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  1. nrc

    How Does Iris Stack Up To The Competition

    There is a thread over on the "Other Devices" forum where a few people have talked about their experience with Abode. I've switched to Abode with only my cameras and thermostat left on IRIS. Eventually I'll move those as well. I consider Abode to be much better than IRIS for security but not quite as good for home automation. Much of that gap on home automation can be closed through Nest and IFTTT integration. I liked the single interface that IRIS provided but for non-critical automations IFTTT integration is a perfectly acceptable solution that opens up a wider array of options. Abode has offline processing which means that alarms trigger even if their service is offline, something IRIS foolishly discarded in v2. They also notify you when updates are available and let you decide when to apply them. During my six months with Abode they've had one significant outage of about four hours. Their communication with customers during that time was much better than I experienced when IRIS was having problems. In my experience device connectivity on Abode has been much more solid and consistent. Z-wave and Zigbee sensors have all worked without disconnects or fiddling with repeaters. Abode has its own proprietary 433Mhz protocol for some of their in-house sensors which gives excellent range without repeaters for most cases. Abode hardware is generally more expensive than their IRIS equivalents but the free service seems less restricted and you can get cellular backup for $8 a month. It comes with a cellular radio built in so there's no modem that you need to add-on. Abode is a small start-up company so there's some risk involved but overall I'm very happy with it. I feel like they "get" security where Lowe's actions with v2 tell me that they don't.
  2. nrc


    Agreed that battery status would be a nice addition for Abode. While they have some work to do on direct integration with some components the IFTTT integration works very well for non-critical automation and integration with other components. I'll be using IFTTT to integrate with a new thermostat since I'm not a Nest fan. My experience has been that range is better on Abode. Everything I've connected has been rock solid without random disconnects that sometimes occur on Iris. I feel like Abode is better for security and still behind on automation. I expect they'll surpass Iris in automation soon enough. I've been very impressed with their responsiveness in fixing issues. Twice now I've posted notes about bugs with clear instructions on how to reproduce them - in both cases they were fixed within a couple of weeks.
  3. nrc


    Last weekend I finally swapped out all of my security sensors and keypad and moved my security functions over to Abode. I was able to repair my GE switches, smoke detectors, and Yale lock under Abode as well. One thing I've noticed about Abode is that I seem to have a lot fewer connection problems. Devices stay connected. Abode automations still haven't caught up with IRIS in some respects but it's good enough in most of them. I still have a few IRIS automations running. Abode door/window sensors aren't as weatherproof so I'm awaiting on a promised outdoor gate sensor to replace a couple of those. Motion sensors cost twice as much so a few automations I did because I could get $20 motion detectors will have to wait. My cameras are still running on IRIS but when I'll probably move them over to Zoneminder and then eventually replace them with something else.
  4. nrc


    Abode is having a holiday sale on starter kits, service, and accessories. Figures. I just ordered some additional accessories earlier this week. Abode did an update this month that finally added the automation feature that I need to replace IRIS for the bulk of my home automation and security. Automations can now trigger on motion detectors and a new occupancy sensor. Abode automations still lag IRIS but security features are rock solid and connecting to other systems both through direct integration (Nest, Alexa) and IFTTT opens up a lot of possibilities.
  5. nrc

    Using Contact Sensors Outside

    I've had two v1 contact sensors outside in Ohio weather for three years and so far I've only had one fail. I used outdoor grade double-side tape to attach the sensor and magnet each to short strip of 1/4 inch thick project board. Then I screw the project board to gate - sensor on the post, magnet on the gate. This arrangement allows me to remove or reposition the sensor with no problem. Originally I would wrap the sensor with waterproof tape to try to seal it better. The result was condensation build-up in the sensor which killed it. The v1 sensors do have a little gasket around the seam so since then I've just used them without the tape and they've been fine. Battery levels do plunge in very cold weather. Now and then I'll get a disconnect as a result but they normally recover.
  6. nrc

    Poking the Bear - Communication

    With Abode they make the update available and you have to actively accept the update before it's installed. To me this is a better way to handle it. Even with communication you can't be sure that an installation won't happen at a bad time.
  7. I have two actions to turn off my outside security lights (sunrise and again at 9:30 in case it doesn't work) and neither of them appeared to have run this morning. These evening I noticed that my CT101 was not showing under climate although it does show in devices.
  8. nrc

    Iris downgraded

    Agree completely. I'm half way converted to an Abode system. They should finally reach rough parity on automation this month and then I can just leave IRIS running in free mode and replace the remaining pieces over time. However, smoking your IRIS system is not recommended.
  9. nrc

    New firmware is rolling out

    All but one of my cameras was disconnected after the update. I reset the hub and they all came back in but that was 14 hours without video.
  10. nrc


    Progress with Abode continues but there are still a few deal breakers preventing me from switching completely. They have a new multi-sensor coming that may do the trick. Still no official forum, but someone pointed me to a reddit thingy for Abode which has been helpful:
  11. nrc

    Cortana, Google Home and IFTTT

    I've been tinkering with IFTTT on my Abode system. It's a great feature for connectivity between disparate systems. I still think it's important to have tight integration for important safety and security features.
  12. nrc

    Smart Plug vs Smart Bulb?

    Depending on the bulb they can be had for about half the price of the smart plugs. Combined with the long life of LEDs I think that makes cost is about a wash. To me, the important thing is the use case. Bulbs are great in uses where you can just leave them powered and let automation control their on/off state. They're not as convenient where you want to be able to manually switch them on and off. For that use case a smart plug with an on/off toggle switch is better.
  13. nrc


    I returned a couple of IRIS v1 contact switches yesterday so I used the money to get a v2 motion to see what it would do. It pairs as a thermometer with no functionality or automation available.
  14. nrc


    I got an Abode starter kit to play with and so far it's a mixed bag. I hope they're not depending on accessory device sales for their business model. They're larger than the competition and they're not going to win any industrial design competitions. The motion camera is a clever bit of kit but they're really large and not particularly attractive. They're probably not quite as obnoxious for people replacing old fashioned alarm systems. Automation has a couple of really crippling problems right now. The first is that motion detectors (at least the one I got with the kit) cannot trigger automations at all. That's crazy. They say that they have a motion detector coming to trigger automations so hopefully that means any motion detector will be able to trigger them. The second issue is that you can't schedule a time for the automation to be active. So if you want the lights to come on when a door opens then they'll come on day or night. Security functions seem much more complete. It's tough to test thoroughly since I'm not replacing my IRIS until they can handle automation and that will require more motion detectors. Has anyone tried to pair an v2 IRIS motion detector with Abode? The web interface is a welcome relief from the wrong turn that IRIS took toward all mobile devices. IFTTT integration is a great feature and they're all-in on it where IRIS seems intent on maintaining a closed system. That, along with their deep Nest integration suggests to me that they're on the right track even if they're missing some pieces right now.
  15. nrc

    The Grass Wasn't Greener

    Yeah, this is one reason I'm wary of all this "grass is greener" talk. My requirements seem to be more demanding than a lot of people's. If they're happy to go from one system that lacks local processing to another with "sorta sometimes kinda" local processing and no cellular backup that's fine for them. I'm testing Abode and while I think they're on the right track their automation capabilities are still rudimentary at best. I'll talk more about that in the other devices Abode thread when I get some time.