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General => Users => Topic started by: mcefan on September 17, 2012, 08:35:58 am

Title: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 17, 2012, 08:35:58 am
After quite a bit of reading, I am resolving to posting in hope that I will get a resolution for Linux MCE beating as the heart of my whole house automation.

I am completely new to HA. I consider myself a bit of a "tech", and do not mind getting my hands dirty. I am currently in the process of whole house renovation and have decided on LMCE as the choice for automation.
The house is currently gutted out and all floors/walls are directly accessible for wiring/cabling. I have now reached the point where I need to make some decisions and purchase the necessary equipment to accomplish the following:


Since my the house is small, I am hoping to be able to fully automate it at a reasonable cost (I am on a budget, and need to complete the walls and everything else).

At this point, I need some help deciding on both protocols and equipment. I am trying to avoid making a costly mistake that I will not be able to recover from, since I will not have the finances to "correct" it. My funds are limited, and I need to do this right the first time. If I end up with things that don't work I'll pretty much be fried.

Please share your experience about what you have that works well, and advise me on what direction I should take.
(FYI, I live in the US.)
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: JaseP on September 17, 2012, 09:18:09 am
Get quality Ethernet wiring throughout the house as step one,... with that,... you have a basis for everything else,... Most appliance/lighting control is not X10 stuff any longer... it's z-wave, zigbee, etc. ... wireless stuff... Anything with regards to electrical wiring is just a matter of having well grounded, correctly polarized electrical service delivery.

Having Wifi coverage is a matter of strategic placement of wireless access points. Having Ethernet wiring throughout the house helps there...

Z-wave stuff can be added as needed, a few items at a time,... many units are cost effective, in the $45-$75 range (except locks, which are about $200+ a piece). I don't know about other wireless automation tech... But I'm guessing a similar story...

If you want inexpensive hardware, that's one thing,... but,... don't skimp on the infrastructure (Ethernet wiring) ... With walls open, you have an advantage most of us do not...
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: hari on September 17, 2012, 09:32:23 am
- lighting control

I'd recommend a cabled system like KNX over wireless solutions like Z-Wave

- whole house music

either get squeezeboxes for the zones where you don't have a LMCE MD or use soft squeeze on the core with an audio distribution system

- whole house A/V

done by the MDs

- temp control

KNX has nice temp controllers, for Z-Wave there are thermostats, too. There are also wifi powered thermostats available (and some of them supported currently via GSD)

- tts is built in
- voice recog is not yet supported
- proximity detection

works via bluetooth with mobile orbiters (either symbian or java phones). With some hacking you can also use active RFID tokens

- door locks

KNX has I/O moduls that can attach to any electromechanical door or opener. Z-Wave has bolts.

- alarm

make sure that you've some motion detectors in place, they can also be used for lighting in e.g. the hallway. Run cables to your windows for contact closure sensors.

- surveillance

get some good webcams like axis or mobotix (the cheap ones make shitty pictures in the dark)

- garden sprinkler

get a rain8net device (it is supported) and attach 24V AC valves to it (e.g. from Gardena)

- appliances control

?

- other stuff

don't forget smoke detectors. What about blinds/drapes?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 17, 2012, 02:34:56 pm
Not much to add to what hari said, except that KNX might be a bit hard to source in the US. BUT, it really is worth it. And if you do not go KNX atm, do yourself a favor, and run a cable ring through your house touching each place where you expect a sensor (thermostate, motion, button). If possible wire each light directly into a central switchboard, as well as the power outlets.

While you have all the walls open, it will "only" cost you the cable. But in the long run, it will allow you to easily switch to whatever architecture that might come along. Stuff like central off for every light and every power outlet is easily done doing this.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 17, 2012, 11:36:24 pm
Thank you all so much for your replies.
I've been waiting all day for replies to be emailed, but received nothing on my phone. I was expecting the forum software to send me notifications I requested, but I may be missing something. Please point me to the right setting.
update: I finally got 1 notification.

Get quality Ethernet wiring throughout the house as step one,...

If you want inexpensive hardware, that's one thing,... but,... don't skimp on the infrastructure (Ethernet wiring) ... With walls open, you have an advantage most of us do not...
That was my idea exactly. I'm glad to see that I'm in the right direction. I replaced and re-framed all the windows. In the process, I made provision for sensors and blinds: 1 run of cat 6, and one run of electric wire, with neutral and ground (at each window/door).


And if you do not go KNX atm, do yourself a favor, and run a cable ring through your house touching each place where you expect a sensor (thermostate, motion, button).
will do...

Most appliance/lighting control is not X10 stuff any longer... it's z-wave, zigbee, etc.
the only one I had done any serious reading about has been insteon, because it was advertized as the "next best thing" after x10 that was dying. But my reading revealed to me that it was riddled with problems, but they have mostly been fixed.  Most of the posts out there however are old, so, I don't know...
I'll take anything you can advise, as long as you're confident it's solid as of date, and works properly with LMCE.

... wireless stuff...
not really interrested in it. I'd rather wire. First all these wave HAVE to affect our health somehow, I can't prove it, but I know it's u-natural. There' enough of them in the air...
and cable is much more faster with no bottleneck. Wireless is still broadcast, so I'm nit sure how well it will work when people start streaming HD movies from each room...
I'd rather wire.


Anything with regards to electrical wiring is just a matter of having well grounded, correctly polarized electrical service delivery.
Glad to hear. Thank you.

Having Wifi coverage is a matter of strategic placement of wireless access points. Having Ethernet wiring throughout the house helps there...
One access point easily covers the house. I currently have 2 going.

Z-wave stuff can be added as needed
any online store suggestion?





- lighting control

I'd recommend a cabled system like KNX over wireless solutions like Z-Wave
Not much to add to what hari said, except that KNX might be a bit hard to source in the US. BUT, it really is worth it.
Just say the word!...
googling "KNX" was not very helpful here. Could you please give me a link?
I have a sister in england, and a cousin in france. I might be able to get the european stuff, as long as it works on 110.



- whole house music

either get squeezeboxes for the zones where you don't have a LMCE MD or use soft squeeze on the core with an audio distribution system
I'm currently running vortexbox. It does everything, but I don't yet know how it integrates with LMCE. I have a player, and a touch, can control it with my android phone, stream to my android phone, and I am fairly confident I can do the multi-zones with it. But it has to integrate with LMCE, and I have not gotten that far yet. My key thing is that I want LMCE at the heart of everything.
I tried reading on the audio distribution system stuff, and ended up drowning in the sea of ignorance.Any suggestions?
 

- whole house A/V

done by the MDs
I'll read more on it. Thank you.


- temp control

KNX has nice temp controllers, for Z-Wave there are thermostats, too.
Please post me some links.

- tts is built in
Yayyy!


- voice recog is not yet supported
Aaaargh!


- proximity detection

works via bluetooth with mobile orbiters (either symbian or java phones). With some hacking you can also use active RFID tokens
I use android. I guess it will have to be java?



- door locks

KNX has I/O moduls that can attach to any electromechanical door or opener. Z-Wave has bolts.
Please post links.


- alarm

make sure that you've some motion detectors in place, they can also be used for lighting in e.g. the hallway. Run cables to your windows for contact closure sensors.
I've done the cabling, but how do I interface them to the LMCE?


- surveillance

get some good webcams like axis or mobotix (the cheap ones make shitty pictures in the dark)
Any suggestions, or do I just pick one from the list on the wiki?


- garden sprinkler

get a rain8net device (it is supported) and attach 24V AC valves to it (e.g. from Gardena)
Thank you, I'm on it...


