Category Archives: Home Automation

Z-Wave Home Automation with VeraLite Controller

THE VERALITE

The VeraLite controller (Made by Vera, formerly known as Mi Casa Verde) is the central controller for my whole Z-Wave network. There are many Z-Wave controllers on the market, Home Depot Wink, Lowes Iris, SmartThings.  However, the reason i decided to go with the VeraLite, is that it has opensource plug-in modules, aka MiOS Apps. Plugin modules have already been made for integrating my existing ADT alarm system, Nest, and Rainforest Energy monitor.

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First Switch

To start it off I got the GE Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control and Appliance Module (p/n 45603) to attach to our turtle tank light to put the light on a timer.

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This was pretty straight forward. Just paired the device with the controller. Then I setup a “Turtle Light ON” scene to run at Noon, and a “Turtle Light OFF” scene to run at 2pm. Here is what the Interface looks like on the Vera Lite (using UI7).

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Back Yard Lights:

I ordered GE Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control Outdoor Module to control my backyard christmas lights. Again, easily pair the device with the VeraLite, and then it can be controlled by the VeraLite.

GE Outdoor Light

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Alarm System Integration:

Next I wanted to Integrate my DSC Alarm Panel so that the alarm sensors can be used to trigger Z-Wave scenes.  I found the device EnvisaLink 3, which plugs into the DSC panel as a virtual keypad, and allows it to be access via ethernet.  It also has the added benefit of being able to Arm and Disarm the alarm over the internet as well as be used to replace my Alarm service for $8.50/mo using EnvisAlarm IP Monitoring instead of ADT service. IMG_6515IMG_6450

Once I got the EnvisaLink 3 installed on the network I had to install the “DSC Alarm Panel Plugin” onto the Vera Lite.  Here is what it looks like when installed.

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Next the DSC plugin needs to be configured with the IP address and the Zones.

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By setting the Zone to “ARMED”, it means that if the sensor gets triggered, execute any events associated with the Zone. When set to “BYPASSED”, it means the Sensor is effectively DISABLED.

POOL LIGHT Integration

To use the Alarm system zones, I got a “Aeon Labs DSC26103-ZWUS – Z-Wave In-Wall Micro Controller” to control my pool light.

Aeon Labs Switch

One of the added benefits of the Aeon Switch is it reports the power usage too.

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I associated the Pool light with the switch, then made a scene called “BackDoor Close – Lights OFF” and “BackDoor Open – Lights ON” which turn on/off both the Pool light and the Backyard lights.

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Here is how the Scene configuration screen looks like:

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After setting it all up, I’m impressed with how quickly the AlarmZone->VeraLite->Z-Wave switch latency is.  Closing/Opening the backdoor takes from 1 to 3 seconds for the Lights to turn OFF/ON. Not bad!!

iPhone/iPad App

The iPhone app allows you to access all the devices and scenes configured on the web interface.  However, there is more latency when going through the internet to switch things on and off.  When first starting the app there is a 5-10 second wait period for it to sync up with the VeraLite. This can be annoying if you are trying to quickly turn something on/off.

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Turning ON/OFF lights with the iPhone app can take from 2-6 seconds, which is just feels a bit too long sometimes.

POOL LIGHT MINIMOTE

I wanted to have a faster way to turn on and off my pool light, since the LED light has different color modes, but you have to toggle the power to switch between the modes.  ( LED Pool light can be found at http://www.ledpoollights.net/ ) So I got a remote, the “Aeon Labs DSA03202 v1 – Z-Wave Minimote“.  I tried to pair the remote directly with the light, but i think it wouldnt let me since it was already paired with the VeraLite Z-Wave controller. I need to research this and see if this is true.  So instead I associated the Remote as a new “MiniMote” device with the VeraLite, and create a scene to turn on and off the POOL LIGHT only.

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The Minimote turns ON/OFF lights in 0.5-2 seconds, which is much more usable. Yay!

Whole Home Power Monitoring:

I have a Rainforest Eagle ZigBee to Ethernet bridge which the VeraLite can monitor for whole house power usage it reads from the SoCal Edison Power meter.  Here is the Veralite Forum thread on the plugin

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I havent found a good use for the Whole House energy monitoring, but if I ever do, the data is now there.