Home Owner Thread

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Scrote Squad

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So... what do you want to smartify?

Maybe the best place to start is a thermostat? I have an ecobee. Nest is great. It's been years since I looked into them.

People like security cameras. Front doorbell cameras are popular. Ring, Nest would be the two popular options. Or you could go the manual route.
Ideally, everything. Garage, doors, lights, temperature, etc.
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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Ideally, everything. Garage, doors, lights, temperature, etc.
Garage doors... they kinda suck. I wanted to smartify mine, then realized I probably would never use it.... pressing a button to open/close the door is just easier. Even if I had it auto-open as my car got close to the house, then auto-close when the car shut off inside the garage, there are things like having my car in the driveway, listening to the radio while washing it, that I wouldn't want to have to figure out with regards to the smart door opening/closing when I don't actually want it to.

This guy's entire YouTube channel is awesome for Smart Home stuff. Here's a video on smart garage door:




For lights, are you looking to do each bulb individual with Phillips Hue style color control? Or just a smart switch that turns them on or off? The individual light bulbs, to me, are stupid expensive. Go with smart light switches that are controlled by either Zigbee or Z-Wave. For the tinkerer (me), Shelly and Sonoff switches are really nice. The highest-regarded switches are from Lutron. Go for their Caseta line.

For sensors, like temperature, humidity, motion, etc--I like Sonoff. They're cheap and decent.

Why I recommend HomeAssistant is because I can hook everything into it, and then write anything I could imagine. For example: if I wanted to turn on my AC every time my VR base stations turned on, I could do that because the Ecobee thermostat and Index Base Stations are both in HomeAssistant. If I wanted my RainMachine sprinkler system to only turn on when a humidity sensor in the lawn is below a certain threshold, I could do that. I don't have to worry about the components being able to talk to each other--as long as I can add them to HomeAssistant, routines can be controlled from there.
 
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GOMD

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Ideally, everything. Garage, doors, lights, temperature, etc.
I bought a new garage door opener with wifi and an app to open and close, but you can also add it on to an existing opener, for pretty cheap. And should work with almost any “newer” garage door opener. Chamberlain MyQ.


I also installed a Sensi smart thermostat that I can can control from my phone, similar to a nest but a bit cheaper and a more old school look and functioning thermostat on the wall.

Had great luck with both so far, but they have somewhat less functionality and automation, when compared to other options out there.
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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I bought a new garage door opener with wifi and an app to open and close, but you can also add it on to an existing opener, for pretty cheap. And should work with almost any “newer” garage door opener. Chamberlain MyQ.


I also installed a Sensi smart thermostat that I can can control from my phone, similar to a nest but a bit cheaper and a more old school look and functioning thermostat on the wall.

Had great luck with both so far, but they have somewhat less functionality and automation, when compared to other options out there.
You didn't miss anything with the garage door opener. Chamberlain MyQ is basically the only non-DIY option out there.

 

Ohdang

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Best smart upgrade I've done is easily replacing all of my light switches with Lutron Caseta's. Definitely do this over the smart light bulb route if you own your home. The light bulbs all are an individual device that require wifi connection, and they're 2.4ghz, and even the best ones drop connection sometimes. Lutron switches only have a hub to connect to your network and they communicate with each other with some proprietary technology that has been working flawlessly for me for the year or so I've had them. I don't know how they work, but they do.

Lutron has dimmable and non dimmable switch options, and neutral wire and non neutral wire options, which is great if your home is older. They have switches that turn ceiling fans into "smart" devices (as in you can control the fan with the app or a Google home/Alexa/etc) without needing to do anything to the fan, which is super handy. They also have wireless remotes which I've mounted in places I really wish had switches but don't, like the hallway to the downstairs bathroom only having a switch on one end for some reason. You just mount a wireless remote, program it in the app, and nobody can tell it's anything but a wired switch that is supposed to be there. I love them.

