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  • Alexa Mail Announcement

    Today we’ll be installing the Ring Alarm Outdoor Contact Sensor in my mailbox so that I can get universal announcements on my Amazon Echo devices anytime the mail is delivered. Demonstrating the Alexa Routine Let’s begin with a brief demonstration of what this routine does. Every time the door on my mailbox is opened, I get the following announcement on all six of my echo devices. Installing the Sensor The Ring Contact Sensor is provided with mounting plates. These mounting plates are supplied with double stick tape adhesive strips. Therefore, mounting the sensor in our mailbox is simple. Just peel and stick. I elected to use a couple of additional 3M Command Strips on the magnet side of the sensor which I attached to the mailbox door. This made the sensor more secure. Don't be too concerned if you cannot perfectly align the magnet side with the sensor. This sensor operates will with up to a one-inch gap between the magnet and sensor. Aeotec Range Extender 7 Before I show you how to write the Miss A routine, let me show you a device that you may use to extend the range of your z-wave signal. If you install your sensor too far from your SmartThings or Aeotec/SmartThings Hub, you may experience connectivity issues due to a weak z-wave signal. The z-wave signal can be easily extended up to 250 percent using the Aeotec Range Extender 7. When the testing the range extender, I found that I was able to extended the range of my signal outside the parameter of my home, from fourteen feet without the Aeotec range extender, to the distance of 29 feet with the extender. This added connectivity range provided me with the distance needed to reach the Ring Contact sensor in my mailbox. The Aeotec family of devices are specifically made for SmartThings so they are reliable and easy to add without the need for installing device handlers. The Aeotec sensor 7 is compatible with both z-wave and z-wave plus protocols and provides 50 percent faster z-wave communication. I'll leave a product link below. The Alexa Routine I’m now going to create a simple Miss A routine so that whenever mail is delivered, I will receive a universal announcement on all Echo devices. To do this, make sure your Miss A is a connected voice assistant in your SmartThings app. Open the Miss A app. click the dash lines on the bottom right corner. Click routines. Click the plus sign to add a routine. Enter a routine name "Mailbox”. Click next. Click when this happens. Choose smart home and you have to look for the mailbox sensor. Click 'Open' I want this routine to run anytime the gate opens, so I will leave this setting as is and click next. Next you must add an action. If you want some or all your echo devices to do the announcement, scroll down and choose messaging. Click send announcement and type in the statement that you want Miss A to announce. And when you click next. You will have an option to choose some or all devices to make the announcement. I trust you found today’s episode helpful. I appreciate your time and hopefully I made good use of it. Until my next episode, keep automating and God Bless. Aeotec Range Extender 7 Ring Alarm Outdoor Contact Sensor Ring Alarm Outdoor Contact Sensor (2 pack)

  • Ring Alarm Outdoor Contact Sensor

    Today I'll show you how to install the Ring Alarm outdoor contact sensor in the SmartThings App. I'm planning to mount this sensor in our utility shed which is situated in our backyard. I’ll also introduce you to the Aeotec range extender and demonstrate how it can increase your z-wave signal by 250 percent. Specifications Checking the specs for the Ring Alarm contact sensor, it is weather-resistant with an IP66 rating. The IP66 rating confirms that It is waterproof against hose-directed water and falling drops of rain or snow. It has an operating temperature range of negative 4 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is connected via Z-wave technology and is reported to have a 250 foot line of sight range. What’s in the Box When you open the box you’ll be surprised by the size of the sensor. The sensor’s hefty size is attributed to the fact that it is powered by two AA alkaline batteries. The sensor comes with adhesive backed mounting plates, screws and screw anchors. The two required alkaline batteries are also provided. According to ring the batteries can power the sensor for up to five years. Viewing the Sensor You can separate the sensor from its bracket mounts by sliding the sensor to the side. On the back of the main sensor you will find a reset hole and an orange setup button. You remove the rear cover to access the battery compartment. The battery compartment is opened by pushing on the two spring clips. Within the battery compartment you will find the two AA batteries. You will also see a weather sealing gasket on the battery compartment cover which is instrumental in keeping moisture out of the device. The magnet side of the sensor can also be separated from the mount by sliding it to the side. You can attach the provided mounts to a wooden surface for a more secured install. Sensor Setup To pair the sensor you will select the option to scan the QR code. When you pull the plastic battery isolator tab, the device will be flashing 3x slowly, and pause, then flash 3X again in a cycle. Press the orange button for 5 to 10 seconds and release. The device will start rapid flashing green to begin paring. After second or two the app will notify that set-up is successful. This sensor pairs with SmartThings as a generic z-wave device. So once the sensor is connected you’ll need to login to your SmartThings account at account.smartthings.com and manually set it within the My Devices list as a Z-Wave Plus Door/Window Sensor. Testing Sensor Connectivity Before installing your sensor you’ll want to test it to ensure that you have a good signal. Ring Alarm claims you can test connectivity by pressing the orange setup button. They state that a green light while pressing the button indicates a proper signal. This apparently works only with the Ring hub because I was not able to replicate the test method with the Samsung SmartThings hub. Mounting Options As for mounting options, the senor comes with double sided mounting tape, which could be used to mount on smooth surfaces which are not subject to the elements. You can also use the provided screws mount the device or you can use the slits provided on the mounting brackets to secure the sensor and magnet with metal or plastic straps. The strap mount give you the ability to install the sensor on metal gates or a frame if you prefer not to drill holes. Device Mounting Considerations As stated previously, my intent was to install the contact sensor on my utility shed doors. My Hub is in my Basement in the north side of home. The center of my shed doors is exactly 73 feet from the southwest corner of my home. Since the z-wave signal must go though several walls, I suspected that I may need a z-wave range extender. I therefore decided to purchase the Aeotec Range Extender 7. The Aeotec range extender is compatible with Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus and is reported to provide up to 250% further wireless range. More about my connectivity experience in a moment. Testing the Sensor’s Range When testing the range of the Ring Contact Senor absent the z-wave range extender I found that I could only get a reliable connection up to 14 feet from the southeast corner of my home. With the addition of the Aeotec range extender I was able to extend my signal to 49 feet. Unfortunately, this signal range is 24 feet short of the doors on my utility shed. As a result, I was unable to use the Ring contact sensors in this particular application. Summary of Results What are the takeaways from this venture? The Ring Alarm Outdoor Sensor can be paired with the SmartThings Hub. To be fully compatible with SmartThings, the sensor’s device type handler must be changed in your SmartThings account to a Z-Wave Plus Door/Window Sensor. The operational distance of the contact sensor can be enhanced by use of the Aeotec Range Extender. In my situation, I was able to extend my operational range by 250 percent. This increase in range confirms the performance specifications reported by Aeotec. Although you may get different results based on the location of you hub and strength of your z-wave network, I surmise that if you need to monitor an outside property or pool gate, and that gate is within 49 feet of your home, you should have successful installation using the Ring Outdoor sensor provided it’s z-wave signal is enhanced with the Aeotec Range Extender 7. I trust you found today’s episode helpful. Please leave a comment at the bottom and provide me some feedback. Amazon Product Links: 🛒- Aeotec Range Extender 7 🛒- Aeotec Range Extender 7 (2 pack) 🛒- Ring Alarm Outdoor Contact Sensor 🛒- Ring Alarm Outdoor Contact Sensor (2 pack)

