Real world example

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Usage Information

Here's an example for setting up a low-cost smart home setup based on X10. The equipment we mention will cost under $1,000, although the procedure is exactly the same with a $100,000 high-end based on Lutron, Vantage, EIB, etc. So, please read the example regardless of your system type, so you understand the techniques.

List of devices

As an example, here is my list of devices:

  • Two 2 Globalcache gc100 Infrared controls, giving Infrared control of A/V equipment, extra serial ports, ttl inputs and relays.
  • TV's and stereo's
  • A CM11A module to control X10 devices, lights and thermostats. You will plug the CM11A into one of the rs232 serial ports on the gc100.
  • An alarm panel with a serial interface.
  • Squeeze box audio players.
  • Network cameras.

Specify basic info

  • Analog cameras do need some sort of interface device, like a camera capture board, which you must first add to the interfaces page.
  • Add the interface devices first on the interface page, and then the devices they control on the respective page.
  • If you want to add EIB lights (on the lights page), you won't be allowed to do that until you first add the EIB interface on the interfaces page. An EIB light cannot be used without an interface.
  • If you add interfaces for both an EIB Lighting system, and an X10 lighting system, then on the lighting page you will be able to add both types of lights, and the 'Controlled Via' field will show you what interface is being used. This means with LinuxMCE all devices, like lights, are merged together regardless of their type. When you create a lighting scenario, you will see all your lights in one checklist, even if some are X10 and others are Lutron.
  • Plug one of your gc100's into the network, and click the 'add gc100' button on the interface page.  :gc100's are treated special because they are IP-based, but their network configuration is a bit different. They are not allowed to be plug-and-play, so you have to click the button to tell LinuxMCE that you plugged a new one in, signalling LinuxMCE to look for it. Once you get the message that it was found and configured, click on the Interfaces page again to refresh it -- you should now see it listed. Give it a descriptive name and click the 'save/update' button. Now plug in the 2nd gc100, and repeat.
  • Choose 'Add Devices' and add the CM11A. Like all RS232 devices, it is not plug and play; you must add it manually.
  • Repeat for the alarm panel.
  • In both cases, the Controlled Via devices is the Core, since that's where the software drivers will be run. When you are asked to choose the port, it only shows the Core's internal serial ports. Yet, you want to plug it into one of the ports on the gc100, though. The extra serial ports on the gc100 will appear as serial ports on the Core after a reload. So, click 'Wizard', 'Restart' and 'quick reload router'. That causes the DCE Router to reload the list of devices in the house so it sees the new gc100s you have added, and adds its ports to the Core. Click again on the link for the Interfaces page to refresh it, and now you can choose the gc100 ports for the CM11A and alarm panel. Note the serial ports appear as [gc100 device #]_[port on gc100]. The gc100 device # is shown on the interfaces page, and ports are numbered with the first serial port as 0.
  • Add your TVs and stereos on the AV Devices and indicate how they are connected (i.e. which AV inputs).
  • If your Sony VCR's audio output is connected to the JVC Receiver, and the video output ic connected to the Samsung Plasma, you will add all 3 devices.
  • Click the 'Edit' link next to the VCR's 'A: V:'. Choose the Receiver as the Audio Device, then choose the input on the Receiver to which the VCR is connected. If, after choosing the receiver, you see that the Receiver's inputs are not shown, click the 'A/V properties' for the Receiver. You can also click the 'Connection Wizard' link to make the connections visually, one room at a time.
  • If your model is not in the database you will need to add it. After adding it, click the 'a/v properties' button to specify information about the device, and the 'IR/GSD codes' button to specify infrared codes, or the commands to specify if it's a 'Generic Serial Device' (like something controlled with RS232 or Ethernet). If the I/R codes for your device aren't listed or don't work, click the I/R button and either learn by trial and error or find out the code from a source like Your devices and I/R codes will automatically be sent to LinuxMCE and added to the master database for other users, unless you uncheck the box. In the 'controlled via' option, choose whichever gc100 has the infrared emitter attached for that device.
  • Turn in and plug on your Squeeze Boxes and accept the default 'DHCP network' setting. LinuxMCE will automatically recognize them and configure them. You will see a confirmation message on all the Orbiters and will be asked to specify the room each Squueze Box is in. Refresh the A/V page to see the Squeeze Boxes. Indicate how you connect them to your stereo system.
  • On the Media Directors, drag and drop your devices on the maps you upload. You'll need to do a 'regen orbiter' followed by a 'quick reload router' before you can use the floorplans.
  • Test the devices. Do another 'quick reload router' so DCERouter sees these new devices. When DCERouter sees the new SqueezeBoxes, it will automatically create some Media Scenarios for you to listen to music on them. Go back to a device, like a light, click 'ADV' to go to the advanced page, or go there manually by choosing Advanced Pages Devices from the menu. Click 'Send command to device', and choose a command. If it doesn't respond, click the 'Follow Log' link to display a popup showing activity for that device. Now try again and see if the device is reporting any errors in the log. You can select 'Advanced', 'Devices', select your Core or Hybrid in the tree on the left, and click 'DCERouter'. Then follow DCERouter's log to be DCERouter sees the new CM11 software module and is routing commands to it.

Scenarios, Events & Security

In a scenario, when something happens (a motion detector is tripped, the sun sets, etc.) you want LinuxMCE to perform an action (turn on a light). In security options, you specify how you want to be notified when something happens in the house. Each page has context sensitive help. Settings will take effect when you reboot or 'quick reload router'.