Vision are a well known manufacturer of Z-Wave security and automation products and we're excited to announce the addition of the following new products to our store:
Whether you're wanting to build an intelligent, self monitored security system or enhance the capabilities of your existing smart home, these products will help you achieve this simply and affordably. For more great Z-Wave security products, click here.
InControl HA is an affordable, simple-to-use Z-Wave home automation software solution for the Windows environment. Version 4 of InControl HA has been in full-swing for a little while now so we thought we'd present a mini review of a few of our favourite features. This latest version is mostly evolutionary - building on the success of previous releases - but it does introduce a number of fixes and enhancements which will be sure to please both new and existing users alike.
Unlike most other home automation technologies, with Z-Wave, you won't need a Master’s degree in Engineering to get things underway. You also won't need to invest loads of cash on a complete solution up-front as Z-Wave scales to your individual budget and needs. This means you can buy just a few components initially, and expand your system at any time in the future; enabling you to build some experience in the technology and understand its capabilities before embarking on a whole-house solution.
Our Z-Wave appliance control kit is the perfect way to get started. It's a simple and affordable system which gives you the necessary building blocks for a complete home automation system, without slowing you down in the beginning. Once established, you can then add countless other devices whenever you choose such as sensors, thermostats, door locks and cameras.
New to home automation? Take a look at our FAQ for more info.
In the quest to reduce our own energy usage and save some cash in the process, we initially focused on automated lighting. Our household is notorious for leaving lights on all the time so this seemed like an obvious place to start. The solution was to install a number of Z-Wave motion sensors in certain areas of the house coupled with one or more Z-Wave in-wall light switches.
When someone enters a room, and it’s dark, a motion sensor will detect movement and trigger the lights to turn on. Here’s the best bit though. When motion is no longer detected (after 10 mins) the lights automatically turn off. The trick is to target the high traffic areas of your home - anywhere lights are frequently turned on and off (or left on, as the case may be). Spaces like hallways and bathrooms are logical choices.
Triggering certain lights at low brightness levels can also help to reduce power consumption. For example, we use a Z-Wave in-wall dimmer in our ensuite to automatically set the main lights to a comfortable 50%. This not only saves energy but it also means we’re never blinded in the middle of the night when nature calls!
Intelligent climate control is another way to save. Our home has a mix of electric split system A/C's and gas central heating and we use individual Z-Wave thermostats to control them as a single logical device (very convenient!).
The first thing we did was to ensure the heating/cooling system is only ever enabled when there are people detected at home (thanks to the same motion sensors employed for our lights). In addition, through the use of contact sensors mounted on our main external doors and windows, the system is disabled automatically if any of these are left open for an extended period. Last, but not least, automated window shutters are drawn when the ambient temperature reaches a certain point, keeping the whole house cooler for longer naturally, which is especially important as we start approaching the summer months.
We’ve obviously only just scratched the surface here but hopefully this gives you a feel for how smart homes are helping people to save money. Thanks to home automation, your home will automatically react to things like occupancy and climate conditions without you ever needing to think about it. It’s not only good for your pocket but the planet will thank you too!
Whilst perhaps not immediately obvious to some people, it's actually possible to add devices to your VeraLite directly and without needing to rely on the Vera GUI. This is achieved by temporarily operating the controller on battery power and simply carrying it around the house to where your Z-Wave devices are physically installed. This is particularly useful in situations where you need to add or remove devices that are fixed and cannot be moved (eg a hard-wired relay switch) or when they are not within direct range of your Vera.
Step 1. Disconnect the power and LAN cables from the back of your VeraLite and insert a fresh set of 4x AA batteries (the battery compartment is located at the bottom of the device).
Step 2. Press and hold the "Battery" button for 3 seconds, then wait for the blue "Power" light to appear solid. Shortly after, the orange "Ready" light will start blinking once per second indicating that your VeraLite is in include mode.
Step 3. Before adding a device, we recommended that you first exclude it to ensure it's in its factory default state. To exclude a device, you will need to tap the "-" button. The orange "Ready" light will start blinking twice per second. Follow your device's exclude procedure and you will see the "Ready" light flutter briefly as a confirmation that your device was detected and successfully excluded.
Step 4: To include a device, you will need to tap the "+" button. The "Ready" light will blink once per second. Follow your device's include procedure and you will see the "Ready" light flutter briefly as a confirmation that your device was detected and successfully included.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 & 4 for any other devices you need to add.
Step 6. To save your changes and exit the battery mode, press and hold the "+" button for 5 seconds. You can then plug your VeraLite back into mains power and LAN and proceed to configuring your newly added devices via the Vera GUI.
Some of the features provided by Z-Wave Plus include:
Z-Wave Plus is fully backward compatible with the previous 300 and 400 Series Z-Wave chipset. Some of these new features though (such as improved range and bandwidth) won't be fully realised unless the entire Z-Wave network, or at least all routes between the controller and target device, are comprised of Z-Wave Plus devices. As more and more certified products emerge though, it will become easier to take advantage of this full feature set.
RKM Smart home is working hard to bring you the latest products supporting this exciting new development in Z-Wave. To find out more, please subscribe to our mailing list.