Mac Power Users 445: HomeKit Intensive


#1

#2

I have only two HomeKit-automations using two Eve thermo (2017) and a door-sensor:

  1. if the window (with the door-sensor) is open, heating is stoped
  2. Eve thermo is set to a schedule to heat according to my shift-plan (start heating 1 hour before i come home), stop heating if i left for work / in the evening).

Pluspoint: from the Thermo i get a temperature log (every 10 minutes) and from the door sensor each time for open/close is logged.

Now i’am waiting for Eve room 2 - announced at CES 2018 - to log some more data. Maybe i can compare them later with my health-data: room temperature/humidity vs. sleep.


#3

The trigger/ condition I want is “Someone is home” so I can trigger living room lights before sunset only if someone is home.


#4

I believe that option is there in HomeKit already. It was part of the iOS 11 HomeKit update I think. When setting up the automation there is a “People” option you can set to be Off/When I am Home/When I am Not Home. If you’ve got more than one person assigned to the Home setup then it’ll work as a when someones home/when no-ones home options.

You’ll need to Invite the other members of the household to be part of HomeKit setup (from the Home settings in the Home app, click the Location icon top left corner), which means they’ll need iPhones, but that should be it.


#5

You are right! I don’t know how I missed that.


#6

You’ll have to let us know who you get on. I’ve never tried setting up an automation based on multiple people.


#7

At the moment my HomeKit setup contains a 5 Hue bulbs (Lounge light and lamp, bedroom light, study light, and landing) and a couple of Wemo type switches. I’ve just ordered a HomeKit compatible Thermostat and a couple of radiator valves from Tado, which I shall have fitted over the next few days.

Here are a few of my scenes/automation I have configured.

Good Night
I have a “Good night” scene setup with just turns all the lights and any Wemo type switches I’d left on off. When I get in to bed I simply say “Hey Siri, good night” and everything turns off.

TV & Movie
These two scenes adjust the lighting in the lounge for best for watching TV. The Movie scene sets the lounge light off and the lamp to it’s lowest setting. The TV setting makes the lounge light to a low setting and turns the lamp off,

Leaving Home
I’ve two “When I leave home” automation setup. Both makes sure everything is switched off, at night time it switches the lamp in the lounge on to make it look like someones home. These will lower the heating when I get the kit setup.

Arriving Home
I’ve just one arriving home automation at the moment which switches some lights on when I get get home and it’s night time. I’ll add another to adjust the heating temperature when I get home during the daytime once everything is installed.


#8

@MacSparky Have you tried the iDevices Outdoor Switch. I use it for christmas lights and three sets of outdoor LED string lights with no problems. It’s rated for 10 amp (1200W) Maximum.


#9

I have a handful of those Hue Motion Sensors scattered around the house. One in entrance hall where it turns on the lights when someone is there. Then it turns it back off again when there is no motion for two minutes.

One in the office with the same setting because we walk in and out of the office all day. If I do stationary work, I move the sensor to my desk so it registers my movements. When it covers the entire room, it often turns off when I haven’t moved enough for two minutes.

One on the second floor that has three settings:
At daytime, it turns on all the lights bright when it’s dark enough, eg overcast or late afternoon.
In the evening, it turns on a few of the lights so it creates a cozy atmosphere, and the reading lamp to 80%.
At night time it turns on the lamp over the staircase and outside the bathroom, so the kids can find their way. It turns off again after three minutes at night.

The only issue I have with all that automation is when my less than tech savvy parents or in-laws visit, they turn all the switches so I have to turn it all back on again… For now I’ll manage, in time I teach them how it works.

I also have a few Hue Switches for the kids’ rooms, so they don’t turn the lamps off at the outlet. I’m considering buying one for when we have guests or parents over.

I’d really like to automate music as well, but so far the HomePod is not for sale in Denmark, and I can’t get it to work with my Libratone speaker.


