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  • Kevin Hawkins
    Here are a series of questions that Phil, a potential new user in Australia has asked by email - I think they will be of interest to the whole group so
    Message 1 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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      Here are a series of questions that Phil, a potential new user in
      Australia has asked by email - I think they will be of interest to the
      whole group so reposted , and continued here... Oh ... he says some
      kind things too ,and he hasn't even got his unit yet ;-)

      K

      Phil wrote...

      Kevin,

      I would dearly love to get my hands on one of your xAP Gateways for my
      HomeVision box. I don't have any plans to use C-Bus, but I am very
      excited about xAP...and your Gateway seems to be the answer to my
      prayers. How can I purchase one of these brilliant devices? BTW, I
      live in Arlington, Virginia, USA.

      Regards,
      Phil
    • Kevin Hawkins
      Hi Phil, The gateways are available pretty much from stock - although I m just refining another beta firmware update. The dollar/pound rate is favourable for
      Message 2 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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        Hi Phil,

        The gateways are available pretty much from stock - although I'm just
        refining another beta firmware update. The dollar/pound rate is
        favourable for you at the moment too. Units are £150 with two software
        personalities - which is what you need. I can be paid by PayPal for
        overseas orders and I ship 'at cost'. You would need to provide a DC
        power supply 7.5V or 9V DC regulated at 750mA or more - a typical
        wallwart type arrangement.

        Could I just ask what you're planning for the gateway / praying it
        will do ! .. and any other software you have intended to use with it ?

        Most users are after C-Bus lighting integration with HV or xAP control
        of C-Bus so I'm quite enthused that you're after the xAP control of HV.
        It's an area that is mostly complete and I'm happy to finalise any
        aspects here that you would find useful. I only haven't done this as few
        people use this combination and so testers are sparse. So so let me
        know your intentions... and I can also provide you a run down of
        exactly which areas of HV are currently xAP enabled. ( roughly all
        physical I/O is, including 1-wire and expansion units, plus flags and
        variables - macros IIRC maybe too) . Please note CallerID is not
        supported as it doesn't work here in the UK.

        Cheers Kevin
      • Kevin Hawkins
        22/05/2009 01:08 Phil P wrote Kevin, A little background so I can better explain my intentions: I ve just moved to a larger place. In my previous place, only
        Message 3 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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          22/05/2009 01:08 Phil P wrote

          Kevin,

          A little background so I can better explain my intentions: I've just
          moved to a larger place. In my previous place, only the living room was
          automated, and yet the system fully exhausted the available analog
          inputs on my HV / MFE set-up: the system included soil moisture sensors
          (from Vegetronix) embedded in houseplants, weight sensors (from
          Flexiforce) to sense furniture occupancy, and homebrew current sensors
          to sense the on/off state of the A/V equipment. Most of the available
          discrete I/O was also being used, e.g. for relays, magnetic door
          switches, etc. The user interface was via HomeVisionXL running on a
          home theater PC.

          In my new place, I'd like to immediately extend the automation to at
          least the master bedroom, and eventually to other rooms, as well. I'd
          also like a slicker, more sophisticated UI.

          So, with that background, here's what I'm hoping (praying) to get out of
          an xAP-enabled HV. First, I'd like to be able to use HouseBot (with xAP
          plug-in) as the user interface and front-end for the whole system, with
          HV still handling some of the lower-level logic. And second, I'd like
          to be able to add additional remote physical I/O (e.g. in the master
          bedroom) to the system via Ethernet using Netiom-xAP modules. I have no
          desire to integrate caller-ID capability, so the fact that the Gateway
          doesn't support it isn't an issue for me.

          Does this seem feasible? A standard like xAP that enables integration
          of hardware and software from disparate sources has been long overdue,
          and it's hard to believe that more people aren't excited about
          xAP-enabling their HVs.

          One question: does the Ethernet port on the Gateway currently support
          any capability other than firmware upgrades?

          Cheers,
          Phil
        • Kevin Hawkins
          22/05/2009 12:32 Kevin H wrote Hi Phil, Wow - that lounge was one automated room :-) The sort of approach you re taking is very well suited to xAP in that
          Message 4 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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            22/05/2009 12:32 Kevin H wrote

            Hi Phil,

            Wow - that lounge was one 'automated' room :-)

            The sort of approach you're taking is very well suited to xAP in that
            your network becomes the interconnect path between all the devices and
            even when you have lots of messages flying about , many per second , it
            is occupying almost nil of the available bandwidth . Plus of course all
            devices can freely interact with each other. One thing to be aware of
            as a result of this methodoly is that security of a xAP network is low,
            but for residential use this is not typically a concern. When I say low
            security what I mean is that should someone be able to get onto your
            network then they could create their own xAP nodes to interact with your
            system. The usual firewalls, routers and NAT of course protect against
            this, plus xAP brodcast messages are not internet routable.

            I like your choice of HouseBot + an embedded controller :-)
            HouseBot has a particularly well implemented xAP plugin and of course
            can create nice UI's. In my system I've tried to create autonomous
            islands of control that remain operational should other aspects fail eg
            the lighting, heating , AV and security and then to interlink them all
            using embedded controllers like HV / OPNMax, Leopard, (Crestron/AMX) to
            again create key functionality that is again very dependable. Then at
            an even higher level using HouseBot (or a.n.other xAP aware PC
            application) to implement the really fancy control - and also handle
            richer data sources like weather, news, web access etc. Of course you
            can use multiple applications to select the features you need or even
            create redundant controllers. Again one of my favourites is IDRATEK's
            Cortex application, along with their Idranet hardware as it dovetails
            with xAP very nicely. This layered functionality with fallback works
            really well, creating solid dependable control which is essential to
            keep the family onside.

            HomeVision should drop nicely into HouseBot , certainly in terms of
            I/O monitoring and control as well as synching variables and flags. It
            will be nice to have someone test out the gateway with a fully expanded
            HV system (MFE etc). Other aspects like macros, timers etc might need
            me to enhance the gateway functionality - which I'm happy to do.
            Basically as long as HV provides appropriate serial event information
            then I should be able to support it. I use HB myself as well as HV and
            Netioms so at least we have common hardware. You might want to consider
            1-wire as well , beyond HV's temp sensors - and there's a xAP embedded
            interface there too (OPNone).
            One feature I don't mention a lot is that you can create xAP devices
            directly within HomeVision ... so you could add all your Netioms I/O as
            HomeVision controllable. These then appear as named devices in HV
            schedules etc - just like inbuilt I/O. There are some restrictions on
            the number of xAP devices you can add this way based on memory
            constraints - although if C-Bus wasn't used then this theoretically
            could be removed. I don't advocate this on any rapidly changing I/O as
            the messages all have to traverse the comparatively slow HV serial
            interface, and also HV actions have to be implemented slightly
            differently. Oh... BTW you will need an available serial port on HV
            to attach the gateway too (additional to port 1 that HVXL attaches to).

            In addition to firmware updates the Ethernet port provides the xAP
            messaging interface and a couple of rudimentary web pages. These are
            really for diagnostic usage only rather than any practical purpose.
            Originally I had a network synched timeserver and an FTP server in there
            too - to allow people to upload their own web pages, but both of these
            were removed as space has become very tight in the gateway memory with
            all the features it now offers. Currently the gateway only has one
            firmware build that includes all available features and then these are
            selectively licensed to each user. This makes it easy for management but
            does mean users that only take some personality options have redundant
            code in their units, and that space could be freed up for other purposes
            (eg your unit would have C-Bus code inside that was disabled). I may
            revisit this in later builds, allowing people to pick and choose
            personalities more freely - or use multiple gateways as I'm so tight on
            space within the processor now.

            There are currently four personalities available all of which can be
            used simultaneously (xAP, HomeVision, C-Bus, XX) - where XX is a custom
            one that a larger customer needed . Shortly I will be releasing a fifth
            which will allow the iPhone/iPod Touch to be used as a touch screen
            controller, aimed at C-Bus lighting initially but may be useable with
            all xAP devices. This uses a commercial software app (Command Fusion's
            iViewer). Again I hope this can be co-resident with all other
            personalities and users can just purchase and add it to their existing
            gateway.

