New to OSA, some questions before I get started

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jr001
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:53 pm

New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#1 Post by jr001 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:07 pm

Dear OSA and fellow forum users,

My name is James and I am interested in home automation, I have looked into HA for a while, to try and find a system that would suit my needs, I do not fancy paying hundreds of dollars/pounds for something that barely works or wont do everything I want in the end result.

So I have finally found OSA and here I am!

First off, I do not have any hardware, always been put off buying due to not having the software behind me. From what I have gathered, OSA will work with pretty much all hardware, the big ones like X10, Zwave, Insteon etc. So how does OSA 'pick' up this hardware once the server is running? Is it kinda like plug and play?
I am based in the UK, is anyone else on here based in the UK? Could anyone point me to a good place to start buying some UK compatible hardware? (To start with, just lighting controllers will do)

Second, how far has anyone took this system? I don't want it now, I am happy experimenting and playing, but has anyone set up over the air microphones and fully controlled via voice? Can this be setup to talk back to you? (I know I sound like a child) but like Jarvis off Iron Man in a way?

Thirdly, I am a bit of a web dev / app programmer, I can assure you I am on no scale to help code plugins, but how open is the software? Can I customize it myself? So far, I can see its written in PHP and uses SQL or at least the front end of the system is, what other languages are being used?

I do want to get into this and start my journey with home automation, this project sounds fantastic and I will be willing to help contribute as much as I can (once I get started). Like writing guides and creating videos.

Any help with my questions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
James

Automate
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Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#2 Post by Automate » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:31 am

Welcome to OSA! We have a lot of active users from the UK. They should be able to give you suggestions on hardware and where to purchase.

OSA has both voice recognition and text-to-speech so there is a lot of capability in this area. I'm not currently using it but hopefully someone who is, will jump in and describe you they use it.

At one time the OSA web browser was written on PHP but the current one is written in ASP.NET with a fair amount of JavaScript. The core of OSA is written in C# with a MySQL database back-end.

OSA is being updated pretty regularly so many of the videos that have been produced are out of date. Having someone to create new ones using the latest version of OSA would be great.

jr001
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:53 pm

Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#3 Post by jr001 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:30 pm

Thank you for the reply Automate!

That is great news on the Voice Recognition / Text-to-Speech, I am sure I will have some fun with this!

I have spent today looking into some of the different makes of hardware again, now I think I am correct here but does every make of H.A. hardware need its own Transceiver?
So if i set up my own little server, and decided to first of buy Z-wave, I will need a transceiver that that, then if I bought some Insteon devices, will I need a transceiver for that too, then so on and so on?

So my point is (if what I said above is correct), is it worth spending more time looking into the hardware and what is available from that and trying to stick to one manufacture?

Money is a slight issue and I don't want to be spending hundreds on different parts if there is no need to!

I am more then happy to help contribute, haha I hate my voice on camera but I can put that aside for a great project like this, I am more then welcome to create basic videos, guides on my setup process to help other newbies in the same situation like me!

Thanks for your warm welcome.

James

Datahead
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Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#4 Post by Datahead » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:37 pm

Hi James, and welcome to OSA. As to your question about hardware I think the key in your case would be to start off small and get use to using the system. As for myself most of my stuff is X-10. mainly because it is affordable. But that is the cool thing about OSA is most all HA products like Zwave and others will work with OSA and it is not proprietary like systems such as Creston, Elan or AMX. You could spend thousands on these types of systems when OSA will do pretty much the same thing with a little ingenuity and research. I started my system with about a hundred bucks and then added to it as my budget would allow learning as my system became larger.

Secondly, everyone here is into new ideas and are constantly trying to improve OSA. Not to mention we try very hard to be helpful when you get in a pinch or don't understand something. Anyway welcome aboard and happy automating... LOL

Ron

krish
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:50 pm

Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#5 Post by krish » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:50 pm

Hi James,

I'm in the UK too so hopefully my setup can give you some inspiration. It currently consists of a RFXCOM transceiver which controls my LightwaveRF light switch and plug sockets. I got the LightwaveRF stuff from B&Q, the plug sockets were only £20 from there for 3 and also include a separate remote control which can control up to 16 devices. If you're searching for them they might be called Siemens there but are the exact same ones.

I went with these as they are so much better looking than any of the other options available and they offer a simple retrofit installation. The only drawback is that they don't update their state when operated manually.

Also RFXCOM supports a massive range of other products so you're not tied down by having to buy more transceivers to support other hardware you might choose to buy.

Automate
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Location: US

Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#6 Post by Automate » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:58 pm

James, as far as transceivers, your statement is generally true, but there are some exceptions. Insteon controllers are generally backwards compatible with X-10 devices in addition to the Insteon devices. Also the RFXCOM supports quite a few different radio protocols but they all have to use the same frequency which excludes Z-wave and Zigbee. A few companies are coming out with "gateways" that support multiple communication protocols. This one http://revolv.com/ supposedly supports 7 radio protocols but it is $300 and there is no guarantee it will ever be supported by OSA.

jr001
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:53 pm

Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#7 Post by jr001 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:39 pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks again for all your replies and input and especially to Krish for the great recommendations.

Krish, I think I will follow your advice to get started, who knew B&Q sold those!

I like those LightwaveRF devices, very stylish and within my starting budget.

Ill be back in touch within a couple of weeks to let you all know how I get on and Automate, Ill make sure I get some videos recorded of my progress too, hopefully they might be useful to have one the site for a basic guide.

Thank you everybody.

Happy Automating!

jr001
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:53 pm

Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#8 Post by jr001 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:07 pm

Hi again everyone,

Getting excited now, as I get paid on Friday and I am going to be going out to buy my kit. I have chosen to start with the Lightwave hardware, the problem is, I want to be setting this up this weekend and do not want to wait until the RFXCOM transceiver Krish suggested, arrives in the post.

Can anyone confirm that this at Maplins http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/lightwaverf-wifi-link-n55ll is the same thing? Apart from the obvious, one plugs into the server and the other into the router?

Will it still work with the OSA software?

Thank you

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bwoodworth
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Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#9 Post by bwoodworth » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:25 pm

Unfortunately, that controller is not supported by OSA. It would require someone to write a plugin in order to control it through OSA.
Brian

jr001
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:53 pm

Re: New to OSA, some questions before I get started

#10 Post by jr001 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:39 pm

Ahhh shame :(

Ill have to wait till the other one arrives.

Thanks for the info bwoodworth

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