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M1 and Vera 3 connecting?


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#1 bucko

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 02:58 AM

I have an Elk M1 Gold and just ordered the Vera 3.

My question involves the BEST way to connect Vera to the Elk. I need my Elk RP2 to see and control my Z-wave devices, but use the Vera to do the heavy lifting in really controlling all the Z-Wave devices. But Vera needs input from my Elk since my OC sensors will be hardwired to the Elk. Vera needs to know when the OC's are tripped so it can execute whatever rule for lighting control. Hope that all makes sense.

So, not even having Vera to play with yet, in my mind I thought I would connect everything as follows.....
Elk to Vera USB via a serial adapter cable using the Elk M1XSLZW serial Z-Wave card (which I have yet to order).
Then connect the Vera wan port to my TP Link switcher in my LAN.
I'm thinking this will allow full bi-comm between Elk and Vera with them updating and polling each other so all devices are on the same page. But, I will want Vera to operated lighting stand alone in the long run. My PC will not be on 24/7.

BTW, I also use the Elk XEP, which is already connected to my switcher.

OR....do I just need to connect Vera directly to my switcher and the Elk will see and connect to Vera through the XEP, accomplishing the same thing AND saving me $200 on buying the Elk M1XSLZW? I just don't fully understand how the Elk and Vera communicate with each other. In the end, I don't care if I have to buy the Elk M1XSLZW. I just need it all to work.

Anybody doing this now? What is my best option? Posted Image

#2 sanders2222

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:16 AM

My system works like this only I use the ISY-99i for the heavy lifting and Insteon is my lighting protocol. I don't use any of the M1 rules to control anything. The only adapter required to connect the M1 to my network is the M1EXP.

Sorry, I know nothing about the Vera. For my money, Universal Devices has created a pretty solid platform for home automation with the ISY and they may be coming out with a Z-Wave/Zigbee compatible system in the future as well.

#3 video321

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 11:31 AM

OR....do I just need to connect Vera directly to my switcher and the Elk will see and connect to Vera through the XEP...

Yes. Except the Elk does not see Vera - Vera sees the Elk. With this configuration all rules will be on the Vera only. If you want rules on the Elk as well, then you need the Elk interfaces.
What is OC - occupancy?

#4 Work2Play

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:14 AM

Yes. Except the Elk does not see Vera - Vera sees the Elk. With this configuration all rules will be on the Vera only. If you want rules on the Elk as well, then you need the Elk interfaces.
What is OC - occupancy?

That may not be entirely true - there are ways to get signals back and forth. For instance, the Vera should be able to activate a Task on the M1; or set flags or outputs, which would then trigger the M1 rules.

#5 video321

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 10:25 AM

I suppose you mean having Vera send Elk an ASCII command over TCP - I'll have to look into that.

#6 Work2Play

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 03:57 PM

That might work too, but no - I meant have the Vera tell the Elk to set an output to a certain value, or to activate a Task on the Elk, where the Elk's own rules engine would take over.

Lets use a rough example - Vera knows the outside temperature, but you want the Elk to do something with it - and when the temperature drops below a certain value, do something else (change HVAC, etc)... you could have the Vera set a counter value in the Elk, then have Elk rules based on when that counter changes; Similarly you could have it activate an output on the Elk whenever a Z-Wave motion sensor is tripped; etc.

Doesn't mean it's the best way - the point is, there are some ways to get feedback from the Vera back to the Elk.

#7 video321

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 04:41 PM

...Except the current plugin for Vera doesn't have those functions yet. Vera cannot even see the value of an output.

#8 bucko

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 07:08 AM

OC is an occupancy sensor. In my case, I will have OC sensors on Elk zones. Vera needs to know when an Elk zone is activated, so it can respond to Z-Wave lighting rules I will set up in Vera. So Vera needs to know zone states of the Elk. Also Elk needs to know lighting states from Vera. Then the Elk can fire one of it's rules, say like front door light is on, then say "Welcome Home".
So in essence, they need to both know what the other is doing. In the MiCasaVerde forum, I got the impression the the Vera 3 and the Elk do have bi-comm via the XEP. The Vera has plug-in apps for Elk. I just don;t have the Vera in my hands yet, so I don;t know. I was hoping some of you guys here have a Vera/Elk set up.

#9 video321

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:16 AM

The current Elk plugin for Vera can only see instant zone status and arm/disarm areas. In the forum you mention, the plugin author claims to be working on an updated plugin which will allow integration with tasks and outputs. I have z-wave routines based on zone status and arm modes, such as when armed away turn off this list of lights and also when disarmed from away and it's dark then turn on this list of lights to a set dim level (which works really well since I use keyfobs to disarm before entering the house so it's all lit up before I walk in.)
Like I mentioned above, you may be able to send a simple TCP string from Vera to the Elk for it's tasks, etc.

Edited by video321, 18 July 2012 - 08:20 AM.


#10 tadr

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:46 PM

The current Elk plugin for Vera can only see instant zone status and arm/disarm areas. In the forum you mention, the plugin author claims to be working on an updated plugin which will allow integration with tasks and outputs. I have z-wave routines based on zone status and arm modes, such as when armed away turn off this list of lights and also when disarmed from away and it's dark then turn on this list of lights to a set dim level (which works really well since I use keyfobs to disarm before entering the house so it's all lit up before I walk in.)
Like I mentioned above, you may be able to send a simple TCP string from Vera to the Elk for it's tasks, etc.


Like the OP, I have the same question. I am finding it very confusing to determine what equipment I need. What equipment do you have?
Is there any need for the Vera at all if I just want the Elk to turn on lights based on rules/motion/etc?

#11 wuench

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:46 PM

Vera can talk to the Elk (via Vera's Elk Plugin), but Elk can't talk to Vera. So you can write rules on Vera to make the Elk do stuff or based on Elk events. You can't write rules on the Elk to make the Vera do stuff, like control lights, locks etc. The Elk knows nothing about the Vera.

If you want to control zwave devices from Elk rules with Zwave you need the Elk Zwave interface (or the older method of the Elk with M1XSP and Zwave dongle, see the M1XSP manual. But this can't control locks).

Those are basically your 2 (or 3 if you count the M1XSP) options. There is also an ISY Zwave device on the way....

Edited by wuench, 27 July 2012 - 01:49 PM.


#12 video321

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 05:41 PM

The reason why I picked up the Vera was because it was a refurb special for less than $100 shipped and I figured I'd try it over spending ~$300 for the primary/secondary controllers and interface I'd need for the Elk. It works pretty well and I've never had any lockup issues or some of the other types of problems you see all over their forums. My guess is since I only run ~25 Z-Wave devices (lights, receptacles, thermostat) with no plugins - only more virtual devices to fit my needs it runs stable. With that said, I did have a miss communication between the Elk and Vera last weekend where my lights where not turned on when I disarmed the alarm. Of course, it was the night my wife and I each had a kid sleeping in our arms!

The author of the Elk plugin for Vera is working on an updated version which can read, and possibly control, outputs and tasks. At that point, you could have rules on the Elk for whatever you desire and make the "then" statement turn on an output which Vera could pick up and act on.




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