Initial setup -problems with thermostats and multiple devices

Ok, so day 1 problems:

I set up the vera edge on a static DHCP assignment and gave it a dns name on my network. It works great and I can get into it via the web interface. I have a lot of devices to add and I started with my TED5000. The UI detects it but I can’t tell what you can do with it and when I click on the energy tab it sends me off to the vera web site which is confusing. I was hoping to get the TED consumption data on my dashboard but vera appears to be ignoring it. Vera is getting data from it as it’s showing the voltage and cumulative wattage on the device itself. This is a little confusing but at least I have a sign vera is talking to the device, I’m just not sure what vera is actually doing with the device.

The real problems I’m having are with my two radio thermostats. I have the 3m version. I added a device for the first one from the app store. This is super confusing as you would think basedon the 1200 devices supported claim I could click on the add devive > thermostat button. Its frustrating to have to hunt it down under plugins but not that big of a pain. The thermostat seemed to be auto detected by vera after adding the plugin which is great. The second thermostat was not detected so I tried to add it. There is shockingly no way to do this in the UI. I’ve been watching vera for years and I assumed that since it’s a mature product this would be something you could do easily. After some forum searching it appears that you have to go to the developer area and add a new device manually. Ok, no big deal, I copied all the settings over from the first one and put the DNS name in for the second thermostat. The thing that I think is off is that the second thermostat I added manually lacks all the settings under “variables” as in there are no form fields nor a place to add them. I also noticed that the appstore installed plugin has a json file but there was no way to reference one when I added it.

The first two thermostats are now showing, however they don’t show any temperature information (frankly not sure if they are supposed to??, you would think they would) for those zones and the controls don’t work on either thermostat. I really don’t know how to know that communications are working to those devices. I can hook a sniffer up and see if vera is talking to the thermostats but frankly I bought vera so I wouldn’t have to write my own software.

This is super frustrating and confusing. The radio thermostats have a published integration API and vera seems to have pretty abysmal support for these. I was expecting of all the smart devices I have these would be super easy to get going. I have several more thermostats to add but I’m not going to go down that path until I get these working.

Any help from the vetrans?

Help please!

Ok, so I’ve solved at least one of my problems. Vera filters all of it’s dns queries through a local DNS server installed on itself. That DNS server was filtering out responses with private IPs. I emailed support… hopefully they will create a patch as this is pretty bad/weird behaviour. In the interim I am using IP addresses which sucks because it means I will have to change the addresses later when moving things around. FYI, both thermostats seem to be working in that vera updates the UI with the settings running on the thermostat and I can make changes in vera that are reflected on the thermostat.

Hi, welcome to the forum.

There’s a “Create another” button buried in Apps > My Apps > (the app) > Details, which will let you create a second, third, … instance of a plugin. Or you can do what you did; the end result is the same.

Most plugins are written by enthusiastic users rather than MCV, for no financial gain, to an underdocumented API that has been known to shift. The best way to get support with these plugins is to find the corresponding topic in the forum and post away. This might be the one for your thermostat (I just Googled it). Keep in mind that you are talking to volunteers and not MCV employees.

Don’t expect that DNS bug your reported to be fixed soon, if ever. It’s inherited from OpenWrt (where it’s only a bug if you squint properly) and there is not much precedent of Vera fixing bugs that are upstream.

It might look like I am trying to manage your expectations… and I am. Vera isn’t as tinker-free as you’ve been led to believe. Persevere if you can; once you’ve got it working as you want, you’ll hardly need to touch it.

Adding to @futzle’s explanation…

Vera is primarily a Z-Wave device controller. The advertised 1,200 devices supported are Z-Wave devices.

The TED5000 and your thermostats are not Z-Wave devices. They are WiFi(TCP/IP) network devices. Support for these devices is not provided by Vera, as @futzle explained. What support there is, is provided by the third party plugins/apps that you’ve found in the “app store”. Again, these are not made by nor officially supported by Vera.

Despite your confusion and frustration, it sounds like you are making progress and enjoying the use of your devices. Welcome down the rabbit hole.

Thanks for the feedback. Hopefully they will fix the DNS issue. I read a post thread from an employee how they added recursive lookup to opendns because some wahoo’s ISP’s DNS server failed and they were hacked off at MCV about it… Hopefully changing the software to be compliant to networking norms will be accepted. If not apparently you just have to call up and be belligerent. I left off a bunch of detail on my post but I gave them tcpdump captures of the issue and pointed them to the feature of dnsmasq that is probably causing the problem. Hopefully that will spur them to action.

I looked for the button to add another device. I included a screenshot as there was no details, only “Additional Information” under the app and it basically lets me disable auto update. Looks like this is a UI7 issue? I saw something about having the feature in beta in another post?

FYI, the thermostats are working right now… I can remote control them and UI reflects their settings.

The other pisser is that I really only have a few zwave devices (dimmers for the home theater) and I was standardizing on IP control for everything… That is the way the industry seems to be going and unlike zwave I can troubleshoot that and resolve issues. I don’t mind that most of the plugins are user created, that’s a really cool open source type thing and one of the attractions. The issue I have is that they don’t seem to be making it easy for the plugins developers to make it work well… after a bunch of reading it looks like a bunch of the developers have gotten hacked off and left.

Perhaps the plugin author has released the plugin with the “allow multiple instances” checkbox turned off. (I did that for one of my plugins because it has callbacks that have to go to “the” instance of the plugin.) If that’s true, then what you did is probably the best course of action.