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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok folks, what's your favorite web interface for home control?


I want to be able to control my alarm, HVAC, lighting, sprinklers, and view my surveylance cameras via the internet.


It appears as though HAI's weblink II software will do all this but is it the best available? I'm thinking I'll stay away from X-10 type lighting...
 

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Crestron. Period
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's kind of what I expected, this seems to be a pro-Crestron forum. Are there sub $30k alternatives? Tell me fortuneteller, what else do you see for me in the future? :D
 

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Trying for figure out where the 30k came from. A Crestron CP2E with IR ports, relays, I/O sensors, ethernet web server, RS-232 ports is 10% of that number. I'm sure someone who isn't qualified or knows the equipment is giving out those numbers.


While at Control4 training the CEO went on to say that the basic remotes from Crestron have 30 pages of code. I'm thinking to myself. Self, that's funny as I program these remotes all the time. News to me.........


Do you think anything else the CEO of Control4 said from then on had any credibility with me from then on?? Nope !


Dave
 

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Friday I intergrated an Alarm system to the Crsetron. Took about 15 minutes and a 50ft RS-232 cable. Cost of labor and cable. Now depending on many nonlisted quanity and extent you could exceed 30K with parts alone. Having alarm, lighting, HVAC, sprinklers and cameras put in could triple that price. Could be 1/3. Too many unlisted variables in the post to narrow down the number.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To be honest, I pulled the $30k number out of my @#$%, but from what I've read here, and from looking at my installers quotes, Crestron is not cheap. If a CP3E will give me control over my entire system remotely for $3k then it is within my budget.


The system I'm planning on is as follows:


Elan S12 for HD distribution to 4 zones, 4 more zones of SD including touchscreens.

Haven't determined which touchscreens to use, Vantage or Elan...any help?


4 Surveylance cameras in the $500 price range for all of them. Is an Axis server necessary? That's an extra $1500 I can avoid if it isn't...maybe I can do the same thing with my HTPC and a video capture card? I'd like 30 fps.


HVAC control, locally, and remotely. I'd like to have temp. sensors in every room to provide feedback to the HVAC controller. Will HAI work for this or should I try a more historic brand like Honeywell?


Whole house lighting control locally and remotely.
 

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I don't know what Crestron costs exactly but I got a quote for a HUGE number when I built my house. Instead, I had the security guys put in a HAI system instead of the cheapy system they were going to put in. It was about $2k more. From there, I upgraded the thermostats, added x10 interface and about a dozen switches, and added Weblink II software. It does what I need.
 

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Crestron or AMX system will serve your needs and then some for sure, but you are going to need a programmer and a dealer for that. THe programming is going to cost big time.

I have an AMX system in my home and I use Lutron Homeworks for lighting and it works great. Minor changes are not a problem, but when you start adding rooms and sources, unless you are a trained programmer, your going to have to pay $75-$150 per hour for the changes.


YOu can do it all with HAI. HAI Released the UPB lighting modules. THey are much more reliable than the X-10 lighting standard. The UPB HLC light swithces are connected via a serial port on the OMNI II panel.


I just purchased 20 UPB switches and a new OMNI II system for another home. THey also have nice 8 button and 6 button keypads that can fire off commands to the controller to do whatever you want.
 

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Reading your second post I notice your adding A/V and touchscreens,


HAI doesn't do to good with that.


It really does not support video but it does support some audio devices like Russound whole house controller. The only touchscreen they have is the OMnitouch, and that really is not what you need to control your house.


For video cameras you can get a geovision DVR card and build a PC all for about $1500.00 and have local and internet viewing of all cameras, as well as a lot more fun DVR stuff.

I suspect future support of audio/video devices from HAI.


ANd to specifically answer the question about HAI and the multiple temp sensors. Yes HAI can easily support multiple temp sensors and provide commands to be sent to the HAI thermostats based on temp sensor info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the info cmcjo.


I guess you've touched on what my under-lying question really is. If I'm definitely using the Elan S12 for AV distribution, am I better off using Elan touchscreens even though they may not be as flexible as say Vantage, Crestron, or AMX?


Do I design the system around the Elan and add compatible Security, HVAC, and lighting? Maybe I should design the system around the lighting (Vantage seems this powerful)? Or do I design the system around a controller (HAI or Crestron CP2E for opposite ends of the scale)?


Those Geovision cards are sweet! Thanks for the lead. I already have a HTPC so that seems like an easy solution, though almost as much as the axis servers.


As a life-long programmer, it kills me to pay someone that much to write code, especially if it's in a proprietary language. This is the other reason I'm shying away from Crestron (proprietary Crestnet cables?) If the CP2E can be programmed and setup to control everything for $3k as advertised, then maybe it's worth it?!?
 

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I use HomeSeer. ( http://www.homeseer.com ). It's not plug-and-play, but I think it is much more configurable than other sources (based on personal research, not use, as I have not used the other systems). I use it in conjunction with MainLobby ( http://www.cinemaronline.com ) and, together, they give me excellent web and touch screen-based control of my home. I can, from anywhere with a web connection, control every aspect of my home that I've chosen to automate, and view its status. I can also check voicemail via the web and/or have them emailed to me. I can have important system messages emailed to me or sent as a text message to my cell phone, and I can use the phone to control the system if I'm away from the web.


I've said this before on other message boards: The real key to a successful automation system has more to do with the actual components that are controlled that with the front-end/control system.