            Interested in the Flexiforce devices - did they work well in your
            application ? I have some Pulsar sensors which I guess are similar but
            they only sense stress change so when someone falls asleep on the sofa
            they don't know that . Does your system handle this or do you have to
            supplement logic involving other sensors eg PIR's ? Also what
            automated lighting system are you using ?

            Cheers Kevin

            PS I might like to repost your question - and this answer on the Yahoo
            gateway support group - would that be OK ?
          • Ben McCormack
            Kevin This all brings back some questions I had. I understand that your gateways are great and it looks like everyone that has them speaks very highly. What I
            Message 5 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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              Kevin

              This all brings back some questions I had.

              I understand that your gateways are great and it looks like everyone that has them speaks very highly.

              What I am unsure of is the basic configurations and how it fits in with the rest of the HA setup.

              Simple questions such as - Do I have to have HV to make use of the gateway? ie Can it speak Cbus to xAP without HV?

              Ben


              On 25 May 2009, at  11:36, Kevin Hawkins wrote:



              Hi Phil,

              The gateways are available pretty much from stock - although I'm just 
              refining another beta firmware update. The dollar/pound rate is 
              favourable for you at the moment too. Units are £150 with two software 
              personalities - which is what you need. I can be paid by PayPal for 
              overseas orders and I ship 'at cost'. You would need to provide a DC 
              power supply 7.5V or 9V DC regulated at 750mA or more - a typical 
              wallwart type arrangement.

              Could I just ask what you're planning for the gateway / praying it 
              will do ! .. and any other software you have intended to use with it ?

              Most users are after C-Bus lighting integration with HV or xAP control 
              of C-Bus so I'm quite enthused that you're after the xAP control of HV. 
              It's an area that is mostly complete and I'm happy to finalise any 
              aspects here that you would find useful. I only haven't done this as few 
              people use this combination and so testers are sparse. So so let me 
              know your intentions.. . and I can also provide you a run down of 
              exactly which areas of HV are currently xAP enabled. ( roughly all 
              physical I/O is, including 1-wire and expansion units, plus flags and 
              variables - macros IIRC maybe too) . Please note CallerID is not 
              supported as it doesn't work here in the UK.

              Cheers Kevin


            • Kevin Hawkins
              08:15 25/5/09 Phil P wrote.. Kevin, Thanks for a very comprehensive answer, and feel free to repost portions of this thread as you see fit. As enthusiastic as
              Message 6 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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                08:15 25/5/09 Phil P wrote..

                Kevin,

                Thanks for a very comprehensive answer, and feel free to repost portions
                of this thread as you see fit.

                As enthusiastic as I was about your gateway, it seems that I actually
                underestimated its capabilities. I had assumed that it would allow HV's
                flags, variables, and physical I/O to be accessible to external
                applications (e.g. HouseBot) as xAP objects...but I didn't realize that
                it would also enable HV itself to become xAP-aware so that it could
                autonomously control external xAP objects. I had been prepared to rely
                on HouseBot (or some other xAP-enabled PC application) for control at
                the xAP level, but now I understand that your gateway would enable HV to
                provide embedded control of the entire xAP network (subject to the
                memory and serial port bandwidth constraints you mentioned). That's
                outrageously cool!

                So, consistent with your concept of "layered functionality with
                fallback", could I enable/disable xAP control from within an HV
                schedule, e.g. based on the absence/presence of a heartbeat or semaphore
                signal from a higher-level controller?

                I wasn't aware of the offerings from IDRATEK and OPNode, and I'll
                definitely investigate them further. However, at first glance, it
                doesn't seem that they would be advantageous for my application, for two
                reasons. First, with two exceptions, everything in my home that needs
                to be automated is already within a few feet of a LAN port (the two
                exceptions are some mains-powered lamps, for which I rely on PLC; and
                homebrew motorized blinds, for which I rely on RF via XBee
                transceivers). Second, within each room, the physical devices that I
                want to virtualize as xAP objects are in fairly close proximity. So,
                for me, it seems that the easiest and most cost-effective solution would
                be to just put a Netiom-xAP in each room, plug it into the LAN, and run
                short point-to-point wiring to the physical devices...rather than the
                alternative of installing IDRANET or 1-Wire cabling, the required
                bridge/gateway to the LAN, the appropriate IDRATEK or OPNode modules,
                and finally the wiring to the physical devices. However, I can
                certainly envision applications in which a lean, dedicated HA bus like
                IDRANET or 1-Wire would make a lot of sense.

                Yes, the Flexiforce sensors eventually proved effective in my
                application. As you suspected, my HA system also includes PIRs, which
                do a good job of registering room occupancy...unless an occupant remains
                very, very still for more than a few minutes. This typically occurs
                only when the occupant happens to be on a sofa or chair, so I felt that
                furniture weight sensors would be an excellent complement to PIRs.
                However, it took some experimentation with the HV logic and the physical
                packaging of the Flexiforce sensors to reliably sense people sitting on
                my sofas. My final configuration uses two sensors per sofa, with each
                sensor sandwiched between two 0.06" steel discs (0.06" might be
                overkill, but---because my floors are carpeted---even the slightest flex
                in the discs destroys the sensitivity of the sensors). The sensor
                sandwiches are placed under the rearmost legs at both ends of each
                sofa. The logic is trivial: each sensor output is compared to a fixed
                threshold, with no hysteresis. Because each sensor output drifts slowly
                with time (due to settling and slight movement of the furniture), the
                thresholds are automatically recalculated whenever the room is empty.

                However, while the Flexiforce sensors work well for sofas and large
                fixed chairs, they (or, rather, the associated packaging and wiring) are
                too obtrusive for small/movable chairs (e.g. dining chairs). So, I plan
                to experiment with a low-res digital camera with embedded processor (the
                CMUcam3) and simple image-processing algorithms to provide an
                alternative means of sensing area occupancy.

                You asked about my lighting system; alas, it's just a bunch of lowly X10
                modules. I've often considered upgrading to more advanced technology,
                but X10 works well for me and is far cheaper than the alternatives.

                I'm not very familiar with Paypay; exactly how do I send you the £150?

                BTW, I'd like to register my vote for a leaner xAP/HV-only firmware build.

                Cheers,
                Phil
              • Kevin Hawkins
                Hi Ben, You can think of the gateway as broker between the various software personalities that you have loaded in it . So if you have three personalities - say
                Message 7 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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                  Hi Ben,

                  You can think of the gateway as broker between the various software
                  personalities that you have loaded in it . So if you have three
                  personalities - say HV, C-Bus and xAP then all three areas can
                  intercommunicate and remain synchronised. I architected this for my
                  own system needs and so xAP tends to be a cornerstone for me but there's
                  no reason why - in fact a lot of people use C-Bus <> HV with no xAP.

                  Specifically yes you can have C-Bus <> xAP which would then allow
                  C-Bus to be integrated with any xAP aware software application or
                  controller. You can even use an embedded hardware controllers like
                  OPNodes' OPNMax. What you can't do is integrate your Comfort system
                  too easily without going via a suitable HA software package that has
                  both a Comfort and xAP plugin (eg HomeSeer) . However, I believe you
                  have the C-Bus UCM so actions triggered in Comfort that change C-Bus
                  groups will show up on xAP, and xAP C-Bus changes will be propogated
                  back to Comfort . Paul G also uses exactly this setup.

                  Another aspect to be aware of is that within xAP there are several
                  'schema' in use that are basically message types that control devices.
                  C-Bus is exposed using the very popular BSC (Basic Status and Control)
                  schema and that is supported by almost every xAP device/application.
                  However more complex devices often don't use the BSC schema as they have
                  richer data they need to present. A good example is say the xap-audio
                  schema that has to expose realtime 'now playing' information as well as
                  transport control (play|stop|pause|FF|Rew) etc as well as artist, album
                  and coverart names and paths.

                  The best way to integrate such different schema is via your chosen
                  xAP aware HA software application as it can take information from one
                  schema and translate it into actions in another schema. For example
                  using a C-Bus group to set the volume on an amplifier etc. The
                  various xAP plugins have different capabilities in this area and
                  HouseBot is especially flexible. You can also use the excellent (and
                  free) xAP Floorplan to achieve the same via some scripting.

                  I'm sure you're going to ask about Sonos too ;-) so just to say that
                  yes I have a xAP Sonos application in beta which exposes the basic
                  functionality of each zone via the BSC schema ( if the zone is playing,
                  volume etc) and the remainder via the more appropriate xap-audio
                  schema. This could help in some integration aspects with your other
                  items (C-Bus and Comfort).

