Users' Home Automation Systems



External Pages of HomeVision Users

bulletGary Yate's home automation system, with lots of good technical information
bulletIngo Dean's web page, with a description of his home automation system, plus related home automation links
bulletKerry Parker's home automation system
bulletBob Puckett's home automation system and related information (link is broken)
bulletMark McCall's system in the UK (PAL video, 220V-50Hz AC)
bulletRon Boston's home automation system
bulletShawn Boyle's system
bulletDan Hoehnen's PC/HomeVision based system
bulletKevin Keast's system (link is broken)
bulletLarry Farquhar's system (link is broken)
bulletMark Sekelsky's system using ECS (link is broken)
bullet"Krazy Keith's" home automation page (link is broken)
bulletIan Bird's system (link is broken)


More Users

These HomeVision owners have been kind enough to provide descriptions their home automation systems and/or their HomeVision schedules.

bulletJohn Shriner
bulletDan Cohen
bulletSteven Liberatore
bulletDale Shaw
bulletCharles Waggoner
bulletBryan Schumacher
bulletBill Neukranz

We'd like to add more descriptions of how people are using HomeVision. We'd also like to provide sample schedules to give others ideas. If you'd like to contribute, please e-mail us a short description (or as long a one as you'd like) of your system. We'll format it and add it to the web page. If you're willing to share your actual schedule as well, attach it to the message.

 

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John Shriner's System

System interfaces:

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HomeVision

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RCS 485 HVAC control (1 active unit and 1 “phantom” unit)

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1 HV Serial expansion (for RCS)

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Phone/CID Interface

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1 Multifunction board, using 7 IR Zones

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4 Sylva I/O boards

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11 EWC Motorized wall HVAC dampers

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1 Motorized “pressure by-pass / humidifier” HVAC damper

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12 Digital Temp sensors

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7 Analog Temp Sensors

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22 Motion Sensors

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3 Light Sensors

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55 X-10 Switches

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35 X-10 Light Dimmers

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1 X-10 Power Sounder

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3 X-10 Chime modules

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19 X-10 Palm Pads

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11 Slim Line X-10 Wall Switches

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HACS AB8SS speaker switcher

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HACS AVX-8x8 8 in by 8 out A/V switcher (programmed, but waiting for delivery)

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4 RF Modulators

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1 Water Hound

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3 security cameras

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1 RCA 6x1 Analog audio, Video and Digital audio switcher

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Interface to Oregon WMR-968 weather station

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Interface for power control of 2 computers

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Interface to HVAC blower speed control

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Interface to humidifier

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Interface to 3 room air cleaners

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Interface to 8 room floor fans

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Interface to 4 zone lawn sprinkler system

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Interface to garage door opener

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Interface to auto driveway gate opener

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Interface to DSL Hub

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Interface to FM transmitter

HomeVision schedule usage:

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28 Input ports

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34 Output ports

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254 IR Signals

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202 Flags

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232 Variables

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131 Timers

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253 Macros

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28 Scheduled events

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26 Periodic events

IR control of Stereo, DVD, 2 VCR’s, 1 PVR (ATI), 2 Dish receivers, 1 HDTV, Speaker and AVS switchers. Using a excellent freeware program called AutoIt for extensive control of 2 computers. AutoIt creates powerful macros of just about any mouse or keyboard action possible. It them compiles the macro to a .exe file which HV runs. This saves a lot of HomeVision memory. Here's John's schedule file:

    JS_01.HAF

 

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Dan's Awesome System

Dan Cohen is president of The Automation Store, a home automation retail store to debut soon. Here's a description of his automated home, which is the most automated HomeVision home we've heard of. You can download his HomeVision schedule file (dan_127.haf) as well. For more information, contact The Automation Store at 800-242-7672.

