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HA setup sanity check

aerosoob

New Member
Enough lurking, taking notes, changing mind, etc. Time to jump in. This post is intended to be a sanity check for all that I've learned on this and multiple other fantastic forums over the last few months. This is what I'm thinking to begin the HA:

What I want it to control:

-- Home security
-- Lighting
-- HVAC
-- Caller-ID (with VOIP)
-- Power to certain outlets
-- Irrigation (later)
-- Home theater (later)

Note: All should be able to cross-communicate. i.e., security system set to "Vacation", turn off HVAC, turn off all lights.

User Interface:

-- Home PCs via Ethernet
-- Laptop via wireless internet (@ home or anywhere internet is accessible)
-- In-wall touch-screens via wireless internet (maybe Fujitsu 3500)
-- Dell Axim PDA via wireless internet (@ home or anywhere internet is accessible)

Note: External data-feeds should be available on all user interfaces. Also, it should be able to use that information in home control. i.e., system talks to weather feed via Ethernet. Feed says that it will rain today. HA logic tells the sprinklers not to operate today. Sunrise/sunset times would also be useful for lighting.

General set-up:

-- User interfaces (running CQC Interface Viewer) talk to Primary server (running CQC server).
-- Server talks to Elk M1G via RS232 or Ethernet.
-- Elk talks to lights via Elk-M1XZW Z-wave controller (concerned about CQC support here - and I want to be able to query light/fan status)
-- Elk talks to HVAC via ELK-M1XSP to Aprilaire controller.
-- Elk talks to security components (door/window monitors, motion detectors, etc) via NX448E 48 zone wireless expansion module. (House is already finished)
-- Not sure how to display caller ID (with VOIP) on user interface yet. Not a priority though.

Specific questions:

1) Is all this possible?
2) As I understand it, I can still buy the full CQC system for $495, then pay the annual $95 for minor upgrades. If I do that tomorrow, is the v2.0 release considered a minor upgrade? i.e., will I get that for "free" when it comes out?
3) If I walk up to the Aprilaire thermostat and change the temperature setting, is this immediately visible on the CQC interface? And the other way around, if I change the temperature from the laptop via CQC IV, does it show up on the Aprilaire thermostat?
4) I'm interested in adding RFID capability for several applications. Is this supported by CQC/Elk?

5) BIG QUESTION: Do I need the Elk?

Why not plug in a Z-wave, UPB, and/or X-10 master controller to the primary CQC server? Commands go to the server, CQC decides which device it needs to go to and sends it out via the plugged-in controllers. The server fills the role of the Elk. Maybe I'll need a few serial port expansion cards, but hey - a lot cheaper than the Elk + expansion modules. I don't ever plan on using the Elk keypad anyway (because it will be on the touch screen). Am I missing something here?

Jeez, that post turned out to be a lot longer than I had planned! I truly appreciate you guys taking a look. I hope to return the favor when I figure out what's going on.

Thanks,
- Aerosoob
 

Steve

Senior Member
1) Is all this possible?
Nope. This is insane. Sorry, just kidding - sure its all very doable. For certain things you may have to resort to some scripting but most likely not.
2) As I understand it, I can still buy the full CQC system for $495, then pay the annual $95 for minor upgrades. If I do that tomorrow, is the v2.0 release considered a minor upgrade? i.e., will I get that for "free" when it comes out?
Yes, 2.0 is included in the $495 price and you get 1 year of updates free, so the $95 maintenance does not kick in for a full year.
3) If I walk up to the Aprilaire thermostat and change the temperature setting, is this immediately visible on the CQC interface? And the other way around, if I change the temperature from the laptop via CQC IV, does it show up on the Aprilaire thermostat?
Don't have an Aprilaire to use, but in theory, yes, these changes show up instantly on each other. I think IVB has an Aprilaire but his I think is direct to CQC.
4) I'm interested in adding RFID capability for several applications. Is this supported by CQC/Elk?
No, not easily at this time. iAutomate never made their interface box so I think it still only works with Homeseer.
5) BIG QUESTION: Do I need the Elk?
That depends. If you need/want a UL certified alarm panel, then yeah. Otherwise, most stuff can be done in CQC. How else would you do Security - a separate alarm panel?

