Category Archives: General Knowledge

Articles to help you better understand home automation.

Smart Home Lock Comparison

This page is a work in progress. As I test more locks, they will be added here. Thank you for your patience.

Make/Model  Protocol Install Complexity Proximity Unlock Motor Noise Power-fail Backup Hub Command Reliability Lock Status Report Reliability User Report to Hub Reliability
Alfred / DB1-C-BL Bluetooth Z-Wave High USB
Schlage  / BE468 & BE469 Z-Wave Med No High Key See Notes See Notes See Notes
Schlage  / BE468 & BE469  Zigbee Med No High Key High Med Low
 Yale / YRD156  Z-Wave Low No Low 9v High High High
Yale / YRD256 Z-Wave Low Yes* Med 9v High Med-High High


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Lock Testing and Error Rates


When it comes to testing smart locks, I focus on two aspects: 1) does the lock do what it’s told to do when commanded by the hub; and 2) does the lock tell the hub what happened (locked, unlocked, which user, etc.).

My goal is for these tests to be as automated as possible. The more automated the tests, the more cycles can be put on the lock. The more cycles, the more the consumer can rely on the information.

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Is Hubitat Elevation a Good Wink Hub 2 Alternative?

Update April 2020 – Wink employees have been active again on their Facebook and Twitter pages. I see that people are getting support. Wink also announced a mandatory firmware upgrade, which is encouraging. Unfortunately there’s not much other news available.

Wink has been silent. Very silent. According to one article, they already have. So if you’re thinking about moving from Wink to Hubitat, here’s a list of important things to keep in mind, including answers to some of the most popular questions.

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Disability Access w/ Amazon Echo Dot, SmartThings, Logitech Harmony Hub & Smart Home Automation

Use smart home automation to help people with disabilities. In this episode, we help Bob, a quadriplegic, simplify his life with the use of smart home tech. Being disabled shouldn’t mean that accessibility is sacrificed, not in today’s day and age. Today we discuss how a simple solution using the Samsung SmartThings hub 2.0, GE In-Wall Smart Switches, the Logitech Harmony Hub and an Amazon Echo Dot can be a low cost setup to improve accessibility for those in wheelchairs or assisted living situations.

Continue reading Disability Access w/ Amazon Echo Dot, SmartThings, Logitech Harmony Hub & Smart Home Automation

Why Do I Need an Amazon Echo Dot for My Smart Home

The Amazon Echo has been rapidly gaining in popularity and it’s hard to ignore all the buzz. If you’re like a lot of people that I talk to, you wondering if it’s the right thing for you. The fact is, if you don’t have an Echo, it may be a bit difficult to think about what you would do with one.

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Essential Getting Started Videos

Here are the essential videos you should watch to get started setting up your smart home.

1. The first thing you will need is a hub. There are many on the market today. I personally use the Wink Hub. Here is an overview of the Wink Hub from CNet.

2. Once you have your hub, you will need something to control. Here is my personal top 5 list of Smart Home devices.

3. To get your feet wet, I recommend that you start with a simple plugin module. They are the easiest to install. From there you will get plenty of ideas for what to do next. A look at two types of plugin modules can be found here.


4. And finally, here are more getting started videos:

History of Affordable Home Automation

In your search for affordable home automation, it’s a good idea to understand the evolution of the technology. Most people believe that home automation is expensive, or that achieving your smart home goals is financially out of reach. Both of these assumptions are false. This video explains the 40 year evolution of the affordable smart home components and demonstrates how easy it is to get started.