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Considering cqc, what is it's best complement of systems?
#1
Terrible title. Can't think of a good short way of asking the question. New to cqc forums, have been reading up on it, will download to play with soon, considering for new construction.

I've seen Dean say a few times on avsforum and cocoontech that it's best to pick aan automation controller first, then pick systems that it plays best with.  OK. But perusing the forums here, elsewhere, cqc documentation, I'm having a hard time sorting out just what those systems are. So I thought I'd just ask directly!

Lighting - radiora2. Very close to locking this in as a certainty.

Audio - ?  Something like an echo dot in each room and a ln WHA controller/amp combo like from HTD sounds appealing. Does cqc play well with HTD? Can a cqc touchscreen replace a standard Lync keypad?

Security - elk M1 or something else?

Cameras - blue iris or other?

Irrigation - ?

Home theater - I know cqc has built in libraries, players etc. Is there another media app like Kodi or Plex that cqc is known to integrate seamlessly with and give a better combined experience than cqc alone?

Thermostat - ? Stay in lutron family, or... ?

Video - not leaning towards distributed video. If I did, for the value Netplay from videostorm would be high on the list. Integrate with cqc OK?




Bottom line, new construction, basically a clean slate to pick components that play well together within some semi-reasonable budget. What would you be looking at?
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#2
Radio RA2 that's a no-brainer if you are comfortable with the cost.

What is HTD? I'm guessing that's a no if I don't know what it is :-) A lot of folks here use Sonos. I'm iffy on it since they aren't completely serious about supporting automation it seems to me. The Dots you can use to drive CQC via voice control of course. And I think that they can be used as regular audio outputs from Windows, which would allow you to use them with our audio player or as TTS output?

The Elk M1 would be fine for security. And it provides you with an output to add other sensors down the line without having to add new hardware.

Plex is supported. Not all of the Plex players support enough of the protocol to be useful. The main one does, and really that's all you'd mostly care about, the one in the theater. The portable players just use them as players directly.

If you have RA2 you have the thermostat support, so it probably wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to look elsewhere, though others may disagree with that, I dunno. I'd keep as few moving vendors as possible unless there was a good reason to do elsewise.
Dean Roddey
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#3
I started , like you, buying CQC about a year before my house was built, although that was 12 years ago.  A lot of technology has changed over that time.

Lighting - Agree with Dean that RadioRA2 is probably one of the best - I went with Insteon, (ISY 994i controller and their light switches) and it is okay - not great, but definitely better now than it was when I started.  I would say 98% of the time, it works - sometimes it misses commands and the command has to be resent, but little maintenance.

Audio - I went with B&K which more or less went out of business - company name is still there, but they don't support the old products.  Anyway, at the time I was building I wanted whole house audio throughout the house and chose B&K - Russound and Nuvo provided competitive products, and I happened to pick one that didn't make it.  Anyway, I still love having the setup I have with speakers in every room and keypad controllers, but if I did it again I would of scaled back from 12 zones of Audio to 6 (i.e. 1 unit .vs. 2).  I have Sonos as an input to the B&K, and the control with CQC is great and used everyday.  I used to have a Logitech Squeezebox that was controllable, but alas that company also quit supporting that product so I ended up switching.  Some people aren't keen on having keypad controllers in every room, but I like being able to walk into a room, turn on the sound, control volume, source, etc. without having to pull out my phone or going to a touchscreen, but that is my preference, maybe not the CQC community as a whole.

Security - Elk M1 - Not the most elegant (especially the interface) but rock solid and well supported by CQC.  I control security, garage doors - it has announcements that can be programmed on doors being opened, etc - will call, email, or text you of alarm events or status, and for the most part, it is the most dependable of the systems I have installed.  The integration with this and CQC allows you to turn on say TV's to view security cameras if motion is detected, etc.

Cameras - I have an old outdated system from Legrand but works fine for my needs.  No control, but I can view cameras within CQC and TV's.

Irrigation - I am using Rain8Net, and that along with a user built driver that reads weather data (Irrigation Controller) allows great control of it.  I switched from Rain8net to Irrigation Caddy briefly- the device quit working within weeks, and there is ZERO customer support, so don't consider that.  Hopefully they went out of business because they sold crap and wouldn't support it.  Rain8Net is just a box - it has to be controlled by something else - PC program or CQC, so that is the drawback, but as long as lightning is not bad in your area, it works great.  I have had 3 lightning strikes in the area in 12 years, so have had to send box back for repair.

Home theater - I wired a room for it, but never did anything with it.  I guess I like watching TV in my family room more than going to a separate room - I wired the family room with 5.1 sound and a big screen TV, so my interest in a home theater never went to the next step.

Thermostat - I went with the RCS thermostats, but as Dean mentioned, if you can combine one of the other suppliers and include this, I would do that.  RCS has been rock solid for 11 years however - I think Insteon does as well, but not sure if the CQC driver supports it.

