int0x2e a month ago

My personal take on smart home advice for techies: 1. If a device isn't open and managed locally, you're renting it. Some IoT companies will die off within a few years, so try to buy devices you can DIY or control locally. 2. HomeAssistant is amazing. Try to get hardware that can be compatible, though most things already are. 3. Spend some time to make your home network reliable and secure. In particular, most of my smart devices can't connect to the internet, especially when it comes to network cameras and more risky devices. 4. Think about safety. If it is in any way dangerous - don't automate. The risk to human life and property isn't worth it. 5. Start small - outdoor lights and lights in public areas are a great example since you can get them to work well without too much frustration. It is better to pick your battles than dive too deep. Lights for your bedroom are a bad choice, an alert when the washing machine is done is relatively easy. 6. Your smart home should work for you. No need to do something that's cool but isn't valuable.

  • theshrike79 a month ago

    #0 Your automations must still work even when the internet is down.

    Just skip all of the SmartThings and IFTTT online only crap for day-to day operation. If the internet goes down and you can't turn on the lights anymore, your setup's WAF goes down FAST.

    Just pull the plug on your internet and see what happens. Use online features to enhance the smart home experience, don't rely on it.

    Apple HomeKit is good, it works local only, but it also allows secure remote access when needed. You can still use your phone to control everything when the internet is down.

    Same goes for Home Assistant. Just pay the fiver for the Nabu Casa cloud if you want remote access, no point in hacking it together yourself.

    Alexa and Google Home are very bad at this, when they go offline, they just say "sorry" and can't do anything.

    • qwerpy a month ago

      Agree with everything you said, but I'd like to describe what I did to get Home Assistant working remotely: Set up wireguard on my home network and on my phone, and have the home assistant app (or mobile browser) access home assistant through the local IP address. I wanted wireguard for other use cases, so I basically got remote home assistant for free.

      That being said, Home Assistant is worth financially supporting.

      • theshrike79 a month ago

        You do get other stuff besides remote access with Nabu Casa, you also get Alexa/Google Assistant integration and Text to Speech features that need the cloud.

        But supporting the development is worth the price alone =)

  • benrow a month ago

    I've just learned this lesson. I'd like local control of lights (rather than going through slow vendor phone app which uses an internet API as common point with the hub). Works well for remote control but slow and cumbersome for when at home.

    Trying to gain access to the ZigBee network or hub is probably not worth the effort, compared to using a more open stack in the first place.

    • hotpotamus a month ago

      Back in the great AWS outage of last December, there were people who literally couldn't turn their lights on. Things like that make me want to tear every network cable out of my walls. I thought the point of all this technology was to put me in control, not sacrifice it to some computing proto-monopoly.

      • knightofmars a month ago

        Did these people run "always on" sockets in their houses? Any time I have an issue, I flip the physical switch off and then on and lo and behold the lights turn on.

    • Semaphor a month ago

      ZigBee is actually pretty open and easy to get access to. Just not if you use some vendor hub.

      • benrow a month ago

        Good to know, thanks. I didn't know much about ZigBee so did some reading - seemed it's used for things like smart locks so I was pessimistic about it being very accessible.

        Glad I mentioned it here, I now have a steer in the right direction - thanks.

    • Thlom a month ago

      Huh. I bought a cheap usb Zigbee device and it found all my hue lights and zigbee sensors no problem.

      • benrow a month ago

        Thank you, I'll give this a try!

        • Semaphor a month ago

          Just as a tip: They are all affordable, but don’t get the cheapest stick. The more powerful the stick, the more devices it can support before it starts crapping out. There are recommendations online on which chips you want.

  • outworlder a month ago

    > Some IoT companies will die off within a few years

    That is a concern. An even larger concern is companies just sunsetting products. Like Amazon did with the Cloud Cam.

    > 4. Think about safety. If it is in any way dangerous - don't automate.

    Excellent point. I like to automate things that are dangerous but to try to make them ever so slightly better. For example - cutting power to the 3D printer after it's done printing or a couple of minutes after a serious error(couple of minutes to allow for the nozzle to cool down while still under active cooling).

