Lighting Control Questions

I have been researching in this forum now for about a month, before expanding my system. I have decided to go with the Square Connect solution for my home theater control to replace a piece of junk Harmony 1000 controller. I want to control from an iPad and want the new Pro version of the SQ Blaster, both of which do not look like they will be released for another few months. In the meantime I thought it would be a good idea to buy the Vera 2 to convert over my current Z-wave network. Here is my current situation:

[ul][li]The entire basement where my home theater is located is all Zwave lighting (13 Vizia RF dimmers with one 4 button scene controller and one programmer remote).[/li]
[li]The scene controller is at the bottom of my stairs.[/li]
[li]I currently use the scene controller just to turn on most of the lights in the basement and then turn them off again when leaving with a double tap[/li]
[li]I activate scenes like Play Movie or Pause Movie for lighting from the Vizia Remote[/li]
[li]The main problem I have is that kids reset my scenes via holding in the wall scene controller buttons too long[/li]
[li]I would say that probably 80% of the entrance/exits from the basement are very quick (ie under 5 minutes) to get food from a pantry, second refrigerator or freezer and only 20% are for watching a movie or entertaining etc.[/li][/ul]

My Goals are to:

[ul][li]Expand Zwave control to the upper floors in my house, mainly in the family room, kitchen and master bedroom[/li]
[li]Eliminate the problem of people resetting my scenes in my basement[/li]
[li]Automate the lights so that they automatically go to an enter scene upon seeing motion at the top of the stairs. (I have a hobby where i have to carry the stuff back downstairs 3-4 times per week and it would be nice to have the lights automatically turn on with full hands)[/li]
[li]After buying SQ Blaster Pro, control both A/V and lighting in my home theater with SQ Remote on the iPad[/li]
[li]Add random lights on/off on the upper floors for when we are away[/li]
[li]Remote control via iphone outside the house[/li]
[li]Automate the outside lights via sunset ON/ Time of Night OFF functionality[/li][/ul]

My Questions Are:

[ul][li]Has anyone automated lights on/off via motion control via Vera? If so, how? I am thinking some simple rules based logic like… Enter Scene ON upon Motion Yes on a Zwave motion sensor at Top of Basement Stairs…Set off timer to 10 minutes if no other scene enabled for auto OFF function…If any other scene enabled disable OFF timer…Program an Exit scene after movie is done (you need to bring up the lights anyway to see) that re-enables motion sensor at top of stairs. I also thought about using a second motion/occupancy sensor downstairs, which I might also use to help make the logic more fullproof [/li]
[li]I am thinking if I get Vera and can automate the entrance lighting, then I can remove the physical scene controller at the bottom of the stairs which will basically not be needed.[/li]
[li]I am also looking to upgrade my 14 year old security system and I am looking at several Z-wave enabled units. Will the Vera 2 play nice with these types of units as they seem to have only rudimentary control capability (ie turning off alarm when kwikset lock code enable and enabling a hallway light.[/li]
[li]My wife also always leaves on a ceiling fan upstairs when no one is there or it is already cool. I am thinking that a simple motion sensor upstairs that will turn on the light and ceiling fan when you enter the master bedroom after sunset and turn off the fan in the morning would also be nice.[/li][/ul]

Any advice is appreciated on if this is an easy scenario for Vera 2 and how it interacts with the Vizia controller and remote.


Its all doable by the looks of it!

If you are going to replace your security system anyway, then it will give a lot more flexibility to use its sensors to automate the things you want like lights etc based on motion or doors being open and closed.

You don’t need to get a Zwave compatible alarm as it can be interfaced other ways to Vera. Look in the LUUP forum to the links to the DSC, Paradox and CADDX alarm threads for further info.

Thanks for the reply. I was hoping that somebody who has tried to turn on an off lights automatically with Vera in the house based on motion could give some pointers. The Alarm issue is a bit more complicated as I would need to buy the IT-100 board for DSC and I still don’t believe I would have GSM radio to defeat a simple phone line cutting move since my current system is POTS based. I figured why not upgrade to GSM, Web portal interface and Zwave connectivity all in one go. By using all the pre-wired sensors by buying a smart switch to take all those inputs to wireless, I also want to connect my fire detectors that also all need to be replaced as they are over 10 years old. Wireless lets me add onto my current system much easier especially with glass breakage as well. I would kill all those issues with one simple upgrade. The price is about the same or less to go with the new 2gig front end. Most of the arguments I have heard saying it is not as safe seem really dumb to me. The new remote LCD keypad will let you put the main unit hidden to prevent the smash and grab argument against the AIO systems. Plus my current system is useless with a simple phone line cut except for the local loud alarm.

