Thermostat and Lighting Control w/o Homeseer?

Place to post your ideas and questions on how to integrate Cinemar's software in a Home Automation System (lighting, security, hvac, etc.)
MurrayW
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Thermostat and Lighting Control w/o Homeseer?

Postby MurrayW » Mon May 15, 2006 1:51 pm

I have all my AV stuff perfected and they will never need tweaking again. :wink: Yeah right. Actually I have them in a "good enough" state for now that I would like to branch out into thermostat and lighting control. I'd rather not use Homeseer if possible, just from the standpoint of having to learn and support another software application.

Since it is summer time in Texas and I just got my electric bill :shock: I'd like to start with the thermometer (my 2 kids seem to think nothing of turning the AC down to "frigid" whenever they are hot). I am leaning towards Z-Wave as that would mean I wouldn't need to run additional wiring to the thermostats, right? If I had to go with a "wired" solution for the thermostats, that would NOT be too much of a negative point, so I won't rule that out. And whatever I do for the themostats, I would want it to be compatible with my future lighting controls.

So, does anyone have any advice for me? Is temperature and lighting control possible through ML/MLServer without Homeseer?

thanks,
Murray

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Postby DavidL » Mon May 15, 2006 2:53 pm

Best way today is via an ELK M1 where you can plug a RS485 thermostat into the M1 panel and use the ELK plugin to have bidirectional control over a RCS TR40, TR16 and other thermostats (see Elk's website for specifics).

this is a nice blend of embedded controller for critical functions, with the capability of a PC based software platform (MainLobby).

For example, you can put a rule in either the ELK or MLServer that if the user is trying to switch to A/C mode in the middle of the winter via the touchscreen, they can see a message that appears that says "Too Cold outside for A/C" and lock out the request. This positive feedback eliminates a support call to the MainLobby dealer that "it's broken - it won't go to A/C" while protecting the hardware / house from freeze.
Ok, bad example for Texas!

You will find that MainLobby 3 Server is much more capable with automation functions than MainLobby 1 server was. You probably will find it is all you need. But, as MainLobby is flexible, it's your choice.

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Postby mcascio » Mon May 15, 2006 2:55 pm

It is also important to note that Cinemar will start adding Thermostat device support once we roll out ML3. The first will most likely be Zwave.
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MurrayW
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Postby MurrayW » Mon May 15, 2006 3:51 pm

mcascio wrote:It is also important to note that Cinemar will start adding Thermostat device support once we roll out ML3. The first will most likely be Zwave.
So Mario, any particular ZWave devices you recommend?

Smoothtlk, Do I really need the Elk if I never intend to integrate security and phone? I am just looking at thermostat and basic lighting control (and maybe, down the road, adding in control of my sprinkler system). Although, I do like the "rule" feature -- could I program a rule that if someone tried to set the AC below 70 F, that it it asked the user if they were really sure, and if they answered yes, then send the voltage that was intended to go to the AC unit to the finger that pressed the "YES" button? :lol:

thanks,

Murray

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Postby DavidL » Mon May 15, 2006 3:55 pm

Murray,
No, you could wait until there is native thermo support in MLServer like Mario mentions.
But, you mention lighting (controllable via ELK) and Irrigation (controllable via ELK) so think of a security system as more than security.
I use it more for non security. Even the motion / door sensors I use for occupancy, not necessarily for security but for automation.

again, you have the option to go either way. That is the difference with MainLobby.

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Postby THARTIGH » Mon May 15, 2006 11:56 pm

Great question Murray!

Smooth, I will wait for the thermostat control from cinemar, but why would'nt you suggest the Rain8 plugin for sprinklers and the Insteon plugin for lighting? Just wondering why we would want to use the Elk when we can control these things directly? Is it more reliable?

Todd

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Postby DavidL » Tue May 16, 2006 12:13 am

An embedded controller is more reliable than a PC. But, it is not nearly as powerful. The best $ / results is the combination of the two. Put mission critical roles on the embedded controller, and roles that are too complicated or require higher CPU on the PC.

Lighting can go either way. You can still hit the switch directly to control in the good ole fashion way, so I don't consider that critical.

Security goes on the embedded controller unless you have low risk of security issue due to environmental circumstances. But, because of the number of Inputs, it is probably cheaper to go with an embedded controller system than any PC input device so you might as well go that way anyway.

Irrigation I would put on the PC for more sophisticated management of the device like calculating weather or soil drainage, last time watered, etc. For more than the basics of Irrigation, gets tough to control via the embedded controller.

