Author Topic: Comments & Suggestions Needed - Vacation Rental Vera Headend  (Read 6782 times)

Offline jonesge

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Comments & Suggestions Needed - Vacation Rental Vera Headend
« on: November 15, 2010, 02:54:06 am »
I am purchasing a Detached Single Family Vacation Rental (VR) in Kissimmee, Florida near Disney.

I live in Illinois and would appreciate your comments on the Vera 2 Headend Equipment I am planning to purchase. I prefer a DSL modem versus a Cable modem. See item F.

The primary goal is to have a trouble free and redundant system with 99%+ (two nines) uptime.

Item B below is a UPS / Surge Supressor which should help in short duration power outages.

I have read about users or their management company needing to go to the VR unit to do a simple Power Cycle to reset the Vera 2 ... I am trying to eliminate that via items C - D - E below.

If the Wireline Internet - ISP goes down, I would like to be able to telephone into the Vera 2 unit .... can that be done? If not, I will investigate a 3G / 4G Wireless automated fallback solution with an outdoor high gain omni antenna.

I will spec out other Vera 2 supported hardware later such as a door lock (? new Kwikset Model 99120-004 motorized lever lock looks appealing), thermostat (? Wayne Dalton), sensors, etc.

Here is a list of the equipment in this $579 Headend:

A. $ 15 1 of X10 Duplex AC Wall Recepticable (Top Controlled / Bottom Uncontrolled) * X10 - SR227 or PA011 * http://www.smarthome.com/2040/X10-Split-Receptacle-SR227-PA077/p.aspx

B. $ 85 1 of APC UPS AC Power 750VA Backup & Surge Protector * APC - BE750G * http://www.amazon.com/APC-BACK-UPS-BE750G-10-Outlet-System/dp/B000Z80ICM

C. $ 24 1 of Programmable Digital AC Timer (2 Outlet) * Intermatic - DT620CL * http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-DT620CL-Indoor-Astronomic-Digital/dp/B001KBZUMG

D. $ 20 2 of X10 Pro 3-Pin Appliance Module * X10 Pro AM466 / PAM02 * http://www.smarthome.com/2002/3-Pin-Grounded-X10-Appliance-Module-AM466-or-PAM02/p.aspx

E. $ 36 1 of X10 Pro Telephone Controller * X10 Pro - PHC06 * http://www.smarthome.com/5001/X10-Telephone-Responder-PHC06/p.aspx

F. $75 1 of Actiontec GT724WGR Universally Compatible 4-port ADSL Wireless Gateway.  http://www.amazon.com/Actiontec-GT724WGR-Universally-Compatible-Wireless/dp/B0018CJ9LA The Actiontec GT724WGR is a full featured wireless ADSL router modem that integrates a DSL modem, router, and wireless networking in one box. Compatibility — Works with all major DSL Internet service providers (ISPs) including AT&T, Verizon, Qwest, CenturyLink, Frontier, and more.

G. $249 1 of Home Automation Z-Wave Controller * Mi Casa Verde - Vera 2 UI4 * http://www.smarthome.com/1370/Vera2-Z-Wave-Web-Enabled-Automation-Controller/p.aspx

H. $ 50 1 of Suncast Two Door Lockable Plastic Wall Cabinet * Suncast - C2800G * http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xi3/R-100669781/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    $554 SUBTOTAL - HEADEND EQUIPMENT

I have added additional comments in reply #4 below.


« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 12:49:08 am by jonesge »

Offline Les F

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Re: Comments & Suggestions Needed - Vacation Rental Vera Headend
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2010, 07:09:51 am »

Okay... now where are you going to put everything?  If you can't put it in a locked area away from guests.. (which was my case).  You will need to secure it in some kind of a cabinet (make sure there is adequate ventilation for everything.    Attached is a 'pre vera' shot of what I put up in a closet at my cabin.  Basically a lockable Elk cabinet with everything inside.   The final version includes an extra piece of conduit going to a plastic lockable case to hold vera.   Figured if I put vera in a metal cabinet that it would kill the Zwave signal.

For that I bought  a plastic demarc box.. Keptel CG-1500, mounted vera in there, drilled some vent holes in top and bottom for airflow, ran power and ethernet thru pvc flex conduit back to Elk box.   Works great.

