Portcullis Help & Installation

Last Update - 07/08/2010 04:29:14



Notes  Licensing  System Requirements  General  System Overview  Device Overview  Alarm  Lights  Device Setup 

System Settings  System Tools  Weather  Surveillance & Cameras  Help  Trouble Shooting  Updates


NOTE: the Help file is always being updated as the program develops, and should not in any way be considered finished or definitive, it relates to the current release only !



The program does not contain any spyware, or adware, or viruses that we are aware of, however as with good practice we recommend that you always run full virus protections at all times and scan all new file, no matter where they have come from. The program will on occasions connect to the internet to transfer information on any error that has occurred; this will not contain any personal information and will not be shared with anyone else. It is purely transmitted to allow errors to be corrected and updates released. It will also automatically connect to check for and download updates.



The program is only licensed for use on the computer on which it is installed, if you move your system over to another computer you will need to re-apply for a user code, it will be issued free of charge provided you have registered a copy before, and that depends on if I decide to charge for the program. Sorry, but this is to stop the software being pirated around the globe. To trial the software enter 999999 in the code box on the splash screen, this will give you 30 days free use of the software.


To register the software you must install it on a machine with internet access, (even if just for the period of installation) click the register button on the splash screen when and prompted to do so enter your e-mail address, and once more to avoid mistakes. A unique computer specific activation code will be mailed back to you within 24 hours, (but in practice it is normally within 2 hrs), however in the meantime you can continue to use the software. Activation will not destroy any of the date you have loaded up during the trial period.


System Requirements

The system is primarily designed to be used on a touch screen system dedicated to running the software, whereby the screen is located close to the point of entry and exit of the property. Users can then access the alarm home and away settings when leaving and entering the property.


The Software should run on most systems, and does not need a modern high spec’d PC in order to carry out the actions required. The lowest spec machine that the system has run on is a 4 year old Dell with P4 and 512MB Ram and Windows XP SP3.


Has been tested on the following systems;


Windows XP SP2 (SP2 must be installed) to Windows Vista Ultimate

Both systems require the installation of .NET 4.0 framework.


The following Velbus equipment have been tested and proved by myself and some initial Beta testers;


Velbus Equipment

VMB8PB       Velbus 8 Channel Push Button Module            

VMB1RY       Velbus Relay Module                              

VMB1USB     Velbus USB Interface                              

VMB3PS       Velbus Power Supply    

VMB6IN        Velbus 6 Channel Input Module                         



Other Equipment - Tested and working

Honeywell - MC-760T - PIR Motion Sensor detector Intelligence

Menvier M12 4in1 Smoke Heat Detector (M12-12V)



It is best to install the system on a clean installation of XP or Vista, XP with SP3 is preferred, and more widely tested.

Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the installation. Then boot the system using the desktop shortcut.

As this is the first time the system has been run there will be some information that needs to be written to the disk to allow the system to operate correctly.


Once the boot has started the system will ask for a 6 digit admin code. (This code will not be an alarm code unless you re-enter it in one of the alarm code fields.) This code is used to access the alarm setup screens. You will be asked to enter the code twice to ensure it matches each time, if it does not you will be prompted to try again. Once a valid and matching code has been entered the system will continue to boot and the home screen will be displayed.



In the top right of the screen is the time and date, with 5 small green lines underneath. We will come back to these. At the bottom left is the prompt box, this will prompt the user on actions and system status. In the middle of the screen are the main "Home" icons. click the icon, not the text to move through the system, this is the same throughout.


The 5 green lights are quick check status lights that give an instant indication of the system status in real time. Starting from the left;


1. The first light is the system status light, if the system has booted cleanly and not had any issues, this will be green.

2. The second light tells the status of the Velbus system, is is connected or not.

3. Light three indicates if the internet is connected or not.

4. The forth light indicates if the system has reported and error, go to the log files the clear the light and read the error.

5. Light five is the disk access light, when reading and writing system information to the disk, this light will turn red.


That is the main screen, clean simple !




It is recommended that you assign each device a different memorable tag, for example, input modules for Motion Detectors could be tagged with "M", and lights with "L". This will help when you later come to review the operation of the system and tweak it to suit your own requirements. All activity is recorded to a log file. A new log file is created every day at midnight and records the next 24 hours events, the log file can be loaded and searched or printed if required.



