Long time no see...

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V_J
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Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:31 am

Hello!

Just popping back in... I frequented the forum some time ago, and still have a Eventghost config happily running in the background. It mainly served as a translator to between both my Logitech Music Server (xAP plugin) and my serial port connected amplifier (modified Marantz Serial plugin) and my Loxone home automation server. I was abroad for some time, but now I'm back home and getting back to improving the configuration. I learned quite a bit more on the Loxone, and feel that moving to Eventghost 0.5 is reason enough to start from scratch.

On my todo-list: use xAP to communicate data from Logitech Music Server to Loxone (related to what is playing and to control of playback), send actions to and receive events from Marantz (and relay them to Loxone), control programs such as MPC, etc... Plenty of things... :)

I'll be checking out some things, as there are some interesting changes. Nice to see some of the old faces are still around. Hope everyone is ok!


Jörg

V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:33 am

Just to add to this (to avoid posting all over the place). My previous concept was the following:
devices/programs:
  • Loxone automation server
  • Logitech Squeezebox players
  • Marantz AV receiver
  • media software on pc (nextpvr, mpc)
The Loxone provides me with an app on the phone (where I can control lights, etc).
Eventghost was used
  1. to send command to Marantz (modifed old Marantz plugin, only sending)
  2. to send titles/artist of now playing (taken using the xAP plugin) to Loxone (via http input, as Loxone does not support string input from udp, although there now is a workaround)
  3. control of software through http requests from Loxone
I want to remake the entire Eventghost structure to bring it up to date with v0.5 and new functionalities. As the virtual http inputs in Loxone are quite messy, I would prefer xAP for all (it works great for the squeezebox) players. This means:
  • Logitech Squeezebox players (xAP control)
  • Pass bi-directional communciation between Loxone and Marantz (new Marantz Plugin + xAP + maybe http inputs)
  • media software on pc (nextpvr, mpc), pass data/control via xAP rather than virtual http inputs
Currently, I can manage bidirectional communication with the Marantz (barring further adaptation of the plugin, but I know I will manage this), receiving the xAP data (also from Loxone).

Main hurdle now is sending the xAP (from eventghost).

Hope this helps someone who sees some of my posts everywhere on the forum. :)

V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:49 pm

Maybe a better overview:
  1. Logitech Squeezebox -> Eventghost: xAP plugin (works)
  2. Logitech Squeezebox <- Eventghost: tcp plugin ok, need to check xAP
  3. AV Receiver -> Eventghost: new Marantz plugin works (need to add commands relevant for my device)
  4. AV Receiver <- Eventghost: (same as above)
  5. Loxone automation server -> Eventghost: tcp works, would like xAP for more structured communication
  6. Loxone automation server <- Eventghost: xAP (works)
  7. software control: depends on app
Many things to do... but conceptually I'm almost there. It takes quite some planning, as I need to take into account what is easy (and flexible) on which platform, with the Loxone somewhat defining most things (I cannot replace that one, and figured out that it is very cumbersome for maintaining http outputs and inputs)

Sem;colon
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by Sem;colon » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:20 pm

Hello Jörg,

Im curious; what functionality, besides the app control, is the Loxone server providing you in your setup?
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V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:13 pm

Hello!

I have quite a basic home automation system based on KNX: wall switches and wall thermostats are KNX based and communicate with relays in the central fuseboard. For the KNX thermostats (Gira Pushbuttonsensor 3), I needed a device that sends a clock signal (at least once every 48 hours), and this simple device is so ridiculously expensive that it actually paid off for me to get the Loxone Miniserver as it was cheaper and could do it (I have version 1, which has onboard KNX - unlike the new one where this is via an optional module).

The Loxone miniserver has a number of input/outputs, but I am not using them (and as I'm not an electrician, I'm not going to wire stuff in my fusebox - I may have some other circuits wired in in time, but nothing urgent). Its basic functionality is to provide the clock signal to the KNX bus. But in addition to that, it has quite a nice possibility of giving me app (and web based) control of lights and thermostats. The Loxone system is somewhat open, meaning the standard module can communicate via udp (in/out), tcp (out) and http-posts (in) and many others (but those require optional modules). The software to make an interface on the app is somewhat limited but perhaps as a result it gives quite a usable thing, with control blocks for media and many other things. The interface groups the items automatically based on rules you set (all blocks get a room, a category and a star rating; the system will determine where each control element goes). So I'm basically using that app as general mediaremote, by having the Loxone communicate with Eventghost.