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Postby mcascio » Wed May 17, 2006 2:53 pm

Guys,

My guess as far as the first thermostat that we will be communicating with directly from MLServer will be the ZWave Thermostat.

After that, HAI, Aprilaire and RCS will be next in-line.
Mario Cascio

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Postby MurrayW » Wed May 31, 2006 3:38 pm

I just bought two Z-Wave CamStat Thermostats from Homeseer (they had a $50 off coupon). They also have a $20 off coupon for the HomeSeer Z-Wave Interface. Is this what I will need when the ML plugin is available to communicate from my server to the Z-Wave devices? If yes, I want to get it now while I can save $20.

thanks,
Murray

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Postby DavidL » Wed May 31, 2006 5:42 pm

Murray,
If you are using Homeseer and if Homeseer supports the ZWave thermostat, then you would just need MLHSplugin for bidirectional control.
If you want to use a MLServer plugin, then you will have to wait until Cinemar finishes development of the ZWave plugin.

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Postby mcascio » Wed May 31, 2006 5:52 pm

We're getting close to announcing a Zwave beta release. Just tidying up some things. First round will just handle lighting since we only have the Lighting Family Plugin done at this point.
Mario Cascio

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MurrayW
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Postby MurrayW » Wed May 31, 2006 6:02 pm

smoothtlk wrote:Murray,
If you are using Homeseer and if Homeseer supports the ZWave thermostat, then you would just need MLHSplugin for bidirectional control.
If you want to use a MLServer plugin, then you will have to wait until Cinemar finishes development of the ZWave plugin.

David and Mario,
I am not trying to rush you on the plugin, but just trying to save $20 so I can buy more cinemar stuff :lol: . I am not planning to use Homeseer and would like to use the ZWave plugin whenever it gets developed. My question is just how to send the RF signal to the thermostat (or other ZWave stuff like lighting) from my Server PC. I just need to know if the ZWave interface module is something that I will need or will the plugin make use of some other method of sending the RF signal out?

I don't mind buying the interface and letting it age on a shelf for how ever long it takes for the plugin to be ready -- it will have plenty of company with all the other stuff I buy with the intention of getting to it sometime!

thanks,

Murray

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Postby mcascio » Wed May 31, 2006 6:06 pm

Murray,

You will need the Control Think USB Stick:
http://www.controlthink.com/

I'm not sure if this is what HS is selling or not.

Then you'll need our plugin to communicate with the Zwave devices.

Make sense?
Mario Cascio

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MurrayW
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Postby MurrayW » Wed May 31, 2006 6:09 pm

mcascio wrote:Murray,

You will need the Control Think USB Stick:
http://www.controlthink.com/

I'm not sure if this is what HS is selling or not.

Then you'll need our plugin to communicate with the Zwave devices.

Make sense?
OK...that is not what HS was selling, so I guess I will wait until I spend my money on the control part of it.

thanks,
Murray

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No Luck Installing the Cam-Stat

Postby MurrayW » Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:08 am

I bought the Cam-Stat Z-Wave thermostat because it was on sale at HomeSeer and the Cinemar plugin that is in development. Also, since Mario made a pretty graphic for it: http://www.cinemaronline.com/guigraphix.thermostat.html

Unfortunately, I can't get it to work and from reading the HomeSeer board it seems that others are having problems as well. I am running into my 30 day return window, so I am most likely going to return it to HomeSeer and wait until Here is what I posted on the HomeSeer forum:
I just got 2 CamStat thermostats and have been having a tough time trying to get them installed. Since I am not very handy with wiring, I have had 2 experienced people (1 hvac and the other an electrician) try to get it hooked up and working. My electrician got it hooked up today so that it powers on and you can set the temperature, mode and fan.

The problem is that the lights for "cool" "auto" and "high" fan speed will be lit and it will run the fan for about 1 minute (don't think the air conditioner compressor is even coming on) then all the lights go off and the fan stops. About 4 minutes later, the thing will beep 6 times, the 3 lights turn on and the fan runs again for about 1 minute...then the cycle keeps repeating itself.

I am just trying to run it in manual mode first before I try anything more advanced. Any ideas on what I should tell my electrician to try next?

thanks,
Murray


The annoying beeping went away last night...because it stopped working altogether. It powered itself off and pressing the power button now doesn't do anything! :roll:

Anybody have any ideas on what I could try in the next day before I send them back?

Mario, the graphic you made is for the Cam-Stat. Will the Z-Wave plugin only support that particular TStat or would any ZWave TStat be supported also? Such as the RCS TZ16 Z-Wave Communicating Thermostat which from the postings on the HomeSeer board seems to be a much more trouble-free TStat.

thanks,
Murray


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