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CQC HA Build - MikeG - Shaky - 03-21-2018

Been meaning to do this for some time.  I've always found reading about other peoples systems to be one of the more interesting areas of the forum, especially the pictures. This is my attempt to give back a bit and have a place I can send friends to when they ask about my hobby.  Would be great to see more action in this section. 

I've incorporated many different ideas from other folks over the years… so just a general thanks to all those that have ever shared their ideas.  

I started with CQC around 2008/2009. I was drawn in after seeing how nice some of the systems looked that had been shared here and on the main web page.  I was careful to pick equipment that had drivers while building up my HA and AV equipment.  At almost 10 years in now I've constantly added and changed things over this time. I never seem to get to a finished stage so just sharing what I use currently. 

Sharing my main screens with a bit of a write-up on what each section is used for or does. Questions/comments or improvement ideas are welcome:

I've tried to have One Main overlay that gets loaded with specific  functions  in the middle for HVAC, Alarm, Music etc . I also use 2 smaller overlays on top and bottom that either keep a more static set of templates presenting an overall picture of pertinent things in the home or specifics to supplement the main overlay.  In some modes the top/bottom overlays get auto loaded with specific items related to the main function selected.  (Like music for example gets more music related info loaded when in that mode)

I also took the approach of having  just a Master Server/IV all on one machine originally so templates were designed to control the whole house and didn't get room specific.  I've liked this approach as it's easy to maintain, but can present a challenge with crowding the IV.  A balancing act…  

This one shows most of the home (3 levels) status at a glance.  Lights, stereo/TV's can be interacted with to turn on/off as well.
[Image: Main.png?raw=1]

Select albums and play from 3 Sources (2 CQC Media players for MP3's and Squeeze Server/player for Shoutcast, I also have a 4th source that I recently added to route a Spotify source to various zones.  Spotify control done on phones for now.
I did some work to capture recently played albums/songs in the variables Driver so I can play recent stuff with a single click which is represented on the bottom overlay.  

Select Music:
[Image: Music%20Select.png?raw=1]

Source2 Playing:
[Image: Music2Playing.png?raw=1]

Multi Room Audio:

I use a B&K CT610 and 2 AVR's (Denon/Onkyo) with an old SoundBlaster card paired to KXAudio drivers that basically turn the card into a 4 source 4 discrete outputs card.  CQC can interact with the drivers via command line commands to route any source to any output (or all outputs at once).  Zones can be turned on/off from Music screens by touching the desired zone name or from an overall zone management screen.

Zone Select:
[Image: MusicZoneSelect.png?raw=1]

Nothing too fancy, Would like to get the radar going again at some point.  This one is mostly stolen from the old auto gen system.

This one was stolen from Jkish's templates and modified slightly.  They work great as is so have been left mostly as is.  One day I will dig into them and make them fit my theme a bit further.

Stemming mostly from cheapness/need for a challenge, I decided to skip spending on an AprilAire way back and just used relays on the Elk to run my 2 stage furnace and AC.  I've written rules in the Elk to give basic heating if needed with various safety bits to make sure excessive run-times etc can't happen. I then got more elaborate within CQC to create what I think is basically a Nest feature equivalent HVAC controller.  If CQC fails, the Elk takes over via a watchdog timer and if that fails then I have a manual thermostat standing in.  Some graphing done via Graphamatic and MySQL DB.

[Image: HVAC2.png?raw=1]


Fairly basic just working through the Elk M1.  One nice thing we use is a guest mode that bypasses a motion sensor and arms/disarms the alarm later/earlier to avoid false alarms.  Also I turn on the irrigation sprinklers and some lights  if there's repeated motion in the yard.  Only soaked myself once so far!

[Image: Alarm.png?raw=1]

I'm using Insteon from when it came out and went through massive failures at first, but thankfully SmartHome stood by their stuff so have stayed with Insteon.  I have about 30 devices and has been very solid the last few years with an ISY99 interfacing to CQC and the lights.  I worked with Dean to add a double tap action to the ISY driver a couple years back.  We get a lot of use from various switches around the house initiating actions from double taps on switches and remotes like close/open the garage door, turn lighting scenes on/off for a duration and blinds etc. One of the most used features for us on lighting.

[Image: Lighting.png?raw=1]

This is a bit of a catch-all screen to turn on the fireplace and I created a Thermostat mode for that.  Blinds are controlled via an RFXCom to RollerTroll DIY blind motors.  It's also become a bit of a universal remote control to turn on X-Box/PC's and TV's and set proper inputs etc.

I am also a believer of the house anticipating and doing things automatically. I have some stuff like this but plan on doing a bit more here soon.  So far I have triggered/scheduled events doing  garbage/recycling day reminders when pulling into the garage or motion in the living room at a certain time,  safety or system failure alerts and security auto arm/lights off type things.
[Image: Automation.png?raw=1]

I'm using Zoneminder as my camera control/DVR and the new Web Camera widget to display cameras in CQC.  I'd like to integrate more into Zoneminder's API to turn various cameras on/off for motion detection and perhaps display the latest recorded events.  I think this can be done with just web calls to the ZM server from CQC.

