Compatible Hardware Products

 

Thousands of hardware products are compatible with HomeVision and HomeVision-Pro. This article highlights a few worthy of special mention that HomeVision users should be aware of.

 

LIGHTING SYSTEMS (Not X-10)

UPB Powerline Systems

Powerline Control Systems makes a line of devices that communicate with their Universal Powerline Bus (UPB) protocol, not X-10.  It is possible to use these devices with the HomeVision and HomeVision-Pro “custom lighting” feature.  See our UPB page for more information.

C-Bus®

C-Bus® devices made by Clipsal can be controlled with the HomeVision and HomeVision-Pro “custom lighting” feature. Visit UKUSA Consulting for more information.

Dynalite

HomeVision and HomeVision-Pro can be programmed to communicate with Dynalite systems via native Dynalite DyNet commands.

Other Lighting Systems

Some users would like to use HomeVision or HomeVision-Pro with lighting systems other than X-10 (such as INSTEON, Lutron, CentraLite, etc.). To facilitate this, HomeVision and HomeVision-Pro supports what we call the “custom lighting” feature. See this page for details.

 

ETHERNET INTERFACE

Custom Automation Technologies, Inc. has announced an Ethernet interface add-on for HomeVision and HomeVision-Pro. Visit their web page here for more details.

 

SENSORS

Analog Temperature Sensors

The LM34 sensor is most commonly used with HomeVision. Refer to the article Using analog temperature sensors for more information. Sensors are available from Digi-Key, Jameco and other sources.

National Semiconductor's web site provides details on the LM34.

Digital Temperature Sensors

The Dallas Semiconductor DS1820 or DS18S20 can be used with HomeVision-Pro, or with HomeVision and a Multifunction Expansion Board. The DS18S20 is a newer version, but both work fine with HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro. (Note the part number DS18B20 is NOT compatible with HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro).  These are available from:

bulletDallas Semiconductor (bought by Maxim) (800-336-6933)
bulletJDR Microdevices (800-538-5000)
bulletNewark Electronics (800-463-9275). Note that Newark part number for DS18S20 is 95B5945
bulletAlso available from Automated Environmental Systems in enclosure (part number ATS2000D)

You can download the DS18S20 data sheet in PDF format from the Maxim web site.

 

Serial Port Temperature Sensors

When using HomeVision, analog and digital temperature sensors must be connected to the HomeVision Multifunction Expansion Board (this isn't needed with HomeVision-Pro).  If you only need to measure a few temperatures, and don't need any other features of the Multifunction Expansion Board, it might be an expensive solution for HomeVision.  An alternative is to use a temperature sensor that can connect to the HomeVision serial port.  There aren't many of these available, but the HVT-1820 is one (it is a modified version of their KIT-1820).   This comes in a kit that you assemble yourself, so it's not for everyone.  It can read up to eight DS1820 digital temperature sensors.  It transmits the temperatures out a serial port at 2400 baud, and you connect a HomeVision serial port to it to read the data.

Here is a brief description of how to set up your schedule so HomeVision will read the temperature data.  This example assumes there are two sensors connected to the HVT-1820, and the HVT-1820 is connected to HomeVision serial port #2.  First, create a periodic event and set it to run every one minute.  Put the following serial transmission command in it:

   Serial Port 2 Transmit Carriage Return and Line Feed                

This command will trigger the HVT-1820 to report the temperatures to HomeVision.   Next, put the following commands in the Serial Data Input Event for serial port #2:

  ;Temp Sensor #1
   If
      Serial port 2: Serial input characters number 1 through 1 are '0'
      ;The message for the first sensor starts with the number 0
   Then
      ;This message is for the sensor #1, so read in the reported temperature
      ;into a temporary variable:
      Serial port 2: Put value of received serial characters # 3-5 into Result Value
      Var #1 (Temporary) = Result Value
      If
         Var #1 (Temporary) =<> 255
         ;255 indicates an error, so if we get this, don’t do anything.
      Then
         Var #2 (Inside Temperature) = Var #1 (Temporary)
      End If
   End If
   ; 
   ;Temp Sensor #2
   If
      Serial port 2: Serial input characters number 1 through 1 are '1'
      ;The message for the second sensor starts with the number 1
   Then
      ;This message is for the sensor #1, so read in the reported temperature
      ;into a temporary variable:
      Serial port 2: Put value of received serial characters # 3-5 into Result Value
      Var #1 (Temporary) = Result Value
      If
         Var #1 (Temporary) =<> 255
         ;255 indicates an error, so if we get this, don’t do anything.
      Then
         Var #3 (Outside Temperature) = Var #1 (Temporary)
      End If
   End If                  

