Linking zones to PLC? 2008-08-30T22:50:39+00:00

HOME Forums Irrigation EZFlora Linking zones to PLC?

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  • Anonymous
    Post count: 8
    #40049 |

    Hi.
    In several places I see it mentioned that you can control the EZFlora via the PLC and the Quick Start guide has instructions on how to link EZFlora zones to a ControlLinc, but I can’t figure out how to link individual zones to a PLC. Can it be done? I want to be able to control from the PLC specific zones. If this can be done, can someone post instructions on how to do it?

    I’ve tried:
    Holding down the PLC set button for 10secs (LED starts flashing)
    Holding down the EZFlora set button for 4secs (LED turns off)
    Quickpressing the EZFlora set button one or two times
    HOlding down the EZFlora set button for 4secs (LED turns on)

    This process does not create a link in my PLC.

    Thanks,
    MR

    Anonymous
    Post count: 1001

    What are you using to determine that a “controller of” link was not established in the PLC? From the PLC LED action in your second step it would seem that a link was created on the PLC side.

    What automation program are you going to use through the PLC to turn the EZFlora zones on?

    Anonymous
    Post count: 8

    Thanks for the quick reply. I’m using Girder with the PLC Insteon plugin that can see the links in the PLC (at least it can see all the links associated with other devices.)

    So your thinking the process I’m using should work, huh? I’ll fiddle around with it some more and see if I can get it going.

    thanks,
    MR

    Anonymous
    Post count: 1001

    I don’t have an EZFlora to confirm directly but I just linked a LampLinc as a responder to my PLC. Used the SHN Utility to confirm that the LampLinc created a “responder to” link entry for the PLC. That indicates the PLC advertised itself as a Controller, the LampLinc recognized that and created a responder link. The Utility cannot directly access the PLC link database as it is different from the linear link database in other Insteon devices. I used HouseLinc Desktop to rediscover the PLC and it shows the LampLinc as a responder to the PLC. Both my HouseLinc Desktop and PowerHome software take care of whatever is needed to be written into the PLC. Can’t say what capability Girder has in that area. Not uncommon to link a controller to the PLC as a responder so it can react to messages from that controller but the relationship in the other direction is handled by my HA software.

    Anonymous
    Post count: 8

    OK. I actually got the description wrong in the first post and after getting the PLC and EZFlora in the same room, i’m realizing the PLC link is being made before I can select the zone. The correct description is:

    Holding down the PLC set button for 10secs (LED starts flashing on PLC)
    Holding down the EZFlora set button for 4secs (LED turns off, PLC LED goes solid)
    Quickpressing the EZFlora set button one or two times (LED turns on while button is pushed but remains dark upon release)
    Holding down the EZFlora set button for 4secs (LED starts flashing)

    The result in Girder is the device linked looks like a Group managing device (like the PLC.) I also tried the process using the Smarhome timing software with the same result and the name of the linked device was Icon Timing Device.

    Is this the way it is supposed to work or am I doing something dumb? The instructions on linking specific zones to the Keypadlinc led me to believe I could just create unique insteon links for each of the zones on the PLC and control each zone just like I would control and individual ApplianceLinc. Is that not the case?

    Is there a description of how the keypadlinc links to specific zones? That might help me understand what I can and can not do.

    Thanks,
    MR

    Anonymous
    Post count: 8

    Thanks grif091. I didn’t see your reply before I replied. I think my issue is specific to how the EZFlora/EZRain works (single device, multiple zones.) I have other devices which work fine and I have a pretty good grasp on how things work, but I’m stumped on how to get unique links to activate sepperate zones on one device.

    Thanks,
    MR

    Anonymous
    Post count: 1001

    I think of a multi output device like a Keypadlinc. If you want to control 8 button LEDs of a KPL, you need 8 links. Each link to the KPL would use the same device address but would have a different group number. For a KPL the group number follows the button number.

    Using KPL1 as the Controller and KPL2 as a Responder…

    KPL1 Button A Controller of KPL2 Grp 1 … KPL2 Responder to KPL1 Grp1 Button C
    KPL1 Button B Controller of KPL2 Grp 2 … KPL2 Responder to KPL1 Grp2 Button E
    KPL1 Button C Controller of KPL2 Grp 3 … KPL2 Responder to KPL1 Grp3 Button F
    etc.

