Guides and Reviews

Review : MCO Home Wifi Edition

Posted by Mike Lim

MCO Home switches are now available in Wifi edition! As the sole distributor for MCO Home Z-Wave switches, we have brought in limited quantities of the good old MCO Home switches, except that it will work with your existing wifi router directly!

What does this mean? This would mean that you no longer require a smart home hub if you like to control your lights, water heater, curtains and blinds (wifi version of curtain or blinds switches will be released in year 2019) with your mobile phone. In this era of voice control, the wifi version of the switches also work with your Google Assistant, Alexa, IFTTT and TMall Genie. Yes you can voice control in chinese with TMall Genie!!!

Here's the demo video of voice control with both Alexa and Google Home.

 

You can also create simple scene to achieve 2 way, 3 way switching. i.e if your walkway lights are controlled from switches from 2 ends of the walkway, you can also configure the wifi switches at the 2 ends to control the same set of lights.

This is a demo video of 2 way switching. You can even make one button turn on many other buttons with scene and it works blazing fast with a good wifi connection.

 

Is the Z-Wave version of the MCO Home switches or even hubs like Homey and SmartThings still relevant? We recognise that the Wifi version of the switch and the Z-Wave version serves 2 different segment of markets.

The Wifi version are for users who want a really simple setup and are happy with remote control of their house with mobile and voice assistant but are less interested in sensors and integrations to other devices. These users are generally ok with one mobile app for different category of devices. They might also control other devices via their voice assistant. We probably call these voice controlled home.

The Z-Wave version will be for users who like to have a central controller that consolidates every aspect of their house into a single mobile app, i.e Homey app and still use voice commands to control their home. These users also prefer their smart home to be allowing their hub to run scenes and that can work across multiple devices such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, IR and RF. On top of integrations, these homes are also managed by sensors which will do stuff like lower the balcony blinds when raining, turning off everything when all users leave the house or having their smart lock identify which users are unlocking the door. We still view these as true smart homes.

All these being said, the Wifi MCO Home switches open another possibility for users who wants a more cost effective voice controlled home without the need to purchase a hub. As part of the product launch, we will be offering attractive packages (including installation). Do contact us at info@automate.asia.

Automate Asia Team

 

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MCO Home switches are now available in Wifi edition! As the sole distributor for MCO Home Z-Wave switches, we have brought in limited quantities of the good old MCO Home switches, except that it will work with your existing wifi router directly!

What does this mean? This would mean that you no longer require a smart home hub if you like to control your lights, water heater, curtains and blinds (wifi version of curtain or blinds switches will be released in year 2019) with your mobile phone. In this era of voice control, the wifi version of the switches also work with your Google Assistant, Alexa, IFTTT and TMall Genie. Yes you can voice control in chinese with TMall Genie!!!

Here's the demo video of voice control with both Alexa and Google Home.

 

You can also create simple scene to achieve 2 way, 3 way switching. i.e if your walkway lights are controlled from switches from 2 ends of the walkway, you can also configure the wifi switches at the 2 ends to control the same set of lights.

This is a demo video of 2 way switching. You can even make one button turn on many other buttons with scene and it works blazing fast with a good wifi connection.

 

Is the Z-Wave version of the MCO Home switches or even hubs like Homey and SmartThings still relevant? We recognise that the Wifi version of the switch and the Z-Wave version serves 2 different segment of markets.

The Wifi version are for users who want a really simple setup and are happy with remote control of their house with mobile and voice assistant but are less interested in sensors and integrations to other devices. These users are generally ok with one mobile app for different category of devices. They might also control other devices via their voice assistant. We probably call these voice controlled home.

The Z-Wave version will be for users who like to have a central controller that consolidates every aspect of their house into a single mobile app, i.e Homey app and still use voice commands to control their home. These users also prefer their smart home to be allowing their hub to run scenes and that can work across multiple devices such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, IR and RF. On top of integrations, these homes are also managed by sensors which will do stuff like lower the balcony blinds when raining, turning off everything when all users leave the house or having their smart lock identify which users are unlocking the door. We still view these as true smart homes.

All these being said, the Wifi MCO Home switches open another possibility for users who wants a more cost effective voice controlled home without the need to purchase a hub. As part of the product launch, we will be offering attractive packages (including installation). Do contact us at info@automate.asia.

