My 9 month personal review of Using a Homey - Spoiler alert -> Disapointed

Too bad it does not work for you. The Z-wave issue is really weird, as Z-wave makes a mesh network so no need to place your Homey in the center.
I don’t recognize most of the issues you are mentioning.

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I have Homey on my third floor, behind my wedding photo🤫. Range is not a real problem here. Have a few smart plugs, only the devices in the garage(fire door in between) and outside my house give sometimes problems. That’s annoying. At this moment I am installing a new wall outlet next to that door so zigbee and zwave can go right through. A tip from Sonos look into which channel Zigbee is on and change your devices as much as you can to another channel, for me Homey Zigbee is channel 11 and I experimentend with this in mind.

I made some flows restarting homey every week automatically and all the apps every day and the Sonos App every Three hours. Works fine for me. Dont’t have any problems since that moment. But I do not update anything unless there is no other option.

I only have a problem with aqara, have to pair it about three times, only the vibration sensor did not succeed and that is annoying.

I agrea. Would be nice. I would love to mod my Homey. But at this point I haven’t the guts to do this by myself.

This is personal. I hate computers and for me the mobile possibility works pretty good. Despite the crashes for the larger flows.

Overall we have a saying here in Friesland As ut net ken so as ut mut, dan mut ut mar so as it ken When is doesn’t work the way you want, you have to do it as it is possible.

Homey is leading for me as for buying. I have sold the devices that do not work or work good with homey and replaced them with devices that work with Honey. Also my Logitech Harmony Hub contributes to those new and older devices that don’t work with Homey, but do with Harmony, best of both worlds as I can import those Harmony devices inHomey

Hope you get a bit feeling how it could work for you. Also other controllers do have other problems. Some Fibaro, Vera users adore Homey, but it is also the other way around, some hate Homey. I am taking the middle of the road.

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Out from what you are describing I have the feeling you dont know the possibilities in Homey to the full extent. Like making flows to restart crashed apps etc, I have over 200 units connected with over 400 flows, I dont have much bugs or problems, if I have them it`s my own configuration that is the limitation! What I would say is that Homey requires a bit more knowledge and interest than other hubs compared! If you know the possibilities and how to exploit them Homey is just genious! There are still issues I would adress, like network connection (miss the RJ45), an other related stuff!

What I read from your post is that you probably should go for Samsung smartthings!

The Homey Pro is earning my a lot of savings, I should actually send a present to the Homey staff!

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Just curious how it can be that you waited 9 months to join this community and didn’t ask your questions a lot earlier. How can it be that you didn’t know about the web based flow page, because it is
widely discussed here. Do you even know there is a developer page where you can see your Z-Wave and Zigbee network and their meshes that can be at aid with troubleshooting?
So, research i believe, but then it looks like you missed a lot on this community.

Furthermore, your story is very shallow and general. You talk in general about trouble, “a device” or “some devices”, not specifying if it is Zigbee, Z-wave, 433, 868. You don’t mention the firmware version you’re on and which apps you have etc etc. This makes it nearly impossible to interpret what is going wrong and help you to solve things.

So, i understand what you say, but i think a lot of your problems can very likely be solved with some understanding how your situation really is and a lot of help from here.

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First of all, I am NOT an enthusiast. Homey is an expensive gadget and you have the right to expect a lot. That being said, I am using my Homey to control a number of Philips Hue lights along with Nexa switches and sensors as well as old fashioned X10, my home entertainment system including an Onkyo receiver and a Harmony Hub , a Danalock, my Tesla. It’s linked to both Google Assistant and IFTTT. To be honest, I don’t believe there is a more versatile device out there. The open architecture where anyone can write add-ons benefits a lot to that but it also adds vulnerabilities. Maybe you have to experiment some with different plugins, as I have. Don’t give it up just yet. :slightly_smiling_face:

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for the range issue did you see this mod ? may be it helps ? Homey antenna mod

Marcel, would you share your restart scripts with us? I was looking for something like that :blush:

So, I do not agree with most of your points but some are valid. A lot of your points are lack of research or lack of understanding. I’m sorry to put it like that, but there is no way around it. The web flow option has been released the week after the release of Homey 2.0. If you missed that, you never read an annoucement email, read the homey blog or read the community forums. That’s basic research. If you are disappointed, look in the mirror because a lot of that is of your own doing, or lack there of.

