Home Control Assistant Newsletter for May 15 2022

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.
Just a note to say that being on the HCA shutdown path, I’m trying to spend these weekly emails less on HCA topics and more on automation ideas, programming methods, and philosophy. But every few weeks there still will be some HCA info. This week is one of those.

Batteries, part 2

Last week I wrote about battery powered devices and how modern ones report a battery level indication. Thanks to some detective work by an advanced HCA user (thanks Chris!) a new low battery level detection program is now available. It has more features than the one in the library Hubitat package. I’ve posted it in the library with the name “Hubitat Battery” and you can download that. The old program will still be in the Hubitat folder. You can delete it and then start using the new one.

A few notes about this new package. First, in addition to checking only the battery level it also looks at the time the device last communicated. If the device goes dead due to the battery level, the last reported level could still be reported from the Hubitat hub, but the value is obviously incorrect.

Another change is that the low battery level to look for is configured as a tag on the program so you don’t need to modify the program itself. That value is used unless you also add the same tag to a device. In my own home I find that my sensors seem to report well up to 20% battery level. But one – that I buried inside my refrigerator - stops reporting at about 30%. For that device I add the “AlertBatteryLevel” tag and set its value to 30. This is all explained in the notes that come with the package.

Since I’m sure to be asked at least once, you get to the online library from the HCA “Design” ribbon category with the “Library Browse/Import” button. And for the second question I’m sure to get: Yes, you must have an HCA cloud account to download from the library. Having a cloud account helps fund the development of these library packages.

If you are using HCA with UPB devices and also use Google Assistant or Alexa for voice control of them, please drop me a note as there are some developments you may be interested in.
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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