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    Smart devices discussion

    Unless I missed it, I didn't see any discussions on smart home devices out here. Plugged In seems to be the best place for it.

    Just wanted to have a thread to discuss smart devices and anything anyone has that they think is great or sucks. I have several devices currently, I had more but started pairing down to have only 7-8 different manufacturers for less apps and better management. Here is what I currently use:

    Wyze - I have a bunch of Wyze equipment. Decent stuff for a low price. I find most people that have trouble with Wyze equipment have terrible or cheap wi-fi. A good mesh is recommended but the cost and quality of most of their stuff is great. I have V3 cameras, V2 and a pan cams, plugs and both color and regular LED smart bulbs. I have 2 smart locks. I really like the locks. They are great because you can use them over wifi but also bluetooth if you are close and the power is out. Plus, the keys still work. My cameras work very well. The night vision on the V3's is incredible for a $25 camera. They all have SD cards in them and record continuously. The only real downside is they are corded for power.

    Blink cameras - I have 4 but currently I'm only using 2. They are great because they are wireless but the quality isn't great and they are 3-4 times as much as the Wyze cameras. They have a base and the connectivity to them is iffy too. I have 8 Google Wifi points in my mesh between 2 networks (users and devices). And wifi connectivity is better for me on the 2 acres I have covered. The Blink cameras can go further out but they have to connect back to the base and that's my main issue with them.

    Feit Electronics - I have six 65 equivalent type bulbs in my front yard. They come on before sunset and cutoff at night. They kick back on at 5am and go off at sunrise, all without any intervention. They are bright and work like they should. I also have a dual outlet smart outdoor plug that I use in my chicken coop. I had a Meross plug but I destroyed 2 of them and decided to go with Feit instead. It has held up so far. But I liked the Meross better because I could cycle individual outlets on it. The Feit is all on or off. I highly recommend the bulbs though.

    SmartLife app devices - I have some plugs that use the SmartLife app. Not sure how to categorize these except they have that app in common. I really depend on these plugs because they let you do thing based on temperature, sunrise/sunset and location or schedules. A lot of my stuff is outside for the chickens and goats we have. I wanted to automate a bunch of things to make my life easier. I have fans kick on and off depending on the temperature. If it is too hot the fans kick on. If it drops it won't run them etc... My newest one is a plug with a corded sensor and I have that run into my chicken brooder box to keep the babies at the right temperature. With the weather getting hot outside now I don't want them getting over 100* so I have it keep it 90. If it drops below that the plug turns on and my heat lamp will keep it warm until I hit the temp. It's a great plug. The software is a little clunky to use but it works once you figure it out.

    iRobot - I have 2 hard working Roombas. I had a third but it finally died. I use these to death. The new i7 is the one that empties itself out. I thought that was a gimmick at first but I have come to really like it. I would suggest getting it with the Select service where you essentially are leasing it. I normally don't do that but with the cost of supplies and free repairs if you need it, makes it worth it to me. I run my main Roomba at least twice a day. I have it run overnight to clean the whole downstairs. I have it run at 1PM each day to clean up by my 2 main doors. We have 4 dogs, 4 cats and 5 adults living here. We need it! It does a great job getting the dog and cat hair. With the Select service I don't have to order replacement parts, they are automatically ordered and shipped as part of the service. At the end of 3 years I will be able to get the newer model that's available. My old Roomba 690 did ok but the new one does a much better job getting the hair. I use the old one to do just my bedroom each day. I move the new roomba to different rooms and upstairs too. It maps each one so it knows where to go or not to go. It is really a big help to me and keeping up with the animals.

    Meross Garage Door Opener - I bought this on sale one year because I wanted to be able to open and close the garage door from my office upstairs. I found the Meross opener and it is a brilliant device. It wires into your wall mounted door opener and runs inline with it to open and close the door. It also records any opening and closes through the button on the wall unit since it runs through the device. I didn't have a wall mounted opener on my old Linear but I added one for this device to use (cost me like $16 for the remote opener). I even use IFTTT to have it close the door automatically if it starts raining. I can control it all through the Google home or my phone.

