Author Topic: Smart Home  (Read 2186 times)

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Offline Unorthodox

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2018, 10:02:55 PM »
Well, you'd have a PO box for letter to cell phone sized things, but the packages are behind the counter, only staff can get them.  I just show my ID and they grab my packages.  I get emails and/or texts (you can configure your preferences) when something arrives. 

Offline Geo

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2018, 02:36:17 PM »
Got it.
It's just I was looking at a pic of how small those ups postboxes were, and how one usually uses such a service/office to receive large(r) parcels that wouldn't fit in the postbox home.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2018, 08:19:12 AM »
Well, I have a motion sensor switch on my basement light, so now all I have to do is manage the door without letting any cats escape. Works like the garage since we got the new opener. Life is marvelous! If my hands are full coming up the stairs, I don't have to worry about the switch, it will turn itself of in time. Right now I have it set at 15 minutes. I make more trips a day into the basement than I thought. It's not just the place to store fishing stuff, luggage, and holiday decorations. The freezers, clothes line, and wine supply are down there too. Plus some other stuff. Thanks, Geo!

I've wired the smart dimmer switch on the chandelier. I'll try to set and sync it up tomorrow.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2018, 07:02:25 AM »
The smart switch I chose was the Lutron Casetta. The set up and sync was easy. It has a remote control too, I gave it to my wife. She enjoys turning the light off to save energy, I like having more light both as an antidepressant during the short days of the year, and to help me see without glasses.  Working on the light switch resulted in a round of light fixture cleaning on my part. Dusty glass and smudged screens are the kind of thing that bugs me. Linking with my Smart Things hub was easy. Aside from testing, I haven't found a use for the phone control, but the upgrade makes my wife smile, and would prove useful for interior lighting as part of a security system. It's getting our feet wet.

******

Less easy was setting up the Samsung Smart Things hub. The reason is the box tells you little, except download the app. Simple! Trouble is there are different versions of the app, and different versions of the hub, and different authentiation procedures, and until I got the right combination of those, I was fantasizing about destroying the hub with a sledge hammer. Not that I own such a hammer, but I would gladly have bought one for the specific purpose of destroying the accursed hub. I chose to adjourn and start afresh the next day. I prevailed.

*******

I want to get a remote controlled plug. I have chosen the Wemo mini. The advantage is that these things are wide rather than blocky, and don't block the other receptacle in the outlet when you plug it in. The job I have in mind is simply to inerrupt the power supply of our wireless printer, to start a reboot. Apparently it shuts down over time to conserve energy, and cycling the power gets it working again.

*******

I've made a few more attempts to resync the SkyBell, once to my phone and once to the hub. I suspect I'll have to sync it to my phone first, and then it will complete syncing with the hub. Sometimes I just don't feel like standing outside to do it, sometimes I don't want to activate the doorbell chimes, because holding down the button for a minute is how you start the process, and that activates the chimes and drives my dog crazy. So I'd rather my wife was out when I do this. Maybe I'll have to try re-synching from my wife's phone before I give up. If I can't get it running again, I may be researching Ring doorbell ( which is now owned by Amazon Alexa/Echo) vs. Nest ( which is owned by Google Google Home). I'm not interested in Apple Homekit Siri. Apple isn't so compatible with other brands, and their product line isn't so extensive. I hope that's because they're trying to get things right.. We'll see. I was thinking Nest was the best doorbell, but Ring has some newer models again.

******

While I'm pleased that this is the best I've balanced the HVAC in years, there's still room for improvement. Also, in the summer, which side of the house the sun shines on is a factor. While we are retired and home most of the time, and the cats are home almost all of the time, the upstairs is mostly unoccupied for 12 hours or so every day. I think that the "ecobee 4 " smart thermostat is the best tool for my situation. It will make recommendations, and with some smart vents it can experiment and try to solve the puzzle, taking into account weather, time of day, and occupancy. There area few smart vent companies. Alea makes a nice one, but they are strictly in the pre-order stage. You can pre-order them at 1/2 price of about $125 each when bundled with a hub.  Keen is in production, and you can get 3 vents with a bridge and sensors for just under $400 list. Flair has a lower price ( under a hundred $) but only has one size smart vent available. Everything else is backordered.

So, the way things normally work, I do the researching, and my wife does the shopping. I found a bundel of 4 new Keen vents our size with damaged packaging at a discount. The Keens will work with the ecobee sensors and the Smart Things bridge, so there are big savings to be had there. So, we'll see if these 4 smart vents and the thermostat arrive as advertised. The ecobee 4 is equipped with echo. So we'll have that "intercom" feature.

While I'm waiting for the Echo Dot to arrive to set up that system, and the thermostat, remote sensor, and smart vents, I intend to replace the cable to the thermostat, because we are a wire short. Yes, there are work-arounds that disable the fan control in the system, but compensate for the wire, but after looking into it, why risk these circuitboards? Time to upgrade the system to current standards.


