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    To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE

    Good evening All,

    My first post.

    I have been fooling around with Home Automation for quite a while, I say fooling around, simply because I neither have the knowledge, programming skills or electronic expertise to do much, so I always look for the simplest Hardware/Software combination I can buy in order to accomplish what I wish to achieve.

    I now have an Ocelot, which has been good to me, but now I want more, this is where the HomeTroller ZEE comes in, I wish to switch over in that direction but have some questions, which I hope some of you can answer.

    1 ) Would you buy another HomeTroller ZEE, knowing what you know now.

    2 ) Can the X-10 and Z-wave co-exist and operate under the same HomeTroller ZEE

    3 ) I know that the Z-Wave dongle is supplied with the HomeTroller ZEE, but what required in order to send and receive the X-10 signals.

    4 ) Now to software, I know that thr HomeTroller ZEE comes with the HS Touch lite, is that all the software that is needed, to set scenes, schedules, and ( If and Then ) operation, I noticed on some post people used HS2 and HS3, I am confused about this issue.

    5 ) Can the HomeTroller ZEE, listen for X-10 commands or Z-Wave commands, I ask because there are multitude of sensors transmitting Z-Wave based on preditermined conditions.

    6 ) Is the HomeTroller ZEE, equiped to check sensor status.

    Well I guess this is it for my first post, I would really appreciate your assistance, in order to make decision, as to ( To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE )

    Dom

    #2
    Originally posted by poordom View Post
    Good evening All,

    My first post.

    I have been fooling around with Home Automation for quite a while, I say fooling around, simply because I neither have the knowledge, programming skills or electronic expertise to do much, so I always look for the simplest Hardware/Software combination I can buy in order to accomplish what I wish to achieve.

    I now have an Ocelot, which has been good to me, but now I want more, this is where the HomeTroller ZEE comes in, I wish to switch over in that direction but have some questions, which I hope some of you can answer.

    1 ) Would you buy another HomeTroller ZEE, knowing what you know now.
    NO

    2 ) Can the X-10 and Z-wave co-exist and operate under the same HomeTroller ZEE
    Yes if they get it to work!

    3 ) I know that the Z-Wave dongle is supplied with the HomeTroller ZEE, but what required in order to send and receive the X-10 signals.
    Who really knows, I think they sent it out and didn't think about X10, right now I have my CM11-A working with some great help from a friend, not the help desk. But my better interface ACT doesn't work. But I am currently out of the dark. So no new updating for me unless they promise me they did try it and it did work. They first told me they did try it, but I guess they didn't say it worked. Because the updated didn't on X10. X10 worked before the update. But as I said a great friend got mine to work.

    4 ) Now to software, I know that thr HomeTroller ZEE comes with the HS Touch lite, is that all the software that is needed, to set scenes, schedules, and ( If and Then ) operation, I noticed on some post people used HS2 and HS3, I am confused about this issue.
    This is true, stand in line. You might never know, unless you find someone who knows more about Zee then I do.


    5 ) Can the HomeTroller ZEE, listen for X-10 commands or Z-Wave commands, I ask because there are multitude of sensors transmitting Z-Wave based on preditermined conditions.
    Unsure

    6 ) Is the HomeTroller ZEE, equiped to check sensor status.
    Unsure

    Well I guess this is it for my first post, I would really appreciate your assistance, in order to make decision, as to ( To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE )
    Wait!

    Dom
    Answers are above with your questions.
    danielbo

    Comment


      #3
      To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE

      Good morning Danielbo,

      I read your response with great interest.

      It is very unfortunate that a product with so much potential is not being handled better.

      I have wanted to buy Homeseer software and hardware for so long that I even remember when they started the company.

      I have followed the company's progress on a regular basis, always checking sales prices, even looking for used software on e-bay that would finally allow the luxury to buy HS2 and HSTouch, unfortunately I was never able to afford it.

      Then one day I came across the HomeTroller Zee, while going through my regular web site check, and I figured, FINALLY, something I can afford, that meet all my need, and is easy to program without a Degree in computer sience.

      But from what I am reading, the outcome of the product is not what was expected, plus if there is no one at HomeSeer willing to spend some time on this product it may just fade away from the market place,, especially now with the great number of new Home Automation products appearing on Kickstarter and Indeego.

