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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried more than a few home automation systems out there and some had good features while others were missing these features but had other great ones. I got sick of it and decided to create one system to rule them all. I created Casa Controller. What Casa Controller does is cherry picks the products from certain systems and combines them while adding user accounts with parental controls, schedules to automate certain things, and more. Right now I have combined the Easy Bulb LED light bulbs with the Lockitron door lock and Nest thermostat. One stop shop for everything! I created apps for both Android and iOS and they are in their respective stores for free. If any of you guys have any of these products and want to try it out for free, just let me know I'd be happy to make you an account. I'm hoping to take this to market as more and more connected devices become available. And here is the website casacontroller.com.
 

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Well that web site had more then enough information to convince me.

Seriously though, do you really think that lights, locks and thermostats (and seemingly only one brand of each) constitutes a home automation system?
 

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Thanks for the offer, benji.

Fcwilt, if those don't constitute a home automation system, what does? I can't think of much else in my house that could possibly be automated. Do you have a robot that makes your bed and cooks breakfast?
 

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Fcwilt, if those don't constitute a home automation system, what does? I can't think of much else in my house that could possibly be automated. Do you have a robot that makes your bed and cooks breakfast?
Irrigation system? Security system? Security cameras? A/V gear? Voice mail? Email?

In addition to the above I also have tied into my own system: garage doors, whole house water shutoff, shower steam generator, hydronic tower warmers, hydronic floor heat, brultech energy monitor, outside air and water temperature sensors, security camera heaters.

It's not just about control - it's about integration.

For instance the outside temperature readings are used to determine if the tower warmers are going to be running when it comes time to take showers.
 

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Irrigation system? Security system? Security cameras? A/V gear? Voice mail? Email?

In addition to the above I also have tied into my own system: garage doors, whole house water shutoff, shower steam generator, hydronic tower warmers, hydronic floor heat, brultech energy monitor, outside air and water temperature sensors, security camera heaters.

It's not just about control - it's about integration.

For instance the outside temperature readings are used to determine if the tower warmers are going to be running when it comes time to take showers.
I don't consider any of that part of home automation, but distinct systems. Garage door falls under "locks". My security, irrigation and home theater control are not what I'd call home automation. But now I understand where you're coming from. If you've been able to integrate all of those systems, that's great. I just don't see the need. My irrigation system does its own thing regardless of whether my hydronic tower warmer is warm or not.
 

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I don't consider any of that part of home automation, but distinct systems. Garage door falls under "locks". My security, irrigation and home theater control are not what I'd call home automation. But now I understand where you're coming from. If you've been able to integrate all of those systems, that's great. I just don't see the need. My irrigation system does its own thing regardless of whether my hydronic tower warmer is warm or not.
LOL. Well if you don't consider any of that part of home automation it must be so! :)

Just a few more examples of things that integration makes possible:

- Email, SMS notification of activities of any part of system.
- Security system triggers all lights on.
- HA system reports that garage door is still open at midnight and offers to close.
- HA system reports that the irrigation system has not been running for some period of time and perhaps needs attention.
- Kids start movie in home theater - curtains open, lights dim, tstat cool sp lowered to account for extra heat load.
- Kids finish watching movie and leave home theater equipment on - can be shutdown from anywhere or by timer.

I could list many more things that can be done.

While you may not see the need now, after you have lived with such a system you might begin to appreciate the benefits.
 

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I don't consider any of that part of home automation, but distinct systems. Garage door falls under "locks". My security, irrigation and home theater control are not what I'd call home automation. But now I understand where you're coming from. If you've been able to integrate all of those systems, that's great. I just don't see the need. My irrigation system does its own thing regardless of whether my hydronic tower warmer is warm or not.
Yes, but what if you want your towel to start warming up as soon as your yard is done being watered? Huh? HUH???:D
 

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LOL. Well if you don't consider any of that part of home automation it must be so! :)

Just a few more examples of things that integration makes possible:

- Email, SMS notification of activities of any part of system.
- Security system triggers all lights on.
- HA system reports that garage door is still open at midnight and offers to close.
- HA system reports that the irrigation system has not been running for some period of time and perhaps needs attention.
- Kids start movie in home theater - curtains open, lights dim, tstat cool sp lowered to account for extra heat load.
- Kids finish watching movie and leave home theater equipment on - can be shutdown from anywhere or by timer.

I could list many more things that can be done.

