• You've been granted Beta access to this site, allowing you to explore some of the new features while they're still under construction. More information can be found in the Beta forum.

Hardware v Software Controller

Do you use a Hardware or Software setup for <B>PRIMARY<B/> House Control

  • Hardware only

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Hardware for critical stuff, Software for everything else

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Software only

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0

IVB

Senior Member
<KNOCK ON WOOD>

Ever since my server rebuild 5 months ago, I've had great luck with a stable server, so i'm probably going to stick with CQC as primary controller. I'll use the Elk for a handful of the rules, but i'll have CQC oversee that process as well.

I have HVAC and irrigation through CQC, i'm 99.9% sure i'm going with RadioRA for lighting which is also natively supported by CQC. That way I can maximize the centralization of all primary control into a common rules engine.

If the server PC goes down, the only thing i'll have an issue with is the irrigation, as everything else can be done directly via the individual device [ie HVAC, lights can be on/off manually]. Plus, I have an HTPC client with a full CQC install, so I can make that the master server inside of 24 hours.

The lawn will survive 24 hours without water.
 

elcano

Active Member
I'm working by layers. For now I have hardware only the lower layers of security and critical automation. I'll add latter a software controller for extended capability (convenience, entertainment, etc.). I have not added it yet because I dont have a desktop, much less a desktop that I can dedicate to HA.
 

Smarty

Active Member
I am using an M1G for the most critical items, and then using Powerhome for the rest.

I have heard that PowerHome will be enhanced to make better use of the Elk inputs/outputs in the future. Dave Howard (of PowerHome) will have to comment more.....
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
I use a pure software based system, but it's not because I feel particularly strongly about it. It's just that I don't have any needs that would require a hardware based systems myself. My system is theater/media plus lights, weather feed, etc... There's no security, I just have a single baseboarrd strip heater and no A/C, etc... So just no need for anything else but CQC, a multi-port serial card, and USB Z-Wave controller.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
I (like my idol) use the Ocelot with Relay output and digital input add on modules for critical tasks. I also "married" some outputs and inputs of my Caddx security system with my "Ocelot System".

Here are tasks that are entirely performed via the Caddx/Ocelot:

Five minutes after my system is armed in away mode, AND the garage door is opened, chirp the garage siren for one second, flash the garage lights for two seconds (warnings), then close the garage door.

Ten seconds after my system is armed in stay mode AND the garage door is opened, close the garage door.

Turn on and off series of lights at various times during the day/night including sunrise, sunset, 20 minutes before sunset, and midnight.

Turn on and off various combinations of lights depending on receiving a particular X-10 signal.

Turn off bedroom lights after two minutes after receiving an X-10 signal.

If the side garage door opens and it is night time, turn on the side house flood lights. When the side garage door is closed, turn off those lights (for emptying the garbage at night).

Turn on lights and sirens in certain sections of the house depending on "which" zone gets violated (keeps the burglar in the light and me in the dark...makes a better "target").

Turn on my hot water circulator pump (on hot water tank) for five minutes based on receiving an X-10 signal).

Turn on garage and laundry room lights for five minutes after garage door opens.

Turn interior camera power on for "any" burglar alarm. Turn power off after system is disarmed.

Keeps track of my two vehicles for occupancy status based on an X-10 signal (based on my vehicle monitor palm pad hack).

Well, that's all I can think of right now.

I like the fact that all of those tasks do NOT depend on a PC for their operation.
 

FrankMc

Active Member
I use Homevision for my HA Controller , Genesis for my alarm system CBUS for lighting and pc for all the fluffy stuff like RGBLED Garden lighting ....xPL...Medianet etc.

Frank
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I have researched the software options to replace my Stargate and found that the amount of hardware you have to buy to duplicate it's functionality is borderline crazy. If I was using Homeseer for example, I would need an ocelot or alarm panel for hardwired input and relays, way2call modem for telephone paging and CID, rs-485 adaptor for thermostats and PIC-TV, Don't even know what for my RCS LED keypad/annunciators, some kind of line level audio switch matrix, who knows how many plugins and serial ports....

In fact it is cheaper to just use the Stargate as the hardware interface for all these things (assuming the JDS plugin ever gets sorted out), but if I need a Stargate to create a replacement for my Stargate... ???
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Rupp said:
How in the world can you use software without hardware? ;)
Exactly my point. I can use my Stargate hardware without PC software though so the value of a PC software based system is...?

Anyway I don't really care if my system is Software (PC) based or hardware controller based as long as I can get down to a one brain scenario. I either want a system with a PC brain where plugins to talk directly to relays and digital inputs etc, OR a Super hardware controller (maybe the upcoming RCS card cage based unit?) that supports all the new lighting protocols, web scraping apps, tts, etc.

This business of programming a brain to talk to another brain (that also has to be programmed) is getting old. If I am programming a Homeseer type system as my HA brain, I don't want to also have to learn the programming to set up an Ocelot or Stargate or M1 or other brain to get everythin working. Likewise, I don't want to program a hardware controller as my HA brain and still have to program a PC brain for all the supplemental stuff that the hardware controller can't do directly. I want a one brain system!
 

IVB

Senior Member
upstatemike said:
I can use my Stargate hardware without PC software though so the value of a PC software based system is...?

It's all based on what your current investment is, and what your goals are.The PC-based software only system is re-usable for non-HA purposes, the hardware-based approach is not.

On my side of the table, I already got a full-blown CQC HomeTheater/ HomeTheaterAutomation system with all the required infrastructure to do whole house audio/video distribution, and has robust HA capabilities and native drivers for >100 devices, so the value of a fancy hardware controller is....?

IIRC, you got this whole slingbox(squeezebox?) setup. However, if you didn't, or if you weren't happy with it, you'd have to go out and buy a crapload of stuff to do whole house a/v. Then, you'd have duplicate investments [hardware controller, everything you need for a software controller]

This business of programming a brain to talk to another brain (that also has to be programmed) is getting old. If I am programming a Homeseer type system as my HA brain, I don't want to also have to learn the programming to set up an Ocelot or Stargate or M1 or other brain to get everythin working. Likewise, I don't want to program a hardware controller as my HA brain and still have to program a PC brain for all the supplemental stuff that the hardware controller can't do directly. I want a one brain system!
Actually, that's why i'm leaning towards using CQC only as the location for as many of my HA rules and events as possible. It does everything that i need, has native drivers for everything, and has a decent event scheduler with a pretty point&click GUI. ok, not so pretty right now, but getting better with every release. It even has a native driver for relays [carl's something or other brand], so I don't even need to use the Elk for that. Of course, as long as I got the Elk, I'm going to use that for what it's best for, which right now is looking like security/fire, and doorbell&telephone monitoring & control.

All entirely legitimate paths, the answer lies within what your personal goals are.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
How in the world can you use software without hardware?

Everyone I think takes this to mean specialized automation hardware I'm sure. The PC doesn't count since it's a completely general purpose box, as are serial ports. So, in my system, the single piece of dedicated automation hardware I have on the controller side is a USB Z-Wave controller. Everything else I could just pull out and give to someone to do their taxes and word processing on.
 
Top