These commands read in each line of the serial input message, check the first digit to determine which sensor it is for, then read in its temperature.  As long as the value is not 255 (which would indicate an error), the reported temperature will be placed into a user variable.

 

Light Sensor

Texas Instruments manufactures analog sensors that measure the amount of light they receive. 

 

Rain Gauge

RainWise Inc. manufactures the Rainew Tipping Bucket Rain Gauge, which can be used with HomeVision to track rainfall. Refer to the article Using a rain gauge with HomeVision for more information. The gauge is available from Worthington Distribution and other distributors.

A/V Equipment Probes

SmartLinc makes a variety of probes that are compatible with HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro. They can be used to detect:

bulletWhether a TV, stereo, VCR, etc. is on or off.
bulletThe presence or absence of AC voltage, AC current, RF energy, low-level signals, video output, etc.
bulletWater level.
bulletWhether a motor is running or not.

Refer to the article Using SmartLinc probes for more information.

probe picture

 

Alarm Contacts

HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro's input ports are compatible with all alarm contacts. Run two wires from the HomeVision port to the contacts. When the contacts are open, the HomeVision input port will be high. When the contacts are closed, the port will go low.

Motion Sensors

Hard-Wired

HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro's input ports are compatible with all motion sensors. Run two wires from the HomeVision port to the sensor contacts. When the contacts are open, the HomeVision input port will be high. When the contacts are closed, the port will go low. The contact position is determined by the type of contact ("normally opened" or "normally closed") and whether motion is occurring.

If the motion sensor is connected to your security system, you may not be able to connect the same wires to HomeVision. If the sensor provides a second set of contacts, connect HomeVision to them. If not, you may need a relay to isolate HomeVision from the security system. Although it may function OK with direct connections, there is always a risk that a HomeVision failure could impact the security system. Therefore, such connections should be made with extreme caution. Custom Solutions, Inc. assumes no responsibility if HomeVision interferes with the security system because of improper connections.

X-10 Transmitters

Some motion sensor transmit X-10 signals when triggered. These can easily be interfaced to HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro. Most have a "reset" period so they don't trigger repeatedly within a short time. This is beneficial for limiting the number of X-10 transmissions.

You can also connect a regular motion sensor to an X-10 Powerflash module. This will transmit an X-10 signal each time the sensor trips. One problem is that if motion continues, X-10 transmissions can flood the power line and interfere with other transmissions. Therefore, this approach is recommended only as a last resort.

 

HVAC CONTROL

HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro can automate your HVAC system when used with a compatible thermostat. With HomeVision and the right thermostat, you can:

bulletAutomatically run two thermostats to different schedules (each with eight times/temperatures per day, and three different daily programs).
bulletReprogram the schedule from your TV.
bulletView the actual temperature, setpoint, and mode on your TV and control them with your infrared remote.
bulletAutomatically change mode or temperature when other events occur.
bulletRaise or lower the temperature via X-10 without getting out of bed!

RCS TX10 and TX15 Thermostats

RCS TX10/TX15 system consists of TS10/TS15 thermostat and ZCNX controller. System mode (Heat, Cool, Auto, and Off) and temperature setting can be controlled with X-10 ON/OFF signals. For more complete X-10 control, use the TX10-B/TX15-B thermostat. Available from most home automation distributors.

