Convince me to buy Vera

I have been researching z-wave for the past month and am trying to decide between the Vera and Homeseer I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction. Here is the simple setup I have planned out.

Controller (Vera or Homeseer)
3 relay switches for CFLs
1 HSM100
3 Panasonic IP cameras (already own)

Scene 1: Turn on interior lights if there is motion and if it is dark

Scene 2: Turn off interior lights during the day on weekdays (in case I forget to turn them off)

Scene 3: Turn on outside light at sunset and turn it off at midnight

From reading this forum, I know that some scripting is needed for AND logic. I am pretty technical and work in IT and do scripting from time to time, so that is not a big deal. I also have a server running 24/7 so installing Homeseer wouldn’t be a big deal, although I do like the idea of a dedicated box to handle z-wave.

So here are a few specific questions I have:

  1. I am a little concerned about the number of posts stating the lack of support provided by MCV. Ideally, I should be able to set everything up fairly easily and shouldn’t need to contact support, should this concern me?

  2. For those with the Schlage lock, do people typically replace the handle and just leave the deadbolt unlocked all the time? I can’t imagine someone dropping $400 to replace both the handle and deadbolt, but maybe that’s what people do.

  3. How does the mobile access between Homeseer and Vera compare? I have an Android phone and I know there is the Home Buddy app.

  4. Any other concerns or gotchas I need to take into consideration?

Thanks in advance.

Welcome to Z-wave

Let me start with Homeseer first:

  • you have a server running so there is no problem although it is a con being energy hog
  • for every small plugin you have to shell out money even if you buy the $600 Pro version
  • Per my experience the range of homeseer based solution seems to be less than Vera box and additionally I can put Vera anywhere using wifi connectivity having a much smaller form factor. This is important when you have to cover a large house
  • Homeseer has a free HStouch plugin and is nice and simple to use while Vera is webbased solution
  • Homeseer has other paid/unpaid plugins for media center, itunes and other integrations like Phone including Voice recognition while Vera is yet to break the ground

Now Vera

  • Very simple webbased access easy to use
  • If you know how to code in Lua or learn quickly with several Wiki’s and forum’s help then hopefully you will be able to do all you mentioned
  • User community is really helpful (one of the reasons I bought Vera)
  • MCV is a start-up and is work in progress with limited means of support in comparision

Scenes #2 and #3 are really simple while #1 will require some coding
Schlage locks are good to have specifically if you have Nanny/Maid/repair person coming to your home regularly or you happen to have the extra stored under the mat.
iPhone with Web works good for me for local and outside network

Please do consider the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) for ease of use. How much automatoin you need to start with and what is your goal along with time spending in setting up

my 2c and no more


I personally can’t answer most of your questions but I can answer your Schlage question. You don’t need both. My front door doesn’t lock on the handle, it only locks on the deadbolt and there I have a Schlage LiNK Deadbolt. On my other door that doesn’t have a deadbolt I use the Schlage LiNK Handle. This works really well for me. I think it would be overkill to have both.

Vera has some issues but it has a great community that is more then willing to support each other through their experiences.

Vera is also great for being green because its relative power usage is far lower then a dedicated computer.

Side note for the Schlage. I NEVER use it to open the for someone else but I could. I mostly use it to verify I locked it.

What I like about this is that I can program for every tues day between 3PM-4PM to enable the code for maid service or even onetime code for someone. Also helps me when my brother arrives from out of town - just program the code and pass it on rather than finding a way to pass the keys (as in unsecure way). Just few things I use it for.

Thanks for the responses everyone. One of the main things I want to accomplish is to not have to come home to a dark porch and dark house anymore. That should be fairly easy to do I think.

I first saw WAF and was puzzled as to the new z wave terminology that I had yet to read about. Fortunately, my wife has come to accept my love for gadgets. She was about ready to throw my HTPC out the window at one point, but everything has been stable for a while (blu rays, cable tv through WMC).

Good point, I never though of that way. Most of the marketing literature focuses on how you can unlock it from anywhere versus making sure it is locked. I have yet to forgot to lock the door since I have moved in to my new place. I probably won’t get Schlage link immediately, but I can see myself going that route at some point.

[quote=“jeffy1021, post:6, topic:165525”]@Keeper
cable tv through WMC[/quote]

Wait till they come out with real QAM (as oppose to clear qam) Cable Card Tuner for WMC/MCE. I have been waiting for quite a while . ATI external version is available in grey market but need something better. I pay a lot of money to Comcast for two DVR’s even having MCEs.


[quote=“Keeper, post:7, topic:165525”][quote=“jeffy1021, post:6, topic:165525”]@Keeper
cable tv through WMC[/quote]

Wait till they come out with real QAM (as oppose to clear qam) Cable Card Tuner for WMC/MCE. I have been waiting for quite a while . ATI external version is available in grey market but need something better. I pay a lot of money to Comcast for two DVR’s even having MCEs.


Believe me, I have been following that stuff for a while. Right now I have two ATI DCTs (caught a really good deal on craigslist) and an HDHR for clear QAM. They are supposed to release an internal 4-tuner Cable Card PCI card soon. Also, they are coming out with a 2-tuner HDHR later this year.

Good news…
check this thread.

One more question, I have a floor lamp that uses a dimmable fluorescent bulb (not a CFL, but one of those circular fluorescent bulbs). Would I be able to use this with a dimmable lamp module if I leave the lamp on at full brightness or am I stuck with using an appliance module and only having on/off functionality?

I’m using one of the dimmable lamp modules with one of those bulbs (because I wanted load sensing).

others have explained that the way these electronic dimmers work is by rapidly blinking the lamp. Well it’s pretty funny as they are spot on- you can see the blinking with the flourescents as it ramps up from 0 to 100%. I did edit the wall warts setttings to cut the ramp up time to be as short as possible and the blinking is not even noticable it ramps from 0 to 100 so fast. Been using it for a few weeks that way and so far so good. I think probably I could find some dimmer settings besides 0 and 100 that aren’t annoying but i dont really have a need for that particular lamp.

Thanks for the reply. Are you still able to control the brightness of the light at all though or is it still just 0% or 100%?

some subset of settings seem to work without having an obvious flicker (and accompaning humming sound). More towards the 100% range with the paritcular bulb I have in that lamp. Others have reported that they need to use the lower ranges with the bulbs they have to dim acceptably.