    Automating a pool cover would be a bad idea indeed.

  • BryanBeshore a month ago

    Timely post as this is something I have been quite interested in, and starting to explore. I'd love to see some sort of list of smart home automation/devices that would fall into the safety buckets, and why. Something like:

    - Safe

    - Medium safe

    - Not safe

    - Do not do

    • Nextgrid a month ago

      Anything that doesn't have a (reliable) safety interlock. Electric heaters or cooking appliances for example. Life-critical devices such as smoke alarms, etc (you wouldn't want a malfunction of your smart home controller or a malicious attacker to cut the power to your smoke detectors).

      • outworlder a month ago

        Generally, being able to cut power is a good thing for many devices. You shouldn't want to turn on dangerous devices automatically, but some of them might benefit from the ability to have power cut off.

        The very first smart plug I ever bought was because one day I went on a trip and, after arriving from my flight on the other side of the country, I started to wonder if I had turned the coffee machine off. I had, which I confirmed with an indoor camera.

        That coffee machine got a smart plug as soon as I got back. Others followed.

xoa a month ago

I wish there were more sensors and other smart home devices that a offered power over ethernet option vs WiFi/BLE/Zigbee. In many spaces running a wire isn't much of an ask, and it particularly is a nice complement to wireless since the spaces it's most trivial to do so (unfinished non-living areas) are also the most irritating to actually get to, have poor wireless coverage, don't have other power available and one wants reliability. PoE also means tying into other infrastructure (like everything can take advantage of a UPS and network power control) and eliminates a whole class of trouble points. Wireless standard support for IOT stuff tends to really, really lag and security is more than a bit questionable. For WiFi a dedicated SSID that is 2.4GHz only, DTIM 1, its own VLAN (or multiple via PPSK or at least PSK+MAC) and with basically every feature added past 2011 turned off helps but some kit still makes me wish for a simple plug particularly when it wants a wall wart anyway.

Ah well. I'm glad there is still a reasonably healthy selection at all for those of us who have the same criteria in terms of "LAN only capable/HA control/no subs".

  • eternityforest a month ago

    PoE is a bit excessive for this I think. Most of these IoT devices should be using less that 1mA on average, usually a lot less.

    They also need next to no data transmission rate in a lot of cases. 3 or even 2 thin wires could easily handle it.

    You could even reuse USB-C as the connector, and optionally actually use the USB lines for configuration, or use barrel jacks for a bit more power and easy DIYing.

    If you limited it to just really simple stuff you could use very thin cheap wire, branching however you want because you only need 4800 baud or less, easy to hide, almost no cost.

    • xoa a month ago

      >PoE is a bit excessive for this I think.

      I don't agree, and it's not really about the power (though there are plenty which either are or could be hungrier if the capability was there). Ethernet is very cheap, standard, and reliable. It's easy to run by people who aren't electricians. Ethernet benefits from vast economies of scale and market, you can get minimal Cat 5e for <$0.07/ft (7 cents per foot), and piles of connectors too for pennies. It will be easy to pull and handle plenty of abuse. You can get it riser or plenum rated. Connectors cover a full spectrum of usage and are straight forward to do fast and then test for correctness with a massive array of tools also spanning the price/performance spectrum. Are you for real in suggesting USB-C vs 8P8C?

      I'm not suggesting at all using PoE exclusively, but it is disappointing it's as rare as it is in commercial products. There's plenty of devices I'd like to just put somewhere and not touch again for 10 years, which battery isn't ideal for. Security, more stuff broadcasting into limited spectrum, trouble shooting and so on also factors in. It's particularly galling for things which actually do need hardline power anyway, are security/safety related, or both. Wireless absolutely has its place but shouldn't be the only option, particularly when it's commonly so freaking bad (like devices which make things "easy" by demanding to use an app and pair with the network your phone is on rather then just letting you enter an SSID and passwords and then mysteriously won't work arrrrrghhhhhh).

