disappointed so far in VeraLite... have I chosen poorly?



  • I'm getting into HA primarily because the switches in my house are poorly placed. Rather than rewire the whole house, which I expect to be expensive and perhaps unsatisfactory, I thought I'd "just" put wireless switches where I want them, and get all the benefits of HA to boot.

    $300 and about 4 hours of fiddling in, I'm starting to have regrets. I was only able to get 1 of my 4 devices connected to my VeraLite, and now that I have, it seems painfully slow. My procedure this morning was:

    1. Wake up, grab my iPhone, launch the Vera app.
    2. Watch the "thanks for your patience" spinner spin 52 times (I counted).
    3. Stare in amazement as I am told "no device detected".
    4. 10 seconds later, the app changes its mind and says my installation is OK.
    5. Switch to Devices, and toggle the on/off state of my test device (an Aeon Smart Energy Switch).
    6. Wait about another six seconds, and... it switches! Hooray!

    Compare this to the current procedure of get up, stumble over to the poorly-located wall switch, smack it, and see the light come instantly on.

    Now, of course I haven't tried it with an actual Z-Wave wall switch yet (that's one of the devices I couldn't get connected to VeraLite). But if it's this slow with one device in the loop, it's hard to see how it's going to be faster when there are two (the input and the output).

    The reason I'm whining about this here is that (1) this forum seems full of amazingly knowledgeable and helpful people who understand HA far better than I do, and (2) I'm wondering if I should send the VeraLite back and do something else.

    Are there other controllers that would have a faster response time? Or is there something wrong with my VeraLite or how it's configured?

    Or is what I'm attempting to do not possible? I need a complete intention-to-lights-on cycle of a few seconds at most, i.e., not much different from a hard-wired switch.

    Note that, as someone else on these forums pointed out, having DIY stuff controlling line level voltage probably isn't a good idea, for insurance reasons if nothing else. Otherwise I'd be tempted to hang the controller entirely and just sprinkle my own WiFi modules around the house. But I think it's better to stick to certified Z-Wave modules for those.

    Feeling frustrated by the yawning chasm between the hype and the reality here... any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    • Joe

  • Admin

    Manual control (in our home) is only done by regular wall switches nowadays. You'll soon grow tired of the fancy (and slow) Apps which only is cool when showcasing your solution for the neighbour. "Look I can turn on off the light on my phone!" is only fun the first few days.

    You should instead start looking at making HomeAutomation rules in your controller that simplifies your life and solves the (privileged world) problems you might have.

    Speed of controller is usually not an issue when using rules.



  • Thanks, that is the sort of real-world advice I'm looking for (though not what I was hoping to hear, of course).

    But when it comes to simplifying our life, a big one would be turning all the lights off when we go to bed. Currently we wander the house flipping switches (which is especially frustrating in this house, where the switches are often in a different room from the lights). My wife loves the idea of a "go to bed" button that shuts off all the lights and locks all the doors.

    How do you accomplish that if your lights are all hooked up to regular wall switches?


  • Admin

    We have all lights in the house hooked up to z-wave actuators. So implementing this would just require a (MySensors) enabled switch by the bed which sends the commands to the controller (which runs the all-lights-off-scene).

    It would use the same rule as when we turn on the alarm system (during day-time).



  • I'm sorry, I must be dangerously close to an annoyance threshold, but I feel you're saying something really fundamental and important that I'm just not getting.

    How can you have your lights both controlled by regular wall switches, and controlled by Z-wave actuators?

    The only arrangement I can think of is that the wall switch cuts the power to the actuator, which kills the light but also drops it out of the Z-wave network, and in the morning, you have to use the wall switch to turn the lights back on, and then you get Z-wave control again. But this means that when a light is off, you don't know (without looking) whether to reach for the wall switch, or the Z-wave controller. Is that it, or is there a more clever arrangement I'm not thinking of?


  • Hero Member

    @JoeStrout Likely with something like these: http://aeotec.com/z-wave-in-wall-switches. There are other manufacturers such as Fibaro that make similar devices. I use a few of the Aeotec as well.

    Cheers
    Al


  • Admin

    Yep, I'm mainly use Fibaro wall switches for the lights.



  • @JoeStrout Your slow response time is not typical of Vera and is most likely related to your devices, connection or app. My Vera performs as near to instantaneously as other controllers I have tested. It has drawbacks (ask any Vera owner) but has huge upsides, specifically the versatility and community development.



  • @Dwalt you may be right... I tested with some other Vera remote apps, and was still getting 10-20 seconds response time for my switch, so I tried rebooting the Vera unit. Now it is near-instantaneous.

    So, maybe that's something I just have to do now and then. As long as it's not too frequent (and maybe only after installing new devices), I can live with that.


  • Contest Winner

    Your Vera will restart nightly. So you should not have to do that.

    Each night it will optimize your zwave network automatically so you need to think about that if you add a device.

    Once you get past the steep curve of adding a bunch of devices, it will be very reliable.

    Unless you overload it with lots of plugins.



  • Once connected to the Vera, commands should propagate fairly rapidly. Even 'virtual' commands which are actually scenes that perform complex multi-device actions typically take < 1 second.

    However the initial connection to the device from an App or service can take quite some time, and can, as you saw, sometimes simply not work.

    For this reason, and because not everyone has said Apps on their devices, I have a few strategically placed Z-wave table-top remotes configured such that their programmable buttons can control some key things for which there is no matching physical switch (i.e. garage door, curtains, etc) and to toggle groups of lights (all basement, all outdoor, etc)



  • Try out the web-browser interface. I have a 'webapp' at a tile on iOS. Still takes some time to boot, but much faster than the vera app. Slightly laggier but you get more features as well.



  • The Imperihome app for me has been the fastest app for changing the state of the lights, locks ect and looks the best imo. Once set up you will noticed a big improvement. Also if your Vera lite changes its ip address all the time then that would slow you down in loading the app to. Best to truly judge your set up the next day, when Vera has done it's nightly heal and matches up all the node in relation to where the other ones are.



  • I don't have any experience with iPhone, but I can confirm that the Vera app is horribly slow. When my Vera 3 was on UI5, that app was heaps quicker. I've recently took the plunge and upgraded to UI7, but the app for that is just too slow to be useful I reckon. I have an android phone and use Autovera which is instantaneous. I also have Imperihome running on an android tablet and it too is quick.

    My experience too is that it has made very little difference between communicating with a zwave switch or a Mysensors switch with regards to speed.


 

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