Extending the systems beyond Z-Wave

IP-Cameras

IP cameras transmit a video stream that can usually be accessed having dedicated mobile apps. Under certain circumstances it is possible to have the very same video stream in parallel within the Z-WAY SMART HOME INTERFACE . All Z-Way user interfaces (Web Browser and native apps for IOS and Android) are based on off-the-shelf HTML rendering engines supporting standard video and image formats. To display the video stream of a certain camera this stream must comply to commonly used public standards, such as MJPEG.

Certain cameras however use proprietary video encoding that can only be decoded by special native mobile apps of the manufacturers. These cameras can’t be supported by Z-Way.

How to find out if a camera is supported by Z-Way?

  1. Check the manual if MJPEG is mentioned as encoding method for the video stream.
  2. Check if there is a way to access the video stream using a standard web browser such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

How to prepare for integration?

To integrate a camera into Z-Way, this camera needs to be setup first following the guidelines given in the manufacturers manual. As a result, there must be

How to find the IP address of the camera?

Most IP networks in private homes and offices assign IP devices a new IP address using the DHCP protocol. The router holds a list of IP addresses and will arbitrarily choose one address from the list to the new IP device. Even after a reboot this address will remain the same. If the setup process mentioned above does not reveal the IP address there are two common ways:

How to integrate the camera into Z-Way?

Figure 9.1: Inclusion of predefined cameras
Image camera1

The Z-WAY SMART HOME INTERFACE allows adding new devices. Log into the user interface of Z-Way, click on the setup menu (icon on the upper right side) and click on menu item Add New Device. You see the dialog as shown in Figure 9.1. Now choose the IP camera symbol line and click +.

Figure 9.2: Generic camera module
Image camera2

Now you will find a list of IP camera types plus one generic IP camera option called 'WEB CAMERA'. This dialog is shown in Figure 9.2.

If you are lucky, the name of your camera is already on the list. If not, you can check in the app store if there is a new support app available for your camera type. Go to Setup > App > Online Apps and filter for 'VIDEO SURVEILLANCE.' Figure 9.3 shows the app store with camera filter.

Figure 9.3: More camera support in App Store
Image camera3

If you find your camera type, just install the app and redo the steps above. Now you will find the new camera in the list to choose from.

Once you click on the camera of your choice there will be a setup wizard asking you as a minimum for the IP address of your camera, the login name, and the password. Therefore, you need this set of data from the setup process of your device.

How to support a camera not on the list yet?

If your camera type is neither on the list of preset cameras nor there is a new app in the online app store there is still a very good chance to get your camera integrated. However now there is more work needed to find the right commands controlling your camera. In this case, you will need to choose the generic camera type “Web camera,’’ which requires the same set of information (IP address, login, password) but more than that.

Figure 9.4: Web browser debug interface
Image camera4

Note: This work requires some basic understanding of web pages, IP, and URLs. The generic web camera allows defining the URL to the video stream and—if the camera has these capabilities—links to tilt, turn, night vision control, etc.

To find these URLs, you need to log into your camera using a generic web browser. We strongly recommend using Google Chrome because of the debugging capabilities. The following explanation assumes the Chrome browser, but other browser will have similar functions.

  1. Open the JavaScript Debug console. You find this option on the browsers menu under View > Developer. Figure 9.4 shows the web browser with debugger active.
  2. Once the debugger is open pick the menu item network of the debugger (see image below”
  3. Now you use the cameras web interface for accessing the image/stream, tilting, moving, etc. Whenever you do this the URL needed will be sent from the web interface to the camera and becomes visible in the debugger. Take these URLs and copy them into the setup interface of 'WEB CAMERA'. The camera control in Z-Wave will call the same URL for control.

433 MHz devices

Introduction

433 MHz wireless communication is an outdated wireless technology. It is single direction wireless communication only without confirmation of received packets and it does not have any security functions. It is not standardized and subject to jamming by other devices since 433 MHz is a non-regulated frequency range. However, it is still used is many low-end alarm and control systems and there is a quite large install base in the market. The biggest advantage of 433 MHz devices is its low price.

Due to its one-way wireless connection, sensors can only report values and actuators can only receive values. Unfortunately, there is no regulation in the frequency band. Every supplier has its own code set for actuators and sensors.

Typical suppliers of 433 MHz devices are Intertechno, Conecto, Mumbi, Homeeasy, Elro, Teldus, Brennenstuhl, Olympia and others.

