Smarthome Manager Plus, any good?


Just wondering if anyone is using this software and what they think of it. Does it compare at all to HomeSeer? I would think HomeSeer is the far more advance software, but I could get Smarthome Manager Plus farily cheap, especialy if I buy the Smarthome usb controller with it.

DRB said:
Just wondering if anyone is using this software and what they think of it. Does it compare at all to HomeSeer? I would think HomeSeer is the far more advance software, but I could get Smarthome Manager Plus farily cheap, especialy if I buy the Smarthome usb controller with it.

Well I'm sure that I'll be giving a biased opioion but since no one else replied here goes. First Smarthome Plus seems to be easy to use, Homeseer has more of a learning curve. But any problem I've had a quick post to the message board usually solves the problem. With Homeseer you can do a whole lot more. With a great message board and rick/rich quick responses to bugs. I also didn't see anything about remote viewing unless you purchase smarthome live for 9.99 a month. Seems like a scam to me since I can do all this AND cheaper. Homeseer is also moving ahead faster with numerous plugins. Yes the do cost extra but most are worth it.

For the price 119.99 it wouldn't be much more 129.99 plus 29.99 for Homeseer at the site below.
Before you buy anything checkout He is very active on the board and beats any price I've seen.

Again I consider myslelf a "newbie" but thought I might shed some light on the subject. With Homeseer you can try it out for 30 days, does smarthome offer that?

The PowerLinc Controller is $70 ($120 for the "Plus" version).

The Ocelot is around $150 and it seems like it can do a lot more. Of course you would also have to buy a power line interface such as a TW-523 or PSC05 to operate the Ocelot.

Plus a HomeSeer plugin(s) already exists for the Ocelot and there are already support forums in place on the HS Board and over at Applied Digital

The Ocelot gets some getting use to in programming though, but its not bad and actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. Plus it can do IR.
One reason I was leaning towards the SmartLinc USB was to not always run the computer. I guess maybe I could let the computer run all the time.

The other reason is I need to stay away from a serial interface. I see that the PSC05 can run on the parrell port; from website:

"Can be interfaced to computer via serial or parallel port. Can be connected to a micro-controller."

So I take it this device could be set up on the parrell port? Also on homeseer trial version I do not see the PSC05 as a support interface device. There is an option for the ocelot [which would be the PSC05], but if I ran the PSC05 as the transmitter without the ocelot would it still work? And if it does work is it just basicly plug and play; meaning would I just plug it in hook it to the parrellel port and then be able to have 2-way control of my x-10 devices. I ask because of this statement on the PSC05 product page:

"Description: If you know how to send and read RS232 type serial communication with your computer or from any other electronic device, you can develop and market your own software and/or hardware for use with X10 compatible systems without having to develop your own X10 communications hardware or having to go through costly UL approval. This module is optically isolated and UL approved. The timing critical nature of communication with this device requires low level hardware programming experience. It may also require dedicated microprocessor time. It is not recommended for casual programmers. Documentation not included. ''

I guess in the long run the ocelot is the way to go. It does seem to be a daunting task to learn it. This is something I think I will want to learn and use, but at a much later time.

I ask these questions cause I am at the next stage on my HA. Which is to get rid of the firecaker device and get 2-way control with the right interface the first time. After I get the interface I then chosse the software, which I am 85% sure will be Homeseer. If I win the contest I'll be 100% sure. B)

Thanks for any help
DRB, let me give you a quick reply now and later a more detailed one (don't have much time right now)

The Ocelot will run its programs independent of a PC. It uses "Ladder Like" logic that are run on PLC's (Programmable Logic Controllers).

It has an IR interface as well as its own bus system which can communicate with other modules such as a digital input module (which can say detect contact closures).

It can also perform X-10 commands and has that capability in its programming logic as well. To do this it needs a Power Line Interface much like your computer needs the CM11A for Homeseer to send/receive X-10 commands.

You can use a TW523 or a PSC05 power line interace with the Ocelot. You can "Program" the Ocelot with software called CMax. This will let you compose, and upload programs to it. To do this though, you need to connect the Ocelot to a serial port on your computer. Once a program is Uploaded, it can run independent of the computer.

If you would like, Homeseer can interface with the Ocelot in a couple of ways. One is that Homeseer can see any commands on the powerline generated by the Ocelot and act on that.

A better way is to have Homeseer "see" what the Ocelot is up to so you don't have to rely on the powerline. It does this via a Homeseer plugin. For instance, if you have an Ocelot with a SECU16I digital interface, you can "pass" the value of these digital inputs to an X-10 device in Homeseer.

I use an Ocelot and Homeseer both. Homeseer can do things the Ocelot can not do, for instance: Web Interface, Voice commands, Email, etc...

As far as your statements on the parallel port, I'm not sure. I don't know of any interface between the Ocelot, PSC05 or Homeseer that uses the parallel port.

Can you post a link as to where you got that info?

