Generally Discouraged. Any advice?

I got a VeraLite a few weeks ago, and I must say that I am very disappointed. I really want to love it, but I’m met with frustration at every turn. For instance:

  1. I have a z-wave receptacle, that I can successfully toggle from Vera, that I want to power cycle once an hour. I have tried doing this a couple of ways. First Approach: I created one scene that immediately turned off the receptacle, and then turned it back on 30 seconds later. I set it on a schedule to run every 1 hour. It would never run on schedule (I verified that it was “enabled”). Second Approach: I created one scene that immediately turned off the receptacle, and another scene that turned the receptacle on after a delay of 30 seconds. The first scene was scheduled to run every 1 hour, the second was triggered by the receptacle being turned off. This second approach works periodically, but not reliably. For instance, as of this morning, My Systems > Scenes in UI6 shows “Last Run: 08/03/2014 5:26:21 PM”, “Next Run: 08/03/2014 5:26:21 PM” for the scene that turns the receptacle off.

  2. I cannot verify my cell phone number in either interface (green/UI6 or blue/UI5). In UI6 it says “Failed to request validation code. Please try again”, and never sends a text. In UI5 it resets my cell provider to Alltel (the first one on the list) every time I try to have Vera send a verification text, and in any event, never sends a text.

  3. In an attempt to work-around problem #1, I created a new notifications-only user with my cell number. And, I actually got a verification text for the new user. However, I cannot for the life of me figure out where to enter the validation code. If I edit user details in UI6, I can enter/modify the phone number, but nowhere does it give me a chance to enter a validation code. In UI5, I cant figure out how to edit a notification user once it’s been created at all (Account > My Users only gives me the option to remove account).

  4. I know Vera keeps logs, and I know I can store them to USB and read them on a computer. But why in the world can I not see any kind of log within the web interface? I found http://ip/cgi-bin/cmh/log.sh?Device=LuaUPnP somewhere on these forums, but that only shows about five minutes’ worth of the log.

  5. It was even a frustrating experience to register for these forums. An unreasonably intense CAPTCHA process asked me what the largest mammal in the world is (lower case). None of “blue whale”, “whale”, “bluewhale”, or “elephant” were acceptable. What is it looking for? Are four separate verification items really necessary?

In the end, the product feels unpolished at best and broken at worst. I know that there may be solutions to the above issues, and tech support may be able to help as well, but I don’t want to have to conduct an hour long research project or call tech support to do something simple like send notifications or automatically toggle a receptacle.

Should I downgrade to UI5? Upgrade to the UI7 beta? Just deal with the fact that some things don’t work, and hope things get better? Can I expect this level of frustration to continue if I try to expand my Vera system (I was planning on integrating it with my home security system and thermostats)?

TL;DR: A lot of things seem broken and/or significantly harder than they should be. Should I give up or stick with it?

I know this doesn’t help you but I suffered the same experiences…and am still suffering new, fresh frustrations. Little by little and with the help of the excellent chaps on the forum you will get there, although at times you’ll wonder why you’re bothering.

Matt

p.s. I nearly threw my pc out of the window on the blue whale answer…thoroughly exasperating.

I do not remember all the details, but elsewhere on this board there is a description of a UI6 bug that occurs when running a scene with an interval timer (i.e. once per hour). Had to do with a memory leak, if I recall correctly.

Do a search for more details. I do not beleive it is fixed yet.

I suppose a (painful) way of avoiding this problem would be to create multiple scenes to run at the various times you need them to.

Sorry about your frustrations. Always a bummer with something new. Read around, but my advice is to downgrade to U15 before you go any further! Much better on the older UI.

As for Capsha, I believe it gets better (goes away) after some number ofposts. I haven’t seen one in many months Good luck!

Thanks for the replies. I’m going to downgrade to UI5 as suggested and see if I have better luck that way.

Cheers!

[quote=“jrt8587, post:5, topic:182291”]Thanks for the replies. I’m going to downgrade to UI5 as suggested and see if I have better luck that way.