      • shadowpho a month ago

        POE has downsides as well though. It's lossier then pulling directly from the wall. It has worse idle power consumption. It requires larger\more expensive electronics on the RX side. You need to be more careful with lightning protection. It's rarer in-walls compared to power lines.

        It sure has its strong spots, but it's not a slam dunk for all options.

  • markvdb a month ago

    On the relay side, this is a solved problem. Have a look at devices like the Shelly pro 4pm.

    On the sensor side, there are a few very nice esp32 based boards. Have a look at the https://www.olimex.com/Products/IoT/ESP32/ESP32-POE-ISO/ and friends. These kind of things are fairly cheap and will handle most sensors really well. They're also perfectly supported by esphome.

    I'm fiddling with a setup somewhat like what you describe at our countryside cottage. Star topology for literally everything into the technical room: 230v power, proper cat6 for the high speed data network, and cat5e for sensors.

    I tried to keep the wiring super standard. All sensor cables get terminated centrally in a patch panel, ethernet style. On the sensor side, I break out the wires I want using simple couplers.

    I don't do PoE up to the sensor. I haven't found cheap super compact PoE devices . That's not a problem though. With some multiplexing, an ESP32 can handle a surprising number of sensors both at the data and the power budget level. So I use a few PoE powered ESP32's in the central network rack, and I power my sensors through those.

  • halefx a month ago

    Unifi has a lot of options for this especially if you look at their Early Access store. Home Assistant support is limited right now, but a lot of their devices are still new

  • xattt a month ago

    I’m disappointed that there aren’t any hubs with PoE or are nice enough to mount on the ceiling next to APs.

    Heck, I’m disappointed there’s no ceiling-mount APs with built-in Z-wave/Zigbee.

    • dpifke a month ago

      Would a Raspberry Pi with PoE hat plus USB Z-wave stick (plus USB wifi radio, if you're looking for it to also be a "AP" and want better than out of the box with hostapd) work for you?

      Z-wave's relay design makes hub placement less of an issue than with e.g. wifi, which is probably why you don't see much attention paid to mounting/appearance concerns. It doesn't much matter, so long as you have a device near the hub, then another device near that one, and so on.

      • xattt a month ago

        I do appreciate this suggestion and have considered it in the past. The spouse acceptance factor for mounting a computer board to the ceiling is low in my household. :)

        I hadn’t considered that the mesh nature of home control devices has negated the need for central placement.

    • pnw a month ago

      Ubiquiti has the UAP-IW-HD, in-wall mounted four port POE/wireless AP that uses a standard mounting box. I replaced my old cable TV outlets with them in a couple of rooms and they work great.

      • nsteel a month ago

        Or the cheaper TP-Link version: TP-Link AX1800 Dual Band Gigabit Wall Plate

      • xattt a month ago

        I guess by hub I meant home hub device.

  • rkagerer a month ago

    I agree and would love to see a list of what is out there, and some elaboration on good microcontrollers / accessories / platforms to use for bespoke projects.

jtthe13 a month ago

Surprised there is no mention of IKEA. It's affordable, standard-compatible, and last time I checked, was among the most secure: partly because of the reputational risk for IKEA, (and also because it's the right thing to do!) they must keep it updated and supported for a long time.

  • mslot a month ago

    Their lights are nice, but their motion sensor drains the battery in 2 months or so. Eventually I figured out that I could control the IKEA lights via Philips Hue, so I could switch to a Hue sensor which is already lasting a few years.

    In general, Philips Hue / Signify is very reliable in my experience, though expensive.

    • theshrike79 a month ago

      I've got a bunch of Hue motion sensors (which have lux and temperature sensors too btw). I've replaced the batteries (2xAAA you can grab at any store) exactly once during the 5 years so I've had them.

    • omh a month ago

      There is something odd about the battery life on the Ikea motion sensor.

      I use it in our bathroom and it's activated multiple times per day. The first battery lasted about 3 months but the second battery has been going for over a year.

      There are some reddit threads but I never got a clear answer.

