Interface to Lighting, Heating, Pool, Security, Camera, Gate

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craig
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Interface to Lighting, Heating, Pool, Security, Camera, Gate

Postby craig » Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:11 pm

I am starting a project which is to be finished by March 17th. It is a new house and I have decided to use MainLobby for the UI on a touchscreen which goes in the kitchen. The touchscreen connects via Cat5 to a PC in the plant room.

Lighting in the house will be controlled by CBUS and through the PC with the CBUS serial interface module. There is also a CBUS IO module with some inputs and outputs but I don't know if I will need that yet.

The HVAC system will be controlled through a unitronics vision 230 PLC. There are four heat pumps, 13 different underfloor heating zones, 30 temperature sensors and controllable curtains and blinds. The pumps for the pool will also be controlled via the PLC. This is done with a PLC since it will never crash, get a virus, need an update or require any attention unlike a PC running windows.

ML will have to be sending commands to the PLC and receiving data back from it such as temperatures or status of lights on or off. I have not yet decided what protocol the PLC and PC will use to talk to eachother. The PLC supports modbus over serial or TCP IP, a UDP protocol meant to speak with other PLCs I could emulate, a .dll library with read register/write register type commands in it, or the ability to prorgram your own protocol using TCP (but not UDP so I can't implement xAP or xPL).

Security cameras hook up to a Swann 4 port capture card which came with some software called 'Stingray pro ultra 2002' from surelabs.

At this time I don't know how many sprinklers there are because the irrigation guys haven't finished but there is another PLC in the shed to control the irrigation. It will communicate with the main PLC over ethernet.

I am not involved with the AV side at this time, but I can see that they will want to be controlling the audio for the house through mainlobby, possibly with a pocketPc or tablet pc so I need to allow for this.

And as for some smarts on the PC to schedule events or do voice commands, well it is not in the spec. Perhaps later they will want such functionality and I will get homeseer which I have never used or maybe some of the homeseer functionality will be programmed into the PLC.

Anyway that is my project which I will be doing over the next month! I'll be sure to post some pictures. A note about myself: I am a Canadian Electrical & Computer Engineer working in New Zealand as an automater for an electricity generation company. This company is partners with an electrical contractor which is wiring the house.

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DavidL
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Postby DavidL » Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:35 pm

Craig,
sound like a nice project!
I would suggest for a pro install that you shy away from VR. It's a headache, especially for a pro.

With regards to scheduling, there is more event and scheduling capability being built into MLServer2. Might work out well timewise with your customer's needs.

Please keep us posted on this!

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Postby craig » Fri Feb 24, 2006 12:33 am

Here is a wee status update for my project.

After several wasted days of trying to get the generic serial module to converse with my unitronics PLC I decided to go the TCP route. I was frustrated with my lack of success with Generic Serial. Since I can program every bit of the protocol on the PLC to have the form I want I thought I would be able to get it talking with Generic Serial. Modbus turned out to be a non starter. I decided even if I could get Generic Serial working there was zero chance anybody on future projects would be willing to put the time in to figure out exactly how to get it to recognize terminating characters and wildcards etc.

I am issuing commands to ML through the http server of ML server. I can only send one at a time since ML Server does not recognize macros via http. I am using MLTCPSend to send on/off states of variables and ASCII decimal integers back to the PLC. The PLC continually sends the variables to ML one at a time.

I met with the clipsal guy to start with the CBUS programming. we have 80 switches to program in the house. I certainly won't be including all of them in the ML. As for getting ML to talk to CBUS, we have a CBUS auxilliary input module which gives me 4 inputs into the CBUS. I'll be able to set them through the PLC so ML will have at least four ON/OFF commands to give to the CBUS. Anything further will require talking to the RS232 CBUS module (which I certainly wouldn't attempt with GenericSerial even though clipsal provides the documentation for the protocol) or possibly through some software called C-Gate which may use TCP.

Since the basics are there for toggling PLC variables and changing setpoints the next step will be getting the feeds from the four security cameras into ML and actually putting some scenes together. After reading a bit about the trouble people have with overlays and the like I am going to be keeping it as simple as possible. I just want to get this project over with.
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Postby AccessHA » Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:55 am

Craig,

Nice work and thanks for posting the progress report! Please keep the updates coming… it looks like an exciting project.
Hell-bent on automating everything! I’m too lazy to do anything else.

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DavidL
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Postby DavidL » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:30 pm

Craig, the Generic Serial plugin is undergoing a rewrite, but no promises on when it will be available. Also, there is always the option to commision Cinemar to build a custom plugin for RS232 devices. If this is needed, PM me with your interest.

Install look nice and clean. You almost have me motivated to redo mine (again).

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Postby craig » Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:41 pm

smoothtlk wrote:Craig, the Generic Serial plugin is undergoing a rewrite, but no promises on when it will be available.


I've come to see that which is why I am not holding my breath for MLServer 2 to be available by my deadline either. The house won't even be fully built for my deadline but I'd still like to meet it.

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Postby gregoryx » Fri Feb 24, 2006 5:47 pm

:-o That's BEAUTIFUL! =D>

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Postby craig » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:39 pm

gregoryx wrote::-o That's BEAUTIFUL! =D>


Wait until you see my C-Bus panels. They are a little bit 'busier'

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Postby kkassen » Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:03 am

Nice install!! :D

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Postby atlreguy » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:47 pm

What ever happened to Craig and his project?

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Postby craig » Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:35 am

altregue: I finished it. Now that a few people have seen it I've got a couple more orders in the pipeline for similar installs so I'm in the market again for touchscreen software.


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