MCE home automation

MCE home automation

Post#1 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:00 pm

Right, So I was thinking about doing some stuff like having lights turn on/off etc when playing movies in MCE and was wondering what MCE integrated software is out there and people are using?
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Post#2 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:25 pm

I suggest a choice of X10 or Insteon, or a mix of both.
My preference is not to go through the MC 10 foot interface for making any adjustments to lights etc. because it becomes more of a chore to have to press buttons on the remote to get to a screen, where you turn a light down.

You can start off with some X10 lighting switches/dimmers (all sorts of different types), and if you have a programmable remote, you can get an X10 IR543 receiver.
From there you can get things going, so that for instance as you start watching the begining of a movie, you can press a button on the remote to dim a light or set of lights.
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Post#3 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:02 pm

Could it be automated somehow? It would be really nice if there was a way to autodetect an item now playing, and then have the appropriate lighting levels set without user intervention.
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Post#4 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:31 pm

Possibly. My way of doing things is I have a logitech remote with a movie activity. When selected it spits out the appropriate X10 code that my ISY99 senses and the ISY sets the scenes accordingly. The ISY knows what state the lights are so it won't dim them if the lights are off to begin with.
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Post#5 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:27 pm

It's really beneficial to have some brains controlling all the equipment. HVAC, dusk/dawn, house occupancy etc.
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Post#6 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:38 pm

I understand the advantages but of whjat youre proposing but I'd just like a simple wow factor thing like when I turn on a film if the lights are on they auto dim from within mce.

Perhaps a harmon remote and a macro that starts a movie and dims the lights at once is another viable option.
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Post#7 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:31 pm

Sure, then 'you' could act as the brains, and only pick the macro button on the remote if the lights are already on, if you follow...
Most of the X10 light switches you buy are not that intelligent, so if you sent a dim command to one, it will dim 'up' from off instead of dim down from a certain level. It just tries to get to the level you tell it whether its on or off. That's why something has to be in between that knows the current state of the device. A human does quite nicely!
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Post#8 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:13 pm

If you really want to have automatic light dimming and anything else, use vmcController and eventghost. I use a Archos 5it tablet as a remote. Press a button eg then sends it to the appropriate system/ or extender account. vmcController also can send status updates, so you would not have to use a tablet just let eventghost run in the background and when it is playing have it dim/turn off the lights/close blinds. You stop it, it will know and turn back on lights.
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Post#9 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:50 pm

At one time I used mControl which comes with a WMC add-in. It fully integrates, so you can tell the software to "dim the lights" when you press the video "play button" on your WMC remote. Then turn lights on when your press "pause or stop". Very cool. I still have the software, but moved and haven't reinstalled it. Software is about $150. It could also close drapes, etc. It works with Insteon and X-10, etc.
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Post#10 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:38 pm

I have mControl also, but haven't figured out how to get the Media Center Events to work that Danno mentions. My macros all work to dim the lights etc but when I play anything in Media Center mControl doesn't seem to pick it up and do anything to the lights.

I am using Z-wave Dimmer and Appliance modules, Insteon is not available in the UK and X10 is old tech compared to some of the new stuff available.

The mControl MCE add-in is slick and looks very nice but you won't use it as the main way to control lights, I use the mControl mobile webpage on my iPod Touch currently, but I'd like to buy a proper Z-wave remote control handset for speed of use.

mControl looks very powerful and I don't understand most of it, but I was able to muddle through and get my few Z-wave devices working, I am using an Aeon Labs Z-Stick (USB Dongle) on the Windows Home Sever, mControl is also installed on the WHS. You are better off using the ControlThink ThinkStick USB dongle however as mControl has proper support for that and the Z-Wave API it uses.

I was using a Logitech Harmony 895 remote control for a while to control the Z-wave devices, but Logitech ballsed up their implementation of the Z-wave standard and you cannot add any more Z-wave controllers (Primary / Secondary) to the network if using the Harmony remote, so I don't use the Harmony any more for this.
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Post#11 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:21 am

Ted at Embedded Automation is now helping me with my mControl V2 issues and the Media Center Events not working, will keep you posted if we fix it. I also have a bigger problem in that the IIS web side of mControl totally died after a recent upgrade and I seem to have lost all the .aspx webpage files in the installation directory, so need to get this sorted out ASAP.

mControl V3 looks like it is shaping up as well, I am very interested in the mStation low profile embedded device that runs the mControl software !
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Post#12 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:59 am

I'm thinking Mcontrol and initally some X10 devices and then possibly upgrading to Z-wave. M control does both so thats pretty cool.