Most of the alarm vendors do wireless ad ons… My DSC is a hybrid of wired and wireless, and in my opinion the wireless sensors I fitted are far more reliable than the equivalent Zwave counterpart.

Back to your question anyway… I do already have lights etc that are activated by either motion or doors from the alarm system inputs, so yes it does work!

Thanks strangely. It turns out I am dropping the 2gig idea entirely. The achiles heel of that system is that they require you to go through to get any of the zwave automation features. You end up taking a $8.95 alarm relay charge up to $26.95 / month without even the zwave functionality. That would add another $12/month reoccurring charge just to use your own zwave equipment. Stupid IMO.

Having said this, I read somewhere on the forums that the miOS iPhone / iPad interface does not work that well? Is this true? What are others doing to control or initiate actions like locking the front door and controlling a thermostat from the Internet with Vera2? Are there other 3rd party apps that interface easily with the Vera2? What about using SQRemote that I am already about to buy when the iPad version is released for my Home Theater AV control. Will that work for initiating this types of events remotely from the web? Are those communications secure? I need to do more research.

You can make the 2-gig a secondary controller, and have Vera as the primary controller, the 2-gig will then be able to control lights and scenes.

The point is, you are paying for
Monitoring, and they also keep the firmware updated on the 2-gig panel via the GSM radio link, it’s also fairly secure because they send out the door open before you have a chance to even disarm it, if there is no disarm event shortly after that, they assume the thief ripped the unit off the wall and call the police. Vera will never be that good. The 2-gig is an alarm system with some zwave capabilities, it’s not a home automation system.

Are you doing this now? I know basically what the 2gig is and is not. It was my first choice for all the reasons you state above, however the information that you could not do any home automation control at all without the home automation services came directly from the 2gig Tech services department I talked to yesterday. I have no problem with the $26.95 charges for monitoring/remote arm / disarm control and GSM radio charges because that is reasonable, especially when I am paying $20 now for POTS service only. My issue was with the addition $12 for zwave contol of basic things like lights.

Can you give anymore detail about what capabilities you have setting up the 2gig as a secondary controller with Vera2? Can you have Vera set a scene on arm? Can you have Vera disarm the Alarm system on kwikset door code entry, etc. Lastly does anyone know how many secondary zwave controllers you can have on a zwave network? Thanks for the information.

Actually just for clarification does not provide the monitoring services/dispatch. They provide the web based interface, zwave logic/control and GSM services. The actual monitoring is done by alarm relay and that part is only $8.95/month.

I have the 2-gig, but for a different house, and it’s not installed yet.

There is no limit to how many secondary controllers you can have, as far as I know, other than the Z-wave 232 device limit in total.

The point of the 2-gig and is, you don’t need that location to have internet access, at all. and that’s the point, not everyone has or wants internet access, and the 2-gig system can be controlled via the GSM link via

from reading the documentation (which is all I have done so far), you can fire off a scene based on alarm conditions, such as “armed away”, “disarmed” or in “alarm” condition, so you could have the 2-gig turn on your lights, etc, based on events from the alarm system. If you have a Vera as the Primary, you could control your Zwave devices with Vera, without using the website, and just use the 2 gig as an alarm system, what it does best. and, yes, to get the zwave and camera support, they do charge more, but you don’t have to control it via that method, if you have a Vera.

The point is, they can both co-exist, if you don’t have internet access, you are not going to be able to use a Vera (for remote access), but you can use a 2-Gig system. Last time I checked broadband internet access is also about $40-$55/month, so their charges are not totally outrageous.

They may coexist, but you cant use any of the sensors to automate things!

A grown up alarm system gives you the best of both worlds and cost way less :slight_smile: [dons flameproof jacket]

thats fine, sensors are cheap anyway. This is for a house I inherited, and do not live in yet, but I want to be able to control the lights and tempatures, there is no Internet, Cable TV, or phone line at the house currently.

Let’s see you control that with Vera, I double dare ya :slight_smile:

It can easily be done with Vera and no hardwired internet connection.

Really now? You can remotly control the tempature of a Zwave thermostat, or turn on a light, with Vera, and no internet connection. Do tell :slight_smile:

3G wireless hotspot or similar. This effectively gives you the same type of connection that the 2gig stuff uses.

