Tying it all toghether?

pkoslow

Active Member
I'm starting down the road of significant changes with my HA install and would like to solicit some discussion & opinions.

I’m currently running HS2 on a Dell PowerEdge 1800 server and have installed an Ocelot and SECU modules for I/O. MainLobby provides the main UI running on a 10†Airpanel. I’m not using MusicLobby at this time because I want to retain VR control of music which is possible with HS & Media Player plug-in. I also prefer my custom Music page in MainLobby that retains the same look and feel as all my other MainLobby Scenes.

Whole-house audio is home grown using a bunch of different equipment and security is handled by wired PIRs & contacts back to the SECU’s as well as a W800 with a few hawkeyes & DS10a’s and HomeSeer scripting.

Over that last few months I’ve purchase an Elk M1 with Ethernet and an extra serial expander for lighting. I’m evaluating both Insteon & UPB for lighting but have only gotten as far as testing UPB with the M1 (Insteon stuff in running on HS right now). I’ve had the M1 and a Russound CAV6.6 on the bench for a number of weeks “getting to know themâ€.

Below are a few of my goals:

1. Install a full featured alarm/security system. I’m off to a good start with the M1 and will use this as the basis for security (and automation).

2. Move all my lighting control, motion & door sensors, door locks, temperature sensors, and VR mic gate status to the M1. I’ll also be adding CO2 & smoke/heat sensors.

3. Better integrate my thermostat (need to choose a model supported by the M1)

4. Roll out new lighting control to the entire house using either UPB, Insteon, or a combination of both.

5. Pull out my existing very complex whole-house audio setup and replace it with the Russound CAV6.6.

6. Dumb down my HS configuration so I can make it reliable again.

I need to keep HS in the mix because I like the product and right now it’s the only way to interface the iAutomated RFID gear. I’ll also use it for VR, TTS and the other advanced functions that the M1 can’t reproduce. I’ll keep MainLobby too because I’m pleased with the way it works and looks. What I’m really trying to understand is how to best make this all work together?

HomeSeer has an M1 plug-in & Mainlobby plug-in and Mainlobby has a M1 plug-in. I’d like to keep everything as simple as possible and most importantly as reliable as possible. In the end, I expect that I’ll get the Elk M1 installed and connected to all the stuff it will control and monitor. With this done, I’ll dig further into ElkRP and use it to automate as much as possible internally in the M1 for reliability.

Once this is complete, I’ll create a new HomeSeer configuration by starting from scratch to compliment the M1 installation and then integrate MainLobby. Can anyone provide some pros & cons about which plug-ins to use to tie these three together?

The CAV6.6 install should be easy (I may tackle this starting tomorrow?), but I’m still working out how I want to integrate it with automation. TTS from HomeSeer through the paging input is a no-brainer and is working well. I’ll also want to be able to turn the backlight off on some of the keypads when we go to bed and maybe select some sources through scripts (these things should be easy to do with HS scripting and the RS232 connection). I’d like to be able to get artist & track title info to the keypads when playing MP3’s from HomeSeer’s Media Player plug-in and not sure how to do this yet. I know that Cinemar has a great CAV6.6 plug-in which I’m sure I’ll check out, but the integration is with MusicLobby which I’m not currently using. I know there are some changes on the horizon at Cinemar, so may consider MusicLobby in the near future. This would solve the Russound integration issues, but I’ll loose the VR control of my music which I use frequently?

I am actively researching a number of other hardware and software solutions, but would like to keep this discussion focused around the products mentioned above. My time right now is very limited so I need to proceed using the stuff I already own and know… there will be lots of time later to try out and evaluate different products.

Very interested to hear from other M1/HomeSeer/Mainlobby users to see how you are “tying it all togetherâ€.

Thanks,
Paul
 

noshali

Active Member
I have the elk m1 and love it. I recently connected the RCS TR16 thermostat and it works great. I am lazy and did not want to run wires so my keypad and the tehrmostat are close to each other (same room different walls) so decided against the TR40 as if I needed text messages then I could use the elk keypad. I would have opted for tr40 if my thermostat was in a different room.

Do let me know if you have specific questions about using TR16 and would be glad to answer. I decided on the RCS because of the plugin for HS and also being able to use it with ELK. I now only use it with elk and works well as no PC is involved.

regards.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Paul;

I don't have much to offer other than to say that I'm sort of in the same boat as you (misery loves company)! I don't mean to hijack your thread, but I would like to describe my situation as well as it is very similar and may hopefully spark more feedback from our forum members! :)

I am installing a small system to start off with for my friend's house. He is building it himself and we already installed a ton of wiring in it (multipair, cat5e, RG6 coax). I already have the windows and doors wired with magnetic contacts for the security system.

Drywall is now up and he will be moving into the house in a couple of months.