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - Shaky - 03-21-2018


My goal initially was to do as much as possible for features with as little money as possible… 

I was lucky in that I new what I wanted to do before building the house so did a lot of wiring myself during the build. I have pretty much everything home run to the basement in an electrical room to either a home made rack or wiring cans.  I have an Elk M1 that can handle more mission critical things without CQC.  CQC interacts with the Elk at a higher level and as a prettier interface, but the ELK fails over automatically if needed to keep important stuff as stable as possible. Not a slam on CQC as it is very stable, just a solid state Hardware vs Windows/PC  thing. 

I was running my CQC server/IV on a low power Intel Atom board without issue until recently.   I always wanted to have a dual CPU server so fulfilled a bucket list item a bit ago when you could get Xeon 2670's dirt cheap on ebay.  
With all the horsepower I decided I would try virtualizing CQC and other things as well.  It goes against my more fault tolerance inclinations to keep CQC segregated, but so far (3months in) I'm impressed at how well it has run for the most part.  Fighting one little USB port issue.

The ability to just copy a VM image, play around and then revert has been fantastic and worth it just for that.   I went with unRAID and their built in KVM hypervisor and got a bonus NAS out of it… extremely impressed with it and Dockers are great as well.  Can't say enough good about that system.

Also running MythTV/Emby/PLEX/Kodi on VM'S and dockers for movies and Satellite TV although not really integrated to CQC yet and may just stay that way.  We'll see.

Main Equipment:
• Elk M1 Gold Alarm and Automation via relays/keypads
• Vk011, Thai Kits CH-015 and Precon HS-2000D for temperature and Humidity sensing
• MySQL via unRaid docker for datalogging via datalog driver
• B&K CT602, Denon X4000 and Onkyo HT-RC360 for audio zones and Home Theatre
• Logitech squeeze server for Shoutcast
• Filetag/CQSL audio players for MP3
• Insteon /ISY994i for lighting control
• Irrigation - ElkM1 relays direct to Orbit 24vAC solenoid valves
• Pop3 email driver to accept commands to reboot the server via email (used this when locked out of RDP)
• Epson 8350 Projector / Kodi / MythTV for theatre - CQC only acting as a universal remote to turn on/off
• Various run timer drivers for automation
• MS Text to speech for morning announcements/reminders
• LG TV connectivity - universal remote functionality
• USB-UIRT - phasing out for more direct control - only acting as an IR receiver now
• Dual Xeon 8core E5-2680's /AsRock EP2C602-4L/D16 unRAID server
○ CQC server running on Windows 10 1 HT core / 2.5GB ram
○ 2nd VM 1HT core 2.5GB for Interface Viewer
○ MythTV VM for Sat. TV
○ Windows 10 VM for Gaming/Mining
○ LibreElec VM for Kodi
○ Various test Linux VM's
[Image: Rack.JPG?raw=1]

[Image: DSC_0424.JPG?raw=1]

>can't seem two images two to rotate upright... click images for full view<

Interacting with the system:

We have 3 touchscreens that I put on each floor in a main area.  Way back I found some used ELO 15" touchscreens on ebay for cheap and made some custom "niche's" for them and cut the drywall in such a way that they pressure fit in the wall.  For the price I've been pretty happy.  They wire into my main rack via cat5 VGA cables and active USB extenders from MonoPrice.  All 3 screens show the same at all times which has been fine so far.  One day I'll go for 42" in screens in wall… just waiting for someone to clear those out like they did with the old Kodak kiosks that these ELO's are from…
I know some are moving away from in wall stuff, but to me you just can't beat having at least a couple in wall always there screens for quick interactions.  

I'm currently working on a set of WebRiva templates for interacting on phones/tablets.  Remote RDP sessions via RDP hack has been used to date for phones and to be honest I like it, but figure it's time to give webRiva a try. Going to try a different theme of templates for that shortly.  

[Image: DSC_0430.JPG?raw=1]

I'm using Google home / IFTTT through web HTTP triggers to turn on some lights and do some other stuff like TV's On/Off, close garage door etc.  It works pretty well, but has some delay which is a bit annoying (4-6secs typically from command acknowledged to triggered)

Also using CQC Voice with an Acoustic Magic Mic. with some pretty good success as long as the room is quiet, so this is in the basement rec. room/theatre right now for barking orders to turn on the fireplace/projector etc.  I found I really had to tune the mic. and get the gain as high as possible… but not so high that there's humming in the background.  The KX Audio drivers came in handy for this as well and I could not get the mic. to work well at all with another sound card/basic drivers.

Wow… that's about it for now.  I will try to update more as I go along further.