      Ie. check this project http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...rry-pi-gateway.

      If it ever goes to market it could be a game changer.

      Mark, if you are out there, maybe you should look into this.

      Dom

      Comment


        #4
        From another perspective ...
        Originally posted by poordom View Post
        Good evening All,

        My first post.

        I have been fooling around with Home Automation for quite a while, I say fooling around, simply because I neither have the knowledge, programming skills or electronic expertise to do much, so I always look for the simplest Hardware/Software combination I can buy in order to accomplish what I wish to achieve.

        I now have an Ocelot, which has been good to me, but now I want more, this is where the HomeTroller ZEE comes in, I wish to switch over in that direction but have some questions, which I hope some of you can answer.

        1 ) Would you buy another HomeTroller ZEE, knowing what you know now.
        Yes

        2 ) Can the X-10 and Z-wave co-exist and operate under the same HomeTroller ZEE
        Yes

        3 ) I know that the Z-Wave dongle is supplied with the HomeTroller ZEE, but what required in order to send and receive the X-10 signals.
        A TI-103 is the preferred X10 interface. The latest release broke X-10 communications but the fix will be release when the techs get back from CES

        4 ) Now to software, I know that thr HomeTroller ZEE comes with the HS Touch lite, is that all the software that is needed, to set scenes, schedules, and ( If and Then ) operation, I noticed on some post people used HS2 and HS3, I am confused about this issue.
        Yes is you want to use the delivered iOS and Android templates. If you want to design your own templates you need to HSTouch suite.

        5 ) Can the HomeTroller ZEE, listen for X-10 commands or Z-Wave commands, I ask because there are multitude of sensors transmitting Z-Wave based on preditermined conditions.
        Yes if your hardware sends the message back (Instant Status). A few X10 devices and a few Z-Wave devices support instant status most do not. Here's a spread sheet that shows a few lighting devices and if they support this or not. http://store.homeseer.com/store/Home...on-W16C64.aspx

        6 ) Is the HomeTroller ZEE, equiped to check sensor status.
        I'm not sure what you are asking here. You would need to elaborate a bit more on this question.
        Well I guess this is it for my first post, I would really appreciate your assistance, in order to make decision, as to ( To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE )

        Dom
        The Zee has just been released and it's getting better with each new software update. The latest update was a setback in the X10 plugin but that will be fixed soon. So it you are willing to accept a few minor glitches as the software matures it's a good home automation starter device.
        -Rupp
        sigpic

        Comment


          #5
          To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE

          Good morning Rupp,

          Thanks for your response.

          Can you tell me, what software comes with the HomeTroller Zee, and what does it allow you to do exactly.

          Can you also tell me, do you know of any people out there that are looking at selling a used HS2 and HSTouch, I could maybe look at using that package for a while.

          Dom

          Comment


            #6
            I would recommend clicking on the flashing HomeTroller Zee in the sidebar of this message board. It has a very detailed description of what you get and what the Zee can do. HomeSeer software can not be resold per the licensing agreement. The exception is hardware such as the Zee and HomeTrollers. This hardware can be resold and the HS license transferred. Once in a while a used HomeTroller shows up in the for sale section of this message board.
            -Rupp
            sigpic

            Comment


              #7
              To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE

              Thank you so much Rupp for the information, I will keep an eye out.

              Dom

              Comment


                #8
                here's another opinion for you..

                I am watching the zee with great anticipation.. when they get the bugs out.. it could be a great platform. I have been along for the ride for a while, up and down... but still here

                the start-up you mentioned. is just that, vapor ware at this point without a clear cut direction other than home automation

                come on in .. the waters fine
                Ubuntu on the Intel NUC ( 8i5BEK ), 32 G, 250G SSD, V4 Pro 😎

                Comment


                  #9
                  I tried to answer from my experience. Not sure how many more is out there, dont seem to get to many postings on it. You are like me. I just play around with it, wish I knew more about he programming, but never had much luck. With the Zee its not looking like any more plug ins will be added, just the ones that come with it, which is the basic. I am thinking about keeping my HS2 running as well to take advantage of a lot of plug ins that I like and is only one HS2 pro or HS3. Keep me updated on anything you find out and I will you as well.
                  The most important thing is if you get one, do not do the update. It works fine with X10 CM11-A, until you add the update. I said I will make sure that the next update is going to take care of the proglems with X10, or ignored again.
                  danielbo

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I and other customers have been running mcsSprinklers in an appliance computer that uses SD or USB as a memory device for program and scratchpad. What I have discovered over time is that the memory devices fail and power outages can greatly accelerate the failure rates. For in-service use I have recommended that these devices be placed behind UPS to deal with the power situation.