Hardware

Dan's hardware includes:

bullet1 HomeVision controller
bullet2 HomeVision multifunction expansion boards
bullet4 Sylva Control Systems I/O boards
bullet1 StarGate controller (for phone interface)
bullet1 computer running HomeVision and Home Voice software
bullet1 ITU Technologies caller ID device
bullet22 Leviton 6400 wall mounted controllers
bullet25 X-10 devices
bullet7 PCS Smart Switches
bullet7 analog temperature sensors (converting soon to digital sensors)
bullet2 ultrasonic motion detectors
bullet17 infrared motion detectors
bullet15 Sure Action pulsors (floor sensors)
bullet26 magnetic reed switches
bullet1 Cartell vehicle detector
bullet2 TV sniffer probes
bullet3 water detectors
bullet4 smoke detectors
bullet1 Macurco Inc. gas detector
bullet1 Pama Electronics carbon monoxide detector
bullet3 water solenoid valves
bullet1 Alarm Lock digital lock
bullet1 variable-speed ceiling fan
bullet1 remote-controlled fireplace
bullet1 ACT coupler/repeater
bullet1 Caddx 32 zone security system with digital outputs
bullet1 RCS TX10-B bidirectional X-10 thermostat
bullet8 RCS motorized HVAC dampers
bullet3 Channel Plus 2100A infrared wall interfaces
bullet1 Channel Plus infrared cable panel
bullet4 infrared receivers
bullet8 infrared mini-emitters
bullet4 outdoor video cameras
bullet3 3-channel digital A/V modulators
bullet6 wall-mounted speakers for voice output
bullet2 Crown PZM microphones for voice input
bullet1 Panasonic electronic modular switching phone system
bullet1 Davis weather station / weather talker
bullet1 rain bucket rain gauge
bulletVarious A/V equipment

This system currently uses:

bullet65 digital inputs
bullet7 analog inputs
bullet15 relay outputs
bullet125 infrared signals
bullet31 flags
bullet87 variables
bullet69 timers
bullet53 macros
bullet20 scheduled events
bullet16 periodic events

Functions

The setup provides complete home control from any of the following:

bulletVoice (Home Voice software)
bulletInfrared remote (with or without viewing a TV)
bulletPhone (touchtone inputs with voice response via StarGate)
bulletAny X-10 controller
bulletPC screen (HomeVision software)
bulletAutomatically by time or event

Here's a sample of what the HomeVision schedule does (note that a few of the above devices are not yet incorporated in the schedule):

bulletVoice recognition and voice response throughout the house. Voice recognition performed by Home Voice software. Voice response performed by both Home Voice and by sending serial commands from HomeVision to StarGate (using StarGate's voice output).
bulletOccupancy sensors automatically turn lights and A/V equipment on and off based on room occupancy.
bulletOutdoor motion sensors trigger video cameras to be recorded on the VCR and are also noted in the event log. Video cameras are prioritized in order of importance in case several are triggered simultaneously. VCR tape can be automatically rewound and viewed on any TV.
bulletVehicle detector announces arrivals by voice and turns on the TV in any occupied room to view the camera. If the TV is already on, picture-in-picture is used. The homeowner can then say "Open garage door" or "Unlock back door" to have these functions performed automatically.
bulletGarage door automatically closed if no motion is detected for prescribed time.
bulletMailbox sensor detects mail delivery and turns on indicator light in kitchen and logs it to event log.
bulletKids can page Mom or Dad by dialing *mom or *dad from any phone.
bulletWhen the master bathroom shower light is turned on, the exhaust fan starts automatically. The fan automatically turns off several minutes after the bathroom is no longer occupied.
bulletThe TV and stereo automatically mute when phone rings. If the master bathroom shower is in use, the exhaust fan is temporarily turned off so the ring can be heard.
bulletCallers' name and phone number are displayed on all TVs and entered in event log.
bulletAlarm clocks set from any TV. Parents can verify their children set their alarms.
bullet"Alarm clock" in child's bedroom works by ringing phone. If he doesn't get out of bed in three minutes (detected by motion sensor), phone rings again. If he doesn't get up after three tries, the home security alarm "chirps" to alert parents.
bulletHVAC system controlled automatically using RCS TX10-B thermostat. HomeVision periodically reads the thermostat's status via X-10.
bulletHVAC schedule can be viewed and changed from any TV.
bulletNumerous voice commands to perform macros, control A/V equipment, turn fireplace on, etc.
bulletVariable speed ceiling fan automatically controlled based on temperature set points. Temperature set points can be changed from any TV.
bullet"Sleep mode" turns off interior lights and A/V equipment, arms security system, adjusts HVAC system for occupied rooms. If someone gets out of bed while in the sleep mode, the appropriate lights go on at 20%.
bulletIf you approach an exterior door while the security system is armed, you get a voice message reminding you the system is armed.
bullet"Away mode" automatically turns off interior lights and A/V equipment, arms security system, adjusts HVAC system, and puts lights on automatic schedule.
bulletWhen homeowner returns home, TV event log is automatically displayed showing what happened while away.
bulletIf the water heater or any pipe breaks, HomeVision detects it with water sensors, shuts off the water supply, announces it over the speakers, then pages the homeowner.
bulletRain gauge measures rainfall and tracks daily, weekly, monthly, and annual amounts and displays data on TV (feature in final development).
bulletTemperature sensor detects if refrigerator or freezer gets too warm and provides a warning. If no one's home, the homeowner is paged. It's also logged to the event log.
bulletEvery 15 minutes, certain outdoor lights are turned off unless they should be on (based on whether certain timers are running or not).
bulletNumerous actions are triggered by sending X-10 sequences from an X-10 controller.
bulletIn-wall speakers can be individually selected using relay outputs.

