Replaced HAI 1503 V2 Unit w/ OmniPro II

a0128958

Member
This month I replaced a 2nd generation HAI 1503 V2 unit with a 6th generation HAI OmniPro II unit.  I have an OP2 early version - 3 not 5 serial ports, and physical chip change-out for firmware update.  I'm at firmware version 3.16 so that's it - no more updates possible just like how I existed for all these years with the 1503 V2.
 
My 1503 V2 was in continuous operation from 1992 until now, including connection to monitoring for burglary and fire protection (4/2 format).  Kind of sad to see the HAI '90s vintage 1503 V2 unit go - it was a faithful and reliable system for 2.5 decades.
 
Through the years I added to the 1503 V2 for an extensively automated residence:  a HomeVision unit to provide for robust automation (covering a lot of things the 1503 V2 didn't do), an X10 whole-house amplifier, a WELServer (Ethernet) for data logging and interdiction detection, a Rachio Gen 2 controller (WiFi) for real time automated landscape sprinkler control, four Network Thermostat network (Ethernet) controlled thermostats, and Rheme gas water heater control (WiFi).
 
OP2 capabilities allowed for elimination of the HomeVision.  My Node 0 closet is much simplified now.
 
All of on-site sensors (except RH) were hardwired to either the 1503 V2 or the Homevision.  They all physically transferred over to the OP2 nicely:  opening contacts, PIR motion, 4-wire smoke, 2-wire heat, CO, natural gas, presence of water, and room temperatures.
 
I used X10 for lighting for decades.  Started with the Radio Shack X10 units.  For this upgrade to the OP2 I decided to change most of the switches to Lutron motion sensing switches with no connection to the OP2.  A small number of switches, for setting lighting at night for security, remain X10.  I continue to use the X10 amplifier.
 
I continue to have email and text messaging capabilities - tight HomeVision / 1503 V2 integration did it before, now it's done by an Omni Notifier board as part of my OP2.  Likewise I continue to have voice announcement capability, now with a voice board in the OP2.
 
I have the OP2 reasonably well integrated with other stuff - if fire then shut down down air handlers, turn on all lights, etc;  if water detection then shut down air handlers, send out text messages, etc., if outside temp below 45 degrees temporarily hold up on landscape watering, if a room is unoccupied then change tstat temperature setting, if room temp greater than threshold then turn on ceiling fan, and many other integration examples.
 
I have a couple of Alexa units.  My guess is they'll stay unconnected to my OP2 - I just don't have the energy to again go down the road of having something like HomeSeer to enable the integration (like I did with HomeVision).  Instead I'll maximize what I can do with the OP2 and call that good.
 
My data logging, measurement and verification, and interdiction system remains separate.  Max data logging capability for the OP2 appears to be 25 entries per hour, and it's via email.  What I'm doing separately with WELserver is far advanced ( http://www.welserver.com/WEL0043/ and http://www.welserver.com/WEL0343/ ).
 
I also don't have integration with the gas hot water heater (WiFi) control system.
 
My current challenge is learning more advanced skills with PCAccess programing of the OP2.  I do have the dealer version.  It's interesting that I still can't put variable values into email from the Notifier board (i.e., "Outside temp is 45 degrees; freeze protection turned on").
 
My biggest interest is implementing geo fencing.  This lets me adjust automation actions based on who the person is - not just the presence of motion.  And, it solves the can't keep track of room occupancy when sleeping, or sitting in front of TV for long period situations.  Don't know yet if the OP2 gives me enough capability to do this.
 
I'll read up on what all of you are doing here.  I just found here what appears to me to be the largest forum of HAI users around - thank you for sharing your knowledge.  Perhaps I'll be able to occasionally contribute.
 
Best regards,
 
Bill
 

JonW

Senior Member
Welcome Bill.  There's a few of us old HomeVision users here that went to OPII years ago.
 

ano

Senior Member
a0128958 said:
My biggest interest is implementing geo fencing.  This lets me adjust automation actions based on who the person is - not just the presence of motion.  And, it solves the can't keep track of room occupancy when sleeping, or sitting in front of TV for long period situations.  Don't know yet if the OP2 gives me enough capability to do this.
 
