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Thread: Smart Home Automation

  1. #16
    Find out who we are time RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    CE, trust me, you could easily install the Nest by yourself. It’s incredibly simple.

    OMG, that's the best endorsement I've ever read. Go out and buy some stock in Nest.

    "He likes it!!! Mikey likes it!!!!!"
    Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get me

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  3. #17
    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxRed View Post
    When my sprinkler repair guy was here he said the automated ones are like pizza. Even the bad ones are good. Call me shallow, but I wanted a prettier unit. I bought the Netro

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    And 1 Amazon Echo dot.
    The procrastination is over!! I finally set up my wifi sprinkler. It was pretty darn easy. I have zero skills and I did it in 30 minutes or so. The one I bought checks your local weather and regulations and sets up it's own schedule.
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

  4. #18
    Middle Class Rut TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxRed View Post
    The procrastination is over!! I finally set up my wifi sprinkler. It was pretty darn easy. I have zero skills and I did it in 30 minutes or so. The one I bought checks your local weather and regulations and sets up it's own schedule.
    Did this replace your existing sprinkler system? What brand was that one, and how many zones do you have?
    There is nothing you keep there is only your reflection.

    "There was like a softness to it, a glow to it. I felt... I felt warm."

    -- Joseph Daniel Votto 7/10/2017

  5. #19
    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Did this replace your existing sprinkler system? What brand was that one, and how many zones do you have?
    No it simply replaces your controller. I had a Rainbird controller and 4 zones. The unit I bought of the Netro Sprite can handle 6 zones but they also have one that can do 12 zones. You unplug your old one, take off the cover and see which wires go to the zones. (one per zone). There is also a white common wire.

    Put the new one up. (They give you screws, but I think I am going to velcro it up permanently (it's super light), attach the zone wires to the zone connectors, the white to the common connector, plug it in and you are ready. You then pair it to your phone to operate.

    This thing NEEDS a wifi connection. It's not an option.

    The only problem I encountered was that the exposed wires on my Rainbird were like 1" long and I needed about 1 1/2" for this so I had to trim back the pvc pipe that housed my wires.
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

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    TRF (06-26-2018)

  7. #20
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    I'd love to have a cam on my driveway in the back, but when looking into it in the past I have come up against the following, either:

    - The camera isn't great outdoors in the elements
    - The camera requires ongoing monthly payments, and I don't value it that highly

    When I looked, if I found a camera that satisfied one it would fail on the other, so I let it drop.
    Have you solved this yet?

  8. #21
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxRed View Post
    This thing NEEDS a wifi connection. It's not an option.
    That's the worst thing about most home automation devices. Each wifi device is a security vulnerability and manufacturers are notoriously terrible at patching those security vulnerabilities. A lot of these devices are actually running minimal installations of Linux as their OS, but "minimal" is with respect to a PC. Your sprinkler controller doesn't need print services, for example, but removing print services from the installation costs time and money, so manufacturers leave stuff like that in.

    I have a wifi VLAN dedicated to these sorts of devices. That prevents them from accessing most of my home network (which is on other VLANs), but it doesn't stop everything because I have to allow some network traffic through. Unfortunately, most people don't have the networking equipment that allows them to set up VLANs, nor the knowledge to set up anything that complex.

  9. #22
    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Beltway View Post
    That's the worst thing about most home automation devices. Each wifi device is a security vulnerability and manufacturers are notoriously terrible at patching those security vulnerabilities. A lot of these devices are actually running minimal installations of Linux as their OS, but "minimal" is with respect to a PC. Your sprinkler controller doesn't need print services, for example, but removing print services from the installation costs time and money, so manufacturers leave stuff like that in.

