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Old 04-20-2007, 11:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
zomgomgomgomgomgomg
 
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
Any Home Automation enthusiasts here?

I just moved into a new house, and it is (in my mind) poorly wired...poorly, meaning the switches don't do what I'd want them to, and there aren't enough of them.

The solution in my mind is to install X10 home automation. I used to have it in my room when I was a lazy teenager, to turn my lights and stereo off and fan on without getting out of bed, so I'm familiar with the basics, but that was many years ago.

I found a website (which escapes me at the moment, it's bookmarked on my work computer) that sells seperate modules for about $6-10 a piece.

Right now, I'm mostly just laying out automated lighting. I'm thinking right now of switching out all of the switches, and most of the plugs that the lights go on. Plus I'm annoyed that the exterior light doesn't come on when I drive up, thus leaving me to fumble for keys in the dark, so I'm also installing a motion sensor in the driveway.

Also, I've got 4 cool hanging lamps that I'm putting over the bed and nightstand, and I'd love to be able to dim them independantly without getting out of bed, so I'll probably put them all on their own lighting module, and have a wireless remote control switch on my headboard.

Anyone done anything similar? Any suggestions on software? I'd ideally like all of this to be computer controlled, so I can have more intelligent macros driving everything, rather than just using it to simulate remote or batched switches.
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Old 04-24-2007, 09:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like a neat project But i havnt messed around with any of that stuff before. So basicly this is just a bump =P i want to see what people have to say about this.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When I used to work in construction several years ago, we built a house for quite a wealthy man. Needless to say it was top of the line everything. We automated 99% of everything in that house. Some were sensors as soon as you walk into a room the lights would come on or go off as you left, others were lcd touchpads on the walls lighting, movie screen, hometheatre, remote controls, etc. It was very complicating at times to get everything setup correctly but it all worked great in the end. Depending on how in-depth you are going with this project, trust me its worth paying someone else to do it. I would kill to have that particular house now that I have seen the final product.
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
I decided to dive in and order some components off of http://www.automatedoutlet.com/ ...this is about half the price of getting stuff at any local retailers I can find, and cheaper than anything I've seen on ebay (the only place that comes close), PLUS they have flat rate shipping. I'll keep you guys posted once it arrives!
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Old 05-01-2007, 03:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: The Woodlands, TX
sounds like a cool project.

I know theres a linux distro thats designed to interface with some of the home automation stuff. I remember the guy was able to control the lights and stuff with his bluetooth cell phone.


edit: had to go out and find the linux distro I was talking about, its actually an addon to ubuntu linux.

its called linuxmce
heres a link to the site http://linuxmce.com/
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Old 05-01-2007, 03:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
I'm looking to use my PSP for a house remote via WiFi. A few coders are working on a media remote homebrew software package for it, that would also control some home automation functions as a bonus. I'm keeping tabs on that for sure, and I'll keep you posted...If it comes together, that would definitely be a PSP killer app!

Here's a link:

http://www.engadget.com/2005/04/20/h...with-your-psp/

If I get really enthusiastic, I might code something up...PSP's can now view Java or flash or a combination of both, so if I made a control page in either, I could do some pretty cool stuff...hmmmm

Thanks jstrider! That's awesome. I want the server running my home automation to do some PVR functions as well...so that looks like a great solution!
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
I had been procrastinating my order, but they had a Memorial day Free Shipping sale, so I finally bit the bullet and got the following:

Sensors and switches:
3 x Replacement wall switches (these can be used to trigger modules other than the devices they are wired to)

1 x Motion sensor (to turn on the carport light when you drive up)

1 x Door and Window sensor (to turn on the kitchen light when you open the door)

1 x 8 item wireless remote


Controlled Modules:
3 x Wall switches (these can be controlled wirelessly to activate the devices that they're switching)
4 x Lamp modules (dimming)
3 x Appliance modules (non-dimming)


Misc.
1 x Transceiver
1 x Fireworks Serial port controller and control software

Total shipped was $112.50 (would have only been $120 if I had paid shipping, still not bad). It should be here some time this week, I'll do a write-up on everything when I set it all up!
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Old 05-30-2007, 05:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Nice twisted. Keep us posted on the progress.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: NYC
I would love to install some of this stuff but just don't have the time and right now can't afford to pay someone to do it.

