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Ethernet I/O board for HomeSeer using xAP

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  • Ethernet I/O board for HomeSeer using xAP

    I mentioned a while back a xAP 'embedded' device was in the works and now it's available.... because it uses BSC it is automatically recognised by HomeSeer using James' xAP plugin

    The board connects via Ethernet and supports the following I/O

    16 Digital Inputs
    16 Counters
    16 High Latches
    16 Low Latches
    16 Digital Outputs
    4 Analog inputs
    1 Bidirectional Serial Port
    Ethernet Interface
    Inbuilt Webserver (customisable 32K)
    email sent for specified triggers

    http://www.phaedrusltd.com/pages/html/netiom-xap.html

  • #2
    Couch.

    I've not ventured into Xap or into this hardware. However, what with Homeseer 2 becoming available, the idea of having 2 machines (one with homeseer 1 Prod, and another with Homeseer 2) seems attractive and possibly a good way todo the upgrade and start from fresh.

    Using such a hardware device would enable me to get my I/O into homeseer. However, how does the serial port work. Does it appear as some kind of serial port in Homeseer.

    My config is:-
    Door reed switches connected to the joystick port used as I/O
    W800 connected to a com port and plugin
    Temp08 connected to a com port and scripts

    Could I simply plug the W800 into the serial port and use the existing plugin?

    Your thoughts / Advise would be appreciated. Thanks

    Phill

    Comment


    • #3
      Ahh no - the serial port via xAP is implemented a different way. It doesn't become a Windows device as such. However I can suggest a low cost route to achieve this. Lantronix make a device called the MSS100 which is an Ethernet to Serial adapter. There is some 'Redirector' software that makes these devices appear just as if they were local serial ports to Windows, and hence HomeSeer. This way you can just drop serial ports on your network anywhere you want and use them from HS. There are a load of these available second hand for around $50-$75 (they cost around $500 new I believe) - if you have any difficulty finding them then get in touch with me via PM as I have a source.

      Back to the xAP Netiom. The serial port appears as a device in HomeSeer (not a port) in the sense that data that coming in the serial port updates the device text and to send data you write text to the HomeSeer device and it will be sent out via the serial port. The configuration application for xAP Netiom allows you to set delimiters to know when messages are complete or to use a timeout of no serial port activity / buffer full to send data back to xAP. This type of setup is ideal for handling device interaction with something like an amplifier where you send commands and get responses. It isn't intended to be used as a high speed serial port and doesn't appear as a Windows doevice so wouldn't work with other applications or HomeSeer plugins that attach to their devices via a serial port. xAP Netiom has a bucketload of I/O on one board and the serial port is there to connect to a low traffic device for control. The parallel I/O , counters, latches, anlog inputs etc are really the same - interfaces to devices rather than 'ports' that appear within Windows. They are addressable via xAP only (or the inbuilt web server of course) . They can however send messages via email on change if setup that way - independently of both xAP and HomeSeer.


      Kevin

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      • #4
        Hey, I know that this is an old thread, but I have an idea, and I was wondering if anyone knows if it is feasable...

        What about the possibility of using a Netiom-xAP, and connecting the serial port to some sort of serial keypad, preferably one that is somewhat armored for outdoor use...

        I would think that a clever programmer could then create a program that would use the data generated for a number of uses, including alarm codes and event triggering...

        Has anyone thought of this, or is it even feasable?

        There are some really interesting serial keypads out there as well...
        http://www.datacal.com/numeric-keypads.htm

        Here's a more expensive keypad, but it looks to be pretty well armored:
        http://www.stealthcomputer.com/perip...t_keyboard.htm

        Or these seem really interesting as well, but probably very expensive:
        http://www.keyless.com/PDF/PiezoProx.pdf
        http://www.keyless.com/PDF/KTP.pdf
        Last edited by DougLorenz; July 14th, 2006, 03:03 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          It looks like the objective it put a serial interface at the end of an ethernet cable. I dont know about the specifics of the serial interface for the netiom, but it should work. You could also do the same thing with something like a Lantronix EPS1 from ebay for about $20. The difference being that the netiom will have data communicated using xAP protocol and the Lantronix will have a COM port interface. In either case you will need some software that knows what do do with keypad button pushes.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm currently trying to wrap my brain around the xAP concept, and to some extent it is an academic exercise, but I figured that if I am already going to be trying to use a Netiom device, this might be a good use for the serial port...

