Need Help Starting Up


New Member
Hello all,
I'm very new to the game, but I've been poking around for awhile trying to get a grip on things. I hoping that someone here can help me piece this thing together.
My main concern is getting the security of my home up, but I've come to the realization that I should probably get mostly everything done in one wack, because I have no intentions of running wires myself, and it would probably be easier to have an electrician for one big job and be done with it.
That being said, I want to do a system using HomeSeer  Pro with Z-wave and wired items. I like the idea of being able to customize the interface on the touch screens with the HS Touch Designer. I don't need to use their controllers (correct me if I'm wrong), because my custom build PC should be plenty powerful enough.
So here is what I'd like to do:
  • I want to have 5 outdoor POE cameras that will be linked to tablets I plan to mount in the walls. One in the bedroom and one in the living room. I'm thinking about a third smaller tablet next to the front door to program as a key pad / arm and disarm station.
  • I would like to do door and window sensors on every one in the house, but it bothers me that the window sensors don't monitor for glass break. Someone could just break the window and climb through. I've seen some sensors that monitor for the sound of glass break, but all of them have poor reviews. I'm thinking possibly motion sensors could be beneficial; however, we have a cat, and I'm wondering if that could be an issue.
  • If the alarm is tripped or motion is detected on the cameras I would like to be alerted on my phone, and have the footage sent to me as well as uploaded to the cloud or something outside the house. I was also thinking about sound for the alarm, and that got me thinking about adding a whole home audio system that could also sound an alarm if the house was burglarized.
  • I've been looking at Denon and Russound, but I have no idea whats going to be best suited for my needs. I want to have a full surround system in the living room, and a couple speakers in 3 other rooms for music that can be played all together and be able to have different things going in each room if selected.
  • I'm also looking to do recessed lighting and LED strips with z-wave control.
  • later on I'll add motorized blinds and replace the outlets throughout the house. (I'm sure I can handle that alone)
Now the products that I've picked out so far:
NVR / wiith 4TD Hard Drive
Large Tablet
(I wonder if there is a better option, but I want to stick with either windows or android OS, and I want to be able to use the mount below)
Tablet Mount
Smaller Tablet
Door and Window Sensors
Light Switch
Dimmer Controler
LED Controller
Any help or feedback you guys can provide will be greatly appreciated.
If you are serious about security, I would get a separate alarm panel and integrate it with the home automation system. The OmniPro II and Elk M1 Gold are good choices in this kind of environment.
In terms of protecting windows, you are right that some one could break the glass and crawl through without setting off a typical magnetic contact.  So you need to think in terms of layers of security and sensors, with the magnetic contacts being one layer, and glass break and motion detectors being the second or third layer. 
Some glass break detectors work better than others and there has been lots of discussion about that here on Cocoontech in other threads.  
There are pet immune motion detectors which use a combination of infrared and microwaves to reduce false alarms.  If you position them properly, a cat shouldn't be a problem.  Take a look at the Bosch Blue Line TriTech detectors.
Another option is to use floor stress detectors, such as Sure Action Pulsors.  They detect someone walking across a floor and can be adjusted to avoid false alarms from pets.
Welcome to the Cocoontech forum MasonicHAS!!!
Here utilize the OmniPro 2 primarily for security.  Homeseer is used as an addendum to to the panel but not the primary console interface to the panel.
Wife prefers the old fashioned keypad and use that and serially connected HAI consoles and POE connected HAI console then as an add but not primary are the Homeseer HSTouch clients.  She is somewhat afraid of touching my Homeseer touchscreens for fear that she will break the house...that is my fault for putting too many small buttons and status icons on one screen...
Having a keypad connected is a sure bet always on never an issue type of console connection for the Omni Pro 2 panel.  The keypad does look a bit antiquated. 
Over doing a bit the OP2 panel runs X10, UPB, Z-Wave and Zigbee.  Homeseer also runs X10, UPB, Z-Wave and controls Zigbee via the OmniPro 2 Homeseer plugin.  Recently have added the Samsung Smarthings to the mix.  The OP2, Homeseer and Samsung control the same set of Z-Wave devices but the controllers do not talk to each other.
Here utilize zoned Russound amps for whole house audio and separate AVRs.  The newer AVRs have too many buttons are over the top for me such that I only really only turn on and off the AVR and change the source (very simple) and utilize the TV LCDs as monitors.
Out of house multimedia comes from satellite, OTA and cable here.  (used to use satellite radio at home and do not these days).  Still collect music but not video much these days on in house NAS boxes. 
I do try to keep the automation in house rather than in the cloud these days.  Homeseer will do that if you want it too.  I play with cloud based widgets for speech and voice recognition. Relating to Homeseer today continue to utilize Microsoft SAPI in house speech (collect purchased / owned voice fonts here). 
Lighting is a much mentioned topic these days.  Methododology of transport, manufacturers of light switches, controllers and lightning design.
Start with a UL approved security system, then add automation on top of that. Omni Pro II and ELK are good choices, or you could even add just a security panel, but it needs to easily integrate with other equipment.
Yeah, depending on how much you want to spend, Vista or DSC are options for security only panels.
I'd revisit your camera and NVR choices personally. Same with getting away from Zwave as a detection device for security. Fine for automation or basic notification, but not for security.
I'd suggest moving away from the brew your own method and go with a more commercial and UL listed product and then add the automation and lifestyle options to that.
There is a lot of good information here thank you guys.
I guess it makes sense to have a hard wired panel, I just want to have something more modern looking.
I'll probably go with the DSC Touch or OmniPro.
However, I noticed that the DSC is integrated with After I get this thing up and running, I really don't want to be paying anyone for a service. What are your thoughts about this issue?
I appreciate all the suggestions for equipment, it really helps.
DELInstallations said:
I'd revisit your camera and NVR choices personally. Same with getting away from Zwave as a detection device for security. Fine for automation or basic notification, but not for security.
I'd suggest moving away from the brew your own method and go with a more commercial and UL listed product and then add the automation and lifestyle options to that.
Please explain why the camera and NVR choices are bad. Also what would you suggest is a better product?
It's the law of you get what you pay for....with cameras. NVR's are hit or miss when going consumer level. What works today may not work tomorrow, apps, plugins and whatever else tends to be the flashy item. There's free NVR software out there (Milestone, Axis, etc.) that is pro grade (albeit watered down a bit) you would need to bring your own hardware though.
Cameras are again, a get what you pay for, and again, may or may not work with a different brand NVR due to what flavor of Onvif and what the software on the NVR supports in a native driver or Onvif.
Not a fan of DSC product line personally. Too many bad experiences in a past life.
The DSC Touch looks like an interesting panel. I wasn't familiar with it and did some reading. I didn't find any online reviews, which seems odd for a 2yr or so old panel. It really depends what you want to do. The DSC Touch and OmniPro are in different leagues, in my opinion. It's hard to compare them directly.

