The complete Vera Home Automation Security System

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With the evolution of technology, we have finally reached a point where it is possible to have home automation features like having your thermostat turn up and door lock itself when you leave, as well as a complete home security system. This is a step-by-step guide on how to achieve such a system.

With the advent of home automation systems, we have finally reached a point where it is possible to have the best of both worlds; you can have home automation features like having your thermostat turn up and door lock itself when you leave, as well as a complete home security system that includes a monitoring service if desired. at a lower cost with more flexibility than a home security company or your Internet service provider. 

Unfortunately, home automation systems are a deep rabbit hole, and you can easily spend weeks or months trying to figure out how to get the things you want, and to get them working smoothly and reliably. 

This article is based on my personal experience, decisions I've made and assumes you are willing to simply follow my footsteps to save yourself the frustration and time it took me to figure this out for myself. This article is a work in progress, so please message me with feedback and suggestions.  I will be adding "LUUP" codes and sound files shortly.

I started with the “VeraSecure” controller by a company called Vera. I selected this company/controller because it uses common cross-vendor standards, does not require a consistent internet to function, there is no monthly charge to use (unless you opt for security monitoring) and this device supports several extra features beyond normal home automation designed specifically for home security.

Here is the list of functions I made the system do for me (or it can do as I configured it):
1. Every door and window protected with wireless sensors
2. Arm/Disarm of the system using a panel by the front door, or any smartphone/tablet from anywhere
3. Beep confirmation when disarming, extended beeping during the arming sequence, warning beeping when you walk in to an armed system
4. Loud siren when Alarm triggered
5. Internet monitoring with Cellular backup (if using the paid monitoring service)
6. Text messages and mobile alerts when triggered (this does NOT require a service)
7. Turn on or off various lights, thermostats throughout the house on a schedule, using the panel, automatically on timers, sensing arrival/departure, or manually from any mobile device

This is the equipment list I used:
1. One VeraSecure Home automation controller ($300 available from Vera or Amazon)
2. A 2gig DW-10 sensor for each opening you want to protect ($20 each at Amazon)
3. Vera does now have a package on their website called "Security complete" that can jumpstart you with the VeraSecure, a camera, motion sensor, and 2 door/window sensors for 350.00
4. One Aeon Labs 5 series doorbell ($60 at Amazon)
5. One used Android tablet you don't mind attaching to a wall (or $50 for a cheap new one)

Here are the steps to get up and running:

Set up the controller:

1. Activate the controller
      a. Create an account on getvera.com, and enter the serial number of your controller to attach it to your account
      b. Unpack, plug in power, and use the included Ethernet cable to connect the controller to one of the LAN ports of your existing Internet Router. Follow the startup wizard, answer the questions to get the controller up and running.

Configure the controller to act as an alarm:

2. Add the HouseModes plugin to the VeraSecure

    a. From the web interface of the controller, go to apps--install apps

    b. Find "HouseModes", and install.
3. Set a 45 second delay for tripping an alarm

    a. From dashboard, click on the little arrow to the right of "My Modes" 

    b. At the very bottom under "how much time to wait before changing mode?", set to 45 seconds before reporting a motion, door, window tripped.

    c. Under "What to do if an armed sensor trips?" in the home mode column, set the verasecure device to  "off."

Add Devices and Sensors:

4. Optional: Add any personally selected Zwave devices you want, following instructions.
5. Add the sounds to the doorbell speaker
    a. Create/find a 30 second long "Arming" beeping sequence sound
    b. Create/find a 30 second long "TripWarning" double-beep sound
    c. Create/find a short "confirmation" beep sound
    d. Attach the doorbell speaker to a computer using included usb cable, backup up the sound files on it, and replace them with your custom sounds.
6. Pair the doorbell device, document its device number, set it to play sounds once, test and document the sound file numbers

    a. To get the device number, go to the device in the vera, and under its advanced tab, note the number on the AltID line

    b. in the vera, go to apps--develop apps and paste your test luup code in the "test luup code" section and click go to test. Change the sound number as necessary to determine what sounds play
7. Add all of the sensors
    a. Use the "Add Veralink device" option to add each 2GIG device
    b. Document the TX number and location for each sensor, and save this in a chart just in case
    c. For pairing the DW10, after removing the battery tab, you must hold in the tamper button (or close  the case) to pair
    d. I recommend creating a room called "sensors" and adding each sensor to that "room"

Create the "scenes" to perform the arm/disarm/home actions:

8. Create a manual scene for Arming the system that executes a luup code
    a. Play the arming sound files
    b. Set HouseModes to away after a 20 second delay
9. Create a manual scene for Disarming the system that executes a luup code
    a. Play the disarming sound file
    b. Set HouseModes to home

10. Create a manual scene for Night mode that executes a luup code
    a. silently set HouseModes to Stay

11. Create a scene for entry while armed
    a. Add every sensor to the trigger as "if opened while armed"
    b. execute luup code to play that same long double beeping sound

Set up your entryway "control panel" tablet:

12. Set up a tablet, removing any unnecessary apps on it (the less the better)
    a. Connect it to the VeraSecure's wifi
    b. Install an app called ImperiHome (pro recommended)
    c. Set up a layout of at least 3 sections for arm, disarm, and status. optional: stay
      i.   Arm section: run the arm scene
      ii.  Disarm section: run the disarm scene
      iii. Status section: show HouseModes mode
    d. Passcode protect the disarm and status buttons, and then the configuration
    e. Double-stick tape the tablet to a wall near the entrance

13. Test, Test, Test!!

LUUP codes:

1. set the doorbell speaker to only play sounds one time (assumes the speaker is device ID 2):

luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:ZWaveNetwork1','SendData',{Node='2',Data='112 4 2 1 1'},1)

2. sample code to set the doorbell to play sound file number 5 (assumes the speaker is device ID 2):

luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:ZWaveNetwork1','SendData',{Node='2',Data='112 4 6 1 5'},1)

3. sample code for scene to arm the system in 20 seconds using sound file 5:

luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:ZWaveNetwork1','SendData',{Node='2',Data='112 4 6 1 5'},1)
luup.call_delay("arm", 20, "")
function arm (empty)
luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:HomeAutomationGateway1', 'SetHouseMode', { Mode=2 }, 0)

4. code for setting alarm to stay mode:

luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:HomeAutomationGateway1', 'SetHouseMode', { Mode=3 }, 0)

5. code for setting alarm to home mode (disarm):

luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:ZWaveNetwork1','SendData',{Node='9',Data='112 4 2 1 1'},1)
luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:ZWaveNetwork1','SendData',{Node='9',Data='112 4 6 1 18'},1)
luup.call_action('urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:HomeAutomationGateway1', 'SetHouseMode', { Mode=1 }, 0)

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