                  One thing I would say is that the gateway is a building block - but
                  you still need to orchestrate the interactions somehow, either with a
                  xAP controller or some HA software that has a scripting ability and a
                  xAP plugin. Most HA applications now have xAP support. Comfort
                  programming persay won't be an ideal route.

                  They key role of xAP is that it provides a common way for all your
                  devices to talk to each other simultaneously , once you can get a
                  device to interact with xAP it can interact with everything else
                  speaking xAP. In any automation system having some mechanism that
                  provides this communication is essential. Early on it was probably IR -
                  and one way - not very satisfactory but workable. Later serial RS232 was
                  used but then your devices became owned exlusively by their attached
                  controller and so lost interoperability and also they became dependent
                  on a single point for interaction, and potential failure. Wireless
                  offers great potential for distributed control ZigBee Z-Wave etc.. xAP
                  is just a protocol as such and is network agnostic - meaning it can
                  utilise nearly any physical network to talk eg wireless, Ethernet,
                  serial, whatever.

                  If you just consider that you need a common bidirectional
                  communication path between all your devices that is what xAP does....
                  There are other solutions eg UPnP but they are often very complex and
                  have still emerging device support. xAP is very simple and yet very
                  expandable. It is also human readable and very easy to code, placing it
                  within the grasp of most hobbyist level programmers and scripters. So if
                  you're able to write scripts/ code, even at a basic level and have a
                  device that isn't yet xAP enabled it is possible to xAP enable it
                  yourself....

                  Cheers Kevin

                  Ben McCormack wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Kevin
                  >
                  > This all brings back some questions I had.
                  >
                  > I understand that your gateways are great and it looks like everyone
                  > that has them speaks very highly.
                  >
                  > What I am unsure of is the basic configurations and how it fits in
                  > with the rest of the HA setup.
                  >
                  > Simple questions such as - Do I have to have HV to make use of the
                  > gateway? ie Can it speak Cbus to xAP without HV?
                  >
                  > Ben
                  >
                  >
                • yuenchoong liew
                  Dear Kevin,   In the last couple of emails, the use of your gateway has become much clearer to me. I didnt realise that the HV system that I bought was such a
                  Message 8 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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                    Dear Kevin,
                     
                    In the last couple of emails, the use of your gateway has become much clearer to me. I didnt realise that the HV system that I bought was such a powerful system and that by adding your gateway, I could control most HA components.
                     
                    I am a novice user compared to you guys out there and I had configured my HV system with 2 MFEB and 2 Sylva control boards. I am currently programming the whole system to behave an alarm system and it seems such a waste of a powerful controller. However, in Malaysia, it is difficult to get an external alarm system that can interface with the HV and I will need to order one from the US or UK. Any suggestions? I need a system with at least 96 zones (inputs).
                     
                    Once I get your gateway, I will want to connect the C-Bus devices to the HV to control the lights and other devices such as the fish pond pumps and rain water collection pumps.
                     
                    I am also installing a 12.4kw PV solar system and I will need to look into collecting data off the inverter system and displaying then via HV. As I live in  a tropical climate, I need to cool the PV modules with a fine water mist spray and I hope HV through the C-Bus gateway will control the water pumps for me too.
                     
                    Perhaps you could advice me on a homw weather system that can be interfaced either through your gateway of via ethernet to the HV as this will help in my water cooling system.
                     
                     Finally, I am also looking for a suitable software like the CSI HV Movie that I can load in my portable laptops to control the HV. I tried modifying the HV Movie but it is very tedious and time consuming. Do you think HouseBot would be easier?
                     
                    Your advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
                     
                    Cheers,
                    Liew

                    --- On Mon, 5/25/09, Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@...> wrote:

                    From: Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@...>
                    Subject: Re: [ukusa_gateway] New user enquiry...
                    To: ukusa_gateway@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Monday, May 25, 2009, 6:41 PM

                    22/05/2009 12:32 Kevin H wrote

                    Hi Phil,

                    Wow - that lounge was one 'automated' room :-)

                    The sort of approach you're taking is very well suited to xAP in that
                    your network becomes the interconnect path between all the devices and
                    even when you have lots of messages flying about , many per second , it
                    is occupying almost nil of the available bandwidth . Plus of course all
                    devices can freely interact with each other. One thing to be aware of
                    as a result of this methodoly is that security of a xAP network is low,
                    but for residential use this is not typically a concern. When I say low
                    security what I mean is that should someone be able to get onto your
                    network then they could create their own xAP nodes to interact with your
                    system. The usual firewalls, routers and NAT of course protect against
                    this, plus xAP brodcast messages are not internet routable.

                    I like your choice of HouseBot + an embedded controller :-)
                    HouseBot has a particularly well implemented xAP plugin and of course
                    can create nice UI's. In my system I've tried to create autonomous
                    islands of control that remain operational should other aspects fail eg
                    the lighting, heating , AV and security and then to interlink them all
                    using embedded controllers like HV / OPNMax, Leopard, (Crestron/AMX) to
                    again create key functionality that is again very dependable. Then at
                    an even higher level using HouseBot (or a.n.other xAP aware PC
                    application) to implement the really fancy control - and also handle
                    richer data sources like weather, news, web access etc. Of course you
                    can use multiple applications to select the features you need or even
                    create redundant controllers. Again one of my favourites is IDRATEK's
                    Cortex application, along with their Idranet hardware as it dovetails
                    with xAP very nicely. This layered functionality with fallback works
                    really well, creating solid dependable control which is essential to
                    keep the family onside.

                    HomeVision should drop nicely into HouseBot , certainly in terms of
                    I/O monitoring and control as well as synching variables and flags. It
                    will be nice to have someone test out the gateway with a fully expanded
                    HV system (MFE etc). Other aspects like macros, timers etc might need
                    me to enhance the gateway functionality - which I'm happy to do.
                    Basically as long as HV provides appropriate serial event information
                    then I should be able to support it. I use HB myself as well as HV and
                    Netioms so at least we have common hardware. You might want to consider
                    1-wire as well , beyond HV's temp sensors - and there's a xAP embedded
                    interface there too (OPNone).
                    One feature I don't mention a lot is that you can create xAP devices
                    directly within HomeVision ... so you could add all your Netioms I/O as
                    HomeVision controllable. These then appear as named devices in HV
                    schedules etc - just like inbuilt I/O. There are some restrictions on
                    the number of xAP devices you can add this way based on memory
                    constraints - although if C-Bus wasn't used then this theoretically
                    could be removed. I don't advocate this on any rapidly changing I/O as
                    the messages all have to traverse the comparatively slow HV serial
                    interface, and also HV actions have to be implemented slightly
                    differently. Oh... BTW you will need an available serial port on HV
                    to attach the gateway too (additional to port 1 that HVXL attaches to).

                    In addition to firmware updates the Ethernet port provides the xAP
                    messaging interface and a couple of rudimentary web pages. These are
                    really for diagnostic usage only rather than any practical purpose.
                    Originally I had a network synched timeserver and an FTP server in there
                    too - to allow people to upload their own web pages, but both of these
                    were removed as space has become very tight in the gateway memory with
                    all the features it now offers. Currently the gateway only has one
                    firmware build that includes all available features and then these are
                    selectively licensed to each user. This makes it easy for management but
                    does mean users that only take some personality options have redundant
                    code in their units, and that space could be freed up for other purposes
                    (eg your unit would have C-Bus code inside that was disabled). I may
                    revisit this in later builds, allowing people to pick and choose
                    personalities more freely - or use multiple gateways as I'm so tight on
                    space within the processor now.

                    There are currently four personalities available all of which can be
                    used simultaneously (xAP, HomeVision, C-Bus, XX) - where XX is a custom
                    one that a larger customer needed . Shortly I will be releasing a fifth
                    which will allow the iPhone/iPod Touch to be used as a touch screen
                    controller, aimed at C-Bus lighting initially but may be useable with
                    all xAP devices. This uses a commercial software app (Command Fusion's
                    iViewer). Again I hope this can be co-resident with all other
                    personalities and users can just purchase and add it to their existing
                    gateway.

