IntelliCenter Home Automation Integration and Control

MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
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@MyAZPool Have you been able to make any progress on this?
I am still a way out from having my IntelliCenter installed but advanced control by my Home Automation system is a must for me. I have been searching the internet and found a very interesting and currently active github project:
node.js Pool Controller
This project is using a USB RS485 adapter to talk directly on the communication bus bypassing any network communications all together.
A user raised a request to support IntelliCenter and the author of the project has been active in responding: Intellicenter Messages · Issue #116 · tagyoureit/nodejs-poolController

I have already purchased an adapter (for the huge cost of $0.80 :cool: ), Buy Products Online from China Wholesalers at Aliexpress.com and am currently awaiting receipt.

It appears that the author does not own an IntelliCenter so if all of use here who are interested could show some love for his project and help him out with questions on the IntelliCneter then this could be a very cool solution indeed.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the project or the developer.... or AliExpress for that matter :)
NOTE: Please note that the following posts in this thread were moved from the thread: Pentair IntelliCenter Review - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This is due to the fact that the following posts were related ONLY to Integrating the Pentair IntelliCenter with 3rd Party Home Automation Control Systems and did not deal with the Pentair IntelliCenter directly.

Hi mcqwerty
There has been no movement on attempting to access the panel directly.

I went to the GitHub link and perused the thread. EXTREMELY INTERESTING!! Some of this is a bit over my head, but I certainly got the gist of most of it. The "IntelliCenter messages.zip" attachments are amazing just to see all of the various configurations there in "code". These guys are "all-over-it"! I can see lot's of possibilities. Especially the fact of "jail-breaking" the IntelliCenter and getting it to do a whole lot more than what it was programmed initially to do. There goes my warranty :laughblue:.....

I could not get to the AliExpress link for some reason. I'm curious how one might install the "USB RS485 adapter to talk directly on the communication bus bypassing any network communications all together". I am hardwired (Cat5E) to the network adapter on the mothercard, so I'm wondering if that would be to my advantage in order to access the IntelliCenter panel directly from my LAN and just how this connectivity would work. If I would have to run an additional RS-485 connection, no problem because I left a "pull-wire" inside the Cat5E conduit.

We have another member that is in to this kind of thing as well, and it might be great to bring him in on this and get his input. Calling @jonpcar

Thanks so much for providing this bit of information. Maybe there is hope after all to start squeezing more capability out of our IntelliCenters and begin to customize the functionalities and get some work-arounds to some of Pentair's "oversights". ;)

Thanks again!!
r.
 
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mcqwerty

Active member
Aug 27, 2018
30
TN
@MyAZPool
Link fixed in original post, sorry about that.

I'm curious how one might install the "USB RS485 adapter to talk directly on the communication bus bypassing any network communications all together".
As I understand it you connect the RS485 adapter directly to the RS485 bus in the IntelliCenter. You leave the intelliCenter connected via Ethernet (or WiFi) to your network. The neatest setup would involve a Raspberry Pi at your equipment pad with the USB RS485 adapter plugged into it. You could add a network hub to gain an extra Ethernet port to connect the Raspberry Pi and your IntelliCenter or you could pull another cable directly from your router for the Raspberry Pi. You could run the code direct on the RP and just access the API it surfaces across your network or you could use Socat to bridge the RP USB over Ethernet and run the code on another machine on your network. socat setup

Basically the node.js code surfaces an API and translates the Pentair RS485 commands to/from messages/commands on the API.

If this project makes it all the way to be fully featured for the IntelliCenter then I would likely not use any Feature Circuits on pump speeds or anything that has direct control from the API and ditch the Circuit Groups altogether. Then I could use my Home Automation system, (which is free, open source and not limited to a 1995-style 32 or 16 of anything!!! Are you listening Pentair??!!!), to control the various components directly.
 

MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
970
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mcqwerty
I so like this. Thank you very much for the explanation. I get it (kind of :)).. I need to start getting familiar with the Raspberry Pi and how the API would integrate with the IntelliCenter. Do you think it might be better to pull in another Cat 5 and have the Raspberry Pi inside the house, (considering the heat factor in my area). If heat is not a factor for the RP board, it appears that it could be mounted inside the IC Load Center (in the low voltage area on the back in the vicinity of where my Serial COM Expansion Board is mounted
If this comes to fruition, I'll certainly need some schooling but I'm pretty good at following directions :mrgreen:...
Thanks again for the rays of hope. :goodjob:
r.
 
