IntelliCenter Home Automation Integration and Control

setsailsoon

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Well, the manual states that "When solar is available, then the system will rotate the 3-Way Valve (this is the solar valve and should be valve A) and turn on the solar booster pump if applicable or increase
the RPM’s if an IntelliFlo® Pump is present. I don't have solar so I have no experience regarding this feature. I have attempted to find more info on this to see how it works but I am stumped. I did some playing around in different config settings in the IntelliCenter Web Client but I don't see anything. Hopefully, someone with some experience with this particular feature will chime in.
Ron,

I used the solar 3-way valve signal to operate my bypass valve exactly as described. I did notice I had to reverse the switch on the valve actuator that was previously controlled by a Goldline solar control. There is a separate signal to use as a digital input for a non-Intelliflo pump but I found it easier to split the valve actuator signal and use it as a digital input to my 3rd party VS pump.

Chris

*** Edit***
PS One of the fantastic features for Intellicenter is the amazing amount of additional control. You can set the sensed temp difference between the solar panel sensor and pool temp that opens and closes the valve for a fairly wide range. The optimum temp for these settings varies a lot with the specific temp sensing lag and piping run lengths. This a very well thought-out design feature!
 
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Arizonarob

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Calling @Arizonarob for his input as I think he is familiar with Crestron/Extron.
Forgive me dude, I haven’t been following along. What is it you’re trying to control with a Crestron? And what is/are the inputs on the intellicenter (I don’t have one) that you want to connect too? (You can PM me if you want to keep this thread clean, and I’ll reply here when I have the answer.)
 
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MyAZPool

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Forgive me dude, I haven’t been following along. What is it you’re trying to control with a Crestron? And what is/are the inputs on the intellicenter (I don’t have one) that you want to connect too? (You can PM me if you want to keep this thread clean, and I’ll reply here when I have the answer.)
Hi Rob,
From what I can gather from the Internet, it appears that the Crestron can control the IntelliCenter but there seems to be very little detail available. I found that one would probably require an RS232 to RS485 adapter in order to connect to the IntelliCenter 485 bus, so I can only assume that the Crestron uses RS232 comm protocol. The IntelliCenter uses 485 protocol.
Any info that you might be able to provide or contact info, regarding the Crestron controlling the IntelliCenter may be useful.
Thanks neighbor...
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MyAZPool

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Yes, Crestron runs on 232 protocol, so a 232 to 485 (DB9) adaptor will be needed.
Perfect. Thanks for confirming. Is there a contact that you know of that can answer some further questions regarding the Crestron and how it might integrate with the IntelliCenter? Maybe like a tech at Crestron or something like that?
 

Arizonarob

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I don’t know anyone personally over there. We would just call in on the tech line when we had issues, but you have to be a dealer.
I would call their customer service number and see if they can connect you with tech support.
 

MyAZPool

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I don’t know anyone personally over there. We would just call in on the tech line when we had issues, but you have to be a dealer.
I would call their customer service number and see if they can connect you with tech support.
Thanks Rob. I'll give them a call and see what I can come up with.
Have a good one.
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MyAZPool

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I don’t know anyone personally over there. We would just call in on the tech line when we had issues, but you have to be a dealer.
I would call their customer service number and see if they can connect you with tech support.
So, I did talk with Crestron this morning and they were very nice, helpful and all but very "proprietary" and said that only dealers can sale, service and install. NO DIY's.

In my research this morning, I am now taking a closer look at Control4 and beginning to make my way down that rabbit hole. Initial findings look to be that C4 is much more "user friendly" and at a fraction of the cost of the Crestron systems. I'm sure I'll find more info as I move along on the C4 path.

Calling @SA Pentair User . Thoughts on Control4 integration with IntelliCenter?
Thanks.
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Arizonarob

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So, I did talk with Crestron this morning and they were very nice, helpful and all but very "proprietary" and said that only dealers can sale, service and install. NO DIY's.
That’s what I was afraid of. There may be a work-around. Call your local high end home AV store that sells Crestron home automation, and see if they can get you some information.

I have contacts back East that are still in the business, but I would need detailed information on product you want to use, and exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
 

MyAZPool

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That’s what I was afraid of. There may be a work-around. Call your local high end home AV store that sells Crestron home automation, and see if they can get you some information.

I have contacts back East that are still in the business, but I would need detailed information on product you want to use, and exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
Thanks Rob. I appreciate that a great deal sir. But the more that I research, the more that I think that Control4 might be the choice for me at this point if I were going to do this.

Regarding your question, essentially I want to program, schedule and control the IntelliCenter using a 3rd party solution. It's certainly doable. I just need to find the path that is right for me to go down. Reason? IntelliCenter remote control and programming software (apps, clients, etc) are the WORST. I don't enjoy dealing with it and like others here that are also experiencing the same dissatisfaction with the pentair software/API, another solution looks to be in order. Several users' are taking different paths to arrive at the solution. Control4 is one option that I am exploring.

