CQC 2.0 officially released


Staff member
Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd is very proud to announce the 2.0 release of CQC (the Charmed Quark Controller), its software-based automation and media management system. Version 2.0 introduces very significant new features and capabilities to the CQC product.

Charmed Quark System's automation products provide robust, flexible, and cost effective control of lighting, HVAC, security, home theater, media data, and other systems. It is available in various configurations, which will scale to meet your needs, whether large or small, open or secure, a single room or the whole home. Build your own hardware, or use our pre-built systems. Do it yourself or pair up with one of our integration partners, whatever fits your needs and budget.

What's New

The list of new features is far too large to list in detail, but the highlights are:
  • Media Management. There was a massive overhaul of the media management system in this release. There is now a Charmed Quark specific media repository, which is managed via our own repository management and CD ripping tool, which also provides metadata retrieval. So you will no longer need either J.River or DVD Profiler if you use our new repository. And you no longer require an export/import cycle to get new data into the repository as with J.River/DVD Profiler, since any changes made with our repository manager are immediately available. J.River/DVD Profiler are still supported for those who still want to use them.
  • Interface System. A major new feature in the graphical interface system is support for 'pop-ups' and 'pop-outs'. These are modal interfaces that can be popped up over the main interface, interacted with, and this dismissed. They make the system much more flexible, and the new action system allows you to create your own confirmation pop-ups, browsing pop-ups, and so forth, which completely blend into the look of your interfaces. It adds a huge amount of power to your user interfaces. The 'pop-outs' are like pop-ups except that they present themselves by sliding out like slide out panel, to make your interfaces more graphically appealing. You can also have WAV files play when they are sliding in or out.
  • Action System. In CQC, an 'action' is a list of commands to carry out in response to a button press on an interface, at a scheduled time, etc... I.e. it is how you automation sequences of commands to create automation logic. The 1.x version of actions did not support any sort of logic, instead requiring the use of a CML language macro for anything beyond a simple linear list of commands. 2.0 now supports conditional logic in actions, many new commands that can be done at the action level instead of requiring CML, and a hugely streamlined action editing process. This new action system represents a huge step forward in the amount of power available to the non-programmer.
  • New Drivers. There are many new drivers available in this release, including but not limited to the whole RNet family of Russound devices, Vantage Q Series lighting, the full line of Integra receivers and DVD players, RCS serial thermostats, Betabrite LED displays, Networx NX8/8E security panels, Jandy Aqualink pool controllers, Rotel RSP-976, Nuvo Concerto multi-zone audio system, Pioneer VSX-84TXVi, Topfield PVR, Slim Server/Squeezebox, Insteon PLC, and Xantech MRC88 multi-zone audio system.
Give it a Whirl

The product is available in a 30 day unencumbered form, so you can use it to it's fullest extent during that time, in order to see if it works for you. If you decide to buy, you can just license your existing installation, so that you won't have any interruption of your work done during the trial period. To download the installer, click the Try/Buy tab of the main web site menu, or the Try It button in the upper right hand corner, and then the Try It area.

Then go to the Learn tab of the new web site, and select the Tutorial Videos link, which provides a set of videos to talk you through the process of installing and getting familiar with what CQC can do. You might want to go through the Using CQC section (also under Learn) first, but if you are hands on person you can just dive right in and come back to the Using section later.

Our license is a site license, and all our device drivers are part of the package, so there are no hidden incremental costs as your plans expand. There is a required base package, plus a number of optional packages. We also have a full system package that includes the base and all options at a reduced price. There is a Master Server which is licensed, and other clients can be run as required/desired.

* There are two versions of the CQC product, a DIY version and a professionally installed version. The DIY version is available for purchase on the web site, and at a very reasonable price, in an 'as is' format, with best effort support provided purely through the CQC support forum.
Just wanted to let everyone know that 2.0.14 is now available. This is the usual followup release to a really major release, to add some features/improvements that just couldn't make it in time for the 2.0 release, and to take care of some issues that didn't show up until more folks starting using 2.0 seriously.

It doesn't have really any major new features, but it has a pretty large number of small fixes and improvements, the cummulative effect of which is pretty substantial. So it's definitely recommended that all users upgrade to 2.0.14.

The most notable changes are:
  • Jukebox Mode. The media architecture now supports 'jukebox' type functionality, meaning that you no longer are limited to just playing a particular collection (disc) at a time. You can queue up individual tracks to the players that support it, and there is now the ability to preview tracks before playback in order to support this new feature.
  • Auto-Blanking. The Interface Viewer now supports auto-blanking. You can set the auto-blank time or disable it. It invokes the 'blank and blanker' feature which turns off the display backlight and invokes the CQC blanker window.
  • Time/Date Widget. The Interface Viewer now has two new widgets, both of which display time/date information in a very flexible way. These supplement the existing digital clock widget, but provide a lot more flexibility for formatting the information. One displays the local system time and the other a value from a time based driver field.
  • New/Improved Drivers. There are a number of driver updates in this release including Zoom Player, TheaterTek, Jandy Aqualink, iScan VP30, AE900, Insteon, and Slim Server. The Neothings Avalon driver has been replaced with a new driver that supports both the Avalon and the Borrego models, in their various configurations. The Lutron RadioRA driver has been updated to support bridged systems. And the Proliphix thermostat driver has been updated to support the authentication required by newer models.
Just wanted to let everyone know that 2.0.17 is now available. This one doesn't have a lot of new stuff, but really improves the product overall, in terms of performance.

We recommend heavily that everyone upgrade to this version. You will find that it's very fast, and remains fast even when a good number of clients are involved and when some of those clients are not so robust wireless connections.

The most notable changes are:
  • Wireless Clients. In previous versions, a wireless client that had a spotty connection could cause disruption of other clients in the system, because they would affect the performance of the back end servers. This issue has been resolved and other clients should be completely unaffected.
  • Network Performance. In the process of addressing the previous issue, we re-addressed our server side network architecture and this new release provides a significant speed up of multi-computer CQC installations, and scales up much better when more clients are in use.
  • New Z-Wave Driver. The Z-Wave driver has been significantly rewritten. Not all of the benefits are exposed in this release, and will show up soon. But this version supports the newer Intermatic USB stick controllers and allows you to control polling rate on an individual module basis and is just more reliable in general, particularly with the newer Z-Wave hardware.
  • Other New/Improved Drivers. There are a number of driver updates in this release including the Pioneer VSX-84TSXi A/V receiver, Denon 4806ci A/V receiver, Sony Ruby video projector, and the Sage PVR product. And updates have been made to the drivers for the Nuvo Concerto, AE900, Jandy pool controller, and Theta Casablanca.