We moved to a new house nearly two months ago. The house dates from 2003 so pretty new for our standards.
Of course we have a million thing to do, but here I want to focus on automation.
Home automation controller (hubs)
First is to do some research on home automation “domotique” here in France.
I chose z-wave as preferred protocol. Why? A lot of devices available, and one of the most extended. Far more than the Apple Home Kit that we are starting to see now. With z-wave the possibilities are endless. From pure automation to setting up an alarm system, irrigation system, thermostats, etc…
Then there are several options for a home center, controllers or smart hubs:
- Fibaro HC2: which is the nicest in design, but very expensive. Another expensive one is HomeSeer.
- Smartthings (now from Samsung): the one with the biggest and more active community. Compatible with more than z-wave… but… very buggy.
- Zipato: my second best option. Modular, so you can add hardware, with parts that were seducing me such a GSM module for an alarm in case internet goes down or it is tampered. Also the interface for programming scenarios…
- Vera (Vera Plus as chosen product): good community. The most compatible: z-wave, zigbee, wifi, bluetooth… and the one that supports more devices.
I went for Vera: the UI7 is great. It does not need internet although it can be accessible from any browser, iPad, iPhone or android app, but the fact that it is internet independent is great. Also the one supporting more devices and from different protocols made me decide for this one.
The first thing I wanted to automate were the roller shutters or stores. They are electrical and I have 13 or them. If I remove the wall switch there were 3 cables, up, down and a line to the motor.
I decided to buy the Fibro FGRM-222. Be careful as the US and EU use different Z-Wave frequencies.
Basically you need a Neutral that I did not have, so you need to find the neutral of the motor.
We need to know:
- Neutral is always blue.
- Ground is green and yellow. We don’t need that.
- Line is black, red, brown or any other color than blue.
- Q1 and Q2 is the circuit of the Motor. The switch is the Fibaro, opening and closing the circuit.
- S1 and S2 is to put a switch and control it via a switch in addition to the Vera or whatever controller you might have. You could live without using this if you relay 100% on your phone, or smart hub.
- L is line and N is neutral. All this little Fibaro required electricity to work.
This is what I had:
The switch has a back (up) and brown (down) line cables, and a third (two cables for this one) red.
What I needed to do is (please disregard the colors of the cables I uses as I did not have the right ones…)
Take the cables from the switch (black and brown) and put them in Q1 and Q2. Then the switch S1 and S2 is the Fibaro now. So put two cables from S1 and S2 from the fibaro to the switch where I removed the black and brown.
Now the Fibro needs electricity. We need to put the Line to where the other brown cable is, in between the switch. So from L in the Fibaro to the one closing the switch (we had two browns in the first photo).
Now in the hole we also see a blue cable: the Neutral. We put the N there.
Then you have to pair it to the Vera, which is a different article…
I have never had a swimming pool before so I had to understand how all the piping works. I might write about it one of these days.
The question is that we are approaching winter and I found out there are two types of hibernation, active and passive.
The previous owner told me they did the active. So same here. It is easier, more convenient and when you want to put it back on is very easy.
I called a company so I could learn how to do. Now I know. But I noticed that the clock controlling the pump was programe to run one hour out of two… that is 12 hours per day. Same as in summer… so expensive. They told me I should install a box “hors gel”, a device that takes the temperature and if the temperature goes below zero it forces the pump to work all time.
It makes sense, but looking in internet I realise that the pump should turn depending on the temperature. Higher temperatures more time. Basically temperature divided by 3 would be the amount of hours per day that the pump should work, except below zero that should work all times to avoid freezing the pipes and damage to the pipes and pump.
I decided to install one Fibaro FGS222 to control the pump with the Vera instad of buying one of these Coffrette Hors Gel.
This is how it looked like before:
What it is important here is the clock and the one on the left with I, 0 and II. O pump is off. II pump runs with the timer. I pump is forced.
What I did is to buy a 10A disyuntor to protect the fibaro. Then the Fibro needs electricity. I take it from the Store disyuntor N on top (blue) and the red or brown (line) also on top. On the bottom two cable that will feed my fibaro on the Line and Neutral.
As you can see from the two devices that the fibaro can control I just use one. I have the Line and Neutral comping from the disyuntor (ABB) that is feeding from the one besides. Then I don’t care about the Switch S1 and S1 and I take from the one besides the clock, the one with 0, I, II I take the I the one that forces the pump to go, and I plug it to the Q2 and a new cable from the Q1 to where it was going in the clock.
