Minder Pro and Comfort

Discussion in 'C-Bus Wired Hardware' started by znelbok, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. znelbok

    znelbok

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    Hi

    I have been doing a little reading into the comfort system and the ELK M1, trying to compare.

    Looking at the product catalogue I have on the comfort range it states that the minder pro is a rebadged comfort. Is this true?

    Is the midner Pro availabe in Aus and has anyone been using it as I dont seem to see much action on the forum about it

    Mick
     
    znelbok, Nov 25, 2005
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  2. znelbok

    Newman

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    MinderPro and Comfort are exactly the same thing, it just depends upon which country you are in. In Australia you have to buy a Comfort panel from Comfort. In Asian countries you can buy the MinderPro from Clipsal.
     
    Newman, Nov 25, 2005
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  3. znelbok

    jr_away

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    znelbok, I'm a fellow traveller! It seems to depend which thread you read, but it appears the MinderPro is (was) indeed a Comfort panel. Comfort's Australian distributor is www.iqhome.com.au .

    I also agree there seems to be very little Comfort "action" in these forums. In fact, in the past few months I've perceived some suspicion/antipathy towards it.

    My "take" on Comfort and Elk:

    1) Comfort has more module options with voice integrated everywhere including phone voicemail and keypad intercoms and voice prompts. Elk offers voice via a separate system using amplifiers and speakers. Elk's voice is robotic american compared to Comfort that has a very natural sound and a set of lovely female and male voices you can choose. Elk does offer some separate magic module voice phrase recording/playback options, but these are announcements rather than integrated keypad voice prompts.
    2) Comfort offers cleanly integrating door phones that will ring phones in the house, provide voice prompts for visitors, allow them to leave voicemail or connect them to your cellphone if you want.
    3) Comfort has no partitions. That's the big "downside" for me. you can work around it by declaring zones as 24-hour zones and using a keypad function key to enable/disable those zones. Nowhere near as good as Elk's very clean partitions.
    4) Elk starts with 16 zones and grows 16 at a time to some vast number. Comfort starts with 8 and you can either add 16 more and that's it, or you need to add slave panels containing extra boards to allow up to 64 inputs and outputs. The additional slaves can be useful because they can be positioned in other parts of the facility, but it is less useful if you have a large Zone0 where you want to centralize everything.
    5) Elk's keypad is absolutely enormous and makes women say "ugh". Comfort has 3 keypad options including quite a nice LCD one. Elk's keypad has some cool features- e.g. you can make a function button flash if the garage door has been left open at night; click the function button to close it. In Comfort you could program a "Garage Door 1 is open, press x to close it" voice prompt that repeats every quarter of an hour until 10pm at which point it phones your cellphone to ask if you want it closed, or display text on the lcd.
    6) Comfort has a reasonably priced GSM module, With Elk you can plug a 3rd-party GSM modem in as your phone.
    7) Both are programmable by PC.
    7a) Elk has some cool features like sunrise/sunset calculation based on where you live. Not so important if you have a PAC or C-bus touchscreen that has this as well, but nice for "garage door open after sunset" stuff.
    8) Both offer relays and automation modules. Little difference. However, Comfort also offers extensive and reasonably priced IR management modules for remote controls etc. Elk doesn't have IR.
    9) Comfort already offers c-bus integration. Elk has an unofficial release date of January for its version.
    10) Comfort offers 2 touchscreens. The most familiar one is a slightly modified c-bus touchscreen with voice added; it can be used to control security as well as c-bus like a normal touchscreen. Elk is apparently working on a touchscreen.
    11) Elk already has interfaces for products like charmedquark. Elk seems to have a bigger market so we can expect to see more interfaces. IMHO this is fairly important.

    I guess that's enough for now!

    Which is better? For me, Comfort takes some beating. Keypad voice prompting is really, really cool, especially for people in the house who don't know your alarm very well. If you have time, navigate to the UK comfort distributor and listen to some of their samples.