Some plugins or apps are not stable. But a lot of those are spare time projects of people who dedicate their free time to create something others may use. The quality varies and some projects are more succesful than others. This is the nature of community projects. Some are better than others. And sometimes an app is made by the Athom boys and ihas a bug. But it may come as a surprise to you, but even they are human and to err is human. Important to know is that bugs are fixed and most of them are quite rapidly.

With regards to range, I’m happy to report that my homey is situated next to a window on the side of my livingroom on ground level and it reaches sensors in our bathroom on the first floor, through a concrete construction, on the far end of our house. It’s about 12 meters to the side and 4 meters up. So 1.5 meters, erm no.

I do agree with Homey crashes or memory leaks. Roughly after a week, Homey tends to get “tired”. We have a couple of scene masters here, one button of each I dedicated to rebooting Homey. If we notice Homey is getting sleepy, we push the button and it reboots. Obviously this should be fixed but for now we find this an acceptable workaround.

I do dare you to find a better solution than Homey to steer the same variety of smart home hardware with the same out-of-the-box experience. I have yet to find it. I owned a HomeWizard before and let me tell you, Homey is far more versatile.

Homey isn’t flawless, we can all agree on that. But it is one of the best allround solutions out there. You may be disappointed, but a significant part of that is your own doing and there rest is something you have to learn to live with, unless you want to lock-in to a vendor-specific solution that is less flexible and more expensive.

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I’m surprised so few come to these sort of conclusions. Objectively speaking, the Homey is a real disappointment. Subjectively speaking, it is alright compared to its competitors, as Hubitat is a nightmare of its own. I just think it is an absolute shame the amount of wasted potential lies in this product.

Myself, I spent way too much time, tinkering with way too many different home automation systems. To be honest, it just simply is not worth it, unless you like wasting a metric shit ton of time getting little things to work.

My recommendation to people will usually be to get really simple things, like Philips Hue, and just work with that. If you want to connect it somehow, just use HomeKit - to be fair, it just works…

My own system at home that I ended up with after wasting way too much time, is a mix of Home Assistant, deCONZ and HomeBridge.

To be honest, no one should waste their valuable time on something like Home Assistant - it is never going to be worth a damn. deCONZ is alright, as it is extremely simple to set up, and enables me to share a ZigBee mesh between Xiaomi, Philips and Osram devices easily. But damn, it is absolutely mind blowing how slow development is, and absolutely essential features are pushed for not days, not weeks but months or years. HomeBridge really, to me, is the most valuable tool to date, and its been around forever.

Question is really, when is Home Automation going to mature even a little bit, so that it actually makes sense to “use”?

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A little bit off topic, but here is my restart flow

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Spend several years with Fibaro, had chance to use Vera and now Im with Homey. Yes, you need to invest time into all those systems to make them work as they supposed to and learn the basics. Its like with wifi. You can just plug and play the router from your ISP and use it with sometimes lower speeds, or learn how to tune the settings to make it more stable and fast (e.g. correct channel setting).
Its the same with all automation systems. First you need to understand how to control and setup them, than you should also understand how zwave/zigbee network works and than how to optimize it, to get max out of it.
As mentioned, moved from Fibaro to Homey with almost 100 devices and so far I do not regret this step. Did the antena mod to Homey, as the range issue was obvious problem (a lot of zwave routing devices used). But except if that, 100% of my previous scenes (flows) from fibaro works and more reliable then on fibaro (e.g. rain delay and weather forecast was pain in fibaro) and many new flows in place that was too complex to make on fibaro.
Definitely I would be greatful if someone give me a hint of better system with more details. Im willing to try it, its my hobby.