#11

David and Katie didn’t go into Homekit plugs or electrical outlets in much detail, but I wanted to share a situation that arose with me when I installed several of these.

A couple years ago, I had our electrician install an outside plug on our front porch that I could use for holiday lights, etc. (I’m on Z-wave & Nexia, not Homekit). When Leviton came out with Z Wave plugs, I picked one up at Home Depot to replace the standard outside plug for the holiday lights. Not so fast, says my electrician!

It turns out that in my area, the building codes require that all outdoor plugs be GFCI certified for safety reasons in case they get wet from rain or snow. I’m sure there are similar codes in other areas of the country. Now, as far as I know, and somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but there are no GFCI certified Wifi receptacles for Homekit, Nexia, Zigbee, or any other system. What to do???

The electrician said the workaround would be to install a GFCI circuit breaker in the circuit panel for the circuit that controls that plug — that would meet code. So that’s what we did, at additional cost of course. But now, I have a wifi plug on my front porch that I can program for holiday light schedules. Just something to keep in mind when you are installing these things outdoors.


#12

I had the same problem as @katiefloyd with a curling iron. Solved it with a $10 Belkin “conserve” plug. It’s not a HomeKit device - all it does is turn off the juice after a pre-set time. I have it set to turn off after 30min, so the curling iron is never on longer than that. It works with perfect reliability every time (and no WiFi required!). It’s automation of the lower-tech variety.

Details here: https://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F7C009/


#13

Wine and Whiskey Room HomeKit Automation

There are a few things I have done to leverage HomeKit for automating our Wine and Whiskey room.

First…
I have employed my Hue bulbs as an early warning system for the heat level in my Wine and Whiskey room. That room is climate controlled via a small AC unit to keep it cool. I use an Eve Elgato thermostat sensor w/ HomeKit to monitor the temperature. If it gets above a certain temperature, it will turn the Hue Lights in my Living room to red. This is a signal to me that something has gone wrong. It’s only triggered 2 times in the past year+, but it worked great.

Second, I use the Lutron Shades for keeping the light out of the room. Sometimes you want to see outside, but for the most part, we want to keep it dark in that room. I have the shades setup where they only open automatically if it’s after sunset when you enter the room. It’s a handy little touch, but it works.

Third is the lighting. I went with Lutron Caseta of course. When I run my goodnight scene, it shuts these off. The nice trick here is at sunrise, HomeKit will make sure the lights are off, and the shades are down. This is in case we forgot to do this the night before. (Wine and Whiskey… sometimes things can be forgotten).

Finally, just to round out the room… not HomeKit, but I do have 2 Sonos One speakers… one named Wine, one named Whiskey. I could use Siri to start AirPlay to them… but that is rare.

Just thought I’d share a fun room’s HomeKit setup.


#14

No home automation, yet, but for our thermostat. However I’d like to suggest an easy alternative if you want to light up your path through the house at night. Nothing to wire, no computers necessary. Motion sensing low intensity lights that just plug into the wall. GE Ultra Brite Motion-Activated LED Light, 40 Lumens, Soft White, Night Light, Energy Efficient, Ideal for Hallway, Entry, Stairs, Bathroom, Kitchen, Garage, Utility Room,

Takes 60 seconds to install each one and ends any worries about tripping over things at night.


#15

In case you didn’t know you can set up automation right before or after sunset/ sunrise. Just click the little iimage image


#16

Great show and topic. It’s nice to see the HomeKit ecosystem start to grow and really nice to see how everyone here is using it.

We purchased a new home a little over a year ago, and since have given it a full automation makeover. I slowly have replaced every switch for lights and fans with the Lutron Caseta line of switches. I did have to spread those switches across three of the Caseta hubs, and homekit ties those together very nicely. It does take a bit for the goodnight scene to turn everything off, but it does work reliably. The switches themselves are rock-solid and work regardless of the state of homekit or the hubs.