There are many routers now also with a way of utilizing a cell based USB radio device for connectivity. Its possible to perhaps even hack Vera to do this. There are some threads about this I think IIRC.

you should check the latest cradlepoint 4G router ( Add your favorite USB cellular modem, and you cannot only access Vera remotely, you can also enjoy WIFI n your house without having an ISP (make sure you choose an unlimited data plan or …)

[quote=“strangely, post:14, topic:168462”]3G wireless hotspot or similar. This effectively gives you the same type of connection that the 2gig stuff uses.

There are many routers now also with a way of utilizing a cell based USB radio device for connectivity. Its possible to perhaps even hack Vera to do this. There are some threads about this I think IIRC.[/quote]

Thats going to cost at least as much as either an internet connection or the monthly charge per month. TANSTAAFL (There Ain’nt No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)

The 4G provider out here (Clear) is horrible, spotty coverage, and not in the town the house is in yet. Verizon is at least $50/month for a 4GB plan, as far as I have seen, there are no “unlimited” 4G plans, AT&T has not yet deployed their 4G offerings.

I do have to say, that the 2-gig wireless sensors use the same RF frequency as the Honeywell/Ademco equipment, so perhaps using a Vista 20p might be a better idea :slight_smile:

I’m using the DSC plug-in for iVera with a DSC alarm system and IT-100 board and it works really well. Once it was all set-up it is very stable. Just make sure you use the downloadable version of the plug-in and not the one in the MarketPlace (at least that was the recommendation when I set mine up).

I have all of my motion sensors around the house, plus smoke sensors and door sensors available in iVera as devices. I use one of the motion sensors to turn on lights for 10 minutes at night when we enter the laundry area. I can also set the alarm from a scene controller switch in the house as well as turning on security lights when we leave the house and set the alarm etc.

Thanks Wesguard. I am hoping DSC will announce some new products soon that might meet my need, as getting off the POTS lines is one of my main requirements.

I am wondering if anyone has actually set up the 2gig unit as a secondary controller for the Zwave control portion and has it working in that configuration. I may call tech service again and try to verify if that will work. Part of the issue is that the new LCD screen requires a new 900mHZ radio be installed in the main controller. Also it is impractical for me to buy the bundle unit with half the things I don’t need and then add the stuff I do. I think they will come out with a bundle with the external pad. I am thinking to use Vera2 for all the automation and hopefully just provide some connectivity to initiate some things through the 2gig unit if possible.

as Strangley has pointed out, the 2-gig’s sensors cannot be used to trigger any Zwave events, and will not be readable from Vera. The only thing you will be able to do with the 2-gig is make it a secondary controller, so it will have all of your devices availble, then on alarm events only, you will be able to turn lights/applicances on/off, thats about it. by events these are things such as “armed”, “disarmed”, or “in alarm”. I own the 2-gig panel and have gone through the installation/user documentation on theZ-wave section thoroughly.

the Honeywell/Ademco solution/plugin will actually get you to be able to use all of the sensors on the alarm as triggers, using the “AD2USB” interface and plugin…

the good thing about Honeywell/Ademco is, they use the same RF sensors as the 2-Gig (345Mhz, called “58XX” series in the Ademco world), so you could use all of the 2-gig sensors on a Vista 15p/20p for example, as long as you get the RF interface for it, or the 6150RF keypad (which has the RF receiver built into the keypad)

I am now seeing the point of wanting to use the alarms sensors as trigger events in Vera. lights dawns on marblehead :slight_smile:


Up until a year ago my summer house and rentals did not have an Internet connection because no service existed. Even 3G was spotty. I invested in an external antenna and 3 watt power booster connected to a Sony / Ericson 3G router and now I run everything from this connection including my Vonage Voip phone. It does a great job as long as you keep within your bandwidth each month. I have a DSC panel connected to Vera and have since programmed Vera to trigger on most of the alarm sensors (doors and motion). As of now if we are home @ night and we walk through the house Vera will turn on lights @ 25% as we go, freaks most of our guests out. Opening most doors will turn on the closest light for a few minutes. If we are not at home each alarm sensor will trigger an alarm in Vera as well as the alarm panel but Vera will notify me what sensor triggered while the panel will call my cell and give a series of tones representing the zone. The marriage of the DSC panel and Vera is fantastic.