I'll read up on what all of you are doing here.  I just found here what appears to me to be the largest forum of HAI users around - thank you for sharing your knowledge.  Perhaps I'll be able to occasionally contribute.
 
Hello and nice to hear from you and welcome.  Wow it does sound like you have done a lot.
 
On the Geofencing, there are some possible solutions.  It was don't with Haiku at one point but isn't still working, I believe.
 
So Haiku used Bluetooth "beacons" that were placed around your house.  When your iPhone running the Haiku app. detected one of these Bluetooth beacons, it would set a flag in the panel so you could act on it.  This was a bit complex certainly.
 
So another idea is to do it the other-way around.  Your phone transmits a Bluetooth signal constantly which can be picked up.  So the trick here is to get a Bluetooth receiver which will somehow notify the HAI panel when your phone is connected and this will work with any Bluetooth phone with with Bluetooth. 
 
The trick is to just find a Bluetooth receiver which can notify your panel.  You may need one for each person to track. I don't know of one off-hand, but they certainly are out there.  Let me see what I can find.  There might be a few other ways as well, but this method should be pretty cheap.
 

a0128958

Member
Thank you all.
 
My HV implementation w/ my HAI 1503 V2 was extensive.  I used an HAI expansion panel hardwired to a HV expansion panel to communicate between the two.  I coded things with binary logic to fit within the limited 16 ports between the two panels.  I had another HAI expansion panel to manage all fire related items (including heat detectors, CO and NG).  
 
I assisted Craig Chadwick, HV creator with his implementation of support for StatNet, the defacto standard at the time for RS-485 communicating thermostats.  HV's serial port was used to actually grab information.  I had a full video screen for all 5 tstats showing temp, mode, fan, etc.  The unfortunate thing for SN implementation with HV was that Craig wasn't aware at the time that there were two setpoints to keep track of (heat and cool), not one (tstat).  That limited its usefullness.  Craig had enough other stuff going on such that he never went back in and enhanced the implementation.
 
As you know HV required a server PC presence in some cases, to support things like audio transmissions through a speaker, sending emails, logging to a file, and support for the thermostats.  I do not miss having this present, and don't anticipate ever doing it again.  Right now it's an HAI OP2 implementation and I'll stay within whatever the limitations are (i.e., at the moment no Amazon Dot integration to my two Dot units).
 
As  footnote I did the field trials for AprilAir communicating tstats, after they bought out StatNet (Enerzone).  
 
Today I have my networked thermostats (Network Thermostat) integrated with my HAI OP2 via Occ/Unoccup.  
 
For ever I have thought about the challenge of tracking occupancy in a room,  PIR motion detectors don't measure up - people sleeping bed, or sitting in front of TV get lost as far as tracking.  I always jokingly commented to family members that I wanted them to have an RFID chip in their neck, or wanted them to each wear a unique RFID badge.  Obviously these would never have happened, but, nowadays they carry their cell phones with them everywhere.  Hence I'm motivated to figure out if there's any technology yet that simply can tell if a cell phone is in a room, which one it is, and to mark the room as occupied when the cell phone is present.  Thanks for the helpful comments on this.
 
Best regards,
 
Bill
 

ano

Senior Member
At one point in my life I had a very elaborate system. I used Homeseer first, then CQC with the Omni Pro II.  Certainly fun, but it was taking all my time, especially maintenance as every upgrade seemed to break things.  Then I moved and decided that if the Omni Pro II couldn't do it directly, I probably didn't need it.  I have automated locks, lights, blinds, thermostats, home water valve and a few other things.  I love it because this system saves me time instead of using all of it.  But this is just me.
 
At one time I also controlled my water heater. Bad idea. It didn't save any power, but the constant turning it on and off once a day means expansion and compression, and this caused leaks in less than 2 years. I had three water heaters replaced under warranty until I figured out the cause.  If you want to save energy, buy a water heater blanket instead. If you are gone a week or more, it makes sense to turn down the water heater, but otherwise, I wouldn't.
 
