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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-02-27, 17:56

Rather than adding to an older thread I figured I'd start one to talk about HomeKit devices. This way we can share our thoughts on them and talk about what we like or dislike about them. Since this is an Apple product board, it seems like the best place to share knowledge about the products we like or want more information on.

My home has a mix at this point. Originally I was going to use Control4 in my new home but opted against it because they require a "certified" tech to do everything. Getting a light switch is even a pain with them. So my plan was to only buy HomeKit devices that offer drivers for Control4. My other goal was to be "hub-less". That boundary got crossed when I got my Ikea Blackout shades which require their gateway.

Currently I found a line of products that are really well priced and so far have been pretty solid across the board. Meross is the brand and many of their products are HomeKit compatible. I have in-wall switch as well as Smart Plugs. They work great in the applications I have them. You don't have to have their app on your phone, but you'll need it (and an account) at some point for firmware updates.

I also have some WeMo Smart Plugs and in wall switches. They are just there and functional. Pretty bland but does the job I want.

What I'm looking for now though are options for ceiling fan speed control. I have found one that requires a hub but I'm really not wanting another hub in my house if I can help it. I recently heard there is a new smart fan you can buy that is HomeKit ready. Any one have any input on fan speed control?

Do you have any devices or manufacturers you've found and like?

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2021-02-27, 19:08

Relevant to my interests. I have a Honeywell thermostat, two WeMo outlets, a few Hue bulbs around the house, and a SimpliSafe security system that I bought primarily because they announced HomeKit support was coming RSN... and then reneged. :P

Always looking to new ways the toys can play together, highly intrigued by the new Thread protocol (which HomePod mini supports). https://www.the-ambient.com/news/app...mart-home-2367

In the end though, HomeKit's the only core system I trust with my data.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-02-27, 22:03

I've got 4 HomePod minis at this point and HomeKit favors them for the "hub" function over the Apple TV 4Ks. I'm also looking forward to he expansion with the Thread protocol.

I just discovered another thing I need to figure out. I actually have a 4-way switch set up at my house and would like it to be controlled by a smart switch. All I'm seeing is 3-way options.

Kickaha, how do you use the smart bulbs? I mean, it seems odd to have bulbs when almost all fixtures have a power control that seems like it would make the smart bulbs seems less useful. I've never looked at them for this reason. While I like the idea (and color options) I can't figure out how I would practically use them.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2021-02-28, 05:07

I don't have much yet.

I have a JBL Link Music, which sort of counts as it's installed via the Home app. It's a cheaper HomePod, if you will. The experience is not great. (Not sure how much of this is on Apple vs. on JBL.)

Then I have, from Osram, an E27 RGB bulb. Kind of neat to play around with. And an RGB light strip. Putting a room in a certain mood light is fun.

I'm tempted to buy more things, but the pricing and privacy/security concerns put me off.
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Kickaha
Likes his boobies blue.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2021-02-28, 20:58

The smart bulbs ended up in two places. One is a lamp that is where my wife does her embroidery in the living room, so it can be a sharp bright worklight when she needs it with high CRI, or a gentle warm light for just relaxing in the evening with the family in front of the TV and fire.

The other two bulbs ended up in our bedroom, where they come on slowly to bright daytime in the 30 min prior to my alarm going off M-F, but not on the weekends. At night they kick on at sunset to a very dim warm setting that's nice to wind down with, and auto-shutoff at a given hour if we fall asleep before then without turning them off.

It's actually quite nice, and I like them more than I expected to.

The other thing I've been using them for is to test out color profiles for less expensive LED bulbs in particular places. Find the color temp setting that works, and then buy fixed color dimmable LEDs for 1/4 the price.

My other brain is hung like a horse too.
#IRC isn't old school.
Old school is being able to say 'finger me' with a straight face.
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Yontsey
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland-ish, OH
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2021-02-28, 22:39

So as far as HomeKit, I have 2 door locks from Schlage, 3 cameras from Arlo, and then lights from Hue that are ran through HomeKit. I love it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-05, 09:29

Recently I saw an article talking about Thread and the Nanoleaf Essentials came up in it. Basically it is a color changing smart bulb that only uses bluetooth or Thread. Given I've got a handful of HomePod Minis it will fit right into this house. I just ordered two so I could play with them. While a Hue is supposed to be superior this was rated very highly.

I also read about Eve products starting to ship with Thread built into them. In fact, I just went their site and they are very much pushing Thread.

Personally I'm loving this. Having moved from a home with Z-wave built out in it I love mesh automation. I've had nodes go bad but the whole system keeps working. This is going to be huge for home automation given it isn't proprietary like Z-wave is (each z-wave chip is licensed to ensure quality with the Z-wave brand).

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-08, 11:42

My Nanoleaf bulbs came in yesterday and I have to say I'm impressed. Currently I have one set up so I can turn on a red light near my office door so my family knows when I'm on a call for my "on air" indicator.

Really though, the Nanoleaf app is great and allows you to control all your HomeKit devices from what I can tell. Recently I installed a Meross LED strip across the top of my cabinets in my kitchen and am not very impressed with the color controls in the HomeKit integration. Things like I can't do "party mode" or other special settings within Home.app. I can change the color, brightness etc. but can't change it to cycle colors or anything.

I can do those within the Nanoleaf app though even though it isn't a Nanoleaf product. While I don't need party mode it is kinda nice to have to option. The fact that the Nanoleaf app allows for the option to control products that aren't theirs is just amazing to me.