Now this is setup is not vandal proof, but it keeps prying eyes and hands away from everything.

Also.. quick explanation... Asus router (running dd-wrt) acts as front door and runs openssh vpn server.  This allows me to securely tunnel back to that cabin if I need to.   Linksys router was running Coova but I have since changed it to Tomato and this is where the guests connect in for free wifi at that place.  Rules are set so they can only surf out and cannot get to any local devices.   The wifi on the asus is turned on but that one is for my use.  From there I can connect locally to anything on the lan. 

Again, this may be overkill, but it was a cool project to do.





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Offline mtf

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Re: Comments & Suggestions Needed - Vacation Rental Vera Headend
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2010, 07:28:53 am »
I share Les's view of the security issue.  We have 3 villas in Kissimmee (2 in Windsor Hills and 1 in Emerald Island) and I made sure that our owners closets had proper deadbolts on them and had an electrician come out and wire a power socket into the owners closet.  The vera was then placed in the closet and locked.  If you don't keep the fingers away then you don't really know why you have problems, if you have any.

I haven't needed to cycle the power on any of my Vera boxes to date (up and running about 3 months so far), in fact I have found the Veras I installed vastly more reliable than other links in the chain.  So far I have had problems with the ISPs (particularly in Emerald Island), the Linksys routers and the cable modems.  The Vera is the one thing that never seems to have a problem and it keeps on running, but then it is also the one thing that is locked away from the guests.  Incidentally in case anybody is wondering I am using the Vera's WAN interface in client mode to communicate with the Linksys router in the main house.

I have other servers I control on the internet so I use ssh on the Vera to tunnel out and open a remote ssh port (much like MiCasaVerde/FindVera) and that gives me command line access to the boxes from elsewhere.  Of course I also have an excellent management company who would happily cycle the power for me on the Vera if necessary, but to date whenever I have found myself unable to access the vera they have always turned up and discovered the fault lay elsewhere.

Offline Les F

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Re: Comments & Suggestions Needed - Vacation Rental Vera Headend
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 07:47:49 am »

As for stability...  same as what mtf said.   The only failure I have had was the DSL modem died.  Other than that vera has been solid. (Now I am running the last version of UI2 that was released).  Still waiting on a non beta UI4 and will probably wait a few months after that gets released  ::) before upgrading.   I do know the UPS helps.   There are a fair amount of power bumps where its located.   
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Offline jonesge

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Equipment Security
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 10:50:13 am »
Thanks Les for your comments and questions.

I will try to answer your questions about equipment security, ventilation, etc.

Q1 from Les:
Okay... now where are you going to put everything?  If you can't put it in a locked area away from guests.. (which was my case).  You will need to secure it in some kind of a cabinet (make sure there is adequate ventilation for everything.

A1 from JONESGE:
** As described in item (H) in my original post, the equipment goes into a $50 Heavy-Duty Plastic Cabinet.
** It will be mounted in the garage high up on a wall that is close to front door and thermostat.
** Cabinet will be bolted into wall studs.
** The cabinet plastic should not seriously attenuate the Z-Wave signal from the Vera 2 nor any WIFI signals from the 802.11g router.
** Cabinet size = 14" Deep, 28" Wide,  28" Tall.
** The cabinet will have a key lock on it so the owner or the property manager can access it.
** The cabinet will have adequate ventilation holes on top and on each side near the top.
** An electrician will run a dedicated Electric & Telco circuit to the cabinet.
** The Electric & Telco receptcables will be inside the cabinet for added security.
** The Electric Recepticable will be the X10 Duplex one described in (A) of my original post.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 12:54:15 am by jonesge »

Offline Les F

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Re: Comments & Suggestions Needed - Vacation Rental Vera Headend
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 11:10:30 am »

Ooops... I read over all the equipment and missed your item H!... sorry.. Thats what I get for trying to do work and read forums first thing in the morning.  Looks like you have got a good handle on things. Plastic will be fine...  My original setup was without a vera so thats why I ended up with a metal cabinet.   Vera came into the picture after my network was up and in place.  Didn't want to tear it all back out and redo it. 

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Offline rkpatt

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Re: Comments & Suggestions Needed - Vacation Rental Vera Headend
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2011, 11:30:36 am »
jonesge - Did you mover forward with this project ?  If so please post how it is going .

- Thanks