Archive for November, 2013

Adventures in HA – Part Four – HomeGenie (1)

Posted: November 14, 2013 in HA
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I had originally planned to go an download the 30 day trial of Indigo, but a spare hour or so yesterday meant that I dug out a spare SD card and re-installed HomeGenie.

I liked HomeGenie when I first played with it a few months back, although initial attempts to get my X-10 controller to work failed miserably, sticking an Aeon Labs Stick2 in worked fine. At that point I lacked any other devices, so turning on and off a single light wasn’t really a huge leap forward. Now I also have a 3-in-1 sensor I can try and get things to happen based on the sensor as well as manual control.

So back to HomeGenie and it’s pleasant jQuery mobile interface. The interface is minimal, and really designed for use on devices rather than the desktop. The downside is that configuration then becomes much more ‘restricted’ in its abilities.

Originally I had managed to get the controller and switch setup. From there getting the switch to turn a lamp on and off via the interface(confusing my kids no end!). With the new version (1.00_beta_r290 from memory) I got the controller to register (I think), it eventually picked up the switch but then totally failed to let me turn the switch on or off, even though it was correctly reporting the status of the switch (0% or 100%). This may have been due to me getting impatient, repeatedly pressing the button and confusing the poor thing, but I’m sure it responded a lot quicker last time I played with it!

Getting the 3-in-1 to work hasn’t been successful so far. It registers the sensor as a node, but then getting it to do anything (presence, temperature or light level) has left me stumped. Lack of time to pursue this means I’ll need to find some time to go through forums and maybe try again.

 

HomeGenie – www.generoso.info/homegenie/

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Adventures in HA – Part Three

Posted: November 4, 2013 in HA
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So the decision now is whether or not to go with OpenRemote or with Indigo as the next platform to try. The great thing about OR is that I can then (theoretically) use it as a basis for an integrated controller (Sky box, Vu+, XBMC etc etc). If the built in Z-Wave integration sucks it can still be used to talk to a Vera or other ‘proper’ HA controller. It’s also free! The MASSIVE downside is the time to get it working. I can install and build an OR server relatively quickly, but setting up every command variation (on/off, range, status, etc etc) for every button on every device is a long and painful process. We then need to design an interface and build it from scratch. Ouch.

Indigo on the other hand is a software platform that can control the various z-wave devices floating around in my house. However, it ONLY runs on OSX, so the Mini will need to be permanently on (costs???) and it cost money – $100 or $200 depending on the number of devices and capabilities required. There is a 30 day trial available, so perhaps there’s a starting point.

The OR device is something I wanted to build, but time is an issue. The cost of Indigo is potentially more than that of a Veralite, so is it worth it?

 

Indigo – http://www.perceptiveautomation.com/indigo/index.html

OpenRemote – http://www.openremote.org/

Adventures in HA – Part Two – DomotiGa (2)

Posted: November 4, 2013 in HA
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So after playing with DomotiGa for a week or so I got the hump. It’s a good stable system, but it didn’t recognise any of my Z-Wave devices, making it a right pain to set up. I liked the weather integration and the useful data it would throw up, but the struggle to persuade it to log the temperature from my 3-in-1 sensor or act when motion was detected was irritating.

I can spend hours building and updating and configuring, but that isn’t actually turning my lights off or telling me the temperature in a bedroom over the course of a day. I’m sure I could do it, if I wanted to spend hours playing and configuring, but I’m of the opinion that I need to DO, not BUILD with this stuff. The point is to get a measurable return on investment, NOT to spend all the time getting it to work.

I also need something that can be controlled from a tablet, and the included interfaces wouldn’t pass the WAF.

If this was a curiosity project, I’d love to keep playing with it, but it is supposed to be the foundation of a serious use, so playing isn’t an option. I want to be able to buy a device, add it, have the platform recognise it, and use it in the way it is designed. Time to move on to the next platform and give it a try.

DomotiGa – http://www.domotiga.nl/