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ElkM1G -> Q-See Doorbell Hack

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#1 BeachBum



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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:49 PM

Hi Cocooners,

I am a first time poster, but hardcore DIYer that has been following for a long time (Thank you!!!). I'm an electrical engineer and computer sci guy by background, so I can go as deep as I need to.

I've got my whole house automated with a dozen different systems. My core systems include an ElkM1G for alarm, notification and light automation. I've got an ISY-99i for more complex automation, lights, thermos, sensors, email-text, etc. I've also got a Q-See QT528 DVR-Camera system recording 24x7. I've also got separate systems for the pool, automated blinds, sprinklers, etc. My mission was to get the entire house automated on an iPhone. So far, so good.

So, I am trying to pull together the best doorbell solution. When I ring the doorbell I want it to announce in the house (through the M1 speakers), send me a text message, and email/text a photo of the front doorstep from the Q-See QT DVR camera.

This is a little bit convaluted, but try and follow along...

I don't have any hardwired line drops near my doorbell switch or transformer, so I am planning on dropping an Insteon I/O Linc in the wall behind the doorbell transformer. This will alert the ISY and send me a text when someone hits the doorbell. I'll setup a rule in the M1G to monitor the I/O Linc and/or the ISY at the same time. This will give me the whole house announcement over the loud speakers (I've got 3 floors). I would also have the M1G trigger an output relay that connects to an alarm input on the Q-See QT528 DVR. I'd setup an alarm config in the Q-See DVR to email a snap of camera #3 when the alarm is tripped. If all works well I'll get a text from the ISY ("somebody is at the front door") and an eMail from the Q-See with a photo of the person.

This seems like a bit convaluted, but I am not sure how to simplify (besides excluding the ISY -- but, it has more email/notification options). I'd also like to reuse as much of what I have and go with the fewest new components.

Any thoughts? Thanks ahead of time.


#2 Work2Play



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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:16 AM

This sounds about right... keep in mind, you can also detect the doorbell at the physical doorbell (the ringer inside the house) - Elk makes a nice doorbell detector. Also, if you have any wireless in the house already, you can use a wireless sensor that accepts external contacts for what should be a more reliable and more compact sensor.

I'm not an Insteon or ISY user - but from what I understand, ISY has recently come out with a nice driver for the Elk; I would create the rules in the ISY, not the Elk - just have the ISY monitor for the doorbell and trigger a task or speech action directly on the elk. I think it'll be better suited for the task.

#3 BraveSirRobbin



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Posted 15 June 2012 - 06:24 PM

Your going to put an Insteon I/O Linc behind the wall? I would rethink that strategy. Can't you drop down a pair of wires to the doorbell and run it back to the Elk, or at least to a better place to install the I/O linc?

Another thing you may want to consider is to run a pair of wires to the 'dinger' if that would work out better for you. This way you could place a magnetic door/window sensor near the coil of that unit and detect when the doorbell rings.

#4 BeachBum



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Posted 18 June 2012 - 04:31 PM

Thanks for the input guys. Here is a quick update after I finished the job this weekend.

Overall, the solution works GREAT. It functions exactly as I had intended. Here is the functionality in a nutshell...

Someone presses the doorbell at the front door. The regular doorbell rings and the three Elk speakers in the house "ring" (ding) and announce "doorbell". This gives me coverage in areas of the house that I used to not hear the doorbell. It also sends me a text message indicating that someone is at the front door and it emails me a photo of the person at the front door. Ideally, I could combine the text and the email, but the email provides three separate photos of the person. If I am away I can see who is visiting or if I am at home on the third floor and it is the UPS man I don't waste time running downstairs. The text and the email is pretty much instantaneous.

Here are some of the technical specifics....

I am using a combination of ISY-99i, ELK M1G, and a Q-See QT528 camera DVR.

I did not have any hardwire drops near my pushbutton or near the doorbell transformer, so I opted to use an Insteon I/O Linc as the trigger for the ISY-99i. I put the I/O Linc in a separate JBox on the wall behind my doorbell ringer/transformer. I used a 12V AC relay as the trigger from the doorbell button. Both of these are not ideal, but they work just fine. The relay solution will only work with a non-lighted doorbell. A better solution would be 1) hardwired Elk zone and an Elk doorbell trigger or 2) an Elk doorbell trigger with the I/O Linc 3) use a wireless Elk zone (I have no wireless zones in the house).

The I/O linc sensor alerts a program in the ISY. The ISY program sends the text message (email to AT&T text), triggers the "speak" commands to the Elk speakers, and activates the output 3 relay on the Elk for 1 second. Output 3 on the Elk M1 is wired to a Q-See alarm input. The alarm on the Q-See is configured to email a "snap" on the frontdoor camera when triggered. It turns out that the Q-See will actually send 3 snaps (half second apart) in a single email. Overall, everything works very well.

The only snag I hit was with the Q-See email. You must have the very latest Q-See QT firmware loaded for the email to display properly on an iPhone.

Happy Dinging!

#5 iostream212


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Posted 18 June 2012 - 11:32 PM

Good write up and ideas. Hope to do something similar soon.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

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