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Thread: RTX-401 IDRANet Radio TX module for use with HomeEasy wireless products

  1. #1
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Default RTX-401 IDRANet Radio TX module for use with HomeEasy wireless products

    As Paul was quick to notice Cortex 26.8.1 now provides support for the new RTX-401 module. This is a single pattress format 433.92MHz transmitter which supports the HomeEasy radio protocol. I can't say that this would be our choice of radio protocol but may represent an adequate low cost solution for some non critical applications - until we get our act together on something more to our liking...

    It being an IDRANet module and integrated into Cortex makes it more useful than a simple radio transmitter. What it means is that compatible HomeEasy products immediately inherit the powerful automation and integration features inherent to Cortex - meaning they are treated pretty much the same as similar Cortex objects with most of the usual connectivity, functions, mobile access and so on, and also in Reflex mode other IDRANet modules will be able to send commands directly to HomeEasy devices. There are inherent limitations imposed by the radio protocol and the devices themselves but as I say, for some simple extensions to the IDRANet system no doubt this module will prove useful.

    Further detail can be found here: http://www.idratek.com/products/catalogue/rtx-401/
    Last edited by Karam; 12th January 2014 at 02:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Karam,

    I think this is a very useful addition to the range so long as people also understand the limitations. Definitely would speed up adoption in a retrospective installation whilst running cables for full Idratek control over a slower pace. I think one point to draw out is that it is a fire and forget, Cortex won't know if the signal has been received and actioned because it won't get direct feedback. However, I think this is covered in the updated Help file as it can be inferred, for example turning on a light using the RTX can be assumed to have been successful if a light sensor picks up an increase in light.

    I know that Idratek like other companies don't like speculating on new product releases but with the work involved to produce and integrate the transmitter is a receiver on the cards? I believe the 433.92MHz frequency is used by many other devices including the Oregon Scientific range of weather stations and sensors. I'd love to pull these in to Cortex, for example the outside thermometer / humidity sensor can be located in a more remote location which isn't effected by the heat escaping or brickwork thermal mass from a outside Cortex sensor attached directly to the house

    Paul

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    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    very timely, for us ... we're quite tempted to go for On/Off Relay HE304s, to bring some lamps that we failed to run IDRANet cables for into the fold, and also to operate some mains relays that we would wire to digital-inputs on a convenient Idratek module, for use with a couple of HE301 key fobs (for signaling from the car) ...

    http://www.homeeasy.eu/Products/

    IIUC, the HE304s (& other HomeEasy receivers) can be addressed individually & in groups - so, for feedback, another option might be to use them in pairs, in separate locations, with one switching the lamp or pump or whatever, and the other switching a relay wired to a digital-input ...

    on our to-do list is putting together some logic to make such feedback useful, from digital inputs & from other sensors (eg: light-level) because we already have some situations where relays v.occasionally remain on after Cortex has turned them off, and some where we need to be doubly-sure things are as they seem to be - doing this sounds simple, but not all that sure it will be !
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 12th January 2014 at 07:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_B View Post
    I think one point to draw out is that it is a fire and forget, Cortex won't know if the signal has been received and actioned because it won't get direct feedback. However, I think this is covered in the updated Help file as it can be inferred, for example turning on a light using the RTX can be assumed to have been successful if a light sensor picks up an increase in light.

    I know that Idratek like other companies don't like speculating on new product releases but with the work involved to produce and integrate the transmitter is a receiver on the cards? I believe the 433.92MHz frequency is used by many other devices including the Oregon Scientific range of weather stations and sensors. I'd love to pull these in to Cortex, for example the outside thermometer / humidity sensor can be located in a more remote location which isn't effected by the heat escaping or brickwork thermal mass from a outside Cortex sensor attached directly to the house

    Paul
    Yes the limitations of the HomeEasy protocol are outlined in the datasheet and probably elsewhere.

    I think in the short term we'd prefer to direct our efforts into a more coherent and better quality radio structure which can hopefully be native to some IDRATEK products. I appreciate that it might also be useful to have an interface to something specialised like the weather station but not so keen on the other hand to progress down the ad hoc path too much.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    on our to-do list is putting together some logic to make such feedback useful, from digital inputs & from other sensors (eg: light-level) because we already have some situations where relays v.occasionally remain on after Cortex has turned them off, and some where we need to be doubly-sure things are as they seem to be - doing this sounds simple, but not all that sure it will be !
    Although feedback can be helpful in flagging such an issue I think it would be imperative to bottom out why there is a discrepancy between what Cortex is showing for these relays as compared to their actual state.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    yep, clearly ...

    we have two situations where this can happen :

    1) where relays stick on, due to inrush loads - we've found that inrush resistors have solved the problem with an LED lighting driver, 'though they had to be installed carefully, because they run pretty warm ... but we've yet to try them with some CFLs, which give the problem only now & then, and only in some of the several situations where we have six or more lamps wired through one relay ...

    2) where defaults get inadvertently set to On - eg: we use QRI & DRB relays to pulse solenoid valves on for seconds or minutes, in response to button pushes, but now & then we switch them instead via their Behaviour window in Cortex (as when we're experimenting, in some way, or when on rare occasions we need it on for rather longer than usual) and, on such occasions, it's all to easy to inadvertently change the Default from Off to On - because the Default, for reasons unclear, follows the clicking of On & Off buttons in the Behaviour window, meaning that if we forget to select the appropriate one before clicking Automatic as we're about to leave the window, it can be left inappropriately set ...

    indeed, we had such a situation over the weekend - as we were about to go out, it happened that we used Cortex to check how a temperature had been varying during the day and, after closing that sensor's Behaviour window, Cortex started generating endless hardware reset failure messages, meaning we had quickly to stop & restart IDRANet ... and, when we returned, around forty hours later, we found that one solenoid had been humming away for all that time - our basement wasn't flooded, thank goodness, but only because we had remembered to turn the SureStop off as we left ...

    hence we need to invent some fail-safe logic to monitor the valves & make sure they're off, when the house is Unoccupied, and when whatever ...

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    just to follow-up ...

    today we discovered & used Viv's Verifier object to monitor the relays / lights & flag-up over the intercom when there's a problem (fairly rare) - it works well, too, as you'd expect !

    and a few days ago we created a water-stop very simply by putting just a GL NOT gate between House Occupied & the solenoid's Turn Off connection & its associated sensor's Block Output connection - all our water outlets use solenoids & touch sensors, in a home-brew arrangement, so it was a long list - it also works well ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 22nd January 2014 at 05:38 PM.

  8. #8
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    Finally got my RTX-401 module plugged in and can confirm that it works with a HE304 on/off receiver switch. My RTX-401 is actually mounted in a standard (metal) pattress indoors in the porch and the HE304 outside within a metal enclosure controlling my garden lamp post and from it my gate lights. The distance between the 2 units is only about 15m.

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