Archive for January, 2016

Connected Garage-yes please

This one seemed like a no brainier although I am sure some would disagree.  The argument seems to be that why would you want your garage to be opened over the Internet? For me it was simple, I still needed a username and password and our garage is not connected to the house so it isn’t a home security concern. Also with the app and the xfinity integration I could have the door opening when on my motorcycle without having to stop and find the garage remote.


The setup was rather easy, add the MyQ Internet Gateway (it wants to be hardwired) and download the app.  Once downloaded you just tell it to discover and press a button the the wall panel. That’s it!  Then you can set alerts to tell you when it is open and even to close the door if it has been open for too long.  Overall this was is easy to recommend.

Hub #2 Lutron 

So this was the one that was really needed first.  We have some can lights that I wanted dimmers in and the only ones that worked with the Xfinity were the Lutron Caseta but for them to work you need the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge. The nice part is you only need the basic bridge and not the Pro that I had heard many other alarm systems need. This is a nice small box that I was able to put out of the way and it does not need to be right beside your router. In fact it doesn’t even need a wired connection it just connects via Wifi to your network.  

This one also has its own app that you need to configure the lights on.  It is supposed to work with the Lutron blinds also but I haven’t added those yet.  

  
Adding lights and setting scenes is very easy and can be done either schedules or manual.  The ones listed I set manual. 

The downside so far to this was that it only works with the Lutron switches and no other Zigbee or Z-Wave devices, so now I am limited to only what they offer.  

Starting out hub (XfinityHome)

Picking a smarthome hub is probably the biggest choice you have to make since depending on the hub you choose you may or may not be able to use the gear you have or want.  My first hub choice had more to do with our home alarm than it did with tech.  We decided to go with the Xfinity Home alarm system since we already had it for Internet and TV the price was right and it offered a good selection of “Works with Xfinity” companies

  • Lutron Caseta
  • Chamberlain MyQ Garage
  • Nest
  • August Locks
  • More to come (they claim)

First off this seems like an easy option unfortunately these are some of the higher priced options out there and the only one I have seen that actually works out of the box is the Nest. I haven’t tried the August Locks yet (I am hesitant on the cloud connected clock).  If you want the Lutron switches or blinds to work you will need a Lutron Hub (more on this one later). If you are keeping count we are at hub #2. The Nest thermostat integrated perfectly and has been solid.  The same goes for the Chamberlain Garage door opener except for that to work you need what they call their MyQ Internet Gateway and you have to have a wall panel that has the MyQ logo. We will call that a hub also so we are up to 3. 

The best let of this one was that you don’t need anything extra from Comcast, they give you a “Control Panel”

Here’s a quick look at the app as well it is very easy to use. 

  

From dumb to smart(home)

Those of you who I have seen since we bought our new house are probably aware that I decided that I wanted to make the house as smart as possible. There are a ton of options out for home automation and only a few companies that can work with all the different parts. Since I have learned quite a bit and doubt I will ever really be done I figure I would write it up.

Let’s start by detailing all the parts as I have found them and then I will try to write up each part

  • Hub (Control Center)
  1. Xfinity
  2. Lutron
  3. MyQ
  4. Wink Relay
  5. Wink Hub
  • Thermostat – Nest Take one
    • Upgrade Thermostat – EcoBee
  • In wall switches/dimmers
  • In wall outlets
    • Quirky Outlink
  • Voice activation
    • Siri
    • Amazon Echo
  • Audio
  • Garage Door
  • Blinds

I am sure more pieces will come up so I will plan to update this post as I get into them.

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