RCS TX10-B and TX15-B Thermostats

These are bidirectional versions of the RCS TX10/TX15 thermostats. System mode (Heat, Cool, Auto, and Off), fan mode (On and Auto), temperature setting, setback mode, and other settings can be controlled via X-10. In addition, HomeVision can read the current settings and the actual temperature using X-10. This thermostat uses "preset dim" and other infrequently-used X-10 signals to provide this capability. This thermostat is highly recommended for use with HomeVision. Available from most home automation distributors.

 

RCS Serial Thermostats

These thermostats use an RS232 or RS485 serial interface to connect to HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro. This provides the ultimate in control capabilities.  We recommend the RS485 version, which allows multiple thermostats (including multi-zone controllers) to be connected to the same serial port.  We also recommend using a HomeVision-Serial device to connect to the thermostats.

 

Enerzone StatNet Thermostats

StatNet thermostats, from Enerzone, can be controlled via a serial port. They can be used with HomeVision if HomeVision is connected to an operating PC. The StatNets are then connected to another PC serial port. The HomeVision software allows the HomeVision controller to communicate with the StatNets.   StatNets are available from most home automation distributors.

 

 

SECURITY SYSTEMS

GE (formerly CADDX) NetworX

This line of security systems uses an RS232 serial interface to connect to HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro. This provides the ultimate in control capabilities. With HomeVision, we  recommend using a HomeVision-Serial or HomeVision-Phone/Serial device to connect to the security system. HomeVision-Pro can connect directly to the security system. Be sure to read our application note about interfacing HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro to security systems to get more information.

 

 

INFRARED CONTROL

Buffalo Electronics Connecting Block

This is an amplified infrared connecting block with four outputs. Refer to the article Using the Buffalo Electronics IR connecting block for connection details. Available from Worthington Distribution and other home automation distributors.

Xantech 791-40 Connecting Block

This is an amplified infrared connecting block with eight outputs. Refer to the article Using the Xantech 791-40 IR connecting block for connection details. Other Xantech connecting block will work as well.

Powermid IR/RF System

The X-10 Powermid PM5900 system can be used either to get infrared signals into HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro's receiver, or to route HomeVision's infrared output to other locations.

bulletTo transmit IR to HomeVision, place the Powermid RE549 receiver near HomeVision. Plug a mini-emitter into the receiver's output jack. Stick the emitter LED on HomeVision's front panel on the window labeled "IR Receive". Alternatively, you can position the Powermid in front of HomeVision and aim it at the IR receive window. Place the Powermid ST539 transmitter(s) wherever you want to transmit IR signals from.
bulletTo transmit IR from HomeVision, place the Powermid ST539 transmitter somewhere in front of HomeVision where it can receive the IR output from HomeVision's front panel. Place the Powermid RE549 receiver (s) wherever you want to transmit IR signals to.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Caller ID Devices

HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro can obtain caller ID information from special devices connected to a PC's serial port (of course, you can instead use the HomeVision-Phone/CID device and avoid the need for the PC). HomeVision currently works with these devices:

bulletCall Editor RSA from Flash Horizon (formerly, Vive Synergies) (905-238-7080). PRODUCT MAY NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE.
bulletPC Caller ID Plug from ITU Technologies (513-661-7523). THIS COMPANY IS APPARENTLY OUT OF BUSINESS.
bulletRochelle Caller ID Plug can be used in place of the ITU Technologies device
bulletSolwise Meteor or CIDPC1 can be used with UK Caller ID data

Speaker Switch Box

A/B 8 Speaker switch box from HACS. PRODUCT MAY NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE.

 

Relays

HomeVision-Pro has 8 relays built i. HomeVision doesn't contain relays, but Port A can drive external relays. RCS makes an 8-relay output board that can be driven from this port. This board is a slight modification of the RCS 8CUX10. One IC is replaced by a socket that connects to HomeVision with a ribbon cable. This modified board is available exclusively from Worthington Distribution.

Elk Products also makes relays that can easily be used with HomeVision. Read more about how to use these in the article Using Elk sensitive relays.

