What's the most unique/cool/fun/interesting thing you've done with your Vera?

Hello, everyone.

What’s the most unique/cool/fun/interesting thing you’ve done with your Vera system?

This will help us improve our future products and services.
And please note that we’d like to use the responses in marketing materials.

Thank you so much.

Many, many things but the most recent is that I developed a multi-zone dimmable landscape lighting system so I could “tune” the light-level by landscape feature (e.g. high-intensity for flag, low intensity for palms and medium intensity for path lighting). My wife loves it when I say, "Hey Siri, let’s star gaze and the Vera turns off the oceanside palm uplighting so we can stare at the stars and watch satellites. I used off-the-shelf components and can provide more project details for those who might be interested.

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Mmmmm. cable pr0n… noice!

Goefencing was the coolest for me. If it was reliable, I’d use it for a lot more things (so fingers crossed for the next firmware)

Using it to drive my Volumio player in the bedroom as a nice, increasing volume wakeup is great too. It’s just a pain to change the schedule on a week by week.

C

Interconnect vera with Alexa and command my roller shutter with the voice.

Landscape and special outdoor lighting ala @blacey. All the landscape lighting is low-voltage 12 VAC with LED lamps, so even with 27 fixtures the load is ~45W. It’s controlled by a Z-wave plug-in switch.

decklights_10 tikibar_10

We’ve built an outdoor Tiki bar with lots of fun special effects lighting. This is mostly LED, some 120 VAC powered, but mostly 12 VDC. The DC LEDS are driven from the 12 VAC low-voltage landscape power via a sealed 9 - 36 VAC to 12 VDC converter, which powers a 12 VDC “router mini-UPS,” which in turn powers a Wi-Fi RGBW LED driver. The red LED deck and stair lights, and LED strings in the landscaping, are controlled by this device. I use the Magic Home Wi-Fi plug-in from @ceefin to control the RGBW device.

The AC stuff in the Tiki bar is powered from a Zooz Z-Wave outlet strip which also has USB ports for charging a phone or tablet. We stream Bluetooth to the Tiki Bar stereo and it’s nice to have the phone charging at the same time.

I built an outdoor box similar to @blacey’s but don’t have pictures. I’ve attached a picture of the Tiki bar in operation, the deck lights, and the Vera control panel for both areas.

Sorin, thanks for the fun question!

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Too many, but some are.

  • Full sunscreen control based on sun, temp, room temp and weather forecast to optimize room temp and limit heating/arco use.
  • Full Audio / Video control including standby killers using Harmony app
  • Improved geofencing control using multi switch and some extra code.
  • Automated curtains open & close.
  • Automated occupation simulation in vacation mode (including curtains, that even confuses the neighbors)
  • Using OpenTherm gateway full multi-zone heating control with optimized floor pump run schedule (big energy saver)
  • Real time power, solar and gas energy readings (Dutch SmartMeter plugin) to prepare for time of day based energy charging.
  • Enhanced security for garage door and auto motor standby killer
  • UPS and Internet connection monitoring and alarming.
  • If the LUA sock on Vera was not too old; hybrid car charge & heating control (now runs on PI with openLuup).
  • Voice control via Alexa, big boost to WAF!

And this is without what is running on a PI with openLuup and only in the house. Starting to look at the gardens now (optimized plant watering is on top of that list).

Possibilities are almost endless, you can use it to have some serious savings on your energy bill (for me about 10%), but they do need quite a bit of time. Especially in fine tuning and if you end up publishing some of your plugins.

Cheers Rene

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wow, thank you so much, guys.

awesome use cases, keep them coming.
It really helps us observing how customers are using their Vera units.

Too many to list here but I will provide some. Note also that I am using the vera now only as a device bridge and completely disconnected from mios servers (no mios mobile apps either) and all my automation is run from openLuup on a VM on my NAS.

