Some general questions!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Insp.Gadget, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. Insp.Gadget

    Insp.Gadget

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    Hey all, I have a few questions I’m hoping to get some feedback on.
    I have a Cbus wired system that’s been installed about 11 years now, and getting a bit frustrated with the clunkiness of it all. The Wiser app frequently shows the incorrect state of lighting channels (saying they’re dimmed or on when in fact they’re off) but also the Wiser app itself feels very 90’s - probably because it was introduced around then? :)
    What are my options in terms of upgrading to something a little more modern with a decent app that controls scenes etc.? Do I need to buy a newer Wiser unit - would my existing hardware be compatible with it? Or rip it all out and change for something like Rako?
    Any suggestions appreciated!
    Cheers,
    Greg
     
    Insp.Gadget, Jun 22, 2020
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  2. Insp.Gadget

    chromus

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    Homebridge is what many of us are moving to. It leverages the CNI of ur wiser and then u install Homebridge on a compatible platform and go from there. Head down to the voice control forum if u want to know more
     
    chromus, Jun 23, 2020
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  3. Insp.Gadget

    Insp.Gadget

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    Sounds promising - I’ll have a look into that, thanks!
     
    Insp.Gadget, Jun 23, 2020
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  4. Insp.Gadget

    Insp.Gadget

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    CGate needs to talk to Cbus via a PCI or CNI, does that mean I don’t technically need the Wiser any more as I have a PAC (provided I don’t need to run the logic in the PAC anymore?).
     
    Insp.Gadget, Jun 23, 2020
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  5. Insp.Gadget

    JasonY00

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    If you don't need to use the Wiser anymore, it can be used as the CNI to connect homebridge to your c-gate.
    The only limitation is that you cant use the wiser as a wiser anymore when you do this. So if you don't use it for logic (as you have a PAC) and you don't have any scenes on it, this is not a problem.

    Cheers

    Jason
     
    JasonY00, Jun 25, 2020
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  6. Insp.Gadget

    Insp.Gadget

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    Your response and timing couldn't be more perfect Jason - I just logged in to ask these very questions so thanks!

    I'm not fully up to speed on what is possible with Home(kit) just yet, does it not have the functionality to replace the wiser i.e. can you create scenes with it that happen at certain times etc or is the logic engine and code in a PAC/Wiser still very useful/needed?
    And another question if I may - do I need to be running CGate somwhere or is it running on the CNI? I think I have a Wiser 1 if it makes any difference - it's the one with the inline CNI and busbar that connects the two... Edit : Just reading on some other threads that CGate runs on a PC or Pi and so isn't running on a CNI!
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2020
    Insp.Gadget, Jun 25, 2020
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  7. Insp.Gadget

    chromus

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    CNI is exactly what it says Computer Network Interface. It’s just a hardware mediator.

    Wiser 1 only has 1 CNI, Wiser2 has effectively 2CNIs and can work alongside HomeBridge.

    I run all of my CBUS logic on my CTouch screen but a backup is stored on the Wiser2 but the lines are // out of action.
     
    chromus, Jun 25, 2020
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  8. Insp.Gadget

    JasonY00

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    I didn't know that the Wiser 2 had 2x CNI's. I also have a Wiser 1, so thanks for the heads up chromus! I also used to use the homebridge-wiser plugin that works well and has minimal configuration, but is limited in that it only exposes your cbus devices as switches and dimmers. So definitely the homebridge-cbus is the way to go if you have blinds etc.

    The homebridge-wiser repository has not been maintained for some time, but having said that a couple of us have written accessories for the homebridge-cbus plugin that have also not been merged into the main repository as pull requests by the author as of yet. The plugin, at this point, is very stable. If you wish to incorporate a c-bus temperature sensor (for example) into your homebridge-cbus plugin, it is not supported by the main homebridge-cbus repository. So just drop us a message and we can explain how to copy the files from another repository to activate it. It will also work for the humidity sensor but will require a couple of changes. I have done this if you want it (will also work for humidiy and other sensors if you have a General Input Unit).

    Chromus is on the money above. It's best to keep scenes and logic in a PAC (that you already have), however, once you are up and running with homebridge and c-gate (together on a pi is probably best. See how to do this in other forum posts) there is nothing stopping you from creating basic scenes and automations on your iphone. It works, but you don't have as many options. Perhaps try things as a proof of concept on the phone and then, if you are happy, leverage the superior automation/scene control and reliability that c-bus will give you and incorporate these into your PAC.

