• 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.

I bit the bullet and bought a Vera. Awesome.

signal15

Senior Member
I've started putting Z-wave stuff all over the house. Vera integrates with the Elk M1. It gets real-time updates for zone status, arm status, etc. It cannot yet directly control outputs, but you can set up LUUP code to send a text string to the Elk, and then have that text string execute a Task in the Elk rules (currently doing this for my garage doors). But, one of the greatest things about Vera, is the plugin and associated Android app that allows Vera to send a text string to the Android device and have it use the build in Android TTS capability to speak it.

I bought a cheap mixer and amp from PartsExpress.com, and hooked the Elk and an old Android phone with a messed up screen to the mixer, hooked the mixer to the amp, and the amp to the Elk speakers. Initially I used Elk's instructions for converting Output 1 to a line level output. It worked, but there was a good pop right before the Elk spoke. I bought a cheap line-level converter from the Installation dept at Best buy, and this took care of the popping issue.

Here's what I've done so far:

- Most chimes have been moved from Elk to Vera. Still need to figure out how to pull the current chime on/off status from the Elk so I can put in code to honor that on the vera for non-critical alerts. It doesn't appear that the current Elk plugin watches the chime status, even though it's listed as a variable.
- If the outside temp is under 60, that means it's likely the garage heat is on. So if either garage door is open for more than 5 minutes, then I have it tell me the door is open and the temp is X. Close the door, you're letting the heat out.
- Reminds me to take the trash out at 10:35pm on wed, right after the news.
- From 8am to 10pm, it speaks the time every half hour.
- Tells me when my offpeak/heating panel has been shut down by the power company, and when it comes back.
- If the kid's room door opens after 10:30pm and before 8am, it tells the kids to go back to bed, mommy and daddy are still sleeping. Can you be good and go back to bed for me?
- When I disarm the alarm in the morning, it tells me the current weather conditions and the high/low temps for the day

Things I want to do:
- Better weather forecasts. Finding it hard to find something decent without doing a ton of parsing of HTML. I cannot find any good "human" readable or speech-worthy forecasts in text-only or XML format. It looks like that data IS available in the XML pulled from Weather Underground, but the plugin isn't using it yet (it will)
- Pull Google calendar items and announce them based on the "alert X minutes before" setting for each item, or exactly at the time of the item if there's no "alert before" set for it. I work from home most of the time, this would be great, and would keep me from being late to conference calls.
smiley.gif

- Severe weather alerts
- I've been working to get license plate OCR going for my cams. I live in a pretty private area where it's usually only my neighbors. If a license plate that wasn't on a list of plates in the neighborhood came through, I'd like to announce that an unknown vehicle has entered the area. I have to get the plate OCR working first though, and it's looking like I'll need a new camera, or a $400 lens for my Lumenera. We've had quite a few burglaries right outside our development, the only reason we haven't had any here is because I think everyone is on their toes and calls the cops anytime it looks like someone shady is around.
- Monitor my internet connection and speak when it goes down. It could signal that a burglar has cut my line coming in. The problem right now is that Vera Alerts relies upon an internet connection to work, but this may change.

The quality of the voice using IVONA Amy is unreal. WAY better than the Elk. And, since she's got a british accent, it's damn funny to make her say cockney phrases.

The Vera uses LUA for a scripting language, so you can program in some really complex logic if you need to. For $179, it's totally worth the money, especially if you already have an Elk or DSC system since it can pull in the sensors and use those.
 

drvnbysound

Senior Member
... and Vera actually supports unique user IDs (PINs) for locks. I didn't go this route, but hearing things like this make me wish I would have looked into it more.
 

signal15

Senior Member
... and Vera actually supports unique user IDs (PINs) for locks. I didn't go this route, but hearing things like this make me wish I would have looked into it more.

Yep. I have it set up so when my wife's code is entered, it welcomes her home by name. Same for my code. Also, I have it set up to speak, and send an alert if a wrong user code is entered. Probably don't want to hear that in the middle of the night. :)

I also had it pulling data from my Brultech, but I bricked the Brultech when attempting a firmware upgrade. That thing is cool, but it's one of the most frustrating pieces of equipment I've ever purchased, all of the software used to manage it is total crap. I have to send it back to them to have them fix it. There's another plugin for it that will graph all of your power data also, but I haven't installed it yet.

The thing that sucks, and this isn't Vera's fault, is that I finally got my garage cleaned out and can fit both my cars in there. I found out last night that the cars block the Z-wave signal to the lock on the service door on the far side of the garage. Not a huge deal, I'll just have to install a Z-wave switch somewhere above as a repeater (there's a room above the garage).
 

project_x

Active Member
Signal,
I currently use my elk, m1xsp and vrc0p to control my z-wave lights and lock. I also have a vera kicking around that I haven't done anything with. Could you do a quick rundown on what is involved to setup the vera with the elk and z-wave?

Thanks,
Rob
 

video321

Active Member
Very nice, Signal.
I too have a Vera - a refurbed Vera2 they were selling for less than $100 shipped. It does what I need, which is mainly controlling z-wave as I don't use many plugins for it, mostly virtual devices for rules.

Also, which android app do you use? I'm using AutHomation.
 

signal15

Senior Member
Signal,
I currently use my elk, m1xsp and vrc0p to control my z-wave lights and lock. I also have a vera kicking around that I haven't done anything with. Could you do a quick rundown on what is involved to setup the vera with the elk and z-wave?

Thanks,
Rob

I'm using Home Buddy on Android to control it. It's not the prettiest in the world, but the nice thing is that there is a shortcut/widget that you can bind to a scene and put on your homescreen. You can put multiples on there, so the things you use the most can be accessed without launching the app. It's really convenient when opening/closing the garage. I just hit the shortcut, lock the screen and put away the phone and wait a couple of seconds for it to work. If it's connected to my wifi, it's instant. But if it's not it takes a couple of seconds because it accesses your Vera through the cp.mios.com "cloud" service. No poking holes in your firewall.

