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Mini review of electronic door systems

I have always hated the need to dig deep into my bag to look for my keys when I come home from work. So when I got this place, I knew I wanted to switch to an electronic door system. But at the same time, I am paranoid about getting locked out of my own home because of some too-free hacker :unsure: taking advantage of poorly implemented security features in electronic locks.

Solution?

1. Install door lock systems that cannot be operated remotely over the internet!

2. Install systems from different vendors for my door and gate. So it's 2 layers of security!

 

Door lock

This is what my door lock now looks like from outside the apartment.

416005414_Doorfront.jpg.c52fe8f547d46703ab157f33ce8f8708.jpg

Looks like an ordinary non-tech door lock?

Because it is!

The actual smart lock can only be seen from the inside of the apartment.

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Yes, this is the August Smart Lock (3rd generation) which I bought from Amazon during one of their sales for just below USD$100.

Why I love it:

  • Very easy self-installation: you need only a screw driver!
  • The door automatically unlocks when I reach home and am standing in front of the door (detected via Bluetooth)
  • The door automatically locks when I  close the door
  • I can share electronic "keys" (via the August app) to my family members, and revoke for different users should the need arise
  • I get alerted on my phone when my door has been unlocked, and by whom!
  • From outside, nobody can tell that the door has a smart lock!

What can be better:

  • On very rare occasions, the August lock doesn't  detect that the door is closed and does not auto lock the door: resolved by locking the door manually or using the August app

Ok so that's for the door - how about the gate then?

Gate lock

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In this picture, you see two things: the Ring 2 doorbell and the Gateman Z10g lock.

First about Gateman Z10g, which I engaged a seller on Carousell to install for my gate. 

Why I love it:

  • Nice fit into the square metal panel on my HDB door gate, blending so very nicely (I must thank my ID for ensuring that my gate has this metal panel - otherwise, I would see a black metal box for the Gateman sticking out like a sore thumb)
  • Autolocks when the gate is closed
  • Accepts both a configurable PIN and fingerprint scans
  • Opened from inside the apartment using a remote control as pictured below

2103172114_Gatemanremote.jpg.2fb4371705dd81b879c17a6783dd5042.jpg

What can be better:

  • The fingerprint scanner is nowhere near TouchID in scanning capability: I often find myself resorting to keying in the PIN because my fingers are either too dry or wet. In fact, my parents can't even get their fingerprints registered successfully (they don't face this using TouchID on their iPhones)
  • On occasion, the remote does not successfully trigger the gate lock to open: solved by pressing the remote's button again.

Doorbell

Ok and now to what's next to the Gateman, which is the Ring 2 video doorbell that I bought online too. It is a battery operated doorbell which I installed myself outside my house (you will  need to do a bit of drilling). When pressed, I get a notification on my mobile phone that someone is at the door. I also bought the Ring Chime from Amazon.co.uk so that I can also hear the bell chime when I am at home.

1746651285_RingChime.jpg.d7ba184928866f5637cd11ca96a55b38.jpg

When someone presses the doorbell, I can view and also speak to whoever's there using my mobile phone. The screenshot from my mobile phone app below is of a delivery lady  for one of my online purchases.

220671301_Ringvideo1.jpg.658521eb380dbe25bff5f7b9746406d5.jpg

Why I love it:

  • Relatively easy to self-install 
  • Even when I am not at home, I can view and  speak to whoever is at the door

What can be better:

  • On occasion it takes a while before my mobile phone app allows me to respond to whoever is at the door, but I suppose 4G connectivity on my mobile phone is a factor

Hopefully these are useful information for whoever's interested to get electronic door systems :) 

Edited by hdb4ever
 

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I posted a 1-year update but my post is hidden and "needs to be approved by a moderator". It has been a few days and is still hidden. Can anyone advise how to get in touch with a moderator?

 

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There's no reply from mods.. I've had my posts hidden randomly.. 

Too many ad bots and ad posters that ruin this site I suppose.

Try again in a day or two, or move onto other sites ..

Fabulous home! 

