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Need help with a controller/mobile app, are there any that do ZWave and Insteon WELL?

edokid

New Member
Hey everyone!  New to the home automation game here.  So far last week I bought the Insteon Starter Kit which has the Insteon Hub, and then 2 wall dimmers.  I also bought a wall dimmer switch, bunch of LED lights, motion sensors, leak sensor, and door sensors.  Everything works great, although basic which is to be expected.  Because of this I was advised to get the ISY994 which I most likely will do soon just do to its more advanced events and rules.
 
My issue though is that I'd really love a door lock that shows status, which I understand no Insteon ones do but Z-Wave ones do.  Same with thermostats, I find the Insteon one really basic and ugly, with Z-Wave ones much nicer.  It would be awesome if there's a controller that does both, but actually well and supported vs patched together.
 
I've seen that the ISY994 can use a $100 add on to support Z-Wave but they call it Alpha and it seems hit or miss as to whether it works or not as things like door locks people say it works others say they have problems.  I was then looking at a HomeTroller SE3 as well since it says it does both, but it seems like it's primarily Z-Wave, with Insteon being a plug in, so again not sure how well that works with all devices and so on or if it's recommended when 95% of my devices would be Insteon and a few Z-Wave.  I downloaded a trial for HomeSeer and it did connect to my Insteon Hub and controlled the kitchen light when I did that as a test, so I'm a bit more confident in its Insteon capability.  
 
Really my main thing is that I want an app for my phone or android tablet that controls everything if possible.  So one app that does temperature, door locks, motion sensors, cameras etc, vs diff apps for each.  Right now the cameras I use in their own app which isn't a huge deal but it's kind of nice when it's all together.  So another option I thought was if there's any iPad or android apps that support not only Insteon like the ISY but also Z-Wave, as that way in the future I could just buy a Vera or something and have 2 systems that are separate, but an app that integrates them, but haven't seen any that do that.  MobiLinc seems to be Insteon only for the most part, and I don't see EKeypad supporting Vera either.  I thought also its nicer if company is over, they can use one wall mounted tablet with a floor plan of the house type thing, and tap locks, cameras and so on to use them all.  HomeSeer is interesting also since it has so many cool plugins like iTunes which would be really neat to be able to do multi room audio.
 
I'm kind of regretting getting Insteon now as it seems there's more devices for Z-Wave that I like, but I'm hesitant on fully switching mainly because I already bought a bunch of Insteon stuff, and it works VERY well so with my luck I'd sell it all or return what I can, only to find Z-Wave gives me issues or something.
 
The one thing I can't seem to figure out either is which Z-Wave controller would be more comparable to an ISY994 in terms of the features it supports as that might help to compare them both.  I'm not overwhelmed by the options, it's more a lot of devices will say they support Insteon and Z-Wave or what not but then when you look into it it seems more like a hack to support the one, with not all devices working and so on.  So I feel like if something is more headache that it's worth I'd rather forfeit the door locks and stick with Insteon.
 
As a final option, I'm more than open to a PC based system if it means leaving a PC on 24/7.  Not sure if there's any software that can work with the ZWave USB device thing (I forget what it's called) as well as with an Insteon PLM.  Even if there's inexpensive or free software that does only one of them, that wouldn't be too terrible either as it would still be less to use an old PC I have running an Insteon and Z-Wave network, using 2 Android/iPhone apps, than to buy the ISY994 and also the Vera or whatever.
 
Anyway sorry for the ramble, hoping for some pointers on what I might want to look for.  Thanks so much!!!
 

macromark

Active Member
HomeSeer can handle what you want to do and the Android interface is fully customizable too.  You'll need the following:
 
  • HS3 or HS3PRO software OR the HomeTroller SE3 (or higher)
  • Mark Sandler's Insteon Plug-in (for use with the Insteon Hub)
  • HS3Touch Designer (to customize the Android interface. Supports custom graphics (like floor plans, buttons, backgrounds, etc).  Note: HS3Touch Designer is FREE with all PRO systems.
This video shows you how the Designer works:
 
http://youtu.be/8OjKcN8V8I4
 

edokid

New Member
Thanks this is very cool going to check it out more!  It's mostly the cost that kills me as I'm comparing it to an ISY which everyone keeps telling me I should get, that it's much more stable etc so not sure.
 
