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New Year New Projects
#1
Informal post to start some banter and spead ideas and show that this forum is not dead.

It's a new year which brings new projects.....

I've been doing Home Automation for a while... I have a mostly Insteon setup and multiple ISY's one prod and a couple dev that I do nodeserver development on.  I have quite a bit of z-wave still in the form of power plugs and my thermostats.

My new project is currently CQC.  I'm investigating how CQC can take my home automation into a new level.

My own home currently is mostly automated with the ISY and programs doing pretty much everything with motion and contact sensor controlled lighting.  Hue for accent lighting and dining room with a Lutron Aurora switch which is very nice and fixes the "somebody turned off the switch" problem.  I'm looking to add A/V into my setup and a custom touch interface which I don't have today.  Ultimately I'm looking to see how well CQC voice works and if possible replace Alexa 99% if possible.  In the meantime the Alexa integration via ISY is excellent and reliable so I can use both if needed.

I have a lot of Nodeservers (plugins, drivers, addons) for the ISY that I use or have developed and I'd like to see how to bring some of those directly to CQC as they are too intensive for the little ISY and it slows things down.

First steps are to get the ISY fully integrated which Dean has been helping a lot with on updating the driver.  Once that's complete I can start migrating some of the logic into CQC and see how that works or if it's best to leave it in the ISY.  Ultimately I think I'll be replacing the Insteon lighting with Lutron RadioRA2 as I already have the Main Repeater and access to it.  If I do transition to Lutron then I will have to have the logic in CQC so I need to learn/understand that ahead of time right? Smile

First baby steps will be a simple template.  I've been watching the videos... multiple times and going back for reference and I'm looking to have a basic interface showing cameras and rooms with lighting control.  I'll expand that to movie/music selection.

I've been able to get the Sonos driver to work with the Zone driver and mostly with the renderer driver which is good.  I have an even setup to start playing music in the bathroom when the door is closed and to stop when the door is open.  My wife and daughter loves this automation... very high WAF!  I had the same thing with the ISY Nodeserver I developed as well so this isn't new but it is nicer having it more tightly integrated via CQC.

As you can see there's some rambling and some items.  The whole point is to get discussion going.
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#2
For me there are always projects on the boil.

Some of what I want to achieve next is :-
Lora/LoraWAN integration via MQTT. Dam level, valves, soil moisture etc back from the paddocks via a Lora gateway back to CQC directly without using the internet (such as the Things Network).

Finish of the solar charging and batteries panel with a ClickPLC being used to monitor everything (lots of Modbus devices and discrete inputs).

Automation of the septic tank (Envirocycle). It runs on its own at the moment with monitoring only, but I want to rebuild the controls and allow a ClickPLC to run it and have better control and monitoring and alerting from inside the house.

Start the irrigation work. Grey water tanks for pumping water around the hedges and gardens, Short term storage of the treated black water from the Envirocycle and better control of its release.

Bush fires have been a big thing here and got very close. I have an automated roof sprinkler system but I lost the ability to turn it on from outside the house when I lost SMS capabilities. Being rural my ISP is one of the telco's (4G broadband) and I am behind a NAT so no port forwarding for me which makes CQC via the phone difficult if not impossible. Need to look at expanding the sprinklers to the shed and have a second fire pump with remote on/off control.

Better integration of Blue Iris. I want to see a driver for it and I was going to try and attempt it but I am very time poor. BI now has a plugin to allow LPR and that would be perfect to use with CQC. A new camera aimed at the driveway entrance and BI capturing the license plate and sending it the CQC to then have different scenarios execute based on who's car cam in (two families on the property).

For me inside the house is pretty much done other than the theatre. I need to put a string of RGBW LED's (Neopixel technology) in the soffit of the theatre. They will be MQTT controlled via CQC with a C-Bus switch being the main user input for basic control.

My Shed/Workshop is next for automation. I already use Tasmota firmware plugs with MQTT for CQC and Alexa for Voice on the air compressor and the workbench lights. I need to further this to other stuff. Also need to put a TV and music up there so I can watch the cameras and listen to podcasts while working on the cars or machinery.