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MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
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mcqwerty

If all of this came together with the IntelliCenter, would I be dealing with a customized gui interface or just lines of code? Can this functionality be accessed through an iOS app? I'm just trying to envision just how I would interface with the functions. It might be helpful if I could find someone who has a EasyTouch or IntelliTouch, and who has went down this RP road with their automation, so I could see what I would be dealing with.
Thanks...
r.
 

mcqwerty

Active member
Aug 27, 2018
30
TN
Do you think it might be better to pull in another Cat 5 and have the Raspberry Pi inside the house, (considering the heat factor in my area).
  • IntelliCenter talks RS485 over its bus (this is the 4 cables connected to the IntelliFlo pumps, IntelliChem, etc.)
  • AliExpress USB-RS485 adapter
    • connects on one end to the same 4 wire RS485 bus on the IntelliCenter mainboard (although it only uses 2 of the wires)
    • on the other end it needs to plug into a USB port on a computer. (Raspberry Pi in this case).
  • The Raspberry Pi (with the Aliexpress USB-RS485 adapter plugged in) would then need to connect to your network either via WiFi or over Ethernet.

The Node.js code runs on the RP, you can then use any computer or smartphone on your network to command and view the API running on the RP.

As for heat, I don't think this would be stressing the RP so it should be fine inside Load Center. If you wanted to run the RP remote from the IntelliCenter you need to worry about the following:
  • Max length of an RS484 cable. (Not sure on this, need to research) Edit: Wow, google says RS485 max length is 4000 feet! So I think you could just pull a two-wire cable back to your house from the pad, connected the two wires to the RS485 bus on the Intellicenter then run the RP and adapter in the house. You could obviously use Ethernet or Wifi for network connectivity
  • Max length of a USB cable. (16.4 feet, but there are ways to go longer that we can explore if this is the preferred option)
 
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mcqwerty

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Aug 27, 2018
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would I be dealing with a customized gui interface or just lines of code?
I believe the node.js project exposes a UI as well as the raw API.
106945
I doubt the UI is as polished as Pentair's but I think it is functional.

If you do get into more advanced control or want to connect a Home Automation system then you also have the REST API which you would control with 'lines of code' from inside your chosen HA platform.
 
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mrweber

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Jun 7, 2015
32
Norco, CA
Control4 released official support for IntelliCenter a couple weeks ago. I have been using it and it works great. All network based using the REST api I believe.
 
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mcqwerty

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Aug 27, 2018
30
TN
Control4 released official support for IntelliCenter a couple weeks ago. I have been using it and it works great. All network based using the REST api I believe.
Please tell us more! Is the IntelliCenter REST API documented anywhere? Is it local control or do you have to go via the cloud?
Any information would be helpful.

Thanks!
 
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MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
970
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  • IntelliCenter talks RS485 over its bus (this is the 4 cables connected to the IntelliFlo pumps, IntelliChem, etc.)
  • AliExpress USB-RS485 adapter
    • connects on one end to the same 4 wire RS485 bus on the IntelliCenter mainboard (although it only uses 2 of the wires)
    • on the other end it needs to plug into a USB port on a computer. (Raspberry Pi in this case).
  • The Raspberry Pi (with the Aliexpress USB-RS485 adapter plugged in) would then need to connect to your network either via WiFi or over Ethernet.

The Node.js code runs on the RP, you can then use any computer or smartphone on your network to command and view the API running on the RP.

As for heat, I don't think this would be stressing the RP so it should be fine inside Load Center. If you wanted to run the RP remote from the IntelliCenter you need to worry about the following:
  • Max length of an RS484 cable. (Not sure on this, need to research) Edit: Wow, google says RS485 max length is 4000 feet! So I think you could just pull a two-wire cable back to your house from the pad, connected the two wires to the RS485 bus on the Intellicenter then run the RP and adapter in the house. You could obviously use Ethernet or Wifi for network connectivity
  • Max length of a USB cable. (16.4 feet, but there are ways to go longer that we can explore if this is the preferred option)
mcqwerty
Thanks so much for the detailed breakdown. Makes perfect sense now. I think my best bet would be to mount the RP board in the Load Center. Now I would have to decide to pull-in another Cat-5 or install a small powered unmanaged switch. I assume it (the small switch) could take the heat as it does not generate much. Very partial to the CISCO SG110D-05 for a small unmanaged switch. Not sure I could squeeze it into the low voltage area of the load center unless I remove it from its housing. I guess I could mount an auxiliary NEMA box in the vicinity of the load center and run a small line voltage and low voltage FNMC conduits to the load center. Any thoughts you might have regarding this issue would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks...
r.
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
970
Arizona
I believe the node.js project exposes a UI as well as the raw API.
View attachment 106945
I doubt the UI is as polished as Pentair's but I think it is functional.

