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Author Topic: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?  (Read 4888 times)

Offline Les F

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Just noticed a lot more people using vera for vacation / rental homes.  Is there any interest in getting a new category dedicated to discussions involving Vera for that use?  Not sure who decides on this.  I see pros and cons to it.   Pro:  Could get into some detailed talks on what we all do / have done with vera.  Con: Others may miss out on some cool things they could use / do in primary homes.    Just a thought to throw out there to see what others think.



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Offline reiserx

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2010, 09:53:47 pm »
That's primarily what I use my Vera's for but I'm sure the majority of people use them for their own home. How do you feel it would help us that use them for vacation rentals.

Offline Anthony420

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2010, 03:18:36 pm »
Count me in...

Vera seems like an obvious choice for people like myself that have a second home in a remote location.  I live in NY, and check on my home in  SC daily.  It is great to not worry about not knowing if the HVAC fails etc.

Besides, I  use the webcams to look in the back yard.  Makes me feel like I'm there on vacation  :)

Anthony

Offline Les F

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2010, 03:50:47 pm »

Not sure how to suggest another 'area' but it would be good for detailed discussions on how we all use our remote vera's.   At least if we stay on topic, a lot of useful stuff would be easily found in one area.  I have gotten several good ideas in the general setup & usage area from other rental owners.   Thought if there was an area covering that kind of discussion it would be a good thing. 
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Offline mtf

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2010, 04:58:52 pm »
I would be in favour too because it is exactly what we use our vera's for and to be honest I think it is more use in a vacation home than at home!

Offline sturoberson

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2010, 06:14:47 pm »
Another vote for yes!

Primary uses for our Vacation Rental:
   Door Locks - temporary access codes for renters and service providers
   Thermostat Control
   Lighting (pre and post arrival of self or guests)
   Energy savings - turn off entertainment system vampire power
   Live video stream of "view" for self and web site

Help needed:
   Wayne Dalton thermostat.  I have set up three programs:
      Energy savings (vacant)
      Normal (occupied)
      Daily cycle (two scenes, one for turning to 70 degrees in morn and 60 at night)  these scenes run automatically every day at certain times.
    I want to activate Energy savings and have it override all others indefinately (until the Daily cycles are run "manually".  
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 06:16:19 pm by sturoberson »

Offline michaelk

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2010, 08:21:51 pm »
...

Help needed:
   Wayne Dalton thermostat.  I have set up three programs:
      Energy savings (vacant)
      Normal (occupied)
      Daily cycle (two scenes, one for turning to 70 degrees in morn and 60 at night)  these scenes run automatically every day at certain times.
    I want to activate Energy savings and have it override all others indefinately (until the Daily cycles are run "manually".  


check the luup section.

what you want to do is set up a bogus device (aka state variable, flag, etc) , call it saving energy or something,  that you can turn on and off. There's various ways to do that explored in the luup forum.

you then add luup code to the other scenes to check the state of the the saving energy flag. If they see that the energy saving flag is on then they dont execute. Then when the place is occupied you set that flag to off and the other scenes are allowed to run and it would take over.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 08:23:30 pm by michaelk »

Offline LeeM0748

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2010, 11:45:10 pm »
Count me in.

Summer home in New Hampshire - operational for over a year. System is primarily used in the winter when I am away
   sensors monitor temperature to detect heating system failure and prevent frozen pipes
   switches/receptacles turn inside and outside lights on/off for "lived in" look
   toggle switch turn roof heater on/off to melt snow and prevent ice dams
   motion and door contact sensors detect unauthorized access
  
Winter home in Florida - not yet operational, plan to set it up in December. Will be used in the summer when I am away.
   sensors to monitor temperature and humidity to detect air conditioning failure and prevent uncontrolled growth of mold
   motion and door contact sensors detect unauthorized access

I chose Vera based on the ability to monitor remotely and send notifications over the network without needing a retro phone line.

The weak link in my setup is the cable modem/router. Fortunately, MIOS sends me a notification if it detects that my system is down from a network or power failure.
My Vera network: (2) HSM100; (1) FORtrezz; (4) ZDP100; (1) ZRW103; (2) ZRR150W; (1) RF9518; (1) RF9520

Offline Anthony420

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2010, 11:10:32 am »
It would be better if the temperature alert worked.  I setup alerts from my two WD Tstats and now and then it sends me a Text Message and Email indicating the temperature in my living room is 35 F.  I would get nervous except this is in Charleston SC where the outside temperature is about 78F at the time!

Maybe I should switch to a sensor instead of the Tstat reporting temperature?
Anthony

Offline Don Diego

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2010, 10:24:35 am »
I agree we should have a new category.

There is a whole new set of "support issues" involved with the remote access (over the wan) for Vera.
Vera 3 (@1.5.622) (3); Vera Plus (2);
Trane/Schlage TStats (1); Schlage Deadbolt (2); Kwikset Lock (3);  GE 45602 Dimmer (14); GE 45603 Dimmer (17); HSM-100 (16); Everspring Siren (8), Everspring Temp/Humidity (4); HSM 200 (1)

Offline mtf

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2010, 06:44:55 am »
Since people are talking about what they do with their Vera's in their vacation homes I thought I should say what we do with ours.

A few simple things like switching a lamp on by the door for a couple of minutes when the door is opened and switching off the TV etc when there is no motion downstairs, but the main thing we use it for is thermostat control.