  • SmartThings Rollout of the New Edge Drivers

    Effective Tuesday, April 26, SmartThings will begin rolling out the SmartThings Edge drivers in support of all newly on boarded Zigbee, Z-Wave, and LAN devices that connect to a SmartThings hub. These drivers run locally on the hub and deliver improved reliability and reduced latency compared to cloud-based device handlers know as Groovy DTHs. This transition marks the start of a gradual process that will include a small number of devices initially, but will expand to cover more devices over the coming months. The steps required to onboard, (or add) devices with Edge drivers is unchanged from the existing experience, and according to the Developers, you should not need additional steps to complete this process. SmartThings Developers have provided some answers to some anticipated questions in the FAQ section of the article (Edge Drivers FAQs). In the text that follows, I will provide you with a brief summary of the information contained in the FAQ section. To use Edge-enabled devices with SmartThings, you will need a compatible SmartThings hub with firmware version 000.038.000XX or greater. To determine your hub’s current firmware version, find your hub in the devices list and tap on the Hub’s tile. Next, tap on the ellipsis, (the three dots) in the upper right hand side of your screen. Then tap on information. Your hub’s firmware version is listed under your Hub’s Name. Your existing hub-connected devices (those which you previously installed) will not be transitioned to Edge drivers. Only devices that are being newly on boarded will have the support of the new Edge drivers. In other words, existing devices will not automatically transition to Edge drivers at this time. If you wish to convert your current devices to use Edge drivers, you must manually transition the device by using the following developer resources. You can access Developer Documentation for SmartThings Edge as well as sample code and list of current Edge drivers . The developers invite you to start a thread or reply to existing threads in the SmartThings Community with questions or feedback on building or using Edge drivers. To identify an Edge-enabled device in the SmartThings app, use the following steps. First open the SmartThings app and select the device. Then tap on the ellipsis at the top right. Edge-enabled devices will list the word “Driver” as an option in the selection menu. The following link, SmartThings Edge Driver List will provide the current list of SmartThings Edge drivers which you can use to determine if a device has a supported Edge driver. If you do not transition your devices to Edge drivers before Groovy support ends (date to be included in a future announcement) those devices will not communicate with the SmartThings platform until they have been re-on boarded or migrated to Edge drivers. If you log into your online SmartThings account and see that your edge-enabled device is showing as a cloud-connected device, be aware that this is due to a known bug with the Graph IDE tool. If your device has an Edge driver it will be running locally through the hub. SmartThings has stated that this current announcement is the first of many that will be made in upcoming months as they complete the conversion away from Groovy Device Type Handlers. I will be keeping you informed of these announcements as we continue our transition to the new locally based Edge Drivers. If you have not yet subscribed, take to opportunity to do this so that you can be informed as updates occur. I’d be interested in your thoughts about this transition. Take a moment to comment below. Until next time, keep automating and God Bless!

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  • Bud's Smart Home

    Bud's Smart Home will help you to become a home automation superstar! We provide easy and practical SmartThings and Amazon Alexa routines to help you automate your home to help make it more convenient, smart and secure. 4 Steps to an Awesome Smart Home Click for Aeotec Hub Information. Source SmartThings Compatible Devices Link to Bud's YouTube Channel by clicking here. Click for Aeotec Hub Information. 1/4

  • Contact Me | Buds Smart Home

    Contact Me or Say Hello Hi, my name is Bud! I help Smart Home beginners and established enthusiast find the best smart home devices for their SmartThings ecosystems. My site features compatible cameras, lights, thermostats, locks, and more. I enjoy adding and automating Alexa and SmartThings compatible devices around my home and want to show others how easy and simple it can be. ​ When subscribing to my YouTube Channel you ensure that you will never miss an instructional video. For smart home device collaborations, a product reviews or product inquiries, email me at budshomeautomations@gmail.com

  • Aeotec Devices | Bud's Smart Home

    Aeotec Devices for SmartThings

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