If you do get into more advanced control or want to connect a Home Automation system then you also have the REST API which you would control with 'lines of code' from inside your chosen HA platform.
mcqwerty
Oh yea, this isn't bad at all. Especially if we could add more capability. I like it.
In many ways, it has a cleaner look...
Thanks!!!
r.
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
970
Arizona
Please tell us more! Is the IntelliCenter REST API documented anywhere? Is it local control or do you have to go via the cloud?
Any information would be helpful.

Thanks!
mrweber
Hi. Great to hear from you again!! Thanks so much for weighing in on this and bringing some some new and interesting information regarding IntelliCenter/Control4.
Yes, please share more. This could be a game changer in many respects.
Awaiting on the edge of my seat :mrgreen:...
r.
 

mcqwerty

Active member
Aug 27, 2018
30
TN
@MyAZPool,
I think my best bet would be to mount the RP board in the Load Center.
I am no expert so the following is just my opinion:
Given your heat situation, the very long allowable max length of RS485 and the relative low cost of shielded 2-core or 4-core twisted pair, I would probably opt for pulling an RS485 cable and then mounting the RP, the adapter and the RP power supply indoors. Of course I would test the whole thing out 'on the pad' first, but no need to expose all those components to the heat if not absolutely necessary.

If you still want to mount it in the Load Center, I would pull another CAT5, not for the bandwidth but just to avoid having to mess with trying to fit in a switch somewhere. (btw, that Cisco looks like a solid unit, I have a few Netgear units that look to be based on the same and they are great).

Glad you are so enthusiastic about this, I wish I had my IntelliCenter to start playing with but you will probably have it all figured out by the time I have mine installed :)
Oh, and if the REST API that @mrweber was mentioning is local and open then I just wasted 80 cents!!! Haha, I would gladly add the adapter to my equipment graveyard and use the on-board API if I can!!
 
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MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
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@MyAZPool,
I am no expert so the following is just my opinion:
Given your heat situation, the very long allowable max length of RS485 and the relative low cost of shielded 2-core or 4-core twisted pair, I would probably opt for pulling an RS485 cable and then mounting the RP, the adapter and the RP power supply indoors. Of course I would test the whole thing out 'on the pad' first, but no need to expose all those components to the heat if not absolutely necessary.

If you still want to mount it in the Load Center, I would pull another CAT5, not for the bandwidth but just to avoid having to mess with trying to fit in a switch somewhere. (btw, that Cisco looks like a solid unit, I have a few Netgear units that look to be based on the same and they are great).

Glad you are so enthusiastic about this, I wish I had my IntelliCenter to start playing with but you will probably have it all figured out by the time I have mine installed :)
Oh, and if the REST API that @mrweber was mentioning is local and open then I just wasted 80 cents!!! Haha, I would gladly add the adapter to my equipment graveyard and use the on-board API if I can!!
mcqwerty
Thanks for that information. Regarding the connection of the RP, if I go with putting the board inside the house. So basically I would just run a two-conductor cable from one of the RS-485 bus (Serial COM Port connection) on the IntelliCenter, through the LV conduit to the RP board via the RS485 to USB Converter Adapter? Then the RP board connects to my LAN via a Cat-5 (I'm assuming there is an ethernet port on the RP Board)? Once connected to my LAN, I assume the board will go out and grab an DHCP address once the Raspian OS is loaded.(until I can give it a static address. :) ) I got some schooling to do on this for sure.

Yea, those switches are awesome. They are "true" gigabit swiches (not just the ethernet ports) I have had the best luck with CISCO switches and Wireless Access Points. I have two of those SG110D-05 desktops, two of the SG-200-08 managed switches and an ancient SG-100D-08 un-managed switch that I have had for nearly ten years without a hiccup.

I wish you had your IntelliCenter as well :p. I have a feeling that you are going to find ways around certain "restrictions" as I have done here and there and I am eager to get your recommendations on other "work-arounds".


