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Z-wave to PC. What is the simplest "good" option?


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#1 frijoli

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 01:47 PM

Besides the ztroller option what is the best way to get started with z-wave before I get my ELK-M1 system installed? What I mean is, I bought some switches, receptacles, and a kwikset lock and want to start setting up the system but I don't have a USB stick or anything yet and want to buy the simplest/cheapest set-up until I get my control panel installed. Serial or USB is fine as long as it has some set-up software.

Thanks in advance!

Clay

#2 potts.mike

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 05:44 PM

If your just looking to get it initially setup then just get a hand held remote. The leviton hardware seems to be the best.

#3 Work2Play

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:04 AM

If you're looking to later add it to the elk, consider a serial based interface module; then you can re-use it.

#4 frijoli

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 07:52 PM

Thanks Guys! I have the receptacles here, and the lock and remote on order.

Still debating on the ELK-M1, or HAI OmniPro 2

#5 Doodles

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 10:33 PM

I have a Vera3 from Micasaverde. So far I like it a lot.

#6 rscott78

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:14 AM

You could look into InControl Home Automation (http://www.incontrolzwave.com/). It requires the use of a USB stick. The Aeon Labs ZStick (Series 2) is a good one.

Just so it's fair, I'm the creator of InControl, so I'm probably a little biased. :)

#7 etc6849

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:17 PM

The cheapest option is probably going to be the VRC0P +3 rs232 controller made by Leviton (make sure you get the newer +3 version) paired with free PC software called Premise.

You would also need the Leviton RF installer tool (USB stick with Leviton's free RF installer tool software) to program your network. I think the stick is about $40 or so and you download the software from Leviton's site. The good thing about the VRC0P is the protocol works with HAI, Elk and many other PC solutions. The free PC software I use is called Premise and has free modules for the Elk M1G and the VRC0P. If you are into computers and have done some programming, you'll probably love Premise. If you don't want to use a PC, try Vera, but I've read too many horror stories on the Vera forum to try it. I can tell you the Premise VRC0P module works great and supports locks. Honestly, a PC is going to have more versatility in the long run.

Edited by etc6849, 06 August 2012 - 10:23 PM.


#8 frijoli

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 05:33 AM

Okay, it looks like I found a reasonably priced ELK-M1 for sale with a couple keypads. I will be ordering the VRCOP soon as well.

Couple quick questions:

1) How do you know what version VRCOP you are buying? Specifically, +3?
2) Can the ELK-M1 take a command from the z-wave serial port and activate a non z-wave function, such as a UPB fixture?

I asking more ELK questions in another thread.....

Thanks all for the help

Clay

#9 Mike-ma

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:04 PM

1) How do you know what version VRCOP you are buying? Specifically, +3?


Buy from a reputable reseller like automated outlet or smart home that moves stock regularly not ebay!!

#10 frijoli

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:10 PM

Buy from a reputable reseller like automated outlet or smart home that moves stock regularly not ebay!!


Okay, I thought there was different models/versions. In researching I couldn't tell.

#11 etc6849

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:40 PM

I would call and ask. Asihome / Worthington Distribution is where I bought mine.

If you want to do things like mix UPB/Z-Wave/X10/RadioRa, I would use a PC program such as Premise instead. I highly doubt you can use secondary controller buttons in a non-z-wave manner with an Elk M1G, but you can always call and ask them.

I use the Leviton four button in wall controllers to trigger events in Premise to do all kinds of non-Z-Wave stuff.

Edited by etc6849, 07 August 2012 - 08:44 PM.


#12 frijoli

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 09:00 PM

I would call and ask. Asihome / Worthington Distribution is where I bought mine.

If you want to do things like mix UPB/Z-Wave/X10/RadioRa, I would use a PC program such as Premise instead. I highly doubt you can use secondary controller buttons in a non-z-wave manner with an Elk M1G, but you can always call and ask them.

I use the Leviton four button in wall controllers to trigger events in Premise to do all kinds of non-Z-Wave stuff.

I'm trying to get away from the PC. I have a setup now but it's not dedicated to automation/alarm system. I thought the ELK would take serial commands?

#13 etc6849

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 09:11 PM

You have to add an extra module that the VRC0P plugs into to use the M1G to control lights. This adds more cost to the system. Yes, you can hard code serial commands, search cocoontech for the W800RF32 Elk M1G hack.

The rules in the M1G's software seem limited to me, but you can do a lot with them. By the time you purchase one of the Elk serial modules, then purchase the device (such as the VRC0P) to plug into the module, you'll quickly see why using a PC is cheaper and more versatile.

Nothing's wrong with the Elk's hardware and it seems well made. I use the KP2 keypads to display weather information, warnings, trigger events in Premise, etc... The M1G itself has no way to fetch weather data from the internet so you can't do this without a PC.

Edited by etc6849, 07 August 2012 - 09:11 PM.


#14 frijoli

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 05:37 AM

You have to add an extra module that the VRC0P plugs into to use the M1G to control lights. This adds more cost to the system. Yes, you can hard code serial commands, search cocoontech for the W800RF32 Elk M1G hack.

The rules in the M1G's software seem limited to me, but you can do a lot with them. By the time you purchase one of the Elk serial modules, then purchase the device (such as the VRC0P) to plug into the module, you'll quickly see why using a PC is cheaper and more versatile.

Nothing's wrong with the Elk's hardware and it seems well made. I use the KP2 keypads to display weather information, warnings, trigger events in Premise, etc... The M1G itself has no way to fetch weather data from the internet so you can't do this without a PC.


I understand the add on boards and such with the ELK. Does anyone make a PC with all the terminal strips and connections like an ELK-m1? I haven't seen one.

I completely understand the merits of the PC, which I am using now, I just don't use that much automation, but I do want to mix it, and I need serial control for some items. If there was a PC that had all of the structured wiring components like the ELK or HAI units at a reasonable price I'd go that route. I just don't think it's necessary for me, and if I change my mind I can add it back into the system.

#15 potts.mike

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:46 AM

If you don't want to run a pc to support your zwave network and don't want to buy a controller right now then get a leviton hand held remote. This will get the network up and running, allow for scheduling and should be able to program the vrcop when you add it to an elk or hai panel. The only thing I'm not sure about is lock support onthe handheld remotes.




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