vCrib Communication

vCrib takes advantage of many communication protocols. Some transmit over the powerline and some communicate wirelessly.

Click one of the links below to jump to more information on that specific communication protocol:

X10:

x10 is a powerline communication that has been in use for many years. Powerline communication just means that the x10 devices plug into a standard wall outlet in your home, and the commands are transmitted directly over the power lines in your home.

x10 is the first protocol that ever used power lines to communicate with hardware. Unfortunately, many of the older x10 devices only have one way communication. This simply means that you could send a command to turn a light on, but you have no way to tell if the light actually turned. In the event that your light on command didn't reach the light, the command fails and the light doesn't turn on.

x10 hardware devices are relatively affordable compared to other means of power line communication (UPB, Z-Wave, etc), but it's less reliable to other means.

Visit x10.com to see how many devices are available. You can get x10 modules that let you control lights, sensors, sprinklers, and just about anything else you may want to do.

In order for vCrib to send x10 commands on the power line, the vCrib host server needs to be physically connected to the power line. To do this, a Powerline Interface needs to connect to the host server, via USB or serial port, and also plug into a power outlet.

To interface with x10 power line hardware, vCrib actually supports the Insteon Powerlinc. The Insteon Powerlinc can send Insteon signals (Insteon communication explained later), and also x10 signals. To send x10 signals, you have to run the Insteon vCrib application (Insteon.exe). The setup is a little confusing at first, but we will explain it in the examples section of the Wiki.

At this point, the Insteon Powerlinc is the only supported Powerline Interface for x10, but more will be supported soon. The Insteon Powerlinc comes in both serial port and USB versions. Either version will work fine with vCrib.

Wireless X10:

vCrib supports wireless x10 devices. Examples of wireless x10 devices include wireless door/window sensors (model ds10a), motion detectors (model ms13a, ms14a, ms16a), key chain wireless fobs. In order to read wireless sensors, vCrib makes use of a wireless receiver.

vCrib specifically supports the W800RF wireless RF receiver, from WGL Designs.

Screenshot of the w800rf vCrib application:

w800rf.JPG

The W800RF receiver connects to the vCrib server via serial port or USB. The vCrib server runs the w800rf application (w800rf.exe). Each sensor in your home sends out status changes based on if motion is detected or if the sensor is opened or closed. The w800rf application reads these sensors and passes the status into the main vCrib application.

The wireless x10 devices use RF frequency to communicate. Many of the security devices include a basic kind of encryption. For instance, the motion detectors and ds10a door/window sensors use a unique ID number when they transmit their status. The cheaper light control x10 remote controls do not use a unique number, making them more prone to hacking or duping from neighbors or attackers.

We recommend that you use the actual security x10 remotes when using them to arm/disarm your vCrib security system. Only use the non-security remote controls for less mission-critical tasks, like lighting control.

Typically users of vcrib use a w800rf with x10 ds10a's and motion detectors to determine occupancy, secure zones of their residence, and determine when doors open and close.

Insteon:

Insteon was developed, based on the X10 model, for control and sensing applications in the home.
Insteon is designed to enables simple device to be networked together using the powerline and/or radio frequency (RF). All INSTEON devices are peers, meaning each device can transmit, receive, and repeat any message of the INSTEON protocol, without requiring a master controller or complex routing software.

In short, Insteon is more reliable than x10 communication, allows two way communication, and also have RF wireless capability. Two way communication simply means that you are able to confirm the status of a device, to tell if the command you sent was executed.

Insteon hardware is a wide range of devices, similar to x10 hardware. Insteon has hardware modules to control lights, HVAC, and Insteon can also backward-communicate with any x10 hardware.

Just like x10 communication, Insteon relies of powerline communication via hardware plugged in to the power line and connected to the server. There are also standalone Insteon power line communication solutions that do not need a computer, but for the purpose of vCrib, those do not apply.

vCrib supports the Insteon Powerlinc for power line communication. The Insteon Powerlinc comes in both serial port and USB versions. Either version will work fine with vCrib.

Screenshot of the Insteon vCrib application:

insteon.jpg

Z-Wave:

UPB:

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License