- appliances control

?
plugs ?...(what do I know?-I'm clueless-I just know it'll be nice to control them!)


- other stuff

don't forget smoke detectors. What about blinds/drapes?
Right on the detectors. I wired electric for those too. Which ones to use?
How about carbon detectors?

I have wired for blinds also, i just don't know where to buy the stuff, and what's the right stuff to buy, or what's the right price range.


If possible wire each light directly into a central switchboard, as well as the power outlets.
By code, the wires go to a breaker box. Are you referring to another location/box?
I actually thought of that, and I'm about to rewire because I don't like the work that was done, I'm going with heavier wires and shorter distances this week. I can reroute them.


While you have all the walls open, it will "only" cost you the cable. But in the long run, it will allow you to easily switch to whatever architecture that might come along. Stuff like central off for every light and every power outlet is easily done doing this.
What would I terminate the wires in?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: JaseP on September 18, 2012, 12:00:54 am
If you are looking for vendor links,...the two that come to mind are SmartHome & ASI Home. You can just do an internet search for either. SmartHome seems to have more available. ASI Home seems to have the occasional really good deal. I'm partial towards ASI Home because if I needed to, I could drive there on a Sat. afternoon... never needed to.

I prefer Z-wave. It's reasonably reliable in my opinion. Because of the mesh network it forms, the more stuff you have, the better it works. Obviously, it's wireless...

There's no lack of Z-wave door locks in the US, or lighting modules, or in-wall switches. But there are currently no Z-wave doorbells available in the US (only EU). Z-wave frequencies vary by the market location (US, EU & NZ).

Two things. Just remember that, with variac dimmer circuits, it means no non-dimmable CFLs and no ceiling fans on dimmers. If you want to control those, you need appliance module type modules. In-wall on/off switches (as opposed to dimmers) are more expensive. A motor on a variac can actually burn it out (the Mrs. did that to one of my dimmers). Also, don't skimp on Z-wave thermostats. You get what you pay for with those.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 18, 2012, 01:14:36 am
I've seen the SmartHome site before, but knew nothing about ASI.

I prefer Z-wave. It's reasonably reliable in my opinion. Because of the mesh network it forms, the more stuff you have, the better it works. Obviously, it's wireless...

is it only wireless?

Ouch! Just did some reading on it.

What's the wired solution?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: JaseP on September 18, 2012, 04:05:06 am
Not Z-wave...

You do realize that wireless signals are passing through your body constantly?! Radio, TV, Cell, Microwave, cosmic rays from the Big Bang, even?!

Z-wave isn't at the normal wifi frequncies by the way,... in the US it's a frequency close to baby monitors.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: hari on September 18, 2012, 10:01:48 am
I have good experience with Z-Wave, I'm using it for years and I did write the LinuxMCE implementation. If I were you, I'd prefer wires. Z-Wave is great for retrofitting, but when you have the walls open, get a wired solution.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 18, 2012, 12:17:00 pm
googling "KNX" was not very helpful here. Could you please give me a link?
I have a sister in england, and a cousin in france. I might be able to get the european stuff, as long as it works on 110.

There are two things: The sensors and the actors. Most (if not all) sensors run of the KNX voltage directly. However most actors (the things that actually do stuff like turning light on)  are voltage relevant, i.e. you can't get 110V stuff in Europe. There is a link in our wiki to a US company doing KNX stuff in the US. And hopefully one day http://lmcecompatible.com will not only carry Z-Wave stuff, but KNX stuff for the US as well.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 18, 2012, 01:38:32 pm
Not Z-wave...

You do realize that wireless signals are passing through your body constantly?! Radio, TV, Cell, Microwave, cosmic rays from the Big Bang, even?!

Z-wave isn't at the normal wifi frequncies by the way,... in the US it's a frequency close to baby monitors.
My kids are all near the end of school (college). I don't use baby monitors!  ;D
Naaah! Seriously, joke aside, if the walls are open, I think the safe thing is to run both 3 wires electric and multiple cat 6 everywhere as suggested earlier. But now that I have wires, I'd like to use them!
I realize we're bombarded all the time with waves. That's probably what makes people crazy and we have all these wars!
Then again, I may be wrong, it might actually make people smarter, but I have no proofs. All I know, it's unnatural, so if I can cut down a bit on some, I'd rather do that. That does not mean I will not use it. After all, I have a cell phone with me all the time, and I'm constantly surrounded with an average of 3 netbooks working wirelessly...


... you can't get 110V stuff in Europe. There is a link in our wiki to a US company doing KNX stuff in the US.
I don't know why, but I can't seem to find the link. Can you point me to the wiki page please?


I have good experience with Z-Wave, I'm using it for years and I did write the LinuxMCE implementation. If I were you, I'd prefer wires. Z-Wave is great for retrofitting, but when you have the walls open, get a wired solution.
What should I use instead?

I called SH last might, they seem to have a lot of stuff, and they sell that SYI controller thing. I'm not sure how it actually fits is the picture. Shouldn't I have the LMCE control everything directly? Or do I use a "controller" and then use the LMCE to control it in turn?

I'm not too sure about Insteon though. They keep saying they have sorted out the issues over the past 2 years, but I have no clue. What are my alternatives?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: l3mce on September 18, 2012, 01:54:39 pm
33cm/900mhz within the UHF band.

Same as many wireless phones, walkie talkies etc.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 18, 2012, 01:57:48 pm
Good to know! Thank you.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 18, 2012, 05:03:41 pm
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/EIB/KNX_Devices
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: acald on September 18, 2012, 05:55:18 pm
Echoing what several have said, enjoy the flexibility to wire the place 'til it looks like charlette's web.  And run extra.  The great thing about cat5/6 is you can get a balun to run just about anything over it.  A few things to keep in mind.

Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 18, 2012, 06:05:06 pm
I don't know how it is that I can't find these things, but thank you!

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/EIB/KNX_Devices

I did some reading, made some calls, waiting for return calls from element controls and others ...
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 18, 2012, 06:22:09 pm
Echoing what several have said, enjoy the flexibility to wire the place 'til it looks like charlette's web.  And run extra. 
Great suggestions! I will apply them all.

I have a couple of questions:
What do you mean by extra? Length, or extra runs?

  • New LED lighting is coming out that will allow lights to run using a standard POE switch and be controlled by it.  I would venture to run some cat5/6 to the light fixtures or at least nearby.
  • Run a neutral everywhere, many controllers need the ability to power themselves without trickling power through the device.  This includes at the light switches.  Instead of running the power to the fixture and then a switch leg to the switch, run the power to the switch and then up to the fixture. 
Would you have links to these lights?
During wiring, I labeled both ends, and homeruned to the switches. I kept the low voltage 16in away because of potential power surges. How should the cat wiring for lighting be done while keeping away from the fixture? I would like to reuse the same locations. I'm thinking of coming from the opposite direction with the cat, ending at the fixture, without terminating both ends. I can always disconnect the romex when needed, but how would you do it?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: hari on September 18, 2012, 07:05:01 pm
and if you're smart you're running your cabling for switches, lamps and appliances in a star originating from your closet. That way you can devices with multiple channels (cheaper) and easily replace them if some other system evolves over the next decades.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 18, 2012, 08:02:38 pm
and if you're smart you're running your cabling for switches, lamps and appliances in a star originating from your closet. That way you can devices with multiple channels (cheaper) and easily replace them if some other system evolves over the next decades.
actually, everything  homeruns to the breaker box now. I was actually thinking of doing exactly that, but I don't know how the HA equipment works, so I was not sure it was the right thing to do. I will reroute the electric then.

