Need Hardware advice/help with building my secured smart home!

Hey Community! I have a project I need help on…

I have a 3 bedroom 2200 sq. ft home (not including unfinished basement) that I want to setup as a smart home.


I have a computer science degree and have spent years coding in everything from C#, to PHP, Python as well as extensive experience with assembly and reverse engineering shellcode.

However, my hardware/electronics knowledge (including electrical and wiring) is nil and looking for hardware help. I do own a Raspberry Pi, and would be purchasing the Aeon Labs Z-Wave Z-Stick (Gen 5) running OpenHab 2 and probably set it up somehow around the electrical panel in the basement. I’m probably going to setup a punchdown block for any kind of wire (network/telephone) I need to run. I’m also looking at investing in a POE switch to power cameras/wall panels.

What I am looking for:

Hardware recommendation on

  • 5 outdoor cameras

    • Side Door
    • Front Door
    • Back Door/Pool
    • Left side of house
    • Facing front of house
  • 3 door sensors

    • Rear
    • Side
    • Front
  • Garage Door Opener

    • Can be used with the garage door opener in my Velar and via z-wave apps
    • velar uses homelink
  • Motion Detector/Floor Lights

    • For the cameras on the side of the house, 5 minute on/off on motion type thing
  • Touch Screen Alarm Panel

    • I like the simplicity of the ring alarm panel, doesnt have to be ring
  • Smart Lock

    • would be nice to have specific success codes disable alarm
    • ability for/use a fob
    • K.I.S.S. (needs to be simple/easy to use)
  • SVR (Security Video Recorder)

    • Probably going to use my Intel NUC, with a 512 or 1TB SDD to record the video from the cameras and store it securely.

I’d prefer to have the entire system use encrypted communication (AES-128 or better). The wife wants the cameras visible as a deterrent (vs hidden), but she is also very particular about looks which brings me to the alarm panel. It needs to be simple to use, but she really wants a ipad looking panel that some of the local alarm companies are using. For instance: (pg. 4)

Also, does anybody have a recommendation on a custom alarm monitoring company. The local providers are charging $$$/month. My budget is looking around $20/mo tops.



Hi i will not reply to your Q, i dont think you will get full spec setup here…
i will tell you that Home auto i Joruny, its a good thing you got all figured out and planned, but there is no one person that knows the best solution to all of your use cases that will be only you :slight_smile:

each category you have here is world of its own you will need to dig allot

try to search for each device you need and read about it see if it fits your needs for example for all the below

Motion Detector
door sensors
and small sensors i will go with xiaomi mi products as thay are cheap and accessible (but did not try yet…)
please see supprt for it

I would like to steer you away from MyQ garage door openers. As it is cloud based, they can (and have frequently) changed their protocols which prevents access until the binding is changed. They are now charging a monthly fee for IFTTT connections and I would assume they are working on a way to charge everyone else. Instead I would look at a Z-wave solution such as connected to a regular garage door controller. For this reason you should stay away from any devices that require a cloud based connection such as Honeywell thermostats.

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My suggestion is to start small. Maybe one or two lights. Then grow the system as you learn. If you’ve never done home automation before, you are probably not in a position to understand or realize it when you make decisions that will cause compromises down the line. By starting small you will learn enough as you go to understand these and you will not have invested too much time or money in a solution that won’t work for you when you need to backtrack.

You will not get a lot of concrete hardware recommendations. Search the forum and you will find a posting about every month or so asking just this question. There are hundreds of technologies/APIs and tens of thousands of devices available with support in OH. Which ones will work for you depends on far too many variables for us to ever be able to provide any advice for you.

But I think it is also important to realize that OH is an integration system. It is not:

  • an alarm system
  • surveillance camera system
  • an HVAC system
  • etc.

While it is possible to integrate OH with these sorts of systems, you will have a far better system over all if you use a third party system for each of these and integrate them with OH rather than implementing them yourself. Don’t get me wrong, it could be fun to figure out how to build these yourself, because that is what you will have to do. OH lets all these technologies talk to each other but YOU have to build the automation.

For example, would you rather just tell a Nest to maintain the temperature at 67 degrees F from OH or do you want to figure out how to implement hysteresis and PID yourself? Do you really think you can best the thousands of man hours that has gone into Nest or Echobee or the like?

Short of being able to display video feeds on the UI, there is no support in OH for SVR. But it integrates well with Zoneminder, Shinobi, and BlueEye.

If you are concerned with security you need to run wires. None of the wireless protocols will be sufficient for you short of perhaps wifi. And it will be murder on all your battery powered devices. As a case in point, Zwave is not encrypted by default and not all devices support encryption (I think, I’m no expert in zwave). Door locks are encrypted though and we are just now (as of 2.4 M4) that we have support for them in the mainline OH.

I’ve never heard of such a company. All I’ve ever seen are companies that will monitor their own system. If you build your own system you are on your own for monitoring. Of course YMMV.

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I am not 100% sure what you mean by a custom alarm monitoring company. But I use which charges about $17 a month for monitoring. They are compatible with my HAI security/automation panel.