    Like you, I'm trying to figure out why there is so little Comfort "action" in these forums.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2005
    jr_away, Nov 25, 2005
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  4. znelbok

    znelbok

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    Thanks jr for the detailed reply

    I do agree about the keypads, but if what I read this morning on this forum is true then there could be a new one on the way.

    Charmedquark is what I am using for an interface to the propoerty so that does have some weight. Although it would not be hard to get a driver written for the comfort system, it may add to the budget.

    I think the comfort system has a lot more advantages over the M1 than dissadvantages, but it is hard to go past a mainstream US product becuase we all know that it will get lots of support and add-ons.

    Another consideration I have to allow for is digital I/O for general automation (as opposed to security). The Elk is an automation controller as well (how it compares to a PAC I am not sure yet) and as you say can accomodate a vast number of inputs, whereas the comfort is up to 64. I can see myself hitting this limit fairly quickly.

    Thanks again

    Mick
     
    znelbok, Nov 25, 2005
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  5. znelbok

    jr_away

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    <i>The Elk is an automation controller as well (how it compares to a PAC I am not sure yet) and as you say can accomodate a vast number of inputs, whereas the comfort is up to 64. I can see myself hitting this limit fairly quickly.</i>

    Just for clarity: the Comfort allows 64 "security zones". You can also add RIO boards to get another 64 non-security inputs, plus another 64 outputs.

    FWIW, you can do automation with Comfort using a host of physical I/O, but there are other options. For a start, there are modules to integrate properly with Honeywell temperature readers/HVAC. It also allows use of IR to control any device that uses a remote. Comfort can fire off IR sequences to cause your devices to operate, exactly as if you used the remote. Comfort offers some cool domes and other devices to send IR where it needs to go. Cheaper than, ahem, other options around here ;-) and worth a look.

    <i>Charmedquark is what I am using for an interface to the propoerty so that does have some weight. Although it would not be hard to get a driver written for the comfort system, it may add to the budget.</i>

    If they sort out the C-bus interface, maybe you could use that ;-)

    <i> it is hard to go past a mainstream US product becuase we all know that it will get lots of support and add-ons.</i>

    Perhaps. Elk is not a new product but it still offers very little extension. Meanwhile the "news" section of the Cytech website lists 6 new hardware/software offerings this year, including GSM modules and touch screens, and not including their new panel about which there is frustratingly little information.

    I don't want to sound like a salesman for Cytech but I've spend months analysing this and it is unclear why more people aren't trumpeting Comfort to the skies. I'm hoping somebody will pop up to provide a reason. Nothing so far.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2005
    jr_away, Nov 25, 2005
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  6. znelbok

    rhamer

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    I will when the documentation for C-Gate V2 is released......swipe! :p

    In the mean time the existing driver works fine. ;)
     
    rhamer, Nov 25, 2005
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  7. znelbok

    jr_away

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    rhamer, will the existing driver allow management of a connected Comfort panel? Or (perhaps an even better solution?) perhaps you could make a Comfort interface that also allows management of a connected C-Bus!! :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2005
    jr_away, Nov 25, 2005
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  8. znelbok

    rhamer

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    Please, call me Rohan :)

    I don't know anything about the Comfort interface and it's capabilities, so I can't comment on the existing drivers compatibility. But I'm sure C-Gate would have the ability to communicate with it........ now if only I had that documentation.... :rolleyes:
     
    rhamer, Nov 25, 2005
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  9. znelbok

    wanricky

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    Are the installation/programming software the same too? I thought it has been modified for better use with C-Bus. :confused:

    I think the other major difference is the pricing..... ;)
     
    wanricky, Nov 25, 2005
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  10. znelbok

    ashleigh Moderator

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    Sorry - we cannot comment. Clipsal don't sell the Comfort in Australia, have no technical knowledge of it, and cannot answer questions about it.

    You need to approach the Australian distributor, or some other user of it. :)
     
    ashleigh, Nov 26, 2005
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