Smart home newb, looking for suggestions/advice

So I’ve started looking into smart homes, surveillance and the works and have learned that I have some devices already and just recently procured a few more, that could work to get started with.

Right now I have, a meross wifi connected garage door opener, a wyze bulb, two wyze plugs, a wyze cam v2 1080p, a lutron dimmable switch, and a schlage connect deadbolt lock.

I have like 3 or 4 pi zero W’s just sitting in a drawer, and also a rpi 4 2gb I had planned on utilizing for motioneye os for the wyze cam, but the old lady kind of likes the wye app and being able to hear and talk over the cam itself, so now I’m actually debating putting Hass.io on the rpi4.

From my understanding I will need a zigbee USB hub or some other kind of hub for my lutron switch or something and possibly even more to get everything connected? But curious to see what everyone else has going on and any advice anyone would be willing to throw my way would be appreciated.

I’ve just started watching some YouTube videos from various content peeps so I’m barely getting my toes wet at this point lol.

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Personally i’ve tried a few different of the prebuilt solutions and found that since I switched to Hubitat I haven’t really been back in to fiddle with anything. It just works.

It was made by a few power users of smartthings and is very similar, with the exception that anything that has the capability to run locally does.

Ohh that’s a new one I hadn’t seen! It works with zwave and zigbee devices? Does it have like a customizable dashboard type thing like home assistant? And is it like, a self hosted local website type deal you could have a tablet mounted.to the wall and control?

Yes, both zigbee and zwave.

I’ve never used home assistant, so I can’t help you there. They do have an app to create dashboards for remote control/tablet style, but I personally haven’t used that functionality much. But they do have a forum where you can lurk/ask these questions if you wish to know more.

You can also connect devices to amazon/google which i’ve also found super handy.

When you bought your lutron switch did you buy o ly the switch and not the switch/bridge starter kit?

There is several different options to get you lutron switch like to a home assistant setup.

Use the lutron bridge/hub. I believe they have 2 models floating around a standard one and a pro one. The pro one will let you have more control over the lutron switches/outlets.

Use a smart home hub like a wink hub. Wink hubs can control both zigbee & zwave devices.

Get USB zigbee & zwave dongles and plug directly into the raspberry pi or what ever you have home assistant running off.

I suggest you write some kind of smart home plan. As in how many devices you plan on running. Switches and outlets can get very costly if you go the lutron caseta route, if you plan on only using lutron line of products get the lutron bridge/hub pro version rather then a usb zigbee/zwave dongle. If you want to use several brands of expensive zigbee/zwave devices get a good smart home hub link the wink hub 2.

There is cheaper routes to go as in getting cheaper branded Chinese outlets and switches then flashing them with 3rd party firmware like tasmota. If you use only tasmota compatible devices you dont need a smart home hub at all. You can control them via MQTT broker that can be added on hass.io or run it on a separate device from docker container.

Personally I use all tasmota flashed devices linked to MQTT that is linked to my home assistant. I run home assistant off docker containers not the hass.io version.

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I switched from smartthings to hubitat. I moved due to the local control.

Many Zigbee & Zwave devices are more than reasonable price wise. While they don’t always get down to a wifi price point, the benefit of keeping them off of your wifi and/or the wifi band(in zwaves case) in a home can arguably out weigh the cost increase(if even applicable).

For instance I picked up most of my jasco z-wave light switches for $15/ea as well as zigbee motion sensors & smart plugs for $10/ea & $5/ea respectively @ lowes (on possibly miss priced sales a few years ago). Granted I haven’t been on the hunt for a long time due to some of these sales, I doubt that the same or similar deals don’t come around now and then still. A good resource would be the deals category at smartthings forums.

That said, I personally wish I would have spent more money on Lutron for my switches for their reliability and look, since they are by far the most used thing in my smart home. My switches have been installed for 5 years and i’ve had to replace 3 of them over that time.

I have 5 lutron caseta switches with the pico remotes linked to a Wink 2 hub, I have more issues with them losing connectivity to Wink hub then I do anything else.

5 lutron 3-way switches average $60 each plus a hub $100 total cost me $400.