You need components that have discrete control, status (2-way) reporting, and preferably, a hard-wired (rs232/485, fire wire, etc.) method of control. If you do not have discrete commands and 2-way communications, you're always going to have some level of unreliability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrfuda
I've said this before on other message boards: The real key to a successful automation system has more to do with the actual components that are controlled that with the fron-end/control system.


You need components that have discrete control, status (2-way) reporting, and prefereble, a hard-wired (rs232/485, firewire, etc.) method of control. If you do not have discrete commands and 2-way communications, you're always going to have some level of unreliability.
Well put! So which components to pick?


I'm obviously pro Elan, $7500 to distribute HD in up to 5 zones is worth it to me. (5 stb's and $25/mo extra for satellite means the breakeven is in like 23 years, but the coolness factor is much better with Elan).


The HAI seems like the way to go for security, even if I don't use all of it's bells and whistles.


So that leaves lighting, HVAC, and what do I use to control everything. I'm going to do more homework on the Crestron CP2E, Mainlobby, and Homeseer.


Thanks for all of the feedback everyone!!! Very useful!
 

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I think there are sooo many variables yet in your questions and your requirements are not quite fully explained. Please don't expect perfect solutions on an AVS board for a system of the caliber you are asking for. There are wonderful opinions on the forum, digest and use the best that suits YOU!

Some items I would see that need explaining:


Who is using this system? Kids, wife, you and ? or ?


The single touchscreen solution sounds great and is possible, but is it necessary?


What I am getting at is... What would you like to do on a touch screen with your HAI security system? One waycontro, two way, Zones pictured and identified as open closed? system status? Now the same questions for lights.


Will the touchscreen locations be in strategic locations that would cover music, Lights, Security? Remember Elan touchscreens have to "wake up" and then select a page to control lights, Crestron Does not, and and example common screen used is a TPS 2000. Having addtional light switches nearby controlling Lutron, Vantage, UBP, etc. is certainly easier for the entire family. I am assuming here that you were trying to replace switches with touchscreens.


Crestron is one system that can supply solutions to all of the requirements you had listed so far, as could a AMX system. You can work with a dealer on possibly purchasing the equipment only and some simple code and retain the source codes rights and modify this yourself to your needs.


And With Elan, you will have to work with a dealer that Has the ELAN VIA! dealer tool kit to program the system. Find out which will be the better working relationship between you and the product dealer. THis is one of the Largest factors IMHO.
 

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Yeah, I think he needs some advice from some proffesional integrators. There are quite a few that frequent here and I am not one of them.


As for my opinion, I think he should seriously look into going with either an AMX or a Crestron system, but it all comes down to how much he is will to spend. They both have some really slick looking touch screens. I use 4 of the wireless MVP 8400 panels and they work all of the time.


For lighting I suggest looking at either Lutron Homeworks (expensive) or UPB lighting. I am not familiar with the integration of UPB lighting using an AMX/Crestron controller, but since it is controlled via a serial port, I dont see a problem. Lutron Homeworks is considered to be the best lighting available.


As far as the Mainlobby and Homeseer stuff, I put alot of effort into getting that to work for years. Mario was extremely helpfull and worked with me but it never did work as expected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You guys are going above and beyond the level of help I expected! Yes, family usability is a must as my family will be living there and visiting, and they are NOT techno savy.


Touchscreens for wow factor only, used with keypads & switches for lighting and security control. It sounds like Crestron is the way to go for at least some pieces.
 

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The touchscreen(s), if properly designed, will also make the system *much* easier for the family (and you) to use.


I'd look at the HAI for security, HVAC, and possibly lighting. Then, you could add Crestron (or AMX) touchpanels to make the system easier to operate, and provide increased functionality. The Crestron (or AMX) processor can also enable a fully-customizable web interface, and other advanced features -- in addition to integrating all the other subsystems, such as Audio, Video, Email, Irrigation, Pool/Spa, CCTV, etc.


Lighting could be handled by UPB, Lutron, Vantage, or Crestron "wireless" communicating dimmers -- in order of least-expensive, and easiest to program (actually, the Lutron and Vantage are pretty close). The Crestron light switches will offer the most robust integration, but I'd personally lean toward the UPB (low-cost, easier implementation) or Vantage (best-looking).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tony,


That's pretty much my plan, but for lighting I'm thinking one step up from UPB to Centralight LiteJet. We're talking $6k for 48 loads cheap!


Dave
 

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Two products that I have been looking at that sound like what you're also looking for also. They both seem to be base more on "open architech". I am not too excited about the closed system such as Creston/AMX since I like to use different web tablet, PC, network, 3rd party hw, etc.


1. homelogic - homelogic.com

-I've seen it in action and very impress.

2. lifeware (MCE base) - exceptionalinnovation.com

-available soon, but have spoken with an integrator whom has first hand experience using the product. I am excited about using MCE to control my house.


For DYI, I have looked at Premises, CQC, Plutohome. All of these are great, but they will take a lot of your time to get it right. If you search, there are tons of debate about Creston/AMX vs the DYI friendly products. I just like to share what I fould so far, therefore, let's not open up any debate here.


-Mike
 

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I would'nt let MCE flush my toilet, let alone control my house
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AI Limited
That's pretty much my plan, but for lighting I'm thinking one step up from UPB to Centralight LiteJet. We're talking $6k for 48 loads cheap!
There's a reason it's so "cheap" :)


The LiteJet system is severely limited, and their keypads are horrendous (IMO). If considering Centralite at all, I would stick with Elegance -- and even then, the other solutions I mentioned (including UPB) would be preferrable.
 
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