Oh, and if the REST API that @mrweber was mentioning is local and open then I just wasted 80 cents!!! Haha, I would gladly add the adapter to my equipment graveyard and use the on-board API if I can!!
:laughblue:
 
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MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
970
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Yep,
I see the ethernet port and the USB connectors on this photo.
On Amazon, these things are not very expensive at all (complete kits, power supply, mounting housing, heat sinks etc.).
107061
 

MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
970
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mcqwerty
Not sure you ever saw the following thread, but I was reminded of it as I was looking for some other information on "home brew" automation here on TFP. It's got some interesting information (links) regarding commercial grade/high quality pH and ORP sensors/controllers. I remember being really inspired by the accuracy and quality of the Chemtrol systems at the time, right up to the part where I found the prices on Pool Supply Unlimited. YIKES! That is when I decided that my manual pH and FC testing would just have to do :mrgreen:
Anyway, here is the link. You might find something useful or interesting there. Automation - Intellicenter Price Quotes

Also, I found this link. Its regarding Autelis Pool Control but its got some good info on installation etc in ref to what we were discussing.
Autelis Pool Control Installation Guide

Here is an interesting TFP thread as well. Raspberry Pi for pool monitoring? I like what slippery pickle did with the graphs etc.
Check this out. Those gauges are unreal. More on this.
Interested in getting your comments.
r.
 
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mrweber

Active member
Jun 7, 2015
32
Norco, CA
Please tell us more! Is the IntelliCenter REST API documented anywhere? Is it local control or do you have to go via the cloud?
Any information would be helpful.
Don't know much, I did a little digging on my network and found out it is not a rest api. Looks like it is a straight socket server listening on port 6681. Input is json, I don't know the format all messages but I was able to find the following which lists the bodies and their status:

{"messageID": "1", "command": "GetParamList", "condition": "OBJTYP=BODY", "objectList": [{"objnam": "INCR", "keys": ["OBJTYP", "SNAME", "STATUS", "SUBTYP"]}]}
{"command":"SendParamList","messageID":"1","response":"200","objectList":[{"objnam":"B1101","params":{"OBJTYP":"BODY","SNAME":"Pool","STATUS":"ON","SUBTYP":"POOL"}},{"objnam":"B1202","params":{"OBJTYP":"BODY","SNAME":"Spa","STATUS":"OFF","SUBTYP":"SPA"}}]}

Based on what the Control4 driver does, this api seems pretty complete. I will need to dig a little more when I get a chance.

@mrweber
Hi. Great to hear from you again!!
Thanks! I keep checking in every now and then to see if you have discovered anything new with the IntelliCenter + IntelliValve support that is supposedly in the works!
 

MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
970
Arizona
Don't know much, I did a little digging on my network and found out it is not a rest api. Looks like it is a straight socket server listening on port 6681. Input is json, I don't know the format all messages but I was able to find the following which lists the bodies and their status:

{"messageID": "1", "command": "GetParamList", "condition": "OBJTYP=BODY", "objectList": [{"objnam": "INCR", "keys": ["OBJTYP", "SNAME", "STATUS", "SUBTYP"]}]}
{"command":"SendParamList","messageID":"1","response":"200","objectList":[{"objnam":"B1101","params":{"OBJTYP":"BODY","SNAME":"Pool","STATUS":"ON","SUBTYP":"POOL"}},{"objnam":"B1202","params":{"OBJTYP":"BODY","SNAME":"Spa","STATUS":"OFF","SUBTYP":"SPA"}}]}

Based on what the Control4 driver does, this api seems pretty complete. I will need to dig a little more when I get a chance.



Thanks! I keep checking in every now and then to see if you have discovered anything new with the IntelliCenter + IntelliValve support that is supposedly in the works!
mrweber
Thanks very much for the quick reply. Look forward to gaining any more info on this, if you run across anything. Some of its "above me" (that doesn't take much :p) but I'm sure
mcqwerty and some others here, can make more sense of it and be able to break it down for those of us who are a little bit less savvy in this area.
I am on top of the IntelliValve RS-485 update and will immediately post something as soon I get some additional information. I am being "relentless" on Pentair regarding this topic because it should change much of the way I manipulate my cleaning cycles, water feature etc.
Thanks again and always good to receive your IntelliCenter inputs!
r.
 

mcqwerty

Active member
Aug 27, 2018
30
TN
@MyAZPool

Regarding the connection of the RP, if I go with putting the board inside the house. So basically I would just run a two-conductor cable from one of the RS-485 bus (Serial COM Port connection) on the IntelliCenter, through the LV conduit to the RP board via the RS485 to USB Converter Adapter? Then the RP board connects to my LAN via a Cat-5 (I'm assuming there is an ethernet port on the RP Board)? Once connected to my LAN, I assume the board will go out and grab an DHCP address once the Raspian OS is loaded
Exactly (y):)

