Best Elk support: ElkRM, CQC or MainLobby?

LaurentR

Active Member
Hi all,
I am looking at my first LCD panel to control my Elk system. I am still hesitating between a TS07 and a Panel PC. I am leaning towards the latter (IEI 12" Geode 500MHz running XP) at the moment.

Regardless, I am trying to figure out the level of support for the Elk features in the 3 pieces of software in the title (RM, CQC and ML).
My guess is that I'll use RM to begin with, then will migrate to CQC or ML if I find all the features.

I am looking to do the following things with the LCD:
- arm/disarm... (i.e. keypad emulation) - all seem to have that
- Graphical view (with floorplan of the house) of all security contacts/PIR/glassbreaks/smokes... with color status on a single screen.
- Same as above for lights (zwave). Must include 2-way feedback (how does that work?).
- Access to event log
- Access to Elk custom parameters (sprinkler duration, time...)

Later, I'll probably add cameras.

ElkRM obviously supports the above, but in a very basic and non-programmable (or gaphical) way. I am hoping that CQC or ML support these too "by default". Can anyone shed some light on this? I have seen from old posts that Johnnynine has done a beautiful interface for Elk/CQC. I wonder if that's available and if it does the above.

Thanks in advance.

Laurent
 
Yea, you can't really put RM in the same category as CQC and ML. It is very nice for what it is, but CQC and ML are so much more. With CQC you can do all of that except for accessing custom parameters. The Elk driver is on the plate for upgrading in 2.4 (should be a month or so) and I believe custom parameter support is one of the items. After this upgrade, the CQC ELk driver should be as good as it gets. It is powerful and stable now, just not 100% feature complete. And it's free :rolleyes:
 
Laurent,
MainLobby has very tight integration with the ELK. Our integration extends beyond their published API. So, there are even different degrees of "full featured" :rolleyes:

From you list, all is possible with not much trouble (EDIT - checking on custom parameters). The one that isn't "standard" is access to the ELK event log. I believe one could access the log, and even query against it and display those results in MainLobby using our new MLDatabase application.

arm/disarm... (i.e. keypad emulation) - all seem to have that
- Graphical view (with floorplan of the house) of all security contacts/PIR/glassbreaks/smokes... with color status on a single screen.
- Same as above for lights (zwave). Must include 2-way feedback (how does that work?).
- Access to event log
- Access to Elk custom parameters (sprinkler duration, time...)

Best advise is to try it.

With our brand new MLInstaller application, you can download and connect your ELK (either serial port or ethernet) in just a few minutes. There is an out of the box floorplan view that should show you your ELK data right out of the box (minutes). Of course, you will ultimately replace the shipped floorplan with your own, but the coding for presentation is already done for you. It will just have to be "tweeked" for your individual home.

Here is where you can download the new installer:
http://www.cinemarsolutions.com/scart/mlin...aller_Setup.exe
As far as we know, that is the easiest and most powerful means to interact with an ELK. One of the less expensive choices too, for what you are asking for. MainLobby is also highly extendable beyond what you have asked for. Just select MainLobby Combo and in the Drivers section, the MLELKM1 plugin to download and then to install.

Feel free to ask questions on Cinemar's forum. there is an area dedicated to the ELK plugin. Feel free to post here as well.
 
Johnny9's is available, as are others. But, you'll still have to do a decent amount of work regardless of package as you'll have a different set of zones & equipment than anyone else.

BTW, don't forget about remote access to the Elk. Once you can do all that, the next step could be to get a PDA cellphone and control the house over your cellphone. The ability to custom-build PDA screens in a fashion that can be optimized (as opposed to logmein or a webserver) allows for speed optimizations that make a tangible and usable difference.
 
Thanks for all the answers.
BTW, I have read about the limited support for full CQC magic on CE using the DNV. I might go with a TS07, which is a CE machine. What is the real-life penalty? Would Johnny9 or IVB's UI suffer for instance?

Laurent
 
There's a handful of widgets that aren't supported on the DNV, the biggest being overlays and alpha-based transparency.