To make sure I get it right:
  • run homeruns to a ???? in the wiring closet
  • wire all switches from the ??? location
  • do the same with cat6

is that right?
All the KNX stuff I've seen so far here seems to not need the LMCE. It is advertised as "no computer needed", and pricey. What should I be looking for?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: tschak909 on September 19, 2012, 03:29:56 am
You are quite right, KNX is very autonomous. All home automation busses typically are, be they KNX, Z-Wave, X-10, PLCBUS, whatever.

This is for a lot of reasons, but really, all that is relevant here is that LinuxMCE merely acts as a sort of submissive slave. It will politely ask, through its computer interface to the bus to do certain things, "Turn on the bedroom light", "Set the air conditioner to 70 degrees F", and assuming things are kosher, the devices on the other end of the bus will comply, and do them. Similarly, if an event comes across the wire, say the thermostat says, "The room temperature is now 70 degrees." LinuxMCE can take this event and react to it somehow, however you wish.

KNX can take this to an extreme degree, and it's a good thing. It means, that if the computer goes boom, the sensors (in this case, the switch on the wall) you've mapped to the actors controlling the light, will still function.

All that LinuxMCE cares about, is its interface to the bus, and that it knows what is on the bus, so it can know where things are, what commands can be sent, and if an event comes across the wire, where it came from.

So yes, you don't NEED the computer, but the computer opens up additional possibilities, and as long as there is an interface to the bus, and LinuxMCE knows how to talk to it, LinuxMCE can be used to either send commands to it, or listen to events from it.

It also opens up the possibility to mix and match. If you have, say, Z-Wave, and KNX devices, you could attach computer interfaces to the LinuxMCE core (or media directors, it really doesn't matter, especially if the media directors stay on), and then issue commands from LinuxMCE and LinuxMCE will do the right thing. It makes LinuxMCE a sort of United Nations in the middle, and ultimately allows you to have a wider selection of choice.

-Thom
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 19, 2012, 06:06:24 am
All that LinuxMCE cares about, is its interface to the bus, and that it knows what is on the bus, so it can know where things are, what commands can be sent, and if an event comes across the wire, where it came from.

So yes, you don't NEED the computer, but the computer opens up additional possibilities, and as long as there is an interface to the bus, and LinuxMCE knows how to talk to it, LinuxMCE can be used to either send commands to it, or listen to events from it.

It also opens up the possibility to mix and match. If you have, say, Z-Wave, and KNX devices, you could attach computer interfaces to the LinuxMCE core (or media directors, it really doesn't matter, especially if the media directors stay on), and then issue commands from LinuxMCE and LinuxMCE will do the right thing. It makes LinuxMCE a sort of United Nations in the middle, and ultimately allows you to have a wider selection of choice.

-Thom

Thank you for making it plain for me Thom. Despite the reading, it was still a bit elusive (I think it's because the documentation focuses mainly on the technical aspects of things). You've made it clear: the LMCE core is essentially a command and control center for various HA technologies, each with their own merits and problems.
So, now I need to wisely choose devices.

Just out of curiosity, if the wire is used for signaling, how do the different protocols avoid conflicts?

Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: tschak909 on September 19, 2012, 06:15:14 am
Different busses each require their own wiring and signalling requirements. None of the busses can share the same physical topology, as they are each proprietary.

* X-10, PLCBUS, and INSTEON work over the existing power lines, Insteon does have a wireless bridge to overcome phase coupling problems, and some X-10 devices do transmit wirelessly (i.e. sensors)
* Z-Wave and ZigBee, work over wireless transmission
* KNX works over its own dedicated twisted pair signaling cable, although KNX does have options to work over power line, and over wireless (RF)

-Thom
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 19, 2012, 03:03:49 pm
Different busses each require their own wiring and signalling requirements. None of the busses can share the same physical topology, as they are each proprietary.
(... for obvious reasons: they'll talk over each other and no device will understand anything since no communication sent remains unchanged.
... and there is no arbitration...)

Whaoo!
Boy, this thread is quickly becoming a stickie for noobs (like me). I don't know if it's me, but I did not have as clear an understanding from my previous readings. This kind of stuff should be placed on top of the wiki. I will even volunteer to write, if someone will work with me.

That said, now I understand why I was asked to pull cat wire: with KNX, it's used for signalling, and it needs to reach wherever there is something to control. Which brings me to another conclusion: I need to use different color wires to distinguish the control bus to from the LAN that I am pulling.

Now my concern is crosstalk and power surges:
if a cat bus wire is pulled along side or parallel to the electric wires,

To avoid those problems, I need to keep the cat wires at least 16in away.
Good thing I'm replacing the breaker panel also! I'll purchase one with whole house surge protection, and I think there are breakers that come now with surge protection also, I'll use that on the KNX bus (if I can afford to go that route).

So, that's where my understanding gets me so far...

Which leads me to:
[/list]
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 19, 2012, 03:27:09 pm
I run my KNX wires directly alongside my 230V power cables, my CAT6 and CAT7 cabling, 3x 30m speaker wire, and the low voltage stuff from my 30kWh peak PV installation, without any problems.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 19, 2012, 04:07:32 pm
I run my KNX wires directly alongside my 230V power cables, my CAT6 and CAT7 cabling, 3x 30m speaker wire, and the low voltage stuff from my 30kWh peak PV installation, without any problems.
That won't meet code over here. The inspectors would fail that setup. They actually come and look at each wire, gages, routing and all...
It has to be kept 16in away.

What's "30kWh peak PV" used for?
Once you pull your bundle as you said, do you just continue to pull to the individual locations, or is there any kind of junction boxes used in the process.
Where do the cat wires terminate (switch/lights/plugs/junction...)?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: jacac on September 20, 2012, 07:54:33 pm
I did some reading, made some calls, waiting for return calls from element controls and others ...

Hey,

let me know if you get a reply form element controls. I've contacted them twice and never heard back.

-jacac
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 20, 2012, 07:59:04 pm
The KNX cable is specified to be put together with high voltage (230V) cabling.

We have a photo voltaic installation that has 30kWp. Around 50% of the power generated is used by us, the rest is send into the grid.

KNX cable can be intersected however you like. i.e. you can build a tree, or a single line, doesn't matter. I have a tree with lots of branches. As long as you do not produce a loop, everything is allowed.

In our situation we have multiple switches for the CAT cabling. Otherwise the cable runs would have been too long. I have a backbone which connects 5 switches throughout the home, plus a couple of local access points/switches in the office(s)
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 04:24:49 am
Hey,

let me know if you get a reply form element controls. I've contacted them twice and never heard back.

-jacac

I finally just spoke to the engineer @ element controls: very nice guys. I just kept calling every couple of hours until I finally got him. He immediately listened to my plans, asked me to send him some drawings by email, which I did, and we discussed the whole thing for over 30 mins. Outstanding service. He is going to give the drawing to the lighting guy tomorrow to size the loads, then they will call me and we'll work out the switches and all, so I can have a quote. Definitely more than anything I expected.
I don't know what the rules are on this forum for contacts, but I have his email. He says that he is easier to get via email because of all the meetings he has to attend. Apparently, they do a lot of on site customizations and installations and work with all the people involve in the building industry, especially on large project like hospitals and the like, where automation has to be serious, advanced and reliable.
I just hope the products are affordable for some home owners projects.