  • kayodelycaon a month ago

    IKEA devices have a tendency to drop off and need repairing. Every power outage would require repairing half of my lights. Their switches and motion sensors chew through batteries.

    Their color bulbs are disappointing in both lumens and color reproduction. Their white-scale bulbs max out at 4000k, when most daylight bulbs are 5000k.

monkeydust a month ago

Home Assistant is by far one of the most impressive open source non-business applications out there.

Have my setup running for over 5 years. Not without its problems and I have done a few painful rebuilds in that time but I love the fact I can glue together technologies that do not natively talk to each other through node red automations. Think Ring doorbell, sending a notification toast to my LG TV and turning on my Phillips Hue lights.

  • spacemanmatt a month ago

    > Have my setup running for over 5 years.

    Wow. Mine invariably cratered after 3-5 months. Had to start over from scratch every time.

    • int0x2e a month ago

      If you had a RPi setup and your SD card died, I would suggest one or more of the following: 1. Buy an endurance-oriented card (e.g.: Samsung Pro Endurance), and try to get a higher capacity card just for the added endurance. 2. Make sure to disable write heavy configurations if possible. 3. If you can bear the expense, consider swapping the RPi with a used corporate mini PC (HP ProDesk/EliteDesk are my personal favorites, but the Dell Wyse 5070 is great bang for your buck) - you can get a pretty powerful setup with plenty of CPU, RAM and a real SSD, while still consuming ~10 watts at the wall, which is close enough to the RPi for my taste. Most of these units are not fan-less, but they are extremely quiet unless you're pushing them...

      • outworlder a month ago

        Or just use a SSD.

        My Home Assistant instance is sitting inside an Argo One case. It has a small fan (controlled by Home Assistant so it can be stopped if not needed) and a M2 SSD slot, which I'm using with a SSD that I pulled from a Chromebook. It's rock solid. I don't need any significant CPU and RAM.

    • tass a month ago

      What do you mean by cratered? Biggest issue I had was using a raspberry Pi and having the sd card fail.

      There’s addons for regular backups to cloud storage, and also alternatives to using an sd card - I now use an odroid

      • spacemanmatt a month ago

        > cratered

        Quit working. One or more critical modules would fail beyond my ability/interest to repair in a foreign container-manager based application. Or the thing would quit booting. I guess I could try different SD cards but the ones I had were serving fine with raspbian before.

        The first time it failed, I tried to join the community but found it exceptionally hostile before I even had a chance to seek regular support.

        • tass a month ago

          I have had the following variety of problems:

          * very occasional post upgrade problem which was fixed by the next upgrade or just a restore

          * zigbee radio occasional issue which turned out to be a bug with the dongle firmware. Upgrading the firmware sorted me out. (Basically, I sometimes needed to power cycle before the zigbee network was functional)

          * SD card corruption. This was the biggest pain, and required building the system from scratch once (since the backups were on the same card - oops!) and from backup one other time.

          I never once had an issue after moving away from using sd cards that needed more than a restart - and this was maybe once in the last 6 months. I suspect the upgrade problems I previously had were also corruption related.

          If you were willing to try again, I highly recommend the odroid with eMMC - it’s also more powerful (though pricier) than a raspberry Pi 4 along with being generally neater since all the plugs attach on one side and it doesn’t need an external usb for its disk.

          • spacemanmatt a month ago

            I may be burned. My first oDroid order was dead on arrival and I got into HomeAssistant when it was still common to brick your whole setup just updating plugins.

      • Semaphor a month ago

        Same, SD card failure was the only failure I ever had. Nowadays, I just run an SSD instead.

        • theshrike79 a month ago

          I just grabbed a cheap Lenovo Thinkcenter Mini and don't bother with raspberries at all :)

    • monkeydust a month ago

      Few things I did:

      - Get off RPi and onto a windows virtual machine

      - Backup frequently

      - Upgrade lazily

  • izacus a month ago

    One thing that bothers me with Home Assistant and could never find a way to fix it:

    Is there a way to disable it from automatically spying on every single logged in mobile phone? E.g. if I install HASS app on an Android phone and login, it'll automatically start tracking everything from location, connected wifi, charging timing, all of it. And I need to go and disable this manually from every entity separately... and it randomly reenables itself if the device reauthenticates.

