Realtime status

Information and support for EnvisaLink modules.

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alan-bc
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:34 pm

Realtime status

Postby alan-bc » Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:49 pm

I have a Honeywell Vista15 panel, 3 basic keypads and 24 zones.

I would like (near) realtime updates of the zones.

Right now, the keypads just blink 17 9 21 23 4 5 and so on. When a bunch of zones are open, it can take a long time to see if a particular zone is open, and even longer to see that it's closed.

In fact, the panel never actually says it's closed, it just no longer says it's open .. eventually.

My first plan is an Arduino and an LCD to tell me what's open. This is working now by reading the messages going to the keypads and converting a "17" to "Basement door". But again, it can take a long time for the Arduino to figure out the status.

Can the EVL4 peek inside the Vista panel and tell me .. somehow .. what's going on?

Frankly, I cannot believe something so fundamental is so hard. I'm actually very close to ripping all the Honeywell stuff out and replacing it with a DSC. But before taking this drastic a step, I want to consider all options.

Any thoughts appreciated.

GrandWizard
Posts: 2078
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:08 pm

Re: Realtime status

Postby GrandWizard » Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:39 am

No unfortunately. The Vista only tells the Envisalink if zones are open one at a time, and as you point out, you never actually know when a zone is closed. Also, Vistas don't provide zone status when the partition is armed.

DSC panels provide the Envisalink with near real-time zone status.

alan-bc
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:34 pm

Re: Realtime status

Postby alan-bc » Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:44 am

Thanks for the confirmation of what I was (sadly) coming to realize. This is, to my mind, insane. Why do people like these panels so much?

I had a DSC panel in my last two houses and loved them, especially the ability to program them serially. When we moved here, it had a Honeywell install. I read that Honeywells were good, so I completed the install, beginning with paying WAY too much for an old Hayes modem so I could wire up a fake telephone line so I could program it by computer.

I then added a couple more keypads, so each exit door had a pad, and then added contacts and sensors to a bunch more areas. A bit of money, but after all, Honeywell was a good make, right?

Then I started to live with the system and now the shortcomings appeared.

So now I get to decide; spend a pile of money replacing panel, keypads and wireless senders, or live with a moronic system that can't tell me what's open in anything like a timely manner.

(With every zone open, it takes over a minute to display them all.)

Thanks again.

jbrewer
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2021 9:34 pm

Re: Realtime status

Postby jbrewer » Sat Jul 17, 2021 10:18 pm

alan-bc,

Unfortunately, I've found myself in the same boat.

The system I installed in my previous house was a DSC, and I used a serial port interface, RPI, and custom Python service I wrote to monitor for alarm events. All in all, it worked pretty well, and it gave me a record of all zone opening/closing events.

My wife and I moved six months ago and, after shopping around, I decided to go with Honeywell this time. The overall interface seemed a little prettier and I was able to piece it together for cheaper. Now that I've got it mostly wired up, I'm discovering that there may be a pretty substantial limitation on the monitoring capabilities of the system. I actually splurged a little on the system and got a 6290w touchscreen as the main keypad for my system.

That extra expenditure allowed me to make an interesting observation though...when the system is armed, my 6150 keypads and the EVL4 do not appear to get zone status updates, but the touchscreen DOES. I'm not sure how that's accomplished under the hood, but it appears the Vista 20p does know the status of each zone, even while armed, and that information is somehow available via the ECP bus (at least to touchscreens).

It would be awesome if the Envisalink 4 module could be updated to read the zone status information in the same way the touchscreen does. Here's hoping that's a possibility. Grandwizard, If there's anything I can do to help make this a reality, please let me know.

If not, I guess I'll have to decide whether or not I want to replace $400 worth of Honeywell hardware with DSC.

alan-bc
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:34 pm

Re: Realtime status

Postby alan-bc » Sun Jul 18, 2021 1:01 pm

Unfortunately, I've found myself in the same boat ...

If not, I guess I'll have to decide whether or not I want to replace $400 worth of Honeywell hardware with DSC.


In my case, it's about $1,000 to replace everything, which is a pretty good incentive to keep soldiering on with the existing gear.

Real-time wired status should be easy enough to track using additional hardware, relays being the common answer, comparators being my more likely solution.

Wireless is the troublesome issue, made more troublesome by the fact that most of my zones are wireless!

Obviously, the wireless devices send an open and a closed message and someone .. I forget who .. told me that these messages appear in an ECP message, even if they're not used by (basic) keypads. However, hours and hours spent pouring over the output of the bus and I can't find such a message.

Certainly, if I had a touchpad keypad, more (and different) messages would be sent and it might be possible to find what I'm looking for in those messages. But buying such a keypad in the hope of decoding the messages seems like there's a good possibility of throwing good money after bad, so I'll consider this a last (last last) resort.

On a slightly positive note, there is a GitHub project to read wireless security devices, and Honeywell wireless devices are one of the ones read! There's a slight bit of a problem in that the frequency Honeywell uses is an unusual one .. 345 MHz, IIRC, not the (much) more normal 315 or 433.

Since the project uses a software radio, which are both easy to come by and also cheap, the frequency is easily dealt with. The only issue with the SDR is getting the antenna just the right length.

I ordered such a device as a bare PCB, but sadly didn't pay enough attention to the form factor. It's about 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm, with 12 contacts down one side. Soldering anything to this is going to be tricky. Frankly, just seeing the contacts is a problem for my aging eyes.

However, summer is here, so this project is on hold until the rainy season returns. Maybe by that time, I'll have located a larger radio!


Thanks for the reply, misery truly loving company.


Alan

jbrewer
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2021 9:34 pm

Re: Realtime status

Postby jbrewer » Wed Aug 04, 2021 2:52 pm

alan-bc,

From what I've found elsewhere on the Internet, all wireless "RFX" messages should be visible on the ECP bus. That makes sense given that the wireless receiver has to inform the panel about faults/restores and the only connection it has to do that is the ECP bus.

As far as I know, the Envisalink 4 doesn't make the raw ECP bus messages available to the end user (only the keypad messages, LRR reports, and maybe a few other event types). There are several devices available out there that will let you read raw messages off the ECP bus. I'll send you a PM with a link.


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