Best HA Software for Managing Serial I/O?

upstatemike

Senior Member
I am finding that more and more I want to integrate old legacy serial devices into my home automation system and I was wondering which HA software package works best for generic serial I/O?

Bear in mind that I do not know (and have no intentention of learning) VBS, PERL, or any other scripting language so I am only interested in software that has a simple GUI or command line interface for setting up serial communication. Basically just a box where you enter the serial string to watch for and then a menu to associate it with a flag or trigger of some sort. It would also be nice if it could transmit ASCII strings based on an HA trigger as well.

Many hardware controllers (M1, Stargate, etc) have this feature but it is usually limited to 32 characters while most legacy serial stuff was designed to output to 80 column serial printers and won't work with that small a buffer.

Most of the software packages I have looked at support specific devices through plug-ins or whatever but no generic serial I/O without a lot of manual scripting. I have heard that ECS has a generic serial I/O interface but I haven't confirmed that yet.

Any recommendations?
 

DavidL

Senior Member
I am thinking the RS232serial Plugin for MainLobby suite is probably the easiest for a non programmer to get RS232 stuff going 2 way.

You buy MainLobby, Install MLServer (free), Install MLRS232 plugin (free).

The next step is to integrate with Homeseer with MLHSPlugin ($40) to allow HS interaction with same RS232 device results and commands. (via MLServer).
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
MainLobby is something I have seen mentioned on this board but I have to admit I have never looked into it and don't know anything about it. Thanks for pointing out the MLServer piece. Now I'll definitely check it out.

When I got Homeseer last year I sort of expected it to support generic devices and act as the universal translator for my Stargate, but between scripting and third-party plugins it turned out to be more complicated than I wanted without actually doing what I needed.
 

TonyNo

Active Member
PowerHome is pretty good about serial. Not point and click, but not bad.

Set up the port (i.e. COM1, 9600:8, N, 1) and tell it the macro to call when data arrives...
Code:
FORMULA  ph_comopen( 4, 1, 9600, "N", 8, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 1, "?", "DATARCVD" )
Then, you do what you need to in the macro (DATARCVD in this example)...
Code:
SET GLOBAL   SER_DATA   ""
LABEL  next
SET SYSTEM  [LOCAL1]  ph_comrecvchar( 4 )
SET SYSTEM  [LOCAL2]  string("[LOCAL1]")
JUMP  if("[LOCAL2]"="-3",3,1)
SET GLOBAL  SER_DATA  "{SER_DATA}" + char(integer("[LOCAL1]"))
GOTO LABEL  "next"
COMMENT  The data has been read and is in the SER_DATA variable
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Girder 4 could be ideal on the serial side but I think I am out of synch with the hardware they support. Looks like Girder will talk to an Ocelot or HAI Omni but not to a Stargate or Elk M1? Also supports Turtle Beach Audiostation (no longer made) but not the Slim Devices Squeezebox?
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
PowerHome is also new to me. Another good lead to check out!

I guess my ideal scenario is something running on an old spare PC with lots of serial ports installed. It's only function would be to watch for data on the various ports from the various legacy devices. When a big nasty chunk of data arrives it should follow some rules to parse out the actual data values I care about ( wind speed, which phone line just went off hook, or whatever) and construct a shorter simpler ASCII message to send out the serial port connected to my Stargate. Stargate can then take the simple structured ASCII messages and process them internally.

Also would be nice to send simple ASCII messages out from Stargate and have them tranlated into the more verbose strings required to control some legacy devices (but this is less critical).

Do you think PowerHome would be a good fit for this? Somebody could probably write a VB program that would handle this simple task, but I can't so I'm willing to buy a full featured product and just ignore its other abilities.

Now that I think about it though, if it could handle xAP messages so I could talk to my SqueezeBox music players that would be a great bonus feature.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
I believe you are right BSR, but the plugin was already very capable from what I gathered. I suspect that Dave P will resume with a serial one of his own. Building serial plugins is what got him going with Cinemar. His first one was one for me! (X300 projector plugin).
 

Mike C

Member
upstatemike said:
Girder 4 could be ideal on the serial side but I think I am out of synch with the hardware they support. Looks like Girder will talk to an Ocelot or HAI Omni but not to a Stargate or Elk M1? Also supports Turtle Beach Audiostation (no longer made) but not the Slim Devices Squeezebox?
Girder will do any serial device you want. The list of hardware for Girder 3.3 is here http://www.promixis.com/girder_hardware.php and most of these devices will be migrated to G4 with time.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Mike C said:
Girder will do any serial device you want. The list of hardware for Girder 3.3 is here http://www.promixis.com/girder_hardware.php and most of these devices will be migrated to G4 with time.
I dont' know about your word any as I don't see support for Caddx, Elk M1 Gold, JDS Stargate, & NetRemote CallerID in that list (and these are all popular hardware items our forum members are using). :huh: It is an extensive list though.
 

Mike C

Member
BraveSirRobbin said:
Mike C said:
Girder will do any serial device you want. The list of hardware for Girder 3.3 is here http://www.promixis.com/girder_hardware.php and most of these devices will be migrated to G4 with time.
I dont' know about your word any as I don't see support for Caddx, Elk M1 Gold, JDS Stargate, & NetRemote CallerID in that list (and these are all popular hardware items our forum members are using). :huh: It is an extensive list though.
Sorry, maybe should have been more clear... with a little effort, the generic serial driver can be used to talk to just about any device. ie. I said will do ;)

Elk has contacted us and a driver is on the books for this fall.
 
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