433 MHz Gateway

In order to support 433 MHz devices special gateways are required. Z-Way has built-in support for the 433 MHz gateway from Popp. Figure 9.5 shows this gateway hardware. The device is powered by an external standardized mini USB port and can be connected ot USB wall outlets, mini USB power supplies, etc.

Figure 9.5: Popp 433 MHz Gateway
Image 433gateway

Once configured and connected to the Z-Way System, this gateway allows to learn different code sets of different manufacturers. It can therefore be used universally for all kinds of 433 MHz devices from different manufacturers even if there is no detailed technical description of the code set used.

Z-Way can support multiple Popp 433 MHz gateways when one single gateway cannot cover the whole home. The Popp 433 MHz hub is connected to Z-Way using Wi-Fi. This means that there must be at least one Wi-Fi network to connect the 433 MHz and an IP connection to the Z-Way system (not necessarily Wi-Fi but cable Ethernet is possible too if there is a router between the cabled ethernet and the Wi-Fi).

How to setup the 433 MHz Gateway

First, install the app 'RF433' from the online app store. For more information about the online app store, please refer to Chapter 6.

Figure 9.6: RF433 App Setup
Image 433_1

Activate the RF433 app as shown in Figure 9.6. If you like you can change the operating IP from 8000 to any other IP port number available. However, its perfectly fine to keep it at 8000. Once the RF433 app is running on your Z-Way system you need to setup the 433 MHz gateway.

Power Up the 433 MHz Gateway

Place the 433 MHz connector on the place of choice and power it using a standard 5V USB power supply. Push the central button until the LED slowly blinks in purple indicating that the device is in configuration mode serving its own access point.

In this mode, the gateway acts as access point creating its own Wi-Fi network. The SSID of this Wi-Fi network is gw433-xxx with xx as some individual serial code.

You need to connect to this Wi-Fi network using any Wi-Fi capable device available (e.g. mobile phone, notebook, etc.). Now start a web browser on this device and open the page

http://192.168.4.1

to access the configuration interface as shown in Figure 9.7. There is no password needed.

Figure 9.7: 433 MHz gateway web interface
Image 433_2

Configure the 433 MHz Gateway

Click on Configuration to access the setup dialog as shown in figure 9.8.

Figure 9.8: 433 MHz gateway setup dialog
Image 433_3

Activate the connection mode of the Gateway. The local Access point will be deactivated and the gateway connects (1) to the Wi-Fi and through the Wi-Fi to the (2) Z-Way controller. Success is indicated by blinking of the green LED.

You can always return to the configuration mode by a long push of the central button on the 433 MHz gateway. In this case any connection to the Z-Way controller is deactivated and the local Wi-Fi with SSID gw433-xxx is active again. Here again the different LED codes of the Popp 433 MHz gateway:

Teach In 433 MHz devices

Once the 433 MHz gateway is configured corrected and is connected it is possible to teach-in 433 MHz devices. A new section of devices will appear on the “Device’’ overview in the setup menu of the user interface as shown in Figure 9.9.

Figure 9.9: 433 MHz option in 'Devices'
Image 433_5

After clicking the Add button choose the type of 433 MHz device to teach in:

  1. Binary Sensors such as door sensors and motion detectors
  2. Remote Controls
  3. Actuators like Smart Plugs

While Sensors and Remote controls only send out commands the actuators receive commands only. To teach them into the system a little trick is needed. Each Smart Plug or other actuator comes with a small remote control sending exactly the commands expected by the actuator. In order to control an actuator, the associated remote control is required to issue commands that can be captured by Z-Way.

Figure 9.10: 433 MHz teach in
Image 433_13

The remote control itself is handled in the same way. The only difference is the way the elements are created.

Once device type is selected and the teach in process has started, all the buttons of the remote control must be pressed, one after each other. Figure 9.10 shows this moment. The pulse train of the button commands are shown in the tech-in dialog and the number of the remote-control buttons can be assigned.

For Actuators the same process applied, but the status of the actuator needs to be assigned to the pulse train.

Another specialty concerns binary sensors. Some 433 MHz sensors send signals on open and on close. However, some other sensors only create one wireless command when the sensor trips. For alarm systems, this is enough but for Smart Home with User Interfaces this is not working since the element cannot show the actual status. For these kinds of sensors, there is an automatic switch back to off function after a defined time interval. Figure 9.11

Figure 9.11: 433 MHz teach in of a binary sensor
Image 433_12

Once all pulse trains are captured, the new element need to be renames and assigned into a room.

