Do you use an Ocelot in your HA setup?

Do you use an Ocelot in your HA setup?

  • Yes, love it!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Just purchased one, still trying to set it up.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I am thinking about it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Why would one like to use a cat to automate a house?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0

smee

Senior Member
I don't really see an option for me, unless you consider the final one to be the generic "no" vote and not just humor. I haven't voted yet.

It looks like a cool device, but I personally don't see a use for one. I don't really need the external control capabilities. Most of the inputs and outputs are things that I can get elsewhere or build myself.

If I can just get the IR zone controller that I'm working on to work correctly, then I'm all set.

Initially, I think the Ocelot looks too expensive. However, once you know everything it can do, the prices for the base unit don't look too bad (at least from Martin).

However, I think the basic SECU expansion units look really expensive for what they do.

Please take these opinions with a grain of salt because I really haven't looked too far into using one of these and it's been a while since I looked at the documentation.

aside...

It's been a long time since I read it, but doesn't Cordwainer Smith's "Game of Cat and Dragon" use a cat to automate a space ship.
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
I think the device doesn't show it's true power until you get your hands on it, I was never convinced either, but it looks like I can offload many events from the HS machine, which is great. I can also experiment more with my production HS without screwing basic functionality up of my house. I am not sure what to do either with the inputs, I like the idea of having 8 inputs and outputs, but the module is indeed expensive for what it does.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Gang, the Ocelot is an amazing product... I love mine. Electron's right on the money about being able to offload a lot of chores to the Ocelot. Its response time is much faster than PC-based automation.

Here's the stuff the Ocelot can't do that HomeSeer can (not a complete list):
  • - Text to speech and VR, but you can use pre-recorded responses with the speak-easy module.
    - Zwave, but there's a Zwave module in the works
    - Web access, probably never will
    - Essentially limited to X10, IR and relay-controlled stuff.... but that's a lot of stuff!
Visit ADI's message board, and you'll see just how complex some of the folks' setups are.

The Ocelot is a bit harder to program than HomeSeer is, and it's (usually) not possible just to "drop-in" someone else's program like you can "drop=in" many HS scripts that others write.

Since most people think that the Ocelot is just an IR transceiver, here are some of the things it can do that a simple IR transceiver can't (again, not an all inclusive list)
  • - Hold up to 2048 lines of program
    - control low voltage relays (via SECU16 module)
    - control high voltage relays (via RLY8XA module)
    - control X10 devices (via PSC05 or other X10 interface)
    - sense digital or analog relays and output devices (via SECU16 and/or SECU16I modules)
    - interface with RS232/485 devices (via serial bobcat)
    - sense temperature (via temp bobcat and/or analog sensor & SECU)
    - sense light level (via light bobcat and/or analog sensor & SECU)
    - sense humidity (via humidity bobcat and/or analog sensor & SECU)
    - Can daisy chain multiple Ocelots and/or Leopards (touchscreen version) to increase lines of programing available
    - Can have multiple IR-out zones (via SECU16IR modules) or IR-in zones (via additional Ocelots and Leopards)
    - Record and playback sounds (via speakeasy module)
Now here's how I'm using mine:
  • - IR control of home theater equipment via HomeSeer and via Ocelot programs (my power-up program is completely contained in the Ocelot and "knows" the power-up status of each device)
    - Sensing of the power-up status of each home theater component thru current sensors tied to my SECU16 with supervised digital inputs.
    - Zoned IR out to components and rooms (prevents the same command triggering similar components [like 2 Hitachi TVs])
    - Have some events contained in the Ocelot instead of HomeSeer, Since the Ocelot independently sends its own X10 commands (I use a CM11A from HomeSeer), HomeSeer "sees" what the Ocelot is doing via the CM11A and updates device status appropriately.
    - Have a "watchdog" setup inside the Ocelot... The Ocelot watches a variable that HomeSeer Changes every 30 seconds, if the variable goes 10 minutes without being changed, the Ocelot closes a relay connected the the HomeSeer PC's reset button and resets the PC. This way the HomeSeer PC is never locked-up for more than 10 minutes + a reboot. Fortunately, my setup is currently stable enough that this rarely happens. (this is an oversimplification of the Ocelot program that actually performs the watchdog function).
    - a few other things that I can't think of right now...
One of the programs I'm particularly proud of is my Home Theater power-up program. You see, I have a rear-projection TV that takes about 20 seconds to power-up, and is not receptive to input changing commands until it's completely powered-up, and it lacks discrete power and input commands. This created a dilemma for me. Originally I had a macro contained in my Home Theater Master MX700 remote that handled powering-up the home theater, but the TV had to be on for it to work. With the Ocelot and some current sensors, that is no longer required. Now, my remote issues a single command to the Ocelot. The Ocelot then turns on the TV, DVD player and receiver (if it sensed them off). If it sensed the TV was already on, it immediately issues the input commands to the TV for it to change to component in (the DVD inputs), if it sensed the TV was off, it waits 20 seconds after issuing the power on command to issue the input commands. Works perfectly every time. My wife likes it, because now she doesn't have to push a million buttons to watch a DVD... and going back to watching regular old TV after viewing a DVD is as simple as pushing another button!