I'll keep you posted
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 04:35:30 am
KNX cable can be intersected however you like. i.e. you can build a tree, or a single line, doesn't matter. I have a tree with lots of branches. As long as you do not produce a loop, everything is allowed.

Are you referring to the TP used for signaling? I thought the power had to be homeruned to a central location?
I'll ask the engineer @ element controls what their requirements are tomorrow. They were already closed when I called (he still picked up my call an worked with me for an hour).

Please take a look @ the elements in the "smart box" and tell me what you think:  http://www.elementcontrols.com/smartbox/
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 04:47:29 am
- lighting control

I'd recommend a cabled system like KNX over wireless solutions like Z-Wave

Can you elaborate on why?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 04:52:50 am
Not much to add to what hari said, except that KNX might be a bit hard to source in the US. BUT, it really is worth it.

What makes it "worth it"?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 05:07:15 am
They asked me how I'm going to communicate with the KNX equipment. is it possible to use IP with LinuxMCE, or should I ask for a RS232 connection?
 
Do I need to plan for connections on the KNX system for door locks, drapes, blinds, sprinklers, etc?
... or is it only for lighting? (see hari's post (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php/topic,12865.msg92534.html#msg92534))

Also, the wiki states that "The Core also generally has the TV tuner card for the entire system". Is it possible to use the MD instead of cable boxes to watch different live tv shows at the MDs?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 21, 2012, 06:40:46 am
Are you referring to the TP used for signaling? I thought the power had to be homeruned to a central location?

The KNX/TP cable just needs to run throughout the whole house. But it is not needed to be star organized, like CAT cable for example. It is mainly a bus. The reason why people install it as an open ring has to do with fault tolerance. If it breaks someplace, the former purposefully kept open ring, can now be closed at that location where it was kept open, to circumvent the breakage happening elsewhere.

If you need more details, I suggest to read the KNX Basics in our wiki, as well as KNX handbook, which should be available from knx.org.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 08:19:32 am
If you need more details, I suggest to read the KNX Basics in our wiki, as well as KNX handbook, which should be available from knx.org.

I did (both), but I'm new to this (a few days), so I don't have the full picture yet. Getting there though...
Since KNX communication could happen over power lines, I wanted to make sure. The details you just provided (TP+ring) are valuable insight that I would not have come anywhere close to getting from my previous readings.
Now that that's clear to me, what about the electric cables themselves? The KNX stuff in the link I posted above requires a star configuration, but since I don't know what installers normally do, I though I'd ask instead of making mistakes. In my book, instruction beats correction any day!

Thank you for the clarifications!

About the ETS software: i get that it is used to program the bus (whatever that means). Is that a separate function from what software on the MCE provides (i.e. additional cost)?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 21, 2012, 12:40:45 pm
The power cables should be star wired, it is the KNX control cable that is ring/bus/tree layouted.

ETS is additional software that the KNX installer usually has to configure the KNX devices, and is outside of the LinuxMCE scope.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 05:59:24 pm
ETS is additional software that the KNX installer usually has to configure the KNX devices, and is outside of the LinuxMCE scope.

Since in my case, I am the one that will be doing the physical install, does that mean that I will need it to do the install or is it simply about assigning IDs and some other basic things that I can ask the supplier to pre-configure for me? And how often is it necessary, will I need it if "something" goes wrong (I don't know the frequency/likelyhood of that - mean time between failures)?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: tschak909 on September 21, 2012, 10:02:34 pm
You need ETS any time that you need to configure the KNX network. Keep in mind, LinuxMCE can't and won't change your KNX network topology. It is just utilizing it. Any time you need to make changes to your KNX network (adding, removing, or otherwise shuffling around devices and their relationships with the other devices in the KNX network), you will need ETS.

Good thing it is easily available. :)

-Thom
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 21, 2012, 10:49:22 pm
Keep in mind, LinuxMCE can't and won't change your KNX network topology. It is just utilizing it.
Good to know!

Good thing it is easily available. :)
Looking at KNX site, from my perspective, it looks like a $500 investment for a one time use just to program lights. That's not very appealing and adds to the cost of the project.

Any time you need to make changes to your KNX network (adding, removing, or otherwise shuffling around devices and their relationships with the other devices in the KNX network), you will need ETS.

Good thing it is easily available. :)
I don't know what "configure the network" means in this context, but I'm familiar with computer networks, so, I can easily understand addressing and protocol parameters. What's involved in the KNX programming and involved does it get? Is it a skill I can/need to pickup or will I get by by just having someone else do it (idea that I don't like - I don't like dependency)?

Since everything is star homed to the control center, and power is provided to the loads from there, can't adjustments simply be made from there by moving wires around?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: tschak909 on September 21, 2012, 11:44:06 pm
No, and that's the point. The devices themselves are programmed by ETS to have their topology characteristics. This way, you can re-map a push button sensor to turn on a completely different lamp, at any point (as one example). The sensors have no physical relationship to their actors.

-Thom
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 22, 2012, 12:14:44 am
The devices themselves are programmed by ETS to have their topology characteristics. This way, you can re-map a push button sensor to turn on a completely different lamp, at any point (as one example). The sensors have no physical relationship to their actors.
OK, I really misunderstood this!
So, the buttons are just signals that the responses are programmed with ETS.
Then what's being programmed?



On another note, I just received a quote for the recessed LED fixtures, nothing special, but, at an average $200 per light, I den up at $10,000 already without the controls yet. When I asked why, I was told that it;s because I asked for LED, and dimmable.
I think I will have to shop around for the lighting, this is too much for me. Where can I look at some dimmable recessed LED lights. I'd rather be careful before rather than after. I don't want to have flickering problems, communication issues and the like: what should I be looking / looking out for?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: jacac on September 22, 2012, 05:43:38 am
I just hope the products are affordable for some home owners projects.

Hope the same. Would really like to use KNX. Would be nice to know start package cost.

Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 22, 2012, 10:58:38 am
Dimmable is always $$$ - especially if you go with home automation gear and want good quality. Dimming LEDs is another thing that makes it more expensive.

I have in my house most of the lights as regular switched LED stripes. I got the LED stripe (on rolls) from eBay (search for SMD 5060 5m), and got the fixtures to put them into from klusdesign.eu, after a German company wanted 30EUR/m for the fixtures, and Klus wanted something like 8EUR/m

I also have some RGB LEDs. Those are switched on and off using KNX, but the color is not done via KNX but using DMX. DMX is around 10EUR per port for dimming.

Another option others are pursuing with regards to dimming LEDs is using DALI. DALI is an architecture specifically designed around controlling lights efficiently. There are KNX->DALI gateways available.

Regarding what's being programmed: The application itself is programmed into the device. i.e. the devices are fairly dumb out of the factory, and an application is loaded into them, as well as parameters what to do etc. - They are little computers, and just like the PC can't do anything without an application, the KNX appliances (actors and sensors) can't do anything without the application.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 23, 2012, 07:25:22 pm
Hope the same. Would really like to use KNX. Would be nice to know start package cost.

I will definitely post my findings. I'm researching the matter. I tried, but it was too late, but come tomorrow, I'll be calling all the competitors I recently found. I really like the guys at EC though, great team! I like the service. The only problem is that it seems to be a small size enterprise, and they're busy at times. Getting to them might not be straight forward, but I can tell you, they're really serious and they take good care of people, call back, and care. I did not expect that!

