Author Topic: Alsteon plm question  (Read 3426 times)

Offline jwiz

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Alsteon plm question
« on: May 24, 2012, 01:57:16 am »
The fanlinc is a perfect setup for me due to the way my ceiling fans are wired. My question is could I use a serial plm connected to a lantronix uds1100 which is similar to the wiz net people are using here. I would like to put the plm in the basement and connected to Vera via Ethernet which is up on the first floor.

Thanks
John

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Offline fba

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 12:04:59 pm »
The only way it would work without code changes is if the device presented itself as a serial port to Linux.   A quick look at the spec page on the Lantronix site seems to indicate that the only way to achieve this would be to use two uds1100s which seems like it would present a serial port to the Vera.  (But, don't quote me on that, as I have never used a uds1100.)
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Offline garrettwp

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 12:39:43 pm »
I like the option of using something like the wiznet to serial interface of the plm and altsteon. It would give a better placement for the plm and not having to be close to vera. But as with any new feature, it would most likely require changes to the code. The wiznet would need to communicate over a tcp socket.

- Garrett

Offline khyizang

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 02:25:39 pm »
I'm in the same boat.  Old house with few available outlets upstairs.  Lots of outlets in the basement.  I, too, have a serial PLM and a Wiznet to connect the PLM to the LAN.   It would have to be placed about as far from Vera as any device can get and still be inside the house.  So far, I've been looking into COM port redirectors and resigning myself to running INSTEON separate from Vera.  Haven't gotten too far as this isn't a very attractive alternative.

An Alsteon option to connect to a TCP port would change everything.

Offline fba

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 11:04:32 pm »
While I am not opposed to something like this (it seems like a neat idea), I don't own a wiznet or other IP to serial device.   Does anyone know if the LANtronix and the wiznet fundamentally work the same?   Do you just open a socket and start dumpping data?  Is each byte sent as a different packet, so that the flow across the port is similar?  Or would I be dealing with bursts of data in a single packet?  And is the nagle algorithm disabled on the wiznet, or would we run in to delays in sending data?  (The PLM gives you a fairly small window to send a single command in before it assumes that there is nothing interesting in the data.)

The send/receive components of Altsteon are implemented in such a way that adding communication over TCP or UDP wouldn't be terribly hard.  As usual, the difficult part would be testing it and dealing with any differences in the way that data flowed.   

Of course, this assumes that it would work at all.  The PLM seems to use some of the sluggish behavior of the serial port as a means of timing.   I am pretty sure it wouldn't work for old PLMs, those that were built in 07 or before.  But, there is a chance it would work with newer PLMs.

I'll keep this request in mind, and next time I have some extra cash I'll look in to picking up a wiznet.  I am planning on making some changes to how the PLM is handled under the hood, so I'll look at putting in some of the plumbing while I am at it.
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Offline guessed

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2012, 02:29:13 am »
Do you just open a socket and start dumpping data?
For the wizNET, Yes.  It can operate in Client or Server mode.  In one, the device will connect to a Host running a TCP Server.  In the other, a Host must initiate the connection to the wizNET.  Either way, once connected the data will be bridged between the RS-232 port and the Ethernet Socket connection.

Only one Socket connection is permitted at a time.

Quote
Is each byte sent as a different packet, so that the flow across the port is similar?  Or would I be dealing with bursts of data in a single packet?
The wizNET has some rudimentary controls (send per <n> bytes, send per <t> time, send upon receipt of byte <x>)

You can see these on Page 16 (although I've only ever used the defaults):
    http://www.wiznet.co.kr/UpLoad_Files/ReferenceFiles/WIZ110SR_User_Manual_V1.0.0.pdf

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And is the nagle algorithm disabled on the wiznet, or would we run in to delays in sending data?  (The PLM gives you a fairly small window to send a single command in before it assumes that there is nothing interesting in the data.)
I'm guessing they send with no delays when you tell them to send byte-by-byte, but I've not done a packet trace (lately) to tell if they're attempting to packetize more.

If folks want to try it, they can always buy two of these things, and put one into client mode, and the other into server mode, and have them connect to each other.  They'll get a Serial Port at both ends, one that can connect to the PLM and the other would just use a standard USB-Serial.

Not optimum, but it should suffice, and would certainly tell us if the PLM can handle the delays that are incurred.

Note that anything using "special" RS-232 PINS for additional communications (DTR et-al) might get a surprise when operating in this config.  As long as its standard TX/RX things should be fine (pending any investigation into the timing issues you're citing)

Offline strangely

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2012, 02:43:28 am »
Cant the IPserial plugin be used so that you can just get away with using just one of them? I use it with my matrix switch that way still!
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Offline guessed

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2012, 02:47:39 am »
@strangely,
Alsteon has free-standing C program bits.

The IPSerial plugin (loose term) was just my short-term hack to register an IP/Port combination with the MiOS Mechanism for Serial Ports so, to MiOS, it "looks" like a Device implementing the Serial Port Service.  It doesn't actually do anything other than register Meta-data with Vera, so it won't help Alsteon.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 02:49:51 am by guessed »

Offline strangely

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Re: Alsteon plm question
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2012, 02:51:10 am »
That kinda makes sense now.
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