I understand I might get some grief for this post, but I just wanted to share my experiences with Homey and the Fibaro Home Center 2 in comparison. Maybe I’m not the only one with the problems listed, or I just might have a homey that seems to be a bit moody sometimes (…well, most of the time).
I bought homey because I thought “WOW! This thing supports everything that I have in my house! Brilliant!” and ordered it about 1 1/2 years ago. Now these are the devices that I have in my house:
- Bosch / Siemens Home Connect Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Oven, Stove, and Coffee machine
- Fibaro Dimmer 2, Double Switch 2, Motion Sensors
- Aeotec Multisensor 6
- TADO Heating
- Spirit Z Thermostats
- RING Doorbell
Now the major problem is the communication in the zwave network. I notice delays when a flow is suppose to run, or that it just doesn’t do what it is suppose to do. I doesn’t matter where I place homey, the problems keep persisting.
Example: A simple flow to turn on the lights in the hallway when motion is detected. During the day the lights only turn on below a certain LUX level, and at night the lights are suppose to turn on but only dim to 20% so that I am not blinded when I have to go to the bathroom at night. A countdown is also started so the lights turn back off. How hard can it be?
Obviously very hard! The flow worked like a charm in homey v1.* but as of v2 I started having some major issues. Sympton 1) The lights just don’t turn on. I see that the motion sensor has been triggered, and in the app I see that homey knows the sensor has been triggered, but no lights. If I start the flow manually, then everything works like it should. This symptom affects 2 dimmers built in the house. Sympton 2) IF the flow works, and the lights are turned on by homey then I have no “dim on” or “dim off” effect. When you turn on lights that are connected to the fibaro dimmer, then they don’t just turn on or off, they dim on and off which looks very elegant and I have come to like this effect. After the update to 2.0 the dimmers just turned on the lights without the elegant dim on and dim off function. I suspect the poor zwave communication is at fault or plays a role in this.
Issue 2: Spirit Z Wave thermostats.
The communication just doesn’t work reliably. Period. Full Stop. I had a flow set up that when TADO turns off the heating, that all thermostats should turn off. I have a total of 8 thermostats in my house and more than once I walked into a cold room because it never turned back on, or I noticed that they were still on although the should be off. This isn’t just one thermostat that doesn’t react properly, but 3 or 4 that don’t do what they are told by homey.
Issue 3: Bosch Home Connect
Absolutely no use for this app in homey. I wanted to create a flow that when a certain motion sensor is triggered in the morning then the coffee machine should turn on so that the rinse cycle that is done when you turn it on has been completed once I get to the kitchen. This is not possible because homey doesn’t have the ability to turn on the coffee machine. BUT I could tell homey to make me a cup of coffee once the machine is turned on…
Issue 4: Google Home and Homey
Now this has gotten better since the last update where Homey works with google home. But another issue: I say the command in the kitchen “turn on the lights” and sometimes it works perfect and turns on the lights in the kitchen. Other times it turns on all the lights in the house. Also: When I say “turn off all the lights” then all the lights in the house are turned off, but google then says “Sorry. There was an error from 31 devices”
Issue 4: Cannot communicate with homey
I have this problem a lot with the app that when I first start it, I get this error message. Then when I try to connect again it works.
Now there are pros and cons to each device. The Fibaro system is not zwave plus, and it doesn’t have the “flows” or the extra apps such as the timer etc. However, I have noticed that everything that I could do with homey, I could get the end result with Fibaro just as well. PLUS Fibaro has the following things that homey just doesn’t have:
- A nice webpage to manage your house / “flows” / system
- an awesome Tablet app! I have a 10 inch POE Tablet mounted in the hallway with the Fibaro tablet app running on it and I can manage my entire house with this thing. And since this app was created for this purpose it looks gorgeous! Homey unfortunately just doesn’t have anything at all which can be used here
- BACKUPS!!! I can actually back everything up to the cloud, or a usb stick in the device
- It. Just. Works. All the problems that you read above are GONE. The dimmers do what they are suppose to do, the Spirit Z thermostats all react instantly when a command is sent and the Home Center 2 is located in my basement. I had communication problems with the spirit z even when Homey was right next to the device!
I wish Athom would really pull through with homey since it really is a great idea. The overall feel of it though is that it might work most of the time, but for me it’s just too buggy. For a system like this to really be an alternative then there are some things that need to be sorted out, but which never will. For example Fibaro and Aeotec are two of the biggest zwave device makers on the market. These devices need to run flawlessly! There needs to be support for ALL of their devices and not just a couple. Firmware updates via Homey would also be necessary, but that isn’t Athoms fault or problem since Fibaro and Aeotec would have to play nice as well, which they wont. This also leads me to believe that zwave might not be a long term solution since these hurdles will never really be removed.
Thanks homey for some interesting times and getting me addicted to making a smart home. I am truly sorry that our ways must part, but for a task of this magnitude I need something I can depend on.