 

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Steven Liberatore's System

My name is Steven G. Liberatore, I've been using my HomeVision system for about 9 months now and love it! Here's a description:

bulletIt controls two RCS HVAC Thermostats TX10bs (two HVAC zones) that are running in bidirectional mode, working great especially here in the North East where it's very cold right now.
bulletI'm using a CR230 amp/repeater, and a Channel Plus for whole house video distribution.
bulletMy security system and HomeVision are integrated using X10 commands so that I can activate lights, setback the heat when we arm our system and crank the heat up when we disarm upon coming home.
bulletHomeVision also monitors and controls my garage doors and is connected to motion detection flood lamps that send X10 commands to activate a CCD camera and popup a PIP window on my XBR, GOD I love this thing, when motion is detected outside!

I've also started to test the multi-function expansion board which is capable of up to 8 IR zones, has 8 analog inputs for sensors and digital I/O support too. I'll let everyone know how things go as I begin to multi-zone my IR in the house and hook up my analog sensors.

 

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Dale Shaw's System

My home automation system is in its beginning stages. I started with X10 modules and use them only for lighting so far. I am waiting for the expansion board to come out to expand to I/O functions which I will explain later. This Home Automation System is integrated with a Home Theater System to control lighting schemes now, but when I add the expansion board I will control curtains in the Theater room, arm security and close 3 garage doors. The following is a short description of both systems.

Home Automation

bulletHomeVision controller
bullet1 Powerline TW-523 interface
bullet1 ACT CP000 passive coupling device (not adequate for a 2,850 sq. ft house)
bulletLeviton 5100 whole house surge protector
bullet14 Leviton 6381 dimmer modules
bullet1 Leviton 6400 wall transmitter (4 sw/on off)
bullet4 ACT RD-100 3 way dimmer modules (these work better than Leviton)
bullet10 Radio Shack plug in dimmer modules
bullet5 Radio Shack plug in appliance modules
bullet1 Xantech IR connecting block
bullet2 Xantech mini emitters
bullet1 Xantech 291 IR receiver
bullet1 Moose alarm panel (soon to be retired)

Home Theater

bulletSony XBR-5345 53" rear projection TV.
bullet2 Definitive BP-2000 500 watt (with 15" built in woofer and 300 watt bass amp each) / front speakers.
bullet2 Definitive BP-30 500 watt / rear speakers.
bullet1 Definitive C/L/R 2000 400 watt / center speaker.
bullet1 Sunfire Cinema Grand 5 channel amp 200 watts per ch @ 8 ohms / 400 watts per ch @ 4 ohms.
bullet5 MIT T-2 BI amp/bi wire reference speaker cables.
bullet5 MIT 330T reference signal cables.
bullet1 Kenwood KC-Z1 AV controller using fiber optic 24 bit audio input for CD,DSS,DVD.
bullet1 Sony 5 disk CD fiber optic audio out.
bullet1 Sony SAS-AD2 DSS fiber optic audio out.
bullet1 Pioneer Elite DVD/LD fiber optic AC-3 audio out (yes DVD finally).
bullet1 RCA hi definition VCR.

NOTE: This audio system cracks my drywall !!!!

The HomeVision controller lives in my Home Theater equipment closet for the best interface with all the other IR components. The Xantech IR connector block, mini emitters and IR receiver serve to transmit and receive all 2 way IR signals from outside to inside, or vice versa, the equipment closet. The HomeVision and the Kenwood KC-Z1 are directly wired into the Xantech IR connector block via 3.5 mm jacks on each unit. Plans include expanding my Home Vision to direct security inputs, analog temp, analog photo cell and control outputs for a full Home Automation system.