    Since I don't want to track every single step my family makes, did anyone find a configuration option on the server to turn this off for all clients?

    • tomatocracy a month ago

      If you're using the "official" companion app on Android, you can go to the Hamburger menu/Settings/Companion App/Manage Sensors and enable/disable them there.

    • mackey a month ago

      It should show your phone in the "Integration" list and then you can just disable it.

      I agree that it shouldn't be like this just by installing the app.

    • segfault11 a month ago

      You can deny most permissions when setting up the HA mobile app. This way, it won’t have much to report

  • memoriasit a month ago

    How do you send toast messages to the tv? :P

    • monkeydust a month ago
      • sofixa a month ago

        I really thought you get notifications on your TV when your toast is done toasting.

        • Semaphor a month ago

          That’s actually not hard. Connect the toaster to a smart plug with monitoring, make an automation to send a notification when the power draw drops after X seconds of power draw. It’s essentially the same way people make their washing machines smart.

        • ajolly a month ago

          I get notifications on my TV once my kettle is done heating.

        • monkeydust a month ago

          Haha. Now you got me thinking.

jve a month ago

Another device I'v been using few months:

Ikea Tradfri Control Outlet (Works over ZigBee): https://zigbee.blakadder.com/Ikea_E1603.html

Works well with ZHA. Had 0 problems. Unplugging, plugging in, restarting HA, lossing power, etc - had no issues whatsoever. However it may depend on Zigbee chip too (I have CC2538)

  • Hamuko a month ago

    Wish it had energy monitoring though.

  • janci a month ago

    +1 for IKEA Tradfri series

alias_neo a month ago

I bought a few of the Switchbot Meter Plus temperature/humidity sensors when they were on sale, to put one in each room and use them to control my heating.

They "broadcast" everything shown on the screen as BLE service-data which means you can passively read it at whatever interval.

I didn't want to sign up to their cloud with the app where they collect all of your data (my HA is offline, that's how it'll stay) so I built a BLE<->WiFi<->MQTT device using an ESP32 and a firmware I found on Github, with some modifications; it scans for the devices by BLE address, reads the service data and publishes it to the MQTT endpoints used for HASS.

  • mook a month ago

    FWIW, if your HASS is running on a device (like a Raspberry Pi) that has Bluetooth, you might be able to get away with a custom component like https://github.com/custom-components/ble_monitor instead. Of course, if your setup is working for you already there isn't much incentive to change it.

    • alias_neo a month ago

      I run mine on a VM in my server rack

      Anyone serious about running HASS, or home automation in general should move away from a Pi because it's not cut out for running a home, the SDs are fragile and need decent, clean power and the performance isn't stellar when you've got a lot going on.

      It's a nice, cheap starting point, but something like a NUC or similar is the next step for a reliable machine to run it on and won't suck up electricity.

BrandoElFollito a month ago

I think OP put a few restrictions they could relax a bit.

I use Meross devices with krahabb's wonderful LAN integration (https://github.com/krahabb/meross_lan). It requires a specific pairing process of the device, but not any firmware reflash.

Relaxing an extra bit, one can flash many devices with ESP Home (https://esphome.io/) - an excellent cistom firmware. Its only flaw is that the captive portal does not work well after an upgrade (something that is hanging in the bugs section and nobody cares)

CharlesW a month ago

This article focuses on Home Assistant, but I think it's worth noting that the HomeKit ecosystem is default-local as well.

And as TFA notes, using HomePod Mini as a hub allows HomeKit devices to to "interface with Home Assistant over the local network (without any cloud connection)" as well. That gives you access to many privacy-respecting devices as long as you don't enable Alexa, Google Home, etc.