Also at this time CQC really only works well with X10. There is Zwave support but its older and not too great. There is no UPB support but there is a user developed Insteon driver. I expect there to be a more robust Zwave interface and a UPB interface built so those won't be an issue in the near future. I guess it boils down to security. Personally I use the Elk as my primary controller and CQC to provide the touch screen interface and supplemental stuff that Elk does not do. The M1 and CQC is an awesome combination.
 

Rupp

Senior Member
All of this and more is very doable using HomeSeer. The HomeSeer Insteon plugin is working excellent and the new Z-Wave controller that HomeSeer has released is an excellent interface as is the UPB and X10 interfaces. There's also no yearly upgrade fee for HomeSeer. Many use elk/HomeSeer elk plugin to accomplish home security but others use one of the 4 other security plugins.
 

penngray

Member
There's also no yearly upgrade fee for HomeSeer.

but there is an unknown cost of adding components in the future, new components will cost money in the future, if you want a couple per year then HomeSeer might just cost more. If the OP gets into full house A/V then that is where in my opinion CQC is far superior.

IMO, $100 a year for full HA is nothing, there is an assumption that new and wonderful drivers will be created but so far so good. Crestron/AMX are a huge cost, CQC cuts that cost into a fraction. CQC is competing against them and not HomeSeer in my books.
 

IVB

Senior Member
3) If I walk up to the Aprilaire thermostat and change the temperature setting, is this immediately visible on the CQC interface? And the other way around, if I change the temperature from the laptop via CQC IV, does it show up on the Aprilaire thermostat?
Yeah, I ran my Aprilaire directly into CQC. It maintains a pretty tight synchronicity with it, so if I make changes on one, it's pretty quickly visible on the other.

I don't know if it's instantaneous as I've never personally timed it, but I know it's not more than a few seconds as I have walked over to confirm it. For all I know, it could be sub-second though.
 

aerosoob

New Member
Thanks for the responses!

One follow-up question from Steve's post:

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that CQC does not support Z-wave and UPB. Can CQC talk to Z-wave or UPB if the Elk translates? In other words, if I have a Z-wave light connected to the Elk, and I send a command with CQC to the Elk to turn on said light, does the message get through, or does that chain have to wait for the proper drivers to be developed?

Thanks again for taking the time to get me started.

- Aerosoob
 

IVB

Senior Member
zWave support is there but not the best right now. It is being upgraded, but that's probably 2ish months off.

However, if you go via the elk, you're set. No need to wait on drivers. That's just for direct-connection.
 

Steve

Senior Member
aerosoob said:
Thanks for the responses!

One follow-up question from Steve's post:

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that CQC does not support Z-wave and UPB. Can CQC talk to Z-wave or UPB if the Elk translates? In other words, if I have a Z-wave light connected to the Elk, and I send a command with CQC to the Elk to turn on said light, does the message get through, or does that chain have to wait for the proper drivers to be developed?

Thanks again for taking the time to get me started.

- Aerosoob
There is a hardware Zwave interface for the Elk but I don't think it is super robust either. Maybe Squintz can give some real specifics. For direct connect to the Elk, besides X10 and hardwire, UPB is probably the most robust right now. Things could (and probably will) change, but for reliable 2 way support right now, UPB is the best option via Elk.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
We've just not concentrated much on the Z-Wave/UPB direct interfaces because so many of our customers are using an Elk or Omni and won't use those direct interfaces. They take a lot of time and effort to support, so we've put that into other things for now. As indicated, there's an Insteon driver in progress, and we'll be working on an UPB driver after 2.0 goes out, and looking at a new Z-Wave driver as well.
 

toymaster458

Active Member
Dean Roddey said:
we'll be working on an UPB driver after 2.0 goes out
I can also assure you that with all the issues I have posted regarding how Elk works with UPB, I will be sure to give Dean a hard time and make sure that the CQC UPB Driver is full featured! ;)

Just thought I would give you advanced warning Dean.
 
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