Twisted - definitely keep us posted on your progress so that I can use it for future reference.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
Quote:
Originally Posted by troit
I would love to install some of this stuff but just don't have the time and right now can't afford to pay someone to do it.

Twisted - definitely keep us posted on your progress so that I can use it for future reference.

Well, the great thing about X10 is you don't HAVE to do any wiring to get it going, so it can be installed super easy...I'm renting, so I'm really not supposed to rewire ANYTHING. All I am hardwiring are the three switches, everything else just plugs in to the wall.

If you wanted a super easy wiring-free setup, i'd pick up enough appliance modules and incandescent lighting modules (the only difference being the lighting modules can provide dimming, obviously not something you want on your coffeemaker) for all the stuff you want to control, and then get a wireless transciever and remote control. Even the motion sensors are battery-powered wireless units.

If you have any bulbs in hard-wired fixtures you want to control, you can get inline lighting modules to put between the bulb and the fixture:


And if you really want to add any 'smart switches' in the room you can get some slim (7mm thick) wireless ones that attach to the wall with double sided sticky tape, and don't have to be wired to anything!

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Old 06-04-2009, 06:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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TwistedMosaic - I'm curious how your house is performing now with these great modifications - it has been a couple of years. Do you have any new advice?
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Fauxenix, Azerona
Quote:
Originally Posted by genuinegirly View Post
TwistedMosaic - I'm curious how your house is performing now with these great modifications - it has been a couple of years. Do you have any new advice?
I actually still have all of this stuff (uninstalled it from my previous house when we moved) but none of it is hooked up, with the exception of one remote socket so we can remotely reset our stupid linksys router without going upstairs.

The new house has a TON of 3-way switches (meaning two switches control one light) as you walk through it...basically a switch at the beginning and end of every discrete area (living room, stairs, hall, dining room, etc) so I need to get slightly different switches to be able to automate everything here.

I'm slowly researching methods I could use to automate the air conditioning, though...being a 2-story regularly exposed to 110 degree weather, we have serious hot-room/cold room issues, and I would love to chop the house into separately controllable zones. I'd need to be able to do it for less than approximately $500 to justify it as a cost savings measure, instead of just chilling the holy bejesus out of the whole house all the time.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:44 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Midway, KY
I have had X-10 modules and switches in my house(s) for a number of years. I like the remote switches for relocating problem switches. And I have a programmable TV remote that also controls any of the lights in the house. It doesn't take an engineer to set up or anything. I got all of my equipment including several 3-way switch master/slave pairs for under $200.

I have used their motion detector modules to turn on lights when you walk into a closet and then turn them off 15 minutes later. All controlled by the motion detector. No computer required.

I never did have any luck with that screw-in bulb module. It is supposed to take its house and number code from whatever you press in close proximity to it and then use that from then on. It never worked for me.

I also have had mixed results with the Home Automation Macro software provided by X-10. At one time I had it set up to turn off all the lights in the main part of the house at 1AM. I had a roommate who would come into the house and turn on every freaking light, then fall asleep on the couch. That worked for a while, but I found the software glitchy. It was supposed to 'download' the control to a serial connected switch that would execute the macros, but I found that it would only work when the computer was on.

I should probably do a bit more looking around now to see if anyone has worked out a better, slicker, more reliable solution to the X-10 automation via computer. It has been about 5 years since I did much of the computer controlled macros.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I agree braisler. The X10 automation software is atrocious. I've seen vague references to some other automation software that will work on the X10 architecture, but haven't done much investigating about it yet. For now I'm ok with having remotes to handle all of my lighting.

BTW the socket rockets work fine, but their instructions aren't overly clear. You have to plug them in, then press the button you want to use to control them 3 times wtihin, I think, 1 minute. Then they'll set themselves to that code. I find it best to have any automation turned off when you're setting them up, as any other codes getting transmitted on the system will mess the socket rocket up.
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