I see CQC Voice is on your list. Would be interested to see what you use for a mic. Initially mics were expensive, but now that voice assistants are out it appears that process may have come down and there are a number of field array mic's that look like an echo dot available on Amazon - keen to see how well they work with CQC in a real situation.
Mykel Koblenz
Illawarra Smart Home
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#3
I'm also in a rural area and use 4G cell for my Internet connection. Currently I have two netgear modems connected to a Unifi USG3 providing home internet. Same issue with the not being able to port forward I am able to use tunnels and setup things that way. I can create a VPN connection to an EC2 instance and then use their internet gateway end points. Or I can use a relay service or something like ngrok. I've been working with the founder of https://webhookrelay.com/ on a more custom package for use specific for home automation. I haven't gone much with this in a while though.

Let me know what you use for the soil moisture. I was using Ambient Weather with a WS-8482 and their soil moisture sensors. The bad is that it uses their cloud API for getting the data. I have since wrote a ISY Nodeserver for EcoWitt that uses their GW1000 gateway and their soil moisture sensors. The EcoWitt is all local with no internet which is good. The GW1000 is nice as it's just a small RF receiver that uses USB for power. They have released some display consoles that are supposed to work in the same manner. They are sending me a unit for testing and integration with. If I move forward with CQC I'm going to look into how to get this into CQC. Probably via MQTT as the fastest way but a proper driver of some fashion would be nice too.

I'm definitely interested in the MQTT capabilities with CQC and learning what it offers. A lot of devices are using JSON now and single topics so I need to figure out how to parse the json into segments within the CQC driver for fields or something.

I know Xeoma is expensive but for doing things like LPR it might suit you better as I think (could be wrong) it's all local and I know with BI that's a service and requires internet. Something to look at.

Yes I'm very interested in exploring CQC Voice more as a option to eliminate Alexa if possible. Mostly to save the bandwidth for better usage but also to see how far CQC Voice has come and what is possible with it from a pure local stand point. I think adding a GSM modem into the mix and being able to send TXT messages or Voice messages to the system will be very interesting. I've seen the Telegram Bot integration and Messenger integration for other systems but again I don't like the internet dependency for things to work especially when I have poor internet to start with.

I'll probably pick of a mic soon and start playing around with that. I'll post info and results. I also saw Kinnect controllers for the XBox One fairly reasonable with USB adapter ($100) so that may be an option as well.
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#4
I haven't been too active on here recently or doing much with CQC development wise ... Everything just works.  We use it multiple times a day and I wouldn't like to live without it. I think a lot of folks get to this stage so not as many posts daily, but most check in from time to time.

I do have a new project for 2020, but is a small one.  We got a Tankless Water Heater last year. It's fantastic having unlimited hot water but there is a small downside in that getting that hot water to the various fixtures takes an added 30-40 seconds over a standard tank. The tankless takes a little bit to heat up first and then the lines have to flush.  It doesn't sound like much, but is a noticeable change.

To combat the wait time and be a little more "green" as far as wasting water while awaiting heat up,  I have installed a recirculating pump.  It simply cycles hot water through the feed line and then back to the heater input and repeats until the lines are essentially primed with hot water.  It's nice in that you essentially have instant hot water after a recirc. cycle finishes.

So, I'm going to use CQC to manage the recirc logic.  Against my better judgement I'm using an Insteon on/off linc to turn the pump on and a temp sensor fixed to the return line to sense when the pump should turn off.  For me Insteon is quite reliable and I'm building in some logic to alert if the temps get too high or other failures happen like the switch staying on for too long.  The Tankless also shuts off itself if inlet temps get too high, so should be safe enough to rely on.  As a last resort, I'll also add logic in my ISY99 to also turn off the pump if it's on too long. 

With the failsafe stuff out of the way, I'll have buttons on the in wall touch screens to turn the recirc on manually when desired. As well there will be logic based on time of day and motion/lights on in various areas to guess when hot water demand may be needed. That or a schedule or maybe both.  I'm playing around with this now.

After this project is done that'll probably be it until the Linux Server is released.  I'm kind of looking forward to playing with that.  The other thing I'd like to do is some further Google Home integration and Spotify control or just more Music stuff in general.  15 years back I ripped all my CD's and use the filetage/CQSL players.  It's time to update to cloud players as I find I don't purchase much Music now physically.  My impression is the options are a bit limited right now with Music streaming with CQC in the loop. I probably have to read up on capabilities and figure something out.
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#5
I will be interested to hear about your tankless water heater trials.  I have two 13 year old water heaters, and when they die (which I expect to be soon) I want to go to tankless as its just two of us now, and don't use hot water too often.

