HCA 7.0 released


Active Member
Major Update for Home Control Assistant. Here's the top 30 list of changes:

1. Insteon! Support for the 2414U powerline interface for Insteon and X10 powerline access. Ability to send and query status from Insteon devices. Ability to receive Insteon keypad signals and use them as program triggers.

2. Support for the USB connected temp and humidity module from the Practical Design Group called the THUM, Hooks in to existing Temperature VP elements like the TempLinc.

3. Support for PIM based / generic UPB products. Added using the New Device Wizard by supplying the network id and device id. Very useful for the new generation of UPB devices that connect to the powerline via a UPB powerline interface.

4. Vista! HCA is now Vista compatible.

5. When creating a folder in the design pane a corresponding display is automatically created. Much easier to organize what you see in the display pane. Creating your own displays with icons from multiple folders is still supported.

6. Tab bar at the bottom of the display pane with a tab for each display for quick access to each display. Setting for each display for if it shows a tab or not.

7. Major changes to the Visual Scheduler. Much better in that it lets you configure the number and order of time bars. Now full access to all the schedule entry properties directly from the Visual Scheduler.

8. Improved popup menus. Much easier access to many commands.

9. New Alert Manager to handle events while HCA is running your design. Control what happens on common and unusual events. Events like receives of unknown X10 addresses, status polls that fail, weather observations failing, can now all be handled. Configured from the troubleshooter alerts tab.

10. New Text-to-speech VP element. Uses any installed text-to-speech provider and voice.

11. Multi-select in the design pane for devices, programs, groups, and controllers. Drag and drop a multiple selection into a folder to move them all from where they are now into the target folder.

12. Multi-select devices, programs, groups, and controllers in the design pane and drop them onto a display to create icons for each of them.

13. Multi-select icons in the display pane and drag them around to reposition them as a group.

14. Multi-select edit. The edit of one object creates a change log and applies that log to all the other members of the selection where it makes sense. Change common properties of more than one device, program, group, or controller with a single edit.

15. Multi-select actions: Multi-On, Multi-Off, Multi-Suspend, Multi-ShowLog.

16. Improved HCA Status dialog to see what's happening all at a glance.

17. Support for the latest generation of DXF producing drawing programs.

18. Improved hint system. Better hints at better times.

19. Support for latest generation of UPB and X10 devices. Updated parts file.

20. DXF preview on the layers selection tab / step. Much easier to work with DXF files and select the layers in a drawing you want to see.

21. New ability to add or remove backgrounds - DXF and picture - from an existing display.

22. Groups can now have X10, UPB, and Insteon members Previous versions of HCA limited this to X10 only.

23. Many changes to Automation objects. See User Guide Automation appendix.

24. Expressions in Compute and Compute Test elements improved. Inspector much more complete for expressions.

25. Show Log popup menu choice to quickly filter the log to show log entries for the selected object(s). Very useful technique when trying to isolate problems.

26. Folder and object names now checked for illegal characters. No name can have dash, left square bracket, or right square bracket. Previously HCA allowed this characters and this caused lots of problems when used in expressions.

27. Lock and Unlock icon placement menu picks. When locked, all the icon arrangement menu picks disabled as well as drag and drop to and within that display.

28. Weather database and Davis WeatherLink import bug fixes. METAR weather retrieval and decode problems fixed.

29. Many changes in support of controllers with a directly attached load. Better icon management and better ability to use that controller in Visual Programs and schedules.

30. Many problems with the Flag Inventory dialog now resolved.

Still a great software-only controller out there for those of us who don't have integrated security IMHO...

I used HCA for quite a while with X-10 and Insteon before I went to Z-Wave(which unfortunately HCA does not support), and found it to be pretty good. It is not browser based, which suited me just fine. All I needed at the time was a good piece of software that ran on the PC I used for that purpose to just control the X-10 and Insteon. I'd probably use it now if it did support Z-Wave, but as far as I know right now they don't have plans to support it. Homeseer would be a lot more useful if they offered a non-browser based "core" software that supported Z-Wave with reliable Plug-Ins.

HCA is worth a look and certainly a DEMO try. Relatively expensive as I recall, but without the Bloat that HS has. I always get hell for saying bloatware for HS, but It Still Is, IMO. :)
HCA is a great integrated software package that I use to control X10 and UPB. It handles the W800RF receiver so it does whole house wireless too. The visual programmer is child's play to use and it really has full featured UPB support. I've always used HCA and have been somewhat puzzled by its lack of popularity. The company that sells HCA, Advanced Quonset Technologies, also makes the UPStart application used by all UPB vendors.

What it can't do is interface to Elk or other popular controllers however.
HCA supports the older ELK-443 Magicmodule programmable controller, but has not interfaced to the M1, yet. :)