Home Automation & Home Defense

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Velvetfoot, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. Velvetfoot

    Velvetfoot

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    I'm just starting to get into home automation, mostly as a result of wanting to control some outdoor lights. Ordered a Hubitat controller and some z-wave switches. I think it's going to snowball, 'cause I already ordered more just to fill up a gang box, lol. Could get expensive as well; more of a hobby thing rather than cost effective.

    Anyway, what role could home automation play for home defense? Turn on all lights when alarm goes off? Is having all the lights on a good thing?
     
  2. TheDreadnought

    TheDreadnought

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    I’m not giving control of things within my home over to the internet. YMMV.
     
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  3. G26-Has-my-6

    G26-Has-my-6 Fullclip's Life Matters! FLM!!

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    once you start down the road with home automation, you will wish you did more, and you will do more. And yes, with my system, all of the Zwave lights turn on when the alarm is tripped, and all of the cameras record video clips.

    And if you haven't set up motion activated lights, you're missing out. I use the same motion sensors that the security system uses to trigger some lights that are annoying to manually switch (like the lights in the garage, mudroom, walk in closets/pantry, etc.).

    it's also nice to integrate Zwave locks for the front door and Zwave garage door openers.

    Where the lighting automation shines is for daily schedules (turn on certain lights at sunset...and then them off again at a set time or related to sunrise), vacation schedules, and just daily ease of turning off lights at bedtime. I set up a simple automation where with a press of a button it will do several tasks: Arm the system, turn off the interior lights on the lower 2 levels (leaving the outdoor lights on the daily schedule), the system checks and closes the garage doors, and checks and locks the doors.

    I also added some water bugs to notify if there's water on the floor under one of the fridges, washing machine, dishwasher, or in the mechanical room.

    And finally, I added Zwave CO2/smoke sensors in the house, and a heat sensor in the garage.

    I really think home automation is sort of like how the internet was at the beginning...most people said "why do I need that?". But now you don't want to live without it. Once you go down this path, you will realize how nice it makes life.

    And having some outdoor cameras and a doorbell camera is a good idea to integrate into your system. This is maybe the best thing you can do for home defense. I have seen time and time again (with other people) where the thief's face immediately changed to a deflated look when he saw the doorbell cam. It IS a deterrent for the professional thief. Not so much for the meth head, but the pro's know they are caught as soon as they see it, and they make up a story that they are selling something.
     
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  4. Dynactus

    Dynactus The wind serenades a purified man.

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    Velvetfoot, I've always believed that because I am much more familiar with the layout of the interior of my home than a trespasser would be, I have a slight advantage over the trespasser that isn't familiar with it. Being able to fight in the dark has it's advantages. Also, since it's only my wife and I living here, it's easy for me to differentiate targets from wife. Always identify your target. You don't necessarily need the lights on to do that.
     
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  5. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    Automation may not always work as wanted....

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Velvetfoot

    Velvetfoot

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    You've given me a bunch of (expensive) ideas.

    It started for me after I thought, wouldn't it be nice for the outside motion detector coach lights (4) to be switched to always-on, dusk-to-dawn. You can do that with the Heath-Zenith lights I have, but you have to toggle the power switch, and it resets at dawn. I thought, I could automate that. Of course, I found that the double click can get flaky, so then..I need a z-wave motion/light sensor and of course the hub to control it. Then, like I said, why not fill the gang boxes while I'm at there: light up the attached breezeway and the kitchen.

    I'm paranoid about water leaks. We have a standalone "watercop" system and also have a button by the door to turn off its motor operated shutoff valve on the way out of the house, so that could be automated. I'm not sure about replacing it with z-wave sensors though. I'd like to automate the watering of my wife's hanging flower baskets next summer, so maybe I could automate it with its own valve and shut off water to the house after the plants are watered.

    I don't know about integrating our Harbor Freight security video system-we usually turn that on when we leave the house and before we go to bed at night. So that could be automated as well.

    Not sure how to integrate with current security system yet. Years ago I put a board in it that sends me texts and emails when it's activated, which is very rate since we got rid of that stupid motion sensor, lol.

    I understand the Hubitat can link with our Ecobee thermostat, but not exactly sure why-its wifi app is pretty good.

    Maybe get some data from the wood stove. A friend of mine tried controlling his fan on his wood stove, showing it off at the diner, and then...uh oh...no communications. Had to go home to make sure nothing melted. Moral of the story: maintain failsafe/local control for critical applications.

    I had a string of wireless smoke detectors that I used for the garage, but took them out because I think spiders made webs in front of the photocell sensor. Heat sensor sounds good. Maybe I'd go for a house replacement, but maybe not if they'd be dependent on z-wave hub connectivity for them to all sound.

    The Hubitat can operated without an internet connection, which is attractive to me. It's more geared to home automation rather than remote control, I believe.

    Potential to spend $, but could be spaced out..


     
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  7. JohnnyE

    JohnnyE

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    I don't think it's a binary choice: all automation good, therefore yes vs. all automation bad, therefore no.

    I'm moving into some automation, like internet accessible security cameras (with views only of outside the home, no views inside), controlling lights and so forth. I will not, however, use automation to unlock doors or in any way control access to the home.

    Making a go/no-go decision on whether or not to deploy a particular technology starts with considering what would happen when the system gets hacked or my password gets out, and some bad actor can work his evil will on the system.
     
  8. bdcochran

    bdcochran

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    Follow up to G26's comments:
    1. I have a number of Mr. Beams night light motion detectors. Last week, after writing the company, it turned out that they were now offering a night light motion detector line with replaceable re-chargeable batteries.
    In the past, I was not happy that batteries were wired in and after 3 years or so, you would throw out the entire unit.
    2. We have so many burglaries that the police department will not come out and pick up Ring videos. People buy cheap and don't set it up to be monitored from where ever they might be.

    I spent the money, put up professionally installed gates, each with a key only deadbolt and then a second, key from the outside and twist from the house side deadbolt Same set up on a steel mesh screen door on the front of the house and the garage. The new Mr. Beams lights went on the gates.

    Nothing stops a meth head, of course. Each of the three bedrooms has a deadbolt, twist from the inside and key from the hallway, so rooms can be isolated.
     
  9. Hef

    Hef

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    Nevermind. I didn't read carefully.
     
  10. Wojo88

    Wojo88

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    Where I live my home automation is 2 German Sheppard's that can hear a mouse fart and a bark louder than an alarm. They won't know what hit them......
     
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  11. Mcsorleyprobert

    Mcsorleyprobert

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  12. Lord

    Lord Senior Member

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    WHat you really need is a motion sensor that activates an audio recording with the following recorded on it:

    1. the sound of a very big shotgun being racked followed by
    2. your voice declaring "you've trespassed at the wrong house... now you're ph**ked"
    3. cameras on record and spotlights turning on that illuminate your yards very brightly so you can watch the idiots fall all over themselves as they scramble to get away.