    Nest - I have Nest thermostats. I have the older type E models. I really like them I have the remote sensors too and that helps me schedule to keep the house balanced and the temp I want at all times. They have saved me money running more efficiently and I can adjust them remotely in case I forget. I also have Google(Nest) home and hub. I have Google homes everywhere. I even have one in my barn. I use it to play music or get the weather if I'm out there working. I can also broadcast to the house if I need something. It helps me turn on and off devices manually if needed. I put a home on top of my fridge. People come over and think my fridge has a speaker in it! I have the Google Wifi's that blanket my house. I am covering about 2+ acres with wifi. It is nice having the mesh and one unified network.

    Govee - I use these mostly for temperature monitoring. With baby animals you need to keep them certain temperatures and I can monitor and have it alert me if they go over or under. We use the sensors mostly when hatching chicks and right after. I recently added the Govee LED strings. I have one under my desk to light it up and I just added one to use on my TV. I had some cheaper ones but the Govee receiver is a much better option. It connects with a sturdier connector than the cheap eBay LED strips you get. Plus it seems to connect to wifi better and work more reliably.

    I have some Amazon Alexa dots and a Amazon smart plug. I got them all for free so I have them and use them but I really don't care as much for the Amazon products. I am an Android guy so it makes sense to stick with the Google equipment .

    I also had a smart dryer device that would tell you when your clothes were dry , saving electricity by drying things faster. But after 2 of them died I have gotten rid of it. I wanted the SmartDry to work because we do a lot of laundry. It just wasn't tough enough to last.

    How about you? Anything you think is great or worth a try?
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    #2
    just picked up a wyze outdoor starter bundle this afternoon . Have a pan, and half dozen early models. In the few years with them, have captured some cool moments.

    also se the Phillips hue smart lights. Love them. Pair with Apple HomeKit.

    Comment


    • Cyberpyr8
      Cyberpyr8 commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah for me it is nice seeing the animals and around the house without having to come downstairs while I'm working. I catch a lot of deer at night running through and the occasional dog. Here in rural SE Georgia I don't have too many people come wandering through the yard (since almost everyone here has guns). But I would catch/shoot and know who it was before they got away with anything.

    #3
    Hah, you're a junky!

    I've considered it, but I have a strong self-reliance instinct. I'd only be interested in smart devices that do not rely on cloud data services such as AWS or google etc., that I can run from a local NAS or server. Of course I could have my server backed up offsite. I'm in the process of extracting my emails from google, and have already purged all my social media accounts. Partly I just silicon valley have way too much social power already, but also when something like AWS goes down I don't want my doors to suddenly lock me out. It's happened before.

    I suppose it's a digital prepping instinct. The same applies to physical stuff. If I could afford it, I'd get a load of solar panels and loads of batteries and go off grid, or at least non reliant. The dream would be to have electric cars, water tank, and a vege patch, and eventually get to the point where (if desired) I could run the household for a year or more without any bills whatsoever beyond those legally required. We've had enough earthquakes and volcanoes and other BS here in NZ that I don't think it's an unreasonable goal.

    That said I just have a house in a small farming service town and there's no need to worry about animals etc.

    Comment


    • RAZRBAKK
      RAZRBAKK commented
      Editing a comment
      Hope you're not jumping to Protonmail.

    • vijil
      vijil commented
      Editing a comment
      RAZRBAKK never heard of it. I'd more likely just go with something generic. Email is not the go to for encrypted comms.

    • Cyberpyr8
      Cyberpyr8 commented
      Editing a comment
      I will say that most of my devices also connect via Bluetooth as well as wifi. So in the case of door locks, I can get in when the power goes out if I am at the house. My daughters recently experienced this. The power went out and when they came home they could get in the back door through the Bluetooth connection to the lock. My main garage door wouldn't open and we never carry keys to the house since someone is almost always home. In that instance my mother in law was home but she can't manually open the garage door. They just went around back and opened the app and got it. It is a rarity but it does happen. Really I plan on one day getting a generator and not worrying about the power going out briefly. Maybe solar will be the way II go but I have more issues with short term outages here than I do with being off the grid entirely.