The newer Control4 OS allows for user's to tweak programming (Crestron is way too proprietary is seems. Only dealers can do that apparently), and apparently Control4 does "talk" Pentair (how well, I don't know yet). And apparently it can also communicate with Lutron, Honeywell, Brilliance, Hydrawise, Atlantic InfoColor and SmartScape lighting. That would be great if I could possibly combine all of my smarthome/automation devices under one umbrella. I would be happy but my wife would be happier (always a plus). ;)

I understand that @mrweber is controlling his IntelliCenter with Control4 but I have not been able to find any feedback on his experiences with it.

Thanks again Rob.
You and yours please stay safe and well.
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Katodude

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Aug 22, 2017
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I am probably missing something but in the this day and age why would anyone want to install either a Crestron or Control4 system. You can do almost everything they do with either Google Home or Alexa at a fraction of the price. The level of automation and the rate of innovation of those two ecosystems will leave those old home automation systems in the dust.

Unless you have cash to burn (and some people do) and want to pay someone to install a fancy wall mount control screen you can do a lot better.
 
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MyAZPool

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I am probably missing something but in the this day and age why would anyone want to install either a Crestron or Control4 system. You can do almost everything they do with either Google Home or Alexa at a fraction of the price. The level of automation and the rate of innovation of those two ecosystems will leave those old home automation systems in the dust.

Unless you have cash to burn (and some people do) and want to pay someone to install a fancy wall mount control screen you can do a lot better.
A,
Thanks... It's not that I'm sold on C4 (yep, I know it's expensive and I certainly don't have money to burn or do I want to :p). But, as of yet, I have not discovered a reasonable UI solution to interface with my IntelliCenter. I don't think that Google Home or certainly Alexa will do want I want, but I will take a look for sure.

Trust me, I have followed with great interest (and amazement) what you, @cmc0619 and others have done with the home brew systems. Impressive but this is a road that I don't really want to go down nor do I possess the skill sets to do so.

I have an outstanding base automation system that provides everything that I want to do with it (except for the current inability to add the actuators to the 485 bus of course). What I don't have (and desire), is a modern, functional and half way decent mobile/desktop remote user interface.

In fact, the UI's that I am currently hand-cuffed to - SUCK. They are no better than something out of the 90's. I would be happy to provide you with a comprehensive list of deficiencies that currently exist with the these IntelliCenter UI's. How much time do you have? lol.... And a couple of the UI's are down and don't even work anymore (Alexa and Apple Watch app). All, that I am looking for is a way to simply talk to my panel (preferably over IP) without discovering that one thing after another does not work when it comes to the IntelliCenter UI's.

I don't want to get into RP's, arduino, etc (although that may be the only reasonable solution when all is said and done). My problem is that although I'm probably smarter than the average bear when it comes to IT, I am NOT, nearly as smart as you and the other home brew folks when it comes to writing code etc.

I'm following (in awe), all of the attempts and projects on Github and other sites as well to interface with IntelliCenter, but I don't posses the talent to do what they are doing. The other problem is there is not one step-by-step instruction on how to do all of this, because if there was, then darn, I'm pretty good at following instructions. If someone could bundle up the interface and code/UI's and provide them to someone like me, I'd be the first in line to purchase.

The one thing that impresses me with Control4 is once you get the hardware (and a simple program written by a dealer), you can hire an off-site programmer to write the LUA code to make the system operate the way you want, if I understand some of this correctly.

In summary, my end-state is to "find a reasonable solution that will provide a functional and comprehensive user-friendly IntelliCenter user interface for my desktop, iOS devices and use an Alexa Skill that will actually function, and so that I am no longer dependent on the Pentair web-servers/API and all of the associated problems and frustrations that it brings" Not too much to ask for right? ;)
Your thoughts are always of interest.
Thanks again and stay safe,
r.
 
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Katodude

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Aug 22, 2017
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R.

First your skills are better than you think.

BTW. On my controller I have not written a single line of code. It has been mainly an integration project assembling some hardware and cutting and pasting other people IP together. Do an experiment for me. But a Raspberry Pi with a power supply and an micro SD card and an RS-485 adaptor. We can talk you through loading the OS and NodeRed. Then we can show you how to do some simple things and you can decide how far you want to take it. Your risk is about $50. Lets see how far we can take you before you really go down the rabbit hole. Eventually you can have the Pi be the web server front end to your Intellicenter. Or we will find something else to do with it.

Now the real issue. I use Alexa, because it is more mature, cheap and very easy to work with and has the most integrations. But Google home is a good platform too. What this gives you is an integration point between many different systems that has and app and is voice integrated. You can easily build macros to tie all the different home systems together and do the stuff you want very inexpensively. Again I did this all without any coding. The incremental cost for doing that is $0 since I already had Alexa.

For example. I can say “Alexa get busy”. It will turn on the spa/heater/etc., dim my Insteon deck lights to 25%, turn off my Insteon spot lights, turn on the pool lights, turn on the homegrown coping lights that I installed, and play “lets get it on“ on my Sonos in my backyard. Ok, you can stop rolling your eyes now and judging me now, I get enough of that from the wife. All that took me about 10 minutes to set up and it is operating 4 completely different systems.
 

