Ness MiniCentral integration

Discussion in 'Homesafe & Security Access & Control' started by cmlp, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. cmlp

    cmlp

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    Hi,

    I am having difficulty configuring a Ness D8X panel fitted with a MiniCentral interface.

    I have communication working in the direction from the Ness panel out to the c-bus network, such that I can have group addresses set when the panel is armed/disarmed/have aux output activated etc.

    However, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to configure the MiniCentral to respond to a c-bus lighting group address and command the Ness panel to arm.

    After much searching, I found this page http://www.schneider-electric.com.au/en/faqs/FA243482/ which is the clearest explanation of how to configure each of the three components involved.

    To attempt to debug, I have created two test GA with address 111 and 123 in the default lighting application (56) (screenshot attached). I can obviously set these GA to ON via Toolkit or a switch, etc.

    I have configured the D8x with two matching user codes (111 and 123) (see attached screenshot of NessComms ). Both user codes work as expected from the Ness Navigator LCD control panel.

    I have configured the MiniCentral to respond to either (?) address 111 or 123 (see attached screenshot of miniCENTRAL). The upper part of the window relates to Area 1 of the D8x, and the lower Area 1 or Area 2.

    This appears to match the Schneider example, but no matter what I try (combinations of Area 1/2/both, either user code, only one code, only one area, etc), I cannot get the MiniCentral to respond and arm the D8x panel. The Ness documentation for the MiniCentral is... perplexing.

    I'm wondering if this is actually a bug related to the DEC/HEX issue that has previously been discussed. However, I assume that these MiniCentral boards are reasonably common and therefore not subject to a 2 or 3 yr old bug that renders an important feature unworkable.

    Any help or suggestions most appreciated!
     

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    cmlp, Jun 5, 2016
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  2. cmlp

    rhamer

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    Have you resolved this?

    I may be able to help you as I did a fair bit of work with this interface a while ago, however my memory is not as good as it used to be. :)

    A couple of points.
    • I'm not sure you can use the master user to arm an area from C-Bus. I would setup complete new users.
    • The user you have setup for Area 1&2 does not appear to have Area 2 selected?
    • You must have zones in both area 1&2 if trying to arm areas 1&2
    • From memory after making any sort of change, you need to fully arm/disarm the panel via the keypad to reinitialise the MiniCentral.

    Also what version is the panel firmware? it needs to be 7.8 or later.

    Note: The Clipsal Homesafe version of this panel is NOT the same. The firmware for Homesafe is generations old V1.8 and don't use MiniCentral.
    So just in case you have got a Homesafe and added a MiniCentral, that combination won't work.

    Also I have found numerous bugs, quirks and errors in the MiniCentral implementation which I have reported to both NESS and Clipsal, but as far as I know have not been addressed.

    There was also the issue of Hex/Dec conversion that was fixed with a firmware update to MiniCentral, however annoyingly it was given the same version number V1.2 so it is not easily identified.

    Cheers

    Rohan
     
    rhamer, Jun 8, 2016
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  3. cmlp

    cmlp

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    Hi,

    I wish! :)

    Thanks for the comments. I'm afraid it's still not going. I've adjusted the config to make it match as best I can to what I think should work, as attached. The D8x I have has ver 7.7 firmware. According to the MiniCentral docs, this should be fine.

    Toolkit setup three GAs: 111, 222 and 254.
    Minicentral config: Application 56, Code 111 for Area 1, Code 222 for Area 2 and Code 254 for Area 1 + Area 2.
    NessComms / D8x: Zones 1 and 2 are in Area 1 only, Zones 3 and 4 are in Area 2 only, Zones 5 and 6 are in both Area 1 and 2.

    Still, after numerous resets/poweroff/arm/disarm cycles etc, the MiniCentral doesn't transmit an Arm command.

    I have found that connecting to COM4 of the MiniCentral does retransmit to/from the D8x SERIAL port, and I can manually send an ARM command through it into the D8x which is received and acted on correct (per instructions here).


    Ok, I think I covered off these in my earlier testing, but tonight I made sure to use new users, and make sure the Areas and Zones are configured to give me the best chance(?) of it working. I think I have all combinations covered now, but if you see holes in my logic please yell!

    I did arm/disarm also. And power up/down.

    I have v7.7 but according to this only v7.3 or above is required.

    No, it's a NESS D8x panel.

    That's comforting!

    I have V1.2 from 06.06.2014 which I think means it is probably ok. I only recently bought it and I know it came from the Ness factory as the vendor was out of stock and I had to wait for more to arrive.

    Thanks again, any help most appreciated!

    Chris.
     

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    cmlp, Jun 8, 2016
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  4. cmlp

    cmlp

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    I take it back. It's working.

    I'm not sure exactly, but what I did just do is disconnect the MiniCentral from the C-Bus network, AND also unpower the D8x also.

    Following re-boot, I armed/disarmed a few times, and now suddenly it's working perfectly.

    I was about to give up, too!

    Ok, time to get this thing off the dining room table and installed. But not tonight :D
     
    cmlp, Jun 8, 2016
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  5. cmlp

    cmlp

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    Anyway, at least this thread combines all the steps needed to get one of these interface cards working, which I didn't find anywhere else.

    Hopefully it will be of some use to the next poor guy who's trying to set one of these up!
     
    cmlp, Jun 9, 2016
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  6. cmlp

    rhamer

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    Ok, glad you got it working.

    Power cycling the C-Bus rings a bell. Like you I initially had problems and tried lots of things before getting it to work, so pinpointing the exact sequence was difficult to remember.

    You are right about V7.3, I read it without my glasses on and confused the 3 with an 8 :eek:

    I'm not sure about your firmware revision, but in any case it only affects zones above 9 so the D8x wont be an issue either way.

    Cheers

    Rohan
     
    rhamer, Jun 9, 2016
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  7. cmlp

    cmlp

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    Surfacing this old thread, due to the amazing hombridge-cbus topic, I've been playing with my Minicentral / D8x again.

    A couple of notes:
    * Since the above, new firmware (v1.4) has been released (probably to match with the new software as below).
    * A new version of the programming tool is out. This allows programming AUX outputs in response to GA events (I think, my D8X board won't support this anyway I believe).
    * COM3 and COM4 on the minicentral still do not retransmit the serial port of the connected D8X, but rather seem to be additional programming ports like COM1, unlike what the manual says. This limits extension of the system when using a minicentral.

    However, of most concern:

    * programming the minicentral to respond to GA events to Arm Zone 1 / 2 / both seems to be impossible. I have no idea how I managed to get it to work (once) as documented above, but no order of updating, (de)powering the various boards could make the programming both "stick" across a reboot and actually work!
    * reboots of the cubs daughterboard seem to corrupt the stored program, and truncating the number of stored activities to 4, actually often 3.5 with the half of the 4th left blank (blank c-bus network, blank c-bus application, blank GA). Programming/updating without rebooting either board does seem to allow the appropriate messages to be sent via c-bus (messages sent on arming, disarming, sealing zones etc).

    Does anyone know if the minicentral hardware has been revised over the last few years to address any of the weirdness?

    Thanks,
    Chris.
     
    cmlp, Mar 5, 2018
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