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CQC? HomeSeer? Control4? Creston? Mi Casa Verde? What to choose?

panthers1788

New Member
Long story short first, I am looking at doing home automation in my house which is being remodeled right now. I would like a setup where I can have a touch screen control panel and integrate the system with lighting, theater room integration, whole home music, thermostats, and maybe security (maybe, might be getting an ADT system for their monitoring service). Is CQC the answer? What controller would you recommend? What lighting technology, z-wave, insteon, etc...
 
For the background now:
I had a home automation setup before using Mi Casa Verde Vera controller and Z-wave (lights, security system, outlets, locks) and now that I am remodeling I want to pick the best option. I really like Creston and Control4's touch panels (I don't like their price, and the fact that you can't add anything to the system yourself) and when looking for alternatives to those two HomeSeer and CQC is what I have come across. I gave a call into HomeSeer to get a few questions answered, but found the agent on the other end of the call to be not very forthcoming or helpful which may have turned me slightly away from their product (maybe just one bad experience so I am open for a discussion on it). Why I am leaning more toward CQC over HomeSeer is due to the home theater integration that it appears to have. Am I correct in saying that it would be something that would work nicely in a home theater setup as well as controlling automation throughout the house? Also, when comparing CQC with the other mentioned companies/systems does CQC support just as many devices/protocols (Insteon, Z-Wave, Zigbee, etc...) This is just to get the discussion started, I have many other questions but I will just list a few below that I am thinking.
 
What is the best controller to get for CQC?
What lighting should I go with (dimmer switches, light switches, etc..)?
I am a software developer by profession so I don't think I should have an issue with setting up the environment, is that true?
 
  
 

znelbok

Active Member
I have only used CQC, but reading your post it would appear CQC is a good fit for you.
 
CQC is quite adept at home theatre control/integration and it can be used for everything else around the house.
 
Being a software developer you will find that even if CQC does not support a particular device that you want, as long as  you can get the information from that device you will be able to write your own driver so you will have a CQC that is customised to you (I have many drivers written specifically for gear that only I will have working with CQC)
 
Your interface can be yours as well - whatever you want it to look like.
 
What is the best controller for CQC?  CQC is the controller that runs on a PC.
 
Can't answer the lighting question as I am not in the US and not familiar with what is available there.
 
Also, go have a look at the CQC forums.  There is a huge amount of info there, especially drivers that are not part of the standard package.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
If you are going to have the walls open, or can open some walls, and you can afford it, consider at least doing the core stuff as wired system. It'll cost more but it'll be 100% reliable. That won't always be the case with consumer level systems (Z-Wave, UPB, Insteon.) If you can't, then the next step would be something like Lutron's Radio RA2, which is still very pro level (and DIY accessible) but wireless and therefore retrofit friendly.
 
These systems will bring in the lights, motion sensors, door sensors, temp sensors, thermostats, etc... No matter what you do, you need some means to get all of those things accessible to the automation system, and getting it all from a single vendor tends to make it far less hassle and there's nowhere for the buck to stop but at that single vendor.
 
Layer CQC on top of that for media management, media gear/theater control, really nice touch screens, voice control, access to network based sources like weather and media metadata, various other types of user input such as IR, serial/socket, or HTTP triggers that you can train CQC to respond to, colored lights, voice announcements, and so forth.
 
That sort of setup tends to be pretty common and fairly optimal. As long as you pick something strong for that core hardware layer.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I like the idea of Radio RA2 even if you have full access to open walls for 4 reasons:
 
1- Technology changes over time so there is an argument to be made that the wiring should support standard non-automated switches because most new innovations will be designed to retrofit that scenario. Depending on the topology, a rock solid wired system can get you into a proprietary wiring situation that could be difficult to change if something else you want comes along some years from now.
 
2- It is easier to expand into an additional area not previously automated if you don't have to run new wires... again sort of future proofing.
 
3- The quality of Lutron stuff is really high
 
4- Lutron will likely interface with more things, including consumer devices and apps, than a less widely used wired system can. Your controller will provide most of the automation you will want to apply to your switches but sometimes a direct integration with some gadget makes sense to address a specific situation.
 

picta

Active Member
Lutron offers two hard-wired systems: Quantum and Homeworks, but those are the hi-end systems that are not DIY friendly.
 

vc1234

Active Member
upstatemike said:
4- Lutron will likely interface with more things, including consumer devices and apps, than a less widely used wired system can. Your controller will provide most of the automation you will want to apply to your switches but sometimes a direct integration with some gadget makes sense to address a specific situation.
 
Lutron RadioRA2 does not offer a 20A receptacle (at least it did not two years ago), so I have to keep my zwave 20A one.
Lutron  RRa2 does not offer lock integration and probably never will, with the current RF protocol, so I have to use zwave for that too.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Another excellent choice in lighting is Vantage.  They have a "home run" system that is the premier lighting system on the market (IMO, shared with Homeworks QS).  This has to be installed with walls open.  Their RadioLink product line is excellent for retrofits.  You can also hybrid the two together (home run when you can get to the wiring, RadioLink when you can't).
We are dealers in both products.  They aren't installed by DIY'rs.
 
