Author Topic: Do i go X10 or Z-Wave 240V - Security & Automation  (Read 2351 times)


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Do i go X10 or Z-Wave 240V - Security & Automation
« on: August 09, 2008, 09:21:46 am »
Greetings to the wonderful LMCE Community,

I believe I'm now ready to beef-up my LMCE installation.  current I have a hybrid which works well, though i'm still to get my STB and TV working properly (only got a USBUIRT and IR blasting seems to not work with RC2)

Anyway, I'd like to get my home automation going, starting with Lighting, Climate, and Security - Motion Sensors and Cameras.  I looked at the Fiire online store and they can provide Z-Wave USB dongles, e.g. the "Smart Products Z-Wave RS-232/USB Interface", the Plug-in appliance modules and the Light Dimmers (wall-mount), I'm sure that should work for the my lights and climate control (i'm sure i can connect the air-con into the z-wave appliance module)  for the security side i hadn't found Z-Wave motion sensors yet.   Any Ideas as to what i need for a basic alarm system functionality - I would also optionally like contact sensors for windows and doors.  Atleast for Camera, i've seen people using various IP Camera's, am sure X10 Camera's would do too..

I needed some recommendations as to what would be cost effective and most compatible with LMCE,

thank you,



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Re: Do i go X10 or Z-Wave 240V - Security & Automation
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2008, 07:27:15 pm »
My thoughts on this:

1. What are you trying to control? If its simply plugin stuff, then Zwave or Insteon are the way to go. They provide bi-directional functionality which is a really nice feature and allows for more complex events as it can tell the status of devices where as x10 does not. If its actually wall switches, then you may want to check on what you have as far as wiring inside the walls. this is pretty simple as all you need to do is shutoff power (to the switch at the breaker, not just turn the switch off) and pull it out gently to see whats in the box. If this isnt somewhere you want to go, then its time to call an electrician. If you have the wiring, then it can be a snap. If you dont have the proper wiring, it can be a headache. So you might want to experiment with plugin modules, or use a combination of both.

2. As far as cameras, i have had an easier go with ip cams than analog ones. Simply put, i havent figured out how to tell motion to use the capture card that the camera is plugged into. Something about an mpeg2 stream...etc etc. go with an ip cam :)

3.Contact sensors for doors and windows. Currently the x10 door and window sensors are being worked on to function with lmce. The motion sensors currently work well and i have a security light with an integrated camera that works pretty good as well.

4. The Gc-100 also makes an attractive option for security as it allows for you to connect 1 wire security devices such and use those as well. Why is this so short? because the gc100 options are pretty expansive and i couldnt go into all of them off the top of my head.

This is a really basic outline, but i hope it gives you an idea of where you want to go. I would google up and to get an idea of whats available to you and start planning it out.
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Re: Do i go X10 or Z-Wave 240V - Security & Automation
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2008, 07:54:02 pm »
Hello, samuelmukoti.

as for your USBUIRT problem, you need to attach a Xantech 286 double emitter to the back of the UIRT, affixing each end to the appropriate A/V gear. this will solve your current problem in that area.

As for home automation, there are a wide array of possibilities, and they all can be mixed and matched, providing that you have the proper interfaces for them attached somewhere in the house. is a wonderful place to get the vast majority of smart home pieces, I use this place 90% of the time.

With that said, Z-Wave is one of the discoverable interfaces supported. You may want to talk to hari, to see which devices are currently supported, I have one of the earlier interfaces (ZCU000), which I will upgrade to a newer interface once the new ZWave code is done.

INSTEON is another great option, it is in the latest checkins of the sqlcvs database, and provides wonderful options for north american users. INSTEON is also a good option if you have existing X-10 installations that need to be migrated because INSTEON can send commands to X-10 devices (however, since X-10 is primarily unidirectional, its usefulness is greatly limited.)

This implies that INSTEON and Z-Wave (with the new driver) is bi-directional. What does this mean? Basically, with bi-directional systems, if you flip a switch, or use a controller to change a light, then it will be noticed by the system and the floorplan will adjust accordingly.

Now, there is another great interface that most people don't have, but should, is the GC-100. This interface is also at SmartHome, and it may be off-putting initially at the price (starts at $299), but it provides a power house of automation features:

* two RS-232 ports which can be used for any serial controllable devices
* Infra-red control, like the USB UIRT
* anywhere from 3 to 6 sensor ports dealing with everything from infra-red, to temperature, to contact closure sensors, to even video signal sensors (which open when video signals are present)
* the bigger models have three relay closures, allowing you to control everything from sprinkler valves, to electric door strikes, anything that can be tripped by a relay.

and all of this, accessible from anywhere you can run an ethernet cable. Cool huh?

so, as you can see, the value of the device goes up, as more devices are controllable in a given area.

some examples for the GC-100:

* connect a sensor port to magnetic contacts attached to a door, to see if the door is open or closed

* connect a temperature port to a room, to get temperature readings you can read on the floorplan

* connect relay port to sprinkler or pool valve to control sprinklers or pool/hot tubs.

* connect the IRL dongle to RS232 port, to learn remote controls, then connect IR sensor to one of the sensor ports, to control AV devices like the UIRT.

* connect RS232 to an Aprilaire 8870 thermostat panel, to allow remote control of the Aprilaire 8870, even if it is not within reach of a core or media director.

* connect a smoke alarm with contact closures to a sensor port for fire alarm notifications

* connect an air quality alarm to a sensor port to get air quality notifications.

the list goes on and on...

No matter which combination you choose above, they are relatively simple to set up... instructions are in the wiki, and of course, we are on chat.