Cheers![/quote]

Make sure you contact tech support. I believe new Vera units are flagged to automatically update to UI6 and you need to have tech support remove that flag from their servers.

It may help you to use the “Advanced” UI in UI6 which is basically UI5. I never use the green UI6. I automatically go to the Advanced UI.

Finally, yes, Vera is not very user friendly. It takes work. These Wink, Revolv, Smartthings, ect. units coming out now focus user experience but lack the power and local logic of the Vera. I equate Vera to Android and the new generation of HA controllers to Apple. If you take the time to read, learn, ask then Vera can do just about anything you want. If you need something simple and plug-and-play then the newer generation of controllers may be a better choice.

I found that if I logged into the Vera (in my case Vera Lite), it didn’t try to upgrade to UI6, whereas using the web login, it does.

Vera’s are clunky and hard work to get configured. But once they are up and running and configured correctly they work really well - mine is the best addition to our house! However, I am not sure how non-IT people cope there are just so many gotchas in even doing the basics. What we looking at offering here in NZ is to perform a pre-configuration process to take this type of headache away from the end users.

I think that this is a great idea, at least in theory. However I fear that it will not work out so well for you.

The reason I doubt it will work is that so very many Vera users choose Vera for the wrong reason. They choose Vera because it is, or at least appears to be, a low cost entry into the world of home automation. Unfortunately these low cost buyers are usually the least likely to spend additional money on installation or consulting.

The reality, as you know, is that you cannot implement HA for only a couple of hundred dollars. It takes thousands, at a minimum…

If you buy Vera because of the low price, you’ve made your first mistake.

[quote=“Z-Waver, post:9, topic:182291”]I think that this is a great idea, at least in theory. However I fear that it will not work out so well for you.

The reason I doubt it will work is that so very many Vera users choose Vera for the wrong reason. They choose Vera because it is, or at least appears to be, a low cost entry into the world of home automation. Unfortunately these low cost buyers are usually the least likely to spend additional money on installation or consulting.

The reality, as you know, is that you cannot implement HA for only a couple of hundred dollars. It takes thousands, at a minimum…

If you buy Vera because of the low price, you’ve made your first mistake.[/quote]

wow z-waver, fantastic advice! If I could you give +100 for this, I would
for me, i did it over the long haul. Bought a couple of automation pieces and got my feet wet and then over years bought more and more. now i’ve spent many thousands on it [ i probably shouldn’t tally it up ] this is no one-click deployment, you have to work with your setup and learn.

[quote=“Z-Waver, post:9, topic:182291”]The reality, as you know, is that you cannot implement HA for only a couple of hundred dollars. It takes thousands, at a minimum…

If you buy Vera because of the low price, you’ve made your first mistake.[/quote]

I don’t disagree with what you are saying and I would not recommend users go for Vera based on cost because as a comparison the Fibaro HC Lite is only a few hundred dollars more expensive for a more polished product. The thing that makes me think Vera has a place for end consumers is the range of devices (esp. door locks and AC Controllers) supported is greater and for IT people you can pretty much do anything with the scripting. The downside is if you get a non-technical person to configure the system they will really struggle - and we are just trying fill that gap.

That was my main reason for not going Fibaro HC Lite; the lack of wide range of plugins and not being able to write your own meant you had to go with the full Fibaro HC. Either way, it was way more than what I need.

I think the Vera Lite is a great solution for turnkey requirement; in my case, I wanted external lighting control for a specific time after sunset, and also control of a water feature. The cost of the standalone controllers cost more than the VeraLite and Aeotec dual in-wall relay. The fact I can add other bits is a bonus.

It’s the lack of monthly recurring costs and no dependency on external systems that makes Vera appealing to me. Honestly, I think MiCasa should add 1 dollar surcharge to every plug in on the store to up the revenue streams. Of course, I also think they should buy PLEG from the developer and hire him, up the cost of Vera by $25 and charge for (a fully funtional) UI8 upgrade.

Still seems to be a problem in UI7. Very frustrating.

Yep.