Archive for March 29th, 2014

MiCasa – Vera Lite (Day 2)

So the learning curve continues.

First tip…don’t use the “Utility/Reboot” command lightly, it appeared to default the device when I tried it (simply to move the device to its static IP address) and all my programming up to that point was lost.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me a fresh start with my new found experience, and the setup was less than an hour.

Vera Lite device main page

As I mentioned, the fact that the VeraLite could make use of my already installed WeMo switches was ENTIRELY unexpected, and I had already ordered a new wall switch to experiment with (ZWave).

The Evolve Wall Switch is paired with the Vera by physically taking the Vera to the install location and pairing them (the Vera is equipped with AA batteries for this specific purpose). I installed the Evolve switch in my garage to control the lights, paired the device without an issue and then returned the Vera to its typical location.

No good. The device is out of range.

It’s important to note that the ZWave devices create their own network, and act as repeaters for each other. The more devices you have the further you can extend the network.

I’ll be comparing the range of the WeMo switches (which are Wifi based) to the Zwave switches, and we’ll see which fares better (they are both the same price…so it’s a wash on that front).

Mi Casa Verde VeraLite – Day 1

I’m impressed.

I tinkered with the Veralite today for the first time. Plugged it into the home network, let it download its updated firmware, registered on the corporate website and then got stuck into the task of getting it to recognize the components already in place.

That was a snap!

The device lets you download “apps” that take care of the basic interaction with different devices. It took me no time to download the DSC app (interaction with the alarm system), the WeMo app (interaction with my Wifi light switches), a CCTV app to bring in the feed from the surveillance cameras and even an IP Ping app that can ping our cell phones to keep track (in general) of who is home.

So, now the device list is complete, I need to start learning about “scenes” and “triggers”.

Home automation…baby steps

Ok, enough reading.

I’ve ordered the Vera Lite from Vera Controls as an entry level home automation system, along with a wireless light switch. This will give me that chance to play with the thing (undoubtedly turning the front hall light on and off endlessly and annoying Lisa) and see what it can do.

Going to experiment with this a bit and see if it gives me the features and flexibility to do the stuff I’m after, then we can get into more advanced functionality (and add more of the rather expensive devices).

New gizmo to play with, coming through.

Thinking about home automation again…

I like the idea of home automation. I like the thought that the lights, the alarm system, the thermostat and other sundry techno-toys can interact in a meaningful way.

In practice however I am a cheap fellow, and don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars on what is little more than a fancy gizmo.

I’ve done a bit of reading on this, and the leading contender is the ZWave system which offers a dizzying array of toys, er…devices, and integrates with my alarm system.

The benefit of the alarm system integration is that it allows the home automation computer to use the devices and status of the alarm system to operate lighting and temperature inside the house (system armed to “away”, kill the lights and drop the temperature a bit – fire alarm in the house? Turn all the lights on.).

I’m going to tread carefully here, I’ve already got a few Wifi light switches which don’t work with the Zwave system, and before I have to replace too many brand new toys I want to be sure Zwave is going to do what I need.

I’ll throw some updates as I try this stuff out.