Looking for advice on a dongle

I am brand new and have been digging through the forums for answers that suit my needs, but I’ve finally caved and created an account to ask for some help.

I am brand new to OH and home automation in general. Currently I have OH on MacOS, but I played with the Synology build too. Right now both are doing nothing (no devices). I’m open to grabbing a Raspberry Pi to host if that’s better than either of those two, but for now that’s what I’ve got.

I can see that there are a lot of options out there that require an app from the manufacturer or a connection to the internet, but one of the things I’m focusing on accomplishing with this project (and with all my IoT things) is to keep them unreachable from the outside. I want to control which of them can initiate connections to the outside world. I’ve got a network segment and firewall zone all set up to do this part already. I don’t want to cede any control of my devices to an outside entity if I can avoid it.

The first advice I’m looking for is which dongle I should get. My first things will be RGB bulbs (globes for those of you across the pond :wink:). If I can avoid it, I’d like to keep them off wifi and use Zigbee or Z-Wave. I want to add motion detectors and window/door sensors eventually as well, so hopefully the dongle/hub I choose supports all of that. What hardware is solid and well supported and might suit my needs?

Thanks much!

So you’re looking for advice on technology. That would depend on your (planned) usage. If you ever only want to do lighting, ZigBee might be a good choice as most popular systems such as Hue and Tadfri (IKEA) are ZigBee and OH can ultimately directly control the lamps.
On the other hand, you will have existing lights on ceilings, walls etc. that you cannot put smart bulbs into so you need to insert actuators somewhere, and there’s not many ZigBee choices there.
And Home Automation is much more than lighting.
That being said, I would rather look into Z-Wave. There’s many more devices on offer for many more different kinds of applications (such as say smoke and flooding detection).
Much more people here to use and prefer it over ZigBee. Usually with the Aeotec Gen 5 Z-stick or the UZB/RaZberry one.
Then again if you’re undecided and want to keep options, there’s a combo stick to do both, ZWave and ZigBee. I think it was the Linear HUSBZB-1 but you should read up on this in the forum (search).

PS: I don’t know if that combo controller config allows for being backed up/restored. That’s crucial!

That is correct.

At least for the Zwave side, that is incorrect. I’ve not done this myself but @5iver reports that the Aeon software will work with it to backup and restore.

Thanks mstormi for all the info!

I’m undecided on my planned usage, I just know that I at least want some bulbs and window/door sensors and probably motion sensors to trigger video camera PTZ actions. From what I can tell I can do all of those things with just Z-Wave. I like the idea of using a stick which leaves my options open, but if more people are using Z-Wave then I’ll probably find more support for it on this forum. I think what tipped my decision was that the Linear HUSBZB-1 seems to be discontinued. Am I wrong about that?

*I do realize that I can’t control cameras with Z-Wave, but I can trigger actions and send commands to my NVR

You can easily get it from Amazon (US site). That’s under the GoControl brand, but the picture shows it as Nortek. I have one and it works well enough for me.

I was more referring to the availability of firmware, but it kind of seems like that doesn’t happen very often anyway. I ended up ordering the one you linked to though, so thanks for the help! I might as well leave my options open. I also ordered a Sengled A19 RGB bulb while I was at it. That should give me a simple first project and some motivation to get OH set up properly.

Thanks everyone for your tips!

Yes, you are right, the HUSBZB-1 doesn’t seem to get updates. You have much better choices for Z-wave only dongles. That’s the only Zigbee/Z-wave combo that I know about.

Yes. And even with a Z-Wave only stick, you can still add another ZigBee stick.

The HUSBZB-1 doesn’t get firmware updates because it’s un-upgradable in the first place.