Before the alarm can be used, at least one alarm code must be set. Remember the admin code is NOT and alarm code unless you enter it as such. The alarm has two states, Home and Away. in the Home mode all sensors marked as home will trip the alarm, in the Away state all sensors will trip the alarm.

The alarm has several user variable settings as follows;

Entry Exit Timer is set to 30 seconds by default, however can be adjusted between 10 and 99 secs. When the alarm is activated the countdown will reduce and then beep.  



This button gives access to the configuration screens for General, Cameras, Automation, Alarm (with passcode) .......





Systems Settings

The Settings and Tools panel give you access to the main areas of the program that can be changed. Click the tick or cross buttons to turn them into the opposite. A tick means True, and cross means False. The program saves the changes as you make them, there is no need to physically save your changes. Other changes are made by clicking the field, the field will then index to the next setting, before reverting back to the beginning when you reach the maximum setting.


Automation Device Setup and Tips.

The sensors are setup, adjusted and deleted using the sensors form accessed by the icon to the left. They are changed by either one of two methods;

1. Click on the item you want to change and a pick list will appear on the right, the data is changed by clicking the item on the list, this will replace the current contents of the field.

2. In all other cases a simple click will change the box to the next option, or increase the value in the case of a number or time. In some cases the box will turn "red" when you enter an option to show it is not accepted.


To add a sensor click the "Add Sensor" button. This will enter default information in the form and assign the new sensor a default ID. Once it has created a new sensor, you can make changes to suit your own use.


NOTE; That if you change the ID of a sensor that is already in use and being called by another sensor, and you do not change that data also, the program will not be able to carry out your wishes.....future generations of this program will capture this and make the changes for you should you wish.


So, from the top;

  • Base Type of sensor determines the action taken by the system. Switch, Sensor or Relay allow the program to respond rapidly.

  • Sub Type of sensor further determines and refines the action taken

  • Address and Sub Address are the Velbus designated addresses. i.e. "B1 6" Button input 1 position 6

  • Description, this is for your own use, to enable you to place a memorable tag against this sensor for future reference.

  • Location is a user defined tag, but does not effect system and is mainly to create a user friendly tag

  • Alarm function is either True or False and then either Home, Away, Fire or Flood and determine the action taken by the system

  • There are 4 activation fields, that will activate other Velbus units, i.e. a single switch input will put on 4 relays putting maybe outside lights on.

  • On From/ To. The on function can be limited to a time span set by the user.

  • The duration of the on time can be set from 1 to 99 mins, for outside lights tripped by motion sensor for example

  • The Duck Only field restricts operation to the hours of darkness, requires a light sensor.

  • The Dimmer function dims the light relay to the user determined settings 10% to 90%

  • Vocalise Events allows user to specify a ping / beep / click when a switch or motion sensor is activated, for example outside motion sensors

  • Record picture and video fields are for future use.

NOTE; The system can take advantage of Smoke Detectors that are available, however the system should not be used as the only method of notification and the smoke detector's own siren must be the primary method of alert


Deleting sensors is done by using the delete button, beware changes to this can not be undone.

Systems Tools

This page is still currently under development. But does contain access to the event logs, Back up and restore utilities

The data that is displayed on the log pane shows you what is being sent to and received from the command unit. The program appends this data to a rolling log file that is created at the start of every day and runs for 24 hours. You can access previous logs by clicking "More >>>".



The weather plug-in will either draw information from an outside weather station, (future release), or directly from the internet with content for your local.




Surveillance & Cameras

Still under development, the Cameras can be activated by motion detected by the nominated motion sensors. Duration of the record time and frames per second can be set to suit personal requirements. When tripped video cameras can only record for a maximum of 59 mins, which should be more than enough for any application. However, they can be programmed to record continuously if required, however this will use a significant amount of disk space.


Help & Trouble Shooting

This icon gives you access to this file.

If your Velbus fails to communicate with the PC check the Com Port setting using Windows Control Panel / System.




Program Updates

These are free for current base evolutions, and you can force the system to check for updates, although this is done automatically every day and a system messages notifies you of this.   




Most setup problems will be related to the version of .NET Framework that is installed. Please ensure that you run with version .NET Framework 3.5 with Service Patch 1. This must be installed before you install the program and should cure any issues that you may have during the installation.




Fault Finding

  Common Faults Solution  

Scrolling not working on touch screen installations.

Make sure the touch screen is set to the "drawing mode"



Screensaver running and not turning off

This is probably the windows screensaver, so disable it from the Windows control panel as Portcullis has one built in.