Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

mControl Alternative - SmartHome Control


dabretty
 Share

Recommended Posts

All -

 

As both a consumer and software engineer that purchased mControl at a cost of $129.99 (USD), I was a little ticked for what seemed to be very simple. This evening, I played around a bit with mControl - monitoring its serial output - and have written a preliminary Perl script to control light switches mimicking this expensive software. Basically, I think I have a good idea of what the command sequences are for at least simple on/off devices like light switches, and with the devices I don't know (yet) I feel that it's a simple matter of emulating their control with minimal effort.

 

I have not written any WHS add-ins to date, but would like to gauge the interest in this type of software before I proceed. Therefore I pose the question to everyone here. Are people using WHS to control home automation, or would they like to (if it were relatively inexpensive compared to now)? I really mean no offense to the mControl guys, but their current product is an absolute rip-off as it is currently priced.

 

Brett

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 30
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Dave

    4

  • TheGuy

    3

  • CablDeViL

    4

  • dabretty

    6

I have not used mControl so I can't speak to it any form but I am intersted in Home Automation and controling it from WHS. Things that interest me the most would be Temp Control of my Central Air, Timing for Lights and ceiling fans,sprinkler control, etc...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would guess the market place for this type of software is driving the higher costs. If a company is employing a couple of software engineers to develop and maintain a product then you have to generate some revenue off it. If you look at the Smarthome.com website, most of this software is around the same price. I think mControl is able to do more than just turn your lights on and off but that may not matter to most if the cost is prohibitive.

 

I think another negative for this type of product is you still have to buy the hardware on top of the software.

 

If you are really determined to create a better add-in that perhaps will be more cost effective, I have found a site with some interesting information concerning Insteon and software development.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a ton of x10 hardware, and I am very interested in an app. I just have not dropped the money on mControl, but I did download the trial and will be installing it this week sometime. The one thing that makes me shy away from mControl is the fact that it has not been updated in almost a year and a half. mControl does offer some good looking features for whs and media center as well as some webcam interfacing.

 

 

 

Ideally I would like a simple WHS add-in that will do timed intervals of lights, macro capability, and a media center interface that hooks back to the add-in. If mControl was $75, I would probably jump on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am an avid user of mControl to automate my house. I am using the 2476s v5.2 switches (5 of them) to control my outside lights and the hallways on my 1st floor. I use the usb model with the phase couplers. I could toss an add-in on my test box to test the code if you would like.

 

I am also going to install my thermostats in the 1st and second floors. I don't know what insteon hardware you have to test but I purchase something new every month.

 

 

Feel free to pm me anytime if you need a tester.

 

TY

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome - thanks for the feedback, guys. I'm in the playing stages, but already have created a simple WHS add-in this afternoon to control my outside lights (simple on and off commands via PowerLinc Modem #2413S to in-wall on/off switches, model #2876SB).

 

Basically all I use mControl for is very simple lighting control. I don't use the media center stuff (turning on my Xbox to throw a light switch 50' away on the wall seems crazy to me!). Nor do I have fancy inputs (yet). But - after only two hours or so of my time - I'm surprised at how easy it was to mimick mControl's basic functionality. Makes me wish I had looked more seriously at this back when I got my gear, before I blew the cash on mControl. I don't see where the $130 is justified there, although I have no idea if there's some sort of licensing fees paid out to the SmartHome guys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Definitely interested in bringing more automation to the home. After all, that's what a home server's for. Look forward to seeing more about this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't dropped this ... don't worry, this isn't dying on the vine! I actually pulled the trigger and bought the Insteon SDK (not cheap) a week and a half ago, and finally received it in the mail a few days ago.

 

The main reason I bought the software development kit was to get a glimpse into the various device types. Particularly since all I have is a few simple on/off light switches, and I would anticipate others wanting to control a bit more than that.

 

The very good news is that I have basic control for my Insteon devices (and the Insteon dimmable switch that came with the SDK) working fine - not a UI to speak of yet really but a WHS add-in with the necessary plumbing in place. I would go out on a limb and say that all appliance devices would work the same way, so I think I have full understanding in this department. The SDK documentation leaves quite a bit to be desired, so I would definitely need some help from some of you guys with other devices that I don't have to simply test them out (X10 devices, thermostat control, sprinkler valve controller, etc). Basically, with the documentation that I have I think that I know how to control these other devices okay, but it's a little hard to "release" an add-in "in the blind" in this area, just plain assuming that they work without having ever tested them.

 

What are the thoughts here from you guys with regards to the other mControl functions, particularly Windows Media Center control? I have still only played with trying to build a test application for it a little bit, and it is a royal pain in the butt. Basically, the WHS add-in is very much like other programming, if you're familiar with Visual Studio (which I am, for work purposes). WMC is a totally different, ugly, animal. Considering that I really don't use it at all in the first place, you can imagine that I'm a bit hesitant to learn it. But if half of the interest in a WHS add-in is to have it tie into WMC (or other external devices, for that matter), then maybe I need to take a serious look at it.

 

Thanks for all feedback ... I anticipate having considerably more time working on this in the coming weeks, and will keep all of you posted.

 

Brett

 

Brett

 

I would be interested in something simple that would allow me to schedule my lights on-and-off. Count me in.

 

TheGuy

Link to comment
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
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...