    Just remember that if you want to control your c-bus remotely and create automations, you will need an apple device such as an ipad, appleTV or Homepod to act as a home Hub. This is trivial to configure but an essential bit of kit. A newer model AppleTV is probably the best long term and value added option.

    Once you are up and running, you can do google and alexa plugins and also control c-bus with all three voice control systems depending on your preference.

    One final note, if homebridge goes pear shaped (this has happened a few times for me) then expect to have to reset homebridge, lose all of your cbus accessories and have to import everything back into your phone and recreate all automations. So keep the complex stuff in c-bus and use homebridge primarily as an interface. That will save you a bit of heartache...

    Let us know how you go. There are quite a few guys on the forum with this exact setup and we are all willing to help!

    Cheers

    Jason
     
    JasonY00, Jun 26, 2020
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  9. Insp.Gadget

    bmerrick

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    Hi Greg,

    Just adding a bit more info over and above what the other guys have posted.

    The Wiser 1 was 'System Controller of the Year' in 2010 which was pretty amazing considering almost no-one had an iPhone interface to automation at that time. The original GUI interface, which was later replaced by Wiser HD GUI both look very dated now.

    Just checking that you have updated and are using the Wiser2 App GUI from Appstore, which has been backward compatible to the Wiser 1 and Wiser 1A since V3.0?


    The times I saw this symptom onsite, it was very often due to the 'harmonica' linking the Wiser 1 'router' portion to the C-Bus Network interface. Remove it, chuck it in the bin and feel happy within yourself that you have done the world a great favour and no other C-Bus person will ever have to see it again. Replace the harmonica with a 30cm Cat 5e/6 patch cable between the CNI Ethernet port and the appropriate port in the Wiser 1 'router' that is now free. The Cat 5e/6 link to your internal Ethernet network can now plug into the other appropriate recently vacated port.

    You will also also need either 1. a DC 'Y' Cable from the power supply to the CNI and the Wiser 'Router' (Altronics or Jaycar) or 2. another 12v DC power supply which pretty much every Telstra / Optus / Netgear router of the time came with (and if you are like me is probably multiplying in your bottom parts drawers).

    In other cases of your symptom, it was often the power supply / plugpack itself going under voltage/current and needing a replacement (get a suitable replacement one from Jaycar/Altronics etc for $20 or old Telstra / Optus / Netgear router as said before)


    If you are going to use your Wiser 1 CNI for HomeBridge, you need to know it is robust and reliable and at the moment, it sounds like its having issues so the above is pretty much necessary just to prove the CNI is OK or if its actually stuffed. If it's stuffed, all the HomeBridge in the world won't improve your situation.

    I have a great many clients with Wiser 1 still acting meaningful lives on their C-Bus network, most freed of the burden of the dreaded 'harmonica'. At worst it is still a very useful CNI, at best it will still do all the C-Bus logic, scene and schedule tasks it used to.

    Good Luck with your project.

    Brad


    :eek::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool:
     

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    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
    bmerrick, Jun 26, 2020
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  10. Insp.Gadget

    DarylMc

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    This is good advice from Jason.
    Complex automations are not easily backed up and restored in the Apple HomeKit environment.
    I love what Homebridge can do but also agree it is great advice to keep everything you can do on CBus with CBus.
     
    DarylMc, Jun 26, 2020
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  11. Insp.Gadget

    Insp.Gadget

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    Apologies for the slow response, I inadvertently lost access to my e-mail for this account so I didn’t know there were further replies.
    Thanks everyone for the comments, really useful for someone like me who has clearly been off the scene for too long and completely behind the times!
    The harmonica info is priceless and I’ll look at that ASAP, I also can’t believe I’ve been using the old app for so long, just fired up the Wiser2 app and it’s a huge improvement! (No offence intended to any Clipsal staff in here with the 90’s comment, I just meant the Cbus product has been around for a fair while which is obviously a good thing and indication of its robustness).
    Thanks again all, very much appreciate all your top advice :)
     
    Insp.Gadget, Jul 6, 2020
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  12. Insp.Gadget

    Insp.Gadget

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    Indeed I remember buying my first iPhone 3G not too much before this date so you’re correct and fair to say it was probably pretty advanced at the time.
     
    Insp.Gadget, Jul 6, 2020
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