While searching for some X-10 equipment (the only consumer automation system I was familiar with), I saw “ZWave” several times. I finally looked it over and was definitely intrigued.
For reliable communication, X10 sometimes requires some equipment in the breaker box to bridge between phases and pretty much by design, the control stream doesn’t jump between electric subscribers. In my new case, there are separate meters for the house and workshop/barn and a desire to control devices in both locations. ZWave, with it’s mesh networking protocols and fairly wide variety of devices and brandnames to choose from, seems like a good match.
I first tried the Nexia controller (formerly SchlageLink). The first thing that irritated me was a need to *pay* for an account for the privilege of controlling devices at my own home. I presumed incorrectly that there might be a local webserver on the device, but not only does it require an account to work, it requires a reliable internet connection. I can understand offloading the heavy lifting from the tiny local appliance, and system response was very good when I tested it at work and even when I moved it home. However, later that evening, my internet was slow and it took as much as 30 seconds to turn a light on; at least whenever it didn’t simply time out and never come on. It is not acceptable for my wife to randomly wait as long as 30 seconds to turn on the lights in a security issue moment, so I cancelled the account and have requested a refund on the equipment. At this point, I await an RMA. They have been kind and responsive when calling, but they do not appear to be in any hurry to pay out.
So, I kept looking for ZWave automation controllers and found the Vera line. VeraLite had *just* begun shipping. VeraLite has all the software features of Vera3, with no router and wi-fi. I don’t need those features from Vera, so I placed an order for VeraLite and a few outdoor rated switch modules.