So last weekend I finally got the powersupply of my Ubuntu server fixed and was able to restart the eibd program that transforms the box into a KNX/IP router with tunneling capabilities. It is a pity that no one managed to port this code also to the Mac OSX, as this would make it even easier for me to run this eibd router on a Mac mini server stowed away in the electricity cabinet. That small OSX server is easier to handle in stowing away due to the small size and power economics than a full fletched Ubuntu server on a standard desktop. But who knows, maybe someday….someone….
Then I got a reply to one of my post on my OpenRemote experiences in which he pointed out to me that openHAB was going to be released and I needed to check that out. I checked the website, downloaded the runtimes and demo packages for R0.9.1 and looked at their demo pages on my Mac. Looked nice!
Then started checking the code to see how to get it enabled for use with KNX (parameter setting in OpenHab.cfg file pointing to router, and download of additional add-on Java file) and went ahead to add a KNX switch to the present menu. Crossed my fingers, restarted the openHAB server and it all worked! Amazing! So easy it was to add to the existing menu and layout for the demo house my KNX commands that I could not believe it. I added Dimmers, temperature display and shutters in the next 15 minutes and had my whole house wired within the hour. Wow, that was soo much easier than using OpenRemote that I was sold.
Now I need still to install the latest OpenRemote version (2.0) to make a real comparison, but first impressions are that this openHAB beats OpenRemote in making changes and getting things online. From a flexibility point of view and interface point of view, Openremote is much more tailored towards customizing the interface to customer demands as openHAB is.
Now I also needed to check the stability of the KNX implementation as I am using power net. So i fired up on 3 devices the openHAB, OpenRemote and AyControl clients. Then I went on to the page where I defined a light switch and a dimmer, and checked whether the interface updated whenever I pressed the switch on the wall. For most of the switches this was ok in all the 3 cases. However, for a remote part of my house, I have discovered in the past that the status update response or the ACKN response is not always coming back (don’t ask why, the technicians are still out on this one).
In that case the OpenRemote interface was performing the least. Very often when touching a switch (e.g. in the master bedroom) the displayed status of the switch on the OpenRemote page was not updated. Conversely, when pressing the OpenRemote interface and switch the lights off, the often the light is switched off, but the button state on the display is still showing the light is on.
The openHAB interface was far more reliable than OpenRemote, which seems to me that their KNX implementation is more robust. Switches changed state in most of the cases when I flipped the masterroom lights, although not always.
The best and most stable implementation seems to be the AyControl application. That one always gave the right status of switches. Not sure how they do it but it seems to me that it polls the re-checks the status till it gets a good answer. It is also easy to implement, imports my KNX directly into the interface and looks slick on my iPhone and iPad (although OpenRemote still beats it in looks!) However, the Aycontrol solution is a professional and expensive solution. It is intended for professional companies designing interfaces for customers and therefore it has a very expensive licensing scheme (i.e. 3 clients with 72 widgets for 500 EURO). I love it, and I wish I could test it further and check how long it takes to get my house wired, how to implement the heating, temperatures, dimmers, colorlighting, etc.