  1. HVAC: Wrote a custom plugin to fully coordinate zwave/zig bee vents with my zwave thermostat and motion and door sensors. I have a virtual average temperature which averages only occupied rooms which don?t have a window open. It shuts the ventilation vents in rooms which have a window open and reopens them when the window closes. It also only ventilates instead of turning on AC/Heating when the outdoor temperature goes in the same direction as I want the indoor direction to go and also when I only need to balance temperature between floors.
  2. Lighting and security cameras: a number of my lights are completely automated based on night motion from sensors and camera motion which are triggering openLuup scenes from the NVR running on my NAS. Likewise their motions are armed or disarmed from openLuup scenes which triggers recording on the NAS when there is motion.
  3. Full integration with Siri and Alexa using bridges (no cloud to cloud nonsense) so I can command anything with my Apple Watch or from my home. Also 100% reliable geofencing without mios app using amg0?s iPhoneLocator. Using Inveltr?s HomeWave as my mobile control app.
  4. Using homeassistant to trigger scenes integrating a bed sensor to detect my bed presence and trigger house mode scenes. Also integrated Nest Protect as smoke sensors, My BMW i3 charging and lock state and many I am forgetting now which all show up as devices on openLuup and are bridged via homeassistant. They all trigger various automation (example: TTS to remind me to lock my car door)
  5. Irrigation: Using Plantlink (now using hubitat as a hub) and Virtual Rainsensor (weather) to determine whether or not to water plants
  6. Sonos as TTS through a http-API running on the same VM as openLuup. It is used as alarm warning for security and fire. Used for greeting depending on time of the day and who is coming in and how the weather is through scenes.
  7. Integration of all blinds and shades (ZRTSI). All voice commanded and open shut depending on time of day and presence.
  8. Leak Sensors under every sink with scenes for warning.
  9. Power consumption monitored and tracked to continuously find opportunities to reduce consumption
  10. Notifications 100% reliable by sending them to home assistant then pushover.

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I got mine to properly record energy monitoring data and use geo-fencing for an entire 48 hours . Believe me that is an accomplishment.

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I’m afraid I don’t believe you :wink:

C

Saving money is usually the driver for me to really open up and write custom/unique code. With that said, here’s mine:

HVAC: I have a whole house fan and live in an area with a Delta breeze that kicks in around 9pm. This can cause the temp to drop significantly within an hour or so I’ve written code to shutdown the A/C and kick on the house fan to suck in cool air when needed and it makes sense. Still contemplating buying the window opener actuators to finish this setup (pricey and not real confident in Vera). Either way it has still saved me a bunch of money. Also, with all the motion, ping, geofence sensors I can reliably and automatically know when the HVAC should be on or not.
Pool: Probably my second most expensive appliance. With the help of the Autelis plugin RSTROUSE created, I can utilize some complex logic (by month, schedule, weather, mode) how to set my pool temp/color/circulation.
Security: I converted my alarm system to DSC and with the help of the DSC plugin, utilize all the door sensors within Vera. I live in a nice neighborhood surrounded by cops, FBI, parole officers, etc. I really don’t need a monitored alarm system if I can set off the external alarm remotely and get texted any issues, all using Vera. I still have the ability to isolate the alarm in it’s own loop too just in case Vera becomes unreliable.

I do all the other stuff too, but these are the 3 areas I spend most of my time doing custom work on. I follow the rule that home automation should be natural/automatic and not require me to tell it what it should be doing. I try to stick to this hands-off approach unless multiple human opinions get involved (i.e. the wife).

I’m not sure how unique it is at this point, but I turned 2 VeraSecure’s into functional security systems so they now function like they were marketed to.

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,50540.0.html

That was my one-hit wonder :slight_smile:

I can confirm that the savings can be quite good. I implemented multizone heating without any fancy equipment, using 3 on/off thermostats (they use PID for fine control but that gets messed up too when used in parallel) and a bunch of Z-Wave radiator valves. Now that unoccupied rooms are no longer heated, we save around 25% on our gas bill without any loss in comfort or convenience.