For me in 2020, I want to investigate automated doggie doors.  We have two of them, one that goes from the house to the garage, and another that goes from the garage to the back yard.  Our two dogs use the doors often, but there are times when it would be nice to know it is locked down (i.e. mowers are here, vacation, etc), and open.  I want to monitor and control, just haven't looked too much into doors that are smart, and if their are any options to control.  I know there are a few out there that are wireless, or use a dog collar to allow entry or exit, but not sure about them much more than that.
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#6
The recirc. of hot water is an old theory and while you say you want to be green, its actually a waste of a large amount of energy as the heat that is lost in the recirculation has to be put back into the water. Use it as a way to prime the system prior to being needed (morning and nights only - when shower happen and the most likely need for hot water)

THW has been around for many years and I want to see the ability to integrate the control into CQC - along with taps that are integrated - My light switch would have a button for Shower time which would tell CQC to set the temp to the desired temperature and have it running by the time you are in, This could include running the recirc prior to starting the shower so that the hot water is there "instantly", with a temp sensor at the take-off for the shower to know when hot water is available.
Mykel Koblenz
Illawarra Smart Home
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#7
Another thing to try though it's not a miracle cure is just insulate the pipes. Reduced time to heat up and minimized the cold water slug if you turn the water off and back on a few minutes later. Worked for both a tank type and the tankless water heater it was replaced with. Not high tech but for a hour or so of time and under a hundred bucks of insulation I've no complaints.
Les
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#8
(01-19-2020, 11:27 AM)znelbok Wrote: The recirc. of hot water is an old theory and while you say you want to be green, its actually a waste of a large amount of energy as the heat that is lost in the recirculation has to be put back into the water.  Use it as a way to prime the system prior to being needed (morning and nights only - when shower happen and the most likely need for hot water)

THW has been around for many years and I want to see the ability to integrate the control into CQC - along with taps that are integrated - My light switch would have a button for Shower time which would tell CQC to set the temp to the desired temperature and have it running by the time you are in,  This could include running the recirc prior to starting the shower so that the hot water is there "instantly", with a temp sensor at the take-off for the shower to know when hot water is available.

The guy who build "The Ark" used CQC, PLCs, etc to create a pretty amazing van.
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#9
My focus is removing all ZWave stuff and replacing it with RadioRA2. Already have the Main Repeater, Aux Repeater, and Visor Control installed. I ordered my first set of switches to solve a particularly difficult problem with my patio lights/fans.

I have 4 fans on the patio that each have a light. You can control the light and the fan for each. I have the BOND unit connected. The power to the fans is controlled by a 4-way switch as I have a switch near every sliding door that has access to the patio, the thought being that you want to be able to turn the light/fan on or off as you open a slider.

The issue is that the BOND does not sync with light switch actions as it assumes it is the only thing controlling the fans/lights. To solve this, I'll be using some triggered action logic to ensure the BOND and the state of the light switch stay in sync.

I'm also focusing on the iPhone interface and then the Surface Go 2 interface.
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#10
The "fan" issue is something I really like with the Insteon FanLinc that have light/motor in one canopy package. The only other options like it are ZigBee or 433Mhz controllers. I have 3 fans I'm going to have to deal with if I move over to Lutron. Like you I already have the Radio RA2 main repeater, I don't need an Aux RP as my house isn't that large. I'm thinking about the Visor controller if the contact controls for garage door opening are added to the current Lutron driver.

I'm still debating whether to go full Lutron or not as Insteon has actually been pretty good to me. I am still evaluating CQC and migrating logic out of the ISY into CQC which is interesting as translating some of it to CQC is different and somethings that are just easy in the ISY are a bit of a wrestling match in CQC as I'm learning the environment. Yet I think it will work. I've transitioned almost everything away from Z-Wave as it's just too much of a PITA to deal with. In that over the years I've transitioned from almost every hub system out there and HomeSeer which I developed for and now looking at CQC to see what benefit or advanced functionality it can provide that other's don't.
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