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Author Topic: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro  (Read 69141 times)

David Mark

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How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« on: December 20, 2006, 09:40:41 PM »

And when you get to the end of this and already own a CM15a, you can add it to the system as a toy camera controller (about the only added value.)

  • 1.) Use scene-enabled modules.  Smarthome's work well.  PCS Scenemasters are okay, but have no status reporting (odd for an $80 light switch!)  The "dummy module" convention I see mentioned here to work around AHP's limitations is where the scene goes.  AHP just reacts to the scene to control appliances that are not scene-enabled.  No dummies needed.  If you are going to abstract your automated home in software, you want it to make sense at a glance.

  • 2.) Keypads are great scene controllers.  Smarthome Keypadlinc is one, Leviton makes one too.  Very comforting to know that when the @$#! CM15a takes a powder, you can still control your lights from a wallswitch.

  • 3.) Get a WGL PC receiver (w800RF.)  They receive everything (camera remotes, security devices, etc.)  Who needs plugins?  What software to use?  I would say Misterhouse, but there are problems with their w800RF module (big shock.)  I will straighten them out on that in the near future.  For those that don't know, MH is free aggravation, as opposed to AHP's $50 a pop aggravation.  If you have used MH in the past, give it another try as I did manage to fix a lot of it last Spring.  The Pro version is coming this Spring...

  • 4.) Get a wall-mounted timer for security lights.  Even a table-top model.  You don't need this ridiculous software to turn lights on and off at a set interval (with security delays, etc.)

  • 5.) Dusk to dawn timers for outdoor lights?  This is the biggest no-brainer of them all: use light fixtures with built-in sensors.  When trying to synchronize with sunlight, you just can't beat actual sunlight as an indicator.

  • 6.) Thermostats, temperature sensors, weather, news, alarm systems, alphanumeric displays, MP3 players, etc. are all do-able with Misterhouse.  No expensive plugins needed.  Contrast that with AHP, where a "Windows command" is one quoted string without arguments.  You know you are off in the weeds when you have to create a BAT file for every sound effect.  Certainly MH can speak and play sounds all day long (any decent Windows app can these days!)  Matter of fact, I recently added file-based event sounds w/ schemes for different holidays.  Try that with batch files.

  • 7.) Webcams work much better than those ridiculous wireless cameras.  They can all be on at once and taking a snapshot is the same as downloading an image from a Web site.  Contrast that with using the AHP plugin.  It is fifty bucks for a WAV file and camera flash animation (which twitches on and off repeatedly whenever the video plugin is recording.)  And as I mentioned in a previous post, it screws up the already shaky AHP application.  It takes two lines of PERL code in MH to snap a picture and play the related event sound.  I'll add a camera flash animation to the status bar, but it will only go off once for each picture taken!

  • 8.) Use your alarm as a controller if you have one that sends X10 signals.  My alarm can be programmed to send certain X10 codes on arm home/arm away/disarm, etc.  As you might guess, the first two are scene aliases (home and away.)  So I can just use my alarm keyfob on the way out the door, sixty seconds later the house sets the away scene (AHP is not involved with that.)  If AHP is actually conscious at the time, a macro is triggered by the scene (AKA dummy module) to turn off a few outlets (scene-enabled outlets would be nice.)  The disarm code unlatches the inside garage door momentarily so that I don't have to fumble around for my badge.  Once again, no software or controller (other than the alarm itself) is involved.

There are lots of other things you can do without help from AHP.  Your best bet is to find as many as you can before opening the carton with the CM15a (and know going in that the wall wart is just a toy camera controller.)  Speaking of the Ninjas, unless the latest and greatest CM15a that they are sending me does a better job of retaining its macros and timers, I will be controlling the garage camera with software (and not AHP!)  You cannot control the Ninjas with the current incarnation of Misterhouse, but you can with the upcoming MH Pro.  Where does that leave AHP?  Nowhere.


[TTA Edit: Formatted for improved readability.]
« Last Edit: April 05, 2007, 06:36:07 PM by TakeTheActive »
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 11:13:12 PM »

Sorry, David.

The CM15A is Only available with AHP.  X10 will not sell it by itself.
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2006, 05:00:46 PM »


The CM15A is Only available with AHP.  X10 will not sell it by itself.

Yes, but...
X-10 often offers combo deals.  Sometimes it's the CM15A and AHP with a bunch of AHP  plugins.  Other times it's the CM15A, the basic AHP, and a bunch of modules.   The prices are often the same.

If there's no intention of using AHP, the best bet is to look for a deal with modules instead of  plugins.

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David Mark

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2006, 04:51:25 PM »

Dan,

Don't apologize.  I already have two.

The basic idea is to buy the controller, install the software, download your timers and macros and close the software forever.  Did I not make myself clear?  That is the magic formula.  Then you run my software (or the free MH for the moment) and you have a much smarter house.  Trust me!
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alexo1us

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 08:10:56 PM »

Dan,

Don't apologize.  I already have two.

The basic idea is to buy the controller, install the software, download your timers and macros and close the software forever.  Did I not make myself clear?  That is the magic formula.  Then you run my software (or the free MH for the moment) and you have a much smarter house.  Trust me!


if this is what your suposed to do with AHP then they really missed the mark
in order for me to have a chance of working right i have to run it from the pc this as was told earler is a known problem .
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HA Dave

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 09:06:03 PM »

if this is what your suposed to do with AHP then they really missed the mark

I think David Mark was actually referring to the CM11A. That was an old post from 2006. I don't think AHP was quickly adapted by everyone. And many people are very resistant to the idea of using a PC in the Home Automation setup. It must be an "old school" thing or something.