Automated irrigation is a good time saver; Vera takes care of most parts of the garden and the greenhouse, using moisture sensors to estimate the amount of water needed. Not easy to fine-tune, but once it works it saves a bit of effort during the summer months. The system can work off the water mains or an underground rain water reservoir; the pumps are controlled by regular Z-Wave switches while the ball valves controlling the water flow are managed by OpenSprinkler and its Vera plugin.

For security, I installed sensors in the bolt wells of all doors (as well as in our safe), so Vera knows if each door is actually locked. When we hit the “go to bed” or “leave house” button, Vera warns us if any door is not locked. When we come home at night, the lights go on automatically as soon as we unlock the door (I chose not to use geofencing for this).

  • lights are automated based on alarm/door/gate status. my wife loves to open the car gate and have all the outdoor lights coming on at full brightness, and the indoor one ready for coming back home.
  • alarm status is integrated into the system, so we can set thermostats, lights and everything to an away state when leaving, and restore everything back when home
  • short camera videos are triggered by door/gate/alarm status and delivered as GIFs to me and my wife (using geofence to understand if I’m near my primary home or at the second home at 800km, for business)
  • roller shutters and awnings/sun shields are automated based on the season. we rarely drive them manually
  • opensprinkler’s status is integrated, so I can move my sun shields up when watering, or prevent watering when having a party, etc
  • pool is monitored to maximize heating efficiency and track water’s temperature
  • TV is integrated into Alexa routines, via scenes
  • Alexa announces every door/laundry done notifications
  • intercom is integrated, mostly to automate lights when away
  • outdoor lights are coordinated based on time, season and party mode, or movement/door/gate opened detected
  • heating is integrated, to avoid heating in non-occupied floors of the house and to increase our pellet stove performance
  • electric energy is tracked, to measure efficiency

Maybe I’m forgetting some other minor things.

I still have to integrate our cooling system (I’ll start shortly). it’s like having a (second) full time job :slight_smile:

I tied Vera into Google Home via IFTT and have a command “Activate system shutdown” which will power off every connected device that is on in the house, TV’s, lights, AV receiver, etc… This in itself is not to out of the ordinary but I also incorporated device exemptions to the shutdown. For example if I want to keep on the living room TV and computer I can give a voice command e.g. “Hold living room TV”, Hold Computer" and after giving the voice command “Activate system shutdown” held devices will remain on. The inverse of hold is release. I also have certain lights that go on between sunset and midnight. These lights are automatically exempt from the system shutdown while the scene is active however this can be overridden by initiating a voice command “Activate sunset override”.

One thing that we’ve learned is that our users’ imagination has no limits :love_you_gesture: Thanks, everyone.

What other unique /cool /fun /interesting things you’ve been able to do with your Vera?

whoah, long time no see. I love the breath of fresh air around here.

Well, let’s see.

I’ve easily automated my door bell and mail box with two fibaro fgk contact sensors.

The doorbell: Since at the time I wanted to do this Doorbells were somehow expensive + cloud dependent and fees, I wanted something accessible and easy to do without existing door bell pre-wiring because my property limit is at about 5 meters from the front door behind a gate. I wanted the doorbell at the gate. - I simply took one of these sensors (should work with any contact sensor) and tied the two contact wires to a $2 dumb door bell button. Simple and works like a charm - Whenever someone presses the doorbell button I get a notification that someone is at the gate and my Hikvision camera also makes a snapshot or short video. I don’t have the full convenience of a device such as Nest door bell but hey, it only costs about $20 for the sensor.

The mailbox: Same thing as the doorbell, used a similar contact sensor with the two wires, one connected to the flap of the mail box and other connected to the body of the mailbox. Whenever I get something in the mailbox, the flap will open the circuit for the sensor and sending me a notification that have mail.

I’d love to do more but I don’t have as much time to tinker as I would want. All these basic automations have been working since setup more than a year ago. I’m only using the web interface or app whenever I want to setup something new or maybe something break, which fortunately didn’t.

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