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All,

Do any of you know a good source to find drivers or someone that can write drivers for Control4? We want a driver for the U by Moen showers and also the Thermasol steam units. Currently, U by Moen can be controlled by app, Alexa, etc and the Thermasol by Alexa. So one would think drivers for these would be fairly simple to create? Basically a simple on/off driver at the last preset would be awesome. I asked Driver Central about it over a year ago on the Moen driver and they said it would be release late third quarter of 2020. They havent released it. Any ideas?

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6 minutes ago, rf9000 said:

All,

Do any of you know a good source to find drivers or someone that can write drivers for Control4? We want a driver for the U by Moen showers and also the Thermasol steam units. Currently, U by Moen can be controlled by app, Alexa, etc and the Thermasol by Alexa. So one would think drivers for these would be fairly simple to create? Basically a simple on/off driver at the last preset would be awesome. I asked Driver Central about it over a year ago on the Moen driver and they said it would be release late third quarter of 2020. They havent released it. Any ideas?

they are usually cost prohibitive to build as a 1 off.  They need to sell a lot of licenses to make their money back so the odds of someone making something for you is low unless you have deep pockets.  Years ago I was asking if someone would build something for the air draft systems made for BBQ smokers (BBQ Guru, the now defunct Stoker, etc) - and though the thread got some attention and there were some people interested, I assume not enough to drum up interest to develop a driver.  I believe some of the bigger 3rd party developers are getting paid by the product company to build the driver vs building it on their own to sell off spec (though that still happens obviously).

Lastly - C4 has really been pushing and basically mandating driver developers get permission to build out the drivers vs putting together hacks that may break down the line.  So its not as easy as saying "I want a Moen driver so let's engineer it" because C4 is really trying to move away from that strategy - they want something certified to work through any API changes, and hacked drivers can stop working suddenly and then people blame C4, not the 3rd party driver author or the product itself.

Commercially available ones - here are some good resources:

https://drivercentral.io/platforms/control4-drivers/

https://www.blackwiredesigns.com/cat/automation-apps-and-drivers/control4_drivers/

https://www.homeation.com/drivers

Native C4 database: https://drivers.control4.com/solr/drivers/browse?

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3 hours ago, rf9000 said:

I asked Driver Central about it over a year ago on the Moen driver and they said it would be release late third quarter of 2020. They havent released it.

Development for many drivers have been slowed down due to the pandemic - it limits testing ability if nothing else - so it may just have been delayed.

 

As per others - writing a driver, especially for IP and/or Cloud services is a costly exercise, and is going to run into the thousands easily not even including long-term support. So to do it for a single person just doesn't make sense unless willing to fork out a LOT of money.

It's why the already listed developers/groups of developers don't just belt out drivers - it needs to have a viable sales base (or be paid for my the 3rd party company, such as Hunter Douglas did)

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5 minutes ago, zaphod said:

Sure would be nice if we could have an Open Source community writing drivers for C4.  I know a lot of dealers might not like it as it could eat into their revenue streams. 

that is exactly what c4 doesn't want from a customer experience stand point.  open source it, api's change, and your system stops working.  that is not a luxury experience C4 wants to provide to the end user.  There are open source home automation systems if that is the desire of the end user.

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7 minutes ago, zaphod said:

Sure would be nice if we could have an Open Source community writing drivers for C4.  I know a lot of dealers might not like it as it could eat into their revenue streams. 

Don't think that would appeal to 99% of C4 users - that want things that work and that someone will service.  Dealers would never install OSS drivers

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1 hour ago, msgreenf said:

Don't think that would appeal to 99% of C4 users - that want things that work and that someone will service.  Dealers would never install OSS drivers

I understand why it will never happen in C4 as this is similar to fully DIY, but I have seen it work in other environments and the benefits can be a number of drivers that are more niche as a geek that owns a Moen shower writes a driver for C4, or a Tesla owner in 2015 writes a driver for C4. Or these are done on unoffical APIs.  It seems like we are now seeing third party drivers C4 drovers that use unoffical APIs - there is now a Tesla driver for C4 but I am pretty sure that the Tesla API is unoffical, although it has been around for at least 8 years.  Yes there is the risk that the support for the OS project dies when the owner loses interest, but I believe that also happens with paid drivers as well. It is caveat emptor.

And don't totally knock Open Source as C4 runs on a version of Linux which is essentially an Open Source Operating System.

