HA System Housecleaning - Suggestions ?


New Member
So about two years ago we moved into an existing 4000sf home.  I decided to automate the home, a long time dream.  I did the best research I could for systems that had the most integration options, support and availability.  I chose homeseer, because of the endless customization options and advetised compatability with about anything with a wire.
Two years later and alot of time and money invested, I still hear " my HStouch isnt working"  and "come close the garage door" from my wife (yes that just happened again while i was writing this).  I have no doubt that HS is a great system, but just dont have the time anymore to read through endless posts as to why my irrigation controller was working yesterday, but today it isn't.
Does anyone have any suggestions on other options ?  I don't mind learning a complex system, but I really want something more stable, so I'm not constantly chasing down issues after two years of actively working on it.  An elegant interface is essential.  Was thinking of Vera with Main Lobby as interface or HAI Omnipro, but would love to hear what everyone thinks (especially if you have experience integrating these two systems).  Really love the concept of comfortclick, but dont have z-wave support just yet.
Here is what the hardware looks like. Would like to use as much as I can, but if I need to scrap it to make things right, I will.  Have an ebay account and not afraid to use it.
Lighting - Cooper Z-wave (30+ devices) some evolve and leviton vizia switches too.
Security - DSC PC1864 w/ IT100 and TL250 communicators (15+ DSC wireless smokes/co's/contacts)
Locks - Kwickset Z-wave
Irrigation - Rain8net pro
HVAC - Zoned System, zone stats are EcoBee
AV - Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote / Denon IP reciever / Latest Samsung LED
Interfaces - Android touch screens in home, Iphone and android mobile users
Cameras - Multiple h.264 poe cameras, synology dsm as NVR
Intercom/Whole House Audio - Russound


Here over the years I have used the HAI OPII and Homeseer; both running right now.  The lighting (in wall switches) is primarily now all UPB and the HVAC is HAI.  None of that has changed over the years.  Well; I did upgrade the HAI Omnistat.  I also do have a Russound zoned system configured with the HAI OPII and Homeseer controlling it.  I do have in place Omnitouch legacy and IP and Omnipro software running.  Additionally still have X10, Insteon and Z-wave in place (testing Zigbee HA stuff now).
Historically always had HSTouch screens running and doing OK.  Recently did upgrade and beta test going from HS2 Pro V.20 to V.81 while concurrently pushing on the number of touchscreens in place.  I can today though run up to 15 HSTouch clients but it mostly sits around 10-12 these days.  I am using the HS mothership to remote all of the HSTouch clients and it works well and is fast these days.  For the CCTV stuff I have always utilize ZMinder and it has worked just fine with analog and IP cameras over the years whatever the brand and methodologies utilized to get streaming or static views; that is part of the flexibility of using ZM.
Early on I did implement automation in the irrigation stuff.  Basically it was just gutting out the Rainbird ESP controller and replacing it with two Rain8nets and utilizing mcsSprinklers (early 2000's or so).  I did use a serial to balun to cat5e to Digi Edgeport connection to the mcsSprinklers plugin running on the HSPro setup.  Always worked fine for me.  Over the last 3 years or so moved the mcsSprinklers program (mostly cuz of testing-playing) to a little Arm based computer (Pogoplug like) and its become a bit self sufficient running autonomously from HS but able to be controlled by Homeseer if I want.
Over the years have seen / noticed sometimes flawed logic implemented by me to automate; but actually becoming more of a detriment. 
Stuff that would make perfect good sense to me; but not really always real world ready (WAF).  Many years ago one thing was automating lighting inside after hours and utilizing motion sensors; it was very low on the WAF and promptly shut off.
Another automation "hiccup" was the whole garage door / alarm / open close multitude of events.  I did leave in place whatever safety mechanisms were utilized by the garage door stuff and added to it.   The flawed logic here was a scenario that I didn't expect to happen.  Wife was on a conference call while driving home one day in the automobile.  She pulled into the garage engrossed in her conference call.  A series of "do what" automation events did trigger this and that.  The flawed logic though closed the garage door while the car was running.  This was very low on the WAF and such that the series of events was modified to include the avoidance of such a mishap.
In the late 1990's it was simple; Homeseer primarily controlled X10 and really nothing else.  Today it does do much more multitasking with more than some 20 plus analog to digital devices, hundreds of events, variables, scripts and plugins (25 plus).
I have noticed that many folks assume that the multitasking of Homeseer; inter-relations between events, variables and plugins just happens similar to an on off switch; while others only relate to remote controlling their home via their cell phone and call that automation.  Thus over the years the software has become complex; mostly because it was never based on one technology or means of automation.  It has evolved with every technology such that you can utilize one or many means to automate. 
The base of Homeseer (call it a kernel) added a bit more layers; many folks decided and wrote plugins / scripts using this kernel to talk to whatever device they were using already or wanted to use; the HS kernel made it easy but as unique as folks are in general; these often were created by one individual to suit their needs; with all of the little nuances associated with one's personality or logic.
Yesterday I went to the local post office.  Not really many folks there.  The mention of a new AT&T "automation" commercial came up.  Personally I do not watch live TV so I didn't catch the commercial.  The "automation" in the commercial description related to remote controlling your home from the palm of your hand using your telephone.  In a way the commercial description sounded like AT&T has redefined automation (making it a first using whatever advertisement resources can be utilized) and did appear to create a aura in the post office of some new and magical technology.  Thinking back to the late 1990's and using GPRS and Homeseer on my cell phone I remember bugging my wife in the midwest (very low WAF - fun for me) sitting in a cafe on the champs elysees people watching turning on and off lighting and "talking" to her via the TTS running in the house.  At the post office I just mentioned that I don't really need to tell my house what to do anymore; because it already knows what to do without any interaction from me these days.
I understand your frustration.  Homeseer works for me; but I am biased because I have used it for a very long time now.