To set up the Elk plugin, you just go to the apps tab, click on install apps and search for it. Once it's installed, in the advanced settings for it, you enter your ip:port for the M1XEP. You can go straight serial if you don't have the XEP, but I don't know how to do that. It's in the help for it. The IP/port will look something like "192.168.10.99:2101". You must use 2101, which means you might need to go into the XEP setup with ElkRP and enable it. Once you've put this in, save the config and the LUA engine will reload. When it reloads, it will pull in all of your zones with the names that have been set in the Elk. If you add a sensor to the Elk, it will automatically pick it up on the next LUA restart (either when you save a config or manually click the Reload button).

You'll have an object for each zone, and another for each area so you can arm/disarm the areas. They are called partitions in the Vera. In the advanced tab for each partition, you'll see a variable at the bottom called ChimeEnabled. This seems to be always set to "1" no matter what the chime status is. I don't think it's pulling it. Since I'm using Vera Alerts to get voice alerts out of Vera, I need the chime status or my wife gets really mad when it gives minor alerts when the kids are asleep. I happen to have an Elk output/relay board. So I created two rules. One that says "Whenever Chime is enabled, turn output 16 ON" and the other says "Whenever Chime is disabled, turn output 16 off." Then I used an unused zone, named it Chime Enabled, set it to type 14 Aux 2/24hr, and normally closed. I then ran a wire from the zone to the NO contacts on output 16. Now it shows up in Vera as a security sensor and it gets updated in realtime. I can use this status in my LUUP scripts that do my voice announcements. I just put this at the top of the LUUP code to make it give up before getting to the speaking part:
Code:
local chimeDisabled = luup.variable_get("urn:micasaverde-com:serviceId:SecuritySensor1", "Tripped", 54)
if chimeDisabled == "1" then
     return false
end

<code that does the speaking here>

Even though our sensor is called "Chime Enabled", I'm checking to see if it's tripped, so I named my variable chimeDisabled.
 

project_x

Active Member
Thanks for the outline.
I guess the biggest impediment to me starting this is the switch from my leviton stick to the vera as a primary controller...it's just finding the time to go thru the house and the trying to remember how to get the ge remotes enrolled again....
 

video321

Active Member
Thanks for the outline.
I guess the biggest impediment to me starting this is the switch from my leviton stick to the vera as a primary controller...it's just finding the time to go thru the house and the trying to remember how to get the ge remotes enrolled again....
If you need the steps for pairing a GE remote to Vera, I have this:

*the remote can only control scenes.
Include the remote:
1. Include the remote on Vera via "Add/Remove Devices".
2. Choose "Z-Wave device" and scroll down to "Battery Operated Handheld Remotes" but don't select it yet.
3. On the remote, press and hold "Setup" on the remote until both the red and green LEDs blink twice.
4. Enter 967 on the remote. The light will flash green continuously and stop when Vera finds it.
5. In Vera, select "Add One" from "Battery Operated Handheld Remotes".

Add scenes:
1. Add Commands to the scenes you want to activate with the remote.
2. Add Events - Choose the controller.
3. Choose a scene is activated.
4. Select a scene number to match the remote number.
The "On" side of the remote button will trigger the scene.

Reinclude the remote to deactivate scenes:
1. Reinclude the remote.
2. Add Commands to the scenes you want to activate with the remote.
3. Add Events - Choose the controller.
4. Choose a scene is deactivated.
5. Select a scene number to match the remote number.
The "Off" side of the remote button will trigger the scene.
 

signal15

Senior Member
Thanks for the outline.
I guess the biggest impediment to me starting this is the switch from my leviton stick to the vera as a primary controller...it's just finding the time to go thru the house and the trying to remember how to get the ge remotes enrolled again....

The GE remotes are $5.99 on amazon right now. I bought one, but I haven't even taken it out of the package. I just use Home Buddy on my phone instead.
 

video321

Active Member
That's what I paid for mine too. I only bought one to sit on my desk in the office to control the dimmer for the recessed lights. It's faster than opening a web page or an app on the phone - especially if I'm on it ;)
 

project_x

Active Member
I did it!

I have migrated my entire Z-wave setup to my Vera 2 with UI5. I have three scenes setup to turn lights on at sunset, and off at a certain time and no again when the doors open. It works very well.

now I have to figure out how to set flags,.... to get some of my other lighting rules transferred....

the other thing that is terrific is I can access VERA thru my playbook browser, and thru 3 different android apps in the playbook's android player....... :D
 

signal15

Senior Member
I did it!

I have migrated my entire Z-wave setup to my Vera 2 with UI5. I have three scenes setup to turn lights on at sunset, and off at a certain time and no again when the doors open. It works very well.

now I have to figure out how to set flags,.... to get some of my other lighting rules transferred....

the other thing that is terrific is I can access VERA thru my playbook browser, and thru 3 different android apps in the playbook's android player....... :D

Check out Vera Alerts and the associated Android app. I hooked mine into my Elk speaker system using an old phone with a semi broken screen, and now I have very high quality TTS that can say anything, instead of the 500 word vocabulary on the Elk. IMO, it's worth getting the Vera just for that.
 

project_x

Active Member
Check out Vera Alerts and the associated Android app. I hooked mine into my Elk speaker system using an old phone with a semi broken screen, and now I have very high quality TTS that can say anything, instead of the 500 word vocabulary on the Elk. IMO, it's worth getting the Vera just for that.
Would be the best possible to pass on the apk file, so I can convert it for my playbook?
 
Top