With the latest updates to HA containing a few deprecated & recommended Zigbee/ZWave add-ons, I’m confused on what to do & looking for input before I move forward on this.
Existing SmartThings user here who’s switching over to HA. I’ve got a LOT of things in my existing SmartThings setup including a lot of their plugs, outlets, etc. I’ve setup HA within a VM in VirtualBox on a macMini & have a lot of things hooked up and working, but need to move all my SmartThings devices over.
Ideally, I want to get rid of my SmartThings hub if possible. My existing devices are a mix of WiFi plugs (newer-style SmartThings) as well as Zigbee & ZWave (no idea which is which, but thing I have a mix of the two).
I’ve found a few articles from a year or two ago about using a USB stick on the host, but not sure if that’s the best option or if it will give me what I’m looking to do. Also a bit unclear what the underlying communication is between HA & devices (MQTT? So I need to get some sort of a MQTT<->[zigbee & zwave] bridge?).
Looking for pointers… spent a few hours the last week googling, reading this forum & the subreddit, YouTube, etc… still a bit unclear. Will share my learnings & experience for others in the same situation.
First, you need to determine if you do in fact have both Zigbee and Z-Wave devices. You should be able to do that through the SmartThings developer portal. That will help you decide which hardware you need to support your devices in HA. For the WiFi plugs, I’m not 100% certain, but I believe those are natively supported in HA.
With that said, you could go with something as simple as a HUSBZB-1 stick (https://www.amazon.com/GoControl-CECOMINOD016164-HUSBZB-1-USB-Hub/dp/B01GJ826F8/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=GoControl+HZUSB-1&qid=1613657198&sr=8-2) as it has both Zigbee and Z-Wave radios and is extremely reliable and has been tested extensively in HA for years now.
That’s the beauty of HA, the underlying communication is really what you need (or want) it to be. You can use the built-in ZHA/Z-Wave integrations and let HA handle the communications or you can go with external zigbee2MQTT/zwavejs2MQTT and let your MQTT broker handle the communications. Personally, if you’re new to HA, I’d recommend starting with the built-in integrations and slowly move over to the MQTT integrations as it’s a bit more complex to manage.
I also have moved from Smartthings, started the transition almost a year ago. The first thing I did was get the HA platform up and running with remote access, etc. Then installed the Smarthings integration. This basically puts every device you have in Smartthings in HA (I found there were odd exceptions if your using child devices).
I took a slow approach as I was figuring out HA. I moved over various components and decommissioned them in Smartthings. Lights went first as they are Lutron and some Insteon. Then the cameras, and then I got into ESPHome and integrated some of my hardwired motion and contact sensors. When I was ready I enabled the Alarm component in HA which I had running in Smartthings.
By this time Smartthings was only used for my Zigbee and Zwave devices and Samsung TVs. This all worked very well.
My desire to decommission Smarthings is related to the fact it is still cloud based and I prefer to have things run local so I bought a AEOTEC Zwave stick and tried the various zwave options, using one or 2 devices for testing. It wasn’t until the latest version of ZWAVEJS did I feel comfortable cutting over. So now all my Zwave devices in my house are cutover.
I am running a beta version of Zigbee2MQTT which includes the map and list of devices and it is running great. But until I got to this version some of my devices would go offline but everything feels stable now.
I ended up moving my Smarthings hub to my Garage as I couldn’t get the Garage Lock to work (range issue) so it’s not gone yet and likely will be around for awhile.
So my advice is as follows;
- Don’t break what you have, you’re better to take a slow approach to the cutover, the integration will allow you to do that. Build out your UI, integrate your Google Home / Alexa, automate your routines, etc.
- Move integrations or devices over incrementally. This way you are only bitting off smaller chunks so impacts are manageable.
- Choose a UI Strategy. Lovelace gives lots of options and I changed mine many times until I finally settled on Dwain’s Dashboard. Takes a little to get your head around but provides a nice structure to configure which has a high WFA.
- Be prepared to spend allot to time with HA, I didn’t do allot of complicated things in Smartthings, mostly stuck to what was available in the various SmartApps available by the community. But, in HA you go pretty deep, sometimes I can spend a few hours just getting some syntax correct or searching a form to figure out how to do something. I spent weeks if not months tweaking my Alarm setup only to now consider using Alarmo because of a couple of features it offers. I think in Smarthings if only took about 15 mins to setup the Alarm.
I have no regrets with the HA move. I have learned so much.
Looking at the ST IDE > Devices (type column), I see a handful of Z-Wave devices, but no Zigbee… however I see a lot of other stuff like:
- SmartPower Outlet
- Samsung OCF Smart Plug
If it was Zigbee, would it state that?
Sometimes, yeah. It depends on the device. IIRC, the OCF Smart Plug is WiFi and the SmartPower Outlet is Zigbee.
With that said, I’d suggest getting the Nortek stick (HUSBZB-1) and start migrating your devices over to that.
Ordered it this morning… again, thanks!