Author Topic: Smart Home  (Read 2455 times)

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Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #45 on: December 23, 2018, 06:41:28 PM »
I should have an effective intercom system now. The Echo Dot, the Echo Spot, and my phone app all work well enough...

Hang on a minute, it's coming (from the right)...

"Computer! Locate wife!"
;st
 "Mrs Edge, your presence is required in..."

LOL!

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #46 on: December 25, 2018, 11:40:04 PM »
There were complications.

There was a software download for the Onelink. When I tried to use it, our wifi router crashed, and the onelink wouldn't reconnect after it rebooted. Did some online research, and that pointed to deleting the device from Alexa, the app from my phone, resetting the device to factory settings, and starting the install process over again. Well, the software part only.


Now it is working as advertised, and since that's why I bought it, I'm happy.
*******************

Replaced an under the cabinet light in the kitchen. In the process I found a faceplate I could use on the hallway switch. So I'd call those projects complete.


That leaves 1) the doorbell resynching. I think I'll just remove the apps and start from scratch again in that case, too. The weather is supposed to be in the 40s on Thursday.


2) The HVAC system. It's working nicely, but I can see room for improvement. The upstairs is usually empty 12 hours a day, and it is a few degrees warmer. It's only 2/3rds of the width of the house, the rest has a high ceiling in the living room where we usually are. So a lot of  the warm air ends up there anyway. I've been experimenting with shutting them off manually and opening them when I go to bed. The temperature is more even this way, and I don't think the furnace runs as much.  Most of them are behind furniture, so it takes some effort. I'm thinking about ordering smart vents that haven't been made yet. I'd need to adapt the ducts to fit, but I think smart vents would work well there.


There is a 60% discount on this brand (Alea) if I order before the end of the year. I'll have to discuss it with the Mrs.

Online Unorthodox

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #47 on: December 26, 2018, 01:20:32 PM »
Makes me wonder if a home VAV system wouldn't ultimately be better than all these 'smart' thermostats, vents, etc. 

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #48 on: December 26, 2018, 06:48:02 PM »
Makes me wonder if a home VAV system wouldn't ultimately be better than all these 'smart' thermostats, vents, etc.


Might be. We replaced the furnace and AC within the last few years, and when those things failed we needed them. We were more interested in getting a replacement in 48 hours than trying improve the system. Making things smarter is cheaper than redesigning/overhauling the system, but I think you're right that if a person planned they might be better off with something like that with hardwired dampers and zoned ductwork ( provided they have room to do that )  and the variable fan. From what little I know/have read, that might take a pro to meter things and set it up.

 But then, as you said, between pets and people your whole house is in use, zones aren't a thing. Maybe you could convert only fan and controls and be better off for it.


I will say that ecobee was doing commercial applications, and the beauty of these sensors is that they can be placed where you want. For example, in the bedroom, the sensor is the same level as the bed.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #49 on: December 28, 2018, 10:59:20 PM »
We discussed potential expenditures and have decided to conserve cash for a while with the stock markets headed south and Mr. Tariff in charge of things.

Everything is working great, and I'm pleased. I'm opening and closing the upstairs vents manually. We're finding new uses for Alexa and getting better at communicating with her. I've been sick and still haven't gone outside to re-synch the Skybell, but I did remove the app from my wife's phone in anticipation of the start all over approach.

It occurs to me that closing vents to balance the temps has had no effect on the HVAC in terms of fan noise, but doing it by adjusting dampers often did. With that method I would either have uneven, uncomfortable temps, or fan noise and squeaks. As I said, everything is working great.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2018, 12:34:22 AM »
This just happened. I'll describe it as a quirk, rather than a twilight zone moment.

I was getting up to do stuff, swap laundry, turn on the inflatable Christmas display, etc. Normally, the Mrs. and I will make requests when the other gets up. Normally this is so as not to disturb a napping lap pet. She asked for a blanket and to turn up the heat.  I said


"Here. Alexa, tell ecobee to raise the temperature to 68 degrees."

[ I'm sorry. I can only raise the temp between 113 and 174 degrees. ]

Mrs."NO!"

[Okay. I'll raise the temperature to 68 degrees.]

When I checked it was 66 at the thermostat and set to 68. Then the heat turned on. When I got back to my chair and checked the app, it turned out that the living room was listed as unoccupied. I looked over and saw that the sensor was blocked by a large medicine bottle and other clutter. So, that explains why she felt cold in the first place. Easy enough to remedy. Meanwhile she looked things up to find out if this was a joke movie reference or something. No, it's the kind of thing she says if you ask her to set temps outside the limits. So, we'll call it a glitch. It simply doesn't make sense in English or metric.

Temps were nicely balanced, though.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #51 on: January 02, 2019, 08:59:22 PM »
We discussed potential expenditures and have decided to conserve cash for a while with the stock markets headed south and Mr. Tariff in charge of things.

Everything is working great, and I'm pleased. I'm opening and closing the upstairs vents manually. We're finding new uses for Alexa and getting better at communicating with her. I've been sick and still haven't gone outside to re-synch the Skybell, but I did remove the app from my wife's phone in anticipation of the start all over approach.

