Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An interesting week

The other day I received an email from a friend that I hadn't heard from in a while. This is not unusual as we are adults and we all lead busy lives. His HCS II HA system died and he was in need of a spare Supervisory Controller (SC - basically the brains of the device). Luckily I have a spare SC so his system will be back up and running soon. He also picked up some new hardware from simplehomenet. This hardware support X10 and Insteon. He plans on using this as a replacement for his HCS II. Funny thing is that many HCS users complain that the new systems don't really have the same features as the HCS. So I decided to take a look at some of the products on the Simplehomenet site and found the ZBPLM - ZigBee INSTEON X10 Interface which is a one-for-one replacement of the the Insteon 2412s (serial, not USB) but has the additional support for Zig-Bee. Simplehomenet has released an API for the device. I'm hoping to get my hands on the PLM, a ZigBee device from Simplehomenet and a ZigBee device from another vendor (just to make sure it's working). I'll probably be able to add it to Misterhouse first as Misterhouse already supports the Insteon 2412s. I would love to have this available for the Trenton Computer Festival (April 2nd, 2011). But no promises, there are many other parts of the DollHouse project that must be completed first, so stay tuned.


At 11/17/2010 12:35 PM, Blogger Jon Smirl said...

Check out MiCasaVerde. It is a wifi router modified to add a Zwave radio. It is based off from OpenWRT. The main core is a lua app that turns every device/scene into a UPNP device. You can then use generic UPNP remotes to control it.

They have support for the current Insteon PLMs. The architecture is plugin based so it can be extended for lots of devices.

Is there a decent scene editor for Insteon any where? I have way too many devices to do it by hand and I'm writing an app for it right now.

At 11/17/2010 2:28 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

A friend of mine has MiCasaVerde and he is not impressed. The entire project is a great idea but lots of little things are wrong (user interface feel, the way things have been handled, source code from April 2009, ...) and can't be fixed from the current code (which is not the current shipped code). I would like a lot more control of things. Hence my running with Misterhouse and my alternate DollHouse Project.

Misterhouse has full support for Insteon (thanks to the major work by Gregg Liming and others). The SimpleHomeNet unit should work but Misterhouse doesn't have the ZigBee support yet. I think Misterhouse has a way for Misterhouse to link everything up. I have done any scenes yet.

Oh, just to keep things clear, I have a bit of a problem with Z-Wave and I'm hoping ZigBee will triumph as the next major stable HA protocol. So far it looks like a drag race between turtles in cold weather (and it's bucket of molasses by several yards).

At 11/17/2010 3:56 PM, Blogger Jon Smirl said...

Does he have the new LuaUPNP version of the MiCasaVerde software? It is a free download. About 18 months ago they tossed their original software and rewrote it.

At 11/17/2010 9:08 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

YEs, he likes the LuaPNP but he has run into other things he does not like.

At 12/02/2010 5:00 PM, Blogger species said...

Hi Neil Cherry,
I found your page while searching if anybody using SimpleHomeNet ZBPLM.
I ordered Vera2 and waiting for shipping.
I bought ZBPLM instead of INSTEON 2413U because I was hopping some day I can get Vera2 working with zigBee.

I want to use ZBPLM with Vera2 when I got it.
I am curious about your experience using ZBPLM with Vera or other software (HS2)
Smarthome also has INSTEON Portable USB Adapter. wonder how it works with Vera.

At 12/03/2010 5:56 AM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

I've not used the Vera and I'm not sure the ZBPLM will work with their software (you can probably make it work though). This is because the 2413U is a USB device and can be identified from the USB tools. The ZBPLM is a serial device and with a USB serial converter it can not easily be identified with the USB tools. Of course I don't know how the Vera identifies the device so take this 'with a grain of salt'.

As far as HS2, I'm afraid I don't know what that is. I worked with the HCS II which is hardware and it won't directly work with the HCS 2. Since the HCS 2 is so old it won't be added to it either.

I suspect that the ZBPLM will work with Misterhouse but I haven't tried it (yet).

While I'm not giving up on X10 (to some extent) and Insteon I am looking forward to the promise of Zig-Bee. Lets hope we see a lot more devices.

At 12/03/2010 2:13 PM, Blogger species said...

I mean HomeSeer 2 for HS2.
I am also using Groovy(Grails) for about an year and I love it.
I am dreaming to develop home automation software that run on Jetty server on SheevaPlug platform.
After looking at OpenRemote Controller code( I got some confidence that we can develop webapp in java/groovy.
In the past I was able to install Sun JDK(ARM5) on Seagate DockDtar and run a Jetty server.
cool thing about Jetty server is it has server push(Web Sockets) support.

At 12/03/2010 3:40 PM, Blogger Neil Cherry said...

Species, I've done no playing with Windows (I have a distinct distrust of Microsoft :-) so I have no experience with any Windows software.

I like Groovy a lot, I am worried about performance, but I hate some of the libraries (try GroovyWS and see what it needs and drags in, it's huge!). I hate reinventing the wheel also so I have to be careful there. Add to that I'm not that knowledgeable of the Java dev world (my God, it's filled with TLAs) and this is going to be interesting. I still think it's the correct direction but it's a long road ahead.

I'll take a look at Jetty and see how large it is. In the mean time I'm looking forward to Zig-Bee and Lutron also!


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