Home Automation in the UK - Lighting and Power control @240v - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-19-2012, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a central controller that i can wire all my sensors to (PIR's, Thermostats, Light switches etc ...) and that I can program to control all my outputs such as lights, electric heaters and alarm sounders etc .....

I am a PLC software engineer so familiar with writing control programs but I have no experience of what may be available for applications in the home. Key to all of this is the ability to do everything at 240v if possible. All help & advice greatly appreciated. Just need pointers to whichever control equipment suppliers may have that kind of kit.

I am hoping that it is possible to interface to the chosen controller using smartphone/tablet/laptop or the like using WiFi or even Blutooth. Intention is that the user can set parameters and control the system from a handheld device or a local touchscreen

Thanks in advance for your help
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-19-2012, 09:46 AM
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Take a look at CQC, a pc-based system. I've seen some screen shots of EU installs.


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post #3 of 13 Old 09-19-2012, 10:34 AM
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Keeping in mind that that is a custom built screen. You won't get that out of the box.

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post #4 of 13 Old 09-19-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Am OK with custom building the screens. Key element to all of this is that I find a controller that works directly with 240V I/O.

Took a look at the http://www.charmedquark.com website and a lot of the links are not working and it seems to be more AV control than anything else although it does talk about lighting but gives no examples. The company seems to be based in Australia which is great as they are 240V 50Hz but strangely Charmed Quark have no contact details on their Website ??
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-19-2012, 12:53 PM
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If some of the links aren't working, it's likely because your browser is blocking them. You may have to add our domain to your trusted sites list. The main web site is Silverlight based. The more verbose referehce stuff is in a separate, HTML based site. Some of those links are taking you to that other site, and likely your browser is probably blocking them. It may also block attempts to load the videos in some cases (since it loads them into a local player when you select one), so that may also require making us a trusted site, depending on your browser settings.

It's not AV control oriented. It's a completely general purpose automation system. It has strong A/V and media management features, but it's not oriented towards any particular area of automation in particular. CQC is a software based automatoin controller, so you can choose whatever hardware you want (though it will need to have a driver available.) Many of our folks who are in 240 land use C-Bus and there is a driver for the C-Bus system.

It's not based in Australia, though there are a lot of users there. It's based in the US. There is a ink to the forum there on the web site, where you can ask any questions you might have. We encourage people to use the forum, because most folks have questions about particular hardware and those questions are best answered by other customers who are using those particular products. That way you can get advice from people who use them on a day to day basis.

http://www.charmedquark.com/vb_forum/index.php

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post #6 of 13 Old 09-19-2012, 12:53 PM
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CQC is based, I think, in Northern California, USA.

The only link I found that didn't work was to the Forum. Perhaps it's disabled, as some people land at the CQC site looking for a pro-installed system (pro install is an option for homeowners).

http://www.charmedquark.com/vb_forum/index.php

IMO, it's the best DIY control system. Read through the forums, free 40 day trial.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-19-2012, 12:57 PM
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The forum link works for me. Your browser may consider it a security issue and refuse to load it unless we are in your trusted sites list. Technically we are based in Annapolis, Maryland.

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post #8 of 13 Old 09-20-2012, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Neuro .... still need to confirm it can integrate into a UK 240v 50hz system. All i can derive from the information i found there is that it can reside on a PC and has drivers. Does this mean I am looking to build a PC with integration boards for controlling 240v I/O? Also big thank you for your forum link, that definitely worked smile.gif

Hello Roddy, just realised /noticed that you are Chairman/CTO (Chief Tech Officer) of Charmed Quark Systems. Do you have a representative in the UK I can talk to directly please or, even better, do you have an install base in the UK that I can learn from?
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The whole house controller that you seek usually communicates with a lighting controller, and not the loads directly.

Some whole-house controllers, though, can communicate with wireless dimmers directly.

Spend some time reading through the CQC forum.

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post #10 of 13 Old 09-20-2012, 04:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Neuro, Will plough through the CQC forum. From what i have read/seen so far it seems that most folks are controlling A/V rather than whole house. What i was hoping to land on was an example of someone doing 'Whole House' to the degree that they were taking data in from Sensors for - Heat, LUX, Presence of person, Smoke and then controlling the output devices in that room (zone) such that heating and lighting and alarms (or any other service such as fans, door locks, window blinds) could be triggered or de-activated to control energy usage and security.

What I sense right now is that there are many equipment providers who deal in one or two specific areas but not the whole scenario. If at all possible I would aim to integrate all the proprietary equipment under one physical communication layer (copper) and protocol (IP or KNX or the like) so that the code for the chosen controller in the middle of all of these devices can route and make decisions.
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post #11 of 13 Old 09-20-2012, 06:31 AM
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Yep, whole-house controller often communicates with other controllers.

You might take a look at the Elk Security (U.S., some UK) and Ness Corporation (Aus, Eu, Asia) M1 systems, and the HAI OmniProII (US and worldwide), for integrating door/window sensors, occupancy/vacancy sensors, smokes, thermostats.

http://cocoontech.com/forums/topic/20887-elk-m1-in-uk-can-elk-take-direct-dc-input/

CQC has an M1 driver (I think it works for both the Elk M1 and Ness M1).

Cocoontech forums are another place where you may find some good integration answers.

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post #12 of 13 Old 09-20-2012, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aphuk View Post

What I sense right now is that there are many equipment providers who deal in one or two specific areas but not the whole scenario. If at all possible I would aim to integrate all the proprietary equipment under one physical communication layer (copper) and protocol (IP or KNX or the like) so that the code for the chosen controller in the middle of all of these devices can route and make decisions.

It's basically always the case that an automation system like CQC sits in the middle between various different control sub-systems, and integrates them into a coherent system. I doubt you'd ever actually do a whole home using one physical comm layer. Some devices will use serial ports, some IP, some wireless, some USB, etc... It just depends on which sub-systems you select. And certainly not one single protocol, given that the sun will die from heat death before you get every company on the planet to use the same protocol.

I wouldn't choose them primarily based on how they communicate with the automation controller, but whether they proivde the features you need. That's really the prime function of something like CQC, to hide the details of how they work/talk, and expose to you a single interface to integrate them.

Here's a video that a user of ours in Italy did, which demonstrates various systems under CQC's control:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV3W9rC9y4U

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post #13 of 13 Old 09-20-2012, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aphuk View Post

Thanks Neuro, Will plough through the CQC forum. From what i have read/seen so far it seems that most folks are controlling A/V rather than whole house. What i was hoping to land on was an example of someone doing 'Whole House' to the degree that they were taking data in from Sensors for - Heat, LUX, Presence of person, Smoke and then controlling the output devices in that room (zone) such that heating and lighting and alarms (or any other service such as fans, door locks, window blinds) could be triggered or de-activated to control energy usage and security.

Be a little careful about motion driven functionality. It sometimes sounds better than it works. If you go into a room and sit down to read, that's not going to keep any sort of motion detector active, so you can have lights go out on you and so forth. People end up doing "The Wave", as it's called. Flailing their arms around to make a sensor pick up the fact that they are still there.

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www.charmedquark.com

 

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