Please allow me to introduce myself...

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
I just discovered this forum, and since my company has a product that is exactly in this product space, I figured I'd introduce myself and my product. You can get more info on the web page, but basically it is an advanced, network distributed, secure, software based control and automation suite for XP/W2K. It is a commercial product, very powerful, and at a very low price relative to other software of it's scope and power, and definitely relative to the traditional hardware based players in this market.

So feel free to check it out and I'll be happy to answer any questions.
Welcome Dean!

I've seen you on a couple of other boards. One of these days I'll figure out what your stuff does. It looks interesting though. My knowledge is really in the automation and lighting control area so I would love to learn more about incorporating the HT stuff like I think your package does.

CQC is an automation system, it just happens to have drivers for a lot of home theater stuff right now. But it can control anything as long as it has a driver. You can do drivers yourself if you are comfortable with that. There are two ways to do it, a 'protocol description language' where you just describe the protocol for simpler devices, or you can use the general purpose built in CML language to write drivers that can handle pretty much anything. If you don't feel comfortable with doing a driver, feel free to send the device to me for a few days and I'll be happy to do it.

It would be great to get some lighting system drivers in place. If you do a quality driver for a non-trivial device I'll give you a copy in return for being allowed to distribute the driver with the product.
I definitely would love to learn more about CQC too, I checked the site out quickly, but didn't have much time, I will have to check it out later again when I have some more time (You would think Home Automation would free up more time sigh). Glad to have you aboard! The more vendors we get on board, the better this experience will be.
It takes a little time commitment up front, since it's a fairly complex product. Unlike a lot of software based automation products that just do X-10 or other specialized stuff, it's intended to be a full bore all-seeing product, to go up against the traditional hardware based automation products. The primary problem at this point is just getting access to devices in order to drivers, or to get other people to do more. I do have a good number of user written drivers now, actually almost as many as I've done. I give them a free copy of the product in return. They wanted to use the product, and would have had to do the driver anyway in order to, so that's just a bonus I guess. And a good number of people are sending me devices so that I can do the drivers for them.

It handles X-10, IR, serial, socket and USB devices, has a powerful user drawn interface system to create interactive and nice looking custom interfaces, it's secure with user accounts so you can limit access to things, it's fully network distributed, so it can all run on one machine, or distribute control around the network, it has a built in object oriented macro/device-driver development language with a nice graphical IDE, and you can configure the whole system from many machine, and control or view data from any devices under control anywhere in the system.

If you need devices, I have plenty that I would be willing to lend you.

Just let me know what you want, I probably have it.

Anything that's widely used would be great, either in the general automation world or in the home theater world. I would usually only need a really complex product for a week, and simpler ones one or two days. For the complex ones, if it's possible to find someone to sanity check the driver before I have to return the device, that would be great, but it usually isn't possible. If you want to e-mail me directly at [email protected], drop me a line and let's discuss it. I'll be happy to give you some licenses in return, if that would be of any use to you. It's the only form of payment I have right now.
Here is a nice little interface that a customer of mine did for the Arcam AV8 A/V Processor. He loaned me one so that I could do a driver and he whipped up this interface, which is pretty cool looking.

Charmed Quark Software is proud to announce the 1.1.3 release of CQC (The Charmed Quark Controller), its Windows based, distributed control and automation software suite. CQC provides a secure, network distributed, highly integrated, control and automation software suite, including a powerful backend architecture, powerful user drawn interface system, user based security, object oriented macro and driver development language with graphical IDE, supporting X-10, IR, socket, serial, and USB devices.

What's New in 1.1.3

This is a 'minor' upgrade of the 1.1 version, but it does offer some very useful new features and includes a number of bug fixes. The most significant changes are:

- Arcam AV8 Driver. This release includes a new driver for the Arcam AV8 A/V Processor, which is a pretty powerful box for a good price, and the control protocol is fairly extensive also.

- SmartHome 1132U USB X-10 Controller This release includes a driver for the SmartHome USB X-10 controller. CQC already supported the widely used serial version of this controller (1132S), but that verion is no longer being sold, and this one is quite superior anyway. It requires no drivers on the Windows side, since it is an HID type USB device.

- User Drawn Interface Enhancements There are a number of nice enhancements to the user drawn interface system, including a new 'state' system, an auto-repeating inc/dec button, size to fit menu option, and a translation feature for dynamic text widgets.

- Marantz VP-12S2 Driver Eric Bariaux of has provided a driver for the Marantz VP-12S DLP projector. This is a 'first look' drop for people to check out and comment on, though it should be pretty stable.

What's Coming Up

The major feature in the next version, which will be 1.2, is going to be the extension of CQC's powerful device control model to GUI applications, a la Girder but better because it will be built into a powerful integrated front and back end. So you HTPC folks can have a single system that provides the two way active GUI, the powerful distributed back end architecture, great two way device control, security, powerful macro capabilities, and application control all in one highly integrated package.

There are some drivers that appear to be very likely at this point. They will be released as driver packs as they become available, and the formally included in the 1.2 release when it arrives.
  • HD Leeza driver update, to get it up to the latest firmware version
  • JPK DMX512 lighting controller
  • Enerzone thermostat
  • RCS keypads and thermostats
As always, if you do a good driver for CQC, and let us ship it with the product, we'll give you a free copy of CQC. ANd if you keep it updated in future releases (which mostly will just be a matter of verifying it's still happy), we'll give you the upgrades for free as well.

If you really want to use CQC, but need drivers for your devices and cannot do them yourself, please consider shipping us the device for a few days so that we can do the driver for you and return the device. We want to support as many devices as possible and want to do whatever we can to make CQC a useful tool for your automation needs.

Test Drive It

CQC comes with a 30 day trial period. So just download the Zip file (Download link on the left of the main web page), unzip it, read the release notes, look at the Get Started section of the web site which will give you an overview of how CQC works and want it can do for you, and then install it and use it unencumbered for 30 days. At any time during that period you can purchase a license and upgrade your trial version to a licensed version without any interruption.

CQC is a networked product, so the license is for your network, and only applies to the machine on which you run the CQC Master Server. You can run as many other clients or servers as you need and your network capacity allows. So give it a spin and see what it's like.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail us at [email protected], or better yet sign up with our support forums (link is at that bottom of the main web page), and start a discussion of your issues and questions. This way, other users can benefit from the discussion, and other old timers can help you out if I'm not immediately available. We look forward to your feedback, whether happy or brutal, since it's the only way we can understand what works for you.