IVB\’s Home Theater and Home Automation

You don\’t have to spend a lot for that smarthome.

System overview

Posted by IVB on May 21, 2006

Took a break from HA stuff to go to Disneyland, i don't know what they're talking about – that is NOT a small world… 

I was asked by an AVSforum.com dude to describe my setup, rather than do it over PM/email, i figured i'd do it here as I'm also helping several other folks with their systems.

(Plus Dean & Mark keep harassing me to submit my stuff for the CQC gallery, this'll help there too. I'll do it in that format to reduce the workload:D )

System Overview

What's under control?
Home Theater
– Polk XRt12 XM tuner (via RS232)
– ZoomPlayer (via IP, for mp3 playback)
– TheaterTek (via IP, for DVD playback)
– SageTV (via IP, for TV playback)
– Xantech ZPR68 (via RS232, to oversee whole-house audio & SDTV distribution for 6 zones/8 sources)
– Denon 3805 (via RS232, for Home Theater room playback only)
– 5 2-4ch amps, indirectly controlled via 12V triggers & the ZPR68 to power individual zones. I prefer Parasond zamps and Sherbourn since they're inexpensive and 12V triggerable
– (Soon) Xantech EXP9 zone expander, indirectly controlled via the ZPR68 so I can do up to 15 zones. I'll only have 10-ish, though.

Home Automation
– Rain8net irrigation controller (via RS232)
– Aprilaire 8870 HVAC (via RS232)
– Elk M1Gold (via IP)
– (Soon) Indirectly control security camera system, via the web browser control.

System Layout
All equipment & the CQC/Sage Server & HT room PC Client is stored in a central location. Most of the Elk sensors have been run to a 2ndary cabinet located in the basement, so I don't have 40-odd wires running into the media closet when I don't need to,

System Configuration
There's technically 6 machines in my layout:

CQC/Sage Server
– Asus A7V600, 512MB RAM, 1+TB of space, WinXP Home
– CQC Master Server, SageTV, ZoomPlayer, UltraVNC Server are the primary software bits on this box.

Home Theater PC client
– Abit NF7-S2G, 1GB RAM, 1TB of space, WinXP Home
– CQC Interface Viewer, SageTVClient, TheaterTek are the primary software bits on this box.

(soon) CCTV/File Server
– Abit NF7-S2, 512MB RAM, 1.5TB of space
– Kodicomm software will be the only software bit installed on this machine. i won't install CQC unless I see a need for it. My preference is to keep this to be a clean CCTV/File server.
Wallmount Controller
– Fujitsu 3400, P3-400, 192MB RAM, Win XP Pro
– CQC Interface Viewer is the only software installed on this box

Development Machine
– Cheapo Dell laptop, 512MB RAM
– Full CQC install [except Master Server], Photoshop Elements, ElkRP, UltraVNC Client are the primary software bits.

Fancy remote control
– Cingular Siemens SX66 wifi PDA cellphone
– CQC DotNetViewer, and MS.NET 2.0 are the primary software bits installed.

Zone Layout
http://www.myhometheaterpc.com/screenshots/vladstudio/VladStudio_Floorplanview.jpg If you look at this picture, you'll see that I currently have 7 zones in the layout. I'll be splitting up Zone 2,5,6 into seperate zones shortly, so I can have room-level power-on/off via CQC. They'll never play different sources, but I can't think of a better way to allow CQC to turn on/off the sound in those rooms.

I currently use VGA to display the image in Zone1, and will shortly be using composite to send SDTV to Zones 2 & 6. I'm in the midst of low-voltage wiring quicksand, so i'm getting to all of this as fast as I can without getting divorced or having my kids stop recognizing who I am…

That's it for the high-level overview. Any questions, lay them on me.


5 Responses to “System overview”

  1. Tom said

    Just curious – When you integrated your ELK M1 to CQC, are you also independently utilizing the Elk’s built in memory/logic to perform certain HA/security task? Or is it all dependent on CQC? I’m just worried that if my computer ever goes down that the alarm system will continue to work without it.


  2. IVB said

    My goal is the same as yours – if my PC crashes, my alarm system cannot be compromised. However, that fallback position will be to replicate the functionality of my ADT system – very basic standalone security. Everything else will be done by CQC, but that is stuff that is “expendable” in the event of PC failure.

    I’m using currently making VERY minor usage of the rules within the Elk. That *may* go up as my understanding of ElkRP software gets better. Cross-discipline integration will be done by CQC. By discipline, I mean functions like lighting, security, audio, video.
    The only real rule I have in the Elk now is to trap the doorbell, and to announce it in areas I cannot hear the doorbell chime.

    This means that stuff like the following will be done by CQC (all future stuff, still doing basic setup stuff now):
    – If the doorbell rings, the Elk rules will state to send a signal to an output. Then, CQC will pause audio or video, pop up the security camera on the screen.
    – I have my doorbell on an elk-912 relay switch, where there’s a real doorbell in the “normally closed” state, and a fake doorbell in the “normally open” state. I’ll use CQC to set a “naptime/quiet mode”, where it’ll send the Elk a signal telling it to change between one state and the other, hence either enabling or disabling the doorbell. In the “disabled” state, i’ll have CQC tell the Elk which lights to flash on/off to indicate doorbell.

    There’s 100 other cross-discipline things that either the Elk or CQC will do, but as I’m still in the beginnings of this road, I couldn’t even guess as to what they are.

  3. 3DogKnight said

    How did you get CQC to interact with the doorbell detector?

  4. IVB said

    I have an Elk automation panel. I got the Elk-930 Doorbell & Telephone Ring Detector (http://www.elkproducts.com/products/elk-930.htm ).

    I wired it inside the doorbell circuit, and hooked it into Zone14 on the Elk. The way a doorbell rings, when you press the button, the circuit is complete and the chime rings. Putting in that 930 allows you to trap when voltage is flowing, hence the circuit is closed.

    CQC has an Elk driver, and can detect if a zone changes. Then, I can have it react accordingly.

    Now, the cool thing is that I’ve recently added an elk-912 relay to the mix. I’m wiring that to the elk, and will be ble to create a button in CQC that allows me to choose whether I want the doorbell to ring I’ll be able to ring/not ring the doorbell&telephone.

    And, the super-cool thing is that I also bought the Elk-920 & 928 custom sound boards. I’ll be able to record custom sounds or WAV files for the doorbell or telephone, and have that go off on doorbell or ring.

    Yikes, what a dangerous hobby.

  5. 3DogKnight said

    Keep us informed on your experience with the sound boards. I have an ELK and the doorbell detector, but not the sound boards.

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