So many options, so little time.


New Member
Cameras: Finally got around to installing 6, 3MP cams about a year ago.  Started with zoneminder, but the transcode kills the CPU after 2 cams.  So switched to the demo of exacqvision for a cam, put another few on an escam nvr, then a couple just dumping to NFS (2x Hikvision, 4x Dahua).  As soon as ZM 1.30 gets released, I may give it another try (learned a few lessons, and will throw more CPU & Mem at it), or go the windows route and do either ispy or blueiris.  (I use Linux as my desktop OS, so windows is actually more combersome for me).  But I really need to get all these cams "under one roof" so to speak, so I don't have to keep re-inventing the wheel.  I also want to record at full 3MP, as the whole point of getting 3MP cams is to get the highest quality when trying to ID someone.  So people suggesting to record at 720 or even 1080, just makes no sense.  I figure 5 FPS is reasonable though.
Home Security: After a break-in about a year ago (this is what prompted me to install the cameras), I really wanted to do SOMETHING to start monitoring door open/closures, glass breaks, motion detection, etc..  But so far, I havn't found a system that I like, lots of propritary stuff out there, and I want to tie it into other things (i.e. a door opens, then trigger record on a camera, send a text w/pic, turn on light, etc..)  Maybe even have it notify a monitoring agency that ties into the local police .
Home Automation: I see this as tying cameras and security together, and utilize all the devices regularly rather than just for breakins.  I might as well have the front lights turn on when I pull into the driveway via some sort of sensor somewhere (as opposes to just relying on motion detection).  I already have brultech greeneye that lets me track electrical usage per-circuit in my panel; this has the ability to connect zigbee (connects via wifi now)
My issue is I try to research all sorts of things, and find the biggest bang for the buck.  The problem is there are alot of good things out there, with the downside being that you are locked into one particular technology (unless you get one of those expensive HA hubs that do "all" of them).
I was at the local target today, and they had a WinkHub on clearence for $55.  It does zwave+, zigbee, BT, and Wifi.  So I got it, since zwave and zigbee seem to be the two big ones currently(?).  I havnt opened it up yet, but I know there are two things I don't like about it already, 1) No hardware eithernet (maybe I'm a bit old fashioned, but I really like the idea of having as much as I can hardwired, especially the central box).  and 2) no web interface (it uses a cell phone app for everything.. ugh).
Just some more background on me.. I don't mind writing some of my own apps, I have a few raspberry pis around the house, one connected to my weatherstation, and running weewx, another for Kodi, a couple spare, some arduino stuff that looked interesting, but I havnt even taken it out of the box, so havnt touched any sketches yet.
Now I see I can get a smartthings hub as a memorial day sale deal for around $70.  It does Zigbee, Zwave, and has hardware ethernet.  Probably alot more support for it.  Althought I've thought about just writing my own everything with a Pi, or something, it seems its cheaper to get a hub, as the USB dongles for zigbee, zwave, and whatever else are pricey.  Plus, I'm getting lazy in my old age, and would like to start with something thats a bit of a "turn key" system, yet allow for customizations, and being able to tie a buncha stuff to it...
So I'm just here for information, ideas, thoughts, direction, advice, etc.. etc.. etc..  Very confuzed as to which direction to go.  I hate making decisions, then find out a month or two later "darn, I should have bought THIS.....".
I'm a Windows user but I do a lot of sysadmin on Linux. I was looking for a "pro" HA software solution and never found one. I did try openhab and it wasn't for me. It was too amature and beta feeling. I ended up with CQC.

Ps. Homeseer runs on Linux but by using mono.

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I like the HAI (Leviton) Omni Pro II.  It seems to work well for both security and for automation.  I installed one about 10 years ago, and it's still running strong.  I have since moved to a new house, and I'm getting ready to install another one.  The Elk panels seem to have a good following, too.
I'd probably go with one of those (or a dedicated alarm panel) for security, as you can get them monitored easily if you want.
So I returned the winkhub.  read a bunch of reviews on the smartthings v2, and people complaining about bugs, things not triggering right, etc..  plus, I guess the v2 still relies on internet?  Some of it could just be operator error I suppose...
So rather than do the HA thing, maybe I'll do a security panel first, so I can get alerts for door open/close, glass break, etc..  Does something like the Omni or Elk panel output all events via USB, Ethernet, or something else so I can send it to a computer for processing (so I can write an app that'll text me from a google hangouts account or something).  I think that's the priority.  HA isnt as important to me as the security side, but once I have the various pieces in place, it would be nice if they can be tied into HA, or whatever else...
Also, for Elk or Omni Pro II, whats a good search term so I can see the price to get started, and capabilities?  One of my problems is I'm extremely cheap.  So would like to start out and play around for under $100.  (Kind of silly, considering it'll save me thousands if my place gets broken into without ANY panel).  Not to mention piece of mind.  About a year since the last break in, and every time I come home, I feel the need to do a walk around the house, checking for broken windows, or unlocked doors.  Not a good way to live.
You won't be able to get anywhere near as low as $100 for an Elk or Omni Pro II.  Figure a minimum of $450 for an Elk and $1300 for an OP2.  Those prices would include just the basics - panel, enclosure, one keypad, power transformer, and battery.  The Elk is more modular than the OP2, and you'll probably want to add an ethernet interface ($160), while the OP2 has that built-in.
Elk has various system packages with different combinations of components. 
JoeShmo said:
About a year since the last break in, and every time I come home, I feel the need to do a walk around the house, checking for broken windows, or unlocked doors.  Not a good way to live.
Hopefully the cameras will be a good deterrent.  Of course, I just saw a video from someone here in FL where a guy came and stole two of his cameras!