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Almost 10 years with Fibaro and Home Automation - what do you want to know?


petergebruers
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Our fascination with "10"......... Multiple of 10, gotta be special, right?

 

Ask me what you want to know, anything not violating the forum rules. Or... well, even the questions violating the rules are welcome, but then I will have to use my "powers" to warn you and possibly kick you :D

 

I might answer it immediately... I might consider it for one or more longer topics if it deserves some elaborate answer.

 

Don't expect a crystal ball answer though. As all my (passing) bank managers have told me: "performance of the product in the past is no guarantee of the future" ;)

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Hi Peter

 

My history with Fibaro (and home automation) is almost 5 years now. I wanted to have automated curtains to give the impression of being at home while on holidays.

A local home automation supplier strongly advised Fibaro, so there I went with. It expanded over the years to some 25 devices and a series of lua-scripts for the home automation. I have been very happy with this forum and the numerous advanced programming examples. Thank you all!

Now, 5 years later my HC2 still does the job. That is a huge pro.

There are also cons: leaving Fibaro means opening walls and ceilings for hidden devices to reinitialise. The power consumption of some 10 watts is not neglegible. Upgrading to HC3 makes all my scripts disfunctional.

And last, my question, discussed much before: Fibaro seems not to be a leading producer anymore, but fading away bit by bit. In the end this would force me to leave this platform. How do you see the future for keeping this platform alive?

Edited by Theo
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@petergebruers OMG i'm getting close to 10 years also.. 

Gratz for holding on for so long and being an inspiration and true source of help for many of the people here !

 

@Theo in my view, Fibaro still makes the best Zwave gateways.  And to be honest that is the hardest part, not the devices.  HC3 is a huge jump from HC2 and believe it or not, it will not be so hard to recode all scenes.  Plus the migration tool works very well now so you will not have to dig into the wall for those devices.

 

And now questions for Peter:

1.  Do you still remember where all the devices are placed ?  As sometimes, when an old 300 series dies on me.. it takes me a long time to find it

2. Did Fibaro ever approached you to offer you a serious job ?

3. What mobile app do you use for your house automation ?

 

🤗 And finally i can say i'm very glad i "met" you and some more peeps around this forum - they know who they are !!!! 🍻

 

 

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  • On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    My history with Fibaro (and home automation) is almost 5 years now.

    Cheers!

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    I wanted to have automated curtains to give the impression of being at home while on holidays.

    A utility company caused a small water leak. Actually more like a drip. But that leak would overflow a bucked and I wanted to have an alarm on my phone. All very important, I also thought about optimising "opening and closing of doors" and dimming some lights to increase comfort level...

     

    In 2012 Z-Wave seemed a future proof tech and HC2 had much, much more power than the "popular" solutions. I wanted the network to last 10 years and it still lasts. I wanted my HC2 to stay operational fir at least 4 years and it did 7 years - because it got replaced by HC3 in 2019. I still have it, but it is switched off.

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    Thank you all!

    Thank you for thanking the community. I value this forum and I am glad it still exists, though it definitely has slowed down. I have slowed down as well ;)

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    Now, 5 years later my HC2 still does the job. That is a huge pro.

    Excellent!

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    The power consumption of some 10 watts is not neglegible.

    Interesting point. I have brought up the topic of stand-by power of HA  and network devices and I think we are pioneers when we care about those "small" losses. Lately I have been thinking... In a way, the 10 W (+ all my devices, it is likely more like 100 W in total) does not matter if it is relative to electric car and heating. It is up for debate. HC3 gives more "horsepower" for only about 3.5 W. Oh and solar + energy storage might seem the solution but there is a long way in some countries (cough).

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    Upgrading to HC3 makes all my scripts disfunctional.

    Yes, that decision surprised many people.

    The only consolation I have is this: Fibaro Quick Apps are very powerful and the way forward...

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    Fibaro seems not to be a leading producer anymore, but fading away bit by bit.

    I have an opinion on that and unfortunately I cannot get enough facts to fact-check myself. Not sure what to say.

     

    The HC3 hardware was certainly excellent at the time, the additions of several radios and enough memory and enough flash placed it above anything else except open-source solutions.

     

    But then came the disappointment... No software to match the hardwarer. We have very good Z-Wave, and the "other radios" on the sub-ghz band seem to work with (only) NICE devices (which I do not own and cannot tell much about). The Bluetooth is unused, no BT and no BLE devices supported... The ZigBee radio can control basic lights and switches. Progress is slow.

     

    And then some group of manufacturers told us it is all no good and we should switch to "Matter". Tsssss.

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 8:38 PM, Theo said:

    How do you see the future for keeping this platform alive?

    I have no clue how to run a company, and I cannot tell you what I would do if I did. Innovation, selling stuff, making profit, ..... errrm not my cup of tea.