                    Interested in the Flexiforce devices - did they work well in your
                    application ? I have some Pulsar sensors which I guess are similar but
                    they only sense stress change so when someone falls asleep on the sofa
                    they don't know that . Does your system handle this or do you have to
                    supplement logic involving other sensors eg PIR's ? Also what
                    automated lighting system are you using ?

                    Cheers Kevin

                    PS I might like to repost your question - and this answer on the Yahoo
                    gateway support group - would that be OK ?

                  • Kevin Hawkins
                    ... The internal custom lighting table in HV can hold 256 devices - typically used for C-Bus but they can be xAP devices but only of BSC Level or BSC Binary
                    Message 9 of 19 , May 25, 2009
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                      Kevin Hawkins wrote:
                      > 08:15 25/5/09 Phil P wrote..
                      >
                      > ... but now I understand that your gateway would enable HV to
                      > provide embedded control of the entire xAP network (subject to the
                      > memory and serial port bandwidth constraints you mentioned). That's
                      > outrageously cool!
                      >
                      The internal custom lighting table in HV can hold 256 devices -
                      typically used for C-Bus but they can be xAP devices but only of BSC
                      Level or BSC Binary (on/off) type. The text type is not supported as
                      HV is not designed for string handling. For the latter, or indeed any
                      other xAP schema asides from BSC you would use HouseBot or other xAP
                      enabled HA application. The BSC schema is designed to handle simple
                      on/off, level or simple text type devices but not more complex devices
                      which have more appropriate schema. The number of BSC devices you can
                      handle this way is limited to around 25 I believe for no other reason
                      aside from memory space. If you're not using C-Bus theoretically you
                      could have all 256 as xAP entries (serial bandwidth permitting).
                      > So, consistent with your concept of "layered functionality with
                      > fallback", could I enable/disable xAP control from within an HV
                      > schedule, e.g. based on the absence/presence of a heartbeat or semaphore
                      > signal from a higher-level controller?
                      >
                      Yes - and no ;-) Currently, although the gateway does recognise
                      heartbeats to discover new BSC devices it doesn't actually have a way of
                      showing they are ongoingly present for a specific device, and hence
                      altering HV's control macros. This could be quite a useful thing to
                      add however so let me think on that. Aspects of fallback / redundant
                      controllers are certainly possible to implement if this were offered.
                      You could of course do this already via a helper application that
                      monitored the heartbeats and pulsed a BSC output high when it was
                      detected. Then you would mirror this output in HV and from there you
                      could detect via a periodic event / action) that it had failed to change
                      and do whatever you needed.
                      > so I felt that
                      > furniture weight sensors would be an excellent complement to PIRs.
                      > However, it took some experimentation with the HV logic and the physical
                      > packaging of the Flexiforce sensors to reliably sense people sitting on
                      > my sofas. My final configuration uses two sensors per sofa, with each
                      > sensor sandwiched between two 0.06" steel discs (0.06" might be
                      > overkill, but---because my floors are carpeted---even the slightest flex
                      > in the discs destroys the sensitivity of the sensors). The sensor
                      > sandwiches are placed under the rearmost legs at both ends of each
                      > sofa. The logic is trivial: each sensor output is compared to a fixed
                      > threshold, with no hysteresis. Because each sensor output drifts slowly
                      > with time (due to settling and slight movement of the furniture), the
                      > thresholds are automatically recalculated whenever the room is empty.
                      >
                      So am I right in understanding the sensor output is weight related and
                      not just weight change - so if someone is asleep the sensor can give a
                      consistent occupied output - and not just pulses as the person sits
                      down, gets up or moves ? If so great I might have a play with these.
                      > However, while the Flexiforce sensors work well for sofas and large
                      > fixed chairs, they (or, rather, the associated packaging and wiring) are
                      > too obtrusive for small/movable chairs (e.g. dining chairs). So, I plan
                      > to experiment with a low-res digital camera with embedded processor (the
                      > CMUcam3) and simple image-processing algorithms to provide an
                      > alternative means of sensing area occupancy.
                      >
                      The camera approach is one that I guess might produce a little
                      resistance because of the 'I'm watching you' intrusion but is probably
                      very do-able. Shadows at times when lighting changes state would have
                      to be filtered out but I would be interested in such a solution as
                      well... Useful in bedrooms too to avoid lights coming on automatically
                      if someone is asleep.

                      K
                      >
                    • Kevin Hawkins
                      ... What I would say is that HomeVision is a very capable , and easy to use system, and it s very reliable. It is slightly dated now in that it is designed
                      Message 10 of 19 , May 25, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        yuenchoong liew wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > I didnt realise that the HV system that I bought was such a powerful
                        > system and that by adding your gateway, I could control most HA
                        > components.
                        >
                        What I would say is that HomeVision is a very capable , and easy to use
                        system, and it's very reliable. It is slightly dated now in that it is
                        designed around X10 and has no Ethernet connectivity - and uses a rather
                        klunky video output interface. But it remains a favourite with many
                        people, myself included based on it's ease of programming and
                        relaibility, and of course it's embedded - no PC required so available 24/7.

                        >
                        > I am a novice user compared to you guys out there and I had configured
                        > my HV system with 2 MFEB and 2 Sylva control boards. I am currently
                        > programming the whole system to behave an alarm system and it seems
                        > such a waste of a powerful controller. However, in Malaysia, it is
                        > difficult to get an external alarm system that can interface with the
                        > HV and I will need to order one from the US or UK. Any suggestions? I
                        > need a system with at least 96 zones (inputs).
                        >
                        I wouldn't really recommend this approach. An alarm system has many
                        aspects that HV can't emulate - for example zone resistance thresholds
                        for tamper alarms decent power failure handling, telephone line
                        integration etc . You're quite likley to spend so much time programming
                        it , and use so much of the macro space that you'll eclipse anything
                        else. There are many good alarm systems available at very low cost and
                        if you can get one that reports PIR activations over a serial port then
                        this could be integrated into HV or xAP. You also might have to
                        consider acceptability by your insurers as well - must be a big place as
                        96 zones are a lot !

                        I personally advocate the 'right tool for the job' approach, islands
                        of automation each performing their designated role really well and just
                        interacting with other systems as needed. That way should portions of
                        the automations system fail, for whatever reason then the other parts
                        remain running ... and for an alarm system this is critical.

                        I personally use the Honeywell (Ademco) Galaxy alarms - now called
                        something else, but models upto 512 zones and Ethernet/Serial
                        interfaces. Several here use Comfort of course - aren't they based in
                        Malaysia , or is it Singapore...? Comfort has a C-Bus interface should
                        you prefer that route. My downer on Comfort is that I don't like the
                        voice prompt type operation and it's a little awkward to program /
                        interact with C-Bus but good as an alarm system.

                        Also - just to re-iterate - the HV/xAP gateway does not support Sylva
                        I/O boards on HV. They'll still work they're just not xAP enabled.
                        >
                        >
                        > Perhaps you could advice me on a homw weather system that can be
                        > interfaced either through your gateway of via ethernet to the HV as
                        > this will help in my water cooling system.
                        >
                        Getting weather into xAP can be accomplished by several weather
                        programs Cumulus (free), Weather Display, mi4's xAP Weather, OPNone
                        and a 1-wire weather sensor system - but bear in mind HV is really only
                        good at handling on/off and level based information (0-255)
                        >
                        > Finally, I am also looking for a suitable software like the CSI HV
                        > Movie that I can load in my portable laptops to control the HV. I
                        > tried modifying the HV Movie but it is very tedious and time
                        > consuming. Do you think HouseBot would be easier?
                        >
                        >
                        My recommendation would be to choose carefully your standalone systems
                        (alarm, lighting, heating, AV) and then integrate them for basic
                        functionality (interaction, logic and scheduling) using something like
                        HomeVision (ie embedded) and then layer fancy front end software on top
                        of that provided by your favourite choice of HA PC based software.
                        Candidates include HomeSeer+HSTouch, xLobby, MainLobby, Charmed Quark
                        Controller, xAP Floorplan, xAP Desktop, MisterHouse, Cortex, HouseBot
                        etc. etc.

                        Don't expect HomeVison to do more than it's capable of. It's an ideal
                        logic engine / scheduler / script engine but poor at handling richer
                        data content . PC applications are far more suitable for this.