Video - I went with B&K's video distribution product, the HD-6, which was component based and was obsolete about the time I installed it.  It was controllable but in the end I rarely used it.  I just put it out of service and went with a J-Tech digital video distribution system - not controllable, but I use it just to feed DirecTV (which is controllable) to 4 other TV's.  I posted about it here: https://www.charmedquark.com/vb_forum/sh...?tid=10776

Key learning - Make sure you run plenty of wires, unless you are sold on wireless technology (I'm not).  I know a lot of people are going wireless, but with a choice like you have pre-build, would rather have it controlled by a Cat5e/6 wire than wireless any day. 12 years ago, it cost me $60 per wire to run - I told them not to terminate them and I did it myself.  I ended up making about 120 runs - And my unused/unterminated bundle is now down to about 15, so I am glad I did it.

Other things to consider - Controllable TV's.  I have 1, but it's one way control, the other ones I have aren't controllable - I use a Global Cache device that sends IR via ethernet to the device and then the GC makes the change.  It's hard to find controllable TV's at the price point I want.  Someone mentioned on here that the Energy Star rating caused manufacturers to turn off ports when  powered off which prevented them from turning on.  Maybe this has changed some from the last time I looked, but that is something that would be nice to have.

Echo / Dots - I use this with CQC for voice control, not music, but don't think your idea to use them with an amplifier would be bad.  I mainly use these to control my TV and whole house audio sound, but it has so many other uses since CQC Supports them.

Hopefully this helps - and by the way Dean provides the best support of any software guy I have ever seen.  Here is a post I made a few months back on someone that was interested in CQC and comparing other options:  
Quote:My $.02 cents worth, and I know nothing about HS - support for CQC is as good as you will ever find with a computer software product. I worked as a Computer Support Analyst for 6 years, and CQC is the best I have ever seen, and that includes the company I worked for. I have been using it for 12 years, and would never consider another product, as over that time, my system has been upgraded, changed, and enhanced, and the cost remained the same. If I have a problem, you will get a reply. Most times it is an answer, and if not, it is a workaround or a new version that fixes it on a very short time frame. You won't see that in most software companies these days. If they do fix it, it may be 12 mos. down the road.

Have fun,
Blake
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#4
Thanks for the responses.

Dean, HTD stands for home theater direct (HTD.com) which among other products has a fairly popular line of multizone whole house audio controllers/amplifiers. Their Lync line in particular has decent looking keypads, a smartphone app interface, and says its controllable by homeseer, ISY, Vera, C4... https://www.htd.com/home-automation

Decent value competitor to russound and similar, more feature rich than the monoprice offering.

Will check out rain8net.

Blue iris play nicely?

And what about say driveway gate control. Does that fall under Elk M1 or something else?
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#5
For the cameras, as long as it provides a stream that VLC media player can display, you should be good. We use the VLC engine (one of the very few third party bits we use) to show web camera feeds. For most cameras (or associated management software) they provide an RTSP stream which VLC handles.

On the driveway gate, I'd guess probably a relay via the Elk, to drive some magnetic strike or something like that.

Since you are starting from scratch, thing about doing the same thing for your doors. Then, instead of having to use some potentially iffy door look scheme like Z-Wave, you can have them driven by contact closure from the Elk. Locks are a sore point in general for automation, with mostly Z-Wave being the only option. Z-Wave isn't optimal in general, and if you only have a couple modules (locks) and they are as far from the center as possible (doors), then it's a worst case. So if you can do it, consider the electric strike type of door scheme. There are hinges designed for that, to hide the wire from the wall into the door.
Dean Roddey
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#6
Whole house audio - if you want something with local keypad controls, then I think Russound might be the only option at this point. That being said, I think there is a lot of reasons to simply use Sonos, although I'm not as up to date on their capabilities to know for sure.

Security - I use an ELK, but honestly I'd suggest using a simple alarm system by DSC which I believe CQC still supports. It will be much cheaper than an ELK or HAI system, and you'll end up doing the automation through CQC anyway. So I paid a lot more for an ELK system for features that I simply don't use!

Lighting - another vote for RadioRA2

Irrigation - Rain8net is probably the most commonly used device. The system is installed normally, but the Rain8net module replaces the OEM zone controller.

CCTV - Honestly I don't think you will find much use trying to integrate a CCTV into the automation system. As Dean noted, it is super simple to view the cameras in CQC which may be all you are really talking about. I use Shinobi (a free Linux based NVR system) and it does have some HTTP GET command support. I haven't tried to tie it into CQC yet, but I have thought about using the GET system to change my record settings based on the status of the alarm. So it may record less if the alarm is disarmed, and record more if the alarm is armed away, etc, etc, etc. This should be possible, but like I said, I haven't really looked into it yet. That is probably as deep as I would go with integration myself.

Thermostat - another vote for RCS products. They have been rock solid for me. I definitely recommend them.

Video - this has certainly changed over time. When I started (well over a decade ago) HDMI was fairly new and component was still common. It was actually very hard to find HDMI switching equipment at all, and when you did find it you had to shell out some serious money for it. I went with component video distribution via an Autopatch matrix switch. It required running three mini-coax wires to each TV location (Red, green, blue of component video), but it works really well and you can send those signals a decent distance without degradation (much farther than HDMI alone). However today more and more equipment is HDMI only and we are certainly going to head to 4k resolutions which I doubt component video can handle. Of course there are more HDMI switching options available today too. One contender is to simply use a home theater receiver at each major TV location where you want multiple inputs and surround sound. That receiver can be hidden at another location and controlled via CQC. At minor TV locations, you might simply have devices at the TV - they have certainly become much smaller and easier to hide.