I do run DSC and Omni, but a PowerSeries DSC. It looks like the DSC Touch is a newer design and does not support the same sensors. I personally would avoid it, as it seems to use wifi as its primary communications path, and it runs on Android. This is an over simplification, but it depends on how seriously you want to take the security side of your install. In broad terms, you'll get higher security from isolating your alarm panel from wifi and not running it on a common tablet OS like Android. I think you'll find that long term it will be hard to integrate more things with the DSC Touch panel as well (it seems to take an all-in-one approach) rather than supporting expansion.

Having said that, maybe you don't see yourself expanding, and don't want a more complex system later. The DSC Touch could be good then. The only other thing is the integration. I can't find any documentation saying they support self-monitoring, so I strongly suspect you would be tied to monthly plans. The panel also supports image capture and retrieval, which is a higher cost plan on as well. It looks to me like you would not be able to remote monitor or remotely view captured images without, but I may be wrong.
If nice, customized touch screens are something you want, you might want to consider our CQC system as an alternative to Homeseer. It's a more industrial strength product, more oriented towards the commercial end, but DIY friendly. It'll take a bit more up front spin up, but the payoff is significant. Also check your pricing. Some systems charge separately for the drivers you need for various devices, while others include them all in the price. What looks more expensive at first may actually end up cheaper in the end.
Regarding your cameras, I suggest spending some time reading the ipcamtalk forum, specifically in this thread.
It's nearly 150 pages discussing the most popular camera (Dahua 5231) for the past 6 months. 
I've got 6 of them along with a couple other PTZ models and they are great. 
Reading that forum, you'll learn A LOT about how to not get sucked in by megapixels, etc.  Security cams are all about
capturing quality images which require good light gathering capabilities.  For night images, a 2MP camera will often out perform 3-4 MP ones, since (all else being equal) they spread the same amount of captured light over more pixels, reducing image quality. 
There's also some good recommendations regarding DVRs there too, but I went with the Blue Iris DVR software package which is popular choice.  So far, I'm very happy with it too.