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What is an HCS?

HCS stands for Home Control System. Originally designed by Steve Ciarcia for the article "Home Run Control System" for Byte magazine.

What is the HCS II? The HCS II is an expandable, network-based (RS485), intelligent-node, industrial-oriented supervisory control system intended for demanding home control applications. The HCS incorporates direct and remote digital inputs and outputs, direct and remote analog inputs and outputs, real-time or Boolean decision event triggering, X-10 transmission and reception, infrared remote control transmission and reception, remote LCD displays, and a master console.

The HCS II system architecture consists of a central supervisory controller (SC) connected to up to 32 other functional modules (called links) via a RS485 serial network. The SC and the COMM-Links can operate independently and don't need each other to function. This allows easy testing or incorporation as intelligent subsystems in other control equipment. Initially the subsystems links all shared a comon 8031 controller board (generically called a COMM-Link) with the I/O customized for each application.

Additional boards are available that piggy-back on top of the SC. These boards include the PLIX (X10), HCS-Voice, HCS-DTMF, and HCS-Voice II boards. These boards are intended for I/O that requires quicker processing than the COMM-Link which can experience network delays.

What is the HCS_C? The HCS_C is the next generation system controller. It is an ARM processor (ARM7TDMI) base board with FPGA to handle the on board I/O and daughter board interface. Like the HCS II it is the intelligent master node. It will provide XPRESS support and all the boards that the original HCS II with 3.64/4.00 code supported. Our intention is to bring the HCS up to date with support for more and faster COMM-Link modules, TCP/IP network support and additional features. In addition to more memory and flash for easier upgrades.

Both the HCS II & the HCS_C will support at least 2 kinds of I/O boards. The first is a COMM-Link board, which is a remote board that handles I/O over the RS485 network. The HCS II can support up to COMM-Link 32 boards. The other board is a stack board. This board is meant for I/O which need to be processed immediately and is directly connected to the Supervisory Control board. Future boards include an Ether-Link board which is a remote board connected via a TCP/IP network.

This project is built around the Circuit Cellar HCS II. The HCS II is a home automation system which has been released as an Open Source Inititive (OSI) project and licensed via the GNU General Public License. We will provide support, enhancement and expansion for the existing HCS II boards (both Z180 and S180 based SC). If you wish to build you're own HCS II contact Neil Cherry for further details. For those who don't want to build boards but instead use ready made products there's Micromint's RTC-180 board (RTC-180 Link since the HCS II-D2X board is not currently available we can use this as a replacement). We can also support the BCC180 (aka the IND180), Comm-link network modules, firmware and user software along with new boards, firmware and software. I now have a SpectraSense 2000 so we can even support one of those! This popular Home Automation system came from the mind of Circuit Cellar magazine's Editor-in-Chief Steve Ciarcia. Thank you Steve

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