WAF Crisis: How to stop accepting flaky components, and start replacing them

I have been struggling with very low Wife Acceptance Factor 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 wife latches onto. She has gone from being pleasantly accepting of most things, and some automations have delighted her.

Examples of automations that delight:

  1. Kitchen cabinet LEDs light up when someone enters the room.
  2. Notifications when the garage door is closed.
  3. Colorful lightshow in our 9 bulb dining room chandelier.

Examples of flakiness that irritates:

  1. Drip watering controller: is battery powered and her 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.
  2. 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, the WAF is awfully low right now. I can’t blame her, I find those things annoying as well… especially when they kill one of her outdoor plants.

There are several things stopping me from replacing components like these.

  1. Stubbornness. I don’t feel like I should have to replace a thing, it is supposed to work, so it should just work better!
  2. Cost. I don’t want to replace an expensive thing, with another thing.
  3. 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 :wink:

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.

1 Like

Sure you can:

trigger:
  - platform: state
    entity_id: whatever.whatever_it_is
    to: 'unavailable'
    for: '02:00:00'

That’ll wait for it to be unavailable for two hours. Adjust to suit.

I’ve been there. I had battles with my Philips Hue hub, and felt like it should just work. Until finally I accepted that the Hub was a mistake, and ditched it. Sure, I’m out the cost of the Hub, but it was worth it.

Google: Sunk cost fallacy :wink:

1 Like

Unavailable for 2 hours… that’s a good way to think about it. Thank you!

I feel like writing that post was therapeutic. I can’t talk it though with my wife, because she would say just get rid of it. It helped me think through what needs to happen next. :slight_smile:

1 Like

WAF increase incoming… I spent all day on reliability!

Lutron

  • Disconnected switches, pico remotes, & plug from the increasingly flaky Wink hub!
  • Reset and reconnected the devices to my new Lutron Pro hub.
  • Bonus: I also returned the Pico remote to the wall for the Dining Room light. Hooray for the Pro hub!

Insteon

  • Removed the dead Homekit Hub.
  • Reset the standard hub & 4 plugs, then reconnected them.

Drip system

  • Set mobile notification when the flaky connection is only offline for 2 a solid hours. Thanks for the suggestion @Tinkerer!
2 Likes

Your first post was therapeutic for you, that bit was for me!

2 Likes