Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We have a lake house in BC located about 500 km from our home in Calgary. The lake house has (semi-reliable) internet, radio-driven and an "on all the time" geothermal heating/cooling system.

I'd like to be able to:
- sense and control temp inside the house
- sense temp outside the house
- sense temp in a pumphouse (about 300' from the house)
- know if the power is out
- sense if there is water in the basement
- light controls would be nice (I can deal with webcams etc)
- maybe a remote motion sensor to know if someone is in the house

I'm rather confused by the material I've read - does anyone have a suggestion as to where to start, and/or a reliable company to deal with for supplies and (maybe) installations?

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
If you can give us a better idea as to how much you want to spend we will be able to get you into products that will suit that budget.


I am currently programming a Crestron system to communicate with a GE Security system via both local and remote access.

I'd like to be able to:
- sense and control temp inside the house
- sense temp outside the house
- sense temp in a pumphouse (about 300' from the house)
- know if the power is out
- sense if there is water in the basement
- light controls would be nice (I can deal with webcams etc)
- maybe a remote motion sensor to know if someone is in the house
For Temperature sensing Crestron makes temp sensors as well as thermostats to allow you to control your house temp with any furnace.

Power sensing can be done a few ways, the best way is with some kind of battery backup system like a Security system or a Smart UPC that also talks to a control system. Most smart UPC's also allow for control of outlets so you can kills the power to any devices that don't require it when you are not there.

Water level and any security information (ie doors/windows and motions) are controlled by the GE security system.

Lighting can be controlled by a variety of different companies and can also be programmed into the crestron system but I would suggest using crestron lighting modules as there is little to no programming as it is pre-built and allows the end user to create "scenes" and schedulers.

The GE Security system and Crestron system talk to each other via RS232.

There is also a Paradox security system that will allow for remote access but does not allow for temperature/lighting controls.

I know the cost of Crestron is fairly high and you would need to find a company in your area that sells the full crestron line to talk to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Tunksy31. Well, I'm not sure what "fairly high" in terms of cost is -- I suppose I'd like to keep it to under a thousand bucks - at least to start. My guess would be that if a system is modular enough I could add to it over time (ie the water sensor is really only a big issue during spring melt, though is 'useful' the rest of the year).

Lack of power in the winter for an extended period, however, could lead to burst water pipes - a much more expensive proposition!!

I have a number of UPSes at my office, any of which I could adapt to power monitoring (though, if I can't reach the system, my presumption would be that the power is out!).

Temp sensing is more important than control, if that makes a difference. We have friends close by (15 min drive) who can respond if required, so 'control' is not an absolute.)

Does that help?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
Sensaphone makes some good remote monitoring equipment, which will contact a list of telephone numbers if the monitored conditions go out of limits. Their original products you dialed in to check on a phone line, but I see they've added internet accessible products as well.

You can plug sensors in to monitor pretty well any condition you want - temp, water, power, smoke, break-in/motion, etc.

Sensaphone Products
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,194 Posts
Take a look at the elk systems, Everything you want to do can be done with out too much trouble. It will take a bit of learning to be DIY but so will anything. With the Elk you have two options, either the M1 gold or the M1ez8 depending on your future needs and connectivity objectives. I think for the difference in price the gold is the way to go. BUT either should get you up and running without too much hassle. The nice thing is you could test wire everything here in town with short leads and get it all programmed and ready to go so when you go to the cabin you just run the wires and reconnect everything so its much less stress trying to figure everything out.

Programing them is pretty straight forward and can be done via the internet or locally connected to it. I do all mine over the network.

From what you want to do there are many different approaches but this is a quick idea for your setup. With going light control I think you might be slighly over budget but not too much depending on what thermostat you choose for your system.

-Elk M1gold main system
-Elk M1XEP If you want to control your system with regular internet
-HAI Ominstart 2 thermostat or other meant for Heatpumps
-2 external temp sensors
-power sensor is built in to the elk I believe you just create an event notification
-Water bug sensor
-light control you can go many routes and just choose the interface you want
-motion sensors, door sensors,glass breakage etc regular security sensors for what ever you could possibly want. If you have recording web cams you can even have it to automate sending you the last few minutes of screen captures to you if say the door sensor or glass breakage goes off.
-listen in modules and voice modules are available too
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,194 Posts
Do you have a regular phone line there as well? or just internet?
For any type of internet make sure you make use of a dynamic DNS service such as dyndsn or no-ip to snsure you have a static dns name instead of an ever changing ip address. The elk with a M1XEP has this function build in so you just input your account info and it takes care of the rest if your router does not already support this feature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks ctown6412 - I'll check into those. Sounds like it's one vendor in all areas. Yes, we have both regular phone (always good as a backup) and radio internet (variable receptivity). I'm familiar with dyndns so no problem there.

