Thanks for dropping in !


Jan 2010 - Update

Recently i have been concentrating on stability and catching all the errors that may happen when something unexpected happens. Most, if not all of these have now been caught and the system is stable on XP, Vista and so far..... Windows 7 (which is really Vista). Also been looking at the camera system and currently have two IP cameras on test. Voice mail beta is also nearly finished and should be on test soon. As soon as I feel I have a stable version I will release the download.




This is the home page of the Portcullis project, it stared life as a small programming project to allow me to automate my own home.... why ? well I just like to program and couldn't find anything that suited my needs, and it just seemed like a good idea at the time.


My thoughts were that if I wanted a program that did more than the basic software available on the market, from suppliers who will probably only write software for their particular hardware, then others may want to use that software to. I also had a look at some existing software out there and was very surprised by the price......big companies with big overheads obviously !


So why publish it ? Well some people that have seen the beta versions running on my home system have been most impressed.... and my wife finds it easy to use. So I felt that if they liked it, others may too.


Am I selling it... don't know. I like the idea of free software, (big Linux fan) but understand that it will take some effort to update and keep valid.

Can you have it now ?..... No not yet, needs some more work still, but looking for testers maybe soon ! Need some reaction first.

Why am i doing it ? .... just because I can !


The system is based around the Velbus range of products, as having look around and played with a few others, (namely X10) they seem to offer good quality, and I have experience of the Velleman products before on other smaller projects. The system is based mainly around a previous version that was tested by several people on the X10 network, however I found X10 to unreliable and not really suited for the European markets. I stopped development and started to look at other systems. Quite by chance I came across Velbus and liked what I saw. I liked the fact that I could incorporate any standard off the shelf products that produced a NC or NO circuit.


I wanted a system that would protect and secure my house, plus keep track of all residents and guests, (wanted or not), plus allow me to run the whole system on a standalone PC using a touch screen to control the whole house. I wanted it to record all activity, both in text and video. Plus I wanted the whole house to operate in the most efficient way by turning lights off when they were not needed. The proposed system would see the PC hardware being located in a secure "hidden" area and the Touch Screen being the only visible part of the system. It currently runs on both Windows Vista and XP, and now Windows 7, however I find XP is a more stable platform, and until Windows 7 reaches that level I would recommend XP. My test system is an old Dell PC with a P4 chip, 512 MB RAM and and 18GB hard disk, running XP with SP3 installed.


Originally developed for my own use, the way I program means it can be used by others with very little modification, most, if not all, of which could be done through the touch screen input, so I though I would put it up here for people to look at and comment on....good or bad, they are both welcome.


If you are interested in helping me test this program by running it on your PC and reporting any issues, (and you have to be patient to do this, have no expectations of a trouble free operation, and know a little of the system you are working with), then e-mail me on


About me ! ....... I have written several programs, mainly for engineering type applications that have then had global rollout. Most were far more complicated that this using database protocols and security and need to be be very stable to transfer, update and share data over the internet. The main area of concern was making the programs easy to use so that staff from all countries could use without difficulty.


The project is still being developed, and is in the quite early stages at this time, however the envisaged spec will include;


Home Security System

    Alarm with "Home" and "Away" Settings (Done)

    Smoke Detector (Done)

    Frost Detector (Done)

    Flood Detector (Done)

    Motion Sensors (Done)

    At Home Simulator for Alarm

    Dusk to Dawn Setting

Home Overview

    Pictorial representation of your home (Your draw your home and place the sensors on it)

    Query individual sensors (done)

    Telephone Answer Machine built in

    Macros, record and create.

Surveillance Cameras

    Video recording trigged by Motion events (Done)

Weather Station Plug-in (Done using Yahoo Weather)

Voice Activation and Reporting

Phone Notification of events, Verbal and Text (SMS), (I hope) (Partly done)

On Line updates and Error reporting (Done)


The above list will grow as my demands for the program grow, however the program is taking shape with most of the above requirements being covered or understood, and as anyone who has done any significant programs knows, starting of the right way makes life a lot easier when you get in to the real heavy programming.



Main Screen       Alarm Screen       Sensor Setup



Settings Screen       Tools Screen        Log Screen



Message Centre     Alarm Armed       Unlock Keypad


Installed and running on frameless flat screen monitor, mounted in oak frame

Click thumbnails for a bigger picture


The main screen shots above shows the main user interface which is designed to be operated on a touch screen display. It can be used with a mouse and keyboard as normal if required. The large buttons provide access to the main areas of the program, and control the Alarm, Surveillance, Sensors Settings, Event Log, Weather Plug-in, General Settings, Help.


I will post other screen shots as and when I get them tidied up, but please consider the ones above to be rough drafts at this stage.


There is a help file which, whilst still being written, will give you some more information. Help