In my previous iteration, I had it control lights (through knx), music (squeezebox via tcp), my amplifier (via eventghost/serial port), Kodi and MPC. It also showed me various status as much as I could. But it was very messy from the Loxone side, as I used a lot of what they call virtual text inputs, and they are quite difficult to deal with. I also was missing some functionality and my eventghost tree just got too big to work with (to many events/actions in weird combinations) due to how I had to cope with the Loxone. At the time, I was trying more to make a json-based webinterface using Eventghost, but in the end that required too many different new things for me and I sort of messed it all up and the funcionality in the Loxone app stayed rather simple. Then when going abroad for 2 years, I left it all as it was and noticed now how hard it is to maintain it: I made that several years ago, since then I learned a lot about the Loxone programming, and new functionality was added. So now I feel I should do it all from scratch, trying not to make the mistakes of the past (where e.g. I decoded some things both in Eventghost and in the Loxone could as I could not communicate it well).

Hope this helps... Feel free to ask more about it!
I'm not as big a fan of Loxone as I used to be, but it still seems one of the more open home automation systems, even though they got more expensive and try to push their own modules more. This is noticeable in the configuration interface, where quite powerful blocks (which give functionality and user interface elements) are tied to their components and more difficult to integrate (if at all possible). But I just got it with low expectation on that side, it was just a cheap clock-signal sender for me when I bought it :).

Jörg

Sem;colon
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by Sem;colon » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:18 pm

Hehe, I see, fair enough :)

I can understand you're using the Loxone also for input, as it's in your setup anyway, but just in case it's not flexible enough for you (as you really try to bring a lot into an interface that's not designed for it) there is meanwhile a customizable, multimedia focused, webinterface for EventGhost with a nice set of (bonus) features: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10442
And yes, as its programmer I can confirm; it was a pain in the a** to create it, but it's there now, it's very powerful and working quite well.
So, when you're starting from scratch anyway, it may be worth checking it out first :wink:

If you have any question about it's functionality or you need some help setting it up, I'd be glad to assist!
(There is a learning curve with it. The configuration is not so self explanatory at first, but once you understood it, it's quite easy)
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V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:44 am

Your O-Mega is one of the first things I noticed when coming back to EventGhost. :D It looks amazing.

About the loxone: it is not so much that I'm forcing things, they have building blocks for various UI things (buttons, switches, radio buttons, +/- value selectors, full blown media remotes which resemble a TV remote), but I started on the wrong foot regarding the communication. There are some issues, particularly with the binding of my knx thermostats with the loxone thermostat ui elements (they are more intended to be in control of the steering, which is not my situation so I resigned from it, and use basic other blocks to get the funcionality :)) and it is rather rigid as you cannot freely position items in the UI. But on the other hand, it does a nice job on different screen sizes and takes care of some graphic aspects which I could not.
Benefit of the Loxone is that I do not need a computer running, and my first idea was to take EventGhost out of the equation. I could manage for lights, thermostats and music playback and control, but needed something to convert my rs232 amplifier to some network protocol (and when music is playing, the pc has to be on as a server). This brought me back to Eventghost, and made me realize that some things that are difficult to achieve in Loxone could be easier this way. I just should not make the mistake of last time, where I pointless duplicated functionality too much in both systems.

So my current way of thinking is to keep the Loxone as the central point, and use EventGhost in the first place as a protocol-converter. First thing would be the amplifier (rs232 protocol) and music data (Loxone is not good at reading strings from udp, so information such as title/artist of what is now playing is better via a virtual http text input). I already did both things in my previous egtree, but now I want to use updated plugins (bidirectional communication with amplifier) and less duplication of stuff. Next will most likely be software control, but I still have to finally decide on my media playback software (not a big fan of Kodi, I keep trying it and keep resigning from it :)... but it is so commonly used an rather easily integrated... I also keep trying mediaportal but somehow also dont' stick with it)... first things first... that will probably take me a couple of weeks still. :)

Sem;colon
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by Sem;colon » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:17 pm

Hehe, it is 8)
V_J wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:44 am
t is not so much that I'm forcing things, they have building blocks for various UI things (buttons, switches, radio buttons, +/- value selectors, full blown media remotes which resemble a TV remote), but I started on the wrong foot regarding the communication. There are some issues, particularly with the binding of my knx thermostats with the loxone thermostat ui elements (they are more intended to be in control of the steering, which is not my situation so I resigned from it, and use basic other blocks to get the funcionality :)) and it is rather rigid as you cannot freely position items in the UI.
Dunno, but sounds pretty limited to me :)
I'm sure there are systems that are much more closed up though.