 

Charles Waggoner's System

My name is Charles Waggoner, my address is 4711 Willow Circle, Edmond, OK 73013, phone # is home 405.478.1016, work 405.752.7325, fax 405.752.7384. I was among the very first, if not the first to buy a HomeVision from Craig and Kathryn. I purchased it at the CES show in Orlando. I initially thought I would use it as a video front-end for a JDS TimeCommander-Plus. Boy, was I ever under-estimating the power of the HomeVision. Craig and Kathryn are two super sharp people and have designed and engineered a great little box. I'm really expecting great things from them in the future.

To tell you a little about my house -- I built it over the last two years and moved in May 96. It is a 2875 square feet, single story, brick veneer house that has 3 bedroom, an office, a 800 square feet woodworking shop and a three car garage. It is constructed of concrete sidewalls using Lite-form foam forming that stays in place to offer an R-22+ insulation. The interior and roof framing is light-gauge steel. The interior walls and ceiling are insulated with Icynene foam. My company is Comfort Masters and is a licensed dealer of "The Icynene Insulation System". Check it out at www.icynene.on.ca if you aren't familiar with it. Anyway, I insulated all interior walls for sound proofing.

The HVAC is a Geothermal heat pump with a closed loop system consisting of five 200' wells. It has a two zone duct system (one for the shop and the other for the house) individually thermostat controlled by an Enerstat zone control system. I installed a meter on the heat pump circuit so I could track the energy cost. Thus far, my energy bills for heating and cooling has averaged less than $30.00 a month since May.

The house has a lot of wire in it, in fact well over two miles. On the AC side, the wiring is CEBus compliant. There is a neutral and ground to every termination point in the system. I have separate panels for the shop (100 amp) and the living area (200). All feeds that could have "nasty or noisy" devices on them are individually breakered. All the lights are on PCS SS series switches (22 of them) with several using 3-way and 4-way systems. The outside lights consist of 17 soffit canned lights and porch light controlled by a PCS LM1 lighting module. Marshall Lester, Richard Pascual and the PCS team has finally made the X-10 system competitive with all the high end proprietary systems that are unbelievably expensive. Their switches allow me to do anything those other systems can do. I hope they make millions and put the hurts on Leviton and a few others out there.

The majority of the receptacles are ACT brand. I installed Duralight (a dimmable, 110vac, 1/2" dia. plastic tube that has 1/2 watt bulbs on 1" center) in the toe kicks of all cabinets throughout the house and under the toilet headknockers in all the baths. The Duralights are controlled by X-10 light fixture modules plugged into non controlled receptacles located inside the cabinets. Duralight and its installation accessories are available from Outwater Plastics Industries, Inc. (800.631.8375). They are great people to do business with! The Duralights are dimmed at various levels in the kitchen and baths during the night for use as Night lights. The levels are also controlled by PIR detectors. I also use one under the entertainment center in conjunction with the home theater. To my knowledge, I have never lost an X-10 transmission. I think that can be contributed to a very clean wiring scheme, good initial planning and a lot of luck.

Video support is via USTec dual coax wiring to each room from a head-in in the mechanical room. To try and future proof the system, I ran additional coax runs to the entertainment area, master bedroom and office. There are coax runs to several outside boxes around the house as well as at the front door. All total, there are 17 terminations at the head-in. I'm still working on the distribution/amplification system. The system is fed by an RCA DBS system and an antenna for local TV reception.

Whole house audio is provided by individual 2 pair 14 gauge cabling from the entertainment center (everything is terminated in a wall box behind the entertainment center which is inside a coat closet) to an impedance matching volume control near the entrance of each room then to ceiling speakers. The master bedroom is wired for its own surround sound system or to use the central system. The wiring is configured so I can series or parallel any and all speaker circuits. There is a Cat. 5 4-pr cable run to each control box for IR control from the rooms back to the entertainment center and the mechanical room where the HomeVision controller will ultimately go.

I installed a Panasonic KX-TD 8-16 digital hybrid telephone system. I ran several independent Cat. 5 cables runs to the office and to "phone only" locations; i.e., bathrooms, in addition to the cat. 5 cables in the USTec coax runs. Again everything is home ran to the mechanical room where the KSU is located. I'm in the process of upgrading (gads--a never ending task!!!!) the KSU to support enhanced caller-ID control. The original caller-ID was rather limited, but the upgrade is really nice. I'm hoping the caller-ID info is fed to the serial port that is used for SMDR printing so I can possibly use it with the HomeVision.

