Archive for April 27th, 2014

Zwave Kwikset Lock

One of the devices I like with the Zwave system is the integrated electronic deadbolt. We already had a digital deadbolt on the back door (although it lacks the Zwave integration) for if and when we forgot our keys or accidentally locked ourselves out (definately beats a key hidden under the mat or on the top of the door frame).

Kwikset Zwave Lock

We went with the Smartcode Deadbolt with Zwave for key consistency and asthetics. The ability to program access codes from my laptop instead of while standing at the front door with a user manual in my hand is an added bonus.
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Vera Micasa Verde – Setting the scene

One of the great features of the Vera Lite unit is the flexibility it offers. Basic functionality is easily acheived using the Scene/Trigger functions (which as it suggests sets out “what” happens – Scene, and “how” it happens – Trigger.).

Examples of this in my system presently include;

  • At Dusk +/- 30 minutes turn the front porch light on.
  • When garage door opens turn on interior lights (when door closes turn off interior lights)
  • Turn on exterior outlets at dusk and turn them off at 10:00pm (this is our Christmas lights, garden lighting circuit).
  • Lock the front door when the alarm system is armed / Unlock when disarmed.

The appeal however is in the more detailed “scripting” options that Vera offers for less immediate or directly related events.

My first “script” (or Lua code) was to prevent the front door from unlocking when we are home, and just turning off the alarm in the morning when we get up (from “stay” mode to “disarmed”).

This took a bit of thinking, and I used the “Ping” app to sort it out. The system will poll both of our cellphones (to see if we are logged in to the local Wifi), if either phone is present then the front door now stays locked when we disarm the alarm. If neither phone is present it unlocks the front door and turns on some interior lights (assuming one of us is just getting home).

After a few hours of tampering with things I’ve managed to figure this part out;

local allow = true
local status = luup.variable_get("urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:SecuritySensor1","Tripped",50)
return ((status == "1") == allow)

I’m only halfway there. It presently checks to see if Lisas cell phone is logged in. Clearly I’ll have to look over the if/else/then portions of this.

Still….progress? Yeah.

Vera, Zwave and Wemo

As anticipated the addition of a few more Zwave devices firmed up the zwave network and improved reliability. The Zwave switches reach well beyond the range of the Wemo switches (as the zwave network expands with each device adding to the range of the network, while Wemo relies on the Wifi signal).

I’m exploring the automation and programming aspects of the Vera, which at present only acts as a centralized timer turning lights on and off in a quasi-random fashion.

The advanced progamming appears a little counter intuitive, and I’m still grappling with more advanced programming;

- return home and disarm alarm system with remote, system turns on foyer lights and unlocks front door.
- arm alarm system to “stay”, system locks door, turns off downstairs lights.
- arm alarm system to “away”, system locks door, turns off interior lights, turns down thermostat.

You get the idea.

Zwave vs. Wemo Switches

Our home has a detached garage. It is only a few meters from the house, but I thought it might present difficulties for the wireless “smart switches”.

Zwave Light Switch:

My first effort was with an “Evolve Zwave Switch” to control the interior lights of the garage. The Zwave device is paired directly with the Micasa Vera (Zwave does have the benefit of creating its own network, with devices relaying commands to each other).

The garage is just at the edge of its effective range (and with no other Zwave devices just yet there’s nothing to help boost the signal in between the controller and the switch).

The Micasa Vera log shows multiple attempts to contact the switch before registering success. In practice I have it set up to automatically turn the lights on when the garage door opens, and then to turn them off again when it closes, and there is not noticeable delay.

Belkin Wemo Switch:

The Belkin Wemo switch relies on the Wifi signal from your home router. Setup requires you to use your smartphone to connect to a wifi signal generated by the switch, you then provide the app with a password for your home wifi and it connects directly to your router.

I attempted to install a Wemo switch almost immediately beside the Zwave switch mentioned above (same distance to router etc) in the garage and this was a total failure.

The Belkin Wemo switch was simply unable to consistently connect to the router, and would not complete it’s setup. I disconnected the switch and used it in a different location within the house.

Conclusion:

I like the Wemo switches because they can be operated throught the Wemo app if there is a problem with the Micasa Vera Controller. This kind of failure of the Micasa renders the zwave devices effectively inert.

I am impressed with the range of the Zwave switch, and will be adding a few more devices (door lock, thermostat, switch) to see if this improves the connection to the garage. Zwave also offers a wide selection of devices including three way switches, dimmers, relays – the list is endless) where Wemo is limited to single switches and individual appliance outlets.

For now, it’s 80% Wemo and 20% Zwave, but those numbers should balance out in a bit.