Help - New HAI OmniPro II install with Russound Audio/Video and need an IOS/Web Rule Engine, etc - P


New Member
I have read a lot of posts here and elsewhere and have some initial questions given the rapid technology advancements, smart wireless and recent state of HAI discontinuance, etc.
Basically I have been working on this project off and on (more off the on lol) very slowly. I have a fully hardwired home I built 10 years ago with the latest and greatest but have yet to install, let alone integrate it all.:
Core things are:
- HAI OmniPro II Security and Automation with basic hardwires sensors and basic control panels (not any OmniTouches). - Not installed
  (basic widow sensors, motion, glass break, etc. like to add doorlocks, HVAC, Garage and Cams and possibly Irrigation - Window Shades not needed)
- Russound CAV6.6 Audio and Video. - Partially installed
- Russound Compoint Audio and Intercomm. - Not installed.
Anyway I have/had some of the rooms with the CAV6.6 up and working though I am not sure how useful this will be now with HD quality or lack there of.
To start my main initial questions are:
1 - What are the best options for a Rule Engine/Software to work with the above (eg HomeSeer, openHAB, Home Assistant, others, etc.)?
Ideally IOS or web based for IOS BUT would be open to Win or Linux devices/tablets/computers, etc. especially if they are the better/stable/featured product.
I have/had an iRule dev license that I never really used and apparently they seem to be out of biz. So thats was a waste of $200.
HomeSeer sounds like it was the goto, but seems like some have moved away from it for whatever reason, and HS4 is coming.
I realize there are multiple answers and pros/cons to all of them. So any help and opinions will surely help me with this.
2 - Considering the answers to # 1, should I get at least one (or more) OmniTouches? Or ideally the above will replace the need for them and free up more $ to those upgrades, etc.
3 - Any highly experienced users out there with all the above, interested in paid consulting to answer some questions as I go to get me up and running - Pete_C?
I have some experience and training (need to revisit it) so I am not a complete noob and a very technical person and experienced web programmer (though not up to date). So I won't waste peoples time with stupid questions (hopefully lol).
Though a lot of the information and training available is all "older" information and seems it has evolved in a lot of areas, especially with 3rd party interrogations, controllers and upgrades, etc.
Any possible interested please PM me your information and email as I can not PM anyone (maybe because I am a new user?)
Thank you all very much in advance. Me and especially my wife thanks you for getting me moving on this. lol
Just a data point, I have an OPII with Russound.  I went with Home Assistant.
In the end, all of the automation is now running on HA, and the OPII is doing security, and interfacing to my Carrier Infinity heat pump system since HA doesn't have an interface for it yet.
Russound control is done by HA, Lutron is over on HA, moved my Bluetooth locks over to HA.  But all the alarm zones, output relays, etc, are still on the panel.
The Home Assistant interface is both web and iOS app based, and the location data from the iOS app provides a very nice way of doing things when people leave or come home.
It takes a while to get used to, but now I am wondering what took me so long.
Welcome to the Cocoontech Forum gette.
Here it's been a few years of tinkering.
Initially purchased Russound / Keypads and installed Keypads wherever there were speakers.  Music took the priority over automation or remote control.
Concurrently connected the Russound to my OP2 and used Omnitouch screens a bit to manage them.  Also purchased a micro serial server for a Homeseer serial Russound plugin management thing and use of Microsoft SAPI speech stuff (went in to the automation speaking in a variety of languages to bug my wife mostly.
So today the automation server is running in Linux and have VB's running in Windows embedded and Windows server.  I am not tethered to my 5 celluar accounts or phones...mostly keeping the phones in off mode.  I do utilize VPN to call home these days.  That is me.
Combo Automation server today (base OS is Ubuntu)
1 - Homeseer 3
2 - Home Assistant *
3 - Mosquitto Server
4 - Node Red
5 - Oracle VB and Windows 7 embedded for SAPI voices