I already purchased an Elk M1 Gold for him and will have two zone expanders as he will need 40 zones. This includes the security aspects (doors, windows, motion detectors, glass breaks) as well as washer/dryer monitors, air filter doors, house power monitor, house temperature monitor, etc...

This was the main reason I purchased the Elk M1 Gold for this install. I currently (in my own home) have an Ocelot (with Relay-8 and SECU16 add-on modules), but integrated it with a Caddx NX8e security system. Since I was doing his install fresh, I thought the Elk M1 would be a good combination of the Ocelot and Caddx systems. I also liked the fact that I can get voice announcements with the Elk system.

I will have a dedicated computer probably running HomeSeer, since I'm used to it. I will also have MainLobby which I plan on using to monitor HomeSeer devices via Krumpy's MLHSPlugin.

I do this now (in my home) using HomeSeer 1.7.43 and found this combination to be very stable with MainLobby. I don’t know currently if he will want the other Cinemar products such as WeatherLobby.

One thing I probably will not do is use Cinemar's M1 Plugin. This is because I am already familiar with HomeSeer and would rather create custom scripting/scenarios via Visual Basic (which I am also familiar with). I also like the fact that I can integrate serial devices easier with HomeSeer via visual basic (scripting) than MLServer (for incorporating analog measurements in the future).

Another dilemma here is what interface should I use with HomeSeer and the Elk M1 Gold? I know there are two options, Electron's my.elk script and Mark's HomeSeer plugin. One thing I really need from this choice is the ability to create HomeSeer devices which will relate to the 40 elk zones, as well as devices which will represent the elk in various arming modes. I need this so I can communicate and control the elk via MainLobby (MLHSPlugin can easily show the state of HomeSeer devices). I am starting to explore both of these options, but at this point I’m not sure how to create devices using electron’s my.elk solution as it is script based (need to look into this more as you can tell).

One thing I am quickly finding out about the Elk is it is NOTHING like programming an Ocelot. Not that there is anything wrong with this other than the fact that I am VERY efficient with CMax code and not at all familiar with Elk's 'rules'. I am finding this out the hard way especially when I try to use timers with various conditions (especially "embedded" timers). Hopefully this will be a short learning curve.

I don't plan on doing any IR for this home unless something radically changes.

I also don't plan on doing any whole house audio in the near future, though this may be a possibility in the distant future as his "play" money becomes replenished (it's financially tough building a new home and outfitting it)!

Another dilemma I WILL have in the very near future is what to do with video/security cameras. He will have two or three exterior cameras which will be wired back to the central closet.

I currently run a VERY old version of WebCamXP with a single "front door" camera at my home (using a single video grabber card in my HomeSeer computer), but I don't plan on using that because they have been very weird as to their "calling home" policies with their software. That plus the fact that the price tripled since I used it last.

I really don't know what to do, but I do know I would like to incorporate the same functionality as WebCamXP, especially when it comes to grabbing screen shots on motion detection. I love the way WebCamXP creates thumbnail images of these snapshots, making them easy to browse when trying to find past screen grabs.

I may consider Cinemar's webcam plugin, but I'm not sure they will have this nice "screen grab with thumbnail images" feature. I do know HomeSeer is out as far as a video interface due to horror stories I've read about on their forums.

Luckily he doesn't want to automate his lighting at this stage (again, money considerations). We did install deep junction boxes and made sure all of them had neutrals. We even had the electricians run "just" wires for a 220 volt (i.e. both phases) in a junction box near the breaker box for future installation of a phase coupler (just in case we decide to go with X-10).

Thank goodness I don't have to decide on a lighting automation system now as EVERY one of the newer solutions seems to have problems of one sort or the other (UPB, Z-Wave, and Insteon).

Well, I'll certainly let you know the ups and downs of installing this system so hopefully we can both learn some pros and cons of our decisions as we deploy them!

Thanks and regards :) ,

BSR
 

pkoslow

Active Member
noshali said:
I have the elk m1 and love it. I recently connected the RCS TR16 thermostat and it works great. I am lazy and did not want to run wires so my keypad and the tehrmostat are close to each other (same room different walls) so decided against the TR40 as if I needed text messages then I could use the elk keypad. I would have opted for tr40 if my thermostat was in a different room.

Do let me know if you have specific questions about using TR16 and would be glad to answer. I decided on the RCS because of the plugin for HS and also being able to use it with ELK. I now only use it with elk and works well as no PC is involved.

regards.
noshali,

Thanks for the feedback on the RCS thermostat. I have a real hard time getting past the dated styling of the TR16, and think my customers will too. The TR40 is better looking and may be an option.

I like the looks of the Aprilaire unit, but haven't researched it yet.

