Automated Home 2.0 – #03 What Tech Is Good Enough to Take to the New Build?

Smart Home Tech - Good and Bad

When we announced we’d sold the Automated Home quite a few of you asked what items we were taking with us. It’s a great question, what tech have we deemed good enough to take on to the Automated Home two point oh.

I have a feeling I will be revisiting this topic before we’ve made all our tech decisions for the new house, but for now, here are the items we didn’t sell or leave behind.

Node Zero - Rack ClearedThe Rack

The rack in Node Zero was cleared of its 3 x 4U servers and an ancient rack mount UPS. All of these had been switched off years ago. I offered the servers on FreeCycle but no one came forward so they went to recycling in the end 🙁

But several items out of the rack were packed up to come with us. The new Draytek router and the brilliant combo of our Synology NAS along with the Mac mini that’s been performing our Plex Server duties flawlessly for the past 5 years. The recently acquired HDHomeRun Connect Quatro is coming too.

We took this smaller APC UPS out of the rack and brought it with us (it’s had its battery replaced since we reviewed it in 2010). Not sure if it will be used or not as we may end up replacing it with a small rack mount UPS in the new house, something like this one perhaps.

Here’s a photo of the rather bare looking rack as we left it, with just the patch panels and network switch remaining. I’ll definitely be looking for a switch with some PoE ports next time.

I’ll need a much smaller rack in the new place too, something like this wall mount unit perhaps. But more on that nearer the time.

Other Winners

Our much loved Husqvarna Automowers were not getting left behind! Elon and Musk are safely stored and ready for their next green challenge. I left the details of our local installer for the new owners, and with their boundary and guide wires already installed, it would only be an hours job to get them up and running with robots of their own.

We’ve had a Sonos System in the Automated Home since 2005 and it’s been another star buy. All the zones have been packed up and are ready for the new house too.

Our WiFi was provided by the excellent Ubiquiti UniFi system and it has just been re-deployed in our temporary accommodation as has our AppKettle. We’re also rolling out some of our Philips Hue lighting here too.

UniFi WiFiWe brought all the Amazon Echo units as well as the Google Home. We’ve added the new Google Home Hub to that collection and it’s impossible to decide which way to go between these leading 2 voice control systems. I guess we should really decide one way or the other though.

We’re planning a MVHR system in the AH2.0 and so we’re especially keen to keep an eye on air quality. So the excellent Foobot also makes the cut, as do the range of Eve HomeKit modules like this new 2nd generation Eve Room unit. Our energy monitor of choice in the old house was the Smappee and its coming along too.

Bonus Mentions

Although we left it in the new house, this PIR Bulb in the hot press (airing cupboard) was genuinely one of the most useful little automations in the house and something we’d still highly recommend.

And if we were going to be using a similar heating system in the new place (spoiler, we won’t be) then we’d also re-buy the excellent Honeywell evohome too.

So that’s it. Everything else was either left behind or went into the eBay pile. I will have to take a decision on what the main system will be in the new house and my ideas are forming pretty well at this point. But more on that in a future post.

Remember to check out our Instagram to follow the project, read the rest of the Automated Home 2.0 blog posts and find the links to all the products we’ve used in our self-build.

10 Comments on "Automated Home 2.0 – #03 What Tech Is Good Enough to Take to the New Build?"

  1. This sounds like a great list. Can’t wait to see how it evolves when you get you MVHR system in place. We have one, and have our Vera setup to monitor humidity and boost the throughput if the humidity gets too high either in our kitchen or bathroom. The wife/kids never boosted it when they were getting baths/showers, so now they don’t need to. Look forward to seeing your updates along the way

  2. So what tech did you leave behind? What was being used for general automation, etc?

  3. @Tony – thanks 🙂

  4. @Simon – We left all Z-Wave, Insteon, SmartThings (Zigbee) behind.

  5. Where you still using the X10 modules for lighting?

  6. @Gary – Yes! Say what you will but those DIN Rail modules were super reliable, 20 years! 🙂

  7. Impressive, I’m really looking forward to following your new build.

    Automatedhome was one of the first sites I came across when I got dial up internet at home and I avidly followed the updates of the original build. Your original wiring guide influenced a lot of cabling work and recommendations I made to friends over the years

  8. @Gary – thanks for that, appreciated!

  9. Google Assistant is best for Q&A, however Alexa is much easier to integrate with smart homes.

  10. Alexa and Google Homes both seems to works well with automated home appliances. But, there is much more to do with. I like Home Automation technology that have made life simpler.

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