663: HomeKit Check-In

One other nice thing about hubs that was not mentioned is that accessories added to a hub automatically get added to Homekit. Saves a bunch of hassel!

Usually, yes! :grin: Probably 99% of the time. :+1:

Not 100% of the time, though. I just posted about this in a new thread.

Does anyone have any recommendations for Smart Switches in the UK?

I was looking in to the Caseta switches that David mentioned, but it doesn’t look like we can get them over here

The UK version of Lutron is called RA2 Select. It is installed inline in the ceiling or wall, rather than the switchbox itself. Typically more of a sparky (the electrician kind) installation.

I am also looking for the Australia version of Lutron Caseta. Unfortunately there is no 220-240V version only 110V for use in US, AFAIK. The RA2 seems to be a lot more expensive but I have not done much research on it as the use case may be quite different.

In Australia, I am setlled to use Lifx Switch but I do not think it can do dimming, relying on smart bulbs to be dimmable. I have only just ordered the Lifx Switch but have not installed it yet but the switch plate finishes look great. I have also ordered a few Lifx bulbs (on discount at Amazon at the moment), cheaper than Phillips Hue

I like the LIFX bulbs because they don’t need a hub to operate. Unfortunately twice we’ve had power cuts which have rendered half of my bulbs as “Not responding” and I’ve had to reset them back to factory and setup again (which was a complete pain in the arse) including configuring, naming, adding to scenes and automations,

that’s not great, I wonder there is any way or app that can backup the settings and restore them. May be there is a niche for a new app :joy:

I’ve got one set of Aqara’s switches downstairs and they’ve worked flawlessly for over a year. This is in Thailand, so the same electricity as the UK (near enough).
If the hub or wifi don’t work, the switches still work as normal wall switches, which is great.

I will probably buy more at some point for other spots in the house.

I just bought the Aqara M2 Hub with a motion sensor and a bunch of water sensors on the most recent Amazon Prime Day sale.

@MacSparky, have you had success using the aqara motion sensor in a HomeKit automation? I have the sensor turning on a hue light if it is triggered in the am, but the HomeKit automation only works about 50% of the time. meanwhile, through the native aqara app, the notifications are rock solid.

Does anyone know if you can use the Aqara mini switches to control non Aqara accessories, e.g. Homekit bulbs from other manufacturers?

in this post, @rob mentioend that he connects everything via Homey. I am starting to look into Homey myself. Not sure this helps

Oh no, definitely not everything…

Luckily, I already had the Homey for other purposes (it’s rather expensive); as far as HomeKit is concerned I only use it to add some Aqara (Zigbee) door/vibration sensors.

Most of my devices are native HomeKit and I have one more device I add via Homebridge (via my own private/home-brew plugin).

sorry I misquote, but why not if you have Homey. Why not consoliate everything into one hub and use flow to control them. I thought flow is more capable than the automation in native Apple Home and Homebridge, then again, I am still discovering Homey

I think I can answer my own question. Homey does not have access to Homekit-only devices such as those by Eve Energy. Hope Matter is going to change all that

I considered that when Homey introduced Avanced Flow.

Advanced Flow is nice, but I quickly discovered that Athom uses polling for Hue motion sensor “triggers”, with a 2 seconds interval, which is just too slow for some of my use cases (turning on lights on a staircase).

I’ve noticed that the interest around HA (Home Assistant) has picked up tremendously in the last year or so.

Both in Hobbyist/DIY and even professional circles, there is a lot of interest because HA seems to be the most robust open architecture / open source automation platform with the potential to span from DIY/home use to fairly complex higher end applications.

The biggest weakness has been the configuration and UI but HA has made strides to provide a simpler UI for many uses.

Personally, it has been on my list to try out but just has not bubbled to the top because of client work and other commitments.

I noticed that Rosemary Orchard convinced MacSparky to buy a HA “Yellow” box (mostly plug and play hardware) so it will be interesting when he gives us his feedback and initial impressions soon as both an avid pure Apple fan and also as the eponymous Mac power user willing to get his hands ‘slightly’ dirty sometimes beyond the basic “it just works” Apple approach.

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Are you referring to the Aqara buttons? If so I use one to control several Hue bulbs in our bedroom and it works great!

That’s one of the sensors I was looking at.

Had a question caused by this episode… I’m looking at the Aqara E1 Shade Driver, but it’s not released in the US. I reached out to tech support and they said that because it’s not in the servers in the US the app won’t work with it. That sounds almost true enough… but I work in IT so I keep digging. @MacSparky mentioned that he bought something off alibaba that wasn’t released in the US. Does anyone know if the E1 shade driver works here? I’ve got quite a few shades in the room I want to start using this stuff in.

Thanks all.

I think he was talking about the new presence sensor? If only the device is not sold in the US, then it could still work.

Othwise, you would need another Aqara hub and connect it the Asian or EU Aqara servers. I have heard of some people doing that, but I don’t know how easy or hard that is. Nonetheless, I’m sure the result would be confusing having two hubs talking to different country’s back-end servers.