Paul
 

pkoslow

Active Member
BraveSirRobbin said:
One thing I probably will not do is use Cinemar's M1 Plugin. This is because I am already familiar with HomeSeer and would rather create custom scripting/scenarios via Visual Basic (which I am also familiar with). I also like the fact that I can integrate serial devices easier with HomeSeer via visual basic (scripting) than MLServer (for incorporating analog measurements in the future).

Another dilemma here is what interface should I use with HomeSeer and the Elk M1 Gold? I know there are two options, Electron's my.elk script and Mark's HomeSeer plugin. One thing I really need from this choice is the ability to create HomeSeer devices which will relate to the 40 elk zones, as well as devices which will represent the elk in various arming modes. I need this so I can communicate and control the elk via MainLobby (MLHSPlugin can easily show the state of HomeSeer devices). I am starting to explore both of these options, but at this point I’m not sure how to create devices using electron’s my.elk solution as it is script based (need to look into this more as you can tell).

One thing I am quickly finding out about the Elk is it is NOTHING like programming an Ocelot. Not that there is anything wrong with this other than the fact that I am VERY efficient with CMax code and not at all familiar with Elk's 'rules'. I am finding this out the hard way especially when I try to use timers with various conditions (especially "embedded" timers). Hopefully this will be a short learning curve.

I don't plan on doing any IR for this home unless something radically changes.

I also don't plan on doing any whole house audio in the near future, though this may be a possibility in the distant future as his "play" money becomes replenished (it's financially tough building a new home and outfitting it)!
BSR,

Appreciate the reply... maybe we can collaborate on this some going forward?

Like you, I don't currently do much in ML/MLServer. My ML Scenes are very simple and rely on "smarts" from HomeSeer for all the functionality. Unlike you, I never did much CMax programming in the Ocelot. My HomeSeer install was 100% reliable so I never dug into it... just used the device for I/O & IR connections to the HS server.

Programming for the Elk M1 looks like it will be a small learning curve (I haven't done much with it yet), but expect it will be easy to work with after spending a few more hours with it. I had hoped to move most of the logic into the M1, but many of the things I'm doing with HomeSeer appear to be difficult or impossible to do with the M1.

I need to start looking at Mark's HS plug-in, but would be interested for an update on it's developement. I remember reading that he was considering releasing the source code and was also soliciting for some help with the development. None of this is cause for concern for me, but would be nice to know what the furite holds?

I don't know much about Electron's script, but don't expect it will work for me. One of the things I need is real time status of inputs on the M1 to register mic gate status. These change by the settings, so I don't see how a script could keep up in this type of application. Electron - Please comment if you catch this post... I'll try to download the script and take a look at it this weekend.

I'm not doing much with IR (currently Ocelot), but will probably re-think this now too. The CAV6.6 has good IR distribution capability to all the rooms with keypads, and I'm wondering if I can use the CAV6.6 to output IR too? I may be able to learn codes and then trigger using the RS232?

It's raining today in sunny California, so hoping to spend some time looking at all this!

Cheers,
Paul
 

WayneW

Senior Member
pkoslow said:
I don't know much about Electron's script, but don't expect it will work for me. One of the things I need is real time status of inputs on the M1 to register mic gate status. These change by the settings, so I don't see how a script could keep up in this type of application. Electron - Please comment if you catch this post... I'll try to download the script and take a look at it this weekend.
The Elk broadcasts changes, you don't need for the script to poll. I just did a simple test with HS 1.7 using a jumper wire on an unused zone and the script logged multiple changes per second. I am using the Elk XEP and a virtual serial port for the script. But you will have to test for yourself if it is fast enough for your needs.
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
WayneW said:
pkoslow said:
I don't know much about Electron's script, but don't expect it will work for me. One of the things I need is real time status of inputs on the M1 to register mic gate status. These change by the settings, so I don't see how a script could keep up in this type of application. Electron - Please comment if you catch this post... I'll try to download the script and take a look at it this weekend.
The Elk broadcasts changes, you don't need for the script to poll. I just did a simple test with HS 1.7 using a jumper wire on an unused zone and the script logged multiple changes per second. I am using the Elk XEP and a virtual serial port for the script. But you will have to test for yourself if it is fast enough for your needs.
But how do you go about creating HomeSeer devices for each zone? This is needed using the MLHSPlugin with MainLobby.
 

WayneW

Senior Member
BraveSirRobbin said:
But how do you go about creating HomeSeer devices for each zone? This is needed using the MLHSPlugin with MainLobby.
Devices get created like all other devices, manually or automatically. I created some of mine with a brute force script, but additional one I created manually.

The my.elk.ini file lets you control the mapping for zones to the desired device name.
[my.elk.zones]
zone001=z1
zone002=z2
zone003=z3
This file also maps the outputs, temps, voltages, tasks, etc.
 
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