Inovelli: Smoke Detectors?

@Eric_Inovelli I have a somewhat related question. I’m curious why no home automation companies have built a smoke detector to compete with the Nest Protect in North America.

I’m assuming that’s just too many regulatory hoops to jump through for a product like that. Maybe patents as well? It feels like an area ripe for competition though, and a great form factor for a more capable device (I.e. built in mmWave, etc).

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Halo Labs did years ago (zigbee), and they were awesome for what they offered at the time.

It seems the market just isn’t there to make this worthwhile as a smart device. Zooz did good with the Zen55 – it’s basic but also compatible with existing hardware - that was a smart move.

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And there’s this one Amazon.com.

Good call – I forgot about that one, but now I remember why… It’s only available as a battery-powered version, which is very strange to me – why not have a mains-powered flavor too?? I probably would’ve bought a couple.

Ya, and at least everything I’ve read about it is pretty negative. And nowhere near as well featured as the Protect.

To be honest, I’ve been super happy with my Protects, I just wish they weren’t locked to Google’s ecosystem.

6/30/24 - Split to a new topic to keep the original on point.

I was a bit dubious about that too, but I did get a couple of them anyway. So far, so good. I’ve had them for ~4years, and original batteries are down to 80% - might even last the whole 7-year lifespan of the sensor!
Can’t report anything about reliability, no errors reported, no false positives - but (fortunately) no CO or smoke events so no evidence for real positives!

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True, these devices are very basic. But the only “feature” I really wanted was reporting smoke & CO to HA. The rest comes from automations.

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Besides the options above, don’t forget about the Ecolink FireFighter, availalbe in both Zigbee and Z-Wave varieties. Neither is actually a smoke or CO detector but rather a battery-powered device that listens for an existing smoke/CO alarm sound. If you have an interconnected system, mounting one near any of your smoke detectors should, of course, be enough – and you can use whatever alarms meet your needs and will likely have a much less expensive time when you replace your detectors every 7-10 years or what. (Obviously, the biggest downfall here – besides maybe battery power for some people – is that it won’t help much with where smoke/CO was detected, but I’m not sure I really care about that on the smar home side of things anyway…)

Ring has a similar device, too, and it’s technically Z-Wave, but sometimes their devices are picky about working with other systems (certification be darned), and I’m not sure about this one.

Otherwise, I’ve also used the FirstAlert Z-Wave alarms above. (Yeah, they’re battery-powered, but that’s exactly what some older houses need, and there’s no reason you couldn’t just supplement your existing alarms in any home — though I’d also probably consider the Zooz DC signal detector if I had an interconnected system.)

So, yeah, some “smarter” option (that isn’t a walled garden like Nest) might be nice, but at least the market isn’t totally bare. :slight_smile:

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It looks like the First Alert ones are second gen now, so maybe they’ve at least fixed some of their issues. That said it still feels like a pretty big drop down from the Protect to me, which has:

  1. They interconnect (I don’t think using ZWave for that would be sufficient)
  2. Battery and main powered units. And the battery doesn’t need to be replaced.
  3. Audible alert: having it announce before it goes off is such a huge feature, along with indicating which one is detecting. Both for convenience and safety.
  4. A light. Building code here (Ontario/Canada) actually requires a strobing light. These don’t quite make that bar, but they’re at least close.

My personal feeling is that a home burglar/fire alarm system should be a dedicated system separate from HA, linked to a professionally-monitored central station via multiple communications paths.

Our Honeywell/Ademco alarm system has an Alarmdecoder interface so that Home Assistant can see the door/window/motion/smoke/heat/flood sensors as references, but any emergencies go straight to the central station through a Honeywell/Ademco box with wired ethernet and a built-in cellular backup radio…

As far as I can tell this is also kind of the only option in NA.

Yeah I have no idea, but have often thought the same thing.

As for us, it boils down to capital and us focusing on lighting for the time being. I learned a lesson a few years ago (2019ish) to not spread ourselves too thin and just focus on one area and try to be the best at it. Once we have a full line of lighting out, I’d love to venture into another area. Or if we get some sort of large capital investment, I could definitely see us venturing out more, but until then, we have to focus on lighting.

Outside of capital, I think smoke detectors scare me – I already get nervous someone is going to burn their house down installing light switches, but luckily there are safety precautions there like the fuse box tripping. Whereas if someones smoke alarm and/or carbon monoxide alarm didn’t go off and someone died, I don’t think I would be in a good place mentally.

I do like the Nest Protects though and have them throughout our house.

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Ya. My biggest complaint with my Protects is that Nest is owned by Google and they’re cloud-dependent, and thus I live in fear that they’ll just drop them completely.

A unique thing about the smoke detectors is that they have a defined lifetime, based on the radioactive elements in the sensor. So, I’m guessing nest thought of that and can fund the cloud activities until the end of life on the sensor.

Agree Smoke & CO2 (with tamper alerts) & plug in (120v) would be amazing. New codes make it difficult to keep up, for instance our bylaws in one city require voice warnings (for the deaf), and some require flashing lights. All of the above would be ideal but definitely a bit more of a challenge.

Not sure if they’d be able to hear the voice warnings, no?

I use this, works flawlessly.

https://www.getzooz.com/zooz-zen55-dc-signal-sensor/

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Sound for people who’s are blind, flashing lights for deaf….at least that’s what I think

First Alert made a WiFi ceiling mounted smoke/co detector but I don’t think it sold well enough to make it viable. There are a lot of certifications and liability issues around life safety and they differ from one country to the next. They also change - eg. now visual strobes are required in new builds & retro in many places. You really don’t want to do anything that might be construed as causing those systems to fail.

Personally I prefer to tie into the buildin’g smoke/co detectors strictly for home automation to trigger alerts, turn on lights, turn off HVAC using something like a firefighter.

But to protect my home and life - I want a professionally monitored alarm with detectors so they can call the fire dept. 24/7 whether I’m home, in a meeting, traveling, whatever.