IntelliCenter Home Automation Integration and Control

cmc0619

Gold Supporter
May 2, 2018
132
Cherry Hill, NJ
Look at all that easily accesible DATA! That's a beautiful thing! I'd say you get the cookies! And kudos to @Katodude for lending a helping hand! Does the node-red flow work and toggle the pump? It was something I quickly whipped up so wasn't sure if it'd need some tweaks

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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,419
Arizona
Hi All,
So, in the quest to find alternatives to the Pentair Web Client and their mobile apps, I decided (with a little nudging from the “Dark Side”), to try my hand at the “Pool Controller (nodejs-poolControler 6.0) Dash Panel option being developed by those super smart folks on GitHub. But I knew I would need some help from the Dark Side crew here as I don't know squat about debian/unix/Linux, Node-RED, etc. And I got that help in a big way and what I got was a lot more than just cookies and Barry White as evidenced below.

Once I got the Raspberry PI and its connections to the IntelliCenter RS-485 bus squared away (for details on that, see post #100 of this thread referenced below).
There was some initial growing pains. At first, Pool Controller 6.0 was not quite ready for “Prime Time”, so we messed around with v5.3. But before long, we made the jump to 6.0. There was some initial “hiccups” but the "Dark Side" were certainly true to their word and kept with it, all the while keeping me on target. @cmc0619 worked on my behalf, with the main developer "rstrouse", who has been awesome.

On Saturday, major breakthrough and the Pool Controller 6.0 Dash Panel was up and operational as well as the Pool Controller web client (the aesthetics of the Dash Panel are more user friendly I think than the nodejs-poolController web client option).

I certainly found the Pool Controller dash panel (even in its infancy), far more user friendly than the clunky Pentair web client and without many of the errors that Pentair has introduced into their current UIs. Keep in mind that the dash panel or the Pool Controller web client do NOT rely on any distant servers and all of those associated restrictions and problems. You just need your LAN.

I have went through the dash panel and found just a couple of discrepancies which are being worked on presently (again, many thanks to rstrouse on GitHub!)

I have no doubt that this is just the beginning and more advanced graphics can and will be incorporated in the design of the Pool Controller to make this a far superior user interface (UI), compared to anything that Pentair can (or will) design.

Also, many many thanks to @cmc0619 and @Katodude for all of their fantastic support and assistance (and initial nudging ;) ) in this endeavor. (y)(y) (y)


Here are some screenshots of my new toy. Looks awesome on my iPad as well. The iPhone app still needs some "cascading style sheet" work so it can fit on the screen properly but I'm sure that is in the works. Also, the Settings > Chemistry, Heaters and Remotes pages are still "in work".

2020-07-01_20-20-45.jpg

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r.
 
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Pprior

Gold Supporter
Feb 14, 2018
48
Englewood, FL
I'm so excited that once I get some other projects done I can start in on this one! Looks so good. I hate the delay that happens each time I start up the pentair app and really want an Ipad on the wall with pool control available all the time. Really appreciate you all who have this level of technical ability, I'm envious.
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,419
Arizona
I'm so excited that once I get some other projects done I can start in on this one! Looks so good. I hate the delay that happens each time I start up the pentair app and really want an Ipad on the wall with pool control available all the time. Really appreciate you all who have this level of technical ability, I'm envious.
Pprior
First of all, let me say this. When it comes to the actual "nuts & bolts" of making these alternative User Interfaces (UI), to either the IntelliCenter or ScreeLogic actually work or the designing of them, I am certainly not one of those with this "high level of technical ability" that you refer to. Those are those TFP members that I mentioned above and the ones over at GitHub.

My contribution to all of this, was pretty much just the motivation, drive (and maybe a small amount of the necesary skill sets lol), to find an alternative UI to the IntelliCenter due to the fact that the solution that Pentair offers has left so much to be desired. Especially now. And allowing my system to function in "guinea pig" mode while we tried different solutions. I'm happy I did!

The IntelliCenter Pool Controller Dash Panel is certainly a step forward for me (especially considering that it is only about 90% complete at the moment). And I'm confident that it will become much more refined in the future.

Just to give you an example of an iPad appearance, here is what the IntelliCenter Dash Panel appears like on my iPad.

