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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Jan 23 2022

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
Sensors
This last week I had email discussions with two HCA users. While answering their questions on several topics, one user told me of their need for a temperature sensor and the other pointed me towards a new device that uses Bluetooth to report when a user’s mobile device was in range.

Both data items – temperature and if anyone is home – are important items for automation.

I just want to make sure that everyone knows about how I get that data in my own home. Many battery or USB powered sensors that are supported by Hubitat and Smart-Things contain a temperature sensor. I use the Aeotec sensors that give me temperature, light, humidity as well as motion reports. They have proven to be solid performers. Also, the SmartThings sensor primarily for door and window open/close detection contains a temperature sensor.

To tell if I’m home or not I use the “Arrival Sensors” supported by both Hubitat and SmartThings. These are small widgets that you can put on your key ring. When you leave home, the Hubitat or SmartThings hub realizes that the sensor isn’t in range anymore and sends a message to HCA. When you return, it sends a message in the same way saying you are back. While there have been times I have left home without my phone, I never leave home without my keys so I find this a very reliable way of handling this. I created HCA programs that require that both my and my partner’s arrival sensor be “not home” before it switches my home to “Away”. On return either of the sensors showing “present” is sufficient to switch my home mode back to “at home”. I have had no problems with false triggering.

I've been told by other users that some SmartThings devices are getting had to find for purchase. I have no insight into that unfortunately. But here are some references so you can read more about them if you want.

Arrival Sensor
https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-SmartThings-F-ARR-US-2-Arrival-Sensor/dp/B00GM7V8I8

AeoTec Sensor
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0151Z8ZQY

Hubitat
https://www.amazon.com/Hubitat-Elevation-Home-Automation-Hub/dp/B07D19VVTX

Documentation
I have received a number of requests to create zip files of all the HCA documentation so users can download it in preparation for the ”end times”. I have done that and if you scroll down near the bottom of these pages there are links to download those zip files – the user guide plus appendixes, technical notes, and getting-started guides.

https://www.homecontrolassistant.com/user-guide.php
https://www.homecontrolassistant.com/tech-notes.php
 
A few weeks back I released an implementation of support for the Shelly series of Wi-Fi devices. If you are working with these device types, I really would like you to send me an email and tell me how it goes. I am considering making some major improvements but want to gauge how much they are being used.
If you are using a version of HCA prior to version 17, you may have questions about the wisdom of upgrading to version 17 given the future of HCA. Here is something to consider:

The support policy for older HCA versions has been changed
 as I can no longer devote time to past version users. Support will only be available for HCA 17 users.

If you are on version 16 or earlier and want to continue using the cloud features and want to be assured that if you have a question that it gets answered, it is indeed time to upgrade.

HCA is fully operational for several more years so the update cost, spread out over that time, is very little. Knowing support is available when you need it is worth it.
Upgrade to HCA 17
Anyone who is using Hubitat with HCA – not SmartThings – please drop me a note as I would like to add you to a discussion list for those users. I have some Hubitat ideas that I would like to “kick around” and it would help to have a group of users who have experience with Hubitat. Please just send a note to the regular support address saying you would like to be added to that discussion list.
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