                        K
                      • Frank Mc Alinden
                        Hi Liew Hope Kevin doesnt mind me plugging an Australian alarm system... I would recommend Genesis Heres a link to it....
                        Message 11 of 19 , May 26, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Hi Liew
                           
                          Hope Kevin doesnt mind me plugging an Australian alarm system...
                           
                          I would recommend  " Genesis"  Heres a link to it....
                           
                          I have an early version and i use a genesis relay board  to pass my pir status to Homevision...The newer Genesis systems allows you to send up to 100 serial messages via the builtin serial ports on most expansion devices...
                           
                          In this link im sending a message from a Genesis serial port on an output controller to tell Homevision to turn on / off an x10 device...
                           
                          HTH
                          Frank
                           
                           
                           
                          ----- Original Message -----
                          Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 12:55 AM
                          Subject: Re: [ukusa_gateway] New user enquiry...

                          Dear Kevin,
                           
                          In the last couple of emails, the use of your gateway has become much clearer to me. I didnt realise that the HV system that I bought was such a powerful system and that by adding your gateway, I could control most HA components.
                           
                          I am a novice user compared to you guys out there and I had configured my HV system with 2 MFEB and 2 Sylva control boards. I am currently programming the whole system to behave an alarm system and it seems such a waste of a powerful controller. However, in Malaysia, it is difficult to get an external alarm system that can interface with the HV and I will need to order one from the US or UK. Any suggestions? I need a system with at least 96 zones (inputs).
                           
                          Once I get your gateway, I will want to connect the C-Bus devices to the HV to control the lights and other devices such as the fish pond pumps and rain water collection pumps.
                           
                          I am also installing a 12.4kw PV solar system and I will need to look into collecting data off the inverter system and displaying then via HV. As I live in  a tropical climate, I need to cool the PV modules with a fine water mist spray and I hope HV through the C-Bus gateway will control the water pumps for me too.
                           
                          Perhaps you could advice me on a homw weather system that can be interfaced either through your gateway of via ethernet to the HV as this will help in my water cooling system.
                           
                           Finally, I am also looking for a suitable software like the CSI HV Movie that I can load in my portable laptops to control the HV. I tried modifying the HV Movie but it is very tedious and time consuming. Do you think HouseBot would be easier?
                           
                          Your advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
                           
                          Cheers,
                          Liew

                          --- On Mon, 5/25/09, Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@ googlemail. com> wrote:

                          From: Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@ googlemail. com>
                          Subject: Re: [ukusa_gateway] New user enquiry...
                          To: ukusa_gateway@ yahoogroups. com
                          Date: Monday, May 25, 2009, 6:41 PM

                          22/05/2009 12:32 Kevin H wrote

                          Hi Phil,

                          Wow - that lounge was one 'automated' room :-)

                          The sort of approach you're taking is very well suited to xAP in that
                          your network becomes the interconnect path between all the devices and
                          even when you have lots of messages flying about , many per second , it
                          is occupying almost nil of the available bandwidth . Plus of course all
                          devices can freely interact with each other. One thing to be aware of
                          as a result of this methodoly is that security of a xAP network is low,
                          but for residential use this is not typically a concern. When I say low
                          security what I mean is that should someone be able to get onto your
                          network then they could create their own xAP nodes to interact with your
                          system. The usual firewalls, routers and NAT of course protect against
                          this, plus xAP brodcast messages are not internet routable.

                          I like your choice of HouseBot + an embedded controller :-)
                          HouseBot has a particularly well implemented xAP plugin and of course
                          can create nice UI's. In my system I've tried to create autonomous
                          islands of control that remain operational should other aspects fail eg
                          the lighting, heating , AV and security and then to interlink them all
                          using embedded controllers like HV / OPNMax, Leopard, (Crestron/AMX) to
                          again create key functionality that is again very dependable. Then at
                          an even higher level using HouseBot (or a.n.other xAP aware PC
                          application) to implement the really fancy control - and also handle
                          richer data sources like weather, news, web access etc. Of course you
                          can use multiple applications to select the features you need or even
                          create redundant controllers. Again one of my favourites is IDRATEK's
                          Cortex application, along with their Idranet hardware as it dovetails
                          with xAP very nicely. This layered functionality with fallback works
                          really well, creating solid dependable control which is essential to
                          keep the family onside.

                          HomeVision should drop nicely into HouseBot , certainly in terms of
                          I/O monitoring and control as well as synching variables and flags. It
                          will be nice to have someone test out the gateway with a fully expanded
                          HV system (MFE etc). Other aspects like macros, timers etc might need
                          me to enhance the gateway functionality - which I'm happy to do.
                          Basically as long as HV provides appropriate serial event information
                          then I should be able to support it. I use HB myself as well as HV and
                          Netioms so at least we have common hardware. You might want to consider
                          1-wire as well , beyond HV's temp sensors - and there's a xAP embedded
                          interface there too (OPNone).
                          One feature I don't mention a lot is that you can create xAP devices
                          directly within HomeVision ... so you could add all your Netioms I/O as
                          HomeVision controllable. These then appear as named devices in HV
                          schedules etc - just like inbuilt I/O. There are some restrictions on
                          the number of xAP devices you can add this way based on memory
                          constraints - although if C-Bus wasn't used then this theoretically
                          could be removed. I don't advocate this on any rapidly changing I/O as
                          the messages all have to traverse the comparatively slow HV serial
                          interface, and also HV actions have to be implemented slightly
                          differently. Oh... BTW you will need an available serial port on HV
                          to attach the gateway too (additional to port 1 that HVXL attaches to).

                          In addition to firmware updates the Ethernet port provides the xAP
                          messaging interface and a couple of rudimentary web pages. These are
                          really for diagnostic usage only rather than any practical purpose.
                          Originally I had a network synched timeserver and an FTP server in there
                          too - to allow people to upload their own web pages, but both of these
                          were removed as space has become very tight in the gateway memory with
                          all the features it now offers. Currently the gateway only has one
                          firmware build that includes all available features and then these are
                          selectively licensed to each user. This makes it easy for management but
                          does mean users that only take some personality options have redundant
                          code in their units, and that space could be freed up for other purposes
                          (eg your unit would have C-Bus code inside that was disabled). I may
                          revisit this in later builds, allowing people to pick and choose
                          personalities more freely - or use multiple gateways as I'm so tight on
                          space within the processor now.

                          There are currently four personalities available all of which can be
                          used simultaneously (xAP, HomeVision, C-Bus, XX) - where XX is a custom
                          one that a larger customer needed . Shortly I will be releasing a fifth
                          which will allow the iPhone/iPod Touch to be used as a touch screen
                          controller, aimed at C-Bus lighting initially but may be useable with
                          all xAP devices. This uses a commercial software app (Command Fusion's
                          iViewer). Again I hope this can be co-resident with all other
                          personalities and users can just purchase and add it to their existing
                          gateway.

                          Interested in the Flexiforce devices - did they work well in your
                          application ? I have some Pulsar sensors which I guess are similar but
                          they only sense stress change so when someone falls asleep on the sofa
                          they don't know that . Does your system handle this or do you have to
                          supplement logic involving other sensors eg PIR's ? Also what
                          automated lighting system are you using ?

                          Cheers Kevin

                          PS I might like to repost your question - and this answer on the Yahoo
                          gateway support group - would that be OK ?

                        • yuenchoong liew
                          DEar Frank,   Thank you for your suggestions. I will certainly look into the systems suggested.   best regards. Liew ... From: Frank Mc Alinden
                          Message 12 of 19 , May 27, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            DEar Frank,
                             
                            Thank you for your suggestions. I will certainly look into the systems suggested.
                             
                            best regards.
                            Liew

                            --- On Tue, 5/26/09, Frank Mc Alinden <frankmc@...> wrote:

                            From: Frank Mc Alinden <frankmc@...>
                            Subject: Re: [ukusa_gateway] New user enquiry...
                            To: ukusa_gateway@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, 3:18 PM

                            Hi Liew
                             
                            Hope Kevin doesnt mind me plugging an Australian alarm system...
                             
                            I would recommend  " Genesis"  Heres a link to it....
                             
                            I have an early version and i use a genesis relay board  to pass my pir status to Homevision.. .The newer Genesis systems allows you to send up to 100 serial messages via the builtin serial ports on most expansion devices...
                             
                            In this link im sending a message from a Genesis serial port on an output controller to tell Homevision to turn on / off an x10 device...
                             