    I have a wifi VLAN dedicated to these sorts of devices. That prevents them from accessing most of my home network (which is on other VLANs), but it doesn't stop everything because I have to allow some network traffic through. Unfortunately, most people don't have the networking equipment that allows them to set up VLANs, nor the knowledge to set up anything that complex.
    Let me see if I understand. My router puts out 2 signals. One is 2.4 and one is 5.0. I think it also has the ability to have a guest network(s). Are you saying you set up a separate signal and use it only for connected devices? Or is it more complicated?
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

  10. #23
    Member Beltway's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxRed View Post
    Let me see if I understand. My router puts out 2 signals. One is 2.4 and one is 5.0. I think it also has the ability to have a guest network(s). Are you saying you set up a separate signal and use it only for connected devices? Or is it more complicated?
    It's sort of like a guest network, but not exactly the same thing. A VLAN is a virtual LAN. It's not a separate wifi signal (or separate physical Ethernet network), but it's a separate subnet accessed using the same signal (or same physical Ethernet network). My router (which is a pfsense box I built) assigns IP addresses to all of the devices in my home. An IP address on the 192.168.1.xxx subnet is assigned to all of our phones/tablets/PCs/file servers/media servers/etc. That subnet is my main VLAN (VLAN 1). I have a different VLAN/subnet (VLAN 2) that is dedicated to devices that have security vulnerabilities that I have no control over. This is pretty much all automation devices at the moment. That subnet has IP addresses in the range of 192.168.2.xxx. What this accomplishes is devices on VLAN 1 cannot communicate with devices on VLAN 2, and vice versa, because the router will not route the network packets. The router blocks all communication between those two VLANs, except for some very specific things that I had to explicitly enable (port forwarding type stuff). This does not make it impossible to hack devices on my network, but if an automation device is hacked, the damage will be contained. The hacker will be able to reach other automation devices (VLAN 2), but he won't be able to reach any of our phones/laptops/servers/etc (VLAN 1), which can contain sensitive/personal files.

    If you're wondering if you can set up something like this with your existing equipment...I'm not aware of any consumer-grade routers that have VLAN functionality, which is one of the reasons I'm using pfsense. pfsense is an operating system that you can load onto a PC that turns the PC into a router. You can access the configuration just like you would for any consumer-grade router, by opening its IP address in a browser. pfsense has a LOT more functionality than you see in even the most expensive consumer-grade routers. I don't use 80% of things pfsense lets you do, most of that geared toward commercial deployments, but I do use VLANs, intrusion detection (snort), the OpenVPN server, event logging, and statistics.

    I wouldn't recommend going down this path unless you actually enjoy tinkering with things because it's not a "plug-and-play" set up and requires some time to properly maintain. That said, you don't need to be a networking expert to set up something like this. Some basic networking knowledge is enough to get you going. My setup is undeniably overkill for a home network, but I'm an automation/controls engineer and doing this stuff at home is sort of a hobby for me.

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    oneupper (07-11-2018)

  12. #24
    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    I thought I'd do a little follow up on a couple items. First, I keep all my financial stuff in Quicken and it goes back to Jan 1 09.

    Here's a look at my utility bill averages over that time.

    2009 313.31
    2010 330.92
    2011 368.82
    2012 356.15
    2013 367.54
    2014 339.88
    2015 330.16
    2016 333.24
    2017 308.16

    A few points before you pass out... this is a combined electric/water/sewer bill. House built in 1998. In Jacksonville. moderate winters, very hot summers. Sprinkler system. Notice that average bills were going up till 2011, stayed there thru 2013 but have started coming down since then. I use a lot of juice. Have a jacuzzi, an electric car bought Dec 2011. And have 3 computers running at all times, the wife leaves a tv on for the dog during the day. There's a lot we could do to conserve that we don't.

    But... as you can see it's been heading down. Here's what we've done over the years. May of 2010 got new a/c system , 13 SEER, didn't make a lick of difference, in fact things went up during that time frame. I have slowly but surely been replacing all my incandescents. At first it was CFLs, then a few LEDs. but as of Jan 1 of this year, everything has been replaced by LEDs.

