Home Automation with Digital Door Locks

For the next post to my Home Automation Series, I’ll share about what I’ve done with automating the Main and Yard doors for my apartment.

The initial requirement was simply to have a keyless way to unlock the door, and just so happen that there are further integrations possible, I took it a step further. Here are the details.

My initial use case was to be able to unlock the door without keys, but yet secure. After some research I arrived at the Samsung Digital Locks. Specifically I bought the two SHP-DP728.

This lock supports the following methods to unlock the door

  • Fingerprint
    • works fine for most grown ups, doesn’t work well with children
  • PIN
    • a rather smart implementation that it will randomly force you to key in prefix numbers first before the actual pin. This is so that there is even “oil prints” distributed around the keypad
  • Proximity Card
    • the unit came with 2 credit card size, 2 mini card size, and 2 key tags; straightforward tap and unlock
  • App via bluetooth
    • needs to register the phone first via the app, then use the app to unlock. It doesn’t go by proximity, meaning it will not unlock just because your phone is near.
    • I was told that once the Z-Wave module is installed, bluetooth does not work; however it didn’t seem so.
    • To use bluetooth function with this lock, I needed to install the sHome app on my iPhone and setup was quite straightforward. The use of the app wasn’t so good though, I’ll have another post to share more details about it.
    • The short of it is I am able to unlock the door from the app, but that’s all.
  • Automation via Z-Wave (needs add-on module, **ask for EU/I chip**)
    • connects to my Homey, and the possibility becomes unlimited
    • as Homey is primary built for EU market, the Z-Wave module needs to be of the EU band as well
    • For my installation by Hanman, I requested for the EU/I module, as I’ve been told it provide fine grain details to the lock operations, e.g. the Z-Wave trigger can be distinguished on how the lock is unlocked, with a fingerprint, card, opened from inside etc.
    • The module is installed after the lock is installed, and a firmware update was necessary for the module. Both of my modules were supposed to be updated before they brought to my place, but one didn’t work and had to be re-flashed once more on site.
  • Manual Key (override)
    • in case everything else fails, or when battery runs out, this is the override to unlock the door

Another important aspect for me with this lock is the way you would open the door. The lock need to push/pull according to the same direction the door opens and closes. Hanman site describes this really well, here. Bottom line is, you’ll want a natural feel to the direction of opening the door.

Installation by Hanman was professional and nicely done, the installer came with the right tools to  accurately drill the necessary holes in the door and door frame to fit the unit. He then showed me how to do the necessary setup, and that’s about it. The rest was for me to figure out.

I’m generally quite pleased with this lock and would recommended it. I do want to remind you to check out that it is a unit that is compatible with your door, in terms of fitting, as well as the direction of opening.

Taking it further – Here comes the real automation bit

The automation I’ve done is basically two main use case
A. When a door is unlocked, Homey will announce it. This is particularly useful when we are not constantly watching the door.
B. When me or my wife gets home, the door will unlock automatically. This is rather complex to setup, and I’ll need another blog post for that. It incorporates a motion sensor, Google Wifi, IFTTT and of course, Homey.

After the digital lock is installed with the Z-Wave module, the next thing to do is to install the Samsung Z-wave Locks plugin for Homey. The plugin is written by the good guys at Automate Asia, where I bought my Home Automation Solution from.

Pairing of the Digital lock with Homey was straightforward, just like pairing any other Z-Wave devices. Bring the Homey near the lock and start pairing. To know if it’s successful, and if the module in the lock is truly EU/I, there’s a bit to do.

Basically, the acid test to determine if the chip is EU/I, is that if you set a flow as below
When… “Unlocked from back”
And…
Then… “Speech > Say Hello

The key part is “Unlocked from back” as a non EU/I chip will not be able to distinguish that action. So, a successful test is when you open the door from the inside, Homey will say “Hello”

That’s it for the first use case, you are free to create more flows to have Homey say different things based on how the door was unlocked. 🙂

Do you have other ideas? Do share! Have Fun!

Leave a Reply