                            HTH
                            Frank
                             
                             
                             
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 12:55 AM
                            Subject: Re: [ukusa_gateway] New user enquiry...

                            Dear Kevin,
                             
                            In the last couple of emails, the use of your gateway has become much clearer to me. I didnt realise that the HV system that I bought was such a powerful system and that by adding your gateway, I could control most HA components.
                             
                            I am a novice user compared to you guys out there and I had configured my HV system with 2 MFEB and 2 Sylva control boards. I am currently programming the whole system to behave an alarm system and it seems such a waste of a powerful controller. However, in Malaysia, it is difficult to get an external alarm system that can interface with the HV and I will need to order one from the US or UK. Any suggestions? I need a system with at least 96 zones (inputs).
                             
                            Once I get your gateway, I will want to connect the C-Bus devices to the HV to control the lights and other devices such as the fish pond pumps and rain water collection pumps.
                             
                            I am also installing a 12.4kw PV solar system and I will need to look into collecting data off the inverter system and displaying then via HV. As I live in  a tropical climate, I need to cool the PV modules with a fine water mist spray and I hope HV through the C-Bus gateway will control the water pumps for me too.
                             
                            Perhaps you could advice me on a homw weather system that can be interfaced either through your gateway of via ethernet to the HV as this will help in my water cooling system.
                             
                             Finally, I am also looking for a suitable software like the CSI HV Movie that I can load in my portable laptops to control the HV. I tried modifying the HV Movie but it is very tedious and time consuming. Do you think HouseBot would be easier?
                             
                            Your advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
                             
                            Cheers,
                            Liew

                            --- On Mon, 5/25/09, Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@ googlemail. com> wrote:

                            From: Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@ googlemail. com>
                            Subject: Re: [ukusa_gateway] New user enquiry...
                            To: ukusa_gateway@ yahoogroups. com
                            Date: Monday, May 25, 2009, 6:41 PM

                            22/05/2009 12:32 Kevin H wrote

                            Hi Phil,

                            Wow - that lounge was one 'automated' room :-)

                            The sort of approach you're taking is very well suited to xAP in that
                            your network becomes the interconnect path between all the devices and
                            even when you have lots of messages flying about , many per second , it
                            is occupying almost nil of the available bandwidth . Plus of course all
                            devices can freely interact with each other. One thing to be aware of
                            as a result of this methodoly is that security of a xAP network is low,
                            but for residential use this is not typically a concern. When I say low
                            security what I mean is that should someone be able to get onto your
                            network then they could create their own xAP nodes to interact with your
                            system. The usual firewalls, routers and NAT of course protect against
                            this, plus xAP brodcast messages are not internet routable.

                            I like your choice of HouseBot + an embedded controller :-)
                            HouseBot has a particularly well implemented xAP plugin and of course
                            can create nice UI's. In my system I've tried to create autonomous
                            islands of control that remain operational should other aspects fail eg
                            the lighting, heating , AV and security and then to interlink them all
                            using embedded controllers like HV / OPNMax, Leopard, (Crestron/AMX) to
                            again create key functionality that is again very dependable. Then at
                            an even higher level using HouseBot (or a.n.other xAP aware PC
                            application) to implement the really fancy control - and also handle
                            richer data sources like weather, news, web access etc. Of course you
                            can use multiple applications to select the features you need or even
                            create redundant controllers. Again one of my favourites is IDRATEK's
                            Cortex application, along with their Idranet hardware as it dovetails
                            with xAP very nicely. This layered functionality with fallback works
                            really well, creating solid dependable control which is essential to
                            keep the family onside.

                            HomeVision should drop nicely into HouseBot , certainly in terms of
                            I/O monitoring and control as well as synching variables and flags. It
                            will be nice to have someone test out the gateway with a fully expanded
                            HV system (MFE etc). Other aspects like macros, timers etc might need
                            me to enhance the gateway functionality - which I'm happy to do.
                            Basically as long as HV provides appropriate serial event information
                            then I should be able to support it. I use HB myself as well as HV and
                            Netioms so at least we have common hardware. You might want to consider
                            1-wire as well , beyond HV's temp sensors - and there's a xAP embedded
                            interface there too (OPNone).
                            One feature I don't mention a lot is that you can create xAP devices
                            directly within HomeVision ... so you could add all your Netioms I/O as
                            HomeVision controllable. These then appear as named devices in HV
                            schedules etc - just like inbuilt I/O. There are some restrictions on
                            the number of xAP devices you can add this way based on memory
                            constraints - although if C-Bus wasn't used then this theoretically
                            could be removed. I don't advocate this on any rapidly changing I/O as
                            the messages all have to traverse the comparatively slow HV serial
                            interface, and also HV actions have to be implemented slightly
                            differently. Oh... BTW you will need an available serial port on HV
                            to attach the gateway too (additional to port 1 that HVXL attaches to).

                            In addition to firmware updates the Ethernet port provides the xAP
                            messaging interface and a couple of rudimentary web pages. These are
                            really for diagnostic usage only rather than any practical purpose.
                            Originally I had a network synched timeserver and an FTP server in there
                            too - to allow people to upload their own web pages, but both of these
                            were removed as space has become very tight in the gateway memory with
                            all the features it now offers. Currently the gateway only has one
                            firmware build that includes all available features and then these are
                            selectively licensed to each user. This makes it easy for management but
                            does mean users that only take some personality options have redundant
                            code in their units, and that space could be freed up for other purposes
                            (eg your unit would have C-Bus code inside that was disabled). I may
                            revisit this in later builds, allowing people to pick and choose
                            personalities more freely - or use multiple gateways as I'm so tight on
                            space within the processor now.

                            There are currently four personalities available all of which can be
                            used simultaneously (xAP, HomeVision, C-Bus, XX) - where XX is a custom
                            one that a larger customer needed . Shortly I will be releasing a fifth
                            which will allow the iPhone/iPod Touch to be used as a touch screen
                            controller, aimed at C-Bus lighting initially but may be useable with
                            all xAP devices. This uses a commercial software app (Command Fusion's
                            iViewer). Again I hope this can be co-resident with all other
                            personalities and users can just purchase and add it to their existing
                            gateway.

                            Interested in the Flexiforce devices - did they work well in your
                            application ? I have some Pulsar sensors which I guess are similar but
                            they only sense stress change so when someone falls asleep on the sofa
                            they don't know that . Does your system handle this or do you have to
                            supplement logic involving other sensors eg PIR's ? Also what
                            automated lighting system are you using ?

                            Cheers Kevin

                            PS I might like to repost your question - and this answer on the Yahoo
                            gateway support group - would that be OK ?


                          • phil_popat
                            ... Because my main interest in xAP-enabling my HV is to add remote physical I/O via Netioms, I think BSC will fully meet my needs. I m willing to rely on a
                            Message 13 of 19 , May 28, 2009
                            • 0 Attachment
                              --- In ukusa_gateway@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@...>
                              wrote:

                              > The internal custom lighting table in HV can hold 256 devices -
                              > typically used for C-Bus but they can be xAP devices but only of BSC
                              > Level or BSC Binary (on/off) type.

                              Because my main interest in xAP-enabling my HV is to add remote physical
                              I/O via Netioms, I think BSC will fully meet my needs. I'm willing to
                              rely on a xAP-enabled PC application for more complex schemas, as long
                              as the critical remote physical I/O (e.g. for my distributed plant
                              watering system) is under fully embedded control---which BSC, your
                              Gateway, HV, and Netioms thankfully make possible.

                              BTW, given the HV's serial port bottleneck, how long does it take to
                              update the status of maximum number (~100) of xAP nodes in a single
                              Netiom-xAP?

                              > Currently, although the gateway does recognise
                              > heartbeats to discover new BSC devices it doesn't actually have a way
                              of
                              > showing they are ongoingly present for a specific device, and hence
                              > altering HV's control macros. This could be quite a useful thing to
                              > add however so let me think on that.

                              That would be well worth waiting for :-)

                              > So am I right in understanding the sensor output is weight related and
                              > not just weight change - so if someone is asleep the sensor can give a
                              > consistent occupied output - and not just pulses as the person sits
                              > down, gets up or moves ? If so great I might have a play with these.