MyAZPool

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Jul 3, 2018
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R.

First your skills are better than you think.

BTW. On my controller I have not written a single line of code. It has been mainly an integration project assembling some hardware and cutting and pasting other people IP together. Do an experiment for me. But a Raspberry Pi with a power supply and an micro SD card and an RS-485 adaptor. We can talk you through loading the OS and NodeRed. Then we can show you how to do some simple things and you can decide how far you want to take it. Your risk is about $50. Lets see how far we can take you before you really go down the rabbit hole. Eventually you can have the Pi be the web server front end to your Intellicenter. Or we will find something else to do with it.

Now the real issue. I use Alexa, because it is more mature, cheap and very easy to work with and has the most integrations. But Google home is a good platform too. What this gives you is an integration point between many different systems that has and app and is voice integrated. You can easily build macros to tie all the different home systems together and do the stuff you want very inexpensively. Again I did this all without any coding. The incremental cost for doing that is $0 since I already had Alexa.

For example. I can say “Alexa get busy”. It will turn on the spa/heater/etc., dim my Insteon deck lights to 25%, turn off my Insteon spot lights, turn on the pool lights, turn on the homegrown coping lights that I installed, and play “lets get it on“ on my Sonos in my backyard. Ok, you can stop rolling your eyes now and judging me now, I get enough of that from the wife. All that took me about 10 minutes to set up and it is operating 4 completely different systems.
A,
Thank you very much but you might be giving me too much credit LOL.... Because, yes if I move in the direction that you are suggesting, I will probably need some "hand-holding" initially. I'm trying to sort a lot of this out in my mind.

1. Now, I do have a Synology DiskStation that I can load the Synology WebStation app and then Apache on if I wanted to keep a "local" Web-Client option right? I have downloaded ALL of the API from my web account on the Pentair web servers (can't make much sense of it all, I think it is REST API). I just don't know if this option is doable, especially given my limited skills in this area.

2. So, given your suggestion, do I mount the RP in the back of the low voltage compartment of the load center? Then do I run a second cat-5 out to the panel to connect to the RP? I can do that. Plenty of room in that conduit. How do I address the RP? I assume it will have an IP address and/or MAC. What about the USB?

3. Can you possibly look this over (or maybe you have already seen it) and give me your thoughts.
Anyway, I'll stop there. I think I might be getting a bit ahead of myself. I will say though, that it does appear that many who are trying similar things are using the RP. Looks to be the first step and like you said, not a very big investment. First, just need to figure out where to put it. Next to my desktop or out at the panel. One issue, is if I put it in my office next to my desktop, I now have to run those RS-485 conductors out to the panel versus putting it in the panel and running a cat-5. What about the USB? Guess, I could use an ether to USB adapter????

Thoughts?
Thanks A. I really appreciate the guidance. I know you are working on your own project and have bigger fish to fry, so I appreciate it.
r.
 

MyAZPool

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Found this cache of information while researching NodeRed.
Love the looks of the interface!!
 
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MyAZPool

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Come to the dark side... We have cookies! And Barry White and Marvin Gaye too apparently...
So Cliff,
Not sure that what I have got done so far will actually qualify for the cookies, but I think I'm getting there. I have managed to "stumble" my way over to the "darkside" ? I believe. Thanks to your encouragement and a lot of "off air" assistance and encouragement from @Katodude. Unfortunately, I'll have to forget about the Barry White and Marvin Gaye though. I've been advised to find some "new cheesy macros and playlists". :p

I must say that I have learned quite a bit in the last week, but I'm certainly pretty green when it comes to the pi, linux, Node-RED, nodejs-poolController etc. I got a LOT to learn.

Once I determined that I wanted the pi in my office (at least this one anyway... lol), I ordered up the pi and a few peripherals and accessories (I don't think I spent $200.00 even and I have a dedicated monitor that was more than the pi) lol...

Then it was time to figure out how to communicate to the IntelliCenter RS485 bus.

I decided to pull two additional Cat-5e's from the panel to the house in the existing ether conduit (for a total of three Cat 5's now)... Two are connected to the LAN and the last one is used for the RS-485 data using two ether-RS485 adapters and a RS-485 to USB adapter at the pi.

I had a lot of growing pains in the beginning (I think Katodude is still laughing at my initial method of loading the MicroSD card in the pi). :eek:

Having an issue installing the Node-RED dashboard but that is for another day.

I'll just post some photos as indicators of where I stand at this point (again, with a lot of help from @Katodude).. Thanks A!

It's rough right now, but the most important part is that I am communicating to the IntelliCenter bus from the pi (Thanks again @Katodude)...

IMG_5817.JPG IMG_5821.JPG IMG_5822.JPG

IMG_5814.JPG 2020-05-18_21-00-44.jpg

2020-05-18_21-03-17.jpg
2020-05-18_21-05-53.jpg

What do you think? Cookie qualification yet? :p
Thanks...
r.
 
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