I have been struggling with very low approval of my Home Automation hobby for months. If 9 out of 10 devices work as they should, that 10th flaky device, which I think works most of the time but sometimes doesn’t work, is the thing my family remembers. My family has gone from being pleasantly accepting of most things (and some automations have delighted everyone) to becoming annoyed.
Examples of automations that delight:
- Kitchen cabinet LEDs light up when someone enters the room.
- Notifications when the garage door is closed.
- Colorful lightshow in our 9 bulb dining room chandelier.
Examples of flakiness that irritates:
- Drip watering controller: is battery powered and our plants have died too many times from it dying without me realizing. Because the damn thing reports offline multiple times a day but usually comes back online, so I can’t write a darn automation to notify me when it is offline.
- Bedroom light switch: just won’t turn off almost every evening for the past month or so! I suspect the darn Wink hub which is controlling it is the problem, but I know when I replace one Lutron switch, I’ve got to replace the other ones as well.
Anyway, my family approval of my hobby is awfully low right now. I can’t blame them, I find those things annoying as well… especially when they kill one of our outdoor plants.
There are several things stopping me from replacing components like these.
- Stubbornness. I don’t feel like I should have to replace a thing, it is supposed to work, so it should just work better!
- Cost. I don’t want to replace an expensive thing, with another thing.
- Uncertainty. Who knows if the thing I replace it with will work any better?
Right now I am trying to convince myself that the money I was saving for a CNC machine would be better spent on making our smart home less frustrating and … well, less brain dead.
I think I will start by making a list of things that are not working reliably, and then tackle them one at a time. For example I can replace the bedroom Lutron switch with an extra Z-Wave dimmer I have been holding onto. Long term I will have to splice into the power conduit nearby the drip controller, and replace it with a powered controller (I could use some help with recommendations
Thank you for listening… I have been ignoring this nagging sensation in the back of my brain for too long. Writing this stuff down has helped put things in a new perspective.