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Taking the plunge, just a quick question (in 34 parts)

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    Taking the plunge, just a quick question (in 34 parts)

    OK, I'm getting ready to take the homeseer plunge. I've been doing various 'automation' experiments over the years and want to try and pull together all of my experiences. I've also been involved in a number of very high end installs of Lutron Homeworks, Crestron, AMX and tons of other automation. Those guys are just too pricy for me and I actually want to see what I can do for a reasonable amount of money (say less than 10k). I'm also not afraid of programming, scripting, debugging and all the fun that comes with it. I test bed a lot of my 'experiments' then move them to production when they are ready. Below is a list of things I'd like to see my set up do (eventually). What I'm really looking for, is an idea of what I need to buy as far as homeseer goes in order to make many of these things work. I noticed that homeseer is either a software purchase or a hardware purchase. Which do I need? I took a look at the mainlobby board and some of the users screens (jukeboxes, weather and other stuff). Very impressive. Yes, let's include all of that type of stuff. Take a look at the list below.

    Lighting control (X10 type ramp up/down modules, timed lighting, scenes etc) or other suggestions if that's old technology I already have an X10 CM11A and a bunch of X10 modules all over the house.
    Alarm Control (of suported alarm)
    Jandy Aqualink control
    Audiotron Control
    Video Surveillance
    A/V Jukebox type device(s) and other consumer electronics, some with IR, some possibley with RS232
    Whole House Distributed Audio
    Windoes MCE Distributed DVD (or my DVD Changer through my Channel Plus Distributed Video)
    Ability to do touchscreens (10"-15" and my viewsonic airpanel)
    Garage door control

    I plan on taking it one bit at a time starting with the easy stuff which should be the basic lighting control and moving on to the harder stuff. I've probably missed a lot of stuff and I was very impressed with the type of things that this guy is doing:

    http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=103990

    and here's his homeseer website: (id and pw is guest)

    http://www.pksweb.com:100/

    I'd like to think that this is in my range of possibility.

    So, all that being said. It looks like some basic software, a lot of modules, a bunch of plug-in's and 3rd party software and lots of hours of fun and communicating on this message board.

    What am I missing here?

    Truth be known, I'm also trying to throw this in the face of some of my Crestron/AMX bigot associates that think it can't be done. I just passed along a proposal for $525,000.00 for not a whole lot more than I've seen here.

    So, point me in the right direction and I'll do the rest. Looking forward to a new hobby.

    Best regards,

    Roveer

    #2
    Sound like you will want MainLobby and the MLHSPlugin for touchscreen control to surpass Crestron.

    There is an Audiotron plugin for HS as well as one for MainLobby.

    With DVDLobby (MainLobby) you won't need MCE for DVD playing.
    Add Zoom Player and WinDVD6 codec instead.


    I seem to remember a Jandy plugin for MainLobby - use search on the Cinemar forum.


    AV Jukebox is handled by MainLobby suite. Add MediaCenter 11 to the list ($40)


    Garage door control is best when used with an alarm system like an Elk M1Gold setup. Then use the MainLobby Plugin for the Elk, or the Homeseer one.

    There is a plugin for the Panasonic pan and tilt security cameras coming out very soon.

    That'lll do it

    Comment


      #3
      So far I'm following quite well. Have looked at most of those plug-in's, or discussion of them here.

      Question. What particular function does the homeseer hardware based "Pro-100 Automation Controller" serve? Are all of these sophisticated systems I'm seeing running without this device? I take it that I will build a "homeseer" dedicated computer (I love a good reason to build another computer). Does this replace the need for the Pro-100?

      Also, What's the best X10 controller to use? I'm seeing that the old CM11A is a bit dated and I like everyone else in the world have had my share of lock-up problems, DST issues etc. What's the new standard for these things? Or, is it not even X10 that I should be considering. I saw that X10 had a "commercial grade" controller? Didn't X10 go bankrupt a while back?

      Still trying to figure out what core "hardware" will be necessary, or if it's just a decent computer and lots of software and modules.

      Thanks,

      Roveer

      Comment


        #4
        **********
        Originally posted by roveer
        So far I'm following quite well. Have looked at most of those plug-in's, or discussion of them here.

        Question. What particular function does the homeseer hardware based "Pro-100 Automation Controller" serve? Are all of these sophisticated systems I'm seeing running without this device? I take it that I will build a "homeseer" dedicated computer (I love a good reason to build another computer). Does this replace the need for the Pro-100?
        Yes. Most of us here run a dedicated PC. To tell the truth I've yet to read a single review of the Pro 100 so I'm not sure it's been released. If it has no one has given any feedback here.

        Also, What's the best X10 controller to use? If your going with X10 then the next controller in the cost range is the PowerLinc USB controller. After that it's the Act TI103. I'm seeing that the old CM11A is a bit dated and I like everyone else in the world have had my share of lock-up problems, DST issues etc. What's the new standard for these things? Or, is it not even X10 that I should be considering. I saw that X10 had a "commercial grade" controller? This is news to me Didn't X10 go bankrupt a while back? That was a different company

        There's also Z-Wave, UPB, and Insteon in the mix. Currently HS only supports out of the box Z-Wave and A-10. With UPB and Insteon plugins coming soon.

        Still trying to figure out what core "hardware" will be necessary, or if it's just a decent computer and lots of software and modules. That's prettry much it. A good mixture of X10 and Z-Wave is what I run and it works beautifully

        Thanks,

        Roveer
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        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for the reply.

          Just so I understand things correctly. Still reading massive amounts of information.

          X10 uses powerline communications (commands sent of AC wiring)

          Z-wave uses RF and send commands through the air

          Is this the basics of the two?