I can understand if you like to stay with the Loxone as control interface, but when your PC is running always anyways, hosting your interface there may not be so bad; think about it, you'd be able to automate things much more easily, especially when you get some different devices in the future that the Loxone server doesn't support. Otherwise you will always need to send data back and forth between Eventghost (or a different gateway) and Loxone.

Well, the offer is there :wink:

As for Kodi, I'm also using it. In my experience as long as you stick to the default set of features, things work quite well, but when that's not enough and you use plugins, things get messy.. they improved, but still not perfect with that
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V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:13 pm

Sem;colon wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:17 pm
Dunno, but sounds pretty limited to me :)
I'm sure there are systems that are much more closed up though.
Well, it has its limitations (no argument there), but to pass commands to my lightswitches or thermostats, I have to go via KNX and the only route is via to Loxone as that is the IP-KNX gateway. But just doing those basics immediately gave me the UI as well.

My computer is normally not running, only when it is needed for media playback. I know that last time I got stuck in trying to do too much (once you get started with EventGhost, and you see all the options, it is easy to get overly ambitious :)) and I blocked myself with the web-interface (the plugin was called Tornado back then, I believe that was the first EventGhost plugin which offered a json based website?) on EventGhost on one hand and the thermostats on the loxone on the other hand. And poor planning on my side made my egtree a huge mess, with 7 plugins of which 4 are obsolete (but to be honest: I did not follow it up well enough, they can probably be found still).

So I plan to go about it much more structured. I'm for sure not ruling out O-Mega, but not as a first step. First steps are the communication protocols: what can communicate and how. My first idea was to use a combination of the Serial plugin with Broadcast to just forward all commands from the amplifier and decode them on the Loxone (I tried other tools for that, but ran into different issues). And this would work (if I can get variable data into the Broadcaster action)... I would still need EventGhost to move string data from my music players to Loxones (easy to do, have done this). This would be the approach that minimizes EventsGhost's involvement.

But then I do not have any information decoded in Eventghost. Not sure if I need it, but now I'm rather inclined to use the new Marantz-plugin (instead of Serial): it can decode and also forward a command. But I need to finish some things: I have all the pieces I need for controlling music playback and am very close to getting the amplifier communication (conceptual). Once I have those concepts, I will get to implementing: already working on the marantz plugin to add my amplifier's commands and on the Loxone stuff to add the media players. So much to do... :)

Sem;colon
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by Sem;colon » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:12 pm

Redesigning the HA environment is quite an undertaking indeed, I also had to do that some times :mrgreen:

I still remember, I started with HA 10 years ago with an X10 remote and Eventghost.. but one simple remote wasn't enough, so I turned it into an universal remote by pressing a button first that would indicate a mode, so I can use the rest of the buttons multiple times, depending on which mode I am in. That went on and on until I really needed to press sequences of 4 buttons in a row to get to the desired action - it was working, but I had to write myself a manual with which button combination leads to which action as I honestly couldn't remember them :lol:
Well, that made me realize that a conventional remote is not enough, so the O-MEGA project was born to finally create an interface flexible enough for all these features.
But my HA experiences and requirements were rising and control soon wasn't enough anymore, I wanted things to happen automatically, based on conditions (for example, when I lay down in bed and the big light in the room is on, turn it off and turn on the reading light instead etc.), and I wanted to track that in the interface. Playing song title and stuff like that as well of course. Things should also get more intuitive and solid, like when I turn on my TV, I wanted to see that in the interface and trigger things like turning on the AV receiver automatically - no matter if the TV has been turned on by a remote, via the webinterface or on the device directly, it should just work. And the same the other way round of course.
All these things found it's way into the O-MEGA project.