    And while I was doing the above chart I see your question. With the PLC as KPL1 and EZFlora as KPL2, how do you get the PLC to use incremental Group numbers when all you have is the Set button to put it into controller mode. The EZFlora is programmed to select which button (zone) by the number of Set button presses during the responder linking process. How do you do that with the PLC without the benefit of HA software. I don’t know the answer to that. HA software would write the PLC link records with whatever Group numbers it needed to establish multiple links to the same responder device. Just as KPL1 would have multiple “controller of” link records to KPL2, each with a unique Group number. Can’t change what happens on the responder end. The responder needs a unique Group number for each zone because the local data in the responder of link record identifies which zone (button if a KPL) is being controlled. I’ll look through the various Smarthome forums to see if the answer is documented there. Since SH has HouseLinc Desktop they may not have found it necessary to document the procedure, assuming one exists. Are you sure your HA software does not have the ability to establish link records in the PLC?

    Just read your last post. Using a Keypadlinc as the controller for the zones of the EZFlora, by hardware/firmware design, each KPL button uses a unique Group number. Putting KPL button A into controller linking mode results in a “controller of” link record using Group 1 being written in the KPL once a responder sends it Insteon address back to the KPL. When doing the EZFlora side of the link, you would select which zone is being controlled by Button A (Group 1) by the number Set button presses. Then you would put KPL Button B into controller linking mode which results in another “controller of” link record in the KPL, with this link record using Group 2 (button B group number). When doing the EZFlora side of this link you would again select which zone is being controlled by the number of Set button presses. Linking 8 buttons on a KPL to the EZFlora would give you control over 8 zones.

    As you noticed when putting both devices in the same room, when you first press the Set button on the EZFlora, the PLC is sent a message identifying the EZFlora and the link process is complete as far as the PLC is concerned (as it would be with something like a LampLinc). The extra process of pressing the EZFlora Set button to identify the zone is known only to EZFlora. The PLC knows which Group number it sent out when it identified itself as being in controller mode. That along with the Insteon address of EZFlora is all it needs. EZFlora stores that Group number in the responder of link record in EZFlora along with the zone number being controlled by that Group number in data byte 3. Just as a responder KPL would store the button number being controlled in the same data byte.

    That still leaves the question of how to get the PLC to use unique Group numbers. KPL as a controller does it by design. Same thing with HA stuff. Just need to find out if/how that can be done with a stand alone PLC.

    Anonymous
    Post count: 8

    THanks. That helped. So the key is to be able to link instances to groups as opposed to just linking as a device. The Keypadlinc can do that in firmware but the PLC probably needs HA software with that functionality to help it do it. I don’t think Girder can do that yet (their focus right now is on the PLM which is slightly different.)

    I noticed using the SHN utility to turn on and off specific zones and looking at the traffic that the format seems to be cmd1 = action and cmd2 = zone. I wonder if there is a freeware program where I can just manually program group links into the PLC.

    Zone1 on = To ID:06.4e.4b flags:0F cmd1:40 cmd2:0
    Zone1 off = To ID:06.4e.4b flags:0F cmd1:41 cmd2:0
    Zone2 on = To ID:06.4e.4b flags:0F cmd1:40 cmd2:1
    Zone2 off = To ID:06.4e.4b flags:0F cmd1:41 cmd2:1

    Thanks,
    MR

    Anonymous
    Post count: 1001

    You can go to the Download section of the Simplehomenet web site and get the document that covers the commands (cmd1) you are seeing being issued by the SHN Utility. These are specific to the EZFlora device.

    0x40 = zone on
    0x41 = zone off
    0x42 = program on
    0x43 = program off

    Cmd2 identifies which valve (values 0-7 covers valves 1-8) or program (values 0-3 covers programs 1-4).

    Only a program with specific knowledge of the EZFlora device will issue these commands. Using a Keypadlinc button to control a zone or program, an Insteon Group command sequence to turn Group 1 ON/OFF (0x11/0x13) or Group 2 ON/OFF, etc. would be used. The number of Set button taps during the EZFlora responder link process established the relationship between the Group number used by the controller (KPL) and the zone/program to be associated with the Group number. Just like a KPL as a responder except the KPL has 8 buttons so the specific button to be the responder can be pressed once where the Set button on the EZFlora has to be pressed the number of times matching the responder zone/program.

    The SHN Utility can be used to read and write link records in the EZFlora. However, the Utility cannot be used to read/write records in the PLC. The PLC has a unique “linked record” link database (compared to the linear link database in other Insteon devices) which is not supported by the SHN Utility. Don’t know of any free download that does read/write link records in a PLC directly but that is more because I’ve never had a need rather than knowing there is none.

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