Sometimes, in the heat of the festive season, you could get off the hook for not being good enough at cooking a turkey, or tossing the salad. When it comes to keeping your family and home safe, however, simple mistakes like leaving a door open could be catastrophic. With Fibaro Home Centre 2, you no longer have to worry of mistakes like leaving the front door open, the attic window ajar or the perimeter lights off.
The system’s purposes to deliver simple yet functional ways of automating a whole lot of things around the home. For the Fibaro Home Centre 2 to work, you would need to hook up a combination of sensors to the central server software that coordinates the functioning of the sensors and actuators.
With a fully activated system, you can remotely control roller blinds, lighting systems, the air conditioning system, your coffee maker and perhaps the dry cleaning machine. The number of sensors installed in your home directly determines the capabilities of the Fibaro Home Centre 2. Whilst most of the sensors are easy to install and none intrusive, learning the software configuration is core since you will be interacting with the application more often than you would be with the sensors.
If you are interested in learning the installation of a variety of Fibaro Home Centre system sensors, we have a wide variety of How-To-Do articles that will help you achieve your goal
What to Expect on Purchase
The Fibaro Home Center 2 (HC2) is in essence a ZWave controller with a processor, some RAM and a solid-state disk enclosed in a neat custom milled aluminium case. The purchase package comes with a power supply and network cable making the HC2 a true plug and play device.
Setting up the HC2
Setting up the device is as easy as connecting the power cable and hooking it up to the network via an Ethernet port. To access the connection interfase, you have to remove the side plate (you will need a screwdriver to do this) and expose the power and network connection interface. Threading the cables through a slot on the rear, plugging them into their respective ports (each port is unique to its cable making the entire process fool proof) and replacing the side plate gives a firm and tidy connection making the entire HC2 a sight to behold.
Next to the power and network ports is are a few more ports, two USB ports one of which carries a flash memory stick with the recovery boot image. There really isn’t anything to do here if all you are interested in is getting the system up and running.
Accessing the HC2 System
After you have connected the Home Center 2 to the power socket it will take about 2 minutes before it is ready to operate. The default static IP address for the Home Center 2 is 192.168.81.1 If you are unsure, just push the RECOVERY button while the power is on and the Home Center 2 will automatically get the static IP 192.168.81.1 To access the control panel, type in this IP address in your browser address / URL bar.
This should give you the initial configuration interface that features a set of forms to collect the needed setup data. This includes locational, user and connected device data. Even though this gives an overview of the basics needed to get the system up and running, another myriad of settings and permission sets lets you control who can access the system and the amount of control that specific use has on the different sensors in the system.
An alternative approach to access is in using a smart-phone apps or simple text messages to manage the system. Even though these remote access permissions allow you to control the system, their capabilities are more limited in doing follow up and extra management services.
Setting Up Sections and Rooms
Imagine what would become of your home if you had to control over 50 sensors, all of which are strewn all over the place. It will be catastrophic. HC2’s power is to split up the sensors in your home into sections and rooms makes home automation a breeze.
Creating sections will of course depending on your home’s layout. A simple approach would be upstairs, downstairs and outbuilding. Adding the appropriate rooms into every section, for instance a bedroom to the upstairs, kitchen to the downstairs and workshop to the outdoors sections could be all you need to do for now.
Connecting the HC2 System to the Sensors (Adding Devices)
Connecting new devices to the system depends on the kind of system in use. If you are using Fibaro’s sensors, it could be as simple as pressing the pairing mode button on the webpage controls. The system will identify all the broadcasting devices making the bonding as easy as toggling the attached switch for each detected device. The Fibaro system can work with a wide variety of ZWave sensors whose commissioning process varies from the acceptable simplicity to astounding impossible. Using Fibaro sensors, therefore, is always a good idea.
While most people would prefer fixing all the devices to their final resting places before doing the commissioning, setting up a dummy rigging close to the HC2 and commissioning all your sensors before installing them to their respective places makes things simpler. Normally, the ZWave protocol runs its radio wave network at low power when doing the pairing meaning that you can easily miss far flung sensors.
An alternative would be running the HC2 on the ‘Device Far Away Option’ that forces the radio to use high signal power in the powering up process.
Assigning Devices and Programming Scenes
Once a sensor is commissioned, it will show up on the management page as ‘unassigned.’ You will have to allocate it to its appropriate section and room (remember the segmentation we did before?) and modify any of the other available parameters. To access a sensor, you will have to click on its icon. All connected sensors display on the strip to your left hand side.
The most interesting part of configuring the HC2 system is programing a scene. A scene is a set of events to occur at a given hour. The events could affect a set of sensors or apply to specific sections in your home.
Configuring the HC2 system for the first time might sound overwhelming. However, once you are familiar with the process, adding more automation and access parameters should give you more control over the devices in your home. With the system adding more features almost constantly, keeping up to date with new tricks and tips will allow you to get the very best out of your automation investment.
To program a scene,
- enter the Add Scene mode from the menu to your left and click on ‘add scene’
- A scene window appears with basic configurations that let you change the scene’s name
- Once you have given your scene a name, you can enter the advanced setup mode to do the scene programing
- The programming does not involve the writing of any code. The wizard will take you through the process of selecting sensors, activities and times.
- To combine multiple sensors, you can use the “and” option
- If your sensor action will depend on some condition for instance “if it is past 7pm or the perimeter lights are on” could be a fool proof way to establish that the night is in and that the TV should be on your favourite local news channel
At the end of a programming activity, you will have a set of activities that occur automatically at given times of the day.