Automate Asia Team

 

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Connecting motorized blinds or curtains to a smart home hub isn't new. Whenever our customers like to link their motorized blinds or curtains, regardless of brands, we would advice them to get the AC model with 4 wires (up, down, neutral and earth).

Then we will need to get them to purchase a FIBARO roller shutter module or MCO Home shutter panel to wire up to their motorized system. That's not all, we have to explain clearly to their supplier to make sure they have supplied the right motor, arrange with electrician to wire up the Z-Wave modules to their motorized system. And also, they will require to use Z-Wave remotes instead of using the remotes provided by their supplier. Until now.

Homey now supports Somfy RTS motors (https://apps.athom.com/app/com.somfy) and Dooya RF (https://apps.athom.com/app/nl.brel-motors) motors out of the box. No modules required.

Linking Somfy RTS or Dooya blinds can be done in literally less than a minute. Just click on add, press a button behind the remote, click on program and that's it. The video below demonstrates how to link a Somfy RTS venetian blinds to Homey with tilting function. The same applies to Somfy RTS roller blinds and curtains.

 

You can now control your Somfy RTS and Dooya RF window coverings with Alexa, Google Home or Apple Homekit. Simple as it is.

Automate Asia Team

 

 

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Connecting motorized blinds or curtains to a smart home hub isn't new. Whenever our customers like to link their motorized blinds or curtains, regardless of brands, we would advice them to get the AC model with 4 wires (up, down, neutral and earth).

Then we will need to get them to purchase a FIBARO roller shutter module or MCO Home shutter panel to wire up to their motorized system. That's not all, we have to explain clearly to their supplier to make sure they have supplied the right motor, arrange with electrician to wire up the Z-Wave modules to their motorized system. And also, they will require to use Z-Wave remotes instead of using the remotes provided by their supplier. Until now.

Homey now supports Somfy RTS motors (https://apps.athom.com/app/com.somfy) and Dooya RF (https://apps.athom.com/app/nl.brel-motors) motors out of the box. No modules required.

Linking Somfy RTS or Dooya blinds can be done in literally less than a minute. Just click on add, press a button behind the remote, click on program and that's it. The video below demonstrates how to link a Somfy RTS venetian blinds to Homey with tilting function. The same applies to Somfy RTS roller blinds and curtains.

 

You can now control your Somfy RTS and Dooya RF window coverings with Alexa, Google Home or Apple Homekit. Simple as it is.

Automate Asia Team

 

 

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Truly blue MCOHome Touch Panels

Posted by Edwin Tan

 

Automate Asia is the only distributor of MCOHome touch panel switches in Singapore. Due to our close partnership with MCO, we are now able to customise the MCO switches based on our customers' feedback on the switches.

If you have ever ordered an MCOHome touch panel switch online, you should have seen the product pictures from MCO like this.

You might have imagined the switch to have a blue LED indicator when it is powered on as shown in the picture. However, the actual switch has a green LED indicator when it is on and a dim orange LED indicator when it is off.

 

The good news is, we have customised the MCOHome touch panel switches have a blue LED indicator when it is on and a dim white LED indicator when it is off. On top of that, because we love a minimalist look, we also requested to remove the MCOHome logo from the faceplates.

 

Some of our customers asked why didn't we OEM and put our own brand onto the switch. Our rational is, we do not see the purpose of placing our brand on the switch and try to market is as our own brand when it is easily identified it as an MCO OEM. We have seen many companies labelling their brand on china OEM smart home products and pray that it will fly off the shelves because it is a Singapore brand. It is just not our style.

The MCOHome truly blue switches are now uniquely available on our online store as well as our resellers.

Automate Asia Team

 

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Automate Asia is the only distributor of MCOHome touch panel switches in Singapore. Due to our close partnership with MCO, we are now able to customise the MCO switches based on our customers' feedback on the switches.

If you have ever ordered an MCOHome touch panel switch online, you should have seen the product pictures from MCO like this.

You might have imagined the switch to have a blue LED indicator when it is powered on as shown in the picture. However, the actual switch has a green LED indicator when it is on and a dim orange LED indicator when it is off.

 

The good news is, we have customised the MCOHome touch panel switches have a blue LED indicator when it is on and a dim white LED indicator when it is off. On top of that, because we love a minimalist look, we also requested to remove the MCOHome logo from the faceplates.

