Vera Home Automation

For the past while I’ve been thinking about extending my ancient X-10 based home automation. It wasn’t clear to me what technology was most appropriate but earlier this week my mind was made up for me. micasaverde announced their Vera home automation server based upon Z-Wave RF technology.

This little device is essentially a router platform running Linux and built to control Z-wave devices. Combine this with a story I read over at Small Net Builder about how to connect X-10 and Z-Wave control systems and I think I may have found a way to keep what I have presently, but grow in capability.

What pushed me over the edge on this was the companies offer to sell the device at 50% off to a group of early adopters. They will get a device before it’s general release to help the company test their software against the widest possible range of Z-wave devices.

I’ve ordered one for myself. More news when I get one in-hand.

  • was not familiar with Vera. Since I did new construction I did everything wired. But I hear zigbee is reasonable. With HAI, the electrical devices (switches, dimmers, etc.) use UPB – kind of a packet network over common electrical – no special wiring. It seems to work well and much better than X10.

    I see a lot of Zigbee stuff with the thermostats.

    • Yes, we have a lot of old X-10 stuff in the house at the moment. Just light modules, switched and wireless keypads. I hope to replace all that and expand to include tstats, the garage door, driveway gate and front gate latch. Also, an intercom/SIP extension at the front gate.

      Because I must get this stuff figured out without inconveniencing my wife I’m starting the z-wave conversion with all the switches and garage door opener. Then once I have the programming understood I’ll progress into the house.

      Z-wave modules are considerably more expensive than X-10, but they communicate wirelessly using RF. Each has more on-board intelligence. Collectively they form a mesh network. Vera is the master controller that bridges z-wave and wifi space. It’s essentially a D-Link router with custom firmware. Vera is still in beta test and has only been available since October.

  • Joe

    This is a terrible product. It was not working properly, so I contacted their technical support. Their support service had to make changes to the firmware that fixed some of the problems. The system was still incredibly unreliable and the technical support said that there is nothing they can do about it. DO NOT BUY THIS ITEM, IT IS A WAST OF MONEY