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That is exactly it, you hit the nail on the head. The whole home automation arena is still in its infant years. There are a million products that are all incompatible with eachother. Zigbee, Zwave, WiFi, 433mhz, 866mhz Even within the same technology stuff does not work together. Controllers are even worse. Fibaro is only compatible with itself, Vera has its own niche. All kinds of open source and freeware stuff that requires the user to be a full fledged programmer in order to make something more difficult than “turn on a light” work.

What I think the problem is? Homey is being sold as the low maintenance low effort easy to make work home automation solution. And considering where the rest is, it’s true. But if you are just starting with this smart home stuff, it may still feel like you need to understand Pythagoras’ brain before you can make something do what you want.

And that is exactly it. Building a smart home is not simple, unless you stick with the low effort stuff like connecting your Hue to your homekit to tell Siri to turn on the light. If you want something more, Homey offers this, but it takes a hell of a lot more time and effort. And this is the part nobody is talking about. And yes, Homey isn’t flawless, but here’s an annoucement: no product out there is!

Bottom line: Home Automation is still in its infant years. If you want to go for it, be prepared to waste a lot of time and effort. Homey brings some light in the darknes, but it is not the silver bullet. You still need to do a lot of work yourself.

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Totally agrea. All the effort and time is often frustrating. Getting it to work the way you want is even more frustrating. But at the end when it works, it feels really good. But you have to be a geek, nerd, weirdo or maybe just a hobbyist. You may choose what you are🤓

Homey is not perfect. Far from, but maybe, just maybe one of the best (affordable) controllers at this moment.

I completely agree.

The funny thing you mention is what people do not talk about. The whole home automation “scene” is way too full of things that no one talks about really. It’s pretty off-topic but…

I keep seeing people that recommend Home Assistant, because it is free, and argues that stuff like Homey is way too expensive. I however agree with Marcle_Ubels that Homey is actually very affordable, if it did everything we hoped it would. In my humble opinion, Home Assistant is by far the most expensive solution out there. The price of purchase of these cheap electronic devices are really negligible in my opinion - what matters are the stupid amounts of your valuable free time you need to invest for a very limited benefit. Nobody really talks about this, but I must assume that I am not the only one that thinks a few hundred EUR matters very little to my whole “life economy” in comparison to spending hundreds of hours.

Also, go basically anywhere and ask a question about what network equipment you need, and you will see a ton of people recommend you UniFi. I do not understand why and how it has ended there. I owned quite a few Ubiquiti products for example, and I personally cannot see why I would recommend it to anyone. I mean, it is not all bad, and does the job, but it isn’t that great. Really the quality of the products is incredibly bad and their customer service is non-existent. I would recommend any “normal” user to go with something a lot more simple, and for professional uses go with Cisco or Aruba or similar. So UniFi is in a funny middle-space, where I cannot really see many use-cases where it would be ideal. I have no idea why it is always being recommended - especially for people that no nothing about networking and have extremely basic needs.

Completely agree with the above: Home automation is not yet for everyone. Maybe Athom gives the wrong impression that it is. It is however slowly becoming more usable for enthousiasts, like myself.

What I do not understand is the cost issue. If you are a little bit serious in automating, all the sensors, lamps, motors, etc that you use (and buy) are IMHO way more expensive than the controller itself.

Off topic reply to Pandaym: I am one of those Unifi enthousiasts :slight_smile: That stuff just works and the apps and software are (my opinion) much more usable for the average enthousiast-level user. But hey, we can’t all fancy the same :slight_smile:

Smart Home stuff just isn’t there yet. One could argue, it may offer smart services but the stuff itself isn’t smart at all. Every vendor and dev group is preaching to their own choir, developing their own ‘smart’ way of working which in the end isn’t smart at all.