 

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Thanks petetherock for the compliments :) Indeed it's been more than a week and my hidden posts remain hidden, while at the same time no moderator has gotten in touch with me to make any necessary edits. :( Regardless, I will try re-posting (again) - this time in several shorter parts. Hope this works!

 

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One-Year Retrospective (Part 1)

It has been a year since I moved in and lived in this apartment, so I thought I would share my thoughts on the key renovation decisions that I made. If I were to do this renovation all over again, would I have made the same decisions? Do I have any regrets?

Storage Cabinet, Flooring and Half Glass Wall

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Hacked store room and replaced with storage cabinet

You may recall that this apartment came with store room to the left of the main door. I hacked it away and replaced it with storage cabinets. Functionally, this might not seem to make sense - why spend $$$ to hack then do carpentry for a space that would serve the same purpose of..storage? Still, I have not regrets because:

  • The entryway space has become so much more spacious and airy
  • The floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets has enhanced the feeling of spaciousness
  • In fact, I gained more usable storage space with this reconfiguration since you need to leave room to move about in a store room.

Hacked floor tiles and laid new wood-look tiles

Tiling was probably the biggest contributing item to the total cost of renovation. And it didn't help that I (1) hacked, re-did cement screed and then tiled over, instead of overlaying, (2) chose to go with wood-look tiles which meant higher costs of tiles and workmanship

The thing about these particular tiles is that they are textured - which is nice to walk on, if baffling to my guests ("What is this flooring? I can't figure it out!"). They are light enough to make my apartment feel bright, and don't show up minor scratches/imperfections (if any). Because of the texture though, they won't be clean if you sweep using a broom. Just as well then that I use a combination of (1) daily "sweeping" by a robot vacuum cleaner (2) weekly  vacuuming using Dyson V8 and (3) weekly steam mopping. As I intend to be in this apartment for some time, I am also happy that I went with these tiles over vinyl.

Hacked study room wall and replaced with half glass wall

Very glad that I made this choice. This enables both my living room and study room to have lots of natural light coming in all day during the day. Since I am in either space much of my waking hours when I am at home, it also helps to make the entire apartment feel truly bright, spacious and relaxing!

Living Room Cubby

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I created this false wall in the corner of my oddly-shaped living room so that I can arrange for my sofa, dining table and peninsula all parallel to my TV. The cubby below the TV is a good place to store devices like router, Apple TV, game controllers etc. What I did not consider though is just how messy it can look once you fill the cubby with devices - especially with all the different wires. Managed to keep everything looking neat by placing 3 theme-fitting storage baskets from Ikea (which I can't seem to find anymore).

I didn't factor in track lighting above this TV wall because I didn't think I would need lights shining above my TV? That did result in the floating shelves above my TV looking rather dim and dreary though. Fortunately, this was easily solved with the addition of LED strips from Ikea as pictured above.

I also love being able to watch TV whether I am in the kitchen , at the dining table or on the sofa! This also feels like being in a studio apartment!

 

Edited by hdb4ever
 

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One-Year Retrospective (Part 2)

Open Concept Kitchen with Peninsula

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I had hacked the wall between my (minuscule) kitchen and the living/dining area and built a peninsula instead. This actually increased, rather than decreased, the amount of storage space because I was able to extend the width of the peninsula beyond the original kitchen space. Had I retained the kitchen wall, I would not be able to fit in carpentry one at least one wall in the kitchen. It would also have been more difficult to move about in the kitchen.

I am also glad that when I thought of the design of the kitchen, I chose colours that are very much consistent with the rest of my apartment. My guests without fail get the impression that this apartment is bigger than it actually is (they think this is a 5-room) and one big reason is that the entryway+study room+ living/dining room + kitchen all come together coherently as a single space! So if you want your open-concept apartment to feel more spacious, stick to a coherent colour scheme!

I am also fortunate that my kitchen has windows, which thanks to the removal of the kitchen wall, also contributes lots of natural lighting to the apartment.