* For a bit was tinkering with OpenHab and the OmniPro 2.  The original author of the plugin moved on from using the OP2.  Today there are a couple of users here on the forum using OpenHab / OmniPro2.  They are happy campers.  I would suggest that you have a look see at OpenHab.
The OP2 connects to Homeseer and MQTT and Home Assistant. As above use it for security and a bit of automation I call the heartbeat of the house. Everything else used for the OP2 is just extra addendums that provide a bit more functionality but not really necessary or needed...except for tinkering.
I am not really a cloud person but have TTS working via HA to my Amazon devices.
I prefer my personal music collection here.  I still have a LMS server running and a few touchscreens doing Squeezeplayer.  Using mini KODI touchscreens and Squeeze players as audio sources for Russound (these can be remote controlled these days).
BTW - the only WAF here is that she accepts what I do to keep busy. Nothing I do relating to security or automation is done to please wife as it is a hobby and I am retired and like to tinker.
Op2  for last 12years, I'm upgrading things now. Probably homeseer. Omnitouch not that good, using Android pads with bitwise to create custom screens. Will change to homeseer screens. For music server and cams just got Synology ds414 nas, works excellent for both.
@neillt & @pete_c & @rumb
First of all thank you both for your replies. Very appreciated!
I spent all day researching openHAB and Home Assistant. I kinda rather settle on one as best as I can as opposed to trying them both as my time is limited.
I guess the most important thing is which one has the most, or better support for the OmniPro and Russound since they are the 2 main components of my current system.
Next up is deciding on which additions, Z-Wave, ZigBee, UPB, RadioRA2, 1-Wire, Insteon,  etc. Again don't want to try them all, rather try to narrow it down and start with that, etc. Please feel free to comment on any o these good or bad.
Since we are mainly (well exclusively actually) Apple/MAC I guess Apple HomeKit support should be a bonus for the future.
If you have a moment I have a couple questions for you both.
Have you tried openHAS?
If you did I am curious as to what made you go to Home Assistant?
As far as Home Assistant I searched for HAI and OmniPro Add Ons and could not find any (unlike in openHAB which seems to show an add-on). Though I did see OmniLinkBridge via MQTT. Is that what you are using with your OmniPRO?
Also which option are you using to program Home Assistant; Basic Automation Editor, YAML, App-deamon, and/or Node-RED, etc?
Seems you tried everything, which is why I really want to pick your brain. lol
Right now I am trying to figure out openHAB vs Home Assistant, kinda ruled out HomeSeer (for now at least mainly due to cost with initial experimenting).
You mentioned "Home Assistant *" but then talked about OpenHAB. But seems you stuck with Home Assistant.
If possible can you send some more light on your opinion on Home Assistant vs OpenHAB that led you to stick to one?
At the minimum I guess the OmniPro and Russound support is a good place for me to start and try to pick one, I guess, though if they are pretty much the same in that regard, then I need to dig deeper. lol
Again thank you all so much!
If possible can you send some more light on your opinion on Home Assistant vs OpenHAB that led you to stick to one?
One of the users of first gen OpenHab wrote an plugin for the OmniPro 2.  He had history of writing software that interfaced with the HAI OmniPro panel.
I helped him a bit providing links (which he didn't know about) to the HAI OmniPro test demo box which was still on line at the time and bugged him a bunch on the OpenHab forum.  I am Pete on the OpenHab forum.  One day he wrote and mentioned he had moved and left his Omni Panel at the old house, built a new home with a contractor installed panel and was abandoning his OpenHab / Omnipro panel stuff.  I then quit tinkering with OpenHab.  I did test install it on Arm and Intel - AMD devices and it worked fine with the Omni Panel.  There is a user on the forum here named Jon who is currently using OpenHAB and the OmniPro plugin and is a happy camper (I am assuming this). 
Next up is deciding on which additions, Z-Wave, ZigBee, UPB, RadioRA2, 1-Wire, Insteon,  etc. Again don't want to try them all
I have in place Z-Wave, Zigbee, UPB, 1-Wire, X10 and a few years ago removed Insteon.
I am using UPB for my in wall switches.  It works fine for me for time bean so I am keeping it in place.