                              Yes, the Flexiforce sensors are essentially pressure-sensitive
                              resistors. So, if you place a Flexiforce sensor between a perfectly
                              flat hardwood floor and the perfectly flat bottom of a furniture leg,
                              its resistance will be inversely proportional to the weight on that
                              furniture leg. Thus, its resistance will drop when someone sits down,
                              and will STAY dropped until that person gets up, thereby providing a
                              continuous "occupied" signal for as long as the furniture is
                              occupied...even if that person remains perfectly still.

                              However, floors aren't perfectly flat...and many are carpeted. To get
                              accurate occupancy sensing under real-world conditions (especially with
                              carpeted floors), the Flexiforce sensor must be packaged so that the
                              weight on the furniture leg is uniformly distributed over its sensing
                              surface. Basically, that entails sandwiching the sensor between two
                              flat, rigid substrates (I used steel discs), and placing the resulting
                              sandwich under the furniture leg.

                              P.
                            • Kevin Hawkins
                              Sorry - been away a few days... ... It actually it takes a few seconds - guessing around 5 or so assuming your running at the highest baud rate possible - but
                              Message 14 of 19 , Jun 6, 2009
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Sorry - been away a few days...

                                phil_popat wrote:
                                > --- In ukusa_gateway@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@...>
                                > wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                >> The internal custom lighting table in HV can hold 256 devices -
                                >> typically used for C-Bus but they can be xAP devices but only of BSC
                                >> Level or BSC Binary (on/off) type.
                                >>
                                >
                                > Because my main interest in xAP-enabling my HV is to add remote physical
                                > I/O via Netioms, I think BSC will fully meet my needs. I'm willing to
                                > rely on a xAP-enabled PC application for more complex schemas, as long
                                > as the critical remote physical I/O (e.g. for my distributed plant
                                > watering system) is under fully embedded control---which BSC, your
                                > Gateway, HV, and Netioms thankfully make possible.
                                >
                                > BTW, given the HV's serial port bottleneck, how long does it take to
                                > update the status of maximum number (~100) of xAP nodes in a single
                                > Netiom-xAP?
                                >

                                It actually it takes a few seconds - guessing around 5 or so assuming
                                your running at the highest baud rate possible - but then it's pretty
                                instant after that as I only propogate changes across the serial
                                interface (and a periodic but paced synchronisation validation).
                                Actually the Netiom can also be setup to sequentially report each of its
                                I/O states with xAPBSC.info messages , say one every 5 seconds rather
                                than report them all at once and so HV would then populate over whatever
                                period the Netiom was reporting.

                                From the gateway, at startup when I discover devices I also try and
                                pace the responses to avoid network floods. The Netiom is superfast if
                                you do ask it to report all it's I/O at once - I think it can send xAP
                                messages about every 10mS ! However again you can selectively
                                enable/disable every Netiom I/O point so you typically only have a very
                                few of these enabled. These situations are really only significant at
                                the time either a Netiom or the gateway starts up as once running only
                                changes are updated.

                                Currently you couldn't add 100 BSC devices to HV due to some artificial
                                restrictions that I put in to limit memory usage , but this could be
                                changed at the expense of HV names. Storing long names eats memory
                                and the gateway has to store the source names of all the xAP
                                endpoints. It already optimises this for example by only storing the
                                parent device name once and then the sub addresses separately.
                                Hmmm... I also currently store xAP names for BSC input endpoints - but
                                thinking about it, as an input can't be controlled I don't ever really
                                need to send messages to it and so I really don't need to know their
                                source names....which would significantly increase space .
                                >
                                >> Currently, although the gateway does recognise
                                >> heartbeats to discover new BSC devices it doesn't actually have a way
                                >>
                                > of
                                >
                                >> showing they are ongoingly present for a specific device, and hence
                                >> altering HV's control macros. This could be quite a useful thing to
                                >> add however so let me think on that.
                                >>
                                >
                                > That would be well worth waiting for :-)
                                >
                                James has just released an application called xMonitor - which among
                                other things provides a BSC state output for every device/application on
                                your xAP network. So using that app you could now create entries in HV
                                that show whether a device is present or absent on your xAP network.
                                In the future I hope to allow you to use HV Flags (and maybe variables)
                                for ON|OFF BSC devices as well as the Custom Lighting devices. If you
                                name them with a xAP UID that ends in all 0's after the : then it will
                                realise (because it is not a sub address) that you want to monitor the
                                presence of a device rather than its status and will update accordingly :-)

                                xMonitor also displays your xAP messages in realtime within a web
                                browser - so that's a useful diagnostic tool. It is released with
                                source code too (VB6) and uses the xAP Intranet OCX so if you are
                                wanting a good example application to look at - which uses AJAX for
                                realtime web updates then it's well worth examing.

                                >
                                >> So am I right in understanding the sensor output is weight related and
                                >> not just weight change - so if someone is asleep the sensor can give a
                                >> consistent occupied output - and not just pulses as the person sits
                                >> down, gets up or moves ? If so great I might have a play with these.
                                >>
                                >
                                > Yes, the Flexiforce sensors are essentially pressure-sensitive
                                > resistors. So, if you place a Flexiforce sensor between a perfectly
                                > flat hardwood floor and the perfectly flat bottom of a furniture leg,
                                > its resistance will be inversely proportional to the weight on that
                                > furniture leg. Thus, its resistance will drop when someone sits down,
                                > and will STAY dropped until that person gets up, thereby providing a
                                > continuous "occupied" signal for as long as the furniture is
                                > occupied...even if that person remains perfectly still.
                                >
                                > However, floors aren't perfectly flat...and many are carpeted. To get
                                > accurate occupancy sensing under real-world conditions (especially with
                                > carpeted floors), the Flexiforce sensor must be packaged so that the
                                > weight on the furniture leg is uniformly distributed over its sensing
                                > surface. Basically, that entails sandwiching the sensor between two
                                > flat, rigid substrates (I used steel discs), and placing the resulting
                                > sandwich under the furniture leg.
                                >

                                I'm going to try some of these I think ....


                                K
                              • phil_popat
                                ... Me, too! ... Not bad at all! A related question: do the Netiom and Gateway handle changes to the Netiom analog inputs in the same way as changes to the
                                Message 15 of 19 , Jun 9, 2009
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                                  --- In ukusa_gateway@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Hawkins <yahoogroupskh@...>
                                  wrote:

                                  > Sorry - been away a few days...

                                  Me, too!

                                  > > BTW, given the HV's serial port bottleneck, how long does it take to
                                  > > update the status of maximum number (~100) of xAP nodes in a single
                                  > > Netiom-xAP?

                                  > It actually it takes a few seconds - guessing around 5 or so assuming
                                  > your running at the highest baud rate possible - but then it's pretty
                                  > instant after that as I only propogate changes across the serial
                                  > interface (and a periodic but paced synchronisation validation).

                                  Not bad at all! A related question: do the Netiom and Gateway handle
                                  changes to the Netiom analog inputs in the same way as changes to the
                                  discrete inputs? More specifically, will slowly changing analog inputs
                                  swamp the HV serial interface? A specific scenario: in my plant
                                  watering system, the output of each soil moisture sensor goes from near
                                  zero to near full-scale over a period of a few minutes while the plant
                                  is being watered; after watering is complete, the output begins an
                                  exponential drop toward near-zero with a time constant of up to several
                                  days (depending on the plant). I can imagine that the HV serial
                                  interface would see a lot of unnecessary traffic during the watering
                                  event...unless there is some means to set a programmable analog
                                  threshold (or maximum update rate) for messages reporting changes to BSC
                                  level devices.


                                  > Currently you couldn't add 100 BSC devices to HV due to some
                                  artificial
                                  > restrictions that I put in to limit memory usage , but this could be
                                  > changed at the expense of HV names. Storing long names eats memory
                                  > and the gateway has to store the source names of all the xAP
                                  > endpoints. It already optimises this for example by only storing the
                                  > parent device name once and then the sub addresses separately.
                                  > Hmmm... I also currently store xAP names for BSC input endpoints - but
                                  > thinking about it, as an input can't be controlled I don't ever really
                                  > need to send messages to it and so I really don't need to know their
                                  > source names....which would significantly increase space .

                                  Excellent! Roughly how many BSC devices could be handled in that case?

                                  > James has just released an application called xMonitor - which among
                                  > other things provides a BSC state output for every device/application
                                  on
                                  > your xAP network. So using that app you could now create entries in
                                  HV
                                  > that show whether a device is present or absent on your xAP network.