By the way, there are a handful of OS drivers on Github, and even a package that allows you to control some C4 stuff from Python. 

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7 hours ago, zaphod said:

I understand why it will never happen in C4 as this is similar to fully DIY, but I have seen it work in other environments and the benefits can be a number of drivers that are more niche as a geek that owns a Moen shower writes a driver for C4, or a Tesla owner in 2015 writes a driver for C4. Or these are done on unoffical APIs.  It seems like we are now seeing third party drivers C4 drovers that use unoffical APIs - there is now a Tesla driver for C4 but I am pretty sure that the Tesla API is unoffical, although it has been around for at least 8 years.  Yes there is the risk that the support for the OS project dies when the owner loses interest, but I believe that also happens with paid drivers as well. It is caveat emptor.

And don't totally knock Open Source as C4 runs on a version of Linux which is essentially an Open Source Operating System.

By the way, there are a handful of OS drivers on Github, and even a package that allows you to control some C4 stuff from Python. 

I want to chime in on this.

Control4 asked us to attend a meeting at ISE last year with their senior VPs.  In summary they told us (and also every other major Control4 driver developer) to stop reverse engineering APIs and to provide them with the details of the systems we reverse engineered so that they can assist us with creating a relationship with that particular company to stop the API from breaking in the future.

In short there were a few 3rd party drivers out in the wild that broke and caused Control4 alot of headaches.  Not sure if it was just customers complaining or legal issues but regardless it was enough for them to warn all the major 3rd party developers formally.  In fact we were all reminded about the agreements we signed with Control4.

As such our business practices changed to not develop any driver that contains reverse engineered code or if we do reverse engineer it we would create a partnership with the company to ensure that the APIs do not break and they understood that we were using them.

By partnering with these companies we ensure that there is no disruption to the home owners Control4 experience.

A good example of this is an upcoming driver we are about to release in the next week or so (we partnered with a company to do this).  Here is a sneak peak.

Image

Image

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On 2/12/2021 at 5:26 AM, eggzlot said:

they are usually cost prohibitive to build as a 1 off.  They need to sell a lot of licenses to make their money back so the odds of someone making something for you is low unless you have deep pockets.  Years ago I was asking if someone would build something for the air draft systems made for BBQ smokers (BBQ Guru, the now defunct Stoker, etc) - and though the thread got some attention and there were some people interested, I assume not enough to drum up interest to develop a driver.  I believe some of the bigger 3rd party developers are getting paid by the product company to build the driver vs building it on their own to sell off spec (though that still happens obviously).

Lastly - C4 has really been pushing and basically mandating driver developers get permission to build out the drivers vs putting together hacks that may break down the line.  So its not as easy as saying "I want a Moen driver so let's engineer it" because C4 is really trying to move away from that strategy - they want something certified to work through any API changes, and hacked drivers can stop working suddenly and then people blame C4, not the 3rd party driver author or the product itself.

Commercially available ones - here are some good resources:

https://drivercentral.io/platforms/control4-drivers/

https://www.blackwiredesigns.com/cat/automation-apps-and-drivers/control4_drivers/

https://www.homeation.com/drivers

Native C4 database: https://drivers.control4.com/solr/drivers/browse?

Also to add to this the economics of driver development are like any other piece of software.  You have expenses (Employee salaries, computers, software, office space, etc) that need to be paid and as such have a minimum rate to ensure that what you are building is profitable.  Some drivers are cheaper as they are less time / resource intensive and others will require muliple programmers, graphics designers, etc to contribute for the project.  As such one off projects are definately cost prohibited.  We have had customers pay us for custom development and they have justified it as the money they save on not buying an alternative product (eg a blind in the case i am thinking of) is enough to warrant commissioning the project.

Having said all of that the majority of people who contract us nowadays are manufacturers and we are finding that we are doing less of our own IP and more contracted work.  You can find the majority of these contracted (and free drivers) via our website (http://www.chowmainsoft.com) with some others being certified (with SDDP implemented) and available via the online Control4 database.

We do however still invest into passion projects where we see gaps in the solutions and we find a product that will fill that gap.  There are actually a ton of passion projects i want to complete but unfortunately contracts come first.  Hopefully now that we have 3 inhouse Control4 developers we will complete more of these passion projects but regardless you will see more output from us for Control4.

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