my plans, any suggestions please!!!


as you all can see i am still a novice but am learning quick (er, i think :huh: ) i have been making a lot of posts on this and other sites (this definatly being the best.) one thing a lot of people say is " it depends on what you want it to do" so here it is...

1. lighting control for all rooms, with settings for different occassions, including fake habitation when alarm is set.

2. multi room AV, access to all my stored media and TV from anywhere in the house, and one cinema.

3. mutli room networking, internet access.

4. irrigation with simple weather reader that contols the level of irrigation.

5. upon alarm activation, gas water and electricity* (*except essential services) are disabled.

6. heating and HVAC controls

7. automated blinds

8. home secuirity incuding motion sensored alarm, lighting and cameras, with communication to my phone.

9. all of which can be contolled by my mobile (Iphone., via blue tooth whilst i am home, and any other occupant or guest (with limited access)

i plan to build a small 5 bed house in england, it will all be hard wired (cat5e) and this project will be a few years in the planning but i want to install and commision itm all myself, as i am an electrician and have an interest in computers.

the fist decision i need to choose what OS to run it all on, yes ?
chevy_b69 said:
the fist decision i need to choose what OS to run it all on, yes ?
Actually, the first decision is what your budget is. If you are building, I would highly suggest a hardwired lighting system and the rest can fall into place.
"a few years in the planning"

Alot of things change in a few years. The best I can tell you to do is read and read more.

I wouldn't pick a OS now unless your ready to do it in a year or so.
The budget is the next choice.
You could easily spend $100,000 with high end hard wired controllers for all of that, or under $10,000 with some dexterity and ingenuity (which sounds like you have).

I would say reliability is the largest differentiator of high to low price. That last 1% costs a lot.

From a PC software basis, MainLobby, Homeseer, CQC are the primary players that can handle all of your list.

In 5 years, the world will be different. Vista will be old and replaced. Hopefully the three software providers will all be rich and famous :huh:
thanks guys, and davidL (who has given me many replies in the past.)

my budget is around $100,000, and this will include. the AV equipment, secuirity equipment, weather sensors, control epuipment, and cables, connections, faceplates etc.

it may be as many years as 5, before i install, but if i can work out a system now, and know the software, atleast it will only need continual updating as things change, as i will be V busy once the housbuild starts.

not expecting anyone to do the homework for me, but if you can point me in the right direction i will happily read, and read.........
We at Cinemar are most impressed with Vantage's new Infusion lighting controller. When used with MainLobby, there is a near linear response to sliding up a light dim level on the touchscreen and the actual light level. The Vantage controller is fast!

The ELK M1 Gold would be the recommendation for a security panel. MainLobby nicely integrates with that as well.

I like the RCS zoneable TR40 thermostats to handle HVAC needs. This can be plugged into the ELK, or into Mainlobby server directly. Or Vantage's thermostats which would be plugged into the Vantage controller and controlled with MainLobby.

Somfy blinds motor controllers with dry contacts that are plugged into the Vantage system for blind control

Irrigation via several WGL Rain8Net controllers controlled by MainLobby irrigation system software. If you live in a freeze climate, we can also provide hardware to automate winterizing (one of my personal favorite irrigation system features). You could either use WeatherLobby (MainLobby weather product) for weather conditional data, or use our to be released "ML1WirePro" plugin for talking to a local weather station like a Davis (see HobbyBoards on this forum).

Phone integration via MLCallerID, MLNetCallerID, MLPhoneDialer, MLPhoneBook plugins.

Cameras either IP based or "bullet cameras". IP supported natively in MainLobby, or bullet cameras that plug into a DVR system that is then displayed in MainLobby's WebLobby software (that now supports multiple mini windows ie: a camera in each window with automation capability to bring full screen the interesting camera).

For water shutdown, look into ELK's brand new "water cop" (not their brand name, but a competitor) to have the ELK or PC shut down the water supply in case of emergency or general shutdown.

