Which protocol for homebrewed Linux HA?


I'm starting on building a homebrew Linux HA controller, based on the TS-7400 from Technologic Systems. I'll be writing my own code, which seems to be a problem when it comes to using some HA systems.

It looks like Z-Wave requires one to buy their development kit for a few thousand dollars if one simply wants to learn how to talk to a serial-to-Z-Wave controller. I know that ControlThink has a ZWave SDK for under $100, but it's for Windows, and I think I'd have trouble getting it to work on a ARM-based Linux system.

Insteon also seems to require the purchase of a development kit, but theirs is only ~$200. That still seems a bit excessive to me.

There is plenty of info freely available for interfacing to X-10, but I don't really want to go there. I want something that will work.

I haven't looked very closely at UPB, every time I try I get scared off by the prices. I've at least seen that the UPB Powerline Interface Module seems to have a well documented interface. But I'm not sure I'm ready to pay $75+ per switch. By the time I buy all my hardware, I might as well have bought a developer's kit from Z-Wave!

One thing I have seen that looks usable is the EZBridge from SimpleHomeNet, which provides a documented interface to Insteon. But it costs as much as the Insteon Developer's Kit by the time you've bought the PLM that you need to use it. Plus I don't really need an Ethernet bridge, I just need a USB or serial controller that I can talk to. Does anyone know if the Insteon PLM will have documentation freely available?

I wish there was something similar to the EZBridge that worked for Z-Wave. Interface issues aside, I'm leaning a lot towards Z-Wave. I like Insteon's technology, but I've been reading the SmartHome forums since October (when I bought my house), and I'm not very encouraged by the lack of, well... movement. I'd feel a lot better buying Z-Wave at this point, but I'm without a way to talk to it.

Anyone have any ideas/advice?


Don't be fooled. The newer and better ZWave stuff costs just as much as the UPB stuff, and like you said - no need to buy the dev kit. You can get a UPB dev kit to get started at a reasonable price and there are often deals available on switches.

FYI, you can pick up the Vizia RF Serial gateway for simple RS232-to-Z-Wave capabilities, and you'll be able to do advanced IP- and RS232-based control with the new Wayne-Dalton Internet Gateway (which I'm guessing is what you've been looking for).


The Vizia RF serial gateway sounds really promising, but I'm having trouble finding any info about it at all. I can find it available for preorder from Automated outlet, but they don't seem to have any info other than that it's an " RS232 ASCII Interface". I can't find any mention of it on Levition's web site. There's info on other Vizia RF products, but not the serial gateway. I also found it on youautomateit.com, but also no details.

Similar situation on the Wayne-Dalton gateway, their website doesn't mention it at all that I can find. I found their HomeSettings stuff, and a mention of an X-10 to Z-Wave gateway, but nothing about an Internet gateway.

Do you know where I can find more info on either? Real technical info, not just marketing press releases?


Hi, Keith:

If you are willing to consider the Vizia RF serial gateway, I have another piece of vaporware that may be more suited:


The SDK supports Linux, and is $149 with the Zigbee dongle.

I think that you will find the ZigBee protocol much more open than ZWave, with all of the specifications published. But you won't find any switches, lights, thermostats, motion sensors or anything else that makes it useful yet. But hopefully this year.

Yeah, Zigbee looks nice, but I don't want to wait for it. I need to find something that is out now, or at least will be out in a month or two. After months of complaining about the time I've been spending on designing the circuit for a temp/humidity sensor with an LCD display for HVAC control, she has suddenly decided she wants automated lights in the back yard, and she wants them ASAP. I could just throw something together with X-10 this week, but I'd rather come up with something that will be more useful down the line. If the Vizia RF serial gateway is really coming out soon, I can probably wait for it, but I don't think I can wait for ZigBee products to reach the market.

I love the fact that Zigbee is an open standard, but it seems worse than Insteon in the "we'll have stuff on the market Real Soon Now" department.

Than again, I don't know when the Vizia RF thingy will be on th market either. the fact that their web page doesn't mention it isn't encouraging. :-/