On the subject of control systems, please take a look at myServer.
http://allonis.com
The control system is very DIY and Dealer friendly.  We can help to whatever degree you need help with.
myServer supports most of the popular lighting, thermostat, energy monitoring, media control offerings.
It is completely customizable by a non developer.  But, your developer understanding will only make it easier.
 

pete_c

Guru
@David,
 
Curious what you are using for your wall switch lighting these days?
 
Personally I like a wired automated system if I were starting over again. 
 
Secondarily a powerline system (UPB) and last using RF even though proprietary RF lighting is nicely done by Lutron. 
 
Current OP2 panel is doing UPB, X10 (works great), Zigbee and Z-Wave.  I do not have issues with Zigbee and Z-Wave today.
 
Homeseer is doing similiar via the OP2 control and also has separate UPB, X10 and Z-Wave connectivity.
 
That is me though.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Hi Pete,  If I were doing a new house, I would put in Vantage home run wiring (I agree on the hard wiring - though it is expensive!).  If I were doing a new retrofit, it would be either Vantage RadioLink, or RadioRa2.
Dropping down in price, I would look into Lutron Caseta with the Pro controller (required for integration).  Next down from that, Z-Wave.  We have a few dealers that only do UPB with good success.  I have been burned by Insteon personally, but that's probably due to the early generation I started with (poor longevity of the contact switches).  I still have X10 controlling my driveway lights and just remarked to myself today that that relay has been pretty dang reliable...but lack quality status control (note, all other X10 had not so good reliability over the years...but still use them for plugin Xmas temporary control)
 
Zigbee I have only tested with a Wink (terrible latency) so that's not a fair test of the technology.
 
myServer has control over all of them.  So, in my house, I have just about all of them here and there.  To the end user, they don't realize...they just see a light go on / off or dim...
 

picta

Active Member
If myServer can integrate with Lutron Caseta, that is a huge plus. To my knowledge this would be the only software controller that does that, and Caseta may be the best DIY friendly lighting tech for a buck today.
 
I personally have hard wired Centralite Elegance system, nothing can beat hard-wired control, but for most people that is not an option. Centralite also offers a wireless option via zigbee which is not as expensive as RadioRA or Vantage, but also not as extensive in choices as the other two.
 

roussell

Active Member
Indigo and Homeseer both have plugins for Caseta, I believe OpenHAB does as well.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
CQC does as well, AFAIK, because we have supported RA2/HWQ for a long time, and the protocol is the same between them all. No one has actually tested it yet, but obviously it there was any small glitch we would happily take care of that immediately. And I've seen customers of other products that already had RA2 support report that it works with Caseta just fine.
 
Also, I'd just point out that we just put out the first preview of our Kinect based voice control today. This is a huge step forward over the Echo in terms of a natural, conversational style of voice control, though of course we support the Echo as well. Given how hot a topic voice control is now, I think that this is really an important step forward for us.
 

pete_c

Guru
Welcome back to Cocoontech (I know you never left visiting here) David.
 
Yeah relating to Insteon I had thought / believed that it was the best thing since sliced bread in the early salad days.

It became a PITA and then one day I was thunderstruck (literally). 
 
My outside AC unit due to lightning did a crash and burn (real flames) and took out the rest of the Insteon switches so the demise of my installed Insteon was accelerated (well and actually I had been procrastinating the replacement endeavor).
 
Nothing to do with the OP my parrot lunged at me early this morning while I walked past her cage with a faded orange towel.
 
She just hit the side of her cage and fell on the bottom startled a bit.
 

picta

Active Member
roussell said:
Indigo and Homeseer both have plugins for Caseta, I believe OpenHAB does as well. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
There is a big difference between "have plugin" and the company's commitment to maintaining a protocol. Last I tried the Homeseer Caseta plugin, it was not very reliable, it may have become better over time, but I still see postings as late as 2 days ago "Caseta Plug-in Randomly Dies". I don't have CQC or Indigo, so cannot comment on that.
 
There are also different levels of engagement with "home automation". Some people like to tinker with stuff (usually newcomers, myself included in the early days), and some like it "to just work" and enjoy automating more things and making the rules more sophisticated (tendency that evolves over time,and this is where I am today). I am long past the phase where I could tolerate daily babysitting of the system, changing broken devices every couple of years or wondering if something will work "this time", so I put a higher weight on reliability at the expense of novelty and ease of install. I continue to tinker with new stuff today as a hobby, but it is not going to become a part of my main system until it passes a certain level of confidence in functional reliability.
 

pete_c

Guru
Hear! Hear! Picta
 
Yup; it is a real PITA to have to replace in wall switches. 
 
That said I do not play or tinker with X10/UPB these days relating to using the OP2 or Homeseer software. 
 
The OP2 panel though is rarely touched where as most of the tinkering is with the software.
 
I do continue (after years now) to tinker with Z-Wave and Zigbee; personally though it is relating to an ingrained dislike for RF and automation; but that is me. 
 
Not so much with the OmniPro 2 but rather with Homeseer Software tinkering (mostly just Z-Wave tinkering).
 
I also use Microsoft SAPI / Kinect / VR sure bet stuff for related automation and tinker with the Amazon Echo but do not depend on the Amazon Echo for related automation.
 
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