Maybe they'll make smart vents to fit our other vents in the next year or so.

******

I'm hooked on this basement motion sensor switch now, and want to install stupid 3-way motion sensor switches in the hallways. Only I'll set the timer at 5 minutes rather than 15. Should be easier bringing in groceries.   Once the Alexa-Echo system is up and running, I intend to add another Echo, probably a Spot on the second floor, and the hard wired First Alert Smoke/CO detector with Echo in the basement.


***************







« Last Edit: December 08, 2018, 05:25:57 AM by Rusty Edge »

Offline E_T

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2018, 02:11:17 PM »
Less easy was setting up the Samsung Smart Things hub. The reason is the box tells you little, except download the app. Simple! Trouble is there are different versions of the app, and different versions of the hub, and different authentiation procedures, and until I got the right combination of those, I was fantasizing about destroying the hub with a sledge hammer. Not that I own such a hammer, but I would gladly have bought one for the specific purpose of destroying the accursed hub. I chose to adjourn and start afresh the next day. I prevailed.
I find any semi heavy object will substitute in times of real need (or fury) :p

Quote
I want to get a remote controlled plug. I have chosen the Wemo mini. The advantage is that these things are wide rather than blocky, and don't block the other receptacle in the outlet when you plug it in. The job I have in mind is simply to inerrupt the power supply of our wireless printer, to start a reboot. Apparently it shuts down over time to conserve energy, and cycling the power gets it working again.

Check the printer's manufacturer's webside for any possible firmware upgrades.  It might have one that could fix this...

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Offline Unorthodox

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2018, 02:33:50 PM »
I have our printer on an outlet that's wired to a switch for this reason. 

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2018, 03:56:42 AM »
Less easy was setting up the Samsung Smart Things hub. The reason is the box tells you little, except download the app. Simple! Trouble is there are different versions of the app, and different versions of the hub, and different authentiation procedures, and until I got the right combination of those, I was fantasizing about destroying the hub with a sledge hammer. Not that I own such a hammer, but I would gladly have bought one for the specific purpose of destroying the accursed hub. I chose to adjourn and start afresh the next day. I prevailed.
I find any semi heavy object will substitute in times of real need (or fury) :p

Quote
I want to get a remote controlled plug. I have chosen the Wemo mini. The advantage is that these things are wide rather than blocky, and don't block the other receptacle in the outlet when you plug it in. The job I have in mind is simply to inerrupt the power supply of our wireless printer, to start a reboot. Apparently it shuts down over time to conserve energy, and cycling the power gets it working again.

Check the printer's manufacturer's webside for any possible firmware upgrades.  It might have one that could fix this...


It would have been worth the price of the hammer and hub for the joy of smashing them, but it seems to be functional now.



We've been using the printer too often lately for it to shut down, but I updated the drivers, I think. I can't be entirely sure, because it kept bombarding me with opportunities for free trials and auto ink refills and other special offers, rather than an "update complete" notice. I eventually exited the program. We'll see if it works better now.

Thanks, E_T

Offline E_T

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2018, 05:17:12 AM »
There is a difference between Drivers on your computer (which might be an issue as the Wake-On-Lan might be in it) and the firmware to operate the hardware of the device (which in this case, is the Printer).  The problem sounds like it's not getting a Wake-On-Lan that wakes it (it doesn't really turn off, just goes into sleep mode).  That or it's not going into sleep mode properly, which might require power interrupt to correct. 

Typically, you have to download the firmware and, IIRC, have the printer physically connected to the computer (not on the Wifi, but could through your router - depends on printer) for the firmware to be installed onto the device.

Usually, Drivers for Windows are handled by your Windows Update (you do have it set to download Recommended and Important Updates as well as your Critical Updates??) as the manufacturer partners with Windows about those.  But sometimes, you have install them yourself (due to being part of a software suite that is bundled with the Printer).
Three time Hugo Award Winning http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php
Worship the Comic here
Get your schlock mercenary fix here

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2018, 11:59:05 PM »
There is a difference between Drivers on your computer (which might be an issue as the Wake-On-Lan might be in it) and the firmware to operate the hardware of the device (which in this case, is the Printer).  The problem sounds like it's not getting a Wake-On-Lan that wakes it (it doesn't really turn off, just goes into sleep mode).  That or it's not going into sleep mode properly, which might require power interrupt to correct. 

Typically, you have to download the firmware and, IIRC, have the printer physically connected to the computer (not on the Wifi, but could through your router - depends on printer) for the firmware to be installed onto the device.

Usually, Drivers for Windows are handled by your Windows Update (you do have it set to download Recommended and Important Updates as well as your Critical Updates??) as the manufacturer partners with Windows about those.  But sometimes, you have install them yourself (due to being part of a software suite that is bundled with the Printer).



Thanks E_T.

