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Thread: Reflex & Cortex & buttons

  1. #1
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    Default Reflex & Cortex & buttons

    wondered if people ever find time-lags when pushing buttons is ever an issue - enough to get people / SWMBO impatient / confused / annoyed - eg: when using module buttons or push-buttons spurred from modules to switch or dim lights ?

    and if it's possible to have some buttons (on/from a module) working via Cortex (& reverting to Reflex) and some working via Reflex always, or via Reflex on one push, Cortex on two ??

    (just thinking about options - control strategies for plumbing & heating systems, and lighting)
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 11th April 2009 at 05:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Under normal circumstances time lags should be imperceptible even for large systems. There are factors that might affect timing in terms of what Cortex might be doing at a particular time but even so processes in Cortex are multi threaded and prioritisation of event handling is also implemented.

    Yes it is physically possible to have a module running Reflexes at the same time as it is under Cortex control, or alternatively have a module running Reflexes but not under Cortex control. However the problem with trying to do this for anything other than specialist functions is that you can end up with conflicts of interest and loss of 'integration'.

    For readers new to the IDRATEK concept: It is so important to understand and yet so poorly understood (because we're probably bad at putting it across ) that the whole Cortex idea is about integrated automation and not just a matter of pressing a button and a light goes on. For example it would be trivial for a Reflex to get a button to toggle a light but really that is not what happens with Cortex. What actually happens is the button is pressed and then Cortex analyses the present context for that button and a whole range of conditions relating to that light such that even after the light is, say, toggled that is not the end of the story - Cortex then has to keep a mental picture of the context of the new light state in relation to all these conditions e.g. should it keep the light in the new state when the person has left the room? Should it do something automatic with it if the light level changes and so on. This as well as consequential actions such as perhaps turning an indicator LED on/off, announcing an action if such a requirement was programmed, updating a web server, and so on and so on.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    great, thanks ...

    thinking through / specifying our heating & plumbing, power & lighting systems at the moment, and it's clear a good HA system would open-up a good many possibilities for improving effectiveness & efficiency, if safe & workable fall-back arrangements can be devised with ability to refine in the light of experience (*) - lots of sensors (analogue & digital / switches & pulse), but also some buttons for manual intervention (as when testing or isolating parts & zones to allow maintenance & repair, changing priorities & settings) with some of which lags might have been an issue ...


    (*) all good Cortex & Reflex territory, of course !

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    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    You should plan your implementation so that servicing and maintenance does not use networked relays for removing power ... you need to have a manual cut-out for that (even for changing light bulbs in theory).

    I have made some suggestions on boiler related servicing functions, where sometimes you need direct overrides that are not currently provided due to the high level of integration of the HVAC functions, so hopefully we'll see those appear at some future date.

    As for lags, in my experience they have been a sign that something is not working, the two issues I recall were a PC that was rebooting (very quickly) due to a bad memory stick and a bad NTP server.
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  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    thanks ...

    one of the things I'm trying to decide on is whether to have an immersion-heater controller slaved to the HA system or not (if the HA goes down, it could carry-on on its own), or whether to do it all via Cortex with just Reflex for fall-back ...

    there'll be several 'heaters, so currents will be high (need to sequence to avoid undue surges), in several locations (so switching has to be also according to demand - UFH, DHW, etc) ...

    ditto solar & water supply controllers ...

    as with the lights, my feeling is to go for Cortex + Reflex (& modules) alone, with no traditional fallback - so no light-switches, no other controllers, etc ...

    but, do I have the courage to do it ?? (!)
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 14th April 2009 at 03:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    It is usually possible to add conventional switches, either in parallel or via a changeover switch depending on the circuit, so you can at least have a manual override.

    I preserved my existing heating thermostat and have a changeover switch to select between Idratek and old-fashioned.

    So perhaps you could have a very simplistic single zone old-fashioned control as the ultimate fallback without ending up with duplicated controllers and thermostats everywhere...
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  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    good thinking ... we're not having any thermostats, sensing return temperatures instead but, as you say, maybe we should have one & connect it across the pumps, set it low like a frost-'stat, and turn it up by hand if ever we need to ...

    of course, the other aspect is having something to go on with, ahead of doing all the Cortex & Reflex settings !

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