Phone On/Off Hook Status Indicator

Many users like to be able to tell when the phone is on or off hook. The easiest way to do this is with a "Loop Sensing Relay" from Mike Sandman...Chicago's Telecom Expert (630-980-7710). The part is the "Standard Sensitivity Loop Sensing Relay 1 Form C," number WTB-860617-10. Cost is $16.99 (at least it was the last time we checked!). Connect it in series with the "ring" side of the telephone circuit, and use the other three leads for a normally closed or normally open relay. The relay can directly connect to a HomeVision input port. Special thanks to Bill Neukranz for pointing this great product out.

PCS Lighting Modules and Smart Switches

Powerline Control Systems (PCS) light modules and Smart Switches can be directly set to any level. Lights which are off go straight to desired level without coming on full brightness first. Lights can also be dimmed or brightened in 1/2% steps. These modules use the X-10 "preset dim" signals to provide the advanced control capability. Available from most home automation distributors.

When entering commands in your HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro schedule for these modules, you use the special PCS lighting commands located under the X-10 toolbar icon. These implement all of the special PCS commands. You could also control these lights with the standard X-10 commands (On, Off, Dim, Bright, etc.), but you'd lose many of the advantages the modules provide. Available from most home automation distributors.

Serial Port Devices

Several companies sell a variety of interesting serial interface devices that can be used with HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro:

bulletB&B Electronics (815-433-5100)
bulletTelebyte Technology (800-835-3298)
bulletBlack Box (412-746-5500)
bulletBay Technical Associates (800-523-2702)
bulletMike Sandman...Chicago's Telecom Expert (630-980-7710)

If your PC serial port uses 25 pins instead of a 9 pins, you may need an adaptor (DB25 female to DB9 male). These are available from many sources, including Radio Shack and Jameco (part number 26243).

To connect the main HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro port directly to a modem, you will need either:

bulletA null modem cable (DB9 male on one end to connect to HomeVision, usually a DB25 male on the other end to connect to the modem)
bulletA regular cable with a null modem adaptor (9 pin or 25 pin, male-to-female)

Null modem cables are available from Digi-Key (part number AE1031 is DB9 female to DB25 male, and therefore also requires a DB9 male to DB9 male adapter; part number AE1034 is DB9 male to DB9 female, and usually also requires a DB9 male to DB25 male adapter).

Null modem adaptors are available from many sources, including Radio Shack (catalog # 26-264A, DB9 male to DB9 female; or 26-1496B, DB25 male to DB25 female), B&B Electronics (recommended part # 232MFNM, a DB25 male to DB25 female), and Jameco (part number 26243, a DB25 male to DB25 female).

It's possible to connect multiple devices to HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro serial port. However, if two devices transmit simultaneously, they could be damaged. B&B Electronics makes a serial splitter that prevents this possibility. The part number is 9PMDS and allows you to safely connect HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro to two other devices.

If you plan to leave HomeVision/HomeVision-Pro connected to a computer, we recommend you use a surge protector on the serial interface. Computer serial ports are very susceptible to lightning, which can propagate to the HomeVision controller. B&B Electronics makes several types of lightning protection devices. Their 9POP4 opto-isolator can work well with HomeVision (note that a "port-powered" device usually will not work).  Their 232SP9 will also work, but must be connected to an earth ground, and therefore may be more difficult to use.

 

Other Accessories

See Frank Mc Alinden's website for FirM (Franks Infra Red Messenger) and other items.

 

220-240V/50Hz Products

Visit these sites for useful information:

bulletLet's Automate: European distributor of HomeVision
bulletUK Home Automation
bullet Hans Attersjo's home page
bulletLaser Business Systems: European distributor of HomeVision
bulletSmarthome Australasia Pty. Ltd.: Australian distributor of automation equipment

 

PRODUCT SOURCES

bulletB&B Electronics (815-433-5100)
bulletDigi-Key (800-344-4539)
bulletJameco (800-831-4242)
bulletJDR Microdevices (800-538-5000)
bulletNewark Electronics (800-463-9275)

 

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Last updated:
09 March 2012

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Custom Solutions, Inc.
1705 Canterbury Drive, Indialantic, FL 32903

HomeVision® is a registered trademark of Custom Solutions, Inc.