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Home Control Assistant Newsletter for Nov 3

Have you looked over the version 16 release notes? Lots of changes that you can incorporate into your designs right away.

And if you are looking for answers to the most common questions about HCA check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Want to read messages from past weeks? Here you go.
Version 16

In case you missed it, HCA version 16 was released a few weeks ago. There are two big reasons to upgrade to this new version. First there are a lot of new features and a lot of stability improvements that make things go better and faster even if you make no changes in your design. Take a look at the release notes and you can see all the changes. Let me highlight two reasons to upgrade.

First, over the years we have had a lot of requests for ZWave and Zigbee device support. These wireless devices have their pluses and minuses and some people really like them. If this is what you are looking for, then you should look into Samsung SmartThings and Hubitat Elevation. Both offer hubs that provide the interface that HCA needs to talk to these kinds of devices.

The second big reason to upgrade is that you have a lot of time invested in HCA and by upgrading, at a nominal cost, you support the company that keeps this software going year after year. If you were around last weekend you would have seen that the HCA Cloud got caught up in a bit of a squall. The HCA team was there over the weekend and sorted it out within a day. Upgrade now to keep this level of support going.

New Android apps

The HCA Android app has been updated and released to both the Google App Store (aka Google Play) and the Amazon App Store for those of you with Fire tablets. You should have seen the update available on your Android device.

The iOS App for Apple devices is waiting for the Apple review process but should be soon.

Yes, believe it or not, HCA does still support X10

I know that the world is heading towards wifi and other wireless devices, but HCA does still support X10 and I know that there are many of you out there that have some X10 devices in your home. I'm told by one of our X10 users that the venerable old CM11 is still available and supports X10 well. HCA supports the CM11 interface, and all the X10 tools in HCA are still available for your use. HCA is the only modern software in production that supports the CM11 and X10. Other software only supports the Insteon interface (2413 and 2414) as an X10 interface, but it is Insteon focused and not as capable for X10. HCA is also the only software that properly integrates X10 lighting with all the modern Cloud Services.

Download multiple copies of HCA

Another popular question is where to download a copy of HCA if you move computers, have suffered a computer death, or want to set up a new machine as a client to your HCA server. It's simple: If you are registered in the online database. If so, just go to the support website https://www.homecontrolassistant.com/current.php, enter your registration code in the form, press the submit button and the resultant page gives you your download password and link. You can download and install HCA on as many computers as you personally own. Just make sure that you are in the registration database! If you put in the registration code and it says that you are not registered, you may want to believe it and go to the registration page and get that done.

NEST Thermostat

Another question that comes up is what about the NEST thermostat since Google has acquired the company. I don't have much news. You can read all about it in a good summary here. This lock down is really annoying as the system they had in place seemed to me to be adequate to maintaining security. We will continue to monitor the situation and hope to become part of their "trusted ecosystem" at some point. But I can offer no ETA. If you are looking for other thermostat choices, HCA supports both the Venstart ColorTouch and Ecobee thermostats. I use the Ecobee in my own home and like it a lot.

I wonder what the power usage is...

I got a new toy a few weeks back: a power meter that lets me plug something that uses power into it, and then the meter into a wall outlet. It shows the voltage, frequency, and current power usage - watts and amps - and power use over time - watts/hour. So I've been annoying everyone plugging in lots of stuff and seeing how much power things really draw - not always what the sticker said. It's been fun.

One thing I wanted to know, because the question comes up, is how much power does HCA use since it has to run 24/7 on some machine. My desktop machine - which is a Dell lower priced Inspiron machine - draws about 28 watts - not including monitor. Actually much less than I expected.

The big win was the small footprint HCA Server machine that we sell. It draws only 7 watts which I was amazed at! While both the desktop machine and the HCA server machine are not energy hogs, I like the fact that my home is running on a machine that uses such little power.
Want to watch instead of read?

If you are interested in watching some videos about how HCA and Insteon can work together, George De Luca, a HCA users of a few years and technology video creator, has started to add HCA videos to his channel. He has a good knowledge of HCA and its ins-and-outs.
 
His channel can be reached at: https://www.youtube.com/deluca2008. While I’ve offered him some thoughts on the videos, his opinions and advice on using HCA are his own. If you have questions about something you see, ask them in the video comment section and you may see a video with an answer.


User-to-User forum

An HCA User who wanted to set up a forum for user-to-user communication. I'm passing this on, but please know that this is not a HCA company project and I will not be spending much time there so I don't know how this will work out. Here is a link to what he set up.

https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeControlAssistant/

 
Want to take the next step in automation? Want to get started with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and control HCA by voice commands? Even if you are a long-time user of HCA, the Getting Started guides have all the info you need on client-server, mobile applications, DDNS, and voice assistants.

All of the Getting Started Guides are available on the support website.
 
Copyright © 2019 Advanced Quonset Technology, Inc, All rights reserved.


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