I’ve put Elgato Eve door sensors in the closets we use most, exterior doors, garage door, first level windows, and in the pantry. Those turn on lights, and turn them off. I also have a backup trigger to turn the closet light off after a few minutes in case someone accidentally leaves a door open. I also have one on a chest freezer that people tend to accidentally leave open. The sensors are generally reliable, but are not perfect. They did get better with the last major release of iOS and Elgato has been updating them regularly so I’m still optimistic for the sensors getting perfected

I’m using the Ecobee 4 thermostat with a couple of remote sensors. The thermostat supports Alexa, but triggers accidentally far too often, so that feature stays off. For the most part I never touch the thermostat. It just works :slight_smile:

I have a couple of Elgato Eve indoor and outdoor temperature/humidity sensors. I keep one in the garage where all my network/home automation gear is. And it turns one of my few hue lights to red if things get too hot. The garage is well insulated and clean, so far heat, cold and dust haven’t been an issue for the network gear.

I just installed a Yale Assure smart lock on our front door. It is set to lock automatically after two minutes. It works great.

Finally, I have an old-ish iPad with the Home app running in kiosk mode. I’ve configured the main screen to show the state of my exterior doors, windows, the freezer, and the Yale lock. The screen is always on and in the hallway near the master bedroom. A quick glance as I walk by before I go to bed is enough for me to know that everything is closed, locked and secured.

Homekit still has a long ways to go. But what is available now largely works and has been reliable enough for me to continue investing in the ecosystem. Looking forward to what comes next!


#17

Great show about HomeKit.
I’m still within the episode, but here are already 2 questions that popped up in my head when in the train listening to the show.

Q1:

  • what should be done and with what device (if existing today or soon), can I make a scene which will switch on the TV set, change the entry to HDMI 1, switch on my internet TV box, change channel to 45? (this question I know have broader considerations)… It cames when I read TV scene… without no TV involved…
  • same question, but with Apple TV, start a podcast episode, or an app ?

Q2:

  • how Homekit integrates with MacOS server (on an mac mini). Or the way around, how a macos server integrates with homekit ? What homekit actions could triggers an automator or applescrit on the macos server? Of what on the macos server could trigger an action in homekit ?

I hear a lot of IFTTT, and iOS based actions, but it seems that macos is completely left out, at least up to High Sierra. But when things should be done locally and/or with macs, nothing seem to be available.

Any suggestions ? :slight_smile:


#18

This is super useful for those of us living at higher latitudes, where we get extended twilight in the morning/evening. For me it isn’t really dark until about 45min after sunset, so it makes sense to add a delay.


#19

Short answer: None of the is possible at the moment.

A Logitech Harmony Hub would allow you to control your amp, tv, internet tv box, etc but at the moment there is no HomeKit support so no way to build those actions into a scene. Having said that you might be able to use Homebridge to act as a gateway between Harmony Hub and HomeKit which should get you some of the way there.

Nor does HomeKit support calling apps or scripts, and Siri in macOS doesn’t support HomeKit either however the next version of macOS will.

What you’re looking for is I think the new Siri Shortcuts feature coming in the next iOS and macOS releases. Hopefully Logitech will add support to there Harmony Hub for this and a single short-cut will be able to change your TV input, turn on the amp, dim your lights, etc.

Can anyone remember if Siri Shortcuts support is due in tvOS?


#20

When discussing the HomeKit app was the use of zones mentioned (I may have been distracted by work and missed something)?

Accessories belong to rooms and to groups, and rooms can belong to multiple zones. You can then control a subset of accessories by zones.

“Hey Siri, turn off all the lights on the first floor.”


#21

Hi - I really enjoyed this episode and got a lot out of it.

One thing I’m not sure about, if I get a Hue motion sensor (they happen to be on sale at Amazon as I type this) and a Hue Bridge, then I should be able to get the motion sensor trigger and my Lutron Caseta lights to work together with HomeKit, right? At this point, I do not have any of the Hue lights since I didn’t think other family members would remember to not turn off the power switch :slight_smile:

Thanks!