I will post my experiences as I progress. I indent to document things so this thread can be a reference for someone else that would like to start with LMCE, including, but not limited to KNX.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 23, 2012, 07:55:43 pm
Dimmable is always $$$ - especially if you go with home automation gear and want good quality. Dimming LEDs is another thing that makes it more expensive.
Well, when I was studying my load center, I came across this light in the electrical store for $53 (4in). It is dimmable to 20%. That's $150 less, but then again, I don't know the difference. Someone please enlighten me.

Quote
I have in my house most of the lights as regular switched LED stripes. I got the LED stripe (on rolls) from eBay (search for SMD 5060 5m), and got the fixtures to put them into from klusdesign.eu, after a German company wanted 30EUR/m for the fixtures, and Klus wanted something like 8EUR/m
WHAT!???? These small strips actually light up your WHOLE house?
Now, THAT sounds interesting. I'm looking into it right now...
I like all the options  you suggested, espacially since they don't come anywhere close to $10,000!


Quote
Regarding what's being programmed: The application itself is programmed into the device. i.e. the devices are fairly dumb out of the factory, and an application is loaded into them, as well as parameters what to do etc. - They are little computers, and just like the PC can't do anything without an application, the KNX appliances (actors and sensors) can't do anything without the application.
OK. So, is the application the same on all of them?


I'm off to do some research on all the above...
I will report soon..
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 24, 2012, 04:48:17 am
Taking my first baby steps. Here we go:

I finally got my system up and running. Last week, I could not get it installed. After failing a few times, I figured it was the medium I was using, and the methods I was trying. First, the DVD had a problem. It left with the past trash truck. Second, even though I downloaded another copy, I could not virtualize it to test. I will revisit that when I'm comfortable with everything and can make more educated decisions.

I ended up installing from a fresh DVD after re-downloading the 4th and final  time (10.04). I pulled a new server that I had laying around from a sale dell had a couple of years ago. It was too good to pass ($250). It's brand new. I just fired it up, and installed with no problem.

Once installed, the confusion started. I went back and read again, and it was a little better. I have to say though, it's a bit difficult to grasp the concepts from scratch because the "non geek" info is not "evident" on the wiki, and you really have to explore. If any of the admins read this report, please PM me so I can help create a few pages to help remediate this. I am working on this right now, so I might as well...

After I completed the install (which I went through jut to see what it's about), I started looking at some of what was involved during the install because there were too many questions I could not answer. I also wanted to have a look at how the system works, so I spent some time typing the hardware items one after the other in the search boxes of our local stores and was able to find out that the HD PVR and the Soundblaster Audigy were available, so I went to the store to get it.
After a long time searching for stuff that's listed and mostly outdated, I was glad to be able to find something, anything!
While at the store, I discovered that the zbox was a barebone computer, and even though I could not find the exact model I had on my list, I decided to chance it on a HD ID33BR that was on the shelf on clearance. To my great surprise, it worked from pxe. I did not even have to use a hard drive! That was a shocker.
Another surprise was that it's on the list (at least the ID33 is).
I just added a 1GB stick that I had laying around from one of my netbooks (they take up to 2GB but only come with one, and I have had to replace a few over the past 3 years).
During that setup, I realized that I needed input devices other than the ones I had. I went back to the store today (after the same long trial and error on the whole list) and picked up an Air mouse GO plus (came with keyboard - 100ft/32m range!). I also took the 2nd (probably the last one) zbox that was on the shelf. They cost me $330 and came with a $50 rebate = 270! I got lucky!

So, now I have a core with a SB audigy + blu-ray burner in it, a HD PVR, 2 zbox ID33BR MDs, and a Air mouse go plus.

I am SUPER exited!

Tomorrow, I'd see about picking up the alarm panel. I will need help with choosing it. I'll take the time to do the usual local search first, then I'll engage you to find out if I'm on the right track.
Now back to playing with that ...

I'll report as I go.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 25, 2012, 05:51:42 am
Well, turns out a friend of mine has a distributor license for security installation, so today I took a trip to the store, and they seem to have everything. They especially seemed to have a lot of those red boxes (I think it's Honeywell). They did not have the NX-8E in stock but thy can have it in the store from the warehouse in 24hrs. I'd like to purchase it since it's the one on the wiki (unless I can do the same thing with the content of the red boxes in a plug and play fashion). In order to pick the right package (the counter people did not seem to now much about the products - they just knew where to pull them from) I have a few questions:

* The Caddx NX-8E wiki page states: "--still trying to get the alarm panel to work so if anyone has LinuxMCE configuration help, please include it here.--"
Should I safely buy this panel?
* What is the difference between a zone and a partition (the manual was not clear)? How do you use them in your implementations?
* There are accessories such as a relay output (NX-506E) that go with these panels. Which accessories should I ask for?
* The GC100 on homeseer.com site that look different than the pictures on the wiki. Does anyone know is it's because it's an older model, or is it a totally different device? It's from the same mfr.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: tschak909 on September 25, 2012, 06:28:48 am
Security panels really are a messed up grey area…

From a purely technical standpoint, they are buggy, and full of security holes, when computer interfaces are attached to them (RS-232 is less of a security risk than the Ethernet interfaces), as an example, los93sol and I did a driver for the Honeywell/Ademco Vista 15/20, attached to a Vista ICM module. The Vista ICM module exposed an HTTP interface, and a CCP port which runs over UDP. The CCP port actively broadcast all sorts of useful information about the topology of the sensors it was connected to, and their status, using the subnet  broadcast address, anyone who wanted the information simply needed to bind to 192.168.80.255, and wait for the packets to roll in.

But this device is covered by most insurance companies.

There are a few other security panel drivers in LinuxMCE, but I did not write them, nor do I know how to configure them.

Basically, a security panel may have a concept of zones and partitions in order to separate out sensors to make it easier to program different security modes. When you use LinuxMCE's security panel in orbiter, it sets the security mode for the house as a whole, and the device drivers tend to be developed like this. With this said, the security plugin can be passed zones manually as part of scenarios that you manually create, but that's your responsibility.

The other extreme of this, is to simply attach sensors to GC-100's, or to a Z-Wave, or X-10, or PLCBUS, or KNX network, and to let LinuxMCE manage these sensors directly and react to them. This gives you the most flexibility, but it also means that your insurance company will not insure the security system.

-Thom
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 25, 2012, 06:57:04 am
The other extreme of this, is to simply attach sensors to GC-100's, or to a Z-Wave, or X-10, or PLCBUS, or KNX network, and to let LinuxMCE manage these sensors directly and react to them. This gives you the most flexibility, but it also means that your insurance company will not insure the security system.

-Thom

I don't really care about the insurance company. They don't live in the house.
I just took a policy today, and insured the contents of the house for a fixed amount. That's that.

I want to use wired magnetic sensors on windows and doors, smoke, glass, and motion sensors also. How can I "attach" them to the Gc100? If it is possible (for me :)), I will give it a try. How about capacity? Is it not limited (i.e. needs numerous gc100)?

So, what's your suggestion on the panels?

Security panels really are a messed up grey area…

From a purely technical standpoint, they are buggy, and full of security holes, when computer interfaces are attached to them (RS-232 is less of a security risk than the Ethernet interfaces)
How much of a security risk is it in a private home? I guess the concern would be that the wireless portion of the network is accessible.
If serial is used, shouldn't that solve the problem? How about when the serial is interfaced over IP?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: jacac on September 25, 2012, 09:13:53 pm
Recently I found http://lumencache.com . I'm not sure how well it can be integrated into LMCE but they claim to be 10% of cost of standard dimmable LEDs. I was not trying to get a quote... Lately crazy busy on building my beautiful home and I have couple of months before I start looking into all of that. 
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 26, 2012, 04:33:58 am
Recently I found http://lumencache.com ....
I was not trying to get a quote... Lately crazy busy on building my beautiful home and I have couple of months before I start looking into all of that.  
I called but could not get an answer. I will keep trying to check the claims. I will post my findings.