  • cjdoc29 a month ago

    I didn't realize HomePod interfaces with HomeKit accessories over the local network. At some point, I realized my Belkin smart outlets were pinging the external network a ton and I blocked its internet usage completely. I was pleasantly surprised to see I could still turn on/off my lights from my iPhone!

  • count a month ago

    HomeKit labeling requirements mandate 'local only' operation. It's the opposite of Alexa/Google stuff in that respect.

teekert a month ago

Agree with the list, except that I will never buy TPlink Kasa stuff again after they (from my Home Assistant perspective) bricked my HS110. Strange enough I now read that they have super nice support (Platinum level) [0]? Did they do a 180? I remember that page basically told us to avoid Kasa like the plaque? Can I dust off my HS110 again? Here is some info on what happened just before I stopped using any Kasa stuff: [1].

Anyway, I've been very happy with my Shelly plug-S's, I use them everywhere, very nice with the Home Assistant Energy dashboard. I can even tell from my server power usage now when some process has gone haywire.

[0]: https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/tplink

[1]: https://community.tp-link.com/en/home/forum/topic/237614

birdman914 a month ago

If you are going to go down the automation rabbit hole, I highly recommend looking at Node-RED. https://nodered.org/

  • outworlder a month ago

    I have a love-hate relationship with NodeRed.

    Connecting all the box is neat and all, until you have to muck around with payload json(which you often cannot inspect until an actual event is generated).

    It feels like it's missing one level of abstraction.

charleslmunger a month ago

Interesting that open source stuff (like tasmota for sonoff devices is not mentioned - a number of OEMs offer pre flashed devices. Athom, Kauf, cloudfree, and Martin Jerry just to name a few. These are wonderful to use with home assistant.

Similarly, I've had real trouble with some reolink products - they're very cheap, but have codec issues. Were I buying cameras again I'd go with amcrest, which are mostly white label dahua.

  • emsixteen a month ago

    Hey, you forgot this: )

Steltek a month ago

I find the lack of Z-Wave interesting. It comes at a higher cost but in my experience, Z-Wave devices seem to work better than Zigbee. I've had 2 USB Zigbee sticks die on me and my Zigbee devices all blow through batteries like crazy.

Also on batteries: I avoid anything battery powered. I do not need another weekly chore of replacing dead coin cells of various sizes. And yes, if you let your collection of battery things grow, it will become a weekly chore eventually. Hardwired or GTFO. The worst offender is "buttons". When I need a control input that's not an in-circuit switch, it's inevitably a coin cell button that will need babysitting. At some point I'm going to start making 3.7V BEC USB things to save myself some frustration.

  • shadowpho a month ago

    >At some point I'm going to start making 3.7V BEC USB things to save myself some frustration.

    That's why I love jlcpcb. I have been building IOT thingies for about $5-$10 a part. They build PCB and do SMT so you get somewhat finished product. (Just need a 3D print for enclosure). This ends up being about same cost as buying from someone else, but 100% under your control\customizable

  • robalfonso a month ago

    For me zigbee has been more reliable. I have only had Z-wave devices fail.

    Regarding batteries I minimise the use of anything with batteries, but I make a point of buying devices that use larger batterieswhen I have to. I have a couple zigbee motion sensors going on 18 months.

    Alternatively I’ll use a dummy battery to hard wire a sensor so I can remove the battery

  • outworlder a month ago

    It's a more expensive(requires licensing) and completely proprietary protocol.

    • Steltek a month ago

      Home automation seems worth the extra cost for the increased reliability and performance. Not that I'm a big fan of proprietary anything but I really need my lights to turn on when I hit the switch.

zokier a month ago

What is the general opinion on Ruuvi? At least they are fairly open source friendly, but idk if they are actually good? Have been considering getting them...

https://ruuvi.com/

  • theshrike79 a month ago

    The Ruuvi is a complete beast. It'll last for years on a single coin battery. I got them from the initial Kickstarter and replaced batteries last year.

    You _can_ read them with just a cell phone or hack a Raspberry Pi as a BLE listener, and It'll work just fine most of the time. Even ESP32 has a system for reading the tags with esphome I think.