I can see the advantages of Zwave but the cost is very high and not within my current play budget.
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Post#13 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:12 pm

Cool :D I now have my Z-Wave lights in the living room, working for the very first time with Media Center and when I Play / Stop / Pause movies etc. It's working with the My Movies add-in and the inbuilt player in Media Center. It does not work with Acrsoft TMT 5 as I expected.

There are two ways to get mControl working with Media Center and I quote:

"1. Using the mControl Add-in, which uses the MCE Media State Aggregator Service (MSAS) engine.

2. Using the WMC TCP Controller device and its macro conditions."

Using option 1 the Media Center Events in mControl setup, it does not work for me and does nothing. However I have setup option 2 following this thread here for setting up the mControl Media Center TCP/IP Controller driver. There is also more information about it on this page

Now when I play a movie the lights dim down to 25% if I pause or stop the movie the lights come back up to full brightness. I need to test some sort of Sunset conditions so it only does it when its getting dark outside etc.

Below are some screen shots of my setup in mControl:

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I'm hoping this will only make the lights work with My Movies 1 hour before sunset ? Will have to wait until tonight to test.

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On this screen shot you can see the working mControl Media Center TCP/IP Controller driver.

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In My Movies add-in within Media Center I have a mixture of DVD rips in VIDEO_TS folders, .AVI and .MKV movies all of these work and activate the lights. I also have Blu-ray ISO's and play them with Arcsoft TMT 5 these do not work with the lights.
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Post#14 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:00 pm

For those of you considering mControl I'd recommend it if you already have a Windows Media Center / WHS setup in your home as it supports both! I haven't used a great deal of Home Automation software myself and I am also new to it, so I am not an expert on the subject by any means.

Overall I am happy with mControl so far and my basic setup with a few Z-Wave devices around the house, one thing I wished mControl had a native iOS app rather than having to wait for the mobile web page on the iOS device to load.

Here are some screen shots of the mControl MCML add-in in my Media Center:

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You may also want to consider Martin Millmore's PowerController MCE works with Z-Wave and Bye Bye Standby devices and its free.
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Post#15 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:54 pm

You are teh awesome
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Post#16 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:48 pm

cw-kid,

Nice posts! I think I'm going to reinstall my mControl V2 soon or wait for V3. Overall, the software is quite powerful even if used without the free media centre plugin. It also supports quite a few different standards although I haven't tried it in a mixed environment.
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Post#17 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:44 pm

Danno100 wrote:cw-kid,

Nice posts! I think I'm going to reinstall my mControl V2 soon or wait for V3. Overall, the software is quite powerful even if used without the free media centre plugin. It also supports quite a few different standards although I haven't tried it in a mixed environment.


I wonder how much mControl v3 will cost on the new mStation device ? Then I don't need the WHS running to have things working in mControl. I had a problem with the latest v2.1.4140 beta build of the WHS installer. There seemed to be something wrong with the installer .msi file and I lost all the .aspx webpages and it broke. I had to roll back to beta version v2.1.3818 of the WHS installer, to get the .aspx files back and the mControl webpages back.
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Post#18 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:05 pm

Is anyone in this thread still using mControl? I bought it awhile back, but didn't fully start to utilize it till now.

I have now used mcontrol v2 along with x10 modules/motion sensors, Linksys cameras, Proliphix Thermostat/mce/mcontrol mobile to fully automate my house and use it as my security system. It has ben amazing and I never realized how powerful mcontrol is.

I am looking to do some further automation, but have found embedded automation forum no longer available.

So I am looking if anyone know any other forums where users are using mcontrol so I can go there for questions/advice?
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Post#19 » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:30 am

I'm using mControl2, but want to move onto something a little more advanced. The fact that the forum in gone STINKS!! I used to use the old forum a lot. Control is too expensive to buy without support, so jm planning on moving over to homeseer.
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Post#20 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:22 pm

There's no MCE add-on for Homeseer though, is there? I see a beta plugin back from 2011, but no idea if it really works.
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