Setting Up Your mServer Z-Wave System Controller
An extremely robust hardware platform, mServer is designed specifically for dedicated home and building automation (see figure 1). It comes with Embedded Automation’s mControl software that runs on Windows XP. mServer offers standard PC connections such as USB, RS232, PS2 (keyboard, mouse), VGA (monitor output), Ethernet, and audio for connecting home control hardware.
In this article I’ll walk you through setting up your first Z-Wave network using the mServer hardware and mControl software platforms. To make installation easier you should note that a home network is required and a portable PC such as a laptop or Tablet PC with USB support is highly recommended for configuring your Z-Wave network. Also highly recommended is a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. mServer will function without the above recommended devices but it makes installation much easier.
STEP 1: Powering up mServer
Let’s get right to the fun stuff. Connect mServer to your home network using a standard Cat5e Ethernet cable. mServer should have come with a +12v DC power supply. Plug that in. You’re finished. mServer is now powered up and should be connected to your network.
STEP 2: Accessing the mControl Interface through your web browser
This step is probably premature, but I’m sure you are excited to see what the mServer interface looks like. Before you can access mServer through your home network you need to configure the network. This means determining what mServer’s IP address is and configuring the router’s “port forwarding” setting.
Determining the IP address:
- Connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to mServer.
- Login to mServer using the default username and password, which you’ll find in the quick start manual.
- Press the Windows key + R to bring up the run dialog box.
- Type “control” and press enter to bring up the control panel.
- Double click “network connections.”
- Select the active Ethernet adapter.
- In the left pane scroll down to the bottom to find the IP address of mServer.
Setting up port forwarding:
- Forward ports 29990 through 29995 to the IP address found above. Consult your router’s manual for details on setting up port forwarding.
Accessing the mServer from your web browser
- Open Internet Explorer and type http:// + your mServer IP + a colon + the port number 29990 into the address bar and press enter (for example: http://192.168.1.1:29990).
STEP 3: Using the Z-Wave Adapter Utility
Embedded Automation has created a nice utility to help you manage your network (see figure 2). This utility can be found on mServer using the following steps:
- Press the Windows+R keys to bring up the run dialog box.
- Type “explorer” and press enter.
- Navigate to the C:\Program Files\Embedded Automation\mControl\bin directory.
- Double Click ZWaveUtil.exe to launch the application.
TIP #1: Download and install the free trial version of mControl from Embedded Automation‘s web site to your laptop and run the ZWaveUtil.exe application from there. This will allow you to carry your laptop around for programming devices into your Intermatic USB Stick.
TIP #2: Also, carry a piece of paper and a pencil with you and note which node ID’s are associated with what devices in your home. This will make naming the devices in later steps much faster.
STEP 4: Adding zones to mControl
- Open the mControl interface via your web browser (example: http://192.168.1.1:29990).
- Click “settings” as shown in figure 3.
- Click “manage zones” as shown in figure 4.
- Click “add zone” as shown in figure 5.
- Type the name of the zone you want to create as shown in figure 6. A zone is a common area such as a living room or basement.
- Click save.
STEP 5: Adding Z-Wave devices to your zones
In step three you downloaded and used the ZwaveUtil.exe application to add devices to your Z-Wave USB controller. Here is something you may not have known. Your Z-Wave network and device information is physically stored in your Z-Wave USB controller and can now be used by any computer. When you plug your USB controller into mServer all of your device information is available to the mControl software.
- Plug the USB controller into mServer.
- In the “edit zones” menu click “add device” as shown in figure 7.
- Enter a “name” for the device as shown in figure 8.
- Use the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons to select the Z-Wave ID (node ID) you want to add. (This is where writing down the node ID numbers, as suggested in step 3, comes in handy.)
- Use the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons to select an image that best represents the device you are adding.
- Click save.
STEP 6: Controlling your Z-Wave devices
In this example we will be controlling a ACT ZTT000 Z-Wave Thermostat.
- Click “Home” to return to the main menu
- Click the triangle next to the thermostat device to bring up the “HVAC view” as shown in figure 9.
- Make the adjustments to the HVAC settings using the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons.
- Click “Apply” as shown in figure 10 for the settings to take effect.