I previously owned a Home Wizard (actually I still do, anyone interested? :slight_smile: ). That thing had the same promise Homey has, but 3 years earlier. And it worked the same way Homey does: with hurdles and bumps. Software updates that tip earlier carefully built flows, stuff that just refuses to work, range issues, etcetera. On the other hand, some parts worked wonderfully. The thermostat controller they sell saved me hundreds of euros. The geo fencing worked like a charm (hint, Homey folks). They already had wifi cam integration way before the rest was even thinking about it, way before Ring Doorbell even came on. But it only properly did 433mhz and 866mhz and Hue integration. No Zwave, no Zigbee. And a lot of the nice stuff is Zwave. And then development stopped. No updates for more than 1 1/2 years. In fact, I think they are slowly picking it up again but it still has not had major updates for ages. Which is why I turned to Homey.

With regards to Unifi, I have to admit I’m one of the enthousiasts that are very happy to own en extensive Unifi infra. But as you point out correctly, it is not for the average John Doe who just wants internet. Unifi fills a gap for the enthousiast like me, who do not want to spend thousands of euros on an enterprise wireless infrastructure but do want that functionality. Unifi gives you that for about 1/4 of what you pay for Cisco or Aruba.

Is it the silver bullet? No it isn’t. The switches are dumb, the firmware updates are frequent and the controller software really needs to be running all the time, even if they tell you it does not. But it is so much better than all the other solutions out there that promise homewide wireless but really don’t.

It’s kind of like with Homey. It’s not the most fanciest solution, but if you know what you are doing, it can provide exactly what you want. And it is improved upon constantly.

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I Feel absolutely the same way. And I have some reference. I did use a stick with Domoticz and now for a couple of years, I’ve been using HC2 from Fibaro. Actually never any range issues at all. I have battery powered sensors and Neo+Fibaro wallplugs through the house. Never any issue and it never made me want to look into details about the mesh network, it just worked.

With Homey, which potentially is/was great for me, all Im doing is looking into these things. Not only for zWave, but also for Zigbee. And the logical answer seems “it is something in your house”. That answer I would have accepted if the HC2 and Domoticz with stick would have had the same issues, which they didnt.

So I dont know what it is. Either a faulty Homey, or just a crappy product. I really dont know. I could order another Homey and go through all the pain of adding the devices again(which really is annoying with the wall (double) switches. And it shouldnt be this hard. I do know HA is a struggle. And I have struggled a lot, as well with HC2 and Domoticz, but this range thing is another level…

That is my experience…

Just visit Fibaro forums and search for dead nodes / dead devices. Also wishes of Fibaro users to have at least some view on how the mesh is build in case of troubleshooting. Every coin has 2 sides. I had HC2 before Homey and yes, range was much better. However after antenna mod, I don’t have single issue with range.

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You can imagine that an antenna mod is something I may want to do on a more bleeding edge device. 10 dollar chinese stuff which has no support. But I feel that a consumer product like Homey should not need that. I will have a look at it though, but it should not be this way.

Same for zigbee… the temperature sensors of Xiaomi/Aqara… dont get updates for over 20 hours sometimes, but the temp did change significantly. I have routers connected to the homey(Aqara E27 bulbs) but it just does not take a route over the bulbs. Im perfectly ok with them not meshing and deciding the direct route is the best. But I think it is quite obvious that 20 hours with no update for a temperature sensor, is beyond discussion. So the thing should just use the routers which are spreaded well between the homey and the sensors.

Im frustrated, yes. Not because of the 300 euros, or whatever this thing may have costed me. Im just disappointed that it has huge potential for the average (not IT) person. But it lacks in the range/meshing capabilities. Whether its the software or the hardware… it just does not work.

It is. However, if it is the sensor or Homey that causes it, is not…