Senior Member
Are you confident that it is the actual automation software that is giving you issues and not something on the hardware side of things?
I use CQC and the software side of things is really bomb proof.  I do experience hicups sometimes, but when I do, it is always due to a hardware failure of some sort.  Sometimes one of the Integra receivers needs to be power cycled to reconnect to the system, or the USB-UIRT will have driver issues, or the Centralite Jetstream lighting control unit flakes out.  These are all all real examples of issues that I have had with my system.  They don't happen very often, but even when they do, it is never actually CQCs fault.
So I say this for two reasons.  First, make sure it isn't a hardware issue.  It's easy to "blame the system" when in fact it is just a specific piece of hardware in the system.  Second, consider CQC if you decide to change automation systems.  It is very reliable.  Dean goes to great length to make sure the system is stable and that drivers or user programming cannot "take down" the system.


Senior Member
I have a Vera.  I love it.  Super flexible, and CHEAP.  Previously I was trying to do automation on an Elk.  While it worked, it was very limited in what you could do, or you had to figure out workarounds for things (like using phantom outputs to store boolean variables, etc).  Now the Vera does all of the HA logic, and the Elk just feeds it inputs for the various sensors hooked up to it.  
There's a Vera plugin for your DSC system also.  And the new version of software for Vera will be out very soon (UI6).
I'd say, get the Vera.  It's cheap and you can resell it if you don't like it.  There are plugins for nearly everything (except HAI), and writing new plugins is pretty easy.  I wrote one for LiteTouch, and I probably only spent about 4 hours on it, most of it troubleshooting my mistakes.


Active Member
My personal opinion is to put security and the base automation on a hardware controller like an HAI OmniPro II.  If you want "fancy" stuff after that then look at PC based solutions to augment things.
That way even if you have a PC crash, virus hit, whatever, your hardware controller keeps marching on.


Yup; with the software today I can do a "what if" the internet is down still wanting my weather satellite pictures "then" get them from the NOAA satellites; more an addiction than a need though for automation.