Archive for March, 2015

Harmony Ultimate Hub

Posted: March 10, 2015 in Hardware, Home Media
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Yup I got suckered.
Again.
As part of the playing with the idea of new equipment/AV cupboard for the lounge it became apparent that if I do close away all the equipment, I’d still need some method of passing IR commands across. Thinking I was being clever, and taking advantage of a silly discount at Amazon, I bought a Harmony Ultimate Hub.
I’m sure it’s a brilliant device. But like it’s predecessor, it gets confused about what is on, off and what state is needed to fulfil an activity. So I end up either having to reset everything using the original remotes or just drop the Harmony and use the original remotes anyway. I probably could set it up better, but it’s still sold as a simple to setup and use device.
I’ll eBay it soon, but I’m actually trying to use it to solve other IR related issues in another one of my random projects.
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OpenHAB Update

Posted: March 5, 2015 in HA
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Searching for some information on Google yesterday returned one of my own posts and made me realise that I’ve not posted anything about my progress with OpenHAB for ages.

OpenHAB is still in daily use and is now happily controlling the various simple scenes that the Veralite originally controlled e.g. turning on and off the dehumidifier. It has now also allowed me to migrate simple scenes to more complex rules based on day of the week, school holidays and even family holidays.

My old Veralite system had a table lamp and some fairy lights turned on at a specific time Mon-Fri and at a different time Sat & Sun as a simple alarm for my daughter. I had to remember to enable and disable the specific timers in the Veralite if it was school holidays or if the timing had to change. This lead to a single scene with 3 or 4 specific ‘ON’ timers and an associated 3 or 4 ‘OFF’ timers.

With OpenHAB I now have a single rule that works on the day of the week and 2 simple true/false switches for school or family holidays to control all the morning wake up alarms. Granted I could probably have done it in Lua, but I much rather work in an IDE that gives me error checking rather than try and do everything in the Lua console on the Veralite.

I also have alerting and messaging capabilities that can tell me when I need to do something. By monitoring the on state of the dehumidifier and the power draw I can tell if the bucket needs emptying. If it does I can send a message out to my phone via Pushover, tweet an alert or even display a message on one or all of the Kodi (nee XBMC) boxes that are in various rooms. Sounds like overkill, but it means that the machine actually gets emptied and gets on with the job rather than relying on random checks by either myself or the wife.

By using the Veralite as simply a Z-Wave (& 433MHz) controller and abstracting the control logic into OpenHAB I have managed to reduce the demands on the Veralite, reduce the number of plugins/addons installed and consequently increase the stability of the Veralite.