    #4
    Are you guys putting your IoT devices on a segregated network? These things have a history of hard-coded root passwords and built-in back doors that have been exploited to do anything from spy on your kids (via Ring cameras) to utilizing your devices in a zombie botnet for a DDOS attack (like what Dyn was hit with in 2016). Of course the most secure way to use any device is to not connect it to any network at all, but that severely limits the usability and is really the primary purpose of smart devices. Sounds like vijil is taking the uncloud approach. There are pros and cons to this.

    Edit/Addition: I have a few smart vacuums and will add thermostats and garage door openers as those projects roll in. They will connect to a network that cannot touch anything on my home network. I’m ok with some cloud connectivity, but I don’t trust them enough to have them be able to reach my PCs or mobile devices.

    I’m a network security engineer at Intel, and my team protects environments that house incredibly sensitive intellectual property for both Intel and our customers. No, I can’t tell you who those customers are or what the projects are for 😉. But I’d be happy to give input on securing your home network to reduce the risk of having a lot of devices on your network calling out to data centers around the world. Hit me up, I’ll answer with what I know or can find an answer for.
    Last edited by lhamilton1807; 07-21-2021, 02:22 PM.

    Comment


    • Cyberpyr8
      Cyberpyr8 commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah I have my devices all on one network and our phones and computers on another. I have setup my devices like the Wyze cameras on 2FA wherever possible. I had too many devices on my main network and decided it was time to move them over. I figured it helped reduce any hacking into my network resources that I really care about. Plus using the mesh network I could expand it out to cover the 2+ acres I needed. Honestly, most of my cameras point to dogs, goats, chickens and my 79 MG Midget so I'm not too concerned about anyone seeing what they are doing. But obviously I don't want someone hacking in.

    • lhamilton1807
      lhamilton1807 commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice job putting them on a separate network. Smart move. Do you have a separate pipe out, or are you using a guest network with host isolation? That’s what I’m doing - guest SSID with a separate password and host isolation. My smart devices can’t talk to each other or anything else at my home and I’ve made a firewall rule to stop them from reaching the web portal on my router as well. They can communicate out and that’s it. All this can be done on a home router - expensive enterprise equipment isn’t required.

    #5
    IDK if these items even qualify in the arena you are discussing, but use some Arlo and Nest cameras at work, and an Arlo doorbell unit at home. I actually disconnected/disabled all the Alexa based stuff. I have one of the speakers and a couple of remotes for FireTV that were enabled.

    Arlo- I like these simply due to the ease of install since you only have batteries, no cables. I have some of the first gen stuff because it was STUPID cheap and only really wanted it for watching the stoop for packages. I put one inside the main area of the house as well. Where the resolution on this gen isn't great, they do well enough for the limited field I need to see. Battery life on them is exceptional just so long as you purchase the good batteries. I highly recommend them for short range, low resolution "need to see a picture" type application.
    We also use these at work to watch a storage conex unit.

    Nest-Now these puppies are nice. I am using a couple of the weatherproof models. They are wired for power and have a 'puck' for wireless connection. They require no base station like the Arlo above. The connected cable is a flat ribbon, is ugly as hell, and the end requires a 3/4" hole to route inside or up into the attic. The ones we are using have a roughly 30' cable, I didn't look at spec, but would guess around that. All you need is a nearby plug. The video image is exceptional for what they are and has a very wide angle lens so they cover a lot as well.
    Of this manner of camera it is by far the best I have dealt with outside professional level cameras.

    We attempted to use some of the "smart" receptacle thingys but they didn't want to play right. Some super cheapy thing off Amazon that I should have known better.

    The only other "smart" aspects that I use are related to the Samsung Smart Things app and devices. Our washer has the option, but I didn't see a need to have it connected to the internet. Mostly awesome when dealing with streaming from mobile devices to the TV, playing music on the big stereo without messing with computer, etc.
    Last edited by punkncat; 07-21-2021, 02:14 PM. Reason: spell Nest correctly
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