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License-free automation gear?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi,

New here with a question.

I'm curious what's out there for automation systems that are non-proprietary?

I'm a Canadian electrician and have done a fair bit of work in installing and programming commercial automation (HVAC) systems, but looking for something geared more towards the home/small commercial market.

Something that can do the AV/security/lighting and power integration and can be controllable from a smartphone, and doesn't need a license to install and program.

I've done a few searches here, maybe using the wrong keywords, but have not come up with anything.

TIA.
post #2 of 14
I would check out Premise Home Control software.

Originally developed in 2001, Motorola open-sourced it in 2005.

http://www.cocoontech.com/forums/index.php?showforum=51

I don't know of any home control 'systems' that are non-proprietary. Elk M1 and HAI OPII might be good starting points, for sub-$1K.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Neuro,

Thanks for the response.

I'm thinking "non-proprietary" may be the wrong term. Just looking for something I can use without having to travel half-way across the continent to obtain training so I can install and program their product. It's ok if the system is tied to a company and they exclusively sell that line, but the travel and training thing is a bit burdensome.
post #4 of 14
Then yes, Elk M1 or HAI OPII.

Each has a subforum at cocoontech.com, under Marketplace.

Most people start with one of those, and use another controller once limitations have been reached. For DIYers, the additional system is usually CQC, MainLobby, HomeSeer, Girder/NetRemote, or Elve. Live with the M1 or OPII for a good while before buying the 2nd controller - figure out what you really need first.

CQC would be the BMW of DIY control platforms. Here is nifty DIYer's home video:
http://www.youtube.com/user/CharmedQuarkSystems
post #5 of 14
BTW, CQC isn't just a DIY product. We do have professional installers and an Integration Partner Program, but all the training is available online and you don't have to travel anywhere to learn it. The best way would be to pick up a small system for yourself and do your own solution. 'Eating your own dogfood' is one of the best ways to make sure that you have created a solid solution. Tutorial videos are on the web site (www.charmedquark.com) then go into the Learn section. After the tutorial videos there are a set of technical reference documents with the hard core details. If you do end up signing up as an IP, we'll discount your initial system purchase from your signup fee.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Neuro and Dean, thank you both for your input.

Going to have a look at the systems mentioned. I know HAI has been around awhile, just did some repair work at a house that had HAI installed.

This is what the guy had for an install. A little messy IMO, but one of the larger systems I've seen in a house:

post #7 of 14
I would also recommend HAI. The programing utility is very intuitive and has built in drivers for a lot of good 3rd party equipment.

If you don't want to buy online check local electrical distribution houses.
post #8 of 14
Take a look at my home automation build thread in my sig. I used an HAI controller and use my iPhone to control lights, hvac, alarm, music, cameras, etc. I don't remember when the last time was that I used the light switch or alarm keypad .
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Anthony,

Thanks for the links..I read a bunch the other day and plan on finishing tonight.

It's great people post their experiences with it, I know with commercial automation it can be challenging and the bugs alone could force someone off the deep end
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Dean,

What would you recommend for a controller to work with CQC?
post #11 of 14
I warned you.

CQC offers tremendous flexibility - limitless really.

CQC forums are very helpful, for CQC-specific questions.

Once people pick a specific 'overlord' controller, they tend to migrate away from AVS to the 'other' controller forum. Spend a good deal of time reading through the CQC forum.

Home automation will need to become a hobby, if you want to be successful with one of other controllers that I mentioed.

I believe many CQC users have chosen Elk or HAI as a security platform.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Neuro.

For HVAC automation, I use Johnson Controls and Schneider Electric. They're both simple to do the engineering for and easy as pie to program. Between those two alone, there are so many processes going on in my city alone at any given minute.

I want to merge over to home automation as a profession, though. Frankly, I could care less what this valve is doing or that pump is doing, it's boring.

The typical companies - Crestron, Control4, etc. seem to want you to go to whatever school or factory it is to get trained in it, and frankly I'm not sure it's worth it to be running with the trend.

I like the gear you mentioned, and if ELK M1 and CQC can work together well, I'll use them. But having experienced it in the commercial world, there's always some "well this guy doesn't always like to talk to that guy" bug or glitch that will make life a royal pain for some time. If there's a combination - like those two - that work very well together, your answer saved me weeks of dry reading forums.

IOW, thanks
post #13 of 14
Yeh, mostly folks doing a simpler type of system would just use CQC as the low level controller, generally if they don't need to do security. Doing security, particularly professionally, brings obviously some liability issues and such, so you need to use something hardware in that case, and most CQC users who have such a need use the Omni or Elk generally. Then beyond security you can decide generally whether you want CQC or the Elk/Omni to be the one in direct control of some of the other things (and in the latter case CQC can control those things indirectly.) Once you get beyond security, lights, and HVAC, most other stuff probably generally you would just let CQC directly control.
post #14 of 14
Since it wasn't brought up, doesn't Universal Remote Control offer a fair amount of their training online and have a lot of local distributors offer in-house training so if you do need a day or two session it isn't a trip to Las Vegas to get it, but just a hour or so drive for it.

I know all my URC training has been done online using their videos. I haven't delved to deeply into their more advanced control system products, but they definitely have them.
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