While you may not see the need now, after you have lived with such a system you might begin to appreciate the benefits.
Seriously though, this is the true answer. I have one "scene" within my Vera to start my Harmony activity, turn on my lights in the HT and dim some others. Then I just sit down on my couch and watch the movie. :cool:
 

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LOL. Well if you don't consider any of that part of home automation it must be so! :)

Just a few more examples of things that integration makes possible:

- Email, SMS notification of activities of any part of system.
- Security system triggers all lights on.
- HA system reports that garage door is still open at midnight and offers to close.
- HA system reports that the irrigation system has not been running for some period of time and perhaps needs attention.
- Kids start movie in home theater - curtains open, lights dim, tstat cool sp lowered to account for extra heat load.
- Kids finish watching movie and leave home theater equipment on - can be shutdown from anywhere or by timer.

I could list many more things that can be done.

While you may not see the need now, after you have lived with such a system you might begin to appreciate the benefits.
Good stuff. I'm not opposed to integration. I will concede that my idea of home automation is a bit to narrow.

Still mostly "lights, locks and thermostats" in there ;)
 

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I also have tied into my own system: ... whole house water shutoff, shower steam generator
I can think of so many pranks one can play on you...

Seriously, as you mentioned below, this can be used to monitor things remotely - and there is some value in it - but, what do you need remotely triggered steam shower for, and what do you do when someone shuts off the water while you are shampooing your head?
 

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I can think of so many pranks one can play on you...

Seriously, as you mentioned below, this can be used to monitor things remotely - and there is some value in it - but, what do you need remotely triggered steam shower for, and what do you do when someone shuts off the water while you are shampooing your head?
The steam generator uses power keeping the system ready to generate steam. To minimize this waste we added a contactor on the power feed. The contactor is controlled by a UPB relay switch (HAI) which allows applying power to the steam generator when you are intending to use it. It takes a little while for the system to be ready but, for us, it beats wasting power keeping it ready 24/7.

As far as someone shutting off the water - we don't have any pranksters in the family. And a determined prankster could shutoff water/electricity/gas to any home using the existing shutoffs.

The primary purpose of tying the water shutoff into the HA system is notification. There are numerous water sensors around the house in those locations where a leak is more likely. These send a signal to the shutoff valve when they detect water. The shutoff valve closes a contact which is sensed by the HA system which then sends out SMS and email messages alerting us to the situation.
 

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Security system should be in there for sure. As should SMS/Email notifications. Security systems and lighting integrate well. Press a button on lighting keypad called 'Away' turns off all lights and arms security system (except foyer and exterior). Motion in front yard and exterior lights turn on. Disarm security system when you get home at night and the lights turn on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks!

Wow! It seems I'm out of my league when comparing Casa Controller to some of the things you guys are doing. CastleOS looks amazing and kinect integration was something I wanted to do later on and will when Microsoft opens up development for the Xbox One later this year. I guess home automation isn't the correct term to use as much as home control and monitoring. Thanks for all of the great tips on what to add. I am looking to add more devices as the API's because increasingly available. My scope was initially pretty small but basically I wanted a simple way for people who already own some or all of those devices to have one place to monitor and control them. Again, thanks and its good to know I'm not the only person to have thought of this!
 

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The steam generator uses power keeping the system ready to generate steam. To minimize this waste we added a contactor on the power feed. The contactor is controlled by a UPB relay switch (HAI) which allows applying power to the steam generator when you are intending to use it. It takes a little while for the system to be ready but, for us, it beats wasting power keeping it ready 24/7.

As far as someone shutting off the water - we don't have any pranksters in the family. And a determined prankster could shutoff water/electricity/gas to any home using the existing shutoffs.

The primary purpose of tying the water shutoff into the HA system is notification. There are numerous water sensors around the house in those locations where a leak is more likely. These send a signal to the shutoff valve when they detect water. The shutoff valve closes a contact which is sensed by the HA system which then sends out SMS and email messages alerting us to the situation.
Sounds like you have a pretty sweet system. Is this something your built yourself or did you use a commercial solution?
 

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Sounds like you have a pretty sweet system. Is this something your built yourself or did you use a commercial solution?
The heart of the system is an Elan g! HC4.

The security part is an ELK M1 with a number of input/output expanders.

The lighting is UPB.

The thermostats are RCS (I don't know if they are still in business).

The cameras are AXIS 214s.

Lots of Global Cache GC-100 devices.

Some programmable controllers running code I wrote to perform specific tasks.

A few programs running on a Windows server to handle device protocols that the Elan HC4 does not support.

Some other misc hardware.
 
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