DIY Getting Started

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DIY Getting Started

#1 Post by Sentrinal » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:55 am

Hi all, I have been looking into doing home automation for a while now. I believe I am finally at a point where I am ready to start. I am however going to start small but I will be implementing the OSA software from the get-go because I am blown away by the functionality I have seen so far.

The first stage of my project is going to be video surveillance. I have found this system ... 3891BU3269 that looks like quite the deal however I am not sure if any of these DVR boxes work with the OSA software. The DVR's have remote access through the Ethernet port on the back and I have used them before with ip camera apps on Android, but I would really like to know if it is something that OSA would be able to do. I am looking to get this setup within a month or so.

Later on, I would like to add a number of devices to the system, I have 3 sets of dimmer switches that have both fan and light dimmers on one unit to control the 3 ceiling fans I have throughout the house. I am not sure if anyone has any experience with converting those to some kind of automation system. For that matter I am looking for a kind of guide to get started with this. What is the best hardware to go with in terms of price and functionality, I am willing to spend more if the features are there. I am also not apposed to some of these DIY controllers as I have a strong technical background being a network administrator so if those are a good option, don't hesitate to suggest them. But just so you all know, I am looking to get a read out on everything in my home, even sprinkling my fruit trees, and viewing my hot tub temperature. I want to eventually have an extreme system with controllers and sensors on almost anything you can imagine.

So I guess other than my 2 specific questions about the dimmer switches and the DVR, I am looking for a general getting started guide, which controllers are best to use, and pros and cons for them, because I have scoured the internet and not found anything like that yet and this community looks like you all have a wealth of knowledge. Thanks in advance!

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Re: DIY Getting Started

#2 Post by kherron » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:55 am

Welcome to OSA Sentrinal :D

I will go ahead and jump in on your 1st question about the DVR.
The current IP Camera Viewer in OSA can only stream from a MJPEG or JPEG source.
For security reasons, most DVR's will NOT have this option, as they use an ActiveX from the manufacture, a VLC encoded Player or FFMPEG.

I am currently working on developing a new plugin and screen object that will connect via VLC using an RTSP:// connection to the DVR.
Also, since VLC is based on FFMPEG, those type of connections should work too.
But, I must say that right now, development has been placed on the back burner as I am trying to finish up my other 2 projects before the release of 4.4.
It's possible that your manufacture provides some sort of SDK or API that can be used to create your own plugin for your DVR.
So with all this said, it really depends on what you are wanting OSA to do with the surveillance cameras?
  • Detect Motion? -- Possible, but real Motion Detectors would perform buch better
    Take Snapshots? -- Possible from IP Cameras, or program this in your DVR.
    Record Video? -- Not really suggested as the process would greatly effect the performance of the OSA server, and defeats the purpose of the DVR.
    Control DVR? -- This can be achieved with an IR emitter like the USBUIRT.
The current IP Camera Viewer included in OSA can connect and stream from about any "IP Camera", as most of these have an MJPEG streaming URL that connects and retrieves the video from the camera. You can visit and go to HELP --> Camera Database and see the enormous list of cameras and find the correct URL to use to stream the video. With this standard IP Camera Viewer, this about all you can do. There are no Methods or Events that can be executed or triggered.

However, I have developed a plugin that upgrades the existing IP Camera Object, called IPCamII. This should become available for download with the release of OSA 4.4.
The IPCamII plugin adds the ability to use PTZ controls and to take JPEG snapshots from the IP camera. (Proper URL's required. see attached file for reference: IP_Camera_PTZ_URL.txt)

Sorry, this may not be much help, but I guess since you are looking at wired cameras, you could go with IP cameras instead. You would only need to pull a Cat-5e cable to each one. Also, most IP cameras have PoE, making powering very easy. Instead of a DVR, look at a NVR. The NVR could be setup to do all the recording, but now each camera could be individually accessed through OSA. Also with the IPCamII plugin, you would be able to control PTZ and/or take snapshots from any of the cameras. Also with the use of external motion detectors, you could program OSA to take a snapshot when motion is detected!

Will help with any questions you have...
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Re: DIY Getting Started

#3 Post by Automate » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:29 pm

Welcome Sentrinal,

Your question about controllers is going to be influenced somewhat by the country you live. Some equipment available in Europe is not available in the US and vice verse.

In general you will want to use one of the industry standard protocols for devices
X10 (old standard but still being used)
Insteon (backwards compatible with X10, primarily sold by one company)
Z-wave (probably the most popular of the new standards)
ZigBee (not as widely available but has potential)

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Re: DIY Getting Started

#4 Post by Vaughn » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:24 pm

IMO, the only integration between a DVR (secure) and an Automation system is done throught the input and output digital ports on the back of the DVR (So a home automation sensor can trigger a record, etc). There is no good reason to link them any deeper.

As for the IP Cam control we support, I put my IP Cam to where it is looking at my DVR monitor, so if I want a quick and easy view of my DVR, I actually view it from the IP cam... So my automation system knows nothing about my DVR, which is how I like it.

Anyways, time to leave the day job, so welcome, and ttyl..


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Re: DIY Getting Started

#5 Post by Sentrinal » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:18 pm

I want to thank you all for the reply. Pretty much I would just want the DVR integrated into OSA for the sake of doing it because it can, it has been a dream of mine to have my house completely integrated and honestly a DVR and camera system at this time is my first step because of some strange happenings in my neighborhood.

As for the type of hardware to start with all the actual automation, which is best for someone living in the US? Z-Wave looks like it's quite easy but if the x-10 or insteon work well though the power lines, that would be an easy option as well.

Any other pointers or suggestions you all have would be greatly appreciated, thanks for all the help already!

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Re: DIY Getting Started

#6 Post by Automate » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:48 am

If you go to the OSA site plugins page you can see how many downloads have occurred for each plugin. This gives you an idea on their popularity with OSA users. The Zwave plugin has by far the most downloads.

Even though I use X10, I would not recommend it for new users unless you trying to get started cheaply with some ebay X10 devices.

One issue with OSA and Zwave is it does not support locks (neither do X10 and Insteon). So if, down the road, you want to add some locks, you may have to get a different Zwave controller. See the wiki FAQ page for some more info on this.

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Re: DIY Getting Started

#7 Post by lindseynicole010 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:38 am

Installing some sort of security on the border of your property can mean profitable minutes added to your response time in case of a break in. Customary edge security, for example, electric fencing is absolutely successful, however can influence the style of your property. New infrared home security sensors can be introduced outside your home, unpretentiously, and connected to your caution framework. That way, your caution triggers before anybody even gets to your home.
Thanks& regards,
Angel anave
Home Surveillance Cameras |Home Security Cameras |Security Camera Installation

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