The support is great as well. On the rare occasion that someone's Ocelot, Leopard, SECU or Bobcat has gone bad on them, the ADI folks were more than happy to provide replacements. The traffic on their message board is not that high, but when something is posted, responses are quick. The ADI folks are very active at the HomeSeer board and I've seen them post here a few times (and at Remote Central).

I can't say enough good things about the Ocelot. And now that Martin's (Automated Outlet) carrying them there even a better value!
 

jwilson56

Senior Member
I also didn't see an option for us Slink-e owners. I would probably look at getting one if I hadn't already bought the Slink-e even before I bought Homeseer. If I were to start over I would go with a hard drive music system and probably an Ocelot to use with it (and of coarse probably MusicLobby).

John
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
wow John, that's one nice setup! Could I use the SECU16 8inputs/8outputs to drive my garage door opener etc?
 

jrfuda

Active Member
E, as long as your garage door can be controlled by opening/closing relays and it opened/closed status can be sensed by the same, it should work.

One thing I didn't mention in my mile-long Post above, is that all the stuff the Ocelot controls - even independently - can also be controlled/tracked in HomeSeer. If you go to my web page (in the next couple of weeks, before I start moving) you should be able to tell if my various home theater components are on or off. So you should be able to track the opened/closed status of your garage door the same way.

While I have everyones' attention:

Another good trick to follow for using the Ocelot is to use IR triggers that are NOT among the commands for any of your IR gear. For example, I have a total of 40 IR triggers setup (I'm only using about 12 at the time, though). All the triggers are from a McIntosh remote (for which I downloaded the commands from Remote Central). The good thing about this is that there is NO way that an IR trigger I send from my remote will ever accidental trigger one of my components, unless I have a program setup to do so. Of course, my remote control can still directly control all of my components.

Now, if I want the Ocelot to do something in response to a normal command I'd issue to a component (let's say, always dim the lights when I issue a play command to the DVD player) there are three approaches.
1 & 2 are used if you do as I do and only setup triggers using IR codes from equipment you DON'T have.
  • approach 1: Change the DVD's play command on your remote to a macro, have the macro issue a play command and a trigger command. The Ocelot will respond to the trigger command an do whatever you have it programmed to do in response. The DVD player, of course, will respond to the play command.
    approach 2: Change the DVD's play command on your remote to a trigger command ONLY. Have your Ocelot setup to dim the lights AND send a play command to the DVD player in response to the trigger.
    approach 3: Include the DVD's IR play command as one of your triggers. The remote will then directly cause the DVD player to play, and the same code, when seen by the Ocelot, can be used to trigger your light dimming.
These different approaches will appeal to different folks. Approach 3 is the only way to go if you do not have programmable remote. Approaches 1 & 2 give you a little more flexibility, especially if you have similar equipment on multiple zones.