 

Some of our customers asked why didn't we OEM and put our own brand onto the switch. Our rational is, we do not see the purpose of placing our brand on the switch and try to market is as our own brand when it is easily identified it as an MCO OEM. We have seen many companies labelling their brand on china OEM smart home products and pray that it will fly off the shelves because it is a Singapore brand. It is just not our style.

The MCOHome truly blue switches are now uniquely available on our online store as well as our resellers.

Automate Asia Team

 

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Decoding Samsung Z-Wave Lock with Homey

Posted by Mike Lim

Since we were working on decoding Yale Z-Wave Lock, we took the momentum to update the Samsung Z-Wave Lock Homey app as well. Since most of our explanations on decoding the locks were done in the previous article, let's jump straight into the kind of status updates (COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM) the lock offers:

Alarm Type Alarm Type Level  Action
6 0 Unlocked by touchpad
6 80 Unlocked by fingerprint
6 96 Unlocked by Z-Wave
6 176 Unlocked from back
6 N

Unlocked by card N

 

As you can see, the Samsung Locks only provide status updates on unlocking but not on locking.  We had to depend on periodic polling to tell that the door is locked. It isn't a big deal because it always auto locks when you close the door.

This particular EU chip of the Samsung Z-Wave lock is actually not certified Z-Wave device. It works but it is not registered with proper Manufacturer ID (Manufacturer ID 0, Product Type ID 3 and Product ID 1).

Similar to Yale, you can have the same lock but plug in different versions of Z-Wave module. We know that there is another version of the Z-Wave EU module which may have an entire different set of reporting commands (only the remote locking and unlocking works for now). We will be getting the chip to decode and update this app.

For now, this is a demo video of what is possible:

 

With this, Homey remains as the most advanced smart home hub capable of performing integrations that no other hub can.

Automate Asia Team

Read more

Since we were working on decoding Yale Z-Wave Lock, we took the momentum to update the Samsung Z-Wave Lock Homey app as well. Since most of our explanations on decoding the locks were done in the previous article, let's jump straight into the kind of status updates (COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM) the lock offers:

Alarm Type Alarm Type Level  Action
6 0 Unlocked by touchpad
6 80 Unlocked by fingerprint
6 96 Unlocked by Z-Wave
6 176 Unlocked from back
6 N

Unlocked by card N

 

As you can see, the Samsung Locks only provide status updates on unlocking but not on locking.  We had to depend on periodic polling to tell that the door is locked. It isn't a big deal because it always auto locks when you close the door.

This particular EU chip of the Samsung Z-Wave lock is actually not certified Z-Wave device. It works but it is not registered with proper Manufacturer ID (Manufacturer ID 0, Product Type ID 3 and Product ID 1).

Similar to Yale, you can have the same lock but plug in different versions of Z-Wave module. We know that there is another version of the Z-Wave EU module which may have an entire different set of reporting commands (only the remote locking and unlocking works for now). We will be getting the chip to decode and update this app.

For now, this is a demo video of what is possible:

 

With this, Homey remains as the most advanced smart home hub capable of performing integrations that no other hub can.

Automate Asia Team

Read more

Decoding Yale Z-Wave Lock with Homey

Posted by Mike Lim

Since we last post on Yale lock and Homey, we have received several feedbacks on the Yale app on Homey app store from our customers. There have been report that a YDD424 pairing as a YFM40 in Homey or YDM4109 pairing as a YDD424. While remote locking and unlock works fine for all the locks, there are instances such as there is no status feedback for certain manual actions on the lock (such as autolock or fingerprint unlock).

This technical article aims to provide everyone a better understanding of the Yale Z-Wave information. Why Homey (unlike other hubs such as Vera, FIBARO and Zipato) is able to tell if the lock is unlocked from the back or locked from the touchpad. We also aim to share some of the limitations of certain models of Yale lock in terms of sending status feedback to the Z-Wave hub.

As such, we embarked on the quest of understanding the Yale Z-Wave better, we loan a set of YDD424, YDM4109 and YFM40 to do some detective work and here's some of our basic information and findings.