There are no "standards" for Home Automation! If you have a clapper on a bedroom light... you have Home Automation. So you don't NEED a computer, or a CM15A, or software, or even X10 [or other PLC devices].

I am sorta addicted to Automation myself... I really enjoy it. HA for me is more than fun or a hobby... its a lifestyle. I wouldn't be the person to decide what HA should be.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

alexo1us

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2009, 12:38:26 PM »

I like running the PC it dosn't have a keyboard or monitor I just use RDC to hook up and make changes that way it doesn't take up a PC And since I'm Always going in to fine tune it this just was the best way better if there was web interface but this works and I have total control over it from the world. I have the myhome plugin but it would be better to connect direct to the device rathen then their web site just one more place to fail.
What we have here is a heathkit HA system for those old enough to remember.

they will need to make it more compatible with other hardware if they want to keep selling software. I could see a device that run AHP just plug a cord in and external antenna  look much like home router the x10 signals can be sent down the power cord. RF will go right to the box basicaly a PC with a CM** device in the same box be more then 49 bucks.
This would solve the PC issues some have. I already have the basic design in my head I can see it. I may do one for my self.
wouldn't hard there is enough space in the tower for the cm15a mount inside. extend the attena connection to a connector on box  as done here already in one form or another. if nothing else I will have a all in one unit that can be taken anywhere just plug it in and turn it on.

Well I guess I will start collecting the parts I'll need  it will make it easier for me to sell and install systems.
now I thinking
Alex   
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HA Dave

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2009, 06:12:06 AM »

I like running the PC it dosn't have a keyboard or monitor.....

Yeah I have a PC setup in the corner of my basement office, it runs 24/7 and has for a couple years now. I keep the monitor turned off... but everthing stays connected even though I rarely go near the HA PC.

I think the tiny [yet powerful] little netbooks that run on as little as 15 watts may be the [near] future for HA. I have also seen wifi enabled digital picture frames... that display pictures accessed from network hard-drives or connected PC's. I think there may be some great yet-to-be-exploited potential there.

And... of course.. I am a big fan of BVC. And as much futurist stuff that BVC does for me... Bill just keeps making it better all the time.

But to stay ture with the threads topic.... I actually could do all this using the AHP software and the CM19A.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 12:47:53 AM by -Bill- (of wgjohns.com) »
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

alexo1us

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2009, 08:41:57 AM »

Does the CM19A have a bigger processor and more memory otherwise it will be prone the same failer.
on Another i did see some of those all in one boxes Almost, still needed their version of CM
I collected my parts.
I'm going to add a wifi card to make it more mobile. for the time being I'll duck tape the15A to the side.
this will show how it works.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 09:12:29 AM by alexo1us »
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HA Dave

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2009, 08:54:36 AM »

Does the CM19A have a bigger processor and more memory otherwise it will be prone the same failer.


The CM19A has no memory or processor. It is a mouse sized/shaped device that allows your AHP computer send/receive X10 RF signals. I am not recommending it over the CM15A... I just mentioned it could replace it.

As I mentioned earlier... this was/is an OLD thread. The CM15A was not quickly excepted (even by me). But I do think that AHP and the CM15A is the way to go.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2009, 08:57:18 AM by Dave_x10_L »
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

alexo1us

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2009, 09:18:02 AM »

I have a loy more learning but it sounds like the 19 is more interface them CM which would make it better for my project being smaller.
can we still get one of these from X10?
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Tuicemen

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2009, 09:33:52 AM »

I have a loy more learning but it sounds like the 19 is more interface them CM which would make it better for my project being smaller.
can we still get one of these from X10?

The CM15A is the route to take unless you want both because thats what will happen if you start with the CM19A!
The CM19A requires the PC to be on 24/7 the CM15A doesn't ::) :'
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alexo1us

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2009, 10:05:42 AM »

For me the pc is a requirement anyway I actually have a hard time thinking not running it.
So just to be sure I got this right.
The CM15A was to run in a stand alone config the CM19A is just an interface it needs the AHP to run. So for me wanting to run from the pc the 19 would be better and I don't need a 15.
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HA Dave

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2009, 10:24:14 AM »

The CM15A was to run in a stand alone config the CM19A is just an interface it needs the AHP to run. So for me wanting to run from the pc the 19 would be better and I don't need a 15.

No. Ether can run with the PC... however the CM15A is superior to the CM19A... and can also run stand alone.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
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Tuicemen

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Re: How to automate your house without Activehome Pro
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2009, 10:34:25 AM »

CM19A will not run with AHP It will however run with any software created using the SDK!
The CM19A has no internal memory.
It has no PLC receive capability (a big limitation)
It requires a transceiver to work except for moving Pan & Tilts or anything with a RF receiver built in.


CM15A runs either Connected or not to the PC
It has internal memory So if you have a PC crash it still works
It has PLC receive and transmite
It has RF receive and transmite (No additional transceiver required in most cases)
The CM15A uses the AHP software. But only needs it for uploading info to it's memory
The CM15A works with the SDK and Almost any software X10 has


Sounds like I'm pushing the CM15A but in the end it is up to you! I just don't want you to be disappointed!
 >!
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