                    To deal with the lifetime write issue I split the program memory which is in a small flash SD/USB from the scratchpad that is used to retain state as well as database-oriented data. I then used SSD for the data drive. This has shown to be a configuration that stands up over the past couple years it has been in service.

                    I have no insight on design provisions of the Zee to make a tolerant of the lifetime memory write cycles and I suspect there is not much data available on how this configuration lasts over time since both the HW and SW are relatively new. A corollary concern is with plugins that may be added in the future. The software for these need to be designed for the constraints imposed by the hardware and not just a port from a application running on a hard drive normally associated with PCs.

                    If somebody was just staring in HA then I would recommend a low power bookshelf computer as the host. It will not be constrained by limited availability of software and in general will be easier to use. The Zee should be considered for specific applications that one puts in place and then forgets about it. It would be unit that provides for a degree of DIYness that is not available with WeMo or other recent automation offerings that are based on control from phone or tablet.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      To buy or not to buy HomeTroller ZEE

                      Thanks Michael,

                      You brought up very good points.

                      I have had Home Automation packages for about 30 years.

                      My first one was an X-10 programmable controller which was attached to my Mac.

                      I then switched to a system that Steve Garcia had put together it was called the HCS, probably the best one I ever had, the problem was the programming, and the lack of GUI.

                      I then purchased the Ocelot, does a decent job, but again no GUI and a bit complicated if a non electronic dumb *** like myself want to install sensors and use them correctly.

                      In my view, Home Automation consists of 3 destinctive facets.

                      1 ) The hardware, which needs to dependable and able to execute commands as requested, with no worries about weither or not the modules have responded or not.

                      2 ) Software that is easy to operate like Scratch, obviously very high level language, but perfect for beginners, and quite to understand.

                      3 ) Lastely, GUI for the WOW factor.

                      That all we need, and obviously everything must be compatible to each other.

                      Dom

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Michael McSharry View Post
                        I and other customers have been running mcsSprinklers in an appliance computer that uses SD or USB as a memory device for program and scratchpad. What I have discovered over time is that the memory devices fail and power outages can greatly accelerate the failure rates. For in-service use I have recommended that these devices be placed behind UPS to deal with the power situation.

                        To deal with the lifetime write issue I split the program memory which is in a small flash SD/USB from the scratchpad that is used to retain state as well as database-oriented data. I then used SSD for the data drive. This has shown to be a configuration that stands up over the past couple years it has been in service.

                        I have no insight on design provisions of the Zee to make a tolerant of the lifetime memory write cycles and I suspect there is not much data available on how this configuration lasts over time since both the HW and SW are relatively new. A corollary concern is with plugins that may be added in the future. The software for these need to be designed for the constraints imposed by the hardware and not just a port from a application running on a hard drive normally associated with PCs.

                        If somebody was just staring in HA then I would recommend a low power bookshelf computer as the host. It will not be constrained by limited availability of software and in general will be easier to use. The Zee should be considered for specific applications that one puts in place and then forgets about it. It would be unit that provides for a degree of DIYness that is not available with WeMo or other recent automation offerings that are based on control from phone or tablet.

                        I second that
                        danielbo

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Yup; here I was fortunate to be able to test mcsSprinklers for Linux on a tiny Seagate Dockstar for the last couple of years.

                          Thank-you Michael for the opportunity to be able to do this.

                          I did have issues running on USB sticks then switched over to using one CF card and one USB stick.

                          I am guessing though that the performance and RW stuff is better (more reslient) on an SD card than a USB stick. Here I still have a Chumby running the main OS off a microSD card then chrooted it to a CF card such that they both were running. The microSD card never gave me an issue and I did abuse it redoing the OS and much RW stuff while testing out the Chumby a few years ago. I also utilize a 32 and a 16 Gb microSD card on my phone for movies and music and software running (storage and not OS running on phones). I have not scrambled any of them with the phones to date over the last few years.

