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Thread: HA Controller Comparison

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member zcapr17's Avatar
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    Question HA Controller Comparison

    Hello all.

    I’m looking for advice about choosing a home automation controller.

    A bit of background: I’ve had Rako lighting for a few years and this year I want to install heating control (most likely Evohome or Heat Genius). I also want to control some electric towel rails, probably using z-wave or similar, so I’ve been looking at the options for a home automation controller to tie everything together.

    I think it's an understatement to say there’s a bewildering array of options out there so I’d appreciate any advice about which solutions best fit my requirements, which I can summarise as follows:

    • An event engine that allows configuration of triggers, rules, scenes, etc. for the control of home automation devices.
    • Activity logging, notifications, and charting of historical stats would also be nice to have.
    • UI: Good-looking polished native iPhone/iPad apps and a web interface to enable control, and ideally also configuration.
    • An 'open' solution that allows users to update their configuration (as opposed to 'closed' locked-out solutions like Control4, Crestron etc).
    • Support for a broad range of the most common retro-fittable DIY technologies in the UK (e.g. Z-wave, LightwaveRF etc.).
    • Allows users to develop their own system interfaces. I expect I’d need to do this for both Rako and Evohome as they don’t have openly supported APIs. (I'm no stranger to programming and scripting using the likes of C#.Net, VB.Net, VBscript, Javascript, Powershell, Perl etc.).
    • Ideally, no ongoing subscription costs, although I don't mind about upfront purchase costs.
    • Good support forum and active user community.
    • I don't particularly mind if the system runs on proprietary hardware or requires a Windows or Linux server.


    I've done a bit of research over the last week and so far OpenHAB and Home Genie look like possible candidates. What else would people recommend I take a closer look at?

    Thanks,

    Z.
    Last edited by zcapr17; 20th October 2014 at 03:46 PM. Reason: Removed wikipedia link as it was deleted. Grrr.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Jr Member zcapr17's Avatar
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    Well, I didn't get any responses, but for the record I went with a Samsung SmartThings Hub (v2) and it does everything I wanted, including native Evohome integration, plus I'll have a Rako Lighting interface working very soon.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Ninja Mavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zcapr17 View Post
    Well, I didn't get any responses, but for the record I went with a Samsung SmartThings Hub (v2) and it does everything I wanted, including native Evohome integration, plus I'll have a Rako Lighting interface working very soon.
    Just read your post over on the heating section and it is all very interesting. I have SmartThings, am on the Evo beta and have downloaded Rule Machine (but not used it yet.) I also have LWRF and Hue bulbs in lamps. I like the sound of your setup with the motion sensors (I just have the one at the moment which is set to trigger the Weather Lamp App that is on the ST Community).

    I would like to get my setup working more smartly and it looks as though I will have time on my hands shortly to experiment. The issue I have though is that we are a dysfunctional family and I am the only techy one. So is there more than one in your house and if so are they cooperative, and more importantly I guess, does your house have general day to day routines or are they as chaotic as ours (son works continental shifts, hubby is retired and me currently working 9 to 5ish but soon to be made redundant.)

  4. #4
    Automated Home Jr Member zcapr17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mavis View Post
    I would like to get my setup working more smartly and it looks as though I will have time on my hands shortly to experiment. The issue I have though is that we are a dysfunctional family and I am the only techy one. So is there more than one in your house and if so are they cooperative, and more importantly I guess, does your house have general day to day routines or are they as chaotic as ours (son works continental shifts, hubby is retired and me currently working 9 to 5ish but soon to be made redundant.)
    Hi Mavis, it's just me at home so that makes things relatively simple when it comes to programming logic. However, I work random days from home vs going to the office in London, so I have set Evohome up with a normal schedule that assumes that I am at home. Then if SmartThings detects if I am away from home it will simply set Evohome to Away mode. This should work for any number of people I guess.

    For more complicated logic, I use Rule Machine extensively in conjunction with virtual flag devices (simulated swtches). External control inputs such as Siri (via Homebridge) and IFTTT will update flags (e.g. 'FLAG - Working from Home', or 'FLAG - At Work', which will then enable or disable various rules that are running in Rule Machine . For rules based on motion sensors, I use the 'Pending Off' action in rule machine, which allows for the action to be cancelled within a certain period.

    In terms of scheduling, the only things that I currently schedule are the heating (managed by Evohome) and my electric towel rail, which comes on automatically in the morning at an appropriate time depending if I've told SmartThings I'm going to work or not. This is also achieved using Rule Machine, which considers the system mode and the various flags that are set.

    At some point I will get round to creating a blog with lots more info, pictures, diagrams and videos.

    Z.
    Last edited by zcapr17; 27th February 2016 at 12:54 PM.

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