    But for the best results I recommend getting their official Gateway: https://ruuvi.com/gateway/

    The antenna on that thing is completely ridiculous. My Raspberry Pi had to hang from the ceiling to get even 10% of the readings from my sauna (lined with foil to keep the heat and moisture in as per Finnish building code).

    I got a the Gateway, quickly powered it up at my desk and boom, it found the sauna tag immediately, zero packet loss.

    I've got one in both my fridges and freezer, zero issues. Sauna goes up to 80C normally and is MOIST, no problems. People even float them in pools, just cover the moisture sensor hole with tape and double bag it in ziploc.

    You can get similar BT devices from china, but they eat up batteries like candy and the signal strength isn't that good.

  • Semaphor a month ago

    There’s apparently a custom HACS integration [0], discussed in their forums [1]. Personally I’d get the cheaper Aqara sensors as I have a Zigbee network anyway, so I see no advantage in BLE. Also, the motion sensor (of the tag, not of other people) seems like a really useless feature.

    [0]: https://github.com/ruuvi-friends/ruuvi-hass.io

    [1]: https://f.ruuvi.com/t/ruuvi-sensors-ruuvi-gateway-home-assis...

    • theshrike79 a month ago

      The motion sensor isn't useless, you just lack imagination :)

      You can slap one on your mailbox lid for example and have an alert pop up when the counter changes. It has X/Y/Z acceleration sensors too if you want to know the direction of the motion.

      • adolph a month ago

        Like gentle Y/Z is postal carrier, hard X followed by Z is those dern teens again?

cjdoc29 a month ago

Related because the author mentions you can use Home Assistant to control Apple TV (probably more control than what's out-of-the-box).

HomePod + Apple TV native integration performs unreliably in my setup. "Hey Siri, pause Apple TV" has a <30% success rate if HomePod hasn't been restarted in the last hour. But it has a 90% success rate in accepting "Hey Siri, turn off Apple TV". Most of the time I'm watching TV, I'm doing things where I can't use the remote (e.g. cooking), so this has been the most frustrating experience with HomePods + Apple TV.

remflight a month ago

For sensors, https://wirelesstag.net/ is rock solid. They even let you configure the bridge to push data internally in case the company ever goes bankrupt. The sensors that detect doors opening and closing are great and you can get other tags measure sunlight etc.

I highly recommend these if you’re into taking this sort of data.

ahartmetz a month ago

Hm. I guess here I can mention an unfortunately not well-known product I have personally worked on that I think is really good. I think it's really good because it speaks roughly all the hardware protocols (lots of ICs and antennas) and all the software protocols, no cloud required. It's called the wibutler home automation central.

  • rb2k_ a month ago

    The website mentions:

    "Funkstandards / Frequenzen EnOcean (868 MHz), Low-Power-Funk (2.4 GHz) WLAN (802.11 b/g/n 2,4 GHz)"

    So that's neither of the two major protocols (zwave and zigbee) nor any of the up and coming ones (thread).

    Am I missing something?

    • ahartmetz a month ago

      Oh damn, it seems like they removed radio protocols in the v2 hardware... From an Amazon listing of v1: "EnOcean, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth, WLAN"

Mister_Snuggles a month ago

I follow basically the same logic as the author does - local-only, no messing around with custom firmware, etc. I'm willing to make exceptions for things that are just too good to pass up, but those are few and far between.

Some additional recommendations that fit the general theme:

* Cameras: I use Blue Iris, so anything that does ONVIF is suitable. There's no need to limit yourself to one brand, though sticking with stuff you know is good is sensible - I've got a couple of ReoLink cameras that are good, and I've got some Amcrest cameras that are also good. Keep your cameras, regardless of brand, on a separate VLAN/Wifi network.

* Switches and Lights: Ikea's TRÅDFRI outlets, and bulbs are pretty decent and very affordable. I also recently got a bunch of Sengled Zigbee outlets and am very impressed with them - great form factor (small enough to not block the other outlet), and the power consumption monitoring helps me understand my electricity usage better.

