This past weekend I installed Vera in my vacation home, and for z-wave novices and potential Vera buyers who might be monitoring this forum (as I did) before taking the plunge, figured I’d share my experiences thus far.
Day 1 - unpacked Vera, plugged it into my existing router, registered on Findvera.com and immediately downloaded and installed the latest Luup firmeware upgrade. It all went very smoothly. I then paired up my Schlage lock, which after a couple of tries also worked fine. I installed the lock in my back gate and played around with Vera, adding/changing access codes and remotely locking/unlocking - very cool stuff. At this point, I was very impressed.
Day 2 - My Lock was showing “Unlocked” in Vera, and it wasn’t. And when I tried to poll the lock, I was getting a combination of red polling symbols and red power symbols which didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I attempted to remote unlock/lock, and that stopped working. However, I could (and still can) successfully add or remove user codes. Very weird - I posted my issue to the forum over the weekend and it was suggested that my lock might not be close enough to Vera (about 30 feet), but I still always get a green cog, and I can still add/remove user codes. I just can’t seem to remote lock/unlock, and when I manually lock/unlock the lock itself, the change doesn’t register in Vera - it’s always showing “Unlocked”. OK, so now my impression of Vera was a bit less rosey. Then I went to pair & install my HSM100 sensor. It paired fine, but beyond that, it seems like a useless white box on my wall. I can’t figure out how to use it - when it’s “Armed” nothing happens - no notifications, nothing. Perhaps I need to do more to configure it, but from everything I read, tripping the motion sensor should be sending a log entry and/or alert - but nothing. Additionally, the Light sensor and Temperature sensor functions always indicate “off” - not sure why, or how to turn them on. So I was even more frustrated now. Time to give up for the day and go to the pool.
Day 3 - decided to install my Trane thermostat. After some dismantling of my furnace to connect the common wire (much more daunting than dealing with Vera, but I figured it out), I got the thermostat installed and it works beautifully. Paired it up with Vera, and can control the basics, which is all I really need. However, what I immediately noticed is that I cannot (at least, out of the box) control the “Energy Saving Mode” on the thermostat, which is how I prefer to keep the thermostat set when I’m not there. But when you’re in that mode, you can’t change it to normal “run” mode, and vice-versa, through Vera. Your choices are to either turn the system off or on completely, within the current program, or change the setpoints. From what I’ve seen posted in various places on the forum, there is a control function to change the run mode to ESM, but as I’ve stated, I’m a novice, and not to keen on monkeying around with control codes just yet. I’m sure I’ll get braver with Vera, but for now, I’ll stick with the basics.
So that’s it in a nutshell - generally, I’m very pleased with Vera so far, and for what I was really needing (remote control of basics at my weekend home), it delivers perfectly. There are a few glitches and quirks, and I’m hoping over time that firmware upgrades will help with those.
For those of you contemplating a Vera purchase, my recommendation is to go for it, but start small, and be satisfied with just the basics initially. And use this forum! Everyone is very responsive and knowledgeable, and it’s an invaluable resource.