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Customer Review

203 of 215 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does Some Things Well, Others Not So Much, March 30, 2012
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I've had a z-wave system set up in my home for about 2 years. Nothing fancy, a few lights and a couple of small appliances. I was using software (the old Homeport software for Mac) on my Mac Mini to run the whole thing, and I could access it remotely using LogMeIn, but this was somewhat less than ideal and I knew my new wife would never jump through those hoops. So when the Vera Lite came out under $200 I decided to check it out. Setup was fairly easy although it took a couple of router resets and Vera resets to get everything recognized on the network. I had to delete all the modules from the primary controller I had been using so I could add them to the Vera as the primary. If you've done this before it's not too bad, and the UI5 interface with the Vera is easy to get used to.

I was hopeful that adding a couple of cameras would be easy, but it's not. If you go to the micasaverde.com website forums you'll see lots of discussions for workarounds for various cameras. The wiki lists cameras that are basically plug and play for Vera and others than can be made to work. Recently a popular Foscam camera that worked with Vera became inoperable after a Vera software update. It appears a workaround has been achieved to correct the problem, but the steps necessary are probably more than most want to hassle with for a system that is supposed to simplify your life. This is the problem I have with micasaverde all the way around - the software development seems to be trial and error with the customers as the guinea pigs. This is fine for small niche products, but if you're entering the big leagues it's time to tighten up your development operations.

I'd also like to integrate this with an alarm system in my home, but again the number of compatible alarm systems is very limited and the workarounds are cumbersome. I can't imagine jumping through all the hoops to get it set up only to have something go wrong while I'm out of town, and my wife having to deal with it with two kids and her job. I think she would demand I trash the whole system when I got home and ADT would be there the next day installing their system (along with their monthly monitoring fee, which I don't want to pay). As it is, I decided to keep the alarm system and the z-wave system separate. This requires double sensors on some doors, but so be it.

So overall this works well for controlling z-wave modules, and the iPhone apps (Vera and Square Connect) work very well - no issues at all. I'm less than happy with the compatible camera selection and disappointed in the alarm system integration options. I haven't tried any locks yet, but that's the next step - probably within the next couple of months. It's simplified the light and appliance module control, so four stars. If a wide variety of cameras could be easily integrated I'd give it five.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 27, 2012 11:51:48 AM PDT
Dimm Henn says:
Locks work really well *only if your using modules that can repeat the correct z-wave wake up message. The biggest downside now is the app is constantly broke for the iphone/ipad. But homebuddy for android is awesome and it's free. Overall our company is not very happy with the end product after 2 years of testing so it's a no go for offering to the general public.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 6:50:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 6:53:14 AM PST
PixelRogue says:
KVH:
Very glad you took the time to write and thank you. I too have the same exact set up....House Port running on a MacMini to which I'll remote into the mini to control. Still a bit sour about the way Wayne Dalton handled everything and never followed through on the promises (i.e. iPhone support) and will (still, to this current date under their new name Home Run Holdings) not allow developers access (or provide APIs) for the product. Sold it...scrapped it and left everyone in the cold. Never updated the OS on the Mini just so the software still runs.... but it has been years now and time for things to be upgraded.

Anyway - have been looking for a replacement and all I find are heavy over complicated router type boxes (when all that is needed is a USB Stick and w/some Mac software (and ideally iOS)) and nearly every provider builds in subscription requirements for remote access.

Anyone familiar w/a Macintosh solution for controlling Z-Wave devices that can be operating on a home network w/o an internet requirement - please post.

Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 11:32:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 11:32:44 AM PST
WhittWicky says:
Kevin,

I am another Mac user looking for affordable Z-Wave controllers geared for residential and small business use. I am very disappointed this product ended up in what appears to be a lack of support mess.

Thanks for posting your comments.
Whittwicky

Posted on Jun 27, 2013 10:16:50 PM PDT
MB of USA says:
Do you know of any other non-paid systems other than this?

Posted on Dec 23, 2013 12:46:38 PM PST
I also would like to say thank you very much for the excellent review.

I notice you've got the trick of Amazon reviews - if you leave 4 or 5 star reviews, the vendors leave you alone and ratings represent a mostly honest assessment of your review. If you select 3 stars or worse, your amazon reputation will suffer greatly because it appears to be worthwhile for a significant number of people to find such reviews unhelpful. For example, a single one-star review (which customers noted had helped them avoid purchasing a product that was inappropriate to their needs) gave me nearly 1/2 of my negative ratings.

Beyond the very generous 4-star rating, your words are spot-on. I've been using Vera 2 with Schlage locks since 2011. I add devices, update PINs and do funadmental maintenance infrequently - maybe once every 6 months or a year. Like most users, I am certainly ABLE to understand virtually anything with some expenditure of effort, but that doesn't mean I want to spend hours poring over incomplete documentation and trying to refresh my memory of how to achieve something. The Vera 2 interface is so counter-intuitive that basic tasks done infrequently require re-learning. Most technical interfaces are structured so that, when you've done it once, you pick up basic cues from the user interface and are able to walk along without the pain of re-learning everything. Not so with Vera.

Each time I'm done re-learning and setting things up, I feel confident that I've learned and can do it again. But when I pick it up again 6 months or so later, it's impenetrable and again I have to dig for basic how-to help. Nothing is simple or intuitive.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2014 12:29:35 PM PDT
Chicago_33 says:
www.fibaro.com/us
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