My Smart Home 2.0, request for suggestions

I am in escrow, for the purchase of my new home. I have enjoyed that last few years with making my current home smart, but I was limited from any major investments as I rented my current home.

I made the decision that for critical infrastructure, I would use name brand devices

  • Lutron Casita for Lighting
  • Schlage Sense for my door locks (I also use Homekit so that is why I chose Schlage Sense)

The Lutron devices have worked pretty much flawlessly.
The Schlage Sense locks? not so much. I spent $500 for 2 locks that I hoped would work equally well… and… well they do not work with OH and were not flawless.

Everything else was kind of meh

What I’m looking for are suggestion for
Door Locks
Garage Door system
Window shades
Motion/Occupancy sensors
Door and window sensors
Decorative lighting controls
LOCAL control thermostat
Garden controls and monitors
LOCAL control cameras

It would be great if these items equaled the Lutron devices in doing their job and their breadth of functionality.

I’m going to have my new house wired for data, mesh WiFi, and POE, so if a device can be wired, I want it to be wired.


You should mention where you are located, I assume the U.S. ?
Please don’t expect readers to make assumptions and guesses but give way more information on your requirements upfront to avoid people spend unnecessary time on giving answers that don’t apply anyway. That’s a question of fairness.
“Thermostats” what does your heating system look like ? What Americans call a thermostat isn’t even the same what EU people understand by that term. The term “local control” is unclear. Anything OH controlled is local (as opposed to cloud based).

Check out Nuki. They also cooperate with door manufacturers to have their lock builtin + wired.

For the majority of devices, I suggest to select a home automation system first (not a vendor but a tech standard). I’m speaking of ZWave, ZigBee and only eventually Wi-Fi but the latter isn’t a standard and won’t provide the same level of compatibility among bindings, controllers and devices that the other 2 do. This will allow you to choose from various vendors now and in the future. Any vendor may disappear, change policy or have a black sheep in his portfolio so you are way safer when there’s alternatives by design.
Most major ZWave and ZigBee vendors have rollershutter, garage door openers, lighting incl. dimmers and LED, generic switches and all sorts of sensors.

There’s not really wired standard systems. There’s KNX but this a mostly EU thing, and then there’s some proprietary systems I would avoid. I’d also recommend you reconsider trading your Lutron choice for a standard. Being on a standard is much more important than being with a specific brand. And yes there’s no-name but also brand vendors for ZWave, ZigBee and Wi-Fi such as Fibaro, Aeotec, Zooz, Innovelli.
Even “cheap” Chinese stuff like iTead/Sonoff or Xiaomi Aqara are brands AND some are standards based.

I`ve chosen a wired solution.
Cheap MegaD monoblock with 14 standard inputs, 14 standard outputs with changeable standard 16A relays, 17 digital channels, possibility to change relays to dimmers, totally wired and no batteries at all. It handles 6 wallmount combined wired sensors with motion, temperature, humidity, lightlevel and CO2 sensors inside. Standard inputs can handle wired door sensors, motion sensors, soil humidity sensors, rain sensors - any kind giving you a closed/open contact. Standard outputs turn lights on/off, trigger gates, open watering valves, open door locks, trigger siren and even doorbell. Will use wallmount sensors to send IR commands to dumb Gree AC (motion sensors have IR diodes, so i can turn those diodes on/off to send IR commands).
Door locks - reliable Cisa wired locks with spareparts available at local stores.
Garage door - good old (15 years since installation) Nice automation has wired input and output contacts, will work forever and cannot be hacked, as you control it by wires, just 20 meters of cheapest wire - and “Ok Google open gates” works through Openhab. Why pay for any additional device, if a piece of wire solves all problems.
Cameras - Hikvision, i think. And they do have Openhab binding. There are some interesting things like cars number plate recognition - maybe it’s possible to open your gates anytime you drive home.

Yes… I’m in the USA

To expand on Local control verses Cloud control in OH…
I have an Ecobee thermostat which controls the Heat pump and Air handler which heats and cools my home. There is an OH binding for the Ecobee thermostat. This binding communicates with the Ecobee cloud api to control my thermostat. There are a few other bindings that I recall as using the same approach. Often a vendor makes the device protocol proprietary but publishes a cloud API to lock a customer into their ecosystem and still proclaim they are “open”

Obviously I want to avoid vendors and devices that try to lock a customer into their ecosystem.

I prefer wires over wireless, but I realize that there are use cases for one, the other. or both.

Soon the “standard” will be IP as transport, which can be wired or wireless.
Currently Standards are very fragmented. I’m watching the standards evolve and wonder just where “Matter”, the Zigbee follow on, will end up
Lutron IS proprietary. but damn it’s easier and works better that any other thing I’ve tried.