Not exactly a smart home upgrade but if you want mesh WiFi I've tried a ton of them and my favorite is hands down Plume SuperPods. Most stable wifi I've ever experienced by a landslide. Little pricey compared to other residential level equipment, and not as good as installing enterprise level Ubiquiti or similar gear, but damn good. I get ~850mbps or so everywhere in the house with 3 pods (2 floors, 2k sq ft) but they'll help you decide on the needed amount and optimal placement if you contact their support.

I have a Chamberlain MyQ and I barely use it, but one thing that is nice is Amazon will deliver packages into your garage if you link your MyQ to your Amazon account (it's called Amazon Key). If you shop on Amazon a lot like I do and have a porch pirate problem, it's actually pretty great.

For security cameras check out Wyze. Very solid equipment for a very reasonable price. They sell wired and wireless.

Robotic vacuums - I have a roborock S5 and it's amazing. Has high end features for a mid range price. It's probably spying on you if you use the default app and firmware, but flashing it to Valetudo RE is easy and disables it's ability to phone home to China. Mine is also modded to replace it's audio with R2D2 noises and I found a nice set of R2D2 vinyl stickers online for it.

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I have Nest thermostats on each floor and in NC the local energy companies offer them very cheap if you buy through them, I'd look into that in Ohio. I got both of mine for $49 each through Duke energy and they're the full featured version. They are well worth it at full price. You can voice control or app control the temperature, and they do save you money if you use the eco mode.

I control everything through Google assistant and have several displays throughout the house. A big one in the kitchen is super handy for googling recipes or YouTube videos for cooking and having it right there and controlled by voice so you don't have to stop and wash your hands to look something up. I use the one on my nightstand for sleep tracking, an alarm clock, and a thunderstorms/ocean waves machine. The interface is actually pretty nice if you prefer a touch screen over voice controlling everything.

I have Nvidia shields on each TV which are also capable of being controlled by Google assistant and have chromecast built in. It's nice to just say hey google, turn off the TV when the remote isn't nearby and you don't want to get up. Streaming to the bedroom TV from the PornHub app has come in VERY handy on several occasions too lol.

I have Nest protect smoke alarms too which are hooked up to my security system, so if there's a fire and I don't respond to the alerts it will call the fire department for me. Everything I have controlled by Google assistant is synced to my alarm system by syncing them together in the Google home app.

I've got a WiFi enabled Denon receiver for my home theater that is also controllable through Google assistant, and you can stream music to it from your phone which is also quite handy.

I've got a smart lock with a touchscreen pin pad, finger print scanner, and video doorbell called the Lockly Vision on my front door and one without the video on my back door. Both are battery powered which is great because my house wasn't wired with a traditional doorbell and most video doorbells require them for power.

I'm not sure what else I'd even get at this point, I feel like I've optimized everything that would actually improve my life. I don't have any smart appliances so I can't speak on that, but maybe in the future.

If you've got a much bigger budget than I did and want to have someone else set it up for you, I've heard great things about a product called Control4.

I've tried out home assistant and didn't like how much customization it required. I'm a pretty big tech nerd - I wired my house with ethernet and serve 4 rooms with a media server I built in my network closet if that gives you any idea - and it was too much for me. But it is very popular among tech enthusiasts.

Hopefully some of that helped you.
 
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Out of the Rafters at the Q

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@Ohdang our smart home setups are so similar... except I haven't bothered to pull the trigger on some of the things you have yet, like the Lutron Casetas or the MyQ. Even down to the Google Home choices, the S5 and the Denon receiver, we match.. except I'm going the HomeAssistant route--I love it. Run it off my 90TB unraid server in the attic with a Raspberry Pi hub in the kitchen of the main floor with a Z-Wave/Zigbee USB stick.

I have ethernet run to roku ultras on each TV screen--regretting that decision I made long ago. If I could do it over, I'd do Shields on each TV. Just because I don't like being locked down by the roku ecosystem.