2020-06-26_11-05-28.jpg

And if you so choose this type of alternative UI for your system and you add a raspberry pi to the mix, you might consider adding a small pi monitor (it doesn't have to be small though :p). This little $80.00 5"x7" monitor sits on my desk in my office and I now have a user interface that displays my Pool Controller Dash Panel 24x7, regardless of Pentair server or internet connectivity.

I see no reason why one of these cheap little monitors couldn't be mounted outside on the patio near the spa/pool. It could be mounted in a nice looking case/bezel and the only real challenge is either wiring it directly to the RP or use a WiFi device to get the video signal to the monitor. I guess it should be mounted close to power as well.

IMG_5921.JPG

As the ole saying goes, when there is "a will"......
Good luck on your future project. (y) Much of the info that you will need to get started is right here on TFP.
r.
 
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guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
289
California
I'm so excited that once I get some other projects done I can start in on this one! Looks so good. I hate the delay that happens each time I start up the pentair app and really want an Ipad on the wall with pool control available all the time. Really appreciate you all who have this level of technical ability, I'm envious.
There's another controller on GitHub that I've been working on which you could take a look at. While it's not as sophisticated as nodejs-poolController it might work for you depending on your needs.

Dash.png
 

justinrowan

Member
Apr 26, 2020
18
Arkansas
My build starts in a couple of weeks and I'm ordering my IntelliCenter kit today from PolyTec. I'm a software dev by day and enjoy hardware hacking and RE in my spare time, so this thread kind of thing is right up my alley. I haven't made it through the thread entirely yet, but I will soon!
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
289
California
Welcome! A lot of folks are looking at alternatives to the Pentair supplied software for various reasons and a couple of options are available to you. The simplest is IntelliCenter Gateway which uses the Telnet protocol that the Intellicenter has built-in and can be accessed over Ethernet (or WiFi). The more sophisticated is nodejs-poolController that uses the RS485 protocol for communication and needs a serial (or USB) hardwired connection to the panel.
 

justinrowan

Member
Apr 26, 2020
18
Arkansas
Welcome! A lot of folks are looking at alternatives to the Pentair supplied software for various reasons and a couple of options are available to you. The simplest is IntelliCenter Gateway which uses the Telnet protocol that the Intellicenter has built-in and can be accessed over Ethernet (or WiFi). The more sophisticated is nodejs-poolController that uses the RS485 protocol for communication and needs a serial (or USB) hardwired connection to the panel.
Awesome, thanks for the quick summary! Hopefully once I get my build done I can start contributing to the project!
 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,419
Arizona
My build starts in a couple of weeks and I'm ordering my IntelliCenter kit today from PolyTec. I'm a software dev by day and enjoy hardware hacking and RE in my spare time, so this thread kind of thing is right up my alley. I haven't made it through the thread entirely yet, but I will soon!
justinrowan
Outstanding!... It will be nice to have you on board and participating. "The more the merrier". Especially with the skill sets you possess! (y)
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding IntelliCenter, user interfaces or anything related.

Also, once you get your build completed and and your automation is up and running, I have some ideas to build on and refine the nodejs-poolController Dash Panel if you become interested in that option. Any chance that you might have any experience with GrafanaOSS or similar?

One recommendation that you may consider during your build. Recommend that you run a 3/4" conduit (low voltage), from your house out to the pad which will feed into the low voltage raceway of the IntelliCenter Load Center. That will give you connectivity "options" for future user-interface decisions.

Welcome!!
r.
 

justinrowan

Member
Apr 26, 2020
18
Arkansas
justinrowan
Outstanding!... It will be nice to have you on board and participating. "The more the merrier". Especially with the skill sets you possess! (y)
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding IntelliCenter, user interfaces or anything related.

Also, once you get your build completed and and your automation is up and running, I have some ideas to build on and refine the nodejs-poolController Dash Panel if you become interested in that option. Any chance that you might have any experience with GrafanaOSS or similar?

One recommendation that you may consider during your build. Recommend that you run a 3/4" conduit (low voltage), from your house out to the pad which will feed into the low voltage raceway of the IntelliCenter Load Center. That will give you connectivity "options" for future user-interface decisions.

