Automating the homestead

Yep, I have started working on home automation. So far it has been interesting and frustrating.

The frustrating part came with my brilliant idea of extending my wifi signal throughout the house so I wouldn’t have any wifi shadows or dead spots. I used Apple airport express units, wired into the network, configured to extend the wifi; Man that caused a nightmare on my wifi. I removed the airport expresses, to reconfigure and use them for different purposes in the future.

So this whole automation thing started because I’m inherently lazy and since we all live in the future I thought it would be cool to tell the computer to do “such and such” verbally and it would comply.

The first time I bought a home automation device was when I got my iPhone. Now I haven’t used it for that since I first got it, but rather in the last month. And that is only after I was using the home automation built in with Alexa. I had purchased a phillips hue bridge and a couple of light bulbs (to start) plugged in the bridge, added the lights and pretty much immediately I was able to direct Computer (Alexa) to turn them on and off.

I thought myself brilliant, but the next part of my adventure would prove me to be the lucky recipient of well designed devices that work well together simply and quickly.

I wanted to be able to control a light switch not just a single bulb.  Thus began my research.

Since I already was using Phillips Hue successfully I thought that seeing if Hue has a smart switch that is in-wall. And they do sell a smart switch. But it is like an IoT button, it communicates with the bridge to turn on or off devices associated with it. I am using the few I purchased, but I needed a different solution; a hardwired one.

Hue uses ZigBee to communicate, so I looked for ZigBee hard wired in-wall smart switches. I didn’t find any I liked, so I got a Z-Wave bridge (VeraPlus) and some GE Z-Wave smart switches.

The VeraPlus actually connects Z-Wave, ZigBee, Blue Tooth and others. It allows me to control it all from one dashboard. I haven’t delved in too much, but the front lights come on 30 min prior to sunset and get turned off at around 10:30pm.

It’s just all so neat!

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