I can't believe I didn't think of custom firmware for the S5. Definitely going to look into that.

My favorite smart add-on that you didn't mention is definitely the RainMachine to control my sprinkler system.
 

Ohdang

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@Ohdang our smart home setups are so similar... except I haven't bothered to pull the trigger on some of the things you have yet, like the Lutron Casetas or the MyQ. Even down to the Google Home choices, the S5 and the Denon receiver, we match.. except I'm going the HomeAssistant route--I love it. Run it off my 90TB unraid server in the attic with a Raspberry Pi hub in the kitchen of the main floor with a Z-Wave/Zigbee USB stick.

I have ethernet run to roku ultras on each TV screen--regretting that decision I made long ago. If I could do it over, I'd do Shields on each TV. Just because I don't like being locked down by the roku ecosystem.

I can't believe I didn't think of custom firmware for the S5. Definitely going to look into that.

My favorite smart add-on that you didn't mention is definitely the RainMachine to control my sprinkler system.
There's an app called Xvacuum that makes the process of flashing the Roborock vacuums fairly straightforward. All you need is that app, the firmware, and you can also upload custom sound packs that you can find easily enough with Google. I do have the R2D2 sound files on my Google drive because there were quite a few options and it took me awhile to find the one that I liked best if you'd like me to send it to you.

My S5 is white and it just made the most sense to do R2D2 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but I do remember seeing a multitude of options as far as sound packs and vinyl stickers out there for this line of robovacs so you have a ton of cool options.

This is a pretty handy guide that I used to flash the first time, it's from the home assistant reddit and may be a tad outdated but is probably still really useful and had links to Xvacuum and the firmware GitHub:


As far as the Lutron Caseta's go, the switches are a bit on the pricey side and if you have a lot of switches to replace it really adds up, but they are just absolutely excellent. Can't recommend them enough. You can set timers, scenes, automation, link multiple switches together with one remote, etc. Light years better than what I had with Phillips Hue bulbs before.

I'm actually running an Emby (similar to Plex) server running on a Linux box in my network closet with an entirely automated process of gathering content that uses Google Gsuite storage. I get unlimited cloud storage for $12 a month and just use an app on my phone to tell the automation what to search for and then a few hours later it's permanently in my media center hosted by Google. It's so easy to use on the front end that my son's mother figured it out within a few minutes and she's not tech savvy at all, and my parents have remote access to it and they're able to navigate just fine too. On the backend, however, the setup was a little complicated, and honestly it's partly why I don't use home assistant - I used all my patience on that project lol - but I formerly was using local storage and I had a realization that at the rate I was filling the hard drives (at the time a WD Red drive was about $100 for 4TB, not sure what prices are like now) that the monthly $12 was more cost effective. So far no issues whatsoever with buffering or outages, though I do have 1gbps fiber so that may be a ymmv situation. I can give you some help with setting that up if you ever come to the same decision I did about storing locally vs cloud storage. If you want to go down that rabbit hole, Google pgblitz.

MyQ is actually offered free by Amazon several times a year in the form of a credit back of the purchase price by signing up for Amazon Key (no cost). I actually did this for the credit just so I could check out MyQ for free and never really intended to give Amazon couriers access to my garage, but I actually gave it a chance and love it. Been using it for about 9 months and never any issues and my packages are always in my garage waiting for me, and the garage closes on its own after a minute if the drivers for whatever reason don't close it (there's a setting for that in the app). I recommend it if you want that one specific service, especially if you get it free, but honestly outside of that it's more or less useless. It's just easier to hit the button in the car or on the garage wall than it is to use the app on the phone. Although sometimes a hey google, open the garage door is handy when my hands are full. But that's really kind of rare I actually use it.

