Vote Charlie!

Rough start with SmartThings

Posted at age 27.
Edited .

Soon after I moved in here last year, there were a number of suspicious incidents in the shared garage. I’m told a rental car was stolen and later found by police, and another time a rummager took some items, including keys to some motorcycles. At least one of the incidents did not involve the door being accidentally left open, but we weren’t sure if they had a key or taped a lock open or something.

Anyway, it seemed some more theft might be imminent, so Paul bought a Nest camera and installed it in the garage. It’s worked pretty well, sending notifications to all our phones on activity in the garage. There are false notifications due to light changes from vehicles driving by, but it’s alerted me to the door being left open many times. One such time, we got the alert in the middle of the night and found a video of someone poking around. He took a few things, but we’re not sure what exactly.

Soon after that, I looked into and installed an automatic garage door closer. We’ve been talking on and off about other security related things, but nobody has had time to take action. Primarily, I’ve been wanting a key code based door lock that we could use to assign codes to people and not need keys.

Well, the house is getting painted now, and there’s been scaffolding on one side for a month, but behind the locked door. It was just taken down and moved to the front of the house, and the first night, we had some drunks climb onto the roof, waking my landlord and later me. They ended up jumping down onto our back patio, three floors up, and just hanging out there till the police led them out. (Since we weren’t pressing charges, the police apparently don’t even bother ticketing them. Strange!)

After that, my landlord, Philipp and I talked about getting some motion detector lights or something to deter. Philipp ordered some items on Amazon Prime Now, but what arrived was a bunch of candy. Then it was too late to reorder, so it had to wait a day. I ended up deciding to pull the trigger on the key code door lock thing, and one thing led to another, and now I’ve ordered an absurd number of remotely controllable devices.

Since I needed a hub to control the lock, I chose to go with SmartThings ecosystem since it works with Z-Wave, and seemed to have a good community. We did already have a Nest Cam, but that isn’t really compatible with anything, and costs $10 per month or $30 per month and uses Internet constantly to upload video. It didn’t seem saleable, so I didn’t care to integrate with it anyway. If we do pursue more cameras, probably I’ll go with a solution that records to a local network storage and can still be accessed remotely, such as a D-Link network video recorder.

Over the past week, I started receiving the various SmartThings, but I’ve barely succeeded in even testing most of it so far, thanks apparently to some major service disruptions they’ve been having, though I didn’t find this out till today. I had to reset the hub and reconnect devices multiple times, and I am constantly getting errors in the Android app. I think I’ll just have to wait and see if this is all related to the service outages.


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So while messing around with all that, I was also trying to swap out some light switches. That led to a long post on StackExchange DIY. I ended up concluding I don’t have the neutral wires I was hoping for on the switches for the lights by our door and porch, which are the lights I most wanted to automate. Oh well. I may have a half solution, but it will need to wait for some more parts to arrive.

Thanks to incremental one click ordering on Amazon, I ended up ordering all of the below. I am excited to get it all set up, but I’m sure it will end up being a ton of work, too!

Order Date Item Price Qty Total
03/21/16 Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor $39.99 1 $43.49
03/21/16 GE12722 Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control On/Off Switch $36.95 2 $80.36
03/21/16 Kwikset SmartCode 916 Touchscreen Electronic Deadbolt with Z-Wave Wireless Remote Home Automation Compatibility and SmartKey Re-key Technology, in Ven $199.99 1 $199.99
03/21/16 Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor $25.50 1 $27.54
03/21/16 Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit $224.99 1 $244.68
03/24/16 Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor $39.99 3 $130.47
03/24/16 Aeon Labs ZW080-A17 Z-Wave Gen 5 siren for indoors - US freq. $49.95 1 $49.95
03/25/16 Ecolink Z-Wave Door/Window Sensor (DWZWAVE2-ECO) $26.75 3 $80.25
03/25/16 Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor $39.99 1 $43.49
03/25/16 Panasonic CR2450 Lithium Battery 3V (5 Batteries Per Pack) $8.10 1 $8.10
03/25/16 Aeon Labs DSC25-ZWUS,White,US,AL001 Aeotec Z-Wave Smart Energy Plug-In Dimmer, 2Nd Edition (Dsc25-Zwus), Small, White $34.99 1 $34.99
03/25/16 GE Z-Wave Smart Dimmer (In-Wall), 12724 $40.37 6 $263.33
03/25/16 Ecolink Z-Wave Door/Window Sensor (DWZWAVE2-ECO) $26.75 2 $53.50
03/25/16 GE Z-Wave Smart Dimmer (In-Wall), 12724 $40.37 2 $87.80
03/25/16 Samsung SmartThings Motion Sensor $39.99 4 $173.96
03/25/16 Nexia Home Intelligence DB100Z Z-Wave Doorbell Home Sensor, Small $45.00 1 $48.94
03/25/16 GE 12723 Add-On Switch  $18.30 5 $99.50

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