HomePro RF Z-wave RS232 interface


Staff member
Smart Products announces the release of the ZCU000 RS-232 Interface. The interface allows you to communicate from any RS232 port to control Homepro RF ZWAVE device.

Smart Products announces the release of the Homepro RF Z-Wave RS232 Interface, manufactured by ACT. The ZCU000 allows you to communicate from any RS232 port to control any Z-Wave device. Please contact Smart Products at 201-594-0550, Email: [email protected] for more information our complete line of Z-Wave products. Or visit www.Smartproducts.us.
Hmm... Doesnt this mean that their protocol will be able to be reverse engineered by everyone.

You bring up a very good point. It's a very interesting question, since the USB interface has also used virtual RS232 drivers under some software applications.

Regarding reverse engineering, though, all one could do at most is reverse engineer the implementation used by a particular software application--and remember, the functionality of Z-Wave used by software on the market today varies greatly (for example, some software fully supports wall-based transmitters; others don't).

Also, ZenSys is continually enhancing their protocol and releasing updated APIs. It would be a continual reverse-engineering process just to keep up, if it could be done in the first place.

This reverse-engineering process is followed in other industries, so there is some precedent.

Sigma is a company that makes lenses for Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax, Sigma, etc. cameras. All of these companies use a different mount. Sigma makes the same lens with different mounts to be used with each manufacturer.

It's complicated in the case of Canon lenses. Canon lenses (in EOS cameras - everything made in the last 20 years or so) use only an electrical connection between the lens and camera body - no moving mechanical parts. All the motors are in the lenses. The camera sends instructions to the lens to tell it what to do. The protocol is proprietary and Canon will not share it with anyone. In order to make Canon lenses, Sigma needs to reverse engineer the protocol. Unfortunately for them, Canon often comes out with new camera bodies that won't work with some of Sigma's lenses (but will work with all previous Canon lenses). When this happens, Sigma needs to re-reverse-engineer the protocol to see what they aren't handling and change the programming in their lenses. They offer to "re-chip" old lenses for customers so that they will work with new cameras. This has got to be expensive, but it's the only way that they can sell lenses to the Canon part of the market (which is sizeable).

I'm not sure that anyone would find the home automation market large enough to support the kind of reverse engineering effort that would be required to make this work. If the protocol is always changing, they need to either not support changes or constantly be reworking their software. If all the rework can be done in software on the PC, at least distribution of new versions is relatively simple. If firmware in the plug-in device needs to be changed, it's a little harder. You can design for it, but it will increase costs.
Hum ... I wonder if this device will suffer from all of the complaints from users about the lack of range as the USB device is getting. This would be a very good comparison test.
I imagine that it will. The Z-wave chip includes the RF board if im not mistaken. This means that rf hardware will probably be identical. RS232 may mean that it responds slower than the USB version. I am interested in knowing more but there does not seem to be any technical info online yet.