KB100: Indigo. Setting up a new Apple Mac Mini to run the server

KB100: Indigo. Setting up a new Apple Mac Mini to run the server

The best home automation controller currently on the market, in our opinion, is Indigo, which is a software product designed for the Apple Mac.  This step by step guide will allow you take take a factory fresh Apple Mac Mini and get Indigo up and running using a Z-Wave interface.  Further knowledge base articles describe how to add devices and perform other tasks.

Step 1: Basic Setup

Although Indigo can run on a shared Apple Mac, it’s best to have a dedicated resource and given the relative cost of a base level Mac Mini compared to the total cost of all your Z-Wave devices, it’s worth going to an Apple store and buying one.

Once you get it home, plug it in and turn it on and follow the setup instructions.  When it comes to creating a computer account, you can create a generic account called ‘admin’ as it’s not going to be used for anything else which requires personalisation.

Once the desktop has started, click on the Apple icon on the top bar and select ‘About this Mac’:

About This Mac

select ‘Software Update’ and update the system files.  Any Applications can also be updated at this point:

Software Update

Be patient and the dock icon bar will eventually appear at the bottom of the screen.

Step 2: Turning on screen sharing

As the Mac Mini will be a dedicated home automation controller, it won’t have a screen or keyboard.  In order to be able to use it remotely from a Windows PC or iPad, screen sharing needs to be turned on.  This can be found under ‘System Preferences’:

System Preferences Icon

Then select the ‘Sharing’ icon:

System Preferences

Select ‘Screen Sharing’, then click ‘Computer Settings’ and select ‘VNC viewers may control screen with password’ and enter a password:

Screen Sharing

It’s a good idea to give the Mac a static IP address on your router or fix it in the network settings so you always know what address it is on.

Step 3: Stopping the Mac going to sleep

As the Mac needs to be on all day in order to to run the automation software, it needs be be prevented from going to sleep.  This is done via the ‘System Preferences’, then ‘Energy Saver’

Select ‘Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off’ and ‘Start up automatically after a power failure’:

Energy Saver

Step 4: Adjusting the mouse

If you are a Windows user, the default setting for the scroll wheel is opposite to what you are used to.  This can be fixed under ‘System Preferences’ then ‘Mouse’.  Unselect ‘Scroll direction: natural’:

Mouse Scrolling

Step 5: Turn on Automatic Updates

As the Mac will run without any manual intervention, it’s best practice to let it update itself.  This is done by selecting ‘System Preferences’, then ‘App Store’ and selecting ‘Automatically check for updates’:

Automatic Updates

Step 6: Download the Aeon Labs Z-Stick drivers

The drivers for the Z-Stick are currently located here:




The second link is the manufacturer’s website so contains the latest version of the drivers. Once they are downloaded, click on the ‘Downloads’ icon in the dock and click on the file that has just been downloaded.  This will mount the file as an icon on your desktop.  Double click the icon to open it:

Silicon Labs Installer

Double click on the installer.  You may get a message saying the developer is not recognised, in which case, open ‘System Preferences’, then ‘Security & Privacy’ and select ‘Open Anyway’:

Open Anyway

If this doesn’t work, click on the padlock, enter your password and change the setting to allow apps downloaded from ‘Anyware’:

Security and Privacy

Then run the installer package again.  The Mac will be rebooted so save anything you are working on.

Step 7: Moving an existing setup of Indigo to the new Mac.

This step can be skipped if you are doing a clean install

To migrate your existing Indigo setup to the new Mac, it’s simply a case of copying over the ‘Indigo 6’ folder from the old Mac to the new Mac.  This folder is located in /Library/Application Support/Perceptive Automation.  You’ll have to create a new folder on the new Mac called Perceptive Automation first so the paths remain the same.

Stop Indigo running on the old Mac
Copy the ‘Perceptive Automation’ folder from the old Mac to the New Mac

Step 8: Downloading and installing Indigo.

Indigo should be downloaded and installed directly from Indigo Domatica.  You can either get the trial version, or if you are already a registered user, get the full version from http://www.indigodomo.com/downloads.html

Once you have the package downloaded, double click on the installer.

Indigo Installer

Follow the steps through the install and just leave any options as defaults.

Step 9: That’s it

Indigo should now be up and running on the Z-Wave interface.  If you were doing a move from another Mac, all your settings and devices should now be across and working.

Final thoughts

There are a few optional tasks that need to be considered:

1. Change the background to a solid colour via the ‘Screen Saver/ Desktop’ icon, this will increase the performance if you use screen sharing.

2. Use Time Machine to perform regular backups

3. Rename the ‘Sample House’ database to something more relevant

4. Install Indigo Touch on your iPhone and iPad