Good idea on pre-setting everything up - at least as far as possible. Much easier to do it here in town with all my tools and references available!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,194 Posts
Yep, and if you do go elk, there is a great community support behind behind it so if you get lost or need pointers just ask and its likely someone will help pretty fast.

I have an elk system here at my office for automation and security and love it! It really was pretty easy to learn the programing of it and actually quite fun making and thinking of the events and automation tasks.
I control, door locks, door access via rf fobs, security, 4 zone hvac, security, and just about to add lighting to it as well. It will call,email, text in any combination to multiple numbers if you wish too so for instance say the power did go out or the temp dropped below Xdeg it could call your neighbors with the warning and send you an email or text.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,334 Posts
I have a Control4 system for my home automation and it should be able to do all of this stuff, as well as control all of your lighting, etc. It would likely be above $1000 as everything has to be bought through a dealer. Control4 is a competitor to Crestron but it is generally cheaper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,194 Posts
When I looked into control systems for the office I looked at control4, and while i liked the polished interface I did not like that the resellers did not want to allow me control of the system after it was installed. So any small changes I would have to contact them. And well the cost was WAY more than Elk and with less out of the box functionality.

Wayne, are you able to freely configure your system? And how was your exprience with the reseller? the resellers here in Calgary were useless when it came to getting access to the needed software and even more useless when I would ask about custom automation commands ,

"can we make it notify me by email or txt if the alarm is tripped and send the last 15 seconds of video for the closest camera to the affected zone to my phone right away?"

Their answer, well Im not sure let us do some reading and get back to you. I was in Awe of thier lack of knowledge on their products. I had a list of about 10 specific questions and only a few could be answered right away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,334 Posts
When I looked into control systems for the office I looked at control4, and while i liked the polished interface I did not like that the resellers did not want to allow me control of the system after it was installed. So any small changes I would have to contact them. And well the cost was WAY more than Elk and with less out of the box functionality.

Wayne, are you able to freely configure your system? And how was your exprience with the reseller?
Control4 is not as DIY as I would like it to be but it is pretty good. There are two versions of the programming software Composer - the professional edition and the home edition.

The home edition does 99% of what the professional system does. The main difference is that you cannot add hardware to your system. That wouldn't be an issue to me if it meant that I need to call me dealer to add in a new light switch, as I don't do my own wiring, but it also means that you have to call in a dealer if you get a new DVD player and want to integrate it into your system.

With the home edition I can program all of the switches in the house, I can have one switch in my bedroom turn off all other switches, I can have a double click do something else, etc. You can also have the system send you email notifications on any type of event, such as a temperature being over or under a threshold, motion sensors being activated, lights turning on/off, etc without requiring your dealer. There are even things like Twitter addins that will tweet when certain events happen.

My dealer is pretty good but he is an electrician dabbling in the home automation space and I don't think he really understood how to to do more complex programming nor how to properly place the controller in my LAN given my router, switches, cable modem, etc.

FYI - I use Control4 to control my lighting, HVAC systems, automated blinds and one gas fireplace. Many people use it much more for things like automating their A/V system, and have it set up with fancy video matrix switches, etc. But I prefer using a centralized HTPC server with SageTV extenders at all PCs - that way the A/V content is delivered to five TVs in my house (and several PCs) via ethernet rather than other specialized cabling.

You can also get Control4 apps for iPhone/iPad that allows you to use these as controllers - this is somewhat changing their business model as Control4 used to charge something like $1500 for touch screens - it is hard to do that when you can buy an iPad for $500 that has much additional functionality. They were initially charging something like $200 to activate the iPhone app but I believe they have no gone to a subscription model.

Control4 also refuses to release a PC based front end to control their system although you can do much of the Control through the programming tool, just not in a very user friendly way.

p.s. By the way I have heard rumours that some Control4 customers have been able to obtain copies of the professional edition of the software through various file-sharing sites, etc.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top