Sunday, October 24, 2021

Hard to believe it's been over a YEAR

Since my last post. Did anyone notice?

I've been heavily involved in local politics in my area for over three years now and it finally came to an end. My side lost.... 

During this time the home automation field exploded. There are things available now for less than $20 that I had to build from whatever was available. Maybey it's time for me to catch up with the world again. So, following the advice of a friend, I bought a Hubitat. "Why that particular hub." you ask? Well, it doesn't require the internet to work; it isn't dependent on some cloud service; and just might fill the bill for home automation out in the sticks where the internet goes away and runs slow. Besides, I don't like the idea of some cloud service having my house data at their disposal.

And, since a subscription isn't needed, it's cheap.

When it arrived from Amazon, it was in a box about 6" square. This thing was tiny. Roughly 2" by 2" and less than an inch tall, it was smaller than a Raspberry Pi and would fit anywhere I wanted to put it. Cool. In the picure below, it's the little thing with the green light.



I stuck it under the TV so I could see the little light from my recliner. 

Now to follow the directions printed in 2 point type on a folded business card to see if the thing worked. It did on the first try. This is the device that took over where Lowe's left off when they dumped the home automation business and I have a few of those early Zigbee devices around the house working (another reason to pick this hub). So, I paired one of them up with the hub, and that also worked first try.At that point I dug into their documentation, created a 'Dashboard', and stuck a 'Tile' on it and tried to turn the Iris switch on remotely. That worked first try!! 

Oh my goodness, I didn't have to hack into it by searching through a hundred pages of documentation and prowling the web for any hint of how to make it work. It just worked. This was going to be fun. 

I hooked the rest of my Iris devices into it and moved much of my lighting controls over to it immediately. This is where the fun begins ....

I had to learn a little about apps, drivers, odd interfaces and an editor that is both brilliant and clumsy at the same time. A "Rule Machine" that (to me) defies logic and menus that go on, literally, for pages and pages. 

But, the device works, it does the job.

Of course, this made my internet (one of the banes of living semi rural) really look bad. The very best I can get with Century Link DSL in my area is 5MB. Yes city dwellers that are hooked to fiber that easily goes a full GB, there are still people suffering along at that speed. Fortunately, we have (finally) other providers now. I chose one called Teknet that uses radios scattered around the area and powered antennas on the roof as my new provider. A bit more expensive, but I could get 30MB out here and that is a darn sight better than the 5 I've been putting up with for well over a decade and a half.

Thus, a new internet provider, a new device, a house that has been running on outdated, but extremely reliable equipment for a very long time would lead me into new adventures that might be fun.

More, and greater details in the days, weeks to come. 

2 comments:

  1. Glad to have you back. My RSS reader hadn’t forgotten you!

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  2. Glad to see you back! I'm sorry to hear that you lost out a city/protectorate, but glad that it wasn't COVID that you fought.
    Looking forward to the new adventures....

    ReplyDelete