With the HomeSeer, what do people do in terms of running programs?  Like if I wanted an "away" program that arms the motion sensors and sets it so that if normally a motion sensor just turns on a hall light, if I'm "away" it turns on every light in the house type thing.  Would that just be all events?  Like one event for "Away" and then I manually trigger that on the iPad or what not?
 

macromark

Active Member
edokid said:
Thanks this is very cool going to check it out more!  It's mostly the cost that kills me as I'm comparing it to an ISY which everyone keeps telling me I should get, that it's much more stable etc so not sure.
 
With the HomeSeer, what do people do in terms of running programs?  Like if I wanted an "away" program that arms the motion sensors and sets it so that if normally a motion sensor just turns on a hall light, if I'm "away" it turns on every light in the house type thing.  Would that just be all events?  Like one event for "Away" and then I manually trigger that on the iPad or what not?
Firstly, what username did you try to register on our boards with?  Edokid is not showing up in our system.
 
OK, here's how to set this up in HomeSeer: 
  1. Create a "virtual" device and name it "away mode" (or something like that). By default, it will have an "on" and "off" state. if you don't like "on" and "off" you can change that to "true" or "false" (or anything you want).
  2. Create the event that you want to occur when motion is sensed and you're at home and include the condition "and if device away mode is off"
  3. Create the event that you want to occur when motion is sensed and you're away from home and include the condition "and if device away mode is on"
  4. Add a button to your mobile app project that toggles away mode on and off.  Alternately (or additionally), you can create timed events that automatically control away mode based on your typical work schedule or based on the status of another device. 
 

edokid

New Member
That's awesome thanks!  Edokid is the username, here's the email I got, should I register again?
 
Dear edokid,

Thank you for registering at the HomeSeer Message Board. Before we can activate your account one last step must be taken to complete your registration.

Please note - you must complete this last step to become a registered member. You will only need to visit this URL once to activate your account.

To complete your registration, please visit this URL:
http://board.homeseer.com/register.php?a=act&u=84925&i=9ef7e6a84a3086c23a7cb145bcb48e4512d8ba6a

<a href="http://board.homeseer.com/register.php?a=act&u=84925&i=9ef7e6a84a3086c23a7cb145bcb48e4512d8ba6a">America Online Users Please Visit Here to be Activated</a>

**** Does The Above URL Not Work? ****
If the above URL does not work, please use your Web browser to go to:
http://board.homeseer.com/register.php?a=ver

Please be sure not to add extra spaces. You will need to type in your username and activation number on the page that appears when you visit the URL.

Your Username is: edokid
Your Activation ID is: 9ef7e6a84a3086c23a7cb145bcb48e4512d8ba6a

If you are still having problems signing up please contact a member of our support staff at[email protected]

All the best,
HomeSeer Message Board
 

macromark

Active Member
OK, I forwarded that...
 
Regarding HomeSeer vs ISY.  Both are great controllers.  Here's what we bring to the game:  
  • We were the 1st controller company to support Z-Wave (actually got the very first developer kit from Zensys back in 2003)... so we have 11 years of Z-Wave experience, at this point.  Z-Wave is a complex protocol that requires full time support.  HS3 includes multi-network support too, for outbuildings.
  • We offer Android and IOS mobile apps with the option to fully customize the interface (using HSTouch Designer).
  • We have a very active community of developers writing plug-ins for our systems.. to extend support to new technologies as they emerge.
  • We have a very active community of users who frequent our message board for help, tips and advice.
  • Our systems are fully enabled for voice control and voice programming (via Android and Windows devices)
  • Our systems are fully enabled for custom text to speech alerts, announcements and reminders
  • Our tabletop touchscreens are very cool "portals" into our system that work nicely on kitchen counter-tops, night stands and coffee tables.
  • and... (almost forgot) our online store is a one-stop-shop for HomeSeer compatible home automation gear.
 

edokid

New Member
Great thanks!  I'm definitely leaning towards HomeSeer, I think I'll probably just use my own PC that way it's not such a big expense all at once.  PowerHome looks interesting, not sure how well it works on Windows 8 as I keep getting SQL and other pop up errors and I don't think it supports the Insteon Hub so can't really test it unfortunately.  Also there's no Z-Wave support which is the main reason I'm looking at HomeSeer as otherwise I'd just use HouseLinc or the ISY for Insteon.  The reason I wanted Z-Wave is because I think the door locks and thermostats are much nicer than what Insteon has, but the few Insteon devices I've installed so far work REALLY well, so figure not worth switching it all.
 
I'm really liking HomeSeer right now, I just wish it wasn't so expensive!  It's mainly that HSTouch designer that kills me.  I mean it looks very in depth so I'm not denying that it's worth $199, my issue is that I feel like that's a fair price for maybe a systems implementer who is customizing panels for their clients, but for home users like myself, I'd use this probably once or twice for a panel for one android tablet that I'd wall mount as a controller and then that would be it, so just a tough pill to swallow.  Luckily the default HSTouch panel seems to do most of the same things, just not customized of course or with plug ins on it.
 