                                  xMonitor seems like an extremely useful app, and will certainly add it
                                  to my configuration.

                                  > In the future I hope to allow you to use HV Flags (and maybe
                                  variables)
                                  > for ON|OFF BSC devices as well as the Custom Lighting devices. If you
                                  > name them with a xAP UID that ends in all 0's after the : then it will
                                  > realise (because it is not a sub address) that you want to monitor
                                  the
                                  > presence of a device rather than its status and will update
                                  accordingly :-)

                                  That would be an excellent capability. However, your Gateway is more
                                  than appealing enough without it (or the other envisioned upgrades
                                  you've mentioned in this thread), and I'll be contacting you shortly
                                  regarding Paypal details :-)

                                  P.
                                • Kevin Hawkins
                                  ... The threshold / hysteresis is programmable on each input, or you can turn the automatic reporting off and just use a periodic report , or respond only to
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Jun 10, 2009
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                                    phil_popat wrote:
                                    > A related question: do the Netiom and Gateway handle
                                    > changes to the Netiom analog inputs in the same way as changes to the
                                    > discrete inputs? More specifically, will slowly changing analog inputs
                                    > swamp the HV serial interface? A specific scenario: in my plant
                                    > watering system, the output of each soil moisture sensor goes from near
                                    > zero to near full-scale over a period of a few minutes while the plant
                                    > is being watered; after watering is complete, the output begins an
                                    > exponential drop toward near-zero with a time constant of up to several
                                    > days (depending on the plant). I can imagine that the HV serial
                                    > interface would see a lot of unnecessary traffic during the watering
                                    > event...unless there is some means to set a programmable analog
                                    > threshold (or maximum update rate) for messages reporting changes to BSC
                                    > level devices.
                                    >
                                    The threshold / hysteresis is programmable on each input, or you can
                                    turn the automatic reporting off and just use a periodic report , or
                                    respond only to queries.
                                    >
                                    >> I also currently store xAP names for BSC input endpoints - but
                                    >> thinking about it, as an input can't be controlled I don't ever really
                                    >> need to send messages to it and so I really don't need to know their
                                    >> source names....which would significantly increase space .
                                    >>
                                    >
                                    > Excellent! Roughly how many BSC devices could be handled in that case?
                                    >
                                    It depends how many of the the BSC endpoints you were monitoring were
                                    inputs (rather than outputs) - for each input you would gain an extra
                                    output .. so approx doubling to around 50 BSC devices.. For each
                                    HomeVision name you saved you would gain 15 characters of memory - and
                                    assuming each xAP source address name is approx 30 characters it means
                                    one BSC device supported per HV name not used. Currently the gateway
                                    supports about 350 HV names.


                                    K
                                  • phil_popat
                                    Kevin, I m now convinced that the combination of your Gateway and HV, together with a few Netiom-xAPs, is by far the most cost-effective solution for what I
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Jun 20, 2009
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                                      Kevin,

                                      I'm now convinced that the combination of your Gateway and HV, together
                                      with a few Netiom-xAPs, is by far the most cost-effective solution for
                                      what I want to do (especially with the improved memory utilization in
                                      your upcoming beta release). I don't mind relying on PCs for fancy
                                      GUIs, music playback, and home theater stuff...but I want critical
                                      functions like plant-watering, occupancy sensing, HVAC, and door locks
                                      to be under fully embedded control, with no PCs in the loop (even though
                                      I must admit that a flash-based linux box can be virtually bulletproof).

                                      I still find it hard to believe that your Gateway's xAP capability isn't
                                      getting more attention than the C-bus capability!

                                      Thanks for fully answering my questions, and for developing such an
                                      excellent device.

                                      P.
                                    • Kevin Hawkins
                                      ... Yes..that memory recovery has made things so much easier - and I should be able to support many xAP BSC endpoint devices - possibly all the 256 available
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Jun 21, 2009
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                                        phil_popat wrote:
                                        > Kevin,
                                        >
                                        > I'm now convinced that the combination of your Gateway and HV, together
                                        > with a few Netiom-xAPs, is by far the most cost-effective solution for
                                        > what I want to do (especially with the improved memory utilization in
                                        > your upcoming beta release).
                                        Yes..that memory recovery has made things so much easier - and I should
                                        be able to support many xAP BSC endpoint devices - possibly all the 256
                                        available via custom lighting in HV., although you must consider the HV
                                        serial traffic too.

                                        Although more costly - if you prefer cased I/O units rather than PCB's
                                        then do look at IDRANET too as their Cortex software application
                                        (required) will integrate with xAP. One other very nice aspect of
                                        IDRANET is that the I/O interaction can be programmed directly into
                                        their modules so again a totally embedded solution. This can operate in
                                        a fallback mode too so you can program Cortex to do fancy stuff but have
                                        IDRANET operate in a 'Reflex' mode should the higher levels fail eg a PC
                                        crash. Just to clarify though the xAP interaction with IDRANet goes via
                                        their Cortex PC application so not truly a completely xAP embedded
                                        solution in fallback mode.

                                        http://www.idratek.com/

                                        1-wire another possibility (OPNone) - totally embedded

                                        - plus one other possibility that I'll email you offlist about .... ;-)
                                        > I don't mind relying on PCs for fancy
                                        > GUIs, music playback, and home theater stuff...but I want critical
                                        > functions like plant-watering, occupancy sensing, HVAC, and door locks
                                        > to be under fully embedded control, with no PCs in the loop (even though
                                        > I must admit that a flash-based linux box can be virtually bulletproof).
                                        >
                                        Just a couple of things to bear in mind here

                                        1) xAP is not end to end confirmed in its message delivery as it
                                        uses UDP. However obviously in HV you could double check within your
                                        macros that the desired action did happen as xAP BSC devices always send
                                        a status change message when they react to a command. Having said that
                                        , in a typical usage scenario ,and on my own network which has loads of
                                        xAP traffic, I have never seen messages go astray as the utilisation
                                        is insignificant relative to the bandwidth available.

                                        2) xAP is not secure, so you might want to be cautious re your
                                        security ie door locks. It is not encrypted and it is not source
                                        verified. Should anyone be able to gain access to your internal network
                                        they could theoretically inject their own door open/close messages.
                                        They can't do this externally to your network eg from the Internet as
                                        xAP packets do not traverse routers and firewalls.

                                        You could layer encyption / keys / source validation / confirmed
                                        delivery on top of the xAP protocol by using higher level schema and
                                        even TCP , and I know some people have done this but there is no
                                        official specification. One very secure commercial HA software package
                                        "CQC" even uses xAP internally as its event / communication mechanism.
                                        These considerations are not a typical requirement for usage within a
                                        residential environment and would add significant complexity as well as
                                        defeating the xAP broadcast tenet. So communication with your Netiom
                                        would only be as secure as access to your home network (and a xAP
                                        knowledgeable intruder).
                                        > I still find it hard to believe that your Gateway's xAP capability isn't
                                        > getting more attention than the C-bus capability!
                                        >
                                        I originally designed the gateway for xAP and C-Bus , as those are two
                                        cornerstones of my system. HV was a requested addition but makes a lot
                                        of sense as you need a controller of some form too. Daniel has now
                                        released OPNMax too as an embedded xAP controller and it's very low
                                        cost as it runs within adapted hardware (circa $75). I don't overly
                                        publicise the gateway as I make no profit on their sales as I offer them
                                        'as is' at cost. I suspect there's a very valid business model to
                                        double the price of the gateway and go for it but that has other
                                        ramification that I'd rather avoid at the moment.
                                        > Thanks for fully answering my questions, and for developing such an
                                        > excellent device
                                        >
                                        Looking forward to hearning how it all goes when you get yours ...

                                        K
                                        > P.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                      • Kevin Hawkins
                                        Forgot to mention the Barix Barionet too - lots of I/O in a cased DIN mounting module, plus extension modules too. There is a xAP module available for this
                                        Message 19 of 19 , Jun 21, 2009
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                                          Forgot to mention the Barix Barionet too - lots of I/O in a cased DIN
                                          mounting module, plus extension modules too. There is a xAP module
                                          available for this that resides within the firmware of the unit (BCL) -
                                          so totally xAP embedded :-)

                                          http://www.barix.com/Barionet/511/

                                          K
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