I assume there are gas valves like this, but don't know of anyone doing that.

Electric shutdown would require a honker main panel disconnect relay. Look into a generator transfer switch as essentially that is what it is doing. I have MainLobby sensing the state of my Generac generator state. You could do same but send a relay a message to tell the transfer switch to "unswitch".

That should give you some research work!
I do all the stuff you say, although i haven't yet integrated my automated blinds into CQC. I would have replied sooner but I've been on the road, limited to using my PDA to surf.

I'm not sure this will help, but I keep the latest version of my how-to guide in It's got my full list of components and how they're hooked up.

Keep in mind that CQC is the only package out there that allows you to custom-design a UI for use on your PDA without resorting to a webserver/HTML. You use the same tool as the regular PC viewer. There are some features not available currently on DotNet (ie overlays, alpha blending), but that's generally irrelevant if you're talking about a cellphone PDA. If you checkout the site in my sig, you'll see all my screenshots. Works fine, matter of fact that's what I was using to checkin on the house over the last 2 days.
IVB said:
Keep in mind that CQC is the only package out there that allows you to custom-design a UI for use on your PDA without resorting to a webserver/HTML.

I know you probably explained this to me before, but CQC actually has a client that resides on the PDA/Phone then that hooks directly into the server?

I have some MainLobby scenes that I scaled for my PDA/Phone (HP Ipaq 6515), but I have to use to run them.


Yes, it has a Dot Net Viewer (DNV) application that you load. There are some limitations currently as it hasn't yet fully caught up with the regular desktop interface viewer, such as no overlay support, and no alpha blending of images, but for phones it's not a big deal. I know some folks (ie electron) were trying to use the DotNetViewer for limited hardware touchpanels inside the home (ie, the Elk touchscreen), so it might be a hassle there. I don't use those, so those limitations are fine by me.

One of the value adds over logmein that a normal person would notice is greatly improved speeds. You only transmit a few K of data, and there's performance improvement opportunities not available via logmein. Specifically, if you see the screen below, there's technically 33 different 5K image buttons each of which have 2 different options. However, there's only 8 unique ones. CQC will only download 8*5K=40K, rather than 33*5K=165K. I have a non-3G phone and only get 5-10Kbps throughput so that makes a very noticeable difference in my performance. Although, If I had a 3G phone, I'd probably still look to keep this stuff small, so as to get as fast a download speed as possible.

If you look at my live config file (with IP and pw scrubbed) at the end that the DNV uses, you'll notice that you can set the Image Cache Interval (that is, manually specify how often to check for new images).

There's also the fact that you don't need logmein or any other 3rd party software on your box, so one could argue it's inherently more secure, but many folks wouldn't care about that.

Finally, you use the same interface editor that you use for creating your regular templates for this. That screen only took me 20-30 minutes to create, since I really just copy/pasted from my regular screens, and changed the images to non-transparent ones.










Yes, pretty cool IVB. Plus it's a hassle having to open up on my already slow Cingular network connection, then having to navigate that small screen of my desktop to open up MainLobby. Pretty time consuming when all you want to do is to see the status of your security system when you get an alert via the cell. :p
MainLobby Server 3 (did you update yet?) provides for a full webserver to interact with MainLobby Server functions. Today there aren't any prebuilt scenes other than a few demos to get someone going. There is a PDA example for weather viewing and an example of remotely operating TheaterTek / what's playing. Some users are starting to contribute their scenes which should increase the starter set.
Somewhat easy to use, though web site programming experience is a plus. Would take a night to accomplish the examples that IVB posts for a non programmer like me. Not as easy as Homeseer (which has prebuilt scenes) or likely CQC (which apparantly can reuse snippets of the in home programming), but very doable.

The alarm status would take a half hour. Send me a copy of your MainLobby variables for your security system and I will put a scene together for you. I think you might still have my email.

If you haven't yet updated to MainLobby 3, then yes, you would have to use LogMeIn or other RDP solutions.