It occurs to me that closing vents to balance the temps has had no effect on the HVAC in terms of fan noise, but doing it by adjusting dampers often did. With that method I would either have uneven, uncomfortable temps, or fan noise and squeaks. As I said, everything is working great.


Everything is still working well. 1) While in a medical waiting room, I used my cell phone to turn off the chandelier, which the cleaners had left on. 2) The motion sensor lights ( which aren't smart ) only come on when people are present, and the timing is long enough to swap out the washer and dryer, longer in the basement because I spend more time per trip there. 3) The temps are well balanced, and on target where we are. 4) I'm still operating the upstairs vents manually twice a day. It's less than perfect. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes leaning over behind furniture for access affects my balance issues. I think I have discovered a solution. They make vents properly sized for my ducts which aren't smart, but are 7-day time programable for on/off. I could have 3 for under $90. Well, I'd have to trim the faceplates on one side. A cheap smart vent is over $100 each, more if you pro-rate the cost of a bridge. Not that they make smart vents for 2" ducts. 5) Still haven't attempted the SkyBell. The weather should be better in a couple days.


Alexa/Echo-  So we have a functional intercom. My Fire tablet should work as an Alexa device, too, but only when it's turned on. We can use voice to control the thermostat. We can ask it questions. We can have it calculate. We had it play Bing Crosby Christmas songs while we were setting up for and cleaning up after a Christmas party. I like to use "I Can See Clearly Now," by Johnny Nash as my wake up music. I love rain, but that song always makes me happy. There's a lot to be said for starting each day with a song which makes you happy.

What we find most useful is reminders because sometimes we forget, or lose track of time, or nod off. To call my Mom. To take away the cat food before a surgical procedure. To leave to pick the cat up again. You can do grocery lists and vacation lists, too. To make a medical appointment, something I seldom seem to think of during business hours. You can set timers, too.

I have it password protected, so that there's no inadvertent purchases. I like to joke bout the cats ordering Meow Mix, but I don't think cats can say "Alexa."  Alexa is the best Simon says player ever. If you don't say her name first, she ignores you.

Offline Geo

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2019, 10:56:45 PM »
Alexa can make purchases if you so order it? ???

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2019, 12:30:49 AM »
Alexa can make purchases if you so order it? ???

Yes. Kindle was made by Amazon to sell books and audiobooks. The Fire tablet was made by Amazon to sell movies, too. Alexa was made by Amazon to sell music, audio books, and pretty much everything else they offer.

We like Amazon. They built a warehouse/distribution center between here and Chicago. Sometimes we get things within hours. Usually we get things overnight, but mostly it doesn't matter because we order stuff that gets restocked monthly, like cat food and protein bars.


**********

Of course Apple has Siri, and they have a smart home product line called Home Kit. Their stuff isn't very compatible with other hardware, but what they have is pretty good, from what I read. I guess that has always been their business plan.


Google Home has smart hubs, too. I guess the activation is "Hey Google" or simply "Google". It's no surprise that Google is best at answering questions. Google owns Nest smart home products. They compete with Amazon in the streaming media market.  Amazon owns Ring.


From what I can read things will probably form around those three voice systems. There are other hubs that use more wavelengths and can link with more products, but don't have the voice interface. I have the Samsung hub for that reason, but it only synchs easily with other Samsung products in my experience.  So while it can work with any of them, I think it will have to do better to catch on. Well, I could see Microsoft's Cortana partnering with Samsung to become a voice controlled smart hub/ line of smart hardware.

Offline Rusty Edge

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2019, 01:16:32 AM »
I find a couple of things amusing.

You can set up Alexa to answer to the name "Computer," Star Trek uniform optional. Google is working on hand gesture technology, Jedi robes optional.

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/google-soli-gesture-sensors,news-28946.html

Offline Geo

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2019, 09:05:17 AM »
I just read an article on 5G stuff in the mainstream newspaper here.
Your Google remark was in it. About Alexa, I hope your online security is good enough to discourage a casual hacking attempt. In the same article I read mentioned a smart Amazon speaker recording private conversations and relaying those recordings to others.

Offline E_T

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #56 on: January 03, 2019, 03:51:00 PM »
These aren't the kitties that your looking for...
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Get your schlock mercenary fix here

Online Unorthodox

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #57 on: February 04, 2019, 07:39:15 PM »
Figured here is as good as any...

We are looking at removing traditional TV services.  Anyone have experience with that? 

Offline Lorizael

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #58 on: February 04, 2019, 09:19:53 PM »
I haven't had cable TV in 5 years. I stream most of my media from Netflix, Amazon, and network sites. The only thing I've missed out on is live sports.

Online Unorthodox

Re: Smart Home
« Reply #59 on: February 05, 2019, 12:38:30 AM »
What device do you use to do the streaming?  And how easy is it to find something if you don't KNOW which service it might be on? 

We MOSTLY stream these days, but most the apps we stream are actually on the box the cable company provides.  I have 2 PS4's that can handle the thing, but their menus are not as simple as the one on the cable box, and the cable box automagically searches all services I'm signed up for if I search for a program.  Is there a streaming box that does similar?

I see various live TV streaming options these days too for sports. 

 

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