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Smart Home Forum by FIBARO Team

Advice on Fibaro - Good or Bad?


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To everyone who currently has Fibaro HC 2 i just have a few questions:


Are you happy with the product?

What issues do you have with it?

Do you get any lags or whereby scenes or devices do not respond to commands?


We are currently building a new house and got a quote of 120K (in South African Rand, which in USD works out to around $12000) for the following products:


Description                                                            Quantity


FIBARO Relay Insert 2 * 1.5 KW                 90

FIBARO Relay Insert 1 * 2.5 KW                 31

FIBARO Motion Sensor                                10

FIBARO Flood Sensor                                   2

FIBARO Smoke detector                               3

iTach Flex WiFi                                             6

iTach Flex Link                                              6

Blaster Cable                                                  6         

FIBARO Door- and Window Sensor             10

FIBARO Z-Wave Home Center 2                  1


Before spending that much I want some real reviews of the product and real life experiences. In my country (SA) there is very little support and nowhere I can go to view the products.


Appreciate all feedback



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I'm quite happy with my Fibaro system.  Only the motion sensor is a bit of a mixed bag.  If only used as motion sensor it's good enough but I wouldn't recommend using the LUX readings in scenes.  Other than that the system is solid and fast.

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remember, 1,5 kw is not that much, most vacuumcleaners and everything with a heater uses more

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I'm happy with my HC2, but I don't know with that many devices how it will work.

I think their support could be better, as the development team could work a lot faster. It's like everything, not perfect but it's like all the others, works best with some hardware, worse with other...

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  • Happy with mine so far, I agree with the coment about the LUX sensor though.


    BTW thats an excellent price, is that installed??


    sorry i'm a noob, what is a LUX sensor??


    No, that price is just for the components. I will still have to hire an electrician to install 

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    90*1.5k?  Is that a lot of light circuits you have? 


    It looks like you are building a very big house. If it is you may want to wait for z-wave+ modules for the greater range. 

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    sorry i'm a noob, what is a LUX sensor??


    No, that price is just for the components. I will still have to hire an electrician to install 


    Lux sensor measure actual light value 

    Please login or register to see this image.

    /emoticons/default_icon_wink.gif" alt=";-)" /> 

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    I would recommend it, but only if you are very familiar in technical and software knowhow... So many things to configure, so many options....

    If the house is that big, maybe you need a range extender or a second home center as slave....

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    I would divide that many modules into several parts and use a combination of HC2 and HCL.


    But it would be interesting to know where you want to install that many relays and so many ITach devices. And another question. You have so many switches but no dimmers and no RGB?

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    Fibaro is currently the best system on the market while still affordable. It is important that you know that there are still some limitations in some aspects of the Fibaro products. Some features are simply not finished, they are available in the product but are still in development. Other features just work great. Make sure to first check what you expect from the system and what you need to be functional. Don't make assumptions but check if it is possible in real life. By either reading about it or ask your supply / advice channels.


    We do many projects and often people are satisfied with the product, but some are dissapointed by the implementation of some features (but that is ofcourse with any product you buy).


    Indeed it is wise to wait for some modules for a z-wave plus version. Also I would suggest that if the house is indeed large (also in distances) to use 1 or 2 Fibaro HCL's as sub gateways and 1 Fibaro HC2 as main gateway. The HC2 can include the HCL over the network in that way you have sub systems that help make your network more stable.


    Also I would suggest to use dimmers where you can. You can create more senarios than simple on off switches. Such as different light settings for different times of the day and year.


    Edit: I agree with Julexmon, was typing this at the same time.

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    I use my HCL for the garden lights and devices (like gate) with an GSM-Antenna instead of the original one. Since installation I have no range problems. 

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    Indeed, another reason to use the HCL as sub gateway is that a z-wave network has a max number of hops between nodes and the gateway. So if you have a big house, you can still have a problem with the network when some devices reach their max and can therefor not properly send or receive data from the gateway.

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    if you buy Fibaro center will have amusement every day until the end of his days


    My advice, if you are building the house, make the tubes to put wire in the not too distant future.

