination with Debian.

Now that I have calmed down a bit  :-[ and played around with the Windows version I have to say that I like it. The UI feels professional rather than toy-like and beyond all, in z-wave operations there is a friendly green window telling me exactly what is going on.

Now it wasn't for the price... When is the next sale?

Offline aa6vh

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2018, 10:26:08 am »
I then discovered that it is designed to run as a logged in user - there is no provision to run it as a service  ???.
A $600 automation software that stops working if Windows reboots unless there is an auto login on boot? Jeez. And it didn't even install itself to autostart. There is no tray icon so it really is a pure user mode app.

I simply placed Homeseer in my Windows Start up, so while it might not be an actual service, it runs like it is.

Instructions for doing this are on the Homeseer forum site.

Offline kigmatzomat

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Re: No, the grass is not greener on the other side.
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2018, 07:34:43 pm »

Now that I have calmed down a bit  :-[ and played around with the Windows version I have to say that I like it. The UI feels professional rather than toy-like and beyond all, in z-wave operations there is a friendly green window telling me exactly what is going on.

Now it wasn't for the price... When is the next sale?

If you disable adblock, surf the Homeseer site then a couple other sales sites like slickdeals, and you will usually see 10% off coupons year round.

They do flash sales on www.reddit.com/r/homeautomation. Last month they had a 1day sale on software, 50% off.  The sales are posted there either directly by HS or by users.

May and november are the big sales.