Why are you using a PC for HA ???


Active Member
penngray said:
Wonderware from Factory Suite is the product (with Python as the under belly stuff) and it is PC based.
Wonderware is cool stuff, we use it too. One of our applications that comes to mind is a double car rotary dumper that we have. Locomotive cars are flipped upside down, two at a time to dump coal into a hopper below them. 100 metric tons of coal plus the cars flipped as effortlessly as I flip hamburger patties on the grill... all without ever disconnecting from the rest of the train.


Active Member
I had thought of commenting more in this thread but will try not to add fuel to the fire..the thing that first set me off was the topic"Why are you using a PC for HA"? my reply of course is... Why the hell not!


Active Member
Just to throw more fuel to the fire. There actually Windows based hardware that does control the flight surfaces in airplanes. There is a "glass cockpit" for smaller GA aircraft (I can't remember the name right now) that uses W2K. Part of it is an autopilot that has servos the directly control the flight surfaces. Well to be correct it controls the trim tabs on the flight surfaces not the flight surfaces themselves.



Active Member
At the risk of prologing the thread, I consider the term "PC" to usually include Windows as part of the package. I suspect lots of other people do too. Anyway, as long a debate as the "what is a PC anyway?" question can cause, it wasn't what I want to get at. I percieve Windows itself to be the basic problem. It is because of Windows - and software written for Windows! - that PC's shouldn't be used for important HA functions.

I have yet to come across any decent windows-based HA software, at least any that doesn't exceed my pain threshold. I don't know why, but I'm guessing that the developers get distracted in trying to make it look cute or get the layouts right etc. The basic fundamentals always seem to be neglected somehow.

I've tried a bunch (and bought many), including HCA, HS, Powerhome, CQC, Houselinc Desktop, AHP, etc, etc. They all suck in one way or another, many in several ways at once. Or they miss critical functionality. Or they're a real pain in the butt to use once you get beyond trivial stuff. Or unstable. etc.

I use several "PC"'s for HA control, but not with windows. The hardware is chosen very carefully. Software even more so. I have grown to like no-moving-parts hardware, such as the mini-itx boards with no fans and booting from compact flash. Use a DC powered model with a 12V battery in the enclosure with it and a decent OS and you've got something that will outlast most of the rest of the gear in the house. With serial port controller in the PCI slot you've got more than enough options to add extra hardware. Don't expose it to the 'net and it'll run without hiccups for years.

My Insteon/UPB/X10/rain8net/w800rf32/etc controller is one of these. No display. No GUI. Custom software that does exactly what I need/want - nothing more, nothing less.

Even on "PC" hardware.

PS: a special thanks the the HCA folks for first starting me down this path!


Senior Member
The worlds largest industrial robots are controlled by windows. Including the one that is the new robot people ride. I actually Tivo'd a program that spoke of exactly those points. One of these days I will edit it and post some excerpts to this point.

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
I've tried a bunch (and bought many), including HCA, HS, Powerhome, CQC, Houselinc Desktop, AHP, etc, etc. They all suck in one way or another, many in several ways at once.

What did you find to suck about CQC? We can't un-suck it if we don't know what you think makes it suck.