well i got a vera already and love the free will scripting
but the Home Center 2 from Fibaro does Stand out quite a bit in matters of appearance and how they advertise it.
is there anything true on that ?
I seem to recall Fibaro uses their own OS on the Home Centre.
Thinking back, when I was looking at Controllers, i compared Vera and Fibaro , and in the end a big influence on me was the price and the community (namely this forum)
It feels like the Home Center 2 is gaining a good following now, (it had only just come out when i started) and it might even temp me in the future when I come to refresh my Vera - however for now when it comes to DIY HA (no professional installer required) I’ve felt very much supported by MCV and this forum on the HA journey I start 12 months ago
I’ve just been setting-up a Fibaro Home Centre 2 for a friend. I was impressed with the user interface - it is much more refined than Vera’s and the menus seem more logical. Basic configuration of IP, location, rooms, etc is straightforward and painless.
Adding devices is similar to Vera but with more feedback of what has been found. Adding Fibaro modules is particularly easy - as you might expect. Adding a Z-Wave.Me Keyfob was just as frustrating as it is with Vera. >:( Setting device configuration parameters for Fibaro modules is a breeze - it actually explains what all the parameters do and you just click the options you want. With non-Fibaro modules, you are back to adding configuration variables as with Vera. When you save the configuration it sends it out to the module immediately. It is not necessary to repeat configure-node-now/save/refresh/… whilst standing on one leg…
The graphical scene editor looks very easy to use but I soon found that it is very limited in what logic it can support. It can manage some basic and/or of schedules, device properties and user variables but it wasn’t long before I hit its limits. With a click of a button, however, it translates the graphical logic into Lua so you can tweak it to your heart’s content. This is good but, once you have committed to editing the Lua, you cannot revert that scene back to graphic form.
The vanilla Lua is augmented by a fibaro library of functions - in a similar way to Vera’s Luup extensions. The fibaro functions are modest in comparison with Luup but they are simple to understand and use. The Lua editor provides a menu of properties for each device and inserts the appropriate function call with the necessary arguments. When using Lua in scenes, there is a window where messages can be displayed to assist with debug. Errors in your code are reported here too - with meaningful error descriptions and the line number of the offending statement. It isn’t Lua-for-Windows but it’s a lot more friendly than Vera’s approach (Error in Lua). :
My conclusion: If you are using Fibaro modules, you want a simple, friendly interface and your logic requirements are not too taxing, the HC2 may be a good option. It will, of course, cost you about three times what a Vera Lite would. :o Unless your logic is really simple, though, you will need to write many of your scenes in Lua - probably more than you would in Vera as there are very few plugins available for HC2. Now if HC2 had a PLEG plugin… ;D
@RexBeckett - Thanks very much for the great review. It sounds like you’ll not be chucking your Vera for HC2, but what would you recommend to your friend who’s just starting out? What about HC2’s remote access and smart phone apps?
I hope that MCV rises to the challenge and addresses the fit and finish as well as broader browser compatibility. There appears to be some stagnation in development…
Well it was me that recommended the HC2 to my friend. If you want your friends to stay friends, you have to give considered and impartial advice. Vera is great for hackers and experimenters but it will not, in its current incarnation, make it into the mainstream (IMHO). The HC2 still needs some work but I think it will get there. I have been very impressed with the thought that has gone into the design of all the Fibaro products I have seen. These guys think flexibility and ease-of-use and build it into their products. When they launch the US versions of their modules, a lot of people are going to see what they’ve been missing. 8)
HC2 supports remote access and has apps for iOS and Android 'phones. Right now, the Fibaro forum is a bit sparse but gaining momentum. If some of the gurus on this forum directed their smarts into developing plugins for HC2, it would leave Vera standing…
I’m not about to retire my Vera. I have invested a lot of time into making it do what I want and this forum is probably the biggest asset that MCV has going for it. If Vera dies, though, I’ll have an HC2 here the next day. : If you can code around Vera’s little eccentricities, HC2 is going to be a doddle. ;D
RexBeckett, thanks for the review. Do you know if the HC2 has a developer API like MiOS that lets people make their own plugins for arbitrary devices? (I’m not about to give up my alarm system integration.)
There is an API for developing virtual devices. It’s recent and quite modest but provides TCP and UDP sockets, an HTTP client, json functions and access to device properties. HC2 doesn’t pretend to support UPnP so device interface is very simple:
local dimLevel = fibaro:getValue(123, ‘value’)
The most obvious omission I spotted was that there are apparently no call-back functions. You can trigger scenes on the change of user-defined Global variables, though, so that may work as a substitute. Each scene/device has its own thread so can loop forever waiting for time or variable changes. fibaro:sleep(60*1000) suspends execution for one minute.
The API documentation is in Polish but with one click of Google Chrome’s Translate button, it becomes very understandable English. 8) Try it.
in design, ease of use (idiotproof), Power and equipment the HC2 is far more advanced as all the Vera Series are.
but it lacks of flexibility (the downside comes with ease of use) …
on a standard household with nothing fancy, the HC2 does clearly win the race,
for anyone else: the HC2 price of 500 bucks can you can get easy 4 vera lite’s … which compensate for the lack of power in all ways! and preserves the flexibility.
but it lacks of flexibility (the downside comes with ease of use) ...
That's certainly true right now but HC2 seems to be evolving at ten times the speed of Vera so it may not always be true. ;)
Much of Vera’s flexibility comes from the plugins that smart users have developed to fill the gaps in the standard features. It appears to me that HC2 has enough hooks to allow the same thing to happen. I’m watching with interest. ;D
I’ve seen references that MCV will likely refresh the Vera platform again later this year, if that is true, with this competition from HC2, I wonder what the outcome will be?
I can see the appeal of having a sleek fancy looking device that does a few things really well, and is simple to use vice a DIY project with everything but the kitchen sink tied together with duct tape, tie wire and some paint to hide the mess.
Not everyone who drives a car wants to be a mechanic.
I really hope they take note of what their competition is doing. Most people expect a product to work pretty-much out of the box. Configuring it to do exactly what you want through some nice, friendly menus is expected. Having to learn a programming language and hunt through vast amounts of partially-correct on-line documentation isn't!
I’m not claiming that any manufacturer has it right yet. Some do seem to be heading in the right direction, though. I hope sincerely that MCV can pull-off a paradigm-shift and position so that it is usable by people who haven’t studied the dark-arts of Linux, Lua, UPnP, etc.
I really hope they take note of what their competition is doing. Most people expect a product to work pretty-much out of the box. Configuring it to do exactly what you want through some nice, friendly menus is expected. Having to learn a programming language and hunt through vast amounts of partially-correct on-line documentation isn’t!
I’m not claiming that any manufacturer has it right yet. Some do seem to be heading in the right direction, though. I hope sincerely that MCV can pull-off a paradigm-shift and position so that it is usable by people who haven’t studied the dark-arts of Linux, Lua, UPnP, etc. :D[/quote]
Seeing how the MIOS Developer website is showcasing the apps store, I wonder if the an ulterior motive is to cultivate a community of hackers/geeks who like to tinker with Beta type products, creating a stable of documentation, plugins, etc. that in turn can be gathered up, to showcase the technology to others for re-branding? (I use the term cultivate lightly).
Mios platform has always been the soul focus of MCV to provide to other companies for rebranding or integration into a companies business think hotels, energy companies, etc. Vera as a product is a side project for MCV.