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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for October 16 2022

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.

The latest version of HCA is 17.0.47 with new features!
Read about how you can download it.
I want to thank those who responded to my request for comments in last week’s message. Taking all into account of what I heard, here is the direction I will be taking. 

I’m going to reduce – but not eliminate – writing about HCA technical stuff as general education and instead concentrate on approaches to automation that you may find useful. When I do journey into the HCA world, I will be writing about helpful tips to make your use of HCA more efficient, tools for reporting and data gathering, ways to document or organize your design so when you come back to it after weeks or months you will have a clue as to what’s what. I’ll also spend time on self-help tools for resolving problems. 

In a similar manner, the changes to HCA that you may see over time will concentrate in similar areas: better organization and documentation tools, improved diagnostic tools, general changes to make HCA easier to use, and of course, bug fixes. 

FYI: HCA 17.0.48 will be released at the end of this month with bug fixes and some cool new stuff. Anyone who has 17.0.46 or later will be able to download this new version at no cost. Have an earlier version? Read a past weekly message on how to get it.


Let me say a few words about bug fixes: No software is bug free. Sometimes bugs are found but are not worth fixing. Perhaps the problem is in an area that is very little used, or a workaround exists. So don’t be surprised if you report something and the answer is that it may not be fixed. Finally, I do not expect any changes to HCA for support of new hardware or services.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s start on that “General Automation” info. One of the questions I get a lot goes like this” “My Insteon device had died. What should I replace it with?”. As I wrote before, I do not have any real facts about what the “New Insteon” world will be like. Maybe it will be cupcakes and bunnies and all device types available all the time at great prices. But maybe not. I for one wouldn’t take a chance.

If you are willing to move away from Insteon, I think that ZWave is a good place to go. With HCA and Hubitat you can continue with your existing Insteon and add new non-Insteon devices as well. Getting started with a new technology, it can be helpful to have a bit of guidance so you don't make a mistake. Here are some Z-Wave devices that are Hubitat supported – and so can be controlled by HCA programs and schedules – that users have recommended.

(As I have said on previous occasions, I provide links to Amazon because that is where I buy this sort of stuff. Some people like Amazon and some don’t. If you want to look elsewhere for purchasing, well, go for it but at least you will have a good picture and an approximate guide to pricing.)

Note: What is in italics are what HCA users have said when I asked for Hubitat compatible devices that they use and like.

I'm using Leviton DZ6HD dimmer wall switches and they've been very reliable. They are rated for 600W incandescent or 300W LED/ CFL loads.

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-DZ6HD-1BZ-Technology-Repeater-Extender/dp/B01N4F487U

I use the Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 MultiRelay ZEN16 which works great for contact closure detection and relay output and I have several Honeywell Home UltraPro Z-Wave Plus Smart Light Dimmers which work very well.
 
https://www.amazon.com/MultiRelay-ZEN16-Sprinklers-Fireplace-Repeater/dp/B0846DZJD8

https://www.amazon.com/UltraPro-QuickFit-SimpleWire-Assistant-39351/dp/B07B3LXZJ9
 
Here are two more zwave devices I have used for over a year and have performed flawlessly.
 
ZWave Outlet: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FM3NFCP
 
ZWave dimmable plughttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08TR134T9
 
Zooz in-wall switch replacement keypad that I have personally used:
https://www.amazon.com/Z-Wave-Network-Scene-Controller-Required/dp/B09B6S4TSL
 
Aeotec sensors I have personally used:
https://www.amazon.com/MultiSensor-Temperature-SmartStart-Compatible-Smartthings/dp/B08XHZP7NV
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GP3ZCYD
 
Also, on the Hubitat site is a compatibility list:
http://docs2.hubitat.com/en/devices/list-of-compatible-devices

Much of this was discussed on the old-style Hubitat discussion list I set up for HCA users. If you are interested in Hubitat and HCA or have a Hubitat, you should be on that list. Send me an email and I'll add your name. I'm adding names this way rather than an online way to signup to, as much as possible, eliminate any junk.
 
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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