Author Topic: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation  (Read 10780 times)

mcefan

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #45 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.

tschak909

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #46 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

mcefan

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #47 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?
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 07:04:28 am by mcefan »

jacac

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #48 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. 

mcefan

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #49 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?
 
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 04:37:09 am by mcefan »

Armor Gnome

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #50 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.
I made a wiki!  Click here to check out my system.

mcefan

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #51 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?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 03:41:49 pm by mcefan »

klovell

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #52 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.   

mcefan

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #53 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?

tschak909

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #54 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

klovell

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #55 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...". 


 

posde

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #56 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.

mcefan

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #57 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.
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.

klovell

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #58 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.

mcefan

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Re: Linux MCE beating as the heart of whole house automation
« Reply #59 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.