For the bulb, I'm loving the colors and temperature options. I'm going to get a few more to go over my office desk here shortly too, I just need to find a future I like. Setup for the initial build was a breeze with the hardest part being copying a new password from 1Password.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-12, 14:40

Anyone use a "button"? Eve has one as well as a few others. The idea is it is a physical button you use to execute shortcuts/scenes.

I would like one for when I get a call (working from home) and need to turn my "on air" lights red so the family knows not to run wild. Right now I'm using an NFC tag and it works great except when I use my iPhone to take the call rather than my computer.

I just don't want to pay $50 for a button. Even when Eve updates theirs to be Thread, I can't imagine it being cheaper.

I did splurge and buy 5 more of the Nanoleaf Essentials though.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-19, 08:07

Soooo.... I have a problem.

Ok, a few but relevant to this thread is I have no neutral in most of my switch boxes. All those Meross switches I bought require a neutral. Some it has been fine, others not so fine. I pulled a neutral from an outlet in my bedroom so I would be able to use the switches there. Win right? Nope. The outlets are on a GFCI breaker. The return coming into the breaker looks like a ground fault and trips the breaker.

:sigh:

So I'm now adding in Caseta by Lutron. Sadly this means another hub, but at least I'll be able to get blinds I actually want to look at. Don't get me wrong, the grey Ikea blinds are great since they are hidden by curtains, but not for the living room/dining room.

Oh yeah, anyone here use HomeKit smoke/CO detectors? Seems like a nice idea but not sure what I think about that.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Yontsey
*AD SPACE FOR SALE*
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland-ish, OH
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2021-03-19, 09:19

Never really found any nice ones for HomeKit, but I've used Nest Smoke+CO2 for the last 8 or so years. I just bought my second batch last year.

Die young and save yourself....
@yontsey
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-03-19, 09:23

Given those are Google that isn't really an option for us. I mean, I could just go with standard ones like I have now, just integrated into HomeKit seems beneficial for my family since the kids' rooms are on the other side of the house from Mrs T and I.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Yontsey
*AD SPACE FOR SALE*
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland-ish, OH
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2021-05-03, 13:42

So I'm having an issue with HomeKit on my work computer. When I open it up, my 4 cameras appear and give me a preview and refresh every couple seconds, but when I click on the camera, they say "No Response".

It always worked on my last work computer but have had issues with it since I switched over to my new Mac Mini M1 back 4 months ago or so. HomeKit works on my phone and the cameras load through their app, website, and on other devices so I know that's not the issue.

Any ideas?

Die young and save yourself....
@yontsey
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-05-03, 14:25

I wonder if that has to do with the M1 version of the Home app? Maybe sign out of your AppleID on there and sign back in? I don't have any connected cameras so I can't really try to replicate that one.

For my earlier comment about smoke detectors I ended up going with the Onelink brand that is in the Apple store. Lowes carries them too and both Apple and Lowes give Veteran discounts. Anyway, I do like them given it allows me to know when an alert goes off on the other end of the house with them all interconnected. This really helps get the alert out. I also added one to the basement storage area given it isn't high traffic and we would easily lose the house if it caught fire before we knew about it.

The one thing I found was I had to put an AppleTV HD I had laying around in my boy's room since it was too far from any other HomeKit hub. Even though the smoke detectors connect to WiFi, that doesn't seem to apply for HomeKit. It seems to only use bluetooth for that. When I would go to the boy's room with my phone the smoke detector in there would report online but as soon as I walked back downstairs away from the room it would go offline again. Plugged that AppleTV in up there and it has been reporting online since.

Thread integration will help with this. I'm really looking forward to that becoming the standard.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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Yontsey
*AD SPACE FOR SALE*
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland-ish, OH
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2021-05-03, 14:56

I did some digging and found the exact answer on Apple Support.

So....apparently it's a bug, but the cameras won't load if there isn't a mic connected since they are two-way cameras. I downloaded and installed a virtual mic input/output and now they are working like they should be.

Very odd, and annoying, but they are working none the less.

Die young and save yourself....
@yontsey
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-05-04, 09:57

Glad to hear you got that figured out. If I ever get something running HomeKit Secure Video that would come in handy.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-05-07, 09:52

Anyone here mess with Homebridge at all?

This has gotten my attention. I'm not sure how much I want to implement it because it starts to move away from the "it just works" concept but I'm thinking there could be some real benefit to having this running. The fact that it can run on a Raspberry Pi is indicative of the low CPU demand. Apparently this only changes when you go to camera streaming though. At that point the CPU needs increase.

Also, I can't recommend Meross at all now. So often I'm having to kill the breaker to "reboot" the switches or unplug the outlets. Such a pain though it isn't daily, just way more frequent than the cost savings I saw in the beginning. Still great for the basement stuff though!

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.
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turtle
Lord of the Rant.
Formerly turtle2472
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Upstate South Carolina
 
2021-05-07, 15:58

So I had some free time during work today and built an Ubuntu LTS server to host and test Homebridge. I have to say I'm impressed so far. I use Unifi Protect for my video because HomeKit Secure Video devices were really scarce when I started installing stuff. With Homebridge my devices act native. They don't send to iCloud for storage though. I also was able to add a single RTSP camera I have to HomeKit. It might send to iCloud but I haven't checked it yet. Still playing around with it.

Edit: I just found out that my doorbells chime through the HomePods! Like no kidding full integration with this! :O

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
MineCraft? mc.applenova.com | Visit us! | Maybe someday I'll proof read, until then deal with it.

Last edited by turtle : 2021-05-07 at 18:47.
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