Forum Thread

Committing to a single smart home base system

steelpanz 121 463 September 15, 2016 at 07:56 AM
After a few years, my wife and I saved some money to perform some upgrades and were interested in exploring more about the currently available technology. As we search through the FP deals, we are noticing several different brands of base controllers that go on sale from time to time. However, we are really lost on brand compatibility as we are trying to understand whether or not base controllers must be the same brand as, say, wall outlets (which we safely assume they must be) and other components.

So our main question is this. Once you commit to a particular brand on more than just the base controller, are you basically following that brand all the way through? Or are several brands cooperational?

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Quote from steelpanz View Post :
After a few years, my wife and I saved some money to perform some upgrades and were interested in exploring more about the currently available technology. As we search through the FP deals, we are noticing several different brands of base controllers that go on sale from time to time. However, we are really lost on brand compatibility as we are trying to understand whether or not base controllers must be the same brand as, say, wall outlets (which we safely assume they must be) and other components.

So our main question is this. Once you commit to a particular brand on more than just the base controller, are you basically following that brand all the way through? Or are several brands cooperational?
It depends.


There are a number of home automation protocols like zwave, insteon, upb, x-10 (obsolete), and wifi based options like wemo.


zwave has the widest number of devices and broadest support. I would recommend you only look at zwave devices. Many of the devices are made by different companies than the hubs/controllers and in most cases common devices are compatible.


The wifi options like wemo don't enjoy compatibility with many things but they can function without any other components. Insteon is controlled by 1 company, but you can hook an Insteon serial adapter to other devices. UPB is similar.


Controllers or Hubs support different devices and protocols. Some only support 1 protocol while other support multiple protocols. Just because a controller / hub supports zwave doesn't mean ALL zwave will work devices and so on. For example the Staples connect Hub supported zwave, zigbee, and lutron's protocol but only an extremely limited number of devices were supported.


The best 2 "hubs" currently are probably the Samsung Smart Things 2.0 hub and Vera. You can also get zwave (and other protocol) adapters that plug into a computer or something like a raspberry pi.


Also steer clear of subscription service like home automation services from your phone or cable company.
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Last edited by jkee September 16, 2016 at 01:11 PM
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