Smart Home Devices Recommendations

Smart Doorbells:

We do not recommend the one we have which is the Zmodo Greet HD Wireless Doorbell. It was inexpensive ($69) and it is great to have a camera/intercom that interfaces with our phones. . It also is pretty slow and inconsistent with when it decides to alert your phone app. It also violates a few of our smart home principles:

1) The android app constantly tries to upsell monthly subscription for video storage, and each update makes it harder to just /use/ the product you bought without an opportunity to spend more money.
2) the video stream goes to some remote website service which means strangers (working at the company or law enforcement public employees) could capriciously or callously decide to view our front stoop and there’s no way to stop that from happening and still have a functioning device.

But it is convenient and we use it even though makes us grumpy.

Never use Nest or Ring – they are evil.

I will probably switch to an Amcrest branded doorbell because those are the security cameras we use at home and although they are a little rough from a product use perspective they are easy to use without Add-on Monthly services and without functioning internet.

ZWave Smarthome Devices:

GE 14284 Z-Wave Plus Smart Outdoor Switch – these things are great for controlling exterior lighting. So fun to turn on your backyard lights with your voice when you’re recklessly carrying something big and heavy in the dark of night.

GE in-wall smart switch – we probably have out-sized satisfaction from the daily interaction with the lights. These are a great way to spread the network signal around too.

Aeotec Multisensor – or any cheap motion detector. They last almost a year on battery. They are so small you can throw them in a drawer if you want to know when it’s opened. Or put it in the garden to know what the temperature and UV rating is out there. Really good stuff. Fun to know quantify and measure your surroundings.

First Alert Zwave Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors – it is added comfort to know when there’s smoke in your house even when you aren’t there to hear the alarm.

2gig CT100 Thermostat – this one is great, allows us to turn on the A/C or heat from the comfort of our bed at 3 in the morning. It does not need any outside web service to function… so much better than Nest – don’t get a nest, seriously it’s terrible.

Aeon Labs DSA02203-ZWUS Z-Wave Z-Stick Series 2 USB Dongle – one great thing too is that if you’re a super geek and already have a home server you can completely remove the need for /any/ third party controller stuff. When the company that makes my controller goes completely evil I know that I can build my own stuff in a weekend.

We use a deadbolt smart lock from the front door but I won’t share which model… It feels strange to share that on the internets since there’s mostly likely some exploit that can be abused to open it. I’d like to not make it any easier for someone to know how to get into my house before they actually drive to my house.

Neo Coolcam Smart Zwave Water sensor – These were very cool to add to my network when I fixed some leaky pipes in the wall and when we had a water heater incident. I could know for sure (as sure as the devices at least) that no water was running in dark places.

We use Amcrest cameras because they are cheap and it easy to download from them without using out of the house websites. So I can store them on our home server and upload them to external storage for safe keeping. Or, for trail cams and stuff I can just leave the stuff on the camera until I want to review a week’s worth to look for interesting animals.

Here is a long winded and surely outdated ramble about them: Home Camera Vision Systems

We’ve caught some really interesting moments around the house:

wildlife –

And thievery