New Customer (Sizing up my options)

Hi guys

Was hoping to get some help sizing up my options on entering the Home Automation club.

Started tinkering around with Xbmc last year which has slowly ended up with me at these forums looking at updating my average sized home with new tech. Currently running Xbmc, Squeeze server and looking to add AuhomationHD to the mix with Tasker.

I own a N40L that is running in a cupboard atm that is serving all the house content. 24x7

Looking to add one of these

  1. Z-wave usb dongle for $100 dollars. I’m very unsure if these come with software? Mios? As they are advertised as coming with no software. Advantage is its cheap? As I already have a powerful server. Disadvantages I’m not aware of?

  2. A Vera 3 More expensive but seems the best offer. Added bonus of extra Wifi access point.

  3. An Almond+ No details on Z-wave software compatibility?

Or Should I hold out to end of year for a product refresh?

Look forward to joining the community and bringing my knowledge with me. Also to learn heaps more.


Z-wave sticks do not include software (perhaps only some basic diagnostic stuff). The main player on the market for software is HomeSeer: mature software but seems rather expensive, and you’ll be paying for plugins and major upgrades as well…

Advantages of Vera:

  • wins hands down on price.
  • active community, offering help as well as a rich set of plugins and mobile apps.
  • very hackable. Writing plugins is not very hard, and there’s no need for an SDK.
  • reliable, certainly good enough for non-critical home automation


  • poor support for logic. For conditional scenes you’ll be writing Lua code or using logic plugins.
  • software updates are few and far between; getting a new z-wave device supported in Vera may take a long time (though I hear HomeSeer is no different)
  • confusing and suboptimal UI. Keep in mind that, once you’re up and running, you’ll control your home mostly through z-wave switches, remotes and phone apps. I go for weeks without touching the UI

Thanks for clarifying the Z-wave Usb stick question.

After looking at the available apps and plugins I would use, its a no brainier now that I will require a Vera lite or 3. As none of these would work with the USB stick or Almond+ The phone apps and plugins for micasverde make it what it is.

Hope someone will pick up LIFX as well Ive got a test bulb in the mail…

Thanks again for quick reply.

Don’t let Wi-Fi be the only reason to choose Vera 3. As far as Wi-Fi goes it’s not especially useful: It operates on a subnet with NAT, so won’t usefully extend an existing Wi-Fi network. It is 2.4 GHz only.

By all means let the extra RAM or the extra USB port in the Vera 3 be a reason.

Hope someone will pick up LIFX as well Ive got a test bulb in the mail..

I’ve got a couple due from the Kickstarter project so I’ll be looking to develop a plugin if no one else beats me to it.

I’ll just add, I’m incredible frustrated with the limitations of Vera.
I have lights, energy meters, and a few basic controls - all work beautifully
I have a thermostat control , it works - but has flawed logic and does not allow full control from the vera and this makes it difficult to really control the heater in any sensible way
I have an SQBlaster - there is NO support or working code for IR control. This device has been a waste of money and that means I cant control my TVs, Air conditioners , Home stereo not even to turn them off.
Graphing - real nice, very useful, but its not MIOS/vera, its free from a public contributor and with .1 degree temperature readings NOT supported by vera its making the graphing of temperature a bit useless
Personally I’m looking around for yet another Home automation control device - I haven’t found one better than Vera on Zwave but I’m sure someone will easily beat it sometime

All advice noted. Fantastic news about possible Lifx development already.

Shame about SQ Blaster, isn’t it possible to learn the codes through spamming them to the split system. This was on my to do list after general lighting. I own a brand new Panasonic system.

And I imagine any Thermostat integration as being difficult to support, Id be lucky in the future to be able to purchase a product that is compatible with the z-wave thermostat not the other way around.

Yes I was looking more to the added ram of the Vera 3

What happens when you add to many devices? Commands slow down and lags the system, unresponsive?

And I imagine any Thermostat integration as being difficult to support, Id be lucky in the future to be able to purchase a product that is compatible with the z-wave thermostat not the other way around.
Yes that's true , in addition to my simple two wire mercury switch controlled heater (where I replaced th mercury switch with the Zwave thermostat ) I have a Brivis heater with a "networker" controller - Which I have not tried to replace as its two wire but seems to have some extra controls than just on/off. I have a forlorn hope that one day I'll be able to replace that controller.
isn't it possible to learn the codes through spamming them to the split system

I believe its possible but my coding skills are rusty and the MIOS documentation and forum posts on how to do this are either difficult to find or, if I have found them, then I find them difficult to follow.

I think my frustration in this case is that this is not a product ready for me to use and its been a promised feature for a while with no delivery.

Ok lost my bidding on Ebay for a Vera 3 unit and some extra plugs that was dirt cheap :frowning: by 15 dollars…

So I’m going to grab a Vera Lite and a few modules. I live in Australia so found the unit for $198 dollars at, free shipping for orders over $200. Is there any other Australian distributors that will give better deals or a store in Victoria I could visit to try some barging for a $1000 order?

Also could I order a US version and potential have access to cheaper and more devices? Is there any concerns or limitations to this path?

Where do you guys purchase from?

You’d be locking yourself in to US Z-Wave devices because of the different Z-Wave frequency. Factor in the price of two plug-shape converters for every in-line appliance switch you buy.

I’ve bought from and from

SmartHome Australia and Z-wave Australia are both Victorian with Smarthome’s’ store located in Williamstown. There is a few other supplier but there is no real difference due to limited competition.

Will check out the Williamstown store, tempted to go the US root perhaps as my best mate is a electrician so most plugin devices can be avoided, I’m presuming the in wall dimmers and switches will work. Will double check with him.

I would suggest that is not a very good option. US uses both different voltage and frequencies. The frequencies are not the real issue but rather you will not be able to use the switches and dimmers.

Haha Bugga, at-least I will be helping the Aussie market now. Thanks for heads-up.

FYI, you will get a better view of what is available online. Also with SH if you register for their email campaign it gives you 10% off you next purchase, so you maybe able to a few bucks that way or buy an extra device.