Anyways, Good luck Jörg! I hope it'll all work out as planned :wink:
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V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:31 am

I know the mess with remotes... and at the same time I'm not a fan of app-controlled things either. Somehow now everything has to be app controlled, because that is "smart" :? . It is not, it is just a more convoluted way of controlling things. If I want to switch on the lights for example using the Loxone app, I have to first unlock the phone, go to the app (which may mean closing another one, esp. if everything is app controlled), select the room/category (unless it is one of the favourites on the first page) and then there I have controls. One the wall it is just a single button for each light. So it is pointless for basic control, unless the actions are very quickly accessible.
However, it is not when you start integrating things: your examples of the lights are good ones.
Basic control however should still be straight forward, and I much more prefer a dedicated control device over an app - I have an older phone that I can actually dedicate as remote, so that is my current train of thought. I initially thought of getting an IR remote and using my squeezeboxes are receivers, but then the remote would be counterintuitive (lacking labels, ...) for many functions. I recently came across YIO remote: https://www.yio-remote.com/ , started out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marton/yio-remote
It is an open source raspberry zero based remote control, it looks amazing... The designs are available, but I have no idea how to make it. But as an idea it is interesting: raspberry pi zero, battery, display.
So my plan is first to get thing to communicate in a maintainable way (unlike last time...). I know that getting everything to Loxone first may seem somewhat convoluted, but I think it will help to determine what I need and how I want things to communicate. This is something that I spent too little time planning last time, trying to do too many things at once. Once that works (and it are basically 2 components: Eventghost and Loxone), I can add some smart logic, and then I would think of adding a more user friendly interface.

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Re: Long time no see...

Post by Sem;colon » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:57 am

V_J wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:31 am
Somehow now everything has to be app controlled, because that is "smart" :? . It is not, it is just a more convoluted way of controlling things. If I want to switch on the lights for example using the Loxone app, I have to first unlock the phone, go to the app (which may mean closing another one, esp. if everything is app controlled), select the room/category (unless it is one of the favourites on the first page) and then there I have controls. One the wall it is just a single button for each light. So it is pointless for basic control, unless the actions are very quickly accessible.
However, it is not when you start integrating things: your examples of the lights are good ones.
Basic control however should still be straight forward, and I much more prefer a dedicated control device over an app - I have an older phone that I can actually dedicate as remote, so that is my current train of thought.
I totally agree, the whole app thing is not so convenient as it appears to be on the first look. Well, there is the advantage that you are usually carrying your phone with you, so when you're too lazy to get off the sofa to push a button or grab some other remote, it does the trick. :wink:
I'm doing something similar with an old tablet in my livingroom. I set the display to be always active and have the browser pointed to the webinterface. Makes a nice touch console where you can get to you actions with one to two clicks - works great!
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V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:44 am

I have this htpc with a 7"touchscreen, which has it benefits (particularly as the computer is only connected to a projector) if something small has to be done that cannot be done over remote desktop, but if I would do it again I would probably not get the display in the case, but a nice raspberry-pi type touchscreen (there are some that look like a photo-frame) and a kvm extender to have the screen next to me (I have 2 cat6 cables already going from where that computer is to the seating area). The cost would probably be similar.

Thanks for your reply on my feature suggestion for variable content: I can tick off another box of functionality I would need.

Getting closer: this already fixed communication from EventGhost to Loxone, as in the Loxone a single udp input with multiple pattern recognizers for different interpretations is much easier to maintain than multiple http inputs. If it could be in xAP, it would even facilitate it further (as then I don't have to figure out some struturing in the packet)

It is "mean" of you to post photos of O-Mega: it looks so good that you are tempting me to give it priority. :D But I really need the technical underpinnings to work properly. I failed to plan it well first time round and left an unmaintainable mess, while getting stuck in html/json. But I think I conceptually have all the pieces of the puzzle, now trying it on a smaller scale first (some commands, ... to see how well it works and how easily it scales up and can be modified if necessary). But still busy with so many things that it goes slower than I would want: I'd love to play with it full time for severl days but just cannot.

Sem;colon
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by Sem;colon » Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:27 pm

V_J wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:44 am
It is "mean" of you to post photos of O-Mega: it looks so good that you are tempting me to give it priority. :D
Haha, sorry mate :D
I just wanted to show you that you don't need to "reinvent the bicycle" on some things ;)
And thank you :)
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V_J
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Re: Long time no see...

Post by V_J » Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:36 pm

I'm still making the wheels and pedals... :lol:

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