I also tried some precise presence detectors.  One used beams to count people entering and leaving. Worked OK but in the end not worth it. LED bulbs use so little power now, I don't bother. I control some closet light and some hallway lights, but otherwise I just leave light on until we go to bed. Wife is much happier than the lights that "followed" her. (But it was cool.)
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
ano said:
At one point in my life I had a very elaborate system. I used Homeseer first, then CQC with the Omni Pro II.  Certainly fun, but it was taking all my time, especially maintenance as every upgrade seemed to break things.  Then I moved and decided that if the Omni Pro II couldn't do it directly, I probably didn't need it.  I have automated locks, lights, blinds, thermostats, home water valve and a few other things.  I love it because this system saves me time instead of using all of it.  But this is just me.
 
At one time I also controlled my water heater. Bad idea. It didn't save any power, but the constant turning it on and off once a day means expansion and compression, and this caused leaks in less than 2 years. I had three water heaters replaced under warranty until I figured out the cause.  If you want to save energy, buy a water heater blanket instead. If you are gone a week or more, it makes sense to turn down the water heater, but otherwise, I wouldn't.
 
I also tried some precise presence detectors.  One used beams to count people entering and leaving. Worked OK but in the end not worth it. LED bulbs use so little power now, I don't bother. I control some closet light and some hallway lights, but otherwise I just leave light on until we go to bed. Wife is much happier than the lights that "followed" her. (But it was cool.)
Things and resulting needs have definitely changed. So much HA was sold with the "Save energy" excuse. Now the devices to save the energy cost more in money, and energy to manufacture, than we will save from turning our lights off..
 

picta

Active Member
LarrylLix said:
Things and resulting needs have definitely changed. So much HA was sold with the "Save energy" excuse. Now the devices to save the energy cost more in money, and energy to manufacture, than we will save from turning our lights off..
 
Some time ago this was a valid reason. We did save energy (and water) back in the day of my first entrance into HA. Now it's more about convenience and piece of mind. Times change...
 

pete_c

Guru
Welcome to the Cocoontech forum Bill.
 
Many Leviton HAI folks here have integrated their panels with software and the Amazon Echo and Google voice these days.
 
Currently utilizing Homeseer automation software and integration with the OmniPro panel. 
 
Seeing a new trend now on the Homeseer forum of using a custom in wall shell for the Amazon Dots and placing them in ceilings or walls.
 
Tomorrow's stuff relating to the Amazon is already being used. IE: Soon it will be dot sized devices with cameras and recognition.
 
Mixing this stuff will provide an AI omnipresence in your home in the next few years.
 
Relating to RFID you can utilize small tags wirelessly connected to an RF to solenoid board to some zones on your panel. 
 
On Cocoontech forum user wrote a piece of software to integration the Omni Panel to the Samsung Smartthings Hub.  You can run this software on a Raspberry Pi.
 
Tinkering today I connected one Amazon Echo to the Samsung Hub and Roku television and Homeseer software...all works great..
 
I have never seen an HAI 1503 V2 device.  Wondering if you could take a picture of it and post it here on the forum?
 

a0128958

Member
Such nice responses.  Thank you.  This looks to be an exceptional place to learn from, and, to be helpful as I can be.  My expertise will be with the antiquated HAI product (1503 V2), HomeVision, Web Energy Logger (WEL), geothermal HVAC (in operation), solar PV (in operation) and LED lighting (my business).
 
Being new to this forum, I haven't figured out yet how to tell it to notify me when there's a contribution to a thread I'm part of or started.  I'll get there.
 
The HAI product line has gone through 6 generations: 1503, 1503 V2, Omni/OmniPro, Omni LT, Omni II / IIe / LTe and OmniPro II.  My 1503 V2 was installed in 1992, and worked perfectly to this day, being retired when I installed a non-flash / only 3 serial ports version OP2.  At the time I thought the 1503 V2 was pretty capable - I had an expansion panel too thinking this was how I'd do sprinkler control.
 
Fast forward to about '96, when Craig Chadwick came out with the HomeVision.  Wow!  This made it possible to do all the things I was figuring out I couldn't do with the HAI 1503 V2.  Send email or text msg on event, voice announce temperatures / door open statuses / etc. to the family, turn on bath fans via humidity sensor measurement, turn on/off lights and set back thermostats based on room occupancy, set specific tstat temps, etc.  I even bought a second HAI expansion panel (not compatible with Omni anything) to signal to the HV unit - used Binary Coded Decimal to communicate to the HV inputs over 5 wired connections.  And I implemented an RS-485 network for HV direct tstat control.  In the late 90s my home featured on the cover of Home Electronics magazine, along with a couple of others.
 