    We replaced both toilets with low (1.6g) flow toilets. In fact both of them have a #1 and #2 button, and the #1 uses less than 1.6.

    We bought a wifi programmable thermostat, but since I am retired there's no work schedule to use, but we are more accurate about temp, and it's set to 75 at all times.

    So it would seem all the lowering is due to LEDs and efficient toilets.

    I got on an energy kick this May/June, and have replaced all my windows with energy efficient ones. (we actually started the project because we had a bunch of fogged windows). That set us back about $6,000. Got installed on May 22nd.

    I also finally installed my wifi sprinkler system on June 20. The one I got sets up a schedule based on your areas watering rules, and monitors the weather. As you may have noticed by all the rainouts in Daytona, we've been getting a lot of rain. In fact, since the moment I've had this new sprinkler system it hasn't come on once. And according to it's schedule, won't for at least another 7 days.

    In the past I would always say "We've been getting a lot of rain, I should turn that system off", and then 85% of the time I never would.

    I can monitor my bill. I should get one any day now. I can tell that the next bill is going to be about $90 less than my average bill for this month !!
    Last edited by JaxRed; 07-15-2018 at 02:08 AM.
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

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    Beltway (07-26-2018),oneupper (07-22-2018),TRF (07-16-2018)

  14. #25
    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    So some follow up. My utility bills averaged $280 for the year. $20 less than last year and $50 less than 3 years ago. In the last 6 months it has been $250. But the biggest impact has been the sprinkler. Automatically shutting down the system when we get rain. Made about a $40 a month difference.

    My thermostat took away their web page for control and now only has an app. Not quite as friendly. And they just announced a recall. Mine is affected. I heard I'll get a replacement unit. I hope like heck it's one of the new fancy ones. But they still sell the old ones so probably not.

    They do have an email you can sign up for that tells you how many hours your house was cooling or heating in the previous month.
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

  15. #26
    Middle Class Rut TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    I'm getting some wall plates and switches from here: https://www.itead.cc/smart-home.html

    Starting with light switches in my kitchen. Eventually I plan to have every overhead light on something, so long as it is compatible with Google Assistant. (I believe I am getting one in a couple of weeks)
    There is nothing you keep there is only your reflection.

    "There was like a softness to it, a glow to it. I felt... I felt warm."

    -- Joseph Daniel Votto 7/10/2017

  16. #27
    TyrannoSuarez Wrecks WrongVerb's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Anyone have any advice on what is the best security camera to get that can integrate with my smart phone?
    The world is a messy place. People are inconsistent and complicated. Maybe we should see how different things could be if we gave grace and forgiveness to our fellow human beings when they fail to be perfect in our eyes. -- me

  17. #28
    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    I'm getting some wall plates and switches from here: https://www.itead.cc/smart-home.html

    Starting with light switches in my kitchen. Eventually I plan to have every overhead light on something, so long as it is compatible with Google Assistant. (I believe I am getting one in a couple of weeks)
    What will those do for you? If it was cheap I wouldn't mind something that turned off lights when not in room.
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

  18. #29
    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by WrongVerb View Post
    Anyone have any advice on what is the best security camera to get that can integrate with my smart phone?
    I assume it's not the best, and it's an indoor camera ... but I wanted to dip my toes into this area and spent $39 on a camera

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It works pretty well. I monitor it from an app. You can put a memory card in it and record stuff but I haven't done it.
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

  19. #30
    TyrannoSuarez Wrecks WrongVerb's Avatar
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    Re: Smart Home Automation

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxRed View Post
    I assume it's not the best, and it's an indoor camera ... but I wanted to dip my toes into this area and spent $39 on a camera

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It works pretty well. I monitor it from an app. You can put a memory card in it and record stuff but I haven't done it.
    Thank you. But, I should have specified outdoor camera.
    The world is a messy place. People are inconsistent and complicated. Maybe we should see how different things could be if we gave grace and forgiveness to our fellow human beings when they fail to be perfect in our eyes. -- me


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