Bar-height Peninsula

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From the picture above, you will see 3 different heights (1) table height (2) counter height (where the frying pan is) and (3) bar height (of the peninsula). Peninsulas and islands are typically at counter height so that they can serve as extensions to the kitchen's countertop space. In my case however, I went with a bar height peninsula. A bar height peninsula will be less comfortable to work on (slightly less of an issue for me as I am relatively tall), but the increased height means more storage space in the peninsula - a priority for me given the small kitchen.

One additional benefit of a bar height peninsula that I did not expect is that it helps to block out the view of more messy items in the kitchen. I have come to appreciate just how useful this is because an open concept kitchen typically exposes too much mess to guests.

Induction Hob

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I decided to go with a 4-zone induction hob because I am paranoid about gas leaks. I was worried about finding suitable cookware for this but as it turns out there is now a wide range of induction-compatible cookware available. The first time I heated pratha it got burnt because I didn't realise how much faster things heat up on an induction hob over a gas one. I also liked how the induction hob doubles as countertop space, especially since only the zones "turned on" for cooking will get warm - the rest of the hob surface is cool to touch! Due to the flat nature of an induction hob, it is also effortless to maintain and gets cleaned with the rest of the countertop.

On the topic of countertop, I went with a solid surface countertop from 3S instead of the currently more popular q uartz option. I don't have any problems with this countertop because it seems sturdy enough, with no major scratches or stains. Having said that, I do take care to use trivets when placing hot items, I never cut items directly on the countertop and I wipe off any spills as soon as possible. There are some (inevitable?) fine scratches/scuffing, but these aren't noticeable unless you are specifically looking for them. I suppose it also helps that my countertop material has an off-white base with "chips" embedded. So in my opinion, the cheaper solid surface option will do if you know what simple precautions to take.

Post-renovation, I also added a marble-look glass backsplash at the cooking space. Glass is certainly easier to clean after a cooking session!

 

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One-Year Retrospective (Part 3)

Distinct Service Yard

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I chose to keep my service yard separate and closed off from my kitchen and I am so glad that I have. When I have guests, I no longer need to worry about them having a "good view" of my laundry. I also don't need to worry about cooking fumes going into freshly laundered clothes. Most importantly, a closed off service yard allows me to air dry my laundry any time of the day of the week  with the help of a laundry dehumidifier, which uses significantly less electricity than a dryer.  This is unparalled convenience and flexibility that I will never want to trade for slightly more kitchen countertop space. Air dried clothes last longer too, so air drying is gentler on both clothes and the wallet!

Storage settees

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Taller cabinets would have certainly given me more storage space than these settees but they would also be less flexible and likely made my place feel more "boxed up". I chose to do "lift up" doors on these instead of side casement or sliding doors and I am glad I did because I get to store  large and long items very easily!

 

 

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Hi! Do you mind recommending your electrician who installed the timer for the heater? I've asked around a few but they are not sure how to do it. Thank you! 

 

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Hi POX, I actually bought the timer separately from Taobao via EZBuy and the electrician was with my ID's company.

But based on what I have seen from the diagram, it uses typical wiring for a switch of a  storage water heater.

See below for the photo of the back of my timer switch

waterhheatertimer_back.jpg.f270ef1aaf116573f38cd163a078ca7c.jpg

Nowadays there are apparently even Wifi-enabled ones that can be set via a mobile phone app.

You can consider those too. Here is one sold in Singapore

https://sg.carousell.com/p/smart-wifi-switch-20a-smart-home-automation-253384072

 

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Hi POX, I actually bought the timer separately from Taobao via EZBuy and the electrician was with my ID's company.

But based on what I have seen from the diagram, it uses typical wiring for a switch of a  storage water heater.

See below for the photo of the back of my timer switch

waterhheatertimer_back.jpg.f270ef1aaf116573f38cd163a078ca7c.jpg

Nowadays there are apparently even Wifi-enabled ones that can be set via a mobile phone app.

You can consider those too. You can search Carousell for "Smart WiFi Switch - 20A - Smart Home Automation"

 

 

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