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Automation Two: Doors

Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Dave!Welcome to Home Automation Week at Blogography!

As I mentioned yesterday, trying to tie my home automation project to a single vendor was doomed to failure. So I decided to split the tasks between two vendors along a logical divide... one company for monitoring stuff and one company for acting on stuff. Simple, right?

Yes. Kinda. Maybe.

Except... no. Not really. After a lot of false starts, I realized it doesn't really divide out like that.

And so I decided to stop worrying about how many companies it took to get what I wanted and just get what I wanted. Which, after weeks of research, actually ended up being a pretty good idea.

Starting with the door locks...

Schlage Sense Lock

The one area where Apple's HomeKit came through for me was door locks. Out of the dozen or so that are available, Schlage's "Sense" was the solution I liked best. It's not an add-on that sits on top of your current lock, but a complete deadbolt replacement. You can use a key to lock/unlock. Or you can use the keypad. Or you can use your iPhone. Or, since it's HomeKit compatible, you can tell Siri what you want. It can handle multiple entry codes and has a "tamper" alarm if somebody tries to take a hammer to it. Supposedly it can be controlled remotely (out of Bluetooth range) via AppleTV, but I can't get that to work. Perhaps eventually I'll get that part figured out, but it's not so important to me just now.

The one "feature" I did NOT want was auto-unlocking when you walk up to the door with your phone. This kind of proximity unlocking may sound convenient, but I didn't like the idea from a security standpoint. Schlage Sense doesn't have it, which was actually a plus for me.

Once I reset the door jamb strike plates back so that the lock opened/closed effortlessly when the door was closed, installation went perfectly.

On the first door.

On my two other exterior doors, I couldn't get the tab on the lock assembly to line up with the slot on the deadbolt turn. This was incredibly frustrating, and I had to place a call to Schlage support to find out why in the hell my locks were built upside-down. Turns out they weren't... they just weren't aligned properly. Using a screwdriver (and more pressure than I was comfortable with) you can force the slot to rotate 180° so everything lines up. Why in the hell they couldn't put that in the manual is beyond me, but all's well that ends well.

Except, as you can probably guess, this wasn't the end.

If my locks are HomeKit but my lights are not HomeKit, how do they talk to each other so that the lights turn on when I unlock the door at night?

Guess we'll find out tomorrow...

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Categories: Home RenovationClick To It: Permalink


  1. martymankins says:

    I have a couple of friends that just installed the smart deadbolts. I don’t recall if they are the Scalage Sense, but they do have the keypad to unlock the deadbolt. And once the door closes, it auto locks after 30 seconds (I believe this amount of time can be changed)

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