Don't Throw Away Your Old Devices
3 3

41 posts in this topic

We’re UK based, and have developed hub software to control AlertMe devices.  It handles motion sensors, door / window sensors, alarm detectors, key fobs, buttons, smart plugs, smart meter, and power clamp.

This is part of a larger project to be able to handle many manufacturers’ in the same way, including both ZigBee and Z-Wave.  Our aim is to exploit the increasing abundance of smaller, cheaper, and better devices that are becoming available.  To date, we have been able to handle over 40 different devices from more than 20 different manufacturers. 

As Iris originated from AlertMe, we have been looking into the possibility of adapting it for Iris devices.

We are currently using the Raspberry Pi with several different RF modules for the hub hardware. The hub software includes a web server, so the App can run locally on the hub. 

The user just needs a smart phone, or any other device with a web browser, which connects locally by WiFi to the hub, so there’s no need for an internet connection.  An internet connection is still available as a user selectable option for remote control, updating, and for Alexa, etc.

The software is written in a .Net language in its entirety, from device frame / cluster / end point level up to and including the App / UI.

Each of the devices is presented as a standard interface to the control system on the hub.  For example, a door / window sensor has the same interface into the control system as any other, regardless of manufacturer or RF protocol.  This greatly simplifies the application programming.  It also makes it very straightforward, and quick, to add devices from multiple manufacturers, just like 'plugins' or ‘drivers’ on a PC.

Are there many Iris users who might be interested in breathing life back into their older systems by using this software?  If so, do you know how we might be able to get hold of some Iris devices for testing purposes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are plenty of us with first gen Alert Me made devices. All of my window/door switches are and a few of my motion sensors are. I have been contemplating making a jump to ST but none of those devices are currently working on that platform. I can't speak for everyone; but I think if you could get first gen devices to work and work out a way for the system to call you for an alarm you will gain a lot of interest. My buddy is on ST and I get sad whenever he buys a new device that will likely never work on Iris. If you could open that up I would certainly be interested. But the question is what is in it for you? Are you looking to do a subscription service? Do we purchase the software for the hub?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We haven’t yet come up with a commercial deal, but it seems reasonable to work with an initial group of AlertMe users without charging them, and to continue on that basis with their upgrades.  We’re following the same approach with UK AlertMe users, because the AlertMe servers were taken offline at the end of last year.

As we have standardised the device interfaces, we really don’t care which devices we use for developing and testing the software, so AlertMe is as good as any.  If we can also enable people to add more modern devices to these older systems, that’s fine by us.

At some stage, we will need to start charging newer users.  I personally favour software purchase, and charge for significant upgrades. 

Right now, we need to get hold of some of the older AlertMe / Iris devices from the USA.  Once we have proved that we can handle them, we can move on to the next stage of getting the software into the hands of AlertMe users.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ebay seems to still have quite a few V1 devices available. I will keep an eye on this thread and see if this goes anywhere, as I still have a number of V1 devices.  Most are in storage, as I have switched mostly to Smartthings, but I still use a number of them for turning on some lights in the house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

V1 iris devices do not currently work with any other system. I can't speak for everyone here, but I can imagine there are many people who just wont entertain the idea of jumping to another system because they have made a heavy investment in V1 devices which currently do not work anywhere else.

If my devices are supported this is something I will be watching very closely. I'd love to have another option in the future but wouldn't be interested in switching until I felt like it was a "better" system than iris.
Good luck to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your memo presents an interesting option, with robust local processing as an obvious advantage. Iris has indicated that the cameras are the biggest challenge to their system. Would you plan for your system to provide for a functional video equivalent?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, pavalov said:

Your memo presents an interesting option, with robust local processing as an obvious advantage. Iris has indicated that the cameras are the biggest challenge to their system. Would you plan for your system to provide for a functional video equivalent?

Our main focus for webcams has been on intruder recording, with the recording event coming from open / close sensors and / or motion sensors.  One approach is to stream continuously from the webcam to the hub via WiFi, and to then extract and process the required time slice on the hub in response to the event.  The other is to use a smarter webcam, which we have prototyped, so that the event triggers the recording and the processing of the required time slice directly on the webcam.  The processed content is then sent from the webcam to the hub via WiFi, or even ZigBee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Vettester said:

I have an old BlueLine PowerCost Monitor that I would be willing to donate to the cause.  This worked well with V1, but became obsolete on the Iris platform when Gen 2 was released.

Good idea. I would love to put my Blueline back into my main system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/3/2018 at 1:16 AM, Vettester said:

I have an old BlueLine PowerCost Monitor that I would be willing to donate to the cause.  This worked well with V1, but became obsolete on the Iris platform when Gen 2 was released.