After flashing my wifi switches with tasmota i have 0 issues with them, they work every I ask alexa to turn them on/off my automations never miss a beat with them.
My wifi smart home devices dont have partys on the wifi network lol, they only connect to it to talk back and forth to home assistant and the MQTT broker.

8 or more “cheap wifi switches” average $10 each total cost $80

I use/prefer the cheap route for smart outlets/switches and day over the expensive ones

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I haven’t really decided what all I would like to get or brands or anything. And I’ve started looking at hubitat and it kinda seems a bit more user friendly than hass.io but then again I can’t really add anything untill I get a USB hub or if I get hubitat that would solve both

I’ve used wink, Vera lite, vera Pro, smart things, oomi, hubitat.

Hubitat has hands down been the most reliable all in one type solution that I’ve tried. It also has a great deal of custom versatility (if desired).

I’m not trying to knock the tasmota option, personally I haven’t tried it.

I had all sorts of problems with devices dropping of the network with vera, wink, and smart things. I haven’t had to re add a device since I switched to hubitat. It all just works.

But ymmv, and your use case is not my use case.

For insight, I have 147 zwave and zigbee devices in my home. All of my light switches, most outlets, many motion sensors, water sensors, smart plugs, a few bulbs & contact sensors.

I’ve been tinkering with home automation stuff for several years. I’ve used X10, Wink, Smartthings, and Home Assistant. If you’re wanting to get the most out of your system I would suggest Home Assistant but if you don’t like to tinker and want things to work I agree with @Bren that Hubitat is the best option.

Currently I’m using Home Assistant to tie everything together and using Smartthings as a hub for a few zigbee and zwave devices. From my experience zwave devices have been more reliable then zigbee. Although I had to replace several zwave light switchs due to them failing early. Most of my devices are wifi based flashed with Tasmota or Esphome. I’m using Ubiquiti APs managed with Unifi and haven’t noticed any degradation in my wifi network.

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I’ve been using home-assistance (hass.io) for a few weeks now, and it’s integrated with just about everything I have thrown at it. I am using mqtt + esp8266 and plan to add esp32 + raspis to the mix. It managed my chinese smart plugs just fine. It also has neat integrations with Cast and other cool stuff. The iOS app works just fine for me as well.

The only thing I don’t like so far is the constant need to restart hassio after each config update. It’s only a pain when adding something. I opted to run as a VM on my server, as the docker container didn’t include the hass.io add-ons. They have a pre-built VM image, I just built a VM using it inside of VirtualBox.

What kind of USB hubs to you have plugged into your pie? I was debating just going the hubitat route because for the same price it has everything as it would cost me to get a z wave and zigbee USB adapters?

Hubitat also seems to be a little more user friendly for less tech savvy people such as myself lol

Oh you don’t have to buy or use anything with hass.io. I am using some wifi-switches I had laying around and been working on some Arduino/ESP stuff lately that integrates very smoothly with MQTT. I am also running hass.io on a VM on my server. I thought about moving it to a Pi, but meh, this works just fine.

It’s not super bad from a beginner’s standpoint, but there are definitely things that threw me for a loop. If you are not tech savvy, and want something that you can just plug in and go and forget about it, likely Hubitat is for you.

Ohhh, well, I have some lutron switches already and a schlage connect lock and some other various products I was hoping to incorporate with hass.io on the pi, from my understanding I need some USB dongles doohickeys to communicate with zigbee and z wave products?

There are Arduino/esp8266 and Tasmota community integrations for for hubitat as well, if you ever wanted to go that route you wouldn’t be losing functionality that I know of.

I feel like some here are down playing, or just not aware of how user customization hubitat is, and while I agree that it’s probably not As flexible as hass.io, it’s can still handle very complex custom programs.

As for lutron, I think you’ll want to check as the integration needs a specific bridge.

And lastly, yes you would need Zigbee/Zwave dongle if you go the hass.io route if you want to connect devices using those protocols.

Thanks for all your informative feedback thus far!

Would hass.io need the lutron specific bridge as well? Or is that just for hubitat?

That USB seems to be the only one I could find that supports both, any first hand experience with it?

IANAE, but afaik most if not all integrations with Lutron need a bridge. Unless my memory is serving incorrectly Lutron runs on a proprietary signal so you need the bridge to communicate in the right frequency.