I really don't know how the Ocelot's programming compares to the Smarthome USB device. If you don't need a lot of capability, maybe that would be the thing to get. I just wanted to show you another option before you made your purchase

Hope this helps, have to go for now.

Hey, back again.

One thing you could do to sort of get a feel of how the Ocelot can be programmed it to download its CMax software. You don't need an Ocelot to browse through its menus and see how to enter program steps. You can get the latest CMax code here.

You don't type any code, rather select it from the menus.

For instance lets say you want to turn a light (C1) on 20 minutes before sunset.

You would enter:
If time of day beccomes = Sunset -20 minutes
Then C1, Turn On
End Program

Just upload that to the Ocelot and it will run automatically.

Now lets say you want to turn off your bedroom lamp (C1) 10 minutes after you hit your A1 OFF keypad combination. It would go something like this:

If A1, OFF Command Pair
Then Timer #1 = 1 (Starts timer)
If Timer #1 becomes = 600
Then C1, Turn Off
Timer #1 = 0
End Program

Note the command "Command Pair". This means you transmitted A1, then A OFF commands together in a pair.

You can also send single X-10 commands which is handy when you want to say turn on multiple lights at once.

Lets say you want to turn on a lamp (C1), coffee pot (C2), and a fan (C3) all at once when you hit the A1 ON command.

You would enter:

If A1, On Command Pair
Then, Transmit X-10 C1
Then, Transmit X-10 C2
Then, Transmit X-10 C3
Then, Transmit X-10, C ON.

That's starting to touch on the features this has with X-10.

That's great stuff you wrote.

Question - If I wanted to do my CMax programming on my laptop, since I don't have a serial port on it, I guess I could get some sort of USB to serial port adapter, right? Does that make s sense to do that?



Thanks for the informative reply. I definatly will go the Ocelot route, in time. I have a few other things that need to be taken care of first.

I need an intrem solution to which interface to use for now. I was wondering if the PSC05 would work and be compadiable with homeseer.

The info that states the PSC05 is serial or parerall is on the products descripition page. Here is a link to the product on Martin's sitePSC05


For a baisc HomeSeer interface, either the CM11A or the 1132U USB interface would work. I would go with the USB interface though - same price, a little better reliability and doesn't take up a serial port.
If I wanted to do my CMax programming on my laptop, since I don't have a serial port on it, I guess I could get some sort of USB to serial port adapter, right?

Hello Martin:

Hmmm, I'm really not sure. In theory this sounds like it will work, but I have no personal experience with any USB to serial devices.

My (poor) memory cells do recall some posts over at the HS boards and I believe people had mixed results using these units, just not sure on the applications they were trying to run at the time.

I'll try doing a search over there later because I am curious. I recently ran out of serial ports (CM11A, MR26A, Ocelot, and Caddx systems) myself.

I believe that I have one of those CompUSA serial boards (only two ports) in my computer, but can't remember now because I installed a USB expander board in there also. Will have to open the case up and look when I get home.

Do you carry any type of serial expander boards? I currently need one more (for my Caller ID interface box), but if going through the trouble, might as well get at least two more. Maybe I should investigate those USB to serial units as well!


Can be interfaced to computer via serial or parallel port.

Wow, I did not realize that you could interface the PSC05 to the parallel port. I guess it would all depend on what type of interface cable you purchased with the PSC05 (they do not come with a cable).

Be aware though that these units can not "store" programs, rather they act only as an interface between a computer (or micro-controller device such as the Ocelot) and your power line. B)
This is the only USB to serial adapter that I'm using right now. I have several others that are not in use.

byterunner usb->serial(2)

This adapter has worked flawlessly with everything I've thrown at it.

From now on, my plan is to only buy devices which use FTDI chips (which the byterunner adapter uses). You can go directly to FTDI for drivers. My theory is that they will continue to provide drivers.

I have another adapter (with 4 serial ports) which the manufacturer decided not to support under XP - now I've got something that I can't even use as a paperweight because it's too light. It also used to get lost every so often - I would have to disconnect it or reboot the machine in order for it to see the ports again (this was running Windows 98 SE(?), by the way). has 1, 2, 4, and 8 port adapters and I think they say that all of them use FTDI chips.

I also use 2 of these 4 port PCI cards (one in my HS machine, one in another machine). If you've got a slot free, PCI cards seem to have fewer problems. They have cards with 1 to 8 ports and various external connections.

The one thing you do need to look out for with USB adapters is timing. If you have a device that uses normal serial communications and can work through Windows, you probably won't have problems. However, if it communicates by bit-banging some of the pins (the Firecracker may do this, but please don't quote me on that), then you may lose timing information and it won't work.
Thanks for the links on the USB to serial devices.

If the CMax is something that I program and, when I'm ready, download it to the Ocelot, then I think I would prefer to have it on my laptop. Either that or maybe I'll just remote access into the machine that has it....

Oh well, no Ocelot in the mail today - hopefully tomorrow!