One thing that springs to mind regarding the Raspberry Pi, there are quite a few variants out there, none are very expensive but they do range in price and the price broadly reflects the 'power' of the mini-computer. For this application, you are looking at very low performance requirements so you would be fine with one of the older generation, less-expensive boards. I would stay away from the ultra-small Pi Zero since you need to add a lot of extras to get it to where it is usable, the Pi Zero W actually has Wifi so could do the job but you still need adapters and it has no Ethernet on board. Messing with RPs is fun, but be prepared to loose a LOT of time googling and tweaking to get it going! ;)

Regarding the collection of links - thanks!
I had read a couple before but some reactions:

Autelis: I have been looking at this on and off for quite a while and I eventually decided it must be a dead project. All of the units are constantly out of stock and never seem to be replenished so I would be very skeptical about buying one even if it did claim to support the IntelliCenter, (which I don't think it does?)

Raspberry Pi monitoring: This is some good stuff and is close to what I am shooting for. Basically my hope is to use the IntelliCenter as 'sensors' and 'actuators' but just monitor and control it with a much more sophisticated system that I use for home automation. As I see it, using home-brew sensors and a raspberry Pi or using an IntelliCenter are all the same if we can access the sensor data and command the system to do things (turn actuator, set heater temp, etc). I will just abstract the programming away from the IntelliCenter and act on the sensor data in my HA system then command the IntelliCenter to turn an actuator or change pump speed etc. Then I won't need circuit groups or any of that stuff.
Grafana on InfluxDB is a popular and powerful combination. I actually run two, (well three actually :) ), home automation systems, OpenHAB and Home Assistant. OpenHAB integrates tightly with InfluxDB which then integrates well with Grafana. Of course the basic idea of home automation is that you can integrate all of your smart devices and write code that can act on an input by changing an output. Think turn on lights and turn down AC when front door unlocked, close blinds at sunset, pause TV when you receive a phone call, the possibilities are pretty much endless. So by integrating the IntelliCenter as just another set of sensors and actuators you could "turn on water features when I arrive home", "heat up spa when my calendar shows my day has been back-to back meetings", "turn living room lights blue when PH is too high", etc. etc.
Then, since all of this data is constantly collected in a Database (influxDB) you can then display and chart it using something like Grafana.
The issue with this is it's like a drug, once you automate one thing, you want to automate EVERYTHING, and the more you do, the more possibilities there are. If you can 'know' the state of everything and 'control' the state of everything in your house (and pool!), you can pretty much do anything!

Openhab actually has a connector, (they call them 'bindings), to Pentair equipment that actually uses the same USB to RS485 adapter. From what I can gather it is based on the same initial work that the node.js project is based on. The OpenHAB binding doesn't mention IntelliCenter, so I still think our best bet is the node.js project at this time.

Except for..... 🥁 🥁
Looks like it is a straight socket server listening on port 6681. Input is json, I don't know the format all messages but I was able to find the following which lists the bodies and their status:

{"messageID": "1", "command": "GetParamList", "condition": "OBJTYP=BODY", "objectList": [{"objnam": "INCR", "keys": ["OBJTYP", "SNAME", "STATUS", "SUBTYP"]}]}
undefined
This looks pretty promising (shame its not a REST API though). Thanks for sharing @mrweber.
I tried some googling but there nothing out there on this at all. If you get any time I would be very interested to see some more request and response examples.
Do you have any Control4 documentation on the capabilities of the Control4 driver? This would at least let us know what the socket server is capable of and then we would just need to figure out the actual calls and decipher the responses.
Is there any security or do you just send the message to open a session?

Thanks!
 
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MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
970
Arizona
mcqwerty
Thanks very much for your last post regarding this issue. :goodpost:

First, I got to tell you I am all in on this, given some of your initial comments and what I saw on some of those links. I really like the customized gauges, graphs and the "outside-the-box" control and added capability. But I sure will need some "hand-holding" here and there in order to get where I would like to be with all of this. But the challenge certainly sounds like fun and I think could be really rewarding in the end.
I am going to send you a PM with a thought concerning moving forward on sharing this information.
I was looking at the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ on YouTube as maybe the way to get started. Improved chip with higher processor speed and thermal performance, 300Mps ether speed, 4.2 Bluetooth, dual-band WiFi. Thoughts?
r.
 
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