I've owned several versions of each Roku, Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecasts, and Shields and the Shields are like going from a Camry to a Lamborghini. I have an LG OLED in my living room and I have the newest shield with the AI upscaling on it and it's absolutely stunning. All of my other TVs are using the older models and they're just 1080p TVs so it's plenty. Idk the price of a used last gen shield, but if you don't have a TV that can really take advantage, the new shields are kind of overkill. The last gen hardware is still beefier than anything else out there I've seen and do the job really well. I will say the new gen remotes are way better though. I'd consider these a worthwhile upgrade if you stream a lot of content. Especially over a Roku, those were my least favorite for sure.

I don't have a smart sprinkler as the price of water here is a bit on the crazy side - I live in a rural area that gets it piped in from a neighboring city and they really hammer us. Without watering my grass my bill hovers between $80 and $100 depending on how much I'm home. I'd rather let my grass suffer than pay the bill that would come with taking care of it lol. But I have looked at them, and may at some point in the future if I move. But I have way too much land to cover. If it dies it dies.
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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You using sonarr/radarr/lidarr with jackett and deluge? With Ombi to handle requests? Because that's what I use. Just with plex primary and jellyfish backup (a branch of Emby).

Definitely don't need any help setting it all up =D

At like 70+ tb of content I have no interest in going Cloud. My unraid server would never forgive me.
 

Ohdang

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You using sonarr/radarr/lidarr with jackett and deluge? With Ombi to handle requests? Because that's what I use. Just with plex primary and jellyfish backup (a branch of Emby).

Definitely don't need any help setting it all up =D

At like 70+ tb of content I have no interest in going Cloud. My unraid server would never forgive me.
Yep, sure am. I'm in the hundreds of TB range and still growing so I have no interest in trying to host locally lol
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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Yep, sure am. I'm in the hundreds of TB range and still growing so I have no interest in trying to host locally lol
If they offered gigabit to my home, I'd be interested in eating that latency for the cost savings.

What is your storage taken up by? For me, it's mostly ROMs. Then tv, then movies, music, and everything else.
 

Ohdang

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If they offered gigabit to my home, I'd be interested in eating that latency for the cost savings.

What is your storage taken up by? For me, it's mostly ROMs. Then tv, then movies, music, and everything else.
Media in general. TV shows, movies, audio books, whatever people want. Since I have 1gbps upload I don't have any issues serving my entire family and they have various interests. I also use it to store personal stuff in a directory that isn't shared, like years of videos of my kid, pictures, etc.

But since I don't have to worry about storage, I don't limit anyone on anything and they literally add whatever they want. I have 2 nieces under 5 and my kid is 4, the directory of children's programming alone is probably 20-30 TB easily.

And since I don't have to worry about storage, I never delete anything either. That part is nice.
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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Media in general. TV shows, movies, audio books, whatever people want. Since I have 1gbps upload I don't have any issues serving my entire family and they have various interests. I also use it to store personal stuff in a directory that isn't shared, like years of videos of my kid, pictures, etc.

But since I don't have to worry about storage, I don't limit anyone on anything and they literally add whatever they want. I have 2 nieces under 5 and my kid is 4, the directory of children's programming alone is probably 20-30 TB easily.

And since I don't have to worry about storage, I never delete anything either. That part is nice.
I'm the same way, for family and everything. But my library is so much smaller tb-wise.

Are you pulling everything down in 4k?

I also have unmanic running, converting everything to h.265
 

Ohdang

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I'm the same way, for family and everything. But my library is so much smaller tb-wise.

Are you pulling everything down in 4k?

I also have unmanic running, converting everything to h.265
Yes, when available. I have the hardware to transcode anything when necessary so that's not a big deal.

I've also been at this for several years, and some of the people who have access are media junkies.
 

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Yes, when available. I have the hardware to transcode anything when necessary so that's not a big deal.

I've also been at this for several years, and some of the people who have access are media junkies.
Gotcha. No junkies on my external users list--just me.

Converting everything to h.265 was a ridiculous space saver for me. I thought some things were wrong when I saw some files being reduced in size by like 85%.
 
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