Security panels really are a messed up grey area…
...
-Thom
What do you suggest?
I would like to order something to start integrating so I can cross the bridge.

Should I order the GC100 anyway (it seems to be needed regardless of the brand chosen).

On the other hand, my house is small: 3 outside doors and 12 windows.
The other extreme of this, is to simply attach sensors to GC-100's, or to a Z-Wave, or X-10, or PLCBUS, or KNX network, and to let LinuxMCE manage these sensors directly and react to them. This gives you the most flexibility, but it also means that your insurance company will not insure the security system.
This would essentially get the job done. Besides the issue of the LMCE being down for repairs (which can be averted by a backup system being at hand), I am not seeing any particular advantage to getting a separate panel.
Am I missing something?
 
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: Armor Gnome on September 26, 2012, 12:19:43 pm
Well, turns out a friend of mine has a distributor license for security installation, so today I took a trip to the store, and they seem to have everything. They especially seemed to have a lot of those red boxes (I think it's Honeywell)

Good friend to have. =)  If you are interested in sharing such a resource I also know a few people in various hardware fields that often have access to volume on misc hardware.  If your friend is interested in letting go of some older units (supported or not) please PM me.

[/quote]
* The GC100 on homeseer.com site that look different than the pictures on the wiki. Does anyone know is it's because it's an older model, or is it a totally different device? It's from the same mfr.
[/quote]

This one had me slightly confused for a little while as well.  To this day I often wonder if the support/setup article I am reading applies to all units or is specific to one of Global Cache's models.  Here is what I know:

GC-100-6 (small unit)  one serial port, 3 IR/sensor ports -- I do not think it has any relays
GC-100-12 (longer unit) two serial ports, 6 IR/sensor ports, 3 screw terminal relays
GC-100-18 -- ?? -- I am pretty sure this is identical to the -12 but is cosmetically ready to be rackmounted

Global Cache - iTach and other "new" devices.  It seems to be the trend of Global Cache to move from multiple device capable units such as the GC-100 to smaller single function devices.  I do not know of any support for the iTach series of products in LMCE yet.  Great company to deal with btw, and their website lists dealers by state so you might be able to find a source closer and cheaper than homeseer.

-From personal experience... inquire about firmware version before getting a GC-100-#!  I missed this friendly warning and now have to either modify detection scripts or mail my unit to the mfgr.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 26, 2012, 03:34:38 pm
-From personal experience... inquire about firmware version before getting a GC-100-#!  I missed this friendly warning and now have to either modify detection scripts or mail my unit to the mfgr.
What's the story here?
Are you referring to the firmware version 3.0 update that makes it plug and play?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: klovell on September 26, 2012, 06:39:54 pm
Well, turns out a friend of mine has a distributor license for security installation, so today I took a trip to the store, and they seem to have everything. They especially seemed to have a lot of those red boxes (I think it's Honeywell). They did not have the NX-8E in stock but thy can have it in the store from the warehouse in 24hrs. I'd like to purchase it since it's the one on the wiki (unless I can do the same thing with the content of the red boxes in a plug and play fashion). In order to pick the right package (the counter people did not seem to now much about the products - they just knew where to pull them from) I have a few questions:

* The Caddx NX-8E wiki page states: "--still trying to get the alarm panel to work so if anyone has LinuxMCE configuration help, please include it here.--"
Should I safely buy this panel?
* What is the difference between a zone and a partition (the manual was not clear)? How do you use them in your implementations?
* There are accessories such as a relay output (NX-506E) that go with these panels. Which accessories should I ask for?
* The GC100 on homeseer.com site that look different than the pictures on the wiki. Does anyone know is it's because it's an older model, or is it a totally different device? It's from the same mfr.

I was explicitly told I could get the Caddx NX-8E as it will integrate right in...It did not!  Fortunately that is a bad ass panel with tons of options so I've been using it as a stand alone with central monitoring but it would be nice to one day be able to control it from an orbiter.  If you want plug and play skip the Caddx.

To answer your other question about if a panel is even needed, I think it's 200% needed.  I personally wouldn't do the GC100 thing, I would use MCE (in my case Dianemo) as a supplement to the panel.  Have the Panel talk to the monitoring station the way it was intended and MCE provide additional information to you or automation as desired.  Buy spare sensors and keep extra batteries on hand if you go wireless, heck I even bought a spare keypad.  I think most people grossly discount security.  CO, fire, and most criminals do not discriminate.  I don't understand how someone could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, euros, yen.. what ever on a house and not protect it properly.   
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 26, 2012, 07:46:13 pm
I was explicitly told I could get the Caddx NX-8E as it will integrate right in...It did not! 
Well, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'm glad you did!
I don't know if it is something you did wrong or if it's the instructions that were the problem. Can you elaborate on the steps you took?

On the other hand, I'm sure people are actually running this (it's listed as compatible). Anyone care to give us simple instructions we can actually follow and make it work?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: tschak909 on September 26, 2012, 07:53:59 pm
I have said this over and over again. If you want proper integration with LinuxMCE, you'll need to write a driver. I can't write one, because I don't have the hardware. If you want support for this Caddx panel, write a driver.

-Thom
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: klovell on September 26, 2012, 08:24:18 pm
Well, thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'm glad you did!
I don't know if it is something you did wrong or if it's the instructions that were the problem. Can you elaborate on the steps you took?

On the other hand, I'm sure people are actually running this (it's listed as compatible). Anyone care to give us simple instructions we can actually follow and make it work?


It is listed as compatible and there is a template for it.  Lmce or Dianemo just doesn't seem to want to communicate with it.  There are no logs (that I can see) so it's very difficult for someone like myself to trouble shoot.

As far as the steps I took, I literally followed the instructions in the wiki verbatim.  When that failed I went on a google rampage and found additional setting not in the wiki that needs to be configured in the panel itself.  I also found a cool little windows utility to connect to the panel.  When the new panel setting failed to start communications between the panel and Lmce/Dianemo, I installed the windows utility on my laptop and was actually able to control the panel from windows.  That pretty much confirmed it for me that it wasn't the panel or it's settings.  I reached out for help but never got any.  My assumption to why it's listed as compatible is because the panel has a standard serial port, the protocol sheet is widely available, and it'll talk to anything plugged into the serial port.  Like I said, I was specifically told this one will work so I didn't bother to research it (shame on me), but after the fact I did some forum searches and I found that no one actually claimed to have this panel working, then I saw in the wiki "still trying to get this working...". 


 
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 26, 2012, 08:32:36 pm
klovell,

according to jamo the Caddx NX-8E is working. He marked the wiki article as working in 1004. You might want to open a new thread detailing what your problems are, and maybe jamo can help you get things sorted out.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 26, 2012, 08:35:54 pm
... you'll need to write a driver. I can't write one, because I don't have the hardware.
Then let's do the fundraising thingy! Can you get one where you are? How much?

... you'll need to write a driver... If you want support for this Caddx panel, write a driver.
Well, I can't write it, I'm not a coder: I have no clue. Plus, I'm new to LMCe, still reading and trying to sort out the basics. I just love the idea of using linux to do all these things because it rocks! I've deployed some linux systems over the years that still outperform their competition for not even a fraction of the cost. I'm sold out.
That said, no one  has written one we can use?

