HomeVision Pro Overview
Home Automation Controllers, produced by
Custom Solutions Inc., were
designed to provide automation capabilities for the home with a
user interface accessible via a TV. The systems are programmed
using a PC running Windows, Linux, etc, and data can be
displayed through a web server running on the host PC. The PC is
not required to be "always on" to execute the control function
though, a "schedule" of events/actions is downloaded to the
controller and executed from its RAM.
An example of a HomeVision control screen for display on
TV. These, and subsequent menu options,
could be manipulated using an Infra-Red remote
The controller can be programmed to expect a
range of codes from most domestic IR remote controls.
Use of a TV is optional, HomeVision does not require
a TV to use it.
The original HomeVision controller was a stand-alone
unit mounted in a case as shown.
HomeVision front view
HomeVision rear view
The original HomeVision was expanded and enhanced and became the HomeVision
Pro which was installed in a steel enclosure as shown.
Full specifications for the HVPro controller can be
found on the Custom Solutions site
Click on the image for details of the HVPro board
This diagram gives a good overview of the I/O
capabilities of HVPro.
Both of these
devices have now reached the obsolescence stage, although some
units are still available from suppliers such as
Lets Automate in the
UK. The Lets Automate site has a good web page which describes
the basic functions of HomeVision
Custom Solutions developed
software for the controller which was used to create
schedule files and otherwise interact with the controller from a
PC. Schelte Bron has significantly
enhanced the software and
written HomeVisionXL which
was developed for Linux but now runs under Windows as well a
various versions of Linux and other operating systems. One of
the significant enhancements of HomeVisionXL is the availability
of a number of "plug-ins" to provide additional functionality.
My HVPro is installed in my loft, in the same location as my
network patch panels and switches etc. The connection to the
host PC for programming is made via one of the serial ports on
the controller and additional serial ports are provided. My
HVPro serial port assignments are :-
- Port 1 - Programming Interface, using
- Port 2 - Event Status Logging
- Port 3 - Report Output
Rather then running serial links directly to the controller, I use a
Comtrol DeviceMaster RTS Ethernet device server to provide
access to the serial ports via the LAN.
The Comtrol DeviceMaster datasheet is available by clicking
on the image
The DeviceMaster allows network access to the 3 serial ports
on the HVPro as well as a number of serial ports on my
Allen-Bradley SLC500 PLC.
The Custom Solutions Inc.
website is still on-line and as far as I am aware, will continue
to be so for the foreseeable future. The CSI (no, not that one)
site hosts a lot of valuable information about the HomeVision
controllers, some of which I have also made available here. A
complete description of HomeVision functionality can be found on
the CSI site here,
or for more detail on the HomeVision Pro controller,