1. Same Z-Wave module used for different locks for different batch

Regardless of the lock you have, whether it is YDM4109, YFM40 or YDD424, it uses the same Z-Wave module. When the Yale Z-Wave module is set into a lock and paired with Homey, it register 3 pieces of information to Homey : Manufacturer ID, Product Type ID and Product ID. In fact all Z-Wave devices register these information when being included to a hub.

For the test locks we have on hand, YDD424 pairs with a Manufacturer ID 197, Product Type ID 7, Product ID 0 while a YFM40 pairs with a Manufacturer ID 197, Product Type ID 199, Product ID 0 even though we used the same module in both locks. It seems to suggest that the Product Type ID determine which lock model but we've also seen a YDD424 produces Manufacturer ID 197, Product Type ID 255, Product ID 65535.

As a result, when you have a batch of Z-Wave module may producing an entire new range of Product Type ID or Product ID, Homey will identify it as a generic z-wave device until we update the new information into the Yale app. There might be cases that 2 different lock model, producing the same Product Type ID and Product ID. In this case, for example, even if you have a YDD424, it might appear as YFM40 in the Yale app.

Please let us know if you have a Yale lock that is included as generic Z-Wave device. We are in the process of adding more supported locks in the Yale app. 

2. Yale sends a fixed set of Z-Wave command class during status update

Everytime you operate a Yale lock that is Z-Wave enabled, it sends out a status update via a Z-Wave command class called COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM. For example, if you unlock with the thumbturn behind the lock or when you lock by touching the number pad in front, the Yale lock will send this command class with some details to the Z-Wave hub. Note that Z-Wave transmission for locks are encrypted. We can only inspect the packets between Homey and the lock after we have included the lock as a generic Z-Wave device.

It is up to the Z-Wave hub to decipher the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM to see if the lock is simply being unlocked or if it is being unlocked by a specific action. Hub like FIBARO, Vera and Zipato simply only decipher the lock and unlock status and discards the details. For Homey, we are able to take it to another level by deciphering details of the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM that a specific action has taken place (provided that the lock sends out the status update).

We have analysed the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM sent out by some of the mode common Yale models and realised that they updates the Z-Wave hub with a fix set of details. To go a little bit more in-depth, here's how they look like:

Alarm Type Alarm Type Level  Action
19 N User pin unlocked by user N
21 1 Locked by thumbturn
21 2 Locked by touchpad
21 3 Locked by button
22 1 Unlocked by thumbturn
22 2 Unlocked by button
24 None Locked by Z-Wave
25 None Unlocked by Z-Wave
27 None Auto-locked
161 None Lock tampered
130 None Battery inserted

 

The Z-Wave hub like Vera and FIBARO will just update the lock status based on the Alarm Type and ignore Alarm Type Level entirely. With Homey we can determine the action by Alarm Type and allow automation by Homey flows.

With above being said, we also noticed that some models of lock does not send any COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM even for specific action. For example, the YFM40 and YDM4109 does not send a status update when you lock manually using thumbturn regardless of hub (we tried Vera and FIBARO and we cannot tell that it is locked when operating by thumbturn). We can only depends on the hub to poll the lock for the latest status.

Another disappointing point we noticed is that, the fingerprint locks do not send any Z-Wave status updates when you unlock with fingerprint! One would assume that since the fingerprint are tied to a specific user pin, we can know which user unlock with fingerprint. Unfortunately, for fingerprint locks only send Z-Wave status updates when operated by touchpad.

Conclusion

So far, we notice that the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM from common Yale models available in Singapore are rather standard, however, we might not have covered every possible details in the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM for different locks. We also hope that there is no 2 model of locks producing the same Product Type ID and Product ID. Feel free to let us know if you notice your Yale lock appearing as different model in the UI.

Regardless, with this app, Homey remains to be the most compatible Z-Wave hub for Yale locks.

Automate Asia Team

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Since we last post on Yale lock and Homey, we have received several feedbacks on the Yale app on Homey app store from our customers. There have been report that a YDD424 pairing as a YFM40 in Homey or YDM4109 pairing as a YDD424. While remote locking and unlock works fine for all the locks, there are instances such as there is no status feedback for certain manual actions on the lock (such as autolock or fingerprint unlock).