On another note, this is a community: if all it takes is buying the toys for those who can in order to get the systems functional, what don't we just do that? There is power in number, all we have to do is what we can, and it's going to be done. Could we have a "next project" page on this site where the people that are interested can contribute like the Funding Drive: ZWave Door Locks:  http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php/topic,12866.30.html (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php/topic,12866.30.html).
If the funding requests are made visible and notification is sent to all members, I'm sure it ill work out. That's the whole principle behind kickstarter and the LIFX that someone else posted about: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/limemouse/lifx-the-light-bulb-reinvented?ref=category. all they wanted was $100,000 and they're at $1,312,236 with 2 months left to go.
Granted this might be a smaller community, but it is still a community and people are willing.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: klovell on September 26, 2012, 08:39:29 pm
I have said this over and over again. If you want proper integration with LinuxMCE, you'll need to write a driver. I can't write one, because I don't have the hardware. If you want support for this Caddx panel, write a driver.

-Thom

There is already a template for it but it doesn't work.  Are you saying there are templates in the database with no drivers?  Why the heck are templates allowed into the production database that everyone gets if all associated pieces have not been implemented?  If that's the case they should at least carry some kind of description so people know they're not fully implemented.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 26, 2012, 08:40:18 pm
You might want to open a new thread detailing what your problems are, and maybe jamo can help you get things sorted out.
Please post a link here if/when you do.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 26, 2012, 08:43:11 pm
There is already a template for it but it doesn't work.  Are you saying there are templates in the database with no drivers?  Why the heck are templates allowed into the production database that everyone gets if all associated pieces have not been implemented?  If that's the case they should at least carry some kind of description so people know they're not fully implemented.


There is no such thing as a production database. Again: People have marked the device as working. If it does not work for you, go and open a new thread detailing your problem.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: klovell on September 26, 2012, 08:47:06 pm
klovell,

according to jamo the Caddx NX-8E is working. He marked the wiki article as working in 1004. You might want to open a new thread detailing what your problems are, and maybe jamo can help you get things sorted out.

I'm going to have to do that.  This is the only part left to the system of my dreams that either isn't working or I don't have a work around for.  As soon as I get free time. 
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 26, 2012, 10:24:56 pm
OK, good! So the NX-8E is still on the table.
Please post a link here so we can follow along (for completeness and future reference), just in case someone else bumps into the same thing.



I'm currently working on getting the TV going viewing going so I can decide on a strategy. As mentioned before, I purchased the HD-PVR as recommended on the wiki (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Capture_Cards#ATSC.2FNTSC_Cards_.28only_in_US.2FCanada_.29_MythTV) because it is the one with the best picture/sound. 
Now I need to tap into the TV signal. Seeing that the HD-PVR only has component video YCrCb connection, I'm a bit puzzled. I'd like to return the set top box to the cable provider and plug the signal in my MCE. That means that I will need to get a cable card. Should I keep the STB I currently have (which I don't want to do) or is there a compatible cablecard that will give me component video YCrCb?

On the other hand, is MythTV compatible equipment compatible with LMCE? I could change the way I get the media in.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: jamo on September 27, 2012, 03:33:52 pm
klovell,
according to jamo the Caddx NX-8E is working. He marked the wiki article as working in 1004. You might want to open a new thread detailing what your problems are, and maybe jamo can help you get things sorted out.

If that's me, I'm sorry to mislead you. I've never heard of the Caddex NX-8E in my life. I can only assume that I've cocked-up the wikis on my hardware pages somewhere s.t. when I updated one of them to working, it updated this one as well.

If it is my mistake, I apologise profusely. :'(
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: hari on September 27, 2012, 03:39:24 pm
If there is a spec available and I get remote access via SSH to a system where it is hooked up to the serial, and a slave to press buttons on request, I can write a proper C++ device for it.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 27, 2012, 07:49:28 pm
If there is a spec available
What spec?

Quote
and I get remote access via SSH to a system where it is hooked up to the serial, and a slave to press buttons on request, I can write a proper C++ device for it.
I can setup facilities for you to have a go at it. I have enough hardware laying around, and I can dedicate an IP to that setup. If needs be, I can hook up any of the equipment I have (or am planning to use). I'm just setting up anyway, nothing is final yet.
By the way, my offer to help in funding still stands. I missed the previous one.

Quote
and a slave to press buttons on request
do you mean someone needs to be on location as needed?
I'm willing to do that, but that means I have to NOT set it up in the rack at my office like I plan to, but rather set it up at home where I spend most of my time (telecommuting).



I have to say that I appreciate all the help I have received so far. This is truly a great and willing community: this thread is a proof.
I have a plea: could I at least have access to 1 (one) only one page on the wiki where I can write notes for noobs? [just for clarification, by noob I mean someone just coming to the system for the first time, I do not necessarily mean completely ignorant - resourceful people can be interested without having weeks to spend on it]. I spent the whole morning reading around on the wiki and find things a bit all over the place.
This is a project that need more support and I'm sure people are interested, but it's not easy to start. With all the reading I've been doing, I still consider myself a bit lost. I find great nuggets of info here and there, and I'd like to bring it together in a friendly usable form (links mostly) that can help people just walk through and not ask the stupid questions I am asking. I would not have to if the answer was obvious, but I have not been able to find it easily, and it's not because I did not make the effort to read (I took a week off just to familiarize myself with he subject - I'm sure a lot of people can not afford that). This should help people sort themselves out and free some time for the admins/moderators.
So, can I please, please, pleeeease have a page?
I am willing to maintain and keep improving the page.
(alternatively, I can start a separate thread for noobs that can be used as a reference, but a wiki page is the most appropriate - it can be edited)
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: buckle on September 27, 2012, 08:07:17 pm
What spec?
The protocol information for the NX-8E.  Like this: https://www.drivehq.com/folder/p9084843/049711833.aspx (https://www.drivehq.com/folder/p9084843/049711833.aspx)

So, can I please, please, pleeeease have a page?
I don't think you really need permission to create this.  Just log in and do it.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 27, 2012, 08:28:39 pm
I don't think you really need permission to create this.  Just log in and do it.
I could not get the create account button, and the pages are not editable.
The option to create an account on the login page is disabled, and there no instruction on what to do to contribute to the documentation.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: klovell on September 28, 2012, 04:08:52 am
If there is a spec available and I get remote access via SSH to a system where it is hooked up to the serial, and a slave to press buttons on request, I can write a proper C++ device for it.

I'm currently using Dianemo.  How would that work?  Would you be able to use it for Lmce also?

Also, I swapped out my panel because my house is currently staged for sale.  The Caddx is at a storage facility about an hour away.  I should be heading in that direction this weekend, if I don't it'll be next weekend.  I have to grab a few things and I've been putting it on the back burner.  I'll grab the panel, a keypad and a couple sensors and set it up on my work bench.  I'll PM you once it's connected.  I'll even paypal you once it's all working properly.   
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: Armor Gnome on September 28, 2012, 08:32:44 am
The wiki account creation uses the same login information as the forums.  It is not a very intuitive process and there is a discussion on the wiki boards to improve it. 

Wiki Login Page (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php?title=Special:UserLogin&returnto=Main_Page)

I had some issues creating my wiki login but I attributed that to creating my account 4 years ago and never signing into the wiki.  It's a pretty heavily bot spammed wiki so please understand the account creation seems difficult partially as necessary measures to clean up all the trash pages.  When creating my user page I ended up having to register a new forum name (armorgnome2) and using that login information to create my wiki login.

