Getting rid of some outstanding issues

I tend to lose interest in things by the time they’re almost finished – that may sound strange (I don’t 😉 ), but it’s the truth and it’s a habit that’s hard to beat. Knowing that I will get something working, doesn’t always mean I will make it that far and complete the whole job. The main reason is that there’s so much more to explore and learn, and that’s the most interesting part of it all; the thrill of learning more each time you start something new, right? In a way, being able to unlock the front door with my smart phone is just a nice side effect…

So while I’m still waiting on some Z-Wave hardware for my RaZberry, I started doing those last bits on some of my earlier projects.

Security system

Getting our security system connected to the rest of my Home Automation system has always appealed to me. With RFXCOM and an Alphatronics interface I did have access to the information of the sensors, but controlling the security system can be very handy too, for example arming it when everybody has gone to bed.
I did some experiments with a Powerlink in 2011, connected the system to my LAN in 2012, tested this with some experimental code, helped others to get things working, but there is where it ended; during a re-shuffle of some Serial-to Ethernet servers our security system was disconnected and I kinda ‘forgot’ about it; however some recent ‘events’ in the neighborhood brought the job of integrating the security system higher up on the to-do list.

Someone was so kind to give me his PowerMax code which has already been tested at various locations and the last 2 weeks I’ve been busy ‘porting’ the VB code to Delphi, testing the code with my own security system and monitoring everything to see if it’s all working OK. And it is… so now it’s time to take the last step and start using that interface. The biggest advantage is that my Home Automation system knows exactly the same as the security system does:

  • Panel Status (e.g. Armed, Disarmed, …);
  • Panel State (Ready, Alarm, Zones in memory, …);
  • Sensor information ( Open, Closed, Motion, Battery Low, ..).

By getting the information directly from the security system itself, it won’t matter anymore if RFXCOM or Alphatronics receiver will miss some packets – now I’ve got 100% correct information. And now I also have several new things I can do with my security system:

  • Arm and disarm the security system from my Domotica system;
  • Arm the system and bypass certain zones if I want to;
  • Control the security system from anywhere and with any User Interface;
  • Disarm the Security system event-based; for example, when someone opens our Nemef Radaris RFID front door with a badge;
  • Arm the system when the front door is being locked.

This weekend I updated my system.

Done!

Nemef Radaris Evolution

Nemef Radaris Evolution

One of those other things that got disconnected some time ago in a 90%-finished-state. While working on a Plugin for the Nemef Radaris, I stopped using the Nemef RF Module from my own system to test the Plugin, and I never started using it again afterwards. A big loss? Well, the Nemef Radaris doesn’t need a HA system, it works completely autonomously (for obvious reasons), so in some way we didn’t really miss the ‘Domotica link’.. today I finished some loose ends in the code and it’s working 100% now.

Next!

Web interface

Web Interface

I’m very bad at creating nice-looking icons myself, it’s just not my cup of tea. Most of the times I try to find some icons on the web, but I’ve never been able to find an icon collection that has all the icons I need. So it becomes a mess very quickly, and ugly.. too ugly to use (and to show off..)

And my requirements are really not that high – as long as the icons speak for themselves and have a somewhat similar ‘look’ , I’m easily satisfied (I think).

After finding a new collection of icons on the domoticaforum this week, I decided to use that one. And there’s 1 big benefit with this collection: I know the person who made these icons, so if I miss some specific icon, I know I won’t be lost…

On to the next item!

So, even if the outcome of my new Z-Wave tryout with the RaZberry will be disappointing, waiting for Z-Wave has already brought some positive things, namely finishing some things that should have been done a long time ago. OTOH: waiting this long is OK – just once every 3 years or so, not more often please!

Homeseer Plugin for Alphatronics Visonic Receiver

As i mentioned in my previous post, i developed a Homeseer Plugin for the Alphatronics Wireless Interface. This is the second Plugin i have developed for Homeseer, so the time to get the Plugin working was shorter then the first time. I know a bit more about Homeseer, getting to know the methods to call, etc. etc. With this Plugin most of the time was spent on the configuration pages; this time i made ASP.NET (.aspx) pages instead of doing it the hard way, i.e. embedding them into the Plugin itself.

Here some screenshots of the plugin:

Alphatronics Ethernet Interface SettingsAlphatronics Serial Interface Settings

The Plugin supports Serial connection type as well as Ethernet. Reason for this is that i have to be able to support the Plugin, but i have my interface connected to Ethernet by means of a Serial device server, the Sollae EZL-400S. This device is located at my fuse cabinet, where a ACT TI213, PLCBUS PLC1141 and this interface are connected to it. I have 1 RS232 port available.. but not for long i think 🙂

The screenshot below shows the sensor configuration page:

Visonic Sensor Configuration

Visonic Sensor Configuration

Depending on what the sensor is used for, you can change the text that will be shown on the HS Status page when a sensor is in Alert status or not:

Homeseer Status page

Homeseer Status page

Alphatronics Interface for Visonic sensors

Some time ago i received a new interface i had never heard of or had seen before, made by Alphatronics. It’s called a Wireless PC Interface and it can be used for receiving 868 MHz Visonic Powercode and CodeSecure transmissions. With this interface i can receive all my Visonic sensor i have, Keyfobs are received very good as well.

Here’s what the Interface looks like:

Some details:

Connection : RS-232, 9600,8,N,1.
Number of sensors supported : unlimited
Power supply : 12V DC
LED indicators : COM and Power

A very nice feature of this interface is that every received packet comes with information about the signal level, so you know exactly how good (or not) a specific sensor is being received. I’ve made some charts of these signal levels here. As you can see in the charts, some sensors are always received very good like the front door, others sometimes show strange ‘dips’.

Another very positive thing is that this interface receives Visonic keyfobs very well. From the day i started using this interface i have an event active that is triggered by the aux button on my Visonic keyfob that will open/close the garage door for me. It works perfectly.
I got the interface from Waakzaam Wonen (http://www.waakzaamwonen.nl), so if you’re interested i would suggest to contact them for more information.
I’ve also developed a HS Plugin for this interface. Pieter Knuvers and i have been testing this plugin thoroughly and i’m planning to release the Plugin in the next few days. Hopefully this will result in valuable input for more functionality to be added to the plugin. If anyone is  interested just leave a comment.
Update 22-07-2009: Waakzaam Wonen has made the interface available in their webshop