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Playing announcements without ab8ss
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Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Playing announcements without ab8ss Reply with quote
Can vCrib play announcements without a ab8ss module?

I can't seem to find a way. The only option seems to be to use speaker, but that only works with ab8ss I think.

I have a announcement setup and Speaker log says it is trying to play, but errors. Can the announcement be played another way?
Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:59 pm View user's profile Send private message
Humanzee



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 519
Location: Seattle, WA

Post Reply with quote
Speaker.exe will work with out an AB8SS. I don't have an AB8SS and have been using speaker since the beginning. Speaker must be running, the process must be registered, and the command must reference the the process name that you are using for speaker.exe I think you also need to specify the output device in the speaker.exe settings.

You can also run speaker.exe on a different computer. The ini file on that other computer must reference the IP or name of your vcrib server and have a different process name than the speaker.exe running on the server. Otherwise, only one of the two will respond. I.e. the first to remove the command from the queue.

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Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:51 pm View user's profile Send private message
Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Reply with quote
Thanks for the clarification.

I'm at work at the moments, so cannot really refer the Speaker.exe, but from memory, I could not see an obvious way to get Speaker.exe to channel the sound through the PC sound card. I'm sure it only had options for the 8 A/B channels on AB8SS.

Could you explain "I think you also need to specify the output device in the speaker.exe settings"? I have a feeling I have missed something really obvious and will check when I get home.

Thanks.
Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:25 am View user's profile Send private message
Humanzee



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 519
Location: Seattle, WA

Post Reply with quote
You should be able to specify a voice, format, and output device in speaker.exe if you right click on the system tray icon for speaker.exe and click open you should see something like the attached picture. My speaker is using the system defaults, so no setting is evident. You'll have to play with it some as I'm not 100% sure that the settings here are persistent. They may only get used while testing text from the box at the bottom.

In Admin.exe you should also be able to set these system settings via command. The second attached image shows some of the default commands that get created when you add a speaker process. The output devices and voices available are determined by those within your system. If there are no voices available you may need to find and install the Microsoft Speech Development Kit.

Control panel also offers these settings up for change in the "Speech" item and in the "Sounds and Audio Devices" items.

The settings for the AB8SS should only appear if you have an AB8SS. THey may possibly show if you have the AB8SS port specified in your INI file.



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vCrib Tester #1, Forum moderator, using INSTEON devices, X10 sensors and remotes via W800RF, All doors are wired with contact closures.
vCrib Wiki
Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:51 am View user's profile Send private message
Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Reply with quote
Thanks Humanzee, you're a diamond geezer!

I think I was neglecting to process the announcement as a proper Speaker process. so I was trying to write an action that said my phrase, rather than telling it to use a Speaker command and then from which group to pull the sentence. Any how, vCrib is now happily chatting away to itself Surprised)

Don't suppose you know anything about CM11A do you? I have already posted, but Vaughn responded saying he would look in to the module for me, but as we know he is having to prioritise and I think the CM11A is way down on his list. To cut a long story short, it sends commands no problem, but wont pass on received commands to vCrib OR vCrib refuses to listen.

Thanks again H
Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:15 pm View user's profile Send private message
Humanzee



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 519
Location: Seattle, WA

Post Reply with quote
I have a cm11a, but I put it in a box and have not seen it in the last 10 years. Even if I had it, and there is a bug, I doubt I could help as I do not code. Vaughn knows that he owes work on the x10 CM stuff. As you know he has things to prioritize, both inside vcrib and in real life. He owes me some fixes too.

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vCrib Tester #1, Forum moderator, using INSTEON devices, X10 sensors and remotes via W800RF, All doors are wired with contact closures.
vCrib Wiki
Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:39 pm View user's profile Send private message
Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Reply with quote
How comes you stopped using the CM11? I'm guessing your system out grew it...

What do you use now and what advantages does it have over the CM11 + is it compatable with x10 devices, both reading and sending commands?

I think maybe upgrading my device could be the best answer as you and Vaughn have both said you no longer use it. There's a lesson to be learnt there.... Very Happy
Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:10 pm View user's profile Send private message
Humanzee



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 519
Location: Seattle, WA

Post Reply with quote
i bought my first batch of x10 stuff back in 1999 when there was a big dot com push and a bunch of free starter kits and what not. I was renting at the time and found that I had little use of x10 other than just turning on lamps with a remote. in 1999 the software out there for home automation, on my budget, was not impressive. I put it in a box with some other bits and it got misplaced in one of my subsequent move events. It may be in storage at my parents house.

When I got married and bought a home, I knew that I wanted to do automation, so I started looking around. At the time Insteon had the most favorable price to performance to quality ratio for my situation. I was tempted to also buy the CQC software, and an ELK M1 but I didn't really have the money to do that. Then ran into a thread that Vaughn had started at cacoontech about free HA software. I was an old thread but I found his email and contacted him directly. Thus, I became the first tester of his software.

Point being that I had discounted x10 for the issues I had with its reliability. I wanted to do it the "right way" but could not afford high end equipment. So vCrib allows me to do things in more of a DIY way using some cheaper X10 equipment (like sensors) and some more reliable equipment like Insteon. So that's how I started. Insteon was a no brainier for me because I already had a hand full of X10 devices and the Insteon protocol included legacy x10. So even with out vCrib I could use it and expect more reliability than with x10. To control from the PC I use the Insteon PowerLinc controller (PLC). http://www.smarthome.com/2414U/PowerLinc-INSTEON-Controller-USB-Based-Home-Automation-Device/p.aspx Simply because this is what Vaughn recommended at the time. There is also a serial version of that, which some use, and more recently Smarthome introduced there PowerLinc Modem (PLM). http://www.smarthome.com/2413U/PowerLinc-Modem-INSTEON-USB-Interface-Dual-Band/p.aspx The PLM in USB and Serial are supposed to be quicker in response than the PLC though, I don't think Vaughn has upgraded the code to support them yet.

