Hardware I/O board for XLobby (using xAP)

Xlobby plugin development

Hardware I/O board for XLobby (using xAP)

Postby CouchPotatoe on Mon May 16, 2005 1:24 pm

Interesting for those using XLobby for Home Automation etc ... a new low cost standalone hardware I/O board has just been released that uses the xAP plugin to integrate and operate in realtime within your XLobby skins. The board connects via Ethernet and supports the following I/O

16 Digital Inputs
16 Counters
16 High Latches
16 Low Latches
16 Digital Outputs
4 Analog inputs
1 Bidirectional Serial Port
Ethernet Interface
Inbuilt Webserver (customisable 32K)
email sent for specified triggers

http://www.phaedrusltd.com/pages/html/netiom-xap.html

You can create icons or text on your XLobby screens that will reflect in realtime the state of the inputs , and also buttons that will control (ON|OFF|TOGGLE) the outputs. Serial data input can be shown as a text line.

Just to clarify I have no commercial interest in this board - I have worked in the beta testing and am now just a happy user with two of them, one that shows all my security alarm status for every PIR detector in my house and another that controls all my heating and shows the heating zones demand and some temperatures around the home & outside. This happens in realtime. I have used some additional inputs and outputs to switch my home lighting and a couple of appliances via relays. As ever my current skin is 'awful' , in fact buttons just thrown over the defaut skin - but as soon as I get a moment I'll tidy it up and post some screenshots. This is a great way of controlling external devices and utilising XLobby as a front end for HomeAutomation control as well as the media side that it handles so capably.

Phaedrus will ship internationally and if there's sufficient US interest they hope to have some boards available from a US source. They have been most enthusiastic in helping support xAP as an emerging protocol so I am just giving them a little plug here (hope that's OK) - as I mentioned before I have no connections with the company but it's a great 'add-in' for XLobby and I'm sure interesting to all.

Kevin

PS Cost is £69 (+VAT) - I guess that's around 90 Euro or $125, seems a good price although the current dollar rate is a little weak unfortunately for those of you in the US.
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Postby jowaldo on Mon May 16, 2005 3:35 pm

Sounds pretty slick!
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quick questions

Postby Tony on Thu Sep 01, 2005 3:18 pm

Hey couch, I got a quick question for you. I've been looking pretty seriously at this card, looks pretty awesome and I like the prospect of what I might be able to do with it. First of all, maybe I am misunderstanding the documentation, but is this board simply an I/O device, or can it be programmed and left to run on its own like a PLC? IE, can I program it to have an output for a 24volt relay to turn on a light when it sees an input from say a light switch tying to ground, then let it run on it's own? Or is it just an interface to see that input, tell the PC what happened, and take instructions for the PC to turn on the appropriate output?

If it is just an I/O board, can xlobby be programmed to be fully automated, or is it just used for manual control? I am still new to using xlobby for automation, so I'm not sure what can be done, although I am learning. For example, say I wanted to have lighting control. What I would like to do is pull in a low voltage system for control. I would have a light switch, one pole going to the input of this netiom, the other pole going to ground. When the switch is closed, the board gets the low input and the output would then operate a 24vdc relay that would close a 120v circuit to the light bulb. This way I could use the toggle command in xlobby with xap, locally or over the net. However, would I have to have a PC running all the time monitoring the circuit, or can the netiom be programmed to run independant? If it can't, can xlobby be programmed to send the output high event when it sees the input, or is xlobby just used for manual control? Also, can xlobby be set up to turn on the light (operate the relay) at a specific time, can you do timers in xlobby?

Thanks for helping a newbie out.
Tony
 
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Postby CouchPotatoe on Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:46 pm

Hi,

This particular board does not have on board 'logic' so it cannot itself link its inputs to outputs for example. It needs a xAP helper application to do this and the good news is there are several available. There is BSC Mapper at the very functional end , which as the name suggests will link any BSC input (or output) to any BSC output. It is a small and fast Windows based application. It can also invert. Slightly more functional is xAP Floorplan which has similar functionality but adds timers and scripts too. Above this are things like xAP Desktop, MisterHouse, and HomeSeer for example.
XLobby (AFAIK) can not handle any form of scripting or connections. However I'm wondering though if a button being turned ON in XLobby via xAP could have a secondary effect of causing another button to change state to ON and thus trigger sending a xAP message - if so this may be possible now - anyone know ??
At some point there will probably appear an embedded standalone xAP BSC engine allowing you to do these things without a PC being present at all. Actually I do that currently in my xAP C-Bus lighting controller but it is very rough and ready , certainly not fit for release (hardcoded addresses etc)
Phaedrus are also considering adding input/output mapping into the firmware of the Netiom - so that would be an ideal solution for you - drop them an email and say what a great feature you think that would be..... They have another product called the VIOM which does have these smarts onboard already - but unfortunately it doesn't have an Ethernet interface or xAP inbuilt.

Kevin
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