     

    I also run an "open source" HA system and I can tell you, I sometimes long for the stability of a platform. The grass is always greener on the other side.

     

    There are quite a few lower priced and lower specced "HA systems" with multiple radios and varying appreciation levels. I do read some of the forum posts to get a rough idea of the good the bad and the ugly. But I do not own the stuff and I will not comment (errmmmmmmm remind me of this when I do comment).

     

    Fibaro did spend a lot of time refining what they have, and that is often not appreciated, untll you miss it. Fo example, very little effort to make your (phone) app work inside and outside the house. Just an example. Not everyone need or wants remote access.

     

    For Z-wave.......... I am more worried about that. Since 2018, when Silabs introduced their "new and shiny series 700 chip) with low power and high performance" I have been asking where are all those (promised) advanced, lovely, useful devices?

     

    Then Silabs added "Long Range" which only works in the USA

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  • On 11/24/2022 at 10:39 PM, Momos said:

    1.  Do you still remember where all the devices are placed ?  As sometimes, when an old 300 series dies on me.. it takes me a long time to find it

    LOL

     

    Anecdote....

     

    It happened, but a long time ago, I "took down" one of my Motion sensors an literally "put it on a shelf - somewhere". Then I had the brilliant idea to "force delete" it because I was convinced, it was no longer "in operation". Of course, I left the batteries in and at each wake up interval, HC2 would prompt: "node 123 not in database"

     

    It took me a few days to find the cause!

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 10:39 PM, Momos said:

    2. Did Fibaro ever approached you to offer you a serious job ?

    No they did not offer me a serious job but they did want me to become an ambassador. After carefully weighing the pro's and con's I decided my independence was more important than receiving status and benefits

     

    I still think, in hindsight, I actually did Fibaro a favour by refusing their offer.

     

    On 11/24/2022 at 10:39 PM, Momos said:

    3. What mobile app do you use for your house automation ?

    Ouch, did I somewhere somehow promise to give an honest answer to any question asked? Hehehe, maybe, implicitly?

     

    Errrrrm

     

    I use "Home Assistant" a lot. As a mobile APP.

     

    When Fibaro released their "second gen mobile app" I was exploring Home Assistant - Z-Wave and HC2 integration. They asked my opinion their new app and I had suddenly something to compare with. My responses are under NDA but I can disclose (because it is so plainly obvious) that - at the time - the Home Assistant was completely customisable, which was the exact opposite and philosophy of Fibaro's app.

     

    Both apps have changed a lot - and I bet the Yubii app is functional and regained some status over the years. But being used to HASS now means it is very difficult to go back.

     

    For example, with HASS I can do ad hoc graphs of any sensor. For example, here I compare the performance of 4 motion sensors

     

    Please login or register to see this image.

    /monthly_2022_11/854619502_Screenshot2022-11-27at20_13_37.png.1e0d319e86c8d19ed01c89d65ceb62da.png" />

     

    Although that screenshot was taken on a Mac, it would look almost identical on my phone...

    Edited by petergebruers
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    Hi Peter, and thanks for all your help.

     

    You use Home assistant on your phone, is this compatible with the Fibaro hc3, or is it a separate setup used instead of the hc3?

     

    Phil

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    27 minutes ago, SmartHomeEddy said:

    How does the SmartHome look like in another 10 years? What will make the home smart over another 10 years? 


    In 10 years this should be commodity… 😎

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    49 minutes ago, SmartHomeEddy said:

    How does the SmartHome look like in another 10 years? What will make the home smart over another 10 years? 

     

    In ten years hopefully the Home is not smarter then us. 🙂

    If you don't understand German you will understand the clue.

     

     

    Please login or register to see this spoiler.

     

    Edited by Flash
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    Well cheers for the answers @petergebruers. I kinda knew the answer to all.

     

    In my personal opinion , Yubii app is unusable, period.   It works kinda OK if you have a small network and you are logged in through LAN, but if you have a big network and use remote then you are screwed. Not to mention i think the old app looked way better - but that's subjective.

     

    I tried at least 3-4 other ZWave gateways, none came close to HC3. 

    I tried 2-3 apps, all were far ahead of Yubii app.

     

     

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    Hi @petergebruers I just celebrated 10 years on this forum myself and I share some of the thoughts above - when I began searching for a solution after buying a home with 6 rooms and 6 separate thermostats, the alternative was a thermostat with a SIM-card inside and honestly the idea of managing each room via SMS was more expensive (those things were about 250 euros each at the time) and really not appealing. So I started with just 6x3W relays for the heating and little by little the system grew and now it manages everything inside the house from lights to alarm, from CO2 to water leakage, from sprinklers to entrance door to swimming pool and so on) except the 2 Ring cameras (well, actually, Ring cameras turn on lights on move through IFTT but I am still researching on how to arm/disarm them from HC2).