Through experience, it appears that the serial equipment is faster than the USB, though your mileage may vary. I have not had any problems with my USB PLC. SnyperBob apparently just had his serial version fail. I could be wrong here though as I haven't payed that close attention.

Currently, I only us x10 for wireless equipment. My wired X10 stuff, appliance modules and what not have stopped working, either because of their own faults or because I have introduced some noise onto my power line. The insteon stuff seems to still work fine after 3 years so I am happy. I've had one switch fail, and I have another here that is flaky, but that might just be power line noise. I plan to add some filters to some suspect equipment and see if that helps return function to the x10 power line equipment.

_________________
vCrib Tester #1, Forum moderator, using INSTEON devices, X10 sensors and remotes via W800RF, All doors are wired with contact closures.
vCrib Wiki
Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:40 pm View user's profile Send private message
Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Reply with quote
Great response Humanzee, very helpfull and certainly food for thought.

We have a few Insteon suplliers here in the UK, but I was warned off because of reliabilty issues (as in the units failing, their returns rate was much higher than x10). I think it may be time to branch out with technology though and invest in Insteon. After all, the only real way to know for sure is to buy it and try it.


Thanks for the recommendation on control unit as well. I'll keep you posted.
Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:53 am View user's profile Send private message
SnyperBob



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 630
Location: Illinois

Post Reply with quote
I started with a serial port Insteon PLC. I don't even have any other Insteon devices yet, because I can't afford them....so I just use my Insteon PLC to control my cheaper x10 stuff.

Vaughn was kind enough to donate to me some old x10 stuff that he had (light switches, lamp controllers, etc). I spent probably about $100 on more x10 stuff (wireless remotes, motion detectors, ds10a contact sensors). All the wireless x10 stuff interfaces with my w800rf

But I still use all those old x10 things Vaughn gave me. The x10 light switches and lamp controllers work great with my Insteon PLC. Well, that was until my PLC failed or whatever. I did buy mine used and it didn't work quite right when I got it....so m'eh. I will be looking for another one.

I like how the Insteon PLC confirms that a light/switch is turned on. I can't use this feature until I actually get some Insteon switches, but I do want to invest in some Insteon eventually. Last year I decided to go with an Elk M1G panel first, as I'm more worried about security for now.

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Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:40 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Reply with quote
Hi SnyperBob,

Thanks for your input, I think I will invest now. After all, I have THREE recommendations from the world of VR.

I did notice you brought an ELK a while back. I would love to be able to buy all these toys just to try them out and see what they do but alas, like your good self, I am on a budget. Security does worry me as well, but I went down the CCTV avenue instead, with the HA PC limping slowly behind! Over the last few weeks alone, I have made major progress with vCrib and hope that soon the PC with no longer be just a WMC server.

PS Welcome back!
Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:13 am View user's profile Send private message
Humanzee



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 519
Location: Seattle, WA

Post Reply with quote
The early Insteon stuff had problems with the physical buttons used inside the switch. They would wear out and stick, because I'm automated based off of motion, I rarely if ever actually click a wall switch. This probably helps with the longevity of my equipment. I forgot that you were in the UK. Not sure if the Insteon stuff supports both frequencies (US and UK) for X10. I'd investigate that first.

_________________
vCrib Tester #1, Forum moderator, using INSTEON devices, X10 sensors and remotes via W800RF, All doors are wired with contact closures.
vCrib Wiki
Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:33 pm View user's profile Send private message
Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Reply with quote
I had just logged on to report that as you suspected, Insteaon is not available for our voltage or frequency. That's a real kick in the head for two reasons. 1, I was impressed with what Insteaon could do and 2, Because my CM11A module isn't working (does anyone else use CM11A in the new v9) I'm stuck. It's a bit like getting a remote control car for Christmas and having no batteries!! Very Happy

I know x10 has it's faults, but at least I guess it's technology did not fall over when it came to crossing the pond. Looking at various forums, it appears Insteon has been promising to release in the UK for around 2 years, but still nothing has arrived. Honestly, they would make a killing over hear because we have so little choice. Anyone know how to mod an Insteon Laughing
Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:42 pm View user's profile Send private message
SnyperBob



Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 630
Location: Illinois

Post Reply with quote
Sorry to hear that man. I don't know what your power systems are like over the pond. What kind of voltage and whatever do you guys have?

We have 110/120 volt @ 60 hertz I believe. Two wire (well 3 technically). Neutral, ground and power. Usually our conduit and boxes are grounded, so we just run two wires inside

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Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:21 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Onethingafteranother



Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Posts: 106
Location: London, UK

Post Reply with quote
We have 240v 50Hz, with a three wire system (Earth, Neutral and Live) 1 phase for domestic property and three phase for heavy machinery in commercial property.

Also, I think you have 2 phases in your home, 2 x 115v. I read about it when I was reading up on the technology I cant use!! Sad You have to use a phase coupler or some such device to allow signals to jump from one side of your wiring to the other. We have just one phase of 240v across the whole house, although from the fuse box, it's sent out on different 'rings' to fuse them at different amp levels ie 5 amps for lights, 13 amps for plug sockets and something like 20 amps for the cooker or hotwater.
Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:01 am View user's profile Send private message
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