The management function for 433 MHz devices allows accessing the setup and change it as shown in figure 9.12

Figure 9.12: 433 MHz device management
Image 433_11

EnOcean devices

EnOcean is another wireless communication technology optimized for very low power consumption.

Z-Way has implemented support for EnOcean devices but limits its function to sensors and wall switches because of their battery-free and therefore maintenance-free design. Compared to Z-Wave, EnOcean is a quite simple protocol. There is no such thing like network inclusion or routing—every EnOcean device just sends out a specific datagram that includes a unique device id and the data (sensor values, switch status) of the specific function of the device. The encoding of these data is defined in so-called profiles. These profiles are identified by a three-byte value but they are not transmitted wirelessly. Hence the user must decide from his product knowledge what profile a certain device is using. The EnOcean receiver will use this information to decode the datagram and use the data. (This means that a wrong decision about the profile of a EnOcean device will lead to severe malfunctions of the system).

Every EnOcean receiver in proximity will always receive every datagram sent by a transmitter. This leads to two basic management functions of the EnOcean module:

  1. select the right products (by their unique 4 Byte ID) to use—and ignore all others
  2. define the correct profile by selecting the right product

Figure 9.13: Popp EnOcean USB Stick
Image enocean1

To work with EnOcean devices, an EnOcean USB Stick is required. Please use the Popp EnOcean Stick (POPE12204) as shown in Figure 9.13 and plug it into the USB port[*].

Next, the EnOcean app must be installed from the app store and configured as shown in Figure 9.14.

Figure 9.14: EnOcean App configuration
Image enocean2

Make sure to pick the right device name of the EnOcean USB Stick connected to your hardware. For Raspberry Pi-based platforms this is always /dev/USB0 but for other platforms this may be different. The internal name, “zeno,’’ can be arbitrarily chosen. In case more than one EnOcean stick is operated this name needs to be unique.

Figure 9.15: EnOcean Teach In
Image enocean3

Now it is possible to “teach-in’’ new products using the user interfaces “Device’’ section Configuration > Device > EnOcean.

As described above the first step is to select the right product. A list of manufacturers with their products are given to select from. Please note that the EnOcean module may support many more devices from other manufacturers as long as they have the same profile. A good example for this is a door window sensor (profile name D5-00-01). Multiple manufacturers off door-window sensors, some even in the same enclosure but some in slightly changed enclosure. Their EnOcean wireless capability is however similar.

You may find the profile name on the label of the unknown device or documented in the device specification of the manufacturer.

Please not that without proper knowledge of the device and its profile it is impossible to operate the device!

After selecting the right device, the user interface asks for the teach-in process as shown in Figure 9.15. During this process, the new device must send out one datagram containing the unique ID. The user interface will give some hints how to generate such a datagram.

Figure 9.16: EnOcean Device Configuration after Teach-In
Image enocean4

Once this datagram was received, the EnOcean module will generate virtual devices according to the profile selected. You can change the names of the elements to be generated. Figure 9.16 shows this dialog.

Finally, as shown in Figure 9.17 one or multiple elements will appear in the elements view. One example of the wall controller device shows Figure 9.18.

Figure 9.17: EnOcean Device Elements
Image enocean5

The menu option Devices also offers a special interface to manage EnOcean devices as shown in Figure 9.18. This dialog offers a list of all known EnOcean devices with an option to change the profile. Furthermore, it is possible to manually select one of the valid profiles of EnOcean for a device not known to the standard user interface. Please note that profiles not known to the standard UI are also not supported by the standard user interface and will not leads to creating new UI elements. However, the device is still created in the API and can be used by third-party software.

Figure 9.18: EnOcean Device Management
Image enocean6

For a list of all supported EnOcean devices, please refer to Annex [*]. Experienced Users and programmers may extend this list by adding their own profiles to Z-Way. Chapter 13.4 describes how to do this.

Other IP/Internet-based services

Z-Way can work with external IP-based systems. Please refer to the app store description for more information about how to integrate third-party IP-based devices. Please refer to Chapter 6 for details.


Footnotes

... port[*]
Other EnOcean sticks may work as well, but the correct function is not supported and they may stop working after Z-Way firmware updates.