            Comment


            • #7
              I agrree with your thinking. It is a shame to have a HA hardware capability and no use for it. What I would like to see is the 1-wire driver logic implemented in the netiom so 1-wire sensors are directly be connected to the LAN without a PC in the middle. The same could done by going the other way with a TINI enhanced to talk xAP.

              I got the SDK for the Lantronix unit with the intention of trying to put some of the HA interface hardware logic in its firmware. Dont know if I will ever have time to play with it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Serial Port Connection to Rain8Net ?

                One other possibility... I wonder if it is possible to use the serial port on this device to connect to a Rain8Net and connect to mcsSprinklers by IP address... That sort of thing would be a nice way of moving management of the Rain8Net controller away from an individual computer...

                In this case the questions are whether the serial port on the NetIOM can handle the Rain8Net's data stream, and whether mcsSprinklers can handle the data that it would receive from the NetIOM...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Do you have the protocol/schema that the netiom uses for the serial data interface?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Check out the Aviosys IP Power Network Remote Controller 9212.

                    www.aviosys.com

                    About US$70 or less.

                    http://www.evertek.com/viewpart.asp?auto=15541&cpc=PPI

                    http://www.infomicro.ca/login/detail.asp?idnum=221

                    Three tiny interconnected boxes providing an Ethernet controller with integrated web server, 8 Digital Outputs, and 8 Digital Inputs. Free SDK.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are lots of IP-based data acquisition products out there and these are at an attractive price point. For those that want to write their own custom interface software per their SDK then this is a fine choice. For those that want a plug-and-play capability without the need for application-layer software development then the netiom is hard to beat.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Michael McSharry
                        Do you have the protocol/schema that the netiom uses for the serial data interface?
                        I haven't been able to find a schema for the NetIOM-xAP device. I have found the following limited information for other NetIOM devices, but nothing clear for the xAP enabled device.

                        Serial Port

                        With the programming link in place the serial port always runs at 19200 baud.

                        In active mode you can specify the baud rate so that Netiom can communicate with external
                        equipment. Netiom can support baud rates in the range 2400 to 38400 baud.

                        Netiom will store incoming serial data in a working buffer until it deems that the data string is
                        complete. Once complete the data is made available for dynamic web pages or is used to
                        trigger an e-mail or client connection (if enabled).

                        You can specify either a carriage return/line feed pair (CR/LF) indicates that the data is
                        complete or use a timed methology i.e. not data for a fixed period. If the latter is chosen then
                        the timeout value can be specified in the range 20mS to 20 seconds.

                        I'll try to dig up some more information to see if this sort of idea is even possible...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          More info...

                          One review of the NetIOM-xAP shows an example of sending a serial command through xAP to the device and out the serial port... Here is what it states:

                          Since I don't yet know enough about xAP, I don't know if this is helpful... However, the article states that "The Netiom slots straight into a xAP network using the Basic Status and Control (BSC) schema and has some additional Netiom specific commands and responses."


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As I look it over, it appears that while the software solution xapmcsRain8Net is designed to report the functions of the Rain8Net device individually to Homeseer, using a NetIOM would only allow the system to communicate a data stream with a Rain8Net, and it would require some additional logic to make that data stream recognizable as devices.

                            Something like this could be done inside of mcsSprinklers, which already has that logic to directly communicate with a serially connected Rain8Net. This won't offload any of the management problems from the computer running mcsSprinklers, but it should then allow for redundancy without a need for multiple Rain8Net devices...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Based upon your posting I know how the serial port operates. It uses the same BSC schema that the IO points use.

                              There will be two challenges with it for the Rain8Net. The first is that the Rain8Net does not provide any "end-of-line" termination character. A timeout should work since mcsSprinkleres already makes no expectations about when or in what block size the character stream is delivered.

                              The second is that the xAP standard indicates that only printable ascii can be used in the messages. The Rain8Net uses binary transmission so many of the characters will not be printable. I do not enforce the ascii-only spec in mcsSprinklers or in xapmcsHub. I do not know know if the netiom will or not.

                              If want to try to make this work I'm willing. It leaves the burden of testing with you. I would buy a netiom, but I already have an underutilized ocelot for IO and I use Lantronix for the serial.

                              The other thing to be aware is that last year's production of Rain8Net have a higher voltage requirement for the RS232 than the new production. One needs to look at the netiom levels for the serial for compatibility.

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