                          Personally I have had good luck with USB SSD and ZIF SSD (connecting via USB) and CF drives using them on mcsSprinklers running now for over two years on a little Seagate Dockstar running Archlinux or "Debian" Dockstar. I switched over to using SSD USB sticks a while ago finding them much better to work with than regular USB stick for various this or that builds. Prices have gone done a bit on these SSD sticks over the last couple of years. Still on the fence though which one will last longer; the USB SSD or the microSD cards that I use today. I have heard "bad" stories using both relating to trashed OS's. A power failure will mess with both of them.

                          Lately too have been moving "stuff" over to POE and have done that with the seagate dockstar (along with some touch screens and IP cams). I probably will move the Zee to a POE connection in the next few weeks.

                          That said I have also been playing with a little tablet that runs Linux, Android and Wintel. I initially tested the OS's with just regular USB sticks; over time moving the little tablets to "production" have switched them all to USB SSD or SSD ZIF drives. I have not had any issues with these; some running now over a year 24/7 remote controlled by Homeseer. The third generation of same little box has soldered MMC memory and and SD card slot for the running OS on it.

                          They are running well these days.

                          I don't pay attention sometimes to stuff I do (tinkering) and most likely after playing / testing resilience et al would probably move the OS to a different medium. Now mostly just backing up the HS3 directory and doing quick SD image backups as I keep playing with it and pushing it a bit trying to break it.

                          Doing a quickie google related to said topic found this randomly on some forum post.

                          Maybe I should have rephrased it. The problems I see may not be the result of write access to the card. It could have other explanations.

                          I have done a lot of testing though with solid setups (ext2 rather than ext3/ext4, read-only setups with AUFS and ram, etc). The updating part in my experience kills it. However it could be that taking it in and out frequently (daily) for months causes the problem. It could also be that maybe data isn't being properly flushed to the disk on shut down or something similar.

                          However that said I can think of other scenarios where lots of data does appear to have killed the USB flash sticks. I'll give you examples. I used the Trisquel flash drive to write bootable ISO images to it. I got maybe 5-10 images written to it before I started seeing disk errors. In that situation I didn't take the drive in and out though more than maybe a dozen times. Now these are cheap flash drives and not using SLC or anything like that. And it is pretty well known that the cheap stuff doesn't last.

                          However I have seen similar results with highly rated "never fails" MLC Micro SD cards that run significantly higher. I was testing with 16GB cards.

                          I've also seen problems with 32GB SDHC cards with SLC.

                          For those who don't know SLC is a higher quality flash which allows more writes to it before failing.

                          Some of the setups I've had included real world testing with things like raid: software raid'd that is between two 32GB SLC SDHC cards that used USB card readers. Ultimately the one drive failed in a rather short time. And yes- this was with a properly setup card. It was used in a read-only setup (and verified) except during the update process. The only other time it got written to were when files were saved to a second partition although this 2nd partition was not for swap. It was for data and did not hold a home directory and didn't get mounted until I manually mounted it. No data would have been written to it without having manually mounted it and then going to save a file.

                          And the reason for the raid'ing of SDHC cards and using SLC had to do with the fact flash is terribly unreliable in the real world.

                          Now- I'm not trying to dispute your results. There could be an explanation for this that has nothing to do with the read/write or the connection. I haven't figured it out and am doubtful though given all the evidence I've seen.

                          I think when SD/Micro SDHDC/etc cards are used to store files infrequently or used in cameras/phones/etc they tend to last. That has been my experience and what I've seen from reading well reviewed cards with hundreds of people reviewing the same product.

                          More data would be useful. My data comes from years and years and years of testing. I'm actually working on testing a type of Mini non-removable SSD card that fits into the Mini PCIe card slot (If I recall correctly, this has been a project that has spanned 10+ years which I infrequently gets to work on, these slots though have to support a USB function to work with the Mini PCIe SSD cards).

                          I've tried compact flash using adapters to IDE adapters in the past. I always seemed to run into problems with the adapters though. You can get an OS loaded on them, it boots, and shortly thereafter fails. I haven't done that though in 10+ years probably though. I last tested that with a 200Mgz Pentium system.
                          http://trisquel.info/en
                          Last edited by Pete; January 9, 2014, 05:12 PM.
                          - Pete

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