Instructions on creating a user page (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Add_a_page_to_the_wiki)

I found the above link very helpful in making my page searchable and conforming to standard categories.  I also stole ideas and page layout from other users by copying their page information (click edit to see their wiki html, be very careful not to save or change) and then use that code format for your own.

Quote
I have to say that I appreciate all the help I have received so far. This is truly a great and willing community: this thread is a proof.

I agree completely, and have found that those willing to help themselves get the support they need.  Users wiling to help others and test/develop/design are even more-so rewarded with assistance to any issue you come across.  I admire your willingness so soon in your LMCE experience to do a full-blown installation and add support where existing templates do not cover your needs.  I don't think I have added much to this thread as I have been busy with other projects, it is nice to have you aboard! 
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 28, 2012, 02:24:06 pm
The wiki account creation uses the same login information as the forums.  It is not a very intuitive process and there is a discussion on the wiki boards to improve it.  
Great! (I kinda sorta thought it might, but I did not bother trying because it looked completely closed - I'll do something about that)

I started by adding a help page for documentation so that people understand how to manipulate the pages on the wiki.
it would be nice to have a few extensions installed (like section transclusion, table of contents ...)

Quote
I agree completely, and have found that those willing to help themselves get the support they need.  Users wiling to help others and test/develop/design are even more-so rewarded with assistance to any issue you come across.  I admire your willingness so soon in your LMCE experience to do a full-blown installation and add support where existing templates do not cover your needs.  I don't think I have added much to this thread as I have been busy with other projects, it is nice to have you aboard!  
Man, if you only knew how excited I am to play with this!
The pleasure is all mine.



I started editing the "Editing" page (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Help:Editing) page, then realized that it was better to start from scratch, so I added an "advanced" section and linked a new page there.

I'm having problems with some reference links. Could someone lift up the restrictions on my account a bit? I'd like to clean this wiki up a little. Some extension that enables transclusion would be helpful in creating new pages that are mix of existing ones (I can help in installing if necessary).
Also, a link to a "contribute" page right above the "Donations" link in the navigation would help get people started on the documentation. I can take it from there, even if the page is blank.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: hari on September 28, 2012, 07:36:42 pm
I'm currently using Dianemo.  How would that work?  Would you be able to use it for Lmce also?

Also, I swapped out my panel because my house is currently staged for sale.  The Caddx is at a storage facility about an hour away.  I should be heading in that direction this weekend, if I don't it'll be next weekend.  I have to grab a few things and I've been putting it on the back burner.  I'll grab the panel, a keypad and a couple sensors and set it up on my work bench.  I'll PM you once it's connected.  I'll even paypal you once it's all working properly.   
you don't need to pay anything, I want this panel working. Of course you can always send me a device for testing :-)
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on September 29, 2012, 05:41:16 am
OK!
Day 1: I started working on the documentation today (10 hours). I was able to start putting some order in the process of breaking ground into LMCE from scratch.
I added four new pages that will help in the documentation process:

        1. Where do I start?
        Contributing to LMCE
        Help:Editing advanced
        Help:Article categories
They are all on my user page here (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Mcefan).
For the time being, I am using it as a scrap page to keep my thoughts organized. I linked to the pages I created so I can easily start from somewhere without having to look around. Any suggestion for improvement is welcomed.

... someone please pull the restriction back a bit so I can edit around. There's a lot of cleanup to do, and I'm having difficulties doing so because it is not accepting even the pages that are currently there. When I make simple edits, it tells me it's unsafe, I even tried saving the page itself without making any edit and received the same message...



I received the final quote from Element Controls today. Nice guys...
But the price!
I'm sure the technology has something to do with it, but I'd like to know:
they quoted me another $6,500 for the lighting controls, does that seem right for a 2,00 sq ft 3 stories home?
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on September 29, 2012, 02:39:38 pm
[..]I received the final quote from Element Controls today. Nice guys...
But the price!
I'm sure the technology has something to do with it, but I'd like to know:
they quoted me another $6,500 for the lighting controls, does that seem right for a 2,00 sq ft 3 stories home?

The price always depends on the number of lights and what you want controlled. Feel free to forward the quote to me, and I shall take a look.

EDIT: I just checked my pricing: The list price for my installation was around 38EUR/light, plus around 450EUR for one-of equipment, like gateway and PSU. Doing a bit of shopping around, it is easy to get price down to ~25EUR/light, and around 250EUR for one-of equpment.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on October 01, 2012, 05:57:48 pm
Feel free to forward the quote to me, and I shall take a look.
Thank you for your help.
Here is the quote:

No      Unit         MATERIAL                                                       EPG Price            
            1ST FLOOR                                                                     
      29      LITON LHLD615C70-DHL (LED RECSSED HOUSING)               
      29      LITON LRLD621W (LED RECESSED TRIM)                                                   
      4      LITON LPE330-48"-BLUE (PENDANT LIGHT FOR ISLAND IN KITCHEN)                                                                     
                                                                                 
            2ND FLOOR                                                                     
      20      LITON LHLD615C70-DHL (LED RECESSED HOUSING)                                                                     
      20      LITON LRLD621W (LED RECESSED TRIM)                                                                     
      1      LOT PRICE FOR LIGHT FIXTURES                           $9,547.52             $9,547.52
                                                                                 
      1      LOT PRICE FOR LIGHTING CONTROLS                         $6,500.00             $6,500.00
            CONSISTING OF THE FOLLOWING:                                                                     
            8 KEY PADS                                                                     
            18 CIRCUIT 0-10V DIMMING CAPABILITY                                                                     
            IP INTERFACE 9COMPATIBLE TO CONNECT TO PC                                                      TOTAL   $16,047.52             $16,047.52
            AND FACTORY START UP FEE                                                                      
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: posde on October 01, 2012, 06:01:32 pm
afaict, those are just regular LED lights. Nothing KNX specific. Please verify with them what kind of key pads, what kind of dimmer and what kind of IP interface they offer. To me, this does not look like a KNX install.
Title: Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
Post by: mcefan on October 01, 2012, 06:30:02 pm
The above is all they sent me, and I can't afford the cost. Unless there is any value in getting the info, I think I'd rather move on.
You seem to know what's needed, please point me in the right direction so I can do it at a lower cost.

Is it possible for me to use the suppliers you mentioned? Do they carry US compatible equipment?

EDIT: I just checked my pricing: The list price for my installation was around 38EUR/light, plus around 450EUR for one-of equipment, like gateway and PSU. Doing a bit of shopping around, it is easy to get price down to ~25EUR/light, and around 250EUR for one-of equipment.

Where did you source this?



- whole house music

either get squeezeboxes for the zones where you don't have a LMCE MD or use soft squeeze on the core with an audio distribution system

Can I sync the payers when playing music on multiple MDs while keeping the ability to play different tunes when the situation changes? (in other words, are the players independent by syncable on demand?)



  • Dedicated power circuit for the wiring closet with your equipment.Run the light fixture in the closet off of a separate circuit. (In case you have to do power work in there, you still have light to work by)

Does the dedicated circuit for the equipment, or both need to carry the load of the lights in the case of KNX?



I run my KNX wires directly alongside my 230V power cables, my CAT6 and CAT7 cabling, 3x 30m speaker wire, and the low voltage stuff from my 30kWh peak PV installation, without any problems.
What gage / type of wire ate the KNX wires?
The KNX cable is specified to be put together with high voltage (230V) cabling.
Does this mean they are regular electric wires? (control cables)