True beginner questions and roadmap

Greetings openHABians!

I have been looking around and reading a lot over the last few weeks and am now ready to actually start my openHAB journey. My initial first use-cases are very simple, but I want to ensure that what I initially purchase will be extensible in the future. The main use case at the moment is the light in the kids room - the switch is too high for the small one to reach. The kids desperately want a voice controlled globe - obviously I could do that easily with off the shelf Hue or whatever but I think we all know that it is cooler to get more stuff.

My first question is the initial globes I should go for: Hue (or similar) or Z-Wave (aeotec). I’m in Australia, and am not an electrician - at this stage I don’t want to be installing new light switches.

Is Z-Wave generally considered robust and extensible? I’d like to play around with motion/temperature/humidity sensors in the future. We have a large number of exotic creatures that it would be cool to automate.

Edit: sorry, error with sending before completion!

Welcome to the community.
I’ve a very good experience with z-wave. But it depends on what you’re planning for the future. If it is only light than hue is a very good option (or the ikea version). If you want more (roller shutters, in wall switches, door/window contacts) than z-wave is the way to go.
But… one of the advantages of openHAB is: you can use both :grin:

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Welcome, Cyleigh!

My personal opinion is that learning OH and ZWave at the same time will significantly increase your learning curve, because there are so many unknowns. I came into OH with a collection of wifi devices that were already installed and working, and it was tricky figuring OH out. I later added ZWave to my working OH platform, and that was also quite challenging. So, I would be hesitant to tackle both at once.

Saying that, I think zwave is great now that I’m comfortable with how it works. You might be fine so long as you know that going in.

What I like about zwave is that the energy consumption is low, and sensors are easy to find. What I dislike is that zwave devices are typically more expensive, and battery-powered sensors go to sleep to save power (which can cause some of the setup headaches).

But as @ljsquare points out, you can have all of it with OH…so long as there’s a binding.

I think starting with a Hue or IKEA bulb is a really good idea, because it gives you a relatively straightforward device to get OH going. You could also try a smart plug (I use TP-Link Kasa devices), and tie in whichever voice assistant you plan to use. Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll be able to imagine a lot more that you can do in the future.

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Thanks @ljsquare and @rpwong!

I decided to go for the z-wave bulb (and USB dongle) from Smart Living simply because I could also get the RFXCom transceiver from there (already have an Oregon Scientific Weather station). @rpwong - I thought about what you said in terms of learning curve and I’ll keep it in mind. In the worse case scenario, I can always go out and get a Hue bulb (IKEA is 100km away). My initial first hopes were to solve the light in the kids room, and then maybe read our weather station and solar inverter information.

I’m sure that I’m not the first person to come in with just a small cheap plan and then ends up with a whole complex system. It should be fun!

There is a ton of discussion about zwave, so you’ll have no shortage of reading to help you if/when you run into problems. One thing I hadn’t considered is that a zwave bulb might not be as troublesome for inclusion, since it has main power instead of batteries.

I’ll also note that the 2.4 zwave binding has some issues. Since you’re going in that direction, I recommend installing the 2.5 milestone build. You can do this by switching to the “test build” in the openHABian configuration tool.

Good luck!

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@rpwong - cheers! I haven’t installed anything yet so I’ll just go straight for openHAB 2.5.