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Old 08-10-2018, 08:43 AM   #1
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Home Automation

A couple of days ago my 20+ year old programmable thermostat died so off to Home Depot I went. I spent over an hour getting a lesson in new technology and home control from a kid that looked like he was still in the 10th grade. Long story short I ended up with a wi-fi enabled thermostat that can be controlled using a smart phone or your voice with Alexa (the Amazon app, I got an Echo Dot last year at Christmas). The truth be known I bought the wi-fi thermostat because after a rebate from the power company it was cheaper then getting the low tech manual one.

First I installed the thermostats app on my phone then it walked me through the entire setup and installation. 25 minutes later I'm sitting at my desk talking to Alexa and have complete control over my heating and air conditioning.

It doesn't take much to get me going, now I'm looking at the Lutron Caseta wireless smart lighting system for my home.

Has anybody else been bitten by this bug, if so what system did you use and what kind of problems have you had?
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:35 AM   #2
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We still live in a "stupid" home at the moment. Eventually I'm sure we'll get up to speed.
As well as the convenience factors the "smart" potential for fire alarm and security systems are going to be pretty cool.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:56 AM   #3
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Haven't done the thermostat but we do use Alexa to operate lights in the home. It's actually quite convenient... particularly when you get old and fat and don't feel like stretching over the sofa and end table to reach a lamp. Much easier to tell Alexa "Living room On/Off". Wife uses her iPhone app when returning home at night to turn on the lights before she enters the house. We also use Alexa for background music in the house.

Alexa operates our Sony TV on/off and volume but it's actually easier to use the TV remote than voice commands. We also have an Amazon FireTV 4K with voice remote. Now that voice remote is awesome for finding programing within the different apps like YouTube, Amazon video and Amazon Music that we subscribe to. Any album, any song... anything. Just say what you want and it's starts playing. Where was this when I was spending a fortune on records, 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs?

Use Alexa timers and reminders every day... for all sorts of things. The other day when it was smoking hot outside the dog wanted out. I told Alexa, "Remind me to let the dog in 15 minutes" 15 minutes later... ding ding... Alexa says: Reminding you let the dog in.

Amazon Echo is great. We have them throughout the house, garage and shop. I have an air compressor in the shop with an airline that runs under the house to the garage. The compressor is connected to an Alexa wi-fi switch. When I want air in the garage I just tell Alexa "Compressor on". Beats the heck out of having to walk down to the shop to turn it on, then again to turn it off.

Amazon Echo is one heck of a convenient and useful device for us.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:00 AM   #4
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Chuck,

Keep us posted on reliability of the new thermostat. I've been thinking of getting one for our lakehouse so I can bump the temp down before we get there.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:37 AM   #5
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Phil, what system are you using to control your lighting? Following the kid at Home Depots instructions I went to Lutron's website and found all kinds of helpful information and video's. From everything I'm reading the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart system is almost dummy proof, that means I have a better then 50/50 chance of getting it to work.
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chuck43 View Post
Phil, what system are you using to control your lighting? Following the kid at Home Depots instructions I went to Lutron's website and found all kinds of helpful information and video's. From everything I'm reading the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart system is almost dummy proof, that means I have a better then 50/50 chance of getting it to work.
For wall plug outlet switching (lamps) we got tp-link because they were on sale at the time. To replace light switches we use WeMo. The tp-link seemed like more steps for setup, but once complete they all work the same. Alexa Name On/off.

The nice thing is that they all work from any Alexa in the house. Say it's late at night and the wife and I are in the living room watching TV. When we're ready to go to bed we don't have to turn off the light in the living room and navigate a dark house, which is usually when I step on one of the dog's toys and cuss . Instead, I tell Alexa in the living room to turn on the bedroom lights. And when we get to the bedroom I tell Alexa in the bedroom to turn off the living room lights.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:59 PM   #7
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My Daughter gave me an Alexa last Christmas as she knows I love technology. I had to unplug that thing and put it in the closet. Very very unnerving to be sitting watching TV and Alexa keeps wanting to start a conversation with me.
Alexa, “ hello, we haven’t spoken in awhile what are some of your interests Alexa shut up , do you like sports, Alexa shut up, can we talk about football
Alexa shut the f#$& up, I’m sorry I don’t understand what you are saying “.
Spooky as hell, so into the closet.
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:02 PM   #8
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I can almost run this computer lol... still new I got it in 2009...
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Wingnut View Post
My Daughter gave me an Alexa last Christmas as she knows I love technology. I had to unplug that thing and put it in the closet. Very very unnerving to be sitting watching TV and Alexa keeps wanting to start a conversation with me.
Alexa, ď hello, we havenít spoken in awhile what are some of your interests Alexa shut up , do you like sports, Alexa shut up, can we talk about football
Alexa shut the f#$& up, Iím sorry I donít understand what you are saying ď.
Spooky as hell, so into the closet.

Something weird going on there Skip, other then responding to my commands Alexa has never spoken to me.
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:11 PM   #10
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I now have 2 of the 4 strings of ceiling lights in the kitchen working off of Alexa. I'm picking up more switches tomorrow so I can get the kitchen finished and start on another room. It's just like the old "Star Trek" series where they talked to the computer. I'm telling you this is almost as addicting as Kimbers but a hell of a lot cheaper.
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