Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

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Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby korsteed » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:52 am

Inspired by this forum, I am going to start with home automation.

I host my own webserver at home (based on windows, java (tomcat) and Oracle database) and I want to implement for starters the following:
- A burglar-alarm that can switch things (eg lights and e-mail sending camera images).
- Looking at camera images throug the Internet (and Android phone).

In the future I may want to add also the following:
- Lighting control
- Devices on / off
- Thermostat control
- Electricity / gas / water consumption measurement
- Temperature / Humidity Measuring

I currently have 2 separate Sitecom IP cameras and a lot of lighting is swithed by click-aan/click-uit.
I also have an Oregon Scientific Watts Cher flowmeter and thermometer.

At the moment my plan is to buy the following equipment:
- Visonic Powermax plus an alarm with various sensors.
- Alphatronics Visonic wireless PC interface for visionic.
- RFX com-station to operate the click on / click off switches.

Is this a good choice to start with? Did I miss something?

I do not know if I'm going to use HomeSeer or do all programming my self.
I don't know yet how difficult it is to build things yourself or how easy it is to use homeseer.
I have no experience with home automation and electronics. But I do know programming (in java, oracle, web-technology).
I wonder what is the best way to start. Is Homeseer a good starting place or is it just as easy to call
the sensors from my own software.

I prefer programming in Java and not in a Microsoft language.
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Re: Starting with home automation. Homeseer of custom-build?

Postby Bwired » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:15 pm

I think your choices are good to start with!
The products you mention are solid and will give you the extra boost to go on with Home Automation I think :D

I don't use Homeseer, but if you can't program your own stuff or do not want to do that then its one of the best programs to use.
On this forum there are a lot of Homeseer users and that forums are in dutch (only) :)
I think programming yourself is much more fun and you can only make the things that you really need and they way that you want.

With RFXcom (HS Plugin for free) you can do klik aan / klik uit but also a whole lot of other things like tempsensors, weightscale etc.
All the other things you want are possible but takes a lot of creativity to connect it all together.
Lot of information you can find on this forum also
Good luck!
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Re: Starting with home automation. Homeseer of custom-build?

Postby Alexander » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:13 pm

Bwired wrote:With RFXcom (HS Plugin for free)


Not free: http://www.rfxcom.com/hsrfxcom.htm
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby Bwired » Sat Apr 03, 2010 6:45 pm

OK, thats right!
Otherwise you can't get on the homeseer resellers list, or something.
But I believe the revenues still are going to a good cose
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby Esteban » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:06 pm

Welcome to the forum,

Be sure to check which 433MHz transmitter you buy. There are two transmitters available the regular 433.92MHz one and the RFXmitter. The RFXmitter only works with Homeseer (with the plugin) and xPL, if I'm not mistaken.

Good luck on getting the ball rolling! :wink:
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby korsteed » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:44 pm

Thanks for the tips. I found some manuals on the rfxcom website that I am going to read.
I will try to find out how I can communicate with the RFX module from my own software without using Homeseer.
Does somebody have a sample on how I can do this from a program language like Java.
Or is it possible to install homeseer with plugings and then call Homeseer from java (maybe by sending the right http commands)?
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby Digit » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:28 pm

Calling Homeseer from Java: forget about it. Start programming your own system or use Homeseer is what i would advise. A system based on a combination of Homeseer and your own software is not a path i would take.

If you feel you are able to create your own software based on the specs you have read, do it! :)
I did, and i'm still happy about the decision i made to do just that, 5 years ago.
But, if you decide to do so, you have to realize that programming has to mean more to you than just your daytime job; you'll have to really like to sit down behind your PC in the evening and start programming your own system. If that's what you like, do it! In my opinion it's much more fun.

When you ask about how you can do this or that in Java, i think your approach is wrong. Try it by yourself; if you succeed, chances are high you've got what it takes to create your own HA software... regard it as a test case.. :wink:
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby AshaiRey » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:01 am

If you want to start with programming you can also have a look at these links for ideas and protocols

Project NoDo
http://members.chello.nl/p.tonkes8/Wati ... tNodo.html

DomotiGa
viewtopic.php?f=38&t=1577
Last edited by AshaiRey on Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby DJF3 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:08 am

I think it is a good idea to start with HomeSeer. Here's my 2 cents:

Why:
- You can start fairly quick and setup a system that does a lot.
- There's a lot of development, scripts and knowledge that you can re-use.
- Support: Good support available on http://www.domoticaforum.eu and [url]board.homeseer.com[/url]
- Technologies: Out-of-the-box support for many technologies (especially with the RFXCOM box) like Visonic, Oregon, X10, KAKU, etc. And ofcourse Z-Wave, ZigBee, Plugwise and many others. Some with a plugin and some with native support in HomeSeer.

Why not:
- It might be difficult to move to a system you wrote yourself (as you get used to features)
- Maybe less options to customize

Cheers
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby korsteed » Wed May 19, 2010 4:22 pm

Thanks for all the answers. I made some progress.

I choose to build my own software using components that are easy to control from java (http and probably X10).

I now have a Visonic home security system that sends X10 signals when the system is turned on/off.
Based on that X10 signal a few Sitecom camera's are powered on. These can store images of all movements in the house during an alarm.
Also with Visionic I can enable/disable the central-heating (Honeywell chronotherm) using the PGM.

I also build a web-application from which I can view my sitecom-camera's and enable/disable the Klik-Aan-Klik-Uit lights using a JB Media Light Manager Pro (sending http signals to the LM).

Because I am using a web-application and created a user-interface with big buttons, I can view the camera's and control the lights from everywhere.
I can use any computer, but also my Android Phone or my Apple iPod.

Next steps:
- Buy a quality camera. The Image-Quality of the sitecom camera's is not very good when there is no daylight.
- Build an Android application, just for the fun of building an app on my phone.
- Try to use a Java X10 API to send and receive X10-signals using a Marmitek CM15 pro.
- Maybe a Roomba to save some time I can spend on home automation?
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby Esteban » Thu May 20, 2010 10:01 am

Sounds like you're on your way with the building of your HA system. 8) For some ideas on cameras have a look in the camera repository: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2482
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby xanhoera » Thu May 20, 2010 7:13 pm

korsteed wrote:I choose to build my own software using components that are easy to control from java (http and probably X10).


Any code you can share online? A while back I was looking for a HA system in java, but could not find anything. Would be nice if people start sharing their java HA related code too :).
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Re: Starting with home automation, Homeseer or custom-build?

Postby korsteed » Sun May 23, 2010 6:08 pm

xanhoera wrote:Any code you can share online? A while back I was looking for a HA system in java, but could not find anything. Would be nice if people start sharing their java HA related code too .

I didn't build a lot of code yet, but I will share some code and experience in a seperate topic.

You can find that here: domoticaforum.eu/viewtopic.php?f=11& ... amp;t=4993
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