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Smart Devices

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:19am
5 replies109 views5 members subscribed
Ellie5758

Posts: 41

Location: Las Filipinas

15 helpful posts

Has anyone got any experience  of smart devices searched on the forum but couldn't find much apart from TV.

Having electrics done now would be the ideal time to install.  Any good or bad experiences would be appreciated.  Have an excellent electrician who can do the work.

Thanks

Movingon

Movingon

Very helpful member

Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:10am

Posts: 864

Location: Albatera

520 helpful posts

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:10am

There are any number of devices around to perform just about any task you could imagine or wish for so you might get a better response if you gave some indication of what you had in mind.

PeteKnight

PeteKnight

Legendary helpful member

Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:59pm

Posts: 1776

Location: Villamartin

2008 helpful posts

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:59pm

Unless you have some idea of what type of devices you have in mind then it’s difficult to say at this stage.

The current difficulty with this area of technology at the moment is that every manufacturer has their own app for controlling the smart devices that they produce. This makes systems virtually unusable unless you either buy from just one manufacturer (not really what you want) or you use a home assistant system that talks to the various devices from different manufacturers.

Google Home and Amazon Alexa are good at doing this, but generally you’re relying on voice control with these devices. Apple have their Home/HomeKit system that attempts to allow you to control everything from one app, but it’s not as widely supported as Alexa/Google. There are other 3rd party products such as openHAB, but a fairly high degree of technical knowledge is needed to set up and maintain a system like this.

On the hardware side of things, one simple way of controlling things like lights is to install smart light switches. These allow you to manually turn lights on an off at the wall, or to control them via Alexa/Google or whatever app they work with. The drawback to these systems is that the majority of smart light switches require power to make them work, and most UK and Spanish domestic wiring doesn’t the have both Line and Neutral available at the light switch. This makes it impossible to use most smart light switches in most existing homes.

If you’re having some wiring done then I’d ask your electrician to run a Neutral wire to every light switch point and leave it unconnected for now. This will future-proof your domestic wiring, allowing you to add smart light switches in future if needed.

If you want to try some smart light switches then I’d take a look at the Sonoff range, as they are very cheap and are rapidly becoming the industry standard. They work with Amazon/Alexa and most other systems.

If you want to use smart bulbs then something based on the zigbee protocol is you’re best bet. Philips Hue is the most well known supplier, but they are very expensive. IKEA Tradfri is cheaper, but their hub isn’t very reliable. The best option is a Philips Hue hub, with Ikea Tradfri lights and accessories.

If you’re interested in knowing more then take a look at Paul Hibbert’s YouTube channel. He’s a bit of a nutter, and not everybody’s cup of tea, but he knows his stuff.

Other things I’d consider are the possibility of electrifying your persiana shutters (not literally electrifying them, but making them so that they can be raised and lowered electrically). This gives you some options around making it look like there is someone at home, and automatically closing/opening the shutters at times that suit you. The electrification is simple, except that you need a mains power supply nearby and that’s where it might be worth having this wiring installed now, for possible future use.

A similar thing applies to awnings on the outside of windows or balconies. These usually have a wireless remote control and putting the wiring in place now gives the option to add smart control in future.

My home automation system allows me to extend and retract my external blinds using the normal remote control, but it also allows me to retract them as part of an automated routine when it gets dark, so we don’t forget and leave them extended all night. The blinds are also linked to my weather station, so if they are extended they’ll retract if it starts raining or if it gets too windy - because they last much longer if you do that.

So, at this stage my advice is to ensure that you have wiring in place for the things that you might want to add in future, and to maybe try some smart light switches and Amazon Alexa to add convenience and to make it look like you’re home when you aren’t.

Pete.

Ellie5758

Ellie5758

Original Poster

Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:24pm

Posts: 41

Location: Las Filipinas

15 helpful posts

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:24pm

Wow Pete thank you really appreciate you taking the time to respond.  Need to read & digest fully but wanted to say thank you straightaway.

Will keep you updated

Thanks again Ellie 

Ellie5758

Ellie5758

Original Poster

Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:26pm

Posts: 41

Location: Las Filipinas

15 helpful posts

Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:26pm

Hi it's a bit I don't know what I don't know.  Early days so just finding out if it's feasible & if anyone had any experience.  Pete's reply has given me a lot to think about.

Thank you for replying 

Ellie 

AlicanteDesign

AlicanteDesign

Helpful member

Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:30am

Posts: 79

Location: Alicante City

93 helpful posts

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:30am

First thing to do is watch a few videos and decide what devices, doors, lights, blinds you want to operate.

I had Google Home for about a month before I turned it off. It was controlling a couple of Smart Bulbs. It had difficulty recognising light bulbs from the same manufacture in the same room. Both different names. Only one would come on. Worked fine if I pretended 1 bulb was in a different room.

Then it started getting confused. Ie. “Turn hall light on” Google Home announced it could not find the light or declared it had turned it to 1%. Resetting the Google Home sorted the problems for a while. I think the main problem was connecting to the cheap Smart Bulbs.

I have an Apple TV that works as a Home Hub. So i switched to Apple HomeKit. 50€ for a Phillips Hue hub and 2 Smart Bulbs starter pack. Setup was easy. Turn on the Apple TV hub software. Turn on the bulbs, name them, set room. Job done.

I have a standing light in the hall. Comes on with a voice command or press of the HomeKit App button. I can turn it on/off from the car. Set it to turn on when I enter the building. Put it on a timer etc. Same with the 2nd bulb in the bedroom. The 2 original none HomeKit bulbs I can build a Siri shortcut to launch their App and turn them on/off. Not supporter by Apple isn’t really a problem.

Next on the list is to buy a Smart plug. So I can have the electric fire turn on/off in the winter. I would like Smart Locks, problem is I live in a apartment block. I would have to go through 3 security doors with keys before I get to my automated door. 

My friend in the UK has gone full Smart Home with Alexa. Spent a lot of money on kit. He has Smart Locks on the doors, lights, blinds and central heating. He wanders about the house and lights turn on/off as he enters/leaves a room.

I would start with whatever system is most convenient for you. The choices are Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit. Buy a few Smart Bulbs. Get connected. Smart Bulbs are good for turning lights on/off when you are not around, arrive home etc. Possibly a few Smart Plugs.

Start small. Plan for what you might want. 

Smart Home technology has been around for a long time. From the clap for lights on/off in the late 1990’s. Full server with a control panel in the early 2000’s. Now it’s cheaper and easier to set-up.

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