Welcome!!
r.
Thanks for the warm welcome! I have a little experience with both Grafana+InfluxDB, as well as a little bit of Chronograf with the TICK stack for systems monitoring. That project was short-lived and we moved our systems monitoring to Zenoss and Splunk. I was already planning on running conduit for a cat5 pull to the pad. :)
I do have a somewhat unrelated question that I can't seem to find a straight answer to, I'll shoot you a PM since you offered. :)
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,419
Arizona
Thanks for the warm welcome! I have a little experience with both Grafana+InfluxDB, as well as a little bit of Chronograf with the TICK stack for systems monitoring. That project was short-lived and we moved our systems monitoring to Zenoss and Splunk. I was already planning on running conduit for a cat5 pull to the pad. :)
I do have a somewhat unrelated question that I can't seem to find a straight answer to, I'll shoot you a PM since you offered. :)
Perfect!!!
Yes, I'm so glad that I layed in a 3/4 conduit low voltage conduit. I now have 3 cat-5e's running out to the pad lol... Two are LAN cables (1 spare). The other is how my RP communicates to the IntelliCenter bus using two ether-serial adapters on each end.
More on that here:
In addition to the nodejs-poolController link that @guinness provided you with above, here are a couple of other links for you to peruse regarding the nodejs-poolController:
r.
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
289
California
Yes, I'm so glad that I layed in a 3/4 conduit low voltage conduit. I now have 3 cat-5e's running out to the pad lol... Two are LAN cables (1 spare). The other is how my RP communicates to the IntelliCenter bus using two ether-serial adapters on each end.
I know we discussed this last year, did you end up using surge protectors to protect against nearby lightning ground strikes? I think you can also mitigate that by having the conduit buried 18" deep, so something to consider for new builds.

 

MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,419
Arizona
I know we discussed this last year, did you end up using surge protectors to protect against nearby lightning ground strikes? I think you can also mitigate that by having the conduit buried 18" deep, so something to consider for new builds.

That is exactly what I am using. And I'm hoping that it might prevent what happened to @Jimrahbe. That would ruin my whole day.
I've never heard that by having my conduit buried at 18", that it would prevent such an occurance. Yes, all of my conduit is buried that deep. But I really don't see why that would matter if I take a hit at the panel, why the depth of the conduit would prevent that surge from making it's way through the cable, through the associated patch panels and on to my router and who knows what else. If so, then I've got double possible insurance lol...

For my serial through ether connection from my IntelliCenter to my RP, I took an extra step and used shielded cat 5, shielded keystone, shielded RJ-45's, so I can take advantage of the serial connection "common". Yea, probably overkill, but that's always my downfall and just the way I roll. ;) Cheap insurance lol...
Thanks...
r.
 
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guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
289
California
Good to have insurance, especially when it's cheap :) Yes for a direct strike the depth of the conduit has no effect.

 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,419
Arizona
Very happy to report that the node.js PoolController IntelliCenter Dash Panel is ready for "prime time". Thanks to the TFP members mentioned above who got me started down this path. And certainly to the ones at GitHub who have been and who continue to be tremendous help to me on this project.

Now don't flame me too bad regarding the video, this is my first attempt at a video project like this. :p I need some better video editing tools to refine these efforts!
In this video, I was using Google Chrome for the browser.

r.
 
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MyAZPool

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
1,419
Arizona
Great work, now you just need a little amazon fire tablet 7 that you can mount somewhere and you have a cool little touch interface to run all your toys.
Next step, Alexa integration.
A.,
I'm with ya... I'm running the dashpanel on my 10.2 iPad, so about the same. It really looks great on the iPad. And this way, it's a bit more mobile. One of the issues, is the dashpanel is not currently optimized for a smart phone. Can't fit the whole dashpanel screen on the phone screen. I'm sure one of you IT super smart guys will come along and "find a way" lol... Cascading Style Sheet issue possibly?
Agreed... Alexa integration would be great. It'll be just another nail in the coffin for the clunky and ineffective Pentair UI's.

I'm game for "guinea pig' status if someone has some ideas on how to make the two play nice with one another and needs a "test bed" to try it out on. :poke:
Thanks...
r.