That's sort of what I figured. It seems like it goes into a deep sleep when you don't use it every day or so. Normally, I handle updates through PCMatic. When I did try updating the printer drivers this week I had to connect my laptop via cable. It seems to be working fine for my wife now, but not at all for me. I think I'll let well enough alone, and move on to more productive things. It's seldom critical when I want to print something. Most likely it's simply a recipe. I can walk back and forth, or fire up a tablet to get the recipe if need be.


I'll pass on the smart plug for now.

************

As for wiring motion sensors in the hallway, that was more of an adventure. Lessons learned-

1) Use the accursed smart phone to photograph the wiring before I start changing things around.

2) Always wear my reading glasses when reading directions. Otherwise, I'll see what I expect to see, rather than what it actually says or depicts.

3) While these motion switches aren't smart enough to converse with a smart phone or router, they do require programming. I have a feeling that all of this smart home stuff is primarily a test of perserverance. The usual procedure when it doesn't work is start over from the begining, again and again.

4) You can't use two motion sensor switches on a three way circuit. It doesn't tell you this on the package of the Maestro 3-way motion sensor with built in dimmer switch. It's deep in the instructions.  You can rewire one of the existing switches and change the programming on the fancy switch, or you can use a fancy switch plus a Maestro dimmer to replace the two 3-way switches. I went with the re-wire one existing switch and re-program the new one option, as I really don't care about dimming, I want motion-on.

Even so, I'm delighted to have this set up. The lights come on if I'm walking to the bathroom, the laundry, the garage, or the basement. Really handy when my arms are full, and I'm watching for sneaky cats bent on exploring the forbidden zones behind the closed doors.

*****

I still haven't attempted the re-sync SkyBell. I intend to try that tomorrow.

*****

The EcoBee 4 and Keen smart vents have arrived. So has the Echo Spot, so I'll set it up first. It seems the EcoBee comes with a C-wire converter in the kit. So, I'll use that rather than replace the cable.  Maybe I'll set up the Spot tonight.

The manual balancing of the air vent dampers was too good to be true. The fan developed a squeak, which is an indicator of back pressure, from what I've read. So, I started experimenting and eventually opened all of the dampers to get rid of it. I think the 3 ceiling fans on winter setting and direction are really making a difference this year in the evenness of the air temperature and comfort. In fact I'm thinking about adding one over the kitchen table, the only suitable place left that doesn't have one. But I think I'll wait until there's a nice looking smart one available that's EcoBee compatible.

******









Offline Unorthodox

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2018, 02:02:20 PM »
I take it you don't have pets wandering the house that would set off the motion devices. 

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2018, 09:12:11 PM »
I take it you don't have pets wandering the house that would set off the motion devices.


Maybe. We have 4 housecats and one lapdog.   The package says pets won't set them off. That wasn't the case with the original installation attempt, even when I programmed it for the lower sensitivity setting.

Then again, I think that I probably gave the switch an electrical enema when I miswired it, and magnetized it's inards or something, because while the light sequences indicated that I had reprogrammed it, nothing happened. The settings remained the same. It wasnt till I removed the switch and tossed it in a bag overnight that it reset to default, and worked properly when I tried to re-install it.  Simply cutting the breaker wasn't doing that.


So far, it doesn't seem that the cats and dog are setting it off now that it's actually on the low sensitivity setting. I brought groceries and things in and I really appreciate it. It was worth the trouble to me.


*****************


I got redirected to Mother-in-law duties, so I'm behind in my time table. I'm about to resume home smartification.


Offline Geo

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2018, 07:46:05 PM »
Is there a system in the making for having your smart stuff linked to the meteo forecast and close your shutters if severe enough weather comes in?
Or simply when the sun sets of course. ;)

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2018, 07:58:37 PM »
Is there a system in the making for having your smart stuff linked to the meteo forecast and close your shutters if severe enough weather comes in?
Or simply when the sun sets of course. ;)

There are smart widow blinds, some of them are solar powered, some use batteries, and some need house current.  One brand  can be linked to the Ecobee thermostat, which takes weather and time of day into account. Another brand works with the Apple system.

No smart shutters that I've seen, so far.
******************

I just installed and set up the Ecobee thermostat. One of the best instruction books I've ever seen! It was a good kit, too. The only thing I had to do over was enter the registration code a second time on the website, because it didn't recognize it the first time.


Now I'm going to see about adding the smart vents to the system.

Offline Unorthodox

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2018, 10:16:59 PM »
Rusty's on the left coast, I doubt storm shutters are even a thing over there.  The only automatic ones I've seen were ugly as hell, like little garage doors. 


Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2018, 10:32:47 PM »
Rusty's on the left coast, I doubt storm shutters are even a thing over there.  The only automatic ones I've seen were ugly as hell, like little garage doors.


Actually I'm in Wisconsin in the Milwaukee suburbs, but not too many miles from Lake Michigan. Close enough to moderate the temps about 6 degrees F vs. Madison. Strangely, if a lake is big enough, it seems to lift or deflect tornados. Shutters are strictly trim and style in these parts.

 

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