Z-Wave, Zigbee, 1-Wire and X10 also work fine.
Recently I have been tinkering with MQTT.  It sort of reminds me of xPL and xAP automation protocals that I used many years ago.
I personally never liked nor wanted to depend on using wireless anything for automation (and media).
Just migrating my old 1-Wire network (hub and spoke set up - not linear - worked fine) to a hybrid of sorts connecting 1-Wire Temperature sensors (up to 5 so far) to SonOff Basic switches modded GPIOs / Espurna firmware).
Here are some views of a piece of the 1-Wire stuff (MQTT, Espurna, Homeseer and Home Assistant).
Recently did some under cabinet LED lighting using an inwall transformer and a modded Magic Home controller which can be controlled via MQTT or it'll run by itself and added a digital on / off dimmer pot to it.  Tiny thing and not noticed under the cabinets. 

Recently learning how to use the old HAI Designer Studio application. It is very slow on the Omnitouch 5.7e screens but really fast running on my tabletop touchscreens (Atom - modded Openpeak touchscreens).

Thanks again for the info! Much appreciated.

After a ton of research I am leaning towards Home Assistant (at least to start) lol.

Also for simplicity to start I have a RPi4 and some Z-wave and ZigBee components to experiment with.

As far as OP2 what/how are you connecting that with Home Assistant?
They only thing I can find is the OmniLinkBridge via MQTT

Also same question for Russound?

PS - I am “gette” over on HAs forum as these New user CT restrictions aren’t helping. Lol

Thanks Again Pete!
As far as OP2 what/how are you connecting that with Home Assistant?
The only thing I can find is the OmniLinkBridge via MQTT.

Just the OmniLinkBridge via MQTT.

The panel is connected to Homeseer via the Homeseer Omni Plugin and the OmniLinkBridge.
The Squeezeplayers and Kodi boxes are automagically seen with HA.  The Alexa devices (using Alexa for TTS) are manually added and configured.
Recently configured my Doorbell video cam to HA.
Mentioned before are WiFi modded with Tasmota / Espurna are automagically seen with HA.  There are wireless appliance, light modules, wall switches and sensors which WiFi based. 
I am using (as mentioned) custom hardware / firmware modded MagicHome RGB controllers for the under the kitchen cabinets which connect to HA.
There is a UPB plugin (mentioned here by a CT'er author of said plugin) for HA.  I have mentioned that I am going to give it ago.
I have not looked in to a ZWave / Zigbee / X10 plugin for HA.