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    If you are spending that much money make sure you get someone to install it, that way they are liable when it all doesn't work. I would be extremely surprised if the Fibaro Z-Wave engine would cope with that number of devices.


    Bear in mind that V4 is effectively still a beta...

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    If you are still planning the wiring of the house I would strongly consider using a hardwired system rather than wireless.  You would wire every controllable load/switch back to a central point and install your controller there.  Install a hardwired standalone alarm system that is linked via a serial or network link to the automation system.  This will be far more reliable than any Z-Wave based system.  You can add a sprinkling of Z-Wave devices later should you wish although it sounds like your coverage area is large and may need many devices for it to mesh well.


    My experience with HC2 is mixed, their ongoing inability to develop and release a complete and working v4 firmware plus their inattention to bugs and other support issues being my main problems. However HC2 has potential.The underlying controller is powerful and capable and the modules are good.   If this is your first automation experience you may find it frustrating.  Other Z-Wave (or ZigBee) controllers are not any better hence my recommendation to consider a wired system if possible.   It will change it from a 'mostly' to 'always' works implementation with no delays.

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    I agree with xAPPO, the wired system more reliable, but from my experience their controllers are very limited.

    My suggestion is to use wired system for the switches. Please use wired system that could be connected and controlled via LAN by Fibaro HC2, which is very capable and  powerful controller.

    Motion and other sensors could be Z-wave based devices.


    There are always some features that you'll want to add in the future, so Z-wave is the solution.

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    First of all, why all the switches?!

    Definitely use dimmers wherever possible.

    (Fibaro dimmer 2 is great)


    I have done both wired systems and wireless and for me (and to my customers) i would never do (or recommend) a wired system again for home use.

    The size of a wired system and cost is just out the window compared to wireless.

    Its much more expensive and is a lot more work to install.

    And if the "bus" fails all your lights are dead.

    Expanding a wired system = exepencive and complex 

    And its always limited in some way.



    With Fibaro all your lights work even though you home center explodes. = Great for the user.

    Expanding Fibaro = Install + add device = Done with no extra wires required. = Great

    And any electrician can help you replace a broken dimmer if one fails. = Great

    If you choose a wired system you need special help = expencive.

    And forget to get all the functionality you get with Fibaro with any other system at this price and simplicity.


    I have just finished 1 villa and 4 apartments with 50+ devices / home with no problems using a single Hc2 / home,


    There can be som "lag" when turning on or off all 50 devices (all on /all off scenes) but its seconds before everything is done.

    Using the system normally is virtually lag free for me.


    And using Global cache is a breeze with HC2 and it never fails for me. (Never used the flex only the other products)

    (There was a problem with the Flex and Hc2 i think that had to do with the firmware of the flex so check that thats resolved)


    And if you want to customize your system there is a lot of information out there so you can configure everything yourself.

    Forget about it if you use ex (CUE, KNX, CRESTRON, LUTRON) and add some zeros to that quote you got...


    Pricing here in Sweden of regular wired bus components..

    Pricing of a universal dimmer 300W type HAGER KNX = 200 EURO

    Pricing of wired wall switch = 280 EURO

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    Well, I beg to differ.... and I too have done several installs although I wouldn't say I am a professional.


     If a wired system is specified during build of your home it should work out lower or similar cost to a wireless system.  However in a retrofit solution wireless always wins out on a cost basis, assuming the building style is suitable. You need to run cables from each outlet and switch.  You do not necessarily have to use a bus style cabling to each switch although many wired systems do install that way and because of their daisy chain topology this can be attractive although switch costs increase substantially. You can still however use regular light switches on many systems.  The load controllers whether relay or dimmer typically provide a dozen or so channels in one unit and per channel work out less than Z-Wave equivalents. 