Just my 2 cents. Welcome to the forum by the way......
Brian

"Really dear, it was too good of a deal to pass up. Besides, look at what it does now...."
I think my wife is getting a little tired of hearing this :-)
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#7
I think we would use multiple types of WHA control, but to be honest an app on our cellphones would probably be bottom of the list.  Alexa and amazon music is perfect for the majority of background music. I can see us using local keypads too... sometimes its easier and more discreet to simply walk over and change volume instead of asking a roomful of guests to be quiet so you can talk to the ceiling!  And if we are going to use keypads, I'd prefer to replace simplistic local keypads in a few key common areas with a nice touchscreen that allows browsing of local music collection, controlling remote zones etc, and serves multiple purposes for security, cameras, automation...

I guess since HTD systems can be controlled by homeseer, Vera etc its just a matter of a cqc driver being written? One of the intriguing aspects of HTD over russound is that the new (not yet out) amp will.have a second "priority" input on each zone. Perfect to connect a local echo dot to so that if you want to interact with Alexa or stream music to that (or other) dots, it takes priority over whatever is playing on the other input. And easy way to mesh echo devices and more traditional keypad controlled WHA I would think. That, and its cheaper than russound. That helps.

I think you are right on the distributed video. With my C-spire TV running on tiny appletv sized boxes or firesticks, centralized dvr function etc, getting harder and harder to see the necessity. Especially if something like cqc can pull a camera feed and display it if needed. That was one of the other selling points for distributed video. And yeah... that's about all the integration with cameras I think I would want. The ability to display a selected feed on a multiuse touchscreen (see above) in a few locations like kitchen, master bedroom etc. And perhaps the ability to show camera feed on TV's around the house if needed but that would be less important probably.
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#8
I sent HTD an e-mail asking for some protocol info so that I can get a feeling for what would be involved.
Dean Roddey
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#9
Thanks. Will be interested to know how likely that is.
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#10
I also started a long time ago and my system, like others has evolved over time.

Lighting - I also did Insteon but as I move into a new home, I am rethinking this choice. I had problems w/ Insteon some years ago and tried to do UPB without success. I ended up replacing failing Insteon switches. I am contemplating digging out the parts that would not work before and seeing if they will work in the new home (if the Insteon was conflicting with the UPB). RadioRA will also be part of my consideration before I put Insteon in the new house.

Audio - I too did the B&K products for audio but I've since moved to Echo Dots. It is just too convenient. I would put an amp in a place that required it but that was only the theater in the old house and I'm still deciding if I'm even going to replace the theater.

Security - After the issues connecting the old Caddx NX8 in the old home, I'm definitely doing the ELK M1 in the new house; The NX8 was my choice as another user was using it at the time. I never could get it to connect to CQC so I just used it standalone. I have been using Schlage Zwave locks for a few months in the old house but I did not get them integrated yet before moving. I intend to do this in the new home as I move from door to door replacing old locks for the nicer locks. It seems the additional finished have created a WSF (I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the wife satisfaction factor yet) problem in selecting the replacements. I've been through brushed nickel and antique brass and I'm still not convinced this is a done deal.

Cameras - blue iris; Dean hinted to use a supported device that support RTSP.

Irrigation - Rain8Net is raved about although I don't use it

Home theater - I have a Sony777 and we used it for many years along w/ Comcast to fill in the blanks. Video distribution was the B&K for a long time then I decided that the aging component matrixes had to go. In the old house, I added a cheap 4 port J-Tech HDMI 4x4 matrix which had a serial input but the move came up quickly before I could finish it. I had the closer devices plugged in with long HDMI cables. I did not get the extenders working. In the new house, I'm using Dish due to the rural environment and anything I need to connect to remote rooms I'm going to do through the Joeys and a modulator into the Hopper3. At $5/room/month, it's just too cheap to consider wiring and hardware costs etc. I did have a theater in the old house with an Epson project that was wildly popular for several years but a large screen TV in the living room basically replaced it. IF I do it again in the new house, it will likely be 2 large TVs. The Sony777 will be replaced with a Plex server for sure. I occasionally have been asked about the movies from the Sony777 but everyone was ok when I said they'd be on the next solution and most likely be accessible through the whole house again. The new home unfortunately has no reasonable internet solutions so I will not have to deal w/ streaming until 5G moves out of urban settings. I honestly think streaming has to be a consideration in a successful solution though.

Thermostat - I used Aprilaire in the old house forever. I had 2 zones with temp sensors and all. I have not gotten this far in the new one although it is getting close on my list. My intention is to make sure my choice will interface with the Elk, adjusting temps for the oil heat if the primary heat source does not function properly.

There was a long discussion some years ago about wiring considerations for new construction and I would suggest looking through it. We probably should refresh it given technology changes. Wiring is the first thing I would approach once I know what technologies I was using for each section, but as early as possible in the process.
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