          Regards,

          Roveer

          Comment


            #6
            Yes. Plus Z-Wave once installed correctly is much more reliable than X10 under normal circumstances. Although many Z-Wave users have had problems with their Z-Wave computer interface. If you choose an X10 installation you need to consider a coupler/repeater a necessity to get reliable X10 signals across the power lines in the breaker box.
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            Comment


              #7
              And Insteon uses a combination (both) of RF and X10 communications with 2 way feedback. If it were me, I would be looking at Insteon (subject to your timing need as they are just rolling out some product now) or UPB. I don't today have either, but do have a 99% reliable X10 network. 100% would be nice (if it exists).


              From a cost perspective it is probably UPB > Insteon > 2 way X10 > 1 way X10 premium > 1 way X10 cheapie stuff.

              Other than Insteon (Smarthome) there are multiple manufacturers of the above.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by smoothtlk
                And Insteon uses a combination (both) of RF and X10 communications with 2 way feedback. If it were me, I would be looking at Insteon (subject to your timing need as they are just rolling out some product now) or UPB. I don't today have either, but do have a 99% reliable X10 network. 100% would be nice (if it exists).


                From a cost perspective it is probably UPB > Insteon > 2 way X10 > 1 way X10 premium > 1 way X10 cheapie stuff.

                Other than Insteon (Smarthome) there are multiple manufacturers of the above.

                smoothtlk,
                You left out Z-Wave which has been 100% reliable for me and it's 2way via polling and it's cheaper than 2 way X10 premium.
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                Comment


                  #9
                  I'd also just mention that Z-Wave has been working perfectly for me as well. Waiting for more z-wave devices has been killing me ;-) (still no motion sensors), but what I do have has been working VERY impressively.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Roveer,

                    Aside from the lighting stuff that's been discussed you may look into the following products to meet your requirements...
                    • I/O & IR Control: Take a look at the Applied Digital equipment. A Ocelot with SECU16 and SECU-16IR moudules will give you 8-inputs, 8-outputs and 16 zones of IR control for a very reasonable price. The Ocelot is also a standalone controller and can be programmed to run mission critical HA activity and compliments a PC running HomeSeer nicely:
                      http://www.appdig.com/adicon_new/index.htm
                    • Distributed Audio: Looks like you may have already seen some of my post with my homegrown distributed audio system. If I were doing this again, I would look closely at the Russound CAV6.6 system which provides 6-source, 6-zone with the ability to add 4 more additional zones using the A-Bus technology. Nice looking keypads, an intercom input that you can use to broadcast TTS (test to speech) announcements throughout the house and there is a plugin available for MainLobby.
                    • Audiotron: I really like mine and use it every day, but am thinking about going back to software based MP3 playback outputting from a soundcard. I've integrated the Atron into HS with both the HS Audiotron plug-in and the MainLobby Audiotron plugin. This is one of the most problematic parts of my setup right now. The ML plugin is kinda piggy and generates lots of traffic... also tends to lock up MLServer. I'm restarting MLServer nightly via script as a workaround. The Audiotron also seems to freeze up and require a reboot every 4-6 weeks. Lastly, the Atron limits you to only playing MP3's on one source of your distributed audio system... what if you want to listen to different MP3's in two different zones.

                      To work towards this , I've recently installed an M-Audio Delta 410 soundcard that allows up to 5 stereo zones of output. These can be selected in your audio playback software. I'll probably pair this with Musiclobby from Cinemar (Mainlobby), that is based on J-Rivers media software.
                    • Touchscreen: As smoothtlk already mentioned... Mainlobby from Cinemar has this covered. I'm running it on a 10" Airpanel and everyone is wowed by it (even visitors that have AMX & Crestron based systems). For about $400 (Ebay'd Airpanel & Mainlobby/MLHSPlugin software) I have what surpases a $6-$8k touchscreen from "those high end guys" in both looks and functionality.
                    • Garage Door Control: The Applied digital gear mentioned above will give you a good platform to monitor and control your garage door. You may also want to look into the RFID technology from iAutomate. I've been using it for a few months and now can't imagine home automation without it!
                    I think you will be able to amaze your associates with what you can do on a limited budget with HomeSeer and the type of hardware/software you will find used/referenced on this message board.

                    What you will never get is a system that is 100% reliable for years at a time which the Crestron & AMX systems can be if installed properly.

                    What you will get is a much more flexible & capable system for a fraction of the price that can be close to 100% reliable... perfect for the hobbiest/enthusiast, but still not ready for the high-end market where the systems need to be installed, walked away from and be expected to run perfectly.

                    The last few sentences are only my opinion based on exposure to a small number of high-end residential installs and a couple high-tech conference rooms that I have been involved with building... sounds like you have some experience here too and may agree?

                    Cheers,
                    Paul

                    Click to visit: www.sbsmarthomes.com
                    Santa Barbara Smarthomes

                    Authorized Russound Dealer & Installer

                    Personal HA Website

                    HomeSeer User Profile

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Paul,


                      Thanks for your reply. I have to say that in my research to date I did come across your system, looked at your rack setup looked at your hs website and was very much impressed. It is one of the things that gave me confidence that many of these things can be done.

                      I have an audiotron and may use the plug-in, but based on your advice, will probably purse the software based MP3 route.

                      I have a ViewSonic 10.4 inch airpanel and will look to exploit this very much. It was one of the main reasons I bought it back when. I could never really find applications that allowed me to use it this way. I'm hoping HS and ML will allow me to do this.

                      Thanks for your recomendations and I hope I can someday provide the kind of advice and examples your have provided this board.

                      Regards,

                      Roveer

                      Comment

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