What surprised me was HAI's lack of interest to integrate HV capabilities into their later products.  I obviously didn't understand the home security, fire and automation market very well.  Until '07 I ran fat, dumb and happy with an HAI 1503 V2, two 1503 expansion panels, a HV unit, one HV expansion unit, and an always on dedicated computer connected to the HV to manage data logging, tstat communications, email/text messages and voice annunciation.
 
In '07 I replaced my conventional HVAC capability with geothermal HVAC, requiring me to remove the StatNet tstats and put in WaterFurnace proprietary tstats.  And at this time I changed over to Verizon FIOS telephone/internet/phone service, making it more difficult to use the modem to send email/text messages.
 
The real beginning of the end was prompted by HV.  CSI3 went out of business 3 years ago.  Worse yet, the HV units have batteries that finally expired after about 15 years.  I lost my HV board to battery failure.  Purchased another HV board as part of Craig's close out sale, and it lasted until this year.  The real challenge was, as many of you know, the battery had to be unsoldered / re-soldered in.  
 
In 2013 I started thinking that my '92 built residence was operating a security/fire system over 20 years old and thus it was time to update it.  So I kept on the look out on Ebay and finally found an OP2 demo unit.  I found it ironic that I was updating to what was almost HAI's top of the line product (mine was a no-flash unit) in '13 using product that came out in '04.  At the time in '13 I was purchasing 10 year old HAI equipment.  My 1503 V2 unit had done so well that I didn't worry about this for the OP2.
 
I didn't install the HAI OP2 unit though until this year.  I stayed with my HAI 1503 V2 / HV / on-all-of-the-time PC set up until HV finally gave out.  Sad decision day.  It was obvious at this point how advaced the HV unit was when it came out in '96.  Couldn't let go of the HV unit until having gone through two boards.
 
It was at this point I decided no more anything other than the OP2 plus whatever HAI expansion items I could use (I have an OP2 expansion panel, an email board, a port expansion internal board, an 8 port relay board, and a 5" screen console unit - the 1503 V2 temp sensors remain compatible with the OP2).  Whatever capabilities I implement will be done using the OP2 architecture.
 
I've gotten to be pretty comfortable with the OP2.  It reads in temperatures nicely such that I could re-implement 'if this temp, then do this' (ceiling fans, irrigation system, attic warning because of water pipes, etc.)  Using the HAI relay board I've re-implemented tstat setback, outside sprinkler control and fire alarm initiated shutdown of the HVAC units.  Using the email board I've re-implemented email and text messages.  And I see where I can install an HAI audio board and then be able to re-implement voice annunciation.
 
So I've been pleasantly pleased that the OP2, albeit a 2004 product, does most of the stuff I want it to do (along with appropriate HAI accessories).  I've got a couple hundred lines of HAI code implemented at this time.  And my Node 0 closet is impressively empty, with the HAI 1503 V2 and expansion panels gone, the HV and expansion panel gone, and the dedicated PC gone.
 
I miss the most the ability to log information.  The OP2 only allows for logging via email, and only a max of 20 per hour.  Still, I think will be plenty.  I think I've figured out how to do everything else.
 
I'll post some pictures of the HAI 1503 V2 unit tonight.  I haven't disposed of it yet.  The biggest challenge is the hole that will be left in the drywall when I pull out the 1503 V2's flush mounted huge console.  This will require hiring someone to do drywall hole repair.
 
Integration of my Amazon Dot units probably won't happen, at least for a while.  I'm just not that excited having to return to the days of having auxiliary equipment running (Homeseer) alongside my HAI stuff.  
 
Thanks for everyone's comments.  Much appreciated.
 
Best regards.
 
Bill
 

JonW

Senior Member
Bill, for logging, Amazon Alexa integration, web control and mobile device control, take a look at the free software OpenHAB.  I just implemented it for my OPII and after doing so, I've now discontinued using my own logging software that I had also coded an Alexa interface into.  It works very well and can even run on a Rpi (I run mine on a Windows VM though).
 
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