I have a RPi4 and some Z-wave and ZigBee components to experiment with.
The RPi4 with 4Gb of RAM should work just fine. 
Here initially ventured to the Pine64 / Rock 64 from the RPi2, then little TV boxes with multicore ARM CPUs / 3 Gb of RAM / 64Gb of EMMC for testing automation and lately have gone to using a micro Intel TV Box computer such that I can also install Virtual box with a few Wintel only things running.  I do a maxi and mini computer for automation.  The maxi computer is latest gen Intel with 32Gb of RAM (overkill I guess).
Thanks again Pete
That OmniLinkBridge via MQTT  is all I saw as well and looks like he has done a wonderful job on that. So hopefully that will work just fine.
I have been experimenting with the default HassOS and not sure if that will work on it. As I am not 100% clear how to install in on a HassOS 3 install (does it even have Mono, and/or can I add the .Net Framework, etc). 
I haven't dug into that, yet. As I have been experimenting with the basics and some minor Z-Wave and ZigBee, and will possibly try some WiFi stuff as well etc.
My biggest decision I need to make and have been struggling with is what direction for the lighting.
I guess my ideal check list would be:
- Reliable
- Works with the existing wires of a commonly/normal wired switches in a 10 year old home. (I also have some 3, 4 and even 5 ways)
- Manual Switch updates HA state/status with regular and 3-way (be nice to do some of the 4 and even 5 ways as a bonus)
Seems most users (like yourself) has already had one or the other or a mix already in place and continue to work with that.
Since I am starting from scratch I am trying to determine what the "latest and greatest" is in 2020. I'm trying to find some opinions from experienced users  (such as yourself) that have tried it all and if they were to redo everything from scratch what would they use for the lighting/switches.
Anyway I'm getting there. Slowly but surely. lol
Thanks again Pete!
I have been experimenting with the default HassOS and not sure if that will work on it. As I am not 100% clear how to install in on a HassOS 3 install (does it even have Mono, and/or can I add the .Net Framework, etc).
Read here for installation of HA - easy and simple explanation for use of HA / Docker
OmniLinkBridge to integrate Home Assistant, SmartThings, Node-RED
Quickie overview for HA installation
1 - install Mosquitto
A - sudo apt update
B - sudo apt install mosquitto
2 - install docker on RPi
A - sudo apt-get install libffi-dev libssl-dev
B - sudo apt-get install -y python python-pip
C - curl -sSL hxxps:// | sh
sudo usermod -aG docker pi
3 - install HA in Docker
A - docker pull homeassistant/home-assistant
B - mkdir -p /opt/home-assistant/config
C - docker run -d --name="home-assistant" -v /opt/home-assistant/config:/config -v /etc/localtime:/etc/localtime:ro --net=host --restart unless-stopped homeassistant/home-assistant
Personally here a happy camper with UPB for my in wall switches.  Over the years have gone to reducing footprint a bit with dual voltage and multitoggle UPB switches.
Here I have been able to replicate the Z-Wave network to the VR-Cop although only the switches/ relays work.
There are a few users here that have mixed UPB and Zigbee devices connected to their OmniPro 2 panel.
It is really what you are most comfortable with and what works best with your OmniPro 2 panel. 
There really isn't a best mechanism of transport for automation.  It is getting better.
Thanks again Pete.
FYI - I think you link is incorrect. But I am sure I can search for it and find it though.
I knew the nice and easy HassOS install (love the easy updates and snapshots, etc) will have some implementation limitations. Figured I would play with that for a while first.
Thanks again!
Yes take HA for a spin; see how you like it. 
BTW also looked at HomeGenie and Domoticz.
HomeGenie uses Mono for running in Linux. 
Still have Domoticz running on a remote ZWave computer (ZWave to Ethernet serial computer).
Late to this party answering questions...
I haven't looked at OpenHAB in some time.  But the HA interface has become so well done I have no regrets.
Russound control is via the supplied Russound integration.  I have an MCA-88X which includes ethernet control.  If you have a russound amp that doesn't have native network, you can buy a serial adapter from Moxa or similar and get network that way.
As for lighting, I have all RadioRA2.  I installed it as part of a large whole home remodel.  Best decision ever.  Everything works, and it's quality kit.  Lutron is universally supported by every automation platform out there.
I use Node-RED for all of my automation logic.  Configuration of HA is done both thru the Lovelace UI, or if needed in the configuration.yaml file.  If you install  the visual studio code plugin, you can edit the configuration files right through the HA web interface.
No worries. Thanks for checking on for me.

I decided on Home Assistant and have been messing with the basics.

I have some Z-wave devices that I have been automating via the HA UI Automation Helper, for now. I like that it shows all my Automations on that screen as well as assigned to Devices/Entities. Seems that would be useful for a ton of automations that I will end up having. But it seems a little limited. So I will experiment with Node-RED at some point.
I like the thought of RadioRA2 and was leaning towards that, but then again my Z-Wave switches I am messing with seem to work well so far. But guess it all boils down to long-term reliability.
I will be Jumping into HAI OmniPro and Russound shortly.
Thank you Neil and Pete!