    Additionally with such an arrangement you can revert your home to standard operation at the flick of a switch (should you incorporate that at design time).   My home does just that - one switch automated / standard - for the time that I wish to sell.   I have experience of selling a previous 'automated' home with a controller that couldn't easily be reverted. It was my intention to manually change every switch/lamp at sale time but it was attractive 'as was'  to the purchaser. However that turned into a nightmare for the ongoing support, changes and cost.  So with a wired system you can easily revert to standard operation and if you want even more resilience you can use redundant controllers. Indeed on my system I use 4 separate controllers that all interact, not something I necessarily recommend but moving beyond one controller on a Z-Wave system and keeping them independently operational and co-operative is a challenge.


    As to expansion restrictions with wired systems that simply isn't true with most modern controllers. You can just add Z-Wave , ZigBee or whatever to the system gaining all the ad hoc expansion capabilities that those technologies offer alongside your wired system.


    In terms of an alarm system the case is even stronger. I would never consider using my Fibaro Z-Wave system as my main alarm, nor I am sure would my insurers or the alarm monitoring station.  Just take a look at all the false alarm issues being discussed in the last couple of days as to why !  It is very much a hobbyist solution in that respect.


    In my own system I have implemented islands of functionality.  Lighting, Heating, Audio & Video, Security, Telephony etc. using 'best of breed' solutions. Each works standalone without depending on a central controller.  Then I layer additional 'smart' functionality on these by interconnecting their operation and adding functionality like scheduling, occupancy, logic, touchscreens, notifications etc. using my main controller. Everything still works even if my main controller fails - it just has more limited. but normal functionality. This is fundamentally important to gain family endorsement.  When a wireless system plays up then chaos,  frustration and rejection usually ensues.  I also can't tolerate the latency of wireless.  When you press a button you want that action to happen immediately or the natural reaction is to press it again and again... more chaos.


    As to dimmers vs relays.  I originally over specified the number of dimmer channels. Partly this was impacted by the move towards low energy lighting and the incompatibility with the style of dimmers I have, I was originally about 80% dimmers and 20% relays but now I am probably 50% of each.


    The one thing I would say is that my system is pretty much bespoke now because of the way it has evolved and as such I wouldn't like to suggest one 'XYZ' brand controller as a viable alternative to Fibaro HC2.  Yes, there are obvious easy answers from big name alternatives but they tend to involve custom programming costs and big $$ too.  An affordable,  powerful,  open  and hardware flexible solution still seems to elude the industry but solutions are getting better all the time.  Fibaro is a closed system and has limited hardware interface flexibility but it has potential once (if) user plugins are re-enabled and prove capable.

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    Well, some things I don't understand.

    How can a wired system be less expensive?

    You use more cables, it takes longer to install, it's more complex and the components are more expensive.

    And the argument of moving is just false.

    Remove your hc2 from the house and your left with a standard system with a dimmer in every room.

    No need to design anything.

    The solution just can't be more simple.

    As for latency, well if you press a button it happens instantly, you control the dimmer directly with the button.

    And in my system scenes start instantly, both lights and audio/video over IP.

    As for expanding a wired system with ex Z-wave well "just add" sound simple enough but I haven't found a solution that does what Fibaro does out of the box.

    You would need lots of hours to get anywhere near Fibaro standards and then to get it working on all your devices and then.. And then..

    When Fibaro plays up all my regular buttons work so the system never fails.

    As for alarms sure, Fibaro is for home automation. Use the components for that and install a certified alarm system on top, and let the alarm control Fibaro.

    As for your last part, your system seems very complex, and I guess the you have spent months on getting everything functioning together and designing the GUI and programming everything.

    With Fibaro you don't have to.

    And the relay/dimmer issue. Just buy what you will use now. Oops I need a dimmer here, ok buy 1 install and be done.

    The dimmer 2 can handle almost any load that I have come across.

    Sure I know Fibaro have some things that doesn't work or act funny sometimes but designing and building + programming a system of your standards is something else..

    To use it for lights, home automation and media, well I use it every day and it works for me.

    Just of quriosity..

    What do you use for a main controller?

    Do you have Web and app functionality on both iOS and android?

    What software do you use for iOS/android?

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