Reserved for future

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - Dean Roddey - 03-22-2018

That's a lot of widgets under the bridge there. What are the round things behind the rack? Is that spools of wire or weight lifting stuff? The in-walls look quite nice to me, and I agree it would be nice to have some around like that.

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - Shaky - 03-23-2018

haha, yeah many widgets!  Those are just weights... one day I'll have to actually use them again.  I went to a surplus computer parts store here yesterday to get a used edgeport and they had what must have been a 42" or maybe bigger touch screen on the wall for customers to punch info into.  Tried to convince them to sell to me but no luck.  Apparently they get them every once in a while so hoping some day i'll be able to post a pic of one in my house.

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - kblagron - 03-25-2018

How are you handling the Irrigation with Elk.  I have the Rain8 with Jkish's templates as well, but reliability (requires power off/on of Rain8 on reboot's along with 3 lightning issues that fried the box) is making me want to switch to the Elk like you have it.  Can you use his Irrigation Scheduler?  What would I need as far as relays on the Elk?

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - Shaky - 03-26-2018

(03-25-2018, 09:30 PM)kblagron Wrote: How are you handling the Irrigation with Elk.  I have the Rain8 with Jkish's templates as well, but reliability (requires power off/on of Rain8 on reboot's along with 3 lightning issues that fried the box) is making me want to switch to the Elk like you have it.  Can you use his Irrigation Scheduler?  What would I need as far as relays on the Elk?

Yes, you can use his irrigation scheduler with Elk relays.  There's a text file or two that you just have to update with the name of the driver and field(s) of the relays you want the scheduler to use.  I can look that up in more detail later if you need.

If just needing 8 or less relays, you can go with an ELK-M1RB connected direct to the main elk board.  That's what I had originally done.  If needing more than 8, an M1-XOVR and output expander is required as far as I know. (Might want to double check that to be sure if that's still the case.)   You will also need a power source for your relays to switch across your sprinkler solenoids.

If you need an M1RB shoot me a PM if you like.  I had bought two by mistake and have one new in box collecting dust that I'd let go for a good price.

If you are having lightning/grounding issues, I'm not sure if this would eliminate that risk though. You'll need wires from the sprinkler solenoids into the Elk which will create a possible path for lightning into the Relay Board at minimum on the Elk. Don't want to dissuade you, but something to consider which you maybe already have.  I'm really happy with how the elk relays are working with John's scheduler system.

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - RichardU - 03-29-2018

Thanks so much for posting this. I got into CQC about the same time and have some of the same equipment, e.g. M1G. I haven't implemented the CQC web server yet. Last time I seriously considered it was several years ago. Someone said they would share their config files, but that never happened. Are yours available?

I'm also a big fan of unRAID. In fact, I'm half tempted to run it on my desktop and do all my windows work from within a VM. If I didn't have three monitors, and not enough time to debug problems I would have done that already.

I have an serial-to-ethernet adaptor on its way from China. If it works, I'll move my entire CQC installation to unRAID as well. Then I'll build another unRAID as offsite backup. My goal is virtually no down-time if everything at my house were to suddenly disappear.

These are the plugins / dockers I'm running on unRAID. I'll be happy to answer anyone's questions about any of them. Also, I find this guy's advice invaluable:

binhex delugevpn
binhex lidarr
binhex nzbget
binhex radarr
binhex sonarr
CA Appdata Backup/Restore v2
CA Appdata Cleanup
CA Auto Update
CA Fix Common Problems
CA User Scripts
Community Applications
Dynamix Cache Dirs
Dynamix SSD Trim
Dynamix System Info
Dynamix System Stats
Server Layout
Tips and Tweaks
Unassigned Devices

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - kblagron - 03-30-2018

I went ahead and decided to stick with the Rain8 .vs. the Elk, as the last thing I want is to fry the Elk with a lightning strike.  I had lost several ports of the Digi Etherlite 16 I had to lightning, and most recently the Com port of the CQC server (Built in Com1), so I had gone to a serial to usb converter, but it struggled to stay connected, so that is why I asked.
I had a backup computer (identical, so just switched out the hard drive) and right now all is working on the built in Com port - always an issue when you have 30 tall pines within 300' of your house and a sprinkler system.  I am sure there is something out there that could protect the voltage from entering the house, but not sure what it is.

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - Dean Roddey - 03-31-2018

Is there any sort of opto isolation gadget you can use for such things?

RE: CQC HA Build - MikeG - batwater - 03-31-2018

After our first lightning hit and subsequent electronics destruction for serial ports I use the Industrial High Speed 3-Wire RS232 Isolator from (great source of communication doodads by the way!!!) for a number of mine that don't require hardware handshaking. Units are installed at both ends of the serial run.

Ultimately I ended up buying a higher end 8 port serial card that has opto isolation built in, surge protection, etc, etc, and full hardware handshaking.

You could always put in a WiFi irrigation controller and at least isolate that part from the remainder.