This would make the TS07 not the best option, but I think there's many other good options that don't have those limitations. I think generally speaking, CE is a bad choice for a home-based touchscreen anyhow, so I don't think the "penalty" is really that big a deal. Get a machine with a faster processor so that the graphics display faster.

If you think about the fact that no other product even offers the concept of a DNV where you can build your own UI for a cellphone that's inherently optimizable and doesn't require coding, the limitations don't seem so bad.
 
Talking about getting a faster CPU, the panel I am eying is the IEI Afolux 12", which has a 500MHz Geode. Will that be reasonable for its 1024x768 screen and CQC (running XP or XPE presumably)?

Laurent
 
I'd have to look into that, the graphics card is also something to consider. For example, my Fujitsu 3400 (400MHz) has a crappy graphics card, so popouts (popup screens that "slide out" from one side to the other) are painfully slow. SageTV PlaceShifter is far far from remotely being a reality.

Fortunately, CQC supports a variety of graphical options, so I just opted to use popups that have no animation so the screen can paint very quickly.
 
There's also the remote desktop option to consider. If the touchpanel supports a remote desktop client then you can run the full CQC viewer with all options available on the server and just access it remotely. I know there is a CE RDP client, so that might be an option on the TS07, I have never used it though. Another version of this would be going with a Touchtronix IPTouch which uses a similar remote desktop type solution. And I assume the same would work for MainLobby as well.

I am currently using an airpanel with CQC which uses RDP, and it works great.
 
All good stuff.
I also found this thread on the ML forums with a bunch of other options (mostly panel PCs or UMPCs):
http://www.cinemaronlineforums.com/forum/v...pic.php?t=10597

I am surprised the IEI panel PCs are not more popular given that they are somewhat cheap (i.e. <$1k new) compared to the other options from Motion, TabletKiosk...

BTW, for RDP, do you need Win Server TS edition or whatever it is now or these all can log several panels on the same XP Pro machine with different sessions and screen sizes at the same time?

Laurent
 
All good stuff.
I also found this thread on the ML forums with a bunch of other options (mostly panel PCs or UMPCs):
http://www.cinemaronlineforums.com/forum/v...pic.php?t=10597

I am surprised the IEI panel PCs are not more popular given that they are somewhat cheap (i.e. <$1k new) compared to the other options from Motion, TabletKiosk...

BTW, for RDP, do you need Win Server TS edition or whatever it is now or these all can log several panels on the same XP Pro machine with different sessions and screen sizes at the same time?

Laurent

XP Pro with a hack will do it too (mutliple touchscreens).

However there are also color count and refresh speeds to consider, if you want video on them you'll probably need to do some queaking of the video, codecs and player to get it working well. Otherwise just displaying a interface you should be able to do it, things that require overlay probably won't work. You should just connect to any XP Pro box from another PC and play around with what you can and can't get done via RDP before making a choice.
 
You should just connect to any XP Pro box from another PC and play around with what you can and can't get done via RDP before making a choice.

That's a good idea. One of the things I want to do is look at video cameras (IP cameras or a DVR-like thing), so I wonder if RDP would make it or just die. I guess it also depends on how CQC/ML handle video streams. I have read that for now CQC is limited to streaming cameras that have a browser interface straight into a browser widget?

Laurent
 
IP cams are usually no problem, DVRs on the other hand can be tricky. If it is an embedded DVR you basically must use their provided interface which often depends on ActiveX. I think most ActiveX stuff works but again overlays and whatnot can pose problems. Same for MPEG4 cameras.
 
MainLobby supports web based IP cameras thru our WebLobby product, as well as a local USB camera for viewing in MainLobby 3 client (native support in MainLobby3 client), and we have the "MLMediaStream" application which is a full streaming video solution including control over a PC tuner card. We also support JPEG refresh (not really steaming) for display in MainLobby3 Client. I can't think of a camera situation that isn't supported. If I haven't covered all normal modes, post what they are and I'll figure out how we handle that (if we can or not).
 
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