Rupp

Senior Member
edokid said:
That's awesome thanks!  Edokid is the username, here's the email I got, should I register again?
 
Dear edokid,

Thank you for registering at the HomeSeer Message Board. Before we can activate your account one last step must be taken to complete your registration.

Please note - you must complete this last step to become a registered member. You will only need to visit this URL once to activate your account.

To complete your registration, please visit this URL:
http://board.homeseer.com/register.php?a=act&u=84925&i=9ef7e6a84a3086c23a7cb145bcb48e4512d8ba6a

<a href="http://board.homeseer.com/register.php?a=act&u=84925&i=9ef7e6a84a3086c23a7cb145bcb48e4512d8ba6a">America Online Users Please Visit Here to be Activated</a>

**** Does The Above URL Not Work? ****
If the above URL does not work, please use your Web browser to go to:
http://board.homeseer.com/register.php?a=ver

Please be sure not to add extra spaces. You will need to type in your username and activation number on the page that appears when you visit the URL.

Your Username is: edokid
Your Activation ID is: 9ef7e6a84a3086c23a7cb145bcb48e4512d8ba6a

If you are still having problems signing up please contact a member of our support staff at[email protected]

All the best,
HomeSeer Message Board
Please try registering again as this user name isn't in our system.  Let me know when you have registered and I'll approve the request ASAP.
 

edokid

New Member
No problem at all thanks, I just registered again with the same name and verified the email.  It said it's pending administrator approval thanks!
 

macromark

Active Member
edokid said:
Great thanks!  I'm definitely leaning towards HomeSeer, I think I'll probably just use my own PC that way it's not such a big expense all at once.  PowerHome looks interesting, not sure how well it works on Windows 8 as I keep getting SQL and other pop up errors and I don't think it supports the Insteon Hub so can't really test it unfortunately.  Also there's no Z-Wave support which is the main reason I'm looking at HomeSeer as otherwise I'd just use HouseLinc or the ISY for Insteon.  The reason I wanted Z-Wave is because I think the door locks and thermostats are much nicer than what Insteon has, but the few Insteon devices I've installed so far work REALLY well, so figure not worth switching it all.
 
I'm really liking HomeSeer right now, I just wish it wasn't so expensive!  It's mainly that HSTouch designer that kills me.  I mean it looks very in depth so I'm not denying that it's worth $199, my issue is that I feel like that's a fair price for maybe a systems implementer who is customizing panels for their clients, but for home users like myself, I'd use this probably once or twice for a panel for one android tablet that I'd wall mount as a controller and then that would be it, so just a tough pill to swallow.  Luckily the default HSTouch panel seems to do most of the same things, just not customized of course or with plug ins on it.
Here's when you'll use it:
 
  • When you set up the system and customize it for the first time
  • When you add a new device or sensor and want that on your dashboard too
  • When you buy a new touchscreen, phone or tablet with a different resolution
  • When you decide to update your status graphics new cooler ones
  • When you want to change the dashboard in your bedroom because your wife wants the current temperature and forecast on it (trust me!)
  • When you add a camera to your system and want to add that
  • etc. etc..
$199 is expensive when you don't have it.  agreed.  But, it's pretty cheap compared to other systems like Crestron, AMX, Stardraw, etc... And, it's an option that a lot of other systems don't have at all.  If you're not already signed up for our newsletter, add your email to the list. We periodically put software on sale and you can cash in next time that happens.
 

edokid

New Member
Great thanks everyone, I'll definitely sign up for the newsletter then as I'm not in any urgency to get the software.  I'm glad to see that based on that video above it at least looks worth the price and isn't just some half-assed type thing to add value :)
 

edokid

New Member
One last quick question here regarding HomeSeer, if I'm using the trial on a VM which is on a rack server I have in my basement, can I easily export the config if I want to move it to a more permanent server later?  Or should I be setting everything up from day one on the final hardware I plan on using?  Speaking of which, any difference between Linux or Windows versions?
 

pete_c

Guru
I have used Homeseer on a VM and it works fine. 
 
I have recently mostly started to test HS3 in Linux Ubuntu 14.04 32 bit tiny and 64 bit big and it works for me. 
 
The above written; you will get more input on the Homeseer forum.
 
Write to Rupp (Gregory - "old Pappy") there; thinking Mark has mentioned his name to you.
 
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