First Experiences With Homely Alarm

2023-11-04 − 🏷 post 🏷 zigbee

For the last few years, we’ve had managed alarm service from Sector Alarm. It’s mostly been OK, but the price has been increasing every year, and they never upgrade our components, so when I learned about the offering from Homely, I was intrigued.

Basically you own your own components, and pay a monthly fee for monitoring. The components are mostly Zigbee-based, and there’s a home assistant integration to get the status into my home assistant setup, so I decided to give it a go.

That was about 3 months ago, and our agreement with sector alarm finally expired last week, so I’ve been busy replacing the old components with the new ones. The new components are mostly smaller and nicer looking, it’s all paired to their proprietary hub, and it’s all managed through their app.

Pairing through QR code mostly worked OK, even tho it sometimes took quite a while to find the devices. I think the app is some sort of web-view, and it’s not the most responsive thing in the world, but it mostly works OK. We have two Yale Doorman components, and after factory resetting the door locks, they also integrated nicely with the new Zigbee modules. I think the integration with the door locks could be better.

You have to set door codes separately for each door lock, but now that it’s done, it’s working OK, and you can configure it so unlocking a door disables the alarm. Next up is running a test of the installation to check that all the sensors are working as expected, and then setting up the home assistant integration.

They support a list of components, and I think it’s possible to use other Zigbee devices, but I haven’t tested yet. Honestly I wish they had some way of integrating with my existing Zigbee network, for instance by having a MQTT interface, but I guess that’s not their target audience.

Will report back when we have some more experience with the system, but all in all, I’m happy with the experience so far, specially the savings on the monthly fee.