This technical article aims to provide everyone a better understanding of the Yale Z-Wave information. Why Homey (unlike other hubs such as Vera, FIBARO and Zipato) is able to tell if the lock is unlocked from the back or locked from the touchpad. We also aim to share some of the limitations of certain models of Yale lock in terms of sending status feedback to the Z-Wave hub.

As such, we embarked on the quest of understanding the Yale Z-Wave better, we loan a set of YDD424, YDM4109 and YFM40 to do some detective work and here's some of our basic information and findings.

1. Same Z-Wave module used for different locks for different batch

Regardless of the lock you have, whether it is YDM4109, YFM40 or YDD424, it uses the same Z-Wave module. When the Yale Z-Wave module is set into a lock and paired with Homey, it register 3 pieces of information to Homey : Manufacturer ID, Product Type ID and Product ID. In fact all Z-Wave devices register these information when being included to a hub.

For the test locks we have on hand, YDD424 pairs with a Manufacturer ID 197, Product Type ID 7, Product ID 0 while a YFM40 pairs with a Manufacturer ID 197, Product Type ID 199, Product ID 0 even though we used the same module in both locks. It seems to suggest that the Product Type ID determine which lock model but we've also seen a YDD424 produces Manufacturer ID 197, Product Type ID 255, Product ID 65535.

As a result, when you have a batch of Z-Wave module may producing an entire new range of Product Type ID or Product ID, Homey will identify it as a generic z-wave device until we update the new information into the Yale app. There might be cases that 2 different lock model, producing the same Product Type ID and Product ID. In this case, for example, even if you have a YDD424, it might appear as YFM40 in the Yale app.

Please let us know if you have a Yale lock that is included as generic Z-Wave device. We are in the process of adding more supported locks in the Yale app. 

2. Yale sends a fixed set of Z-Wave command class during status update

Everytime you operate a Yale lock that is Z-Wave enabled, it sends out a status update via a Z-Wave command class called COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM. For example, if you unlock with the thumbturn behind the lock or when you lock by touching the number pad in front, the Yale lock will send this command class with some details to the Z-Wave hub. Note that Z-Wave transmission for locks are encrypted. We can only inspect the packets between Homey and the lock after we have included the lock as a generic Z-Wave device.

It is up to the Z-Wave hub to decipher the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM to see if the lock is simply being unlocked or if it is being unlocked by a specific action. Hub like FIBARO, Vera and Zipato simply only decipher the lock and unlock status and discards the details. For Homey, we are able to take it to another level by deciphering details of the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM that a specific action has taken place (provided that the lock sends out the status update).

We have analysed the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM sent out by some of the mode common Yale models and realised that they updates the Z-Wave hub with a fix set of details. To go a little bit more in-depth, here's how they look like:

Alarm Type Alarm Type Level  Action
19 N User pin unlocked by user N
21 1 Locked by thumbturn
21 2 Locked by touchpad
21 3 Locked by button
22 1 Unlocked by thumbturn
22 2 Unlocked by button
24 None Locked by Z-Wave
25 None Unlocked by Z-Wave
27 None Auto-locked
161 None Lock tampered
130 None Battery inserted

 

The Z-Wave hub like Vera and FIBARO will just update the lock status based on the Alarm Type and ignore Alarm Type Level entirely. With Homey we can determine the action by Alarm Type and allow automation by Homey flows.

With above being said, we also noticed that some models of lock does not send any COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM even for specific action. For example, the YFM40 and YDM4109 does not send a status update when you lock manually using thumbturn regardless of hub (we tried Vera and FIBARO and we cannot tell that it is locked when operating by thumbturn). We can only depends on the hub to poll the lock for the latest status.

Another disappointing point we noticed is that, the fingerprint locks do not send any Z-Wave status updates when you unlock with fingerprint! One would assume that since the fingerprint are tied to a specific user pin, we can know which user unlock with fingerprint. Unfortunately, for fingerprint locks only send Z-Wave status updates when operated by touchpad.

Conclusion

So far, we notice that the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM from common Yale models available in Singapore are rather standard, however, we might not have covered every possible details in the COMMAND_CLASS_ALARM for different locks. We also hope that there is no 2 model of locks producing the same Product Type ID and Product ID. Feel free to let us know if you notice your Yale lock appearing as different model in the UI.

Regardless, with this app, Homey remains to be the most compatible Z-Wave hub for Yale locks.

Automate Asia Team

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