I’ve got iTead/Sonoff and Xiaomi devices. They’re more or less fine. I flashed my Sonoff devices with Tasmota firmware and control them with MQTT. Meh

Thank you for your reply

It’s gonna take me a bit of time to look at your suggestion
Thank you very much

Slightly off topic, but what issues do you have with your Schlage Sense locks? Mine has worked perfectly since I integrated it into OH via Z-Wave, but experiences have varied in the community.

Personally, I think vendors generally do what makes sense for the majority of their customers, and that means providing cloud services. Those of us with our own home-automation servers are the outliers. Mind you, I generally think “lock in” is overstated with respect to luxury-level electronics and consumer goods. Just my opinion though, and I know that lots of people disagree.

Anyway, I use Z-Wave for my door lock, sensors, and one Zooz light switch. Everything else is WiFi (mostly TP-Link Kasa and Tasmota-flashed Tuya devices).

Kasas are, in my opinion, the best bang-for-your-buck devices you can get. They’re controlled locally by openHAB, so you can deny them Internet access. I’ve found them to be very reliable, and they go on sale regularly. The only issue I’ve had is that one older switch has become tricky to press. I suspect that was due to it being in the bathroom, as no others have given me trouble over five years.

Tuya devices have gotten much harder to flash with Tasmota, so I don’t recommend those unless someone is an electronics hobbyist. I love what you can do with Tasmota, but the Kasas are often just as cheap when they’re on sale. Also, MQTT can be a pain to set up.

Of course, if you’re talking about running wires throughout your house then hardware costs probably aren’t an issue. And if you like the Lutrons, stick with the Lutrons.

I have high hopes for Matter. Note that it’s not a Zigbee follow-on. It’s managed by the former Zigbee Association (now the Connected Standards Association), but devices use WiFi or Thread radios, with BTLE for setup. Last I heard, it’s still unclear if Zigbee will fit in or remain separate. Whatever the case, Amazon and Google have already said that recent Echo and Nest devices will support Matter, and that will go a long way toward adoption.

The good thing about openHAB is that you can run any combination of this stuff. From that standpoint, I’d focus more on finding the best openHAB-compatible device for the individual job than worrying about which standards to choose.

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How are these compared to the Shellys?
Shellys have been my go to for cheap devices and they are mostly running stable.
Do you by chance use Shellys, too and can compare them?

Shellys are interesting. I have one uninstalled RGBW dimmer I was going to use for some decorative LED light strips. I just have not gotten around installing them.

In my testing, they worked well with OH, but the strips had an annoying flicker while dimming. From what I have read, I surmise that is not the dimmers fault but more likely the power supply or the LED strip.

I have Kasa Light bulbs in closets where there were no wall switches but a pull string switch on the socket. They work well in combination with Xiaomi door sensors and OH rules.

I purchased the Schlage Sense locks as they were Homekit compatible. I did not realize at the time they were not supported by OH. The keypads work very well, the batteries lasted 2 years, and they are sturdy and look nice.

It is the remote control that is not 100% reliable. They are slow to respond, sometimes not responding until several attempts, and don’t always report their true status in the Home app. Very disappointing for a $250 door lock.

They are Bluetooth devices and I have an AppleTV 4K as the Homekit bridge. I suspect this is the source of my problems.

Ah, okay. Mine is Z-Wave, so it’s communicating directly with openHAB. If you like the look of the Schlage, that’s worth considering. I like having a keypad.

Before I got into openHAB, I was using an Android app that can control Belkin and Kasa switches to run my house. I didn’t even know Shellys existed at the time, so I’ve no experience with them.

In Canada, Shellys are more expensive than Kasas, so if would be hard for me to justify them.

OpenGarage (WiFi garage door opener) | OpenSprinkler

Never used it, but the product has a binding, its opensource and their openSprinkler device works well in openHAB. Since you wanted wired products and also garden stuff, definately get the openSprinkler as you can add on to it the extra network port to be wired and it auto falls back to the wifi if something goes wrong with the cable.

I just spoke with Leviton tech support about their “Smart Decora Zigbee” line of devices. Specifically, would existing ZigBee device firmware be upgradeable to support the Matter protocol? She responded with a short, sweet “Yes” without any qualifiers. Of course I then asked “When?” and of course she was not able to provide any guidance. Totally expected.

I was impressed that she already new about Matter.

I think this kind of nails it for me. I will install Leviton Smart Decora devices instead of trying to move my Lutron Casita devices to my new home.

That’s interesting. My understanding was that Matter’s initial spec is for WiFi and Thread, and doesn’t include ZigBee. Either way, I don’t think we’ll have trouble mixing Matter and non-Matter devices. It’s just another standard, and one that will hopefully have a big impact.

Besides, the SDK has just been pushed to 2022, so if you’re building now it’s not like you can wait.

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