Basically in the I forced switch I add a switch fibaro.
I take the outdoor temperature from a a weather all in my Vera or my Aeon external detectors.
I add it to the vera, and there I have 4 scenarios:
- Below 0 pump works always.
- Between 0 and 9, at 9am, run for 2 hours. Then stop.
- Between 9 and 18, at 9am, run for 6 hours. Then stop.
- More than 18 degrees, at 9am, run for 12 hours. Then stop.
I needed some extra help with this so I contacted Vera.
Let me further explain how to create these scenarios.
- The -0 pump on is clear. In a Vera scene first you select trigger. In this case if temperature goes below 0. Then action: pump on.
- The 0-9 pump 2 hours: Trigger temperature. Below 9 degrees but with time restriction: on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun between 09:00 – 11:01. Then what: pump ON. Then delayed action STOP pump after 2 hours.
- The 9-18 pump 6 hours: Trigger temperature. Below 18 degrees with time restriction: on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun between 09:00 – 15:01. Then what: pump ON. Then delayed action STOP pump after 6 hours.
- The 18+ pump 12 hours: Trigger temperature. Above 18 degrees with time restriction: on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun between 09:00 – 21:01. Then what: pump ON. Then delayed action STOP pump after 12 hours.
Vera people told me that triggers use only the OR. Initially I programmed with 3 triggers, for example for the 0-9 it was above 0, below 9 and time at 9am… but because it was doing with OR any of those would trigger.
The way it works now is that the scenes are restricted by time, so starting at 9am, if temperature is 8 degrees, for instance, then the 0-9 and the 9-18 will be triggered. Why? The 0-9 because it is below 9 degrees in the trigger and the 9-18 also is below 18 degrees… but, after two hours if temperature is still below 9 the pump will stop. If after 2 hours the temperature is 10 for instance, the 9-18 scene is still valid and the pump will continues until 15h. But after 15h both 0-9 and 9-18 scenes are over, so even if temperature is between 0 and 18 nothing happens.
If you click on edit the trigger:
It just works. No need to keep changing the clock…. or put extra equipment.
EDIT: Finally I did not implement the pump management with Vera Scenes… it has some downsides: First there is no AND only OR. So not possible to be accurate and depending on time AND temperature turn it for X amount of time. The thing above is a workaround, far from perfect. Second, to leave the pump with a Vera scene is not recommended because is not reliable. If you edit a scene or vera reboots or whatever the delayed action is lost.
Program Logic Event Generator (PLEG). A Vera app that should be what Vera Scenes are. Very powerful. I will write an article on how it works for my pool.
There is a downside for z-wave. First you should know that there are battery powered devices, and electricity powered devices. All the mentioned above are electricity powered. When they are electricity powered z-wave uses them in a mesh so each of them repeats signal, which is great.
The problem is that when you pair a z-wave with your smart hub you can not use it elsewhere.
In my cases I have 3 Piper NV cameras which are my primary alarm system. I have like 9 Aeon z-wave door or window detectors, all connected to my Piper, not to the Vera.
What I did is to set up the Vera as my secondary alarm system. I bought a z-wave sire: Vision ZM1601EU. No problem to pair it with the Vera. Then I the weakness of most alarm systems is that if they are triggered… it is too late… intruders are in.
I wanted a perimeter alarm. I bought a couple of Aeon Labs Multisensor 6. These are outdoors movement sensors. Well they do other stuff such as temperature, UV, Luminosity, humidity… but movement and temperature are the main ones for me.
I can now activate the outdoor motion sensors when I am in away mode (of via the Vera app when I leave the house), and they can trigger the outdoor siren. Of course I can be notified.
I can also not trigger the alarm but be notified, take a look at one of the 6 cameras I have and if I see anything strange trigger the outdoor siren from my phone… and even my Piper’s.
I also have smoke and flood detectors on my Vera, but I would like to have more. For instance in the pool room, boiler room, etc…
Next is to control some lights, specially outdoor lights, and the portal I am going to install soon, where I will also install a ring.com.
I would love to manage the thermostat but I have a Frisquet that does not allow me to replace theirs by a Nest or similar… but it works perfect so no big deal.
Also to make more complex scenarios in the Vera, using geolocation of the phone. Examples:
Getting home, open car gate, turn on the lights… Home mode on Vera. Off alarm, etc…
In summer, X hours after sunrise, lower the blinds… etc.
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