* Sensors: Ikea's motion sensor is decent and I've never experienced the extreme battery drain that other people have reported - I only have one of these though, so maybe I got lucky. Also, Aqara water detectors have likely saved me thousands of dollars thanks to alerting me to issues in places I don't normally look.

* Other stuff: Ikea's STÅRKVIND air cleaner is pretty nifty, and Zigbee-enabled. I've got a handful of Ikea Zigbee buttons (the shortcut button and the five-button 'puck' remote) that work very well.

Also, check out ESPHome[0] - if you can't find a sensor or device that does exactly what you need, this makes it shockingly easy to build one. I've got a water level sensor (ESPHome, ESP32, HC-SR04) on my sump pit that has alerted me to pump failures before damage occurred.

I'm using a ConBee II with deCONZ for my Zigbee gear, but that's more of an implementation detail than anything.

Finally, my one exception to no cloud stuff - the Rainforest EAGLE-200[1]. Being able to monitor and track my home's energy consumption has been very valuable for saving money. You have to use the cloud to set it up, but Home Assistant can do local polling to retrieve the data. You can also, via the cloud, configure it to POST data in real time to a URL, that POST happens directly from the device.

[0] https://esphome.io/

[1] https://www.rainforestautomation.com/rfa-z114-eagle-200-util...

  • tlavoie a month ago

    Ah damn, you reminded me about the Rainforest Eagle's API. That was a thought for a side project, haven't gotten to yet. I already have some ESP32s writing to MQTT (Mosquitto on a Raspberry Pi), which another program dumps to Sqlite DB. I was thinking the Eagle could be writing there too.

lutarezj a month ago

No mention about philips? My philips sensors are expensive but they do not drain the battery. I use them daily for 2.5 years now and did not change the batteries. They are very easy to mount on walls and they have a magnet.

  • nullfield a month ago

    I’m more surprised because Hue is one of the better systems, and the bridge can be accessed and manipulated fine offline.

miffe a month ago

I haven't tried Home Assistant yet. But does it support KNX and/or DALI?

  • mlenz a month ago

    Yes, Home Assistant works perfectly with KNX. I have been running it for about half a year now and did not have any issues. To control DALI devices, you need a KNX/DALI gateway. But I think all homes with KNX and DALI will have one, otherwise you could not control your lights via your switches.

    • miffe a month ago

      Do you have a gateway to recommend? All I have is an Wago PLC.

trasz a month ago

Surprising there's no Yeelight.

verisimi a month ago

> My Preferred Smart Home Vendors

None.

  • verisimi a month ago

    Ok - downvoted a little, but why would you invite corporations into your house to spy and collect info on everyone, and then make a song and dance about what sort of spying on you and your family prefer?

    "Do you prefer your jail cell to have the barred window high up AND a thin mattress, or a better view but NO mattress?"

    • sofixa a month ago

      As per TFA, there are many vendors who sell local-only/first/optional hardware, which paired with a local-first software hub like Home Assistant means you have a smart home without inviting any corporation in your home.

    • RealStickman_ a month ago

      > Must be controllable locally, and cloud dependency must be optional. In other words, I can use the device without any internet connection.

      Criteria #1 in the article

    • theshrike79 a month ago

      The whole article is about smart home stuff that doesn't spy on you.

      IKEA being the biggest one. Their stuff doesn't ring home for anything except for firmware updates. There's no built-in remote control over the internet, no IKEA account needed, nothing.

    • function_seven a month ago

      I don’t invite corporations into my house to spy. That’s the entire point of local-only devices!

      All my smart home stuff is either Zigbee/Z-wave or some 3rd-party firmware over WiFi (Tasmota/ESPHome)

      I happen to have a couple Echos. They don’t know about my smart home. They’re glorified Bluetooth bridges and one day I’ll replace those as well.

    • ClumsyPilot a month ago

      Because then you can have free market in your house and capitalism solves every problem.

      • incahoots a month ago

        Got a chuckle out of me