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Experience with xAPHomeVision

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  • Experience with xAPHomeVision

    I've been attracted by the xAP connector for HomeVision as a way to get Flags & Variables greater than 64 into HS... something the HV plugin cannot do. So I do downloaded it from and gave it a try (I could not get the one from to work).

    Installation was a snap and after I started HV and then xapHV, I was met with a configuration screen. All straight forward. Viewer on my HS machine started seeing the traffic right away. Cool! Then things got ugly...

    The xAP configuration pop-up boxes started comming up for HomeSeer. Click the Raw button, click the check box, and hit Create Devices. Only problem is, you only get one variable, flag, etc. per xAP configuration box. And before I knew it, I had over 500 more waiting! Can these be combined somehow?

    So after an hour of clicking and waiting for the next xAP config box (computers are soooo slow), I finally finished and went to look at the result. Hey, I've only got tthe first 64 Flags... no variables and no I/O! A check of the HS Log shows the following:

    7/7/2004 8:22:55 PM~!~xAP Conduit~!~Creating new device scentium.hv-flags.baraboo:flag.64 output.state 40
    7/7/2004 8:23:05 PM~!~xAP Conduit~!~Creating new device scentium.hv-flags.baraboo:flag.64 output.state 40
    7/7/2004 8:23:17 PM~!~xAP Conduit~!~Creating new device scentium.hv-flags.baraboo:flag.64 output.state 40
    7/7/2004 8:23:27 PM~!~xAP Conduit~!~Creating new device scentium.hv-flags.baraboo:flag.64 output.state 40
    7/7/2004 8:23:38 PM~!~xAP Conduit~!~Creating new device scentium.hv-flags.baraboo:flag.64 output.state 40
    ... and so on as far as the log will record.

    I looked at the device code useage and sure enough, there is a clue as to what went wrong. Flag 35 generated a device at #99 and Flag 36 rolled into a new virtual device prefix at %1. Now things get interesting. Flag 37 created &1, 38 created &1, 39 (1, 40 )1, 41 *1, and so on until Flag 63 created @1 which must be the last virtual code available. Note that devices 2-99 are all unused on these codes. Is this a xAP device creation bug or a HomeSeer bug?

    My last observation is that the HS GUI Status field is blank. I would have thought a Flag would show as a 1/0, Off/On, Set,Clear or something. In the Web view, however, they do show up as a On or Off complete with bulb icon.
    This morning I noticed the output.state 40 log messages above continuing to fill the HS Log. It must have been in an infinite loop. So I restarted HS and that seems to have stopped the log messages. I also noted that after restart, the HS GUI Status field correctly reflects the On/Off Flag state complete with icon. So my last observation is a non-issue.

  • #2

    I am looking in to the device id rollover, as you have seen something seems to go very wrong when it goes the the next house code. I will keep you informed with this issue.
    When you create the devices you should of seen two red boxes at the bottom of the wizard. The Raw mode one that you were using and the Basic control one. Raw mode simply takes whatever message that was received and creates devices based on it. Using this you can only receive information, you couldn't say control one of the homevision loads. The basic control button will create a device which on the face of it looks very similar to the raw one but will give you full two way control to homevision. It uses a schema call Basic Status and Control which is a universal and very simple way of talking to devices, it could be thought of as an uptodate version of x10 for xAP. The basic control button will only appear if the remote device supports BSC. So if you using a device that is unknown to the database that the plugin uses and you see the Basic Control button its best to use it!

    I do plan to update the wizard to give better control over new devices. It currently works very well when small amounts of new xAP systems get detected but when homevision generates 250+ in one go, it can get a bit time consuming - although the wizard does have a queue that will hold 1000 devices.



    • #3
      Mark from Ascentium here...

      I have to admit, that I'm not actually a HomeSeer user - sorry :-(

      One of the problems with the xAPHomevision connector is that it has trouble working out which devices are actually in use.

      For input ports, output ports, variables and flags, it's able to query the Homevision hardware to see how many have been installed (ports) / defined (variables/flags).

      For X10, it's more of a pig. Homevision assumes that it's having to keep track of all 256 (real) X10 devices, and doesn't particularly let on which ones are defined or not.

      I could, in principle, only report on ones for which some kind of message had been detected (in either direction), but that would kind of cause problems with autodiscovery.

      Any bright ideas welcomed...

      ... as you say, from a user interface perspective, this is an issue that only really affects Homeseer, because of the dialog box issue - hopefully James can sort this out.




      • #4
        Hi Mark,

        You could perhaps only report on the ones where a name has been downloaded to HV or possibly better the ones that are 'enabled' in the HS client software before download - just a thought.. K.


        • #5
          Just thinking about the original problem (and whilst the device rollover issue is still being looked into).... you could ignore all the incoming xAP messages and then later go back and re-enable the ones you are particularly interested in via config and the popup will happen again.

          It would in a way be nice to be able to turn off a whole xAP device ie acme.device.> or subset of devics (wildcard) from triggering the wizard.

          One way btw of 'forcing the xAP detection' of a particular schema or parameter is to find the corresponding xAP message in Viewer, re-enable the device in the config and send the message again from Viewer. You can even edit the message to pretend to be other devices if you wish. I think as the plugin evolves James has some other ideas on how to best handle large volumes of xAP triggers. It's one of those things that happens as you start to use HS but of course disappears once everything is learned. As Mark says HV is reporting all the X10 addresses currently !

          Having a rich schema definition for the HomeVision unit might allow for whole areas to be learned at once too. Kevin


          • #6
            James- Thanks for pointing out the difference between the Raw and Basic buttons. I'll deffinately want to change Flags and Variables so this is good to know. Where would I find an example of how to do this through the HomeSeer xAP plugin? I guess there would be some HS script statement like hs.xAP(something) where the "something" is the xAPHomeVision command. Am I close? An example would be very helpful.

            Mark- Thanks for your wonderful connector here! Is there an easy way to report status of timers? I'm not so much interested in the value of the timers because that's chasing a moving target. But the status of stopped vs. running vs. ringing would be nice. And from a control standpoint, Being able to load a timer with a value, start, and stop them would be nice.

            CouchPotatoe- Your last post gave me an idea. Is there a .ini file I could manually edit to manually set up the devices? This would be a whole lot quicker and may be a good workaround to deal with the device code issue.

            Thanks for all your support guys.


            • #7
              I tried editing the Settings.txt file in HomeSeer/xAP to reflect my choice of virtual DeviceCode but they wouldn't update. I then tried to make xAP re-detect the devices but in the process, it chose its own device codes and ran out again.

              Is there another file I need to modify to manually configure the devices?


              • #8
                Hi there - no the file you would have to edit is the schema.txt to support the complete Homevision schema - although this is best accomplished by the author of the connector. I would not take this route just for the time being however.

                The better news is that the device code allocation bug has been fixed in the next beta release :-) .

                There are also some changes to BSC in a new v1.3 release that is imminent. These changes actually support the integration with HS a lot better but will require an update to the plugin obviously. Once the v1.3 BSC spec is 'final' then this work can be started.