     

    So I believe this is the single most important thing here: if you think at what home automation was in 2012, I believe Fibaro has done a great job at taking us through the journey. Did we have problems? yes, but for example I never reinstalled the system from scratch and I can hardly remember real issues. Would this have been possible with an opensource system? definitely not. So, my gratitude goes to Fibaro (and to the great @T.Konopka over here in the forum) for the commitment! Now, the next step: I know I will have to migrate to HC3 at some point but I don't see a real reason to do this now, considering the effort is not low in terms of time (more than 50 scenes although well documented) and money (I now have 3 HC2, two working together and 1 spare in case of hw issues).

     

    Just my 2c!
     

    Best,
    Riccardo

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  • On 11/28/2022 at 3:31 PM, Phil coyle said:

    You use Home assistant on your phone, is this compatible with the Fibaro hc3, or is it a separate setup used instead of the hc3?

    I have been thinking to draw up a schematic diagram of my overly complex setup 🤣 but it does not fit on screen. To answer as precise as possible, I have a HC3 doing scenes, FQAs and Z-Wave. Then I have a Sinlge Board Computer running Home Assistant with (a forked version of) "Home Center Integration". On my Phone, I use the Home Assistant Companion app to monitor and control my Home Assistant, which has controls and graphs and so on that are based on HC3 devices and data. To be clear, the Home Assistant App on my phone is not directly compatible with HC3. There are alternative apps that do work with HC without the addition of a SBC but I am not familiar with them.

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  • On 11/28/2022 at 8:29 PM, SmartHomeEddy said:

    How does the SmartHome look like in another 10 years?

    Ah, I think we could start a whole new thread on that, but here is my maybe-surprising short answer after a long think: not a lot will have changed.

     

    I mainly see a growing group of "remote control users" who use some devices that give them quick and painless access to lights, a thermostat and maybe a camera or a "smart" speaker. At the same time there is also a growing concern about security, privacy and ownership of control. The group trying to make their house "respond" to our needs and act upon changes like sunshine and electricity prises is also growing, but not as fast, probably because there is a lot of fine tuning, coding and "algorithms" involved.

     

    After the introduction of the "Smart (electricity) meter" in Belgium you have to be careful about using the word "smart" in a sentence. It can have a negative connotation and you can expect the question "smart - for whom?"

     

    I think we still have plenty to discuss for many years to come.

     

     

    Edited by petergebruers
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  • On 11/28/2022 at 8:58 PM, Sjekke said:

    In 10 years this should be commodity… 😎

    Be careful what you wish for.

     

    Please login or register to see this link.

     

    Please login or register to see this link.

     

    "... automatische sturing van de thuisbatterij waarbij bijvoorbeeld het verhogen van zelfverbruik wordt gecombineerd met een dynamisch prijscontract, piekbeheer of het leveren van flexibiliteitsdiensten zoals balanceringsdiensten aan Elia. "

     

    Short version in English: you gave away control to the government, to start and stop charge and discharge cycles on your "Smart Battery" or "Car Battery" when you installed it. But they either forgot to tell you that or you did not read the 60 page contract you signed.

    Edited by petergebruers
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    If they can do it smart, you can save money. I build the Tibber QuickApps, but I doubt if a lot of Tibber users can actually use it for smart usage of energy. I think smart usage of energy is somehow an item for the smart home coming years. 

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  • On 11/28/2022 at 9:17 PM, Flash said:

    If you don't understand German you will understand the clue.

    Hehehe yeah that video shows us a dystopian future and I had a good laugh. We can fill a complete, separate forum to discuss privacy concerns and control.

     

    BTW in the future, imho, this is more likely to happen: if you want to turn on the light, you will have to listen to 2 adverts before the system can actually do that. Because, well, nothing can be done "without advertisements" and sharing your personal data.

     

    So enjoy your HC3 while it is still "free of commercials" :D

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  • On 11/30/2022 at 3:05 PM, RiccardoCanetta said:

    Hi @petergebruers I just celebrated 10 years on this forum myself

    I'll drink a glass of my favourite beverage to that ;)

     

    I wish you many happy years!

     

    On 11/30/2022 at 3:05 PM, RiccardoCanetta said:

    So I started with just 6x3W relays for the heating and little by little the system grew

    I never realised... So heating control was the thing that started your journey. Interesting!

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    Only 9 years - but time flies when hunting bugs... 😉

    Edited by jgab
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  • 8 hours ago, jgab said:

    Only 9 years

    You mean, 1001 years? So you forgot to celebrate 1000 years with me? What a pity! See you when you hit 1010!

     

    Cheers

     

    8 hours ago, jgab said:

    but time flies when hunting bugs... 😉

    Write code, hunt bugs, repeat until --bugcount <= 0

     

    Thanks for al your lovely code, @jgab!

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