Best 'plug and play' devices

I am about to order a Vera Plus, and I wanted to order the initial sensors/devices I will need for my setup.

I’d like some advice on what sensors/devices I should buy that are the easiest to setup with Vera.

[ul][li]motion sensors(pet immune)[/li]
[li]contact sensors[/li]
[li]cameras (I have a Foscam C1, i’d like to add another cam[/li]
[li]power plug switch[/li]

motion sensors(pet immune)
LOL That’s really going to depend on the pet. Gerbil or Irish Wolf Hound? Small animals(not cats) are usually manageable, but large animals will probably be an issue.
Schlage RS200 Z-Wave Home Motion Sensor
Fibaro FGMS-001 Z-Wave Motion Sensor

contact sensors
Fibar FGK-101 Door/Window Sensor
Schlage RS100 Z-Wave Home Door and Window Sensor
Most others are fine as well. Also, these hidden sensors exist:
Aeotec ZW089-A Recessed Door Sensor Gen5

cameras (I have a Foscam C1
How about another Foscam? You can use almost any IP camera. Be ware that Vera is not a NVR/DVR and makes a very poor camera server.

power plug switch
GE 12719 Z-Wave Appliance Module(On/Off)
GE 12718 Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Lamp Module with Dimmer Control
GE 12721 Z-Wave Duplex Receptacle Only one outlet is Z-Wave switchable.
Many others are equally good.

Too many choices to mention, from wall mounted and in-wall switches, to Z-Wave bulbs. You’ll need to be specific about what lights you’re referring to.

I suggest that you start small. Buy one device from each category to test and learn how they work. Then you’ll be in a position to decide for yourself what you want/need or you’ll be able to ask the right questions. I’ll also point out that when starting out you should install mains powered devices first, to establish a mesh network. Also, when building out your network, start closest to Vera and then expand out from there. This will reduce your chances of signal quality and distance issues.

One final note. Z-Wave devices make a poor alarm system. If you want an alarm system you should look at a proper dedicated alarm system. You can do DIY with DSC systems and then tie them into Vera so that you can do notifications or sue the sensors for automation. Vera (and most home automation controllers) is a good home controller/automation system. It is not a good alarm system or camera server.

Solid recommendations, thank you. I, too, have a Foscam C1. I was having trouble with it, getting it figured out One question I have is how to enable motion sensor from C1 to trigger a scene. I managed to modify the State variables so that the camera motion device is created. I armed it and used it to create a scene. I tested it with a scene (turn on light X) and got no result. I know the motion was picked up by the C1 because I got the Foscam notification. What do you suggest I try?
Please and thank you,

Just got this from Support. Is this correct? I thought there was a way to get motion working. I have created a camera motion sensor by modifying the State variable, but it won’t trigger anything.

Hello Nathan,

The Foscam is a third-party camera and the implementation on the Vera controller will not support the motion sensor of the camera.
But with the Vera controller you can record a video with the camera and also take a snapshot at the interval you set.


I have three Hikvision cameras at my house, two of which I have set up to turn lights to 100% when motion is detected (driveway and front door). I don’t know your setup, but having a dedicated server running Blue Iris has been a great experience and 100% worth the $50 buy in cost. Whenever Blue Iris detects motion, I have it shoot a call to the Vera’s Virtual Motion Sensor app. I can easily make scenes this way and have full control over the motion parameters and how often a call is made. I don’t know if a 24/7 server is feasible for you, but if it is I would go that route (or maybe your Foscam is already capable of making a call when motion is detected and all you need is the Virtual Motion Sensor app?)

Thanks for the response. I only run Macs in my house, so I would have to be a dedicated PC to use BLue Iris (maybe i could do it if the costs were justified).

I don’t have a foscam, but I do have several HD outdoor cameras (Trivision) with motion sensor and actions (such as sending http commands) in response to motion. When I first installed them, I set up a vera scene to be called (via HTTP) when the camera detected motion. This was a mistake (for me) as it picked up trees swaying, spiders, birds, etc. Even after adjusting the sensitivity settings, I had far too many false detection.

So instead, I bought a Dakota break-beam alert and connected a zwave window/door sensor to it (easy). So now, when someone walks onto the property, my Dakota receiver sounds a signal and my Vera responds by launching an rtsp stream on a tiny pc (MINIX Neo Z64), turning on my TV, and switching inputs to my cameras (via VLC). So I can see who is approaching.

The break-beam thing is perfect. I almost never have a false or missing detection. The two beam units can be placed pretty far apart and it has an indoor receiver which receives the signal and sounds the alert. The indoor receiver also has output connections which I used to wire to a z-wave window-door unit. I placed the beams high enough off the ground to not pick up small animals (dogs), but certainly picks up people and cars. The hardest part of the entire setup was figuring out the http commands vera had to send to fire up VLC and stream the camera (and then kill VLC afterwards).

This is my favorite component of my HA system.

That’s a pretty cool setup. Can you point me to the Dakota sensor you used as well as how or what you used to integrate it into Vera? Is the mini PC just used to run the VLC? How hard was it to get your TV to switch inputs?
Sounds like a fun project and certainly helps me with one aspect, my front door. I live on a busy street, beam detection is really the best option.

I bought this Dakota unit (not so cheap):

After setting up the beam units outside properly, inside I wired a z-wave window-door sensor to the outputs on the base unit for the dakota. It must be a zwave sensor that can handle external inputs and of course is supported by Vera. I used this one:
This was easy…just take two wires and connect them to the outputs for the zone on the beam receiver and connect the other ends of the wires to the door-window sensor.

The PC runs a few unrelated things in addition to the VLC (such as my Echo bridge). But since I had it and since it was connected into my A/V system, it was a good pick. I installed VLC on it. I am using this PC:

The rest of the work is in Vera. I set up a scene that triggered when the driveway sensor (really the zwave door-window sensor) was tripped. The scene turns on my TV and changes inputs to the HDMI port for the PC. Actually, it technically switches inputs on my A/V (stereo) since my stereo is better equipped to be controlled remotely…I have a Denon which just about any function can be controlled via an http command. So the scene which is triggered by the driveway sensor just sends a few http commands like these:

local http = require("socket.http") -- 5 Second timeout http.TIMEOUT = 5 result, status = http.request("") result, status = http.request("") luup.sleep(20000) result, status = http.request("") result, status = http.request("")

Essentially, the LUA launches the URL to launch the video stream on the mini PC. The command will vary of course based on your camera’s URL for the video stream. It then launches the URL to switch inputs on my Denon AV. It pauses for 20 secs (so I can see the video), then stops the VLC stream and switches inputs on the Denon back to my Cable input.

All of this will vary based on:
a. your camera (if it supports viewing rtsp via a web browser)
b. your A/V (if you can control it via http or via vera)

Thanks. I will look into this more. I have a Marantz pre-amp that might be able to take HTTP commands, I’ll have to check.
I wish there was a way to do it with inexpensive garage door sensors. Thanks for the info, when/if I got this route, I am sure I will have more questions :slight_smile:

Some Marantz systems have identical http commands as Denon so there is hope. Glad to answer any questions.