A word about triggers... The Ocelot can store something like 1024 IR commands, but can only respond to the first X commands, where X equals a number you specify in the Ocelot's setup. The lower X is, the faster the Ocelot responds to commands. I personally have mine set to 40. And the first 40 IR codes are from the McIntosh remote I mentioned earlier... Therefore I'm limited to approach 1 or 2, above.

Why did I chooses McIntosh remote codes? Have you seen how much those things cost? Unless I win the lottery I'll never be able to afford a McIntosh component, therefore there's no chance of future conflict.

Hope this gives a little more insight.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Well, all I have to say is that I have had my Ocelot for close to two years and one thing it has NEVER done:

LOCK UP !!!!!

Enough said? :)

BSR
 

JohnBullard

Active Member
Yes I love my Ocelot!

When I started in HomeAutomation, several years ago, I was using ActiveHome downloading macros to the CM11A. Finally realized that was very limiting, and purchased the Ocelot.

I'm not really into the all the IR stuff like John is (yet), mainly just use the Ocelot for X10 control. Motion sensors, lighting macros etc.

While I'm a new Homeseer user, I will probably keep my "mission critical" HA functions on the Ocelot, and use HomeSeer for the "GeeWhiz and WOW" stuff.
The Ocelot is "rock solid".

One other thing I do use the Ocelot for, and SpeakEasy module, is reminders. For example, each Sunday evening at 8:00 PM, a chime module sounds (upstairs and down) and the SpeakEasy says "John, have you taken the recylables out?" Repeats at 10 PM On Wednesday at 8:00 and 10 similar, except asks about trash instead. Also announces Driveway entry and someone at front door.

Since I'm now dedicating a computer to HomeSeer, I'm looking forward to doing even more, like you guys do, but the Ocelot will still be my "core" control system.

I'm delighted Martin is now carrying ADI products, and I ordered some more modules over the weekend. Still debating on the Leopard, but Martins price is super on this unit.

I see the Ocelot and a PC based HA system as complimenting each other, not in competition.

Just my 2 cents
 

AutomatedOutlet

Senior Member
Wow guys, thanks for the great posts! John, you are amazing with your knowledge about the ocelot. I knew BSR was an ocelot expert and now I also find out the John B is too!

Admittedly I'm a neophite on the ocelot. I'm planing on diving in full force now that I finally struck a great deal with ADI. I made a major commitment in order to be able to provide the products at that price so I'd better learn fast about them!

I have a friend that works for HAL who is local and is going to come over to the house to help me program it. I've always known it's the right way to go but know I'll really get a chance to learn it.

From what I understand, the ocelot (or Leapard II) is a very bulletproof way to go for scheduled events and anything that requires inputs from sensors. I picked up today a lot more sensor options that will be on the website very soon. I'm excited about this. It's comforting to know that a lot of my tasks will now be controlled by a device that has no moving parts!

Thanks you again,

Martin
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
I am definitely impressed with the level of Ocelot Knowledge we have on the forums here, the only guy (no pun) missing is Guy from the ADI boards :)
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
I knew BSR was an ocelot expert

Hehe I wish Martin. What I learned with the Ocelot was through the brute force try it till it worked. John has more knowledge about the Ocelot in his little finger than I totally have (err, if something like that is possible). :)

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled thread...
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
I read that PDF several days ago, but I can't find anything about opening the garage door tho, just monitoring, which I am already doing.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
As long as your garage door will open/close in response to the opening/closing of a relay, it should be possible to open/close it with the Ocelot and a a SECU16's relays.

Garage doors operate on a toggle, right? So whatever status it's in (opened or closed) issuing command to it does the opposite?

What would be neat is if there was a way to have some sort of discrete way of issuing open/close commands - maybe through some scripting with comditions.... This way, you could just give the garage door and extra "close" command at bed time to ensure it is closed without having to check its status. Your script would see that you issued a "close" command (via whatever means you issue it) and will only execute the command if, in fact, the door is open. Same for if it's closed and you want to open it.
 
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