Thermostat control amounts to:

1) The Vera regularly checks with our online booking system and knows when guests are due to arrive and automaticallys set the AC to a reasonable temperature prior to the guest's arrival, but then also sets it back to something higher when there is nobody in the villa and the villa hasn't been booked
2) Detecting recalibration of the Trane thermostat by the guest (unfortunately you can't change the calibration back remotely and this does happen)
3) Configuring the range of temperatures that are user selectable (adjusting that range if the guest recalibrates thermostat )
4) Setting the default temperature if it is during the day and nobody is home (again allowing for any thermostat recalibration)
5) Switching off the thermostats and resetting them to the default settings if any of the exterior doors are left open
6) Switching the AC back on when the doors are shut again
7) Detecting AC units that are running continually but unable to change the temperature, or worse still cases where the temperature is going the wrong way.  Also adjusting the target temperature accordingly as it probably indicates open windows or a Freon leak that could damage the compressor
8) Automatically adjusting the AC settings so that changes upstairs impact on settings downstairs and vice versa where applicable (ie you can cool downstairs without cooling upstairs, but you can't cool upstairs without cooling downstairs as well and you also can't heat downstairs while cooling upstairs)
9) Keeping the thermostat in Fahrenheit mode to avoid the Vera problems that arise if the guest changes the setting
10) Making sure the fan isn't left in continuous mode if there is nobody home
11) Graph the energy use of the thermostats using the Energy Monitoring plugin (required a minor rewrite of the plugin code)

I keep working on further improvements as I think of them, but this is the great joy of a Vera and I just couldn't have done all the things I wanted to without it.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 06:49:48 am by mtf »

Offline Les F

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2010, 09:46:01 am »

How did you do item 1 (checking online reservation and auto set the temp?).

I am doing that manually.  I am not using an online reservation package, but my reservation software does post static html schedules to my website which could be parsed to pull relevant checkin info)   

Actually did you do all of this within vera?   Some of this stuff is on the list of things I would like to be able to do at my cabin!

WOW!
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Offline Les F

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2010, 09:48:54 am »
It would be better if the temperature alert worked.  I setup alerts from my two WD Tstats and now and then it sends me a Text Message and Email indicating the temperature in my living room is 35 F.  I would get nervous except this is in Charleston SC where the outside temperature is about 78F at the time!

Maybe I should switch to a sensor instead of the Tstat reporting temperature?
Anthony

Yeah, I have found the temp alert options for Vera & my Trane to not work or give bogus alerts.  Am going to take an HSM-100 down there later this year to detect occupancy (or unexpected entry) and temperature. Haven't taken the time to work out how/what it will do at this point. Its just on the list of things to do.

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Offline mtf

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2010, 12:11:26 pm »

How did you do item 1 (checking online reservation and auto set the temp?).

A bit of ugly code, but in brief the details on arrival/departure are all stored in a remote database and I do a SQL query on the server to find the time of arrival of the current guest or the time of arrival of the next guest (if the previous one has now departed) and that time is then published in a web page.  The Vera grabs that info using a luup.inet.wget call to retrieve the remote web page with that information in it.  If the time it gets is in the past then it knows the guests are already here and does nothing.  If the time it gets is in the future it knows the guests haven't arrived yet so it changes the temperature to something higher, unless it knows they are due to arrive in the next 2 hours in which case it sets it to the default level.  The code grabs the time from the website every hour and once held trusts it is accurate for up to 8 hours if the internet goes down.  If the internet does go down it tries to get the info every couple of minutes until it comes back, but if it doesn't come back after 8 hours it assumes there might be a guest on the way that it doesn't know about and shifts the temperature to normal, until it gets some up to date information.


I am doing that manually.  I am not using an online reservation package, but my reservation software does post static html schedules to my website which could be parsed to pull relevant checkin info)  

You won't have input that is quite so easy as mine to parse, but you could do it in much the same way with a bit of luup and a slightly more advanced parsing!


Actually did you do all of this within vera?   Some of this stuff is on the list of things I would like to be able to do at my cabin!


I did it all using Luup code under a single scene.  The scene triggers every minute and the Luup also sets itself to watch certain events that I am interested in.  I did it that way because it is easy to cut and paste the code and maintain it between all 3 Vera's, but ideally I would like to convert it into a plugin at some stage.

Other things I want to put in there when I get chance include accurately recongising the that villa is empty.  I plan to do that by checking if the HSM-100 devices have indicated no motion roughly when I would have expected them to based on the time the front door closed.  Guests will almost certainly exit through the front door as the other external doors would be a very strange choice as they lead into the pool area and garage.  The theory is that if I know they are definitely out I can turn the AC up by an additional degree over the default and turn it down again when they come home.  I am always concerned that the motion sensors will show no movement but the guests will actually be in a bedroom.  Similarly if I am pretty convinced the villa is empty then I can also trigger alerts to our local management company if somebody subsequently comes into the villa through the pool door or trips a motion sensor.

Overall I have found Luup to be the answer to all things.  The web interface is ok, but I just want to do things that are more complex.

The most awkward bit to work out was dealing with calibration changes and controlling the temperature ranges etc because they are stored in the Z-wave device options.  [Thanks to the ASIHome for telling me which Z-Wave device parameter numbers they were.]  You have to periodically request an update of the the Z-wave device options by reconfiguring the device.  As well as a periodic request I also do it when there are substantial changes in temperature between polling as that tends to suggest a calibration change has been made.  Having done that you need to change the variables related to the configuration and force Vera to reconfigure the device.  It would be much nicer if either the thermostat or Vera picked up changes to configuration automatically and supplied a function to allow you to check or change the configuration of Z-wave device options, but that isn't on offer at the present time.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 12:24:13 pm by mtf »

Offline Les F

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Re: Any interest in a seperate category for vera in vacation/rental home?
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2010, 10:27:23 am »

New category added to forums... hopefully it will allow easier postings that are related to the remote homes that some of us deal with...

Vacation/Rental Homes
http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?board=17.0

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