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Line-Innovations-BLI-28000ER-PowerCost/dp/B00LBANPEG/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1522714136&sr=8-11&keywords=blue+line+energy

Thanks for the offer.  We will happily pay for shipping.  There are a couple of problems. We're in the UK, so different voltage and it looks as though the sensor clips onto a meter, so most probably compatibility issues.  We could handle it in two stages.  We can check that the hub software communicates with the control & display unit.  We could then work with someone in the USA to check out its operation with the sensor.  We are able to access the hub software remotely, so we can test the actual operation of the monitor locally on the user's hub, just as if we were accessing the hub locally.  What do you think?  BTW, can you let me have the FCC ID, so that I can check out its details?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Compan said:

Thanks for the offer.  We will happily pay for shipping.  There are a couple of problems. We're in the UK, so different voltage and it looks as though the sensor clips onto a meter, so most probably compatibility issues.  We could handle it in two stages.  We can check that the hub software communicates with the control & display unit.  We could then work with someone in the USA to check out its operation with the sensor.  We are able to access the hub software remotely, so we can test the actual operation of the monitor locally on the user's hub, just as if we were accessing the hub locally.  What do you think?  BTW, can you let me have the FCC ID, so that I can check out its details?

This works for me... I'll send you a PM later this evening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, scunny said:

I have the new version. Any hope of using that with Iris?

This is what I was hoping for, but it is probably not going to happen.  However, I have to say the new version is much better than the old one so I can live with using multiple apps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, scunny said:

I have the new version. Any hope of using that with Iris?

My understanding is that there is a fundamental issue with the radio frequencies.  The Blue Line units, including the latest version, operate in the 433 MHz band.  This band used to dominate the remote control sector, because the components were cheaper, but that is no longer the case.

 ZigBee and WiFi operate in the 2.4 GHz band, and Z-Wave in the 908 MHz band.  There is a lower frequency ZigBee option in the USA, but that’s in the 915 MHz band. 

 The Blue Line PowerCost website mentions a WiFi bridge, which may be an option for connection to Iris, but the information is very vague.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the US there are other services already allocated to that portion of the spectrum, both of which could cause interference with Iris devices that it would have to tolerate but could make their operation unreliable.

Radiolocation has the primary allocation and Amateur Radio has the secondary allocation, both services are active in this segment of the spectrum.

 

UHF Primary Allocation.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The last two 1st generation Iris devices have just been delivered from the US.  We now have a reasonable set of devices with which to start testing, including:

                Alarm Keypad, Button, Door / Window Sensor, Motion Sensor, Range Extender, Senior Pendant, Siren, Smart Plug, & Touch Screen Thermostat

We also have a HomeSeer Z-Wave USB Smartstick, to cater for the different radio frequency used by Z-Wave devices in the US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually had really good luck with the v1 range extenders even with the v2 hub where they showed up as a generic device until about a year ago when I finally retired them both since I had enough V2 Smart Plugs to cover the house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Terk said:

I actually had really good luck with the v1 range extenders even with the v2 hub where they showed up as a generic device until about a year ago when I finally retired them both since I had enough V2 Smart Plugs to cover the house.

I still have one installed. Although it is listed as an unknown device, it still has the complete product information (Lowes item #, model # and Iris brand ID and device name) in the Product Information section. Since my Zigbee network has always been stable with it installed, I decided to leave it be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information on V1 extenders.  Our main objective is to ensure that our hub software can handle all of the Iris V1 devices. 

If anyone has any old working V1 devices, ZigBee or Z-Wave, that are not included in my list above, and they don’t have any more use for them, then I’ll be happy to pay for shipping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve been a bit quiet for a while – getting on with the development.

I also managed to lose my password, so I've had to use a slightly different user name. 

We can’t give a date for the availability of the software just yet.  Most of the development work is done, and we are into final integration and testing.

As I probably mentioned before, the software has been tested with more than 50 devices from over 30 manufacturers.  These include both AlertMe and 1st Generation Iris by Lowe’s devices.

We have started to produce some videos in the run-up to releasing the software, the first group of which you can view at the following URL:

http://app4orce.uk/home-automation.html

These five videos give an initial overview of our approach.

We will be adding more videos over the new few days and weeks.  These will be on separate pages within the same domain.

If you have any feedback, or comments, then please use this forum. 

There is also an enquiry form on the video page for anyone interested in using the software, and helping with the Beta testing.  The software will be supplied on a micro SD card for use with a Raspberry Pi 3B.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear you are not only still working on this but close to releasing something. The new CEO at Lowe's has me nervous with how he is really shaking things up and clearing house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
3 3