Lighting Controls Need Not Be Ugly

Technology can be scary at times. And I'm not just talking about the technical stuff! Luckily, a home's technology doesn't need to be intimidating or ugly. The fact is that there are enough options out there to get just about anything you want. So, no matter what kind of home controls you end up going with, make sure they give you the kind of functionality, ease of use and aesthetics you're looking for.

Low Volt Keypads

The Programmable Logic Controller is the 'brains' of the electrical control system but it still requires inputs from other sources, like low voltage keypads, to solve the complex switching requirements of today.

New Era in the User Interface

This article describes advancement in the ergonomics and aesthetics of a home automation controller that is attractive, intuitive and affordable. A brief overview of the traditional interfaces is presented and the problems with its user interface and limitations are identified. The ergonomics and aesthetics of a novel home automation controller that provides higher performance and greater flexibility are described in detail.

Online Washing Machines?

Networking hardware manufacturers would benefit from digging deeper into the residential homeowners' psyche before developing confusing, expensive products and services to a disinterested population.


With my criteria of looking for a low-cost application to give me low-level and complex control of all my home automation devices, PowerHome was the clear winner. This one application, although one of the cheapest components of my home automation system, has opened "Pandora's Box" to the possibilities of what I can do.

SB Pro100 Firewall & Internet Sharing Box

The Nexland Pro100 firewall has some very advanced features that will meet the needs of the most advanced users such as a need to run a VPN (virtual private network) through the firewall to your office network. Keeping your corporate network secure means not just the local network secure, but the small branch offices or telecommuters working from home that connect up to your system.

Simple Interfaces

It should be every installer's objective to install their systems so that the home owners entire family including their children, and the occasional houseguest can operate the lights with no questions, let alone manuals. This includes putting lights on and off in their bedrooms, dining room and living room, exterior lights, scenes, path lights, etc. One shouldn't have to press a button, and wait to see what happens, and where.


The OCELOT appears a well thought out answer to Home Automation. Capable of interfacing essentially 4 different types of Protocol's (RS232, RS485, X-10, and IR), and with expansion capabilities, it seems capable of the manufacturers claims. In addition to being easy to hook-up and program, most user definable parameters (such as programs and learned IR commands) can be stored for backup purposes.

Touch Panel Design: Warming Up Technology

Whether you design your touch panel pages internally or outsource to a professional design team, the key to touch panel design success is planning and communication with your customers. Knowing in the beginning what functionality can be achieved will make designing pages an easier task. Dedicating the right amount of time will enable you to produce eye-pleasing page designs and help you introduce a little "technology warmth" in the home.

Understanding Home Networks

This book may help you unravel some of the mysteries of networking and will for certain give you a great overview of the topic.

Another Wireless Standard?

Don't blink now or there'll be another wireless networking technology to keep track of. Sorry, you blinked!

Automation Programming

Both the homeowner and the integrator should keep in mind that there are always the unknown and unexpected delays in designing the "perfect" home automation system. Both should have patience and practice meditation during delays and unexplained "glitches" in the system. The homeowner should be allowed to become familiar with the system over a 2-4 week period, keeping notes of bugs and issues that need to be resolved.

DOLLx8 Web Control Interface

The combinations of DOLLx8 Web Enabled Interface and the DOLLx8 Mini Web Server using TCP/IP together with D8ML will give an endless list of web controlled applications where only the fantasy gives the limitation. The DOLLx8 is not designed for high speed music and video transfer, but the interface is able to control such lines to channel the signals to its destination by using music and/or video chips controlled by DOLLx8.

Electrical Switching Using A Programmable Logic Controller

The Programmable Logic Controller is the solution to today's electrical switching requirements. The PLC is as reliable as a traditional switch, but has the ability to solve the complex switching requirements of today.

European trends in Home Networking

Special middleware and software tools will permit different network systems to be integrated. Even the Multimedia Home Platform (MHP), which was recently adopted by Cable Television Laboratories Inc (CableLabs®) as a component of the 'OpenCable Application Platform' (OCAP) - through the use of appropriate APIs - will incorporate other network standards along with the internet

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

Advanced UPB Lighting Packages from Simply Automated

Advanced UPB Lighting Packages from Simply Automated

Custom scenes (connecting up to 250 switches) in your living, family or great room, kitchen, study, master bedroom/bathroom, and office. Turn off all lights in your home at the touch of a button. Automatically (Timer Scheduler) turn on/off outdoor security lights, heating and AC, or provide night light convenience anywhere in your home. From creating a virtual 3 way switch anywhere in your home, to turning a group of lights when your garage door is opened, door bell or phone rings.