Security and fire/smoke control is via an Ademco Vista 50 control and alpha control pads. Its X-10 interface and relay control is pretty strong. I have all the control points setup for contact ID and am using a variety of input devices of which some are shared with the HomeVision. It is a very powerful system, is priced right and easily programmed.

As for the use of the HomeVision, I'm primarily controlling lights with it. With finishing the house and managing a new business, I'm just now finding time to devote to implementing all the new toys. I'm looking forward to seeing how some of the other HomeVisioners are doing things. I'm very pleased that the Chadwick's are making updates and new ideas available to us. I have a number of ideas that I'm looking forward to trying, some old and some so unique that I don't have the slightest idea how to do them. Ultimately, I want the HomeVision to allow me to run everything from any TV screen and a remote, hopefully with only one or two buttons on it. Boy, wouldn't that be great.

 

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Bryan Schumacher's System

My name is Bryan Schumacher - I've had the Home Vision for about 8 months and absolutely love it. I've got many things automated - most of the lights in the house, fireplace, surround sound, lots of infra-red equip, HVAC, garage door, etc. I also use many of the macro abilities. I have macros to:

bulletTurn off all lights at night.
bulletDim outside lights until motion is detected, then brighten all door access points to warn us that someone is outside.
bulletSetup movie mode (lights, surround sound, etc), romantic dinner mode (dim lights, turn on cd player, etc) ...

Things I am working on:

bulletAutomatic doorbell that knows when you are coming to the door as opposed to leaving the house.
bulletMore functions via the video menu like VCR recording of favorite shows.

I don't know how much easier life is, but it sure is a lot more fun! =-)

 

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Bill Neukranz's 5-Zone Enerzone StatNet HVAC System

The following useful information was provided by Bill Neukranz in an e-mail message to the HomeVision users group.

For those of you contemplating using network capable thermostats with HomeVision, here's some comments to stimulate your creative thoughts:

Tonight I cut over to using HV to monitor and control HVAC for my house. I have a 5 zone system using Enerzone's StatNet thermostats.

I have the SNs networked into an RS-232 serial input into my PC second serial port, with HV running on the PC and communicating to the second port. Communication with the thermostats is in an "interrupt" mode (i.e., temperature information comes in to HV real time).

I wrote 9 custom TV screens, all with I/R control to move back and forth, and to change values:

bulleta Menu screen;
bulleta summary screen showing for all 5 zones the heat and cool set points, the temperatures, the HVAC states (furnace or A/C running for the zone), the zone modes (Auto, Cool, Heat, Off), the fan modes (Auto, On), and the User Holds (the thermostat's day/night button), all in real time (manual changes at each thermostat are also monitored);
bulletfive individual screens to update all of the above parameters using an I/R remote, including heat and cool set point temperatures;
bulleta screen to define defaults, like max and min heat and cool set points, max time that someone can put a thermostat on hold, and max time after a thermostat is manually changed before it reverts back to the schedule (this screen not implemented yet - values are hard coded right now;
bulletand a screen showing usage for each zone, for the furnace, for the A/C, and for the filter, by day, by month and between filter changes (right now displaying LSB of 16 bit values).

I have not yet implement data logging of zone temperatures and other information, but that should be straight forward.

I used the information in the HV "How To" documentation to initially set up my structure. I modeled the initial HV code on the example using X10 TX10B thermostats, substituting SN code for X10 commands. Then, having a 5 zone system, instead of duplicating all of the macros 5 times for everything, I converted them to be indexed, using HV's table lookup and storage commands.

With communication to the SNs at 9600 baud, so far data transfer is working fine. I am using some WAIT commands in places where numerous outgoing serial transmit commands are required.

With HV's limit of 255 variables, I was not able to implement the nice temperature setback table that is part of HV's X10 2 zone internal implementation. Right now I have the setback temperature set points written in the Schedule Events section. I'm still thinking what to do here.

Overall, with HV, it's relative straight forward to implement the serial communications to the thermostats, just somewhat tedious to set it up for 5 zones. CSI's HV and Enerzone's SN products are pretty impressive to be able to integrate them so tightly.

Next few steps include integrating the room PIR sensors back into the HVAC, setting temperatures as needed, and integrating the thermostats into whatever other home automation processes I already have. This I can now do without running any wire.

 

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Last updated:
01 October 2013

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