Basic Stargate System


Senior Member
Real name: Mike
Location: Central NY

PC's :

Automation Server: Runs Homeseer and xAP hub
Music Server: Runs Slimserver and xAP plugin
Weather and Miscellaneous Server: Provides weather station info on internal TV channel and feeds VWS plugin for Homeseer

Hardware User Interfaces:

Touch Tone control and paging announcements through Panasonic phone system
TV menu and status screens on internal TV channels
Several Stargate LCD and LED keypads
IR input through JDS IR Expander or any Squeezebox music player
Any PC with a browser

Automation Hardware:

Stargate with 4 I/O expanders
JDS IR Expander
Web-Expander Stargate Ethernet Interface
PIC-TV video menu interface
CADDX NX8e Security Panel (installed but not linked to Stargate yet)
Rainwise wireless weather station with several wireless display consoles
Several Stargate LCD keypads and 7-button LED keypads
RCS RS-485 hubs
RCS RS-485 Thermostats
A little over 100 X-10 modules
BSR Ultasonic X-10 Command Consoles
Various X-10 compatible RF devices
Leviton HCA02 phase coupler
Various types of motion sensors

Other Hardware:

Panasonic KX-TA624 Phone System
Radio Shack 70V Paging Amplifiers
Elk Speakers
Elk P412 Power Supplies
Elk PD9 Power Distribution Module
Elk 912B SPDT Relays
Alarm Controls 8012 Low Current DPDT Relays
VLinx Ethernet Serial Server

Video Hardware:

Channel Plus SVM-24 quad Stereo modulator
Channel Plus 5545 quad modulator
ReplayTV networked DVRs
ADS VGA to S-Video converters

Audio Hardware:

SliMP3 and Squeezebox audio players in 7 music zones
Local audio systems in each zone


Homeseer with JDS, VWS, and xAP plugins
TextAloud with AT&T voices

Some Applications:

Mailbox greets the mail carrier, pages all phones that mail has arrived, and announces that there is mail once per hour over the kitchen speakers until reset.
Stargate relays used to direct announcements to appropriate speakers that are usually shared with local audio systems.
Hourly status reports track lights left on during the day, garage door open, well pump cycle count, burner and air handler run times of all furnaces, etc.
When a thermostat is changed, manually or automatically, the new set point is confirmed by voice announcement.
Full status and control over the internet via browser interface.
TV Channels for system status and weather station display.
News ticker and automation system status messages on SliMP3/Squeezebox displays
When light switches at the stairs to the attic or basement are turned off, all other lights on those floors are automatically shut down also.
Seasonal effects for Halloween, Christmas, etc.
Many others
Would you mind telling us more about your xAP setup, i.e. why do you use it, what are the benefits etc. ? Thanks!
xAP is something I stumbled across last year and it turned out to be the final push for me to start using Homeseer. I had just decided to go with SliMP3 music players for my whole house audio system and somewhere I read that there was an xAP plugin for the slimserver that let you send messages to the player displays from an xAP enabled device such as a PC running Homeseer.

According to the description, your custom message would interrupt the default display, scroll your message across the screen, and return to the music display after a delay you set in the message.

This got my attention because I was already looking at Homeseer as a potential way to interface my weather station to my Stargate. I decided to download the trial version of Homeseer and try it. I got my Stargate talking to homeseer, and homseer talking via xAP to my SliMP3 displays, and it worked! I was able to display a messge on one or all of my SliMP3 displays that was triggered by an input on the Stargate.

I am just starting to experiment with xAP commands to control music playback but I believe there are people out there who are much further along in using xAP to control their music server. Another bonus with this setup is that every SliMP3 or Squeezebox music player becomes a general purpose IR receiver. Every IR command detected by the player is available through xAP for homeseer to act on.

Also, since my home network wiring is already in place, I want to look into using more xAP devices as an easy way to expand the functionality of my Homeseer system.
Cool, that's exactly what I was looking for. I am looking into xAP myself, and looking for some more examples.
Damn, I really need to come check out your place someday :D That pic has "Telco" written all over it hehe.
Mike said:
Wow. Telco is right. That isn't all telephone connections is it?
Blue blocks (top) are field wiring. White blocks (bottom) are equipment wiring.
Right half is telephone and left half is automation so telephone switch is on the 4 white blocks to the right while stargate/caddx/RS-485/etc. are on the 4 white blocks on the left.

I use standard telco cross-coonect to patch equipment on the lower blocks to field wire terminated on the upper blocks. Very easy to reconfigure. Have swapped the phone system many times and migrated to Stargate from HomeBrain without disturbing the termination of the core house wiring.
I know home automation can add a lot of value to a house, but I argue with my father over it. He says that my house is too complication and I would not be able to sell it because no one could ever figure it out. (He is real pissed that he did 90% of the finish work and I keep cutting into the walls LOL)

I have about 2 feet of cable in my closet that is visible, it is a very simple setup. So if someone had a problem with the complexity of my house, I think they would kill over when they saw your closet. Hell, I am scared of your closet (ALTHOUGH IT IS BEAUTIFUL, I don't think I would be able to fix anything in a timely manner =)

Do you feel your setup would draw people to buying your house, scare them away, or have you not thought about it because you are keeping your house and it down not matter?

My structured wiring panel alone bumped up my house value significantly (I had my house valued right after I installed it). Structured wiring will definitely help a lot, but not sure if the hardware itself will help. I plan on taking most of my hardware with me unless the Buyer is interested in it.
I don't plan to sell it in my lifetime so I haven't really thought about it. Maybe I should generate some documentation in case anything should ever happen to me. (Or I just need to remember what I did at some point in the future)