Personal experience of moving from Vera to Home Assistant

I’ve been waiting since Ezlo acquired Vera for a rewrite of the firmware to make it more reliable and efficient but the newest firmware under Ezlo sadly didn’t help. I’ve been a big fan of Vera and have set it up as the primary security system in two homes but a month ago decided to trial a raspberry pi and run Home Assistant with an Aeotec zwave stick.

A bit of a learning curve but nothing too taxing, at least nothing more complicated than when I had to learn luup code to customise the Vera automations. It sounds simple but one of the main ways I can tell the difference in speed is one of my most used automations of when my garden gate is open, take a snapshot and send it to me. With Vera, the person could have come and gone and the snapshot showed an empty image, 6 or 7 seconds behind. With the HA running on the pi it’s about a second delay. The total setup cost under £100 including the aeotec stick, the pi and SD card.

I transitioned each zwave device one at a time so I didn’t lose track of what needed to be moved and ran my most critical automations on the Vera until I had confidence in the HA setup. A month on and I haven’t looked back, even my Fibaro Button works reliably, first time, every time (I push it to arm the system with a minute delay by the front door before leaving). No amount of excluding and including made it work properly with Vera. The other noticeable difference other than the pure speed advantage is my Yale lock always disarms the system now on a valid PIN code. This was a random hit and miss game on the Vera and I could never get to the bottom of why half the time I had to open the app to disarm it, it was just flaky.

Rather than using VeraAlerts plugin for notifications to email, I now use a Telegram group chat thread where all the CCTV grabs and sensor notifications end up which is rather neat.

Anyway I thought I’d share my personal experience with this change. It’s something I never really wanted to do, but for the money I’m so pleased I did. This is not a dig at Vera or Ezlo and I’ve absolutely loved using Vera for the last 4 years. Thanks to all the plugin developers for making the experience greatly enhanced over the stock features. I’ll continue to follow Ezlo and hopefully they’ll release new hardware which is 10x faster like the Raspberry Pi over the Vera Edge and make an efficient zwave firmware which doesn’t randomly fail.

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I had exactly the same experience. I really wish Vera was stable.

HA even allows you to build floorplans and activate your devices graphically. Just next level.

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Thanks for sharing. I too am feeling the itch generated by the frustration of

  1. Instability of the platform. Which I have narrowed down to poor zwave command queuing and error handling.
  2. Odd software development decisions of cutting out user inputs and automating everything.
  3. How slow firmware development has been. It is at a stage of stability where it deserves a weekly/biweekly beta and a monthly/bimonthly release. Not an annual or semi-annual pace as it is.

The only thing holding me back at this point is the migration but… I am now considering writing a bridge for openLuup to either HomeSeer or Home Assistant to facilitate that move. The zwave implementation of Home Assistant, though more stable than vera is still not very good and can be confusing but I am out of patience…

I used HA for testing, I didn’t like the idea to set up the notifications, but the customization and number of supported devices is a big advantage. I’ll wait for couple of months and see what vera will offer us, otherwise I am moving to homeseer.

im gonna get hubitat for testing i have HA running on a VM at homei havent done anything with it yet though

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I agree. As I have posted in the past, it has been a year now since Ezlo has taken over, I thought for sure they would have added some stability to Vera, I PERSONALLY have not seen it. Others say it has become much more stable. A year in writing code is a long time.

I’m almost there as well. After 5 years on a VeraLite and now a VeraPlus I am quickly losing interest in home automation after being so brutally disappointed. It’s not just Vera though but Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Ring Doorbell, LimitlessLED(Milight), Oomi, Homey, some Aeotec devices and so on. But today’s smarthome technology controlled by Vera is the most consistently failing and error prone tech I have ever used. Add to that living in the smarthome wastelands of Australia and it all makes for a pretty dismal experience. For the record, I tried Homey but that was even worse and Indigo was promising but just too expensive.

After months of research, extensive trial and error testing and digging through various forums, no sex and multiple outbursts involving the Latin phrase ƒµÇʞ Ⴣȱப Vera, I have finally made the decision.

So I am forfeiting more Australia tax (the mystical extra markup offshore companies add to Australian pricing) and buying a Hubitat. Promises of local hosting, almost instant actions, meaningful and reliable feedback from sensors, a system that works more than just 50% of the week etc. is not just something on a wishlist anymore but a prerequisite if I am to stay interested in wasting hundreds of hours and buckets of money on a hobby.

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Moved from Vera (and others) to Hubitat.
Couldn’t be more pleased.
Everything just works! (and works well!)
Excellent community support.
Outstanding Rules development.
Very good handling of most Zwave and Zigbee devices.
Some minor issues, but nothing that you can’t work around.

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I hope Vera will be like this after the rewrite.

I have been exploring various alternatives to migrate to as purely a zwave - Rest API bridge.
HomeSeer, Zway, Hubitat, Home Assistant are all good candidates.

HomeSeer rPi version is currently free and so is Home Assistant which is open source. You need to purchase the hardware though.
Zway is probably the most advanced controller but has some bugs as well.
Hubitat offers the advantage to also have a very wide zigbee support but is a little too enclosed to my taste.
I may end up moving to Home Assistant after all since it also has zigbee in spite of the steep learning curve for the configuration.

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I have been using Home Assistant for almost a year now. AND I LOVE IT. I still have my vera plus for the zwave devices but only because I have it and don’t want to buy a zwave usb stick if I don’t need it. (although I may if I this dies or something). Vera pretty much is just a dumb device / zwave controller to me now. I do everything in HA and loves the customization options. I have been patiently waiting to see what this new magical vera firmware will do but at this point I don’t care. I doubt I would ever go back to using Vera as the primary whole house solution.

You are not the only one waiting to see. The way they made it sound last year when the Vera was bought is that the new version is going to knock or socks off. Its been a year and still waiting.

That sounds great and a very positive experience.

based on your words I’m going to take a closer look at this. we need plugins for Hue, Somfy (via RFX), Nest and Texecom. Vera so far as I know is the only one that offers all of those things but that said I’ve not look at others in detail.

HA has components for everything you listed.

So, there is a great interface with Hue (and you don’t even need their hub).
There is an extensive interface with Nest (thermostat).
Interface available for Somfy.
Texecom - no interface.

I could be wrong here, but it looks to me like Texecom support is available and you would just use the Alarm Panel card:

just binded my vera to ha … and its pretty dope to be fair

I have Home Assistent now running as a test.
And I must say: Im impressed

I first have to get used to names like “entity_id” and so on. The way to build scripts and automations. I will get used to it. I know.

Thank you for this tip!

Yes, a hobby. Are we saving energy? Yes. Are we saving money? NO! Amortizing the cost of all the devices needed, not to mention time, we will never come out ahead cost wise. My wife has said she likes being able to tell Google to turn lights on and off but has never acknowledged all the motion control and timing functions through Vera.

Anyway, definitely a hobby.