Using WSH and the Slinkx control, I was able to map a single button on my X10 RF remote to gradually dim all the lights in my living room, turn off the aquarium pump (loud!), turn on the TV, receiver, and DVD player, and set the inputs on the TV and reciver, and finally open the DVD tray. Watching a DVD became as easy as slapping a disc in and hitting play.
MisterHouse is the name of the open source program I wrote to do Home Automation (HA) chores at our house. It runs on Windows 95,98, NT, or any POSIX enabled Unix, like Linux. It can interact with a variety of serial port devices, including the X10 CM11 interface.
For example, you can sit back in your chair and click one button on your remote to open your web browser. Now relax and navigate around using the remote to scroll etc. This unit would be good for remote operation while giving a presentation with PowerPoint as well.
Many who use X-10 for lighting control have been awaiting the "Two Way" switch for some time now. Why? The main reason is because while you may have a sophisticated controller that monitors the powerline for commands and keeps track of lighting status from that data ... there has not been a method of keeping track of light levels or status if someone actually uses the manual switch to change them. In other words ... the switches didn't send the X-10 code when someone pushed the button ... they just dimmed the light or turned it on or off.
The Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a computer which can do timing functions. The timer instruction can be used to time events or create delays in residential applications. An example of a timer function is in the control of the garage light; on when the garage door is open and off 5 minutes after the door is closed.
Max sent me some photos to go along with the ongoing saga of this interesting project. I've added pics here so you can reread the letters (reprinted from last month) and see the photos. Max will be returning to China to complete the project in April and has promised to update us of the progress.
Recently, the growth in the number of home automation standards has made integrating products from different manufactures and network protocols difficult if not virtually impossible. Home API will provide a common layer of functionality above present and future network protocols, lessening integration problems.
Wiring outlets should not be placed in the same stud cavity as HVAC cold-air return ducts. Similarly, they should be at least one stud-cavity away from 120V/240V AC wiring. Ideally, all structured wiring should stay 12" from 120V wiring, and cross at right angles where necessary.
The variety of user interface components illustrated here is impressive. Yet, more creativity is needed for customers to feel comfortable with home automation products without fear of breaking them or causing mayhem. Any interface must convey the perception that the user is in control and the products are servants.
All in all ... this is an awesome remote control unit unlike anything I've played with to date. I found it easy to learn and use. Perhaps the handiest feature is the roller that can switch channels at the speed of light. My eyes ain't what they used to be and being able to just reach over and roll is a pleasure. My biggest dilemma is that I'm going to have to part with this unit when someone wins it in the April Tips and Tricks Contest . Oh well, maybe I'll get one for Father's Day :-) mind you it's a bit expensive ($349) for the kids (unless of course Mom can be convinced to participate).
HAA's Mark of Excellence Awards recognize the finest achievements in home automation. 1999 Award winners and finalists were recognized at the Mark of Excellence Awards presentation during the Home Automation Show & Conference, February 8-10 in Orlando. The Home Automation Association is the trade association of the home control industry. HAA members include manufacturers, distributors, dealers, installers and service providers of home automation products. Home automation integrates lighting, entertainment, security, HVAC and telecommunications to provide enhanced energy efficiency, convenience and safety for homes.
Two-Way Lamp and Appliance Modules with Status Polling, Automatic Status Response, and Automatic Gai
These Two-Way Modules can be controlled using standard X-10 commands such as A1-ON. They are therefore compatible with the entire range of existing X-10 controllers. However when used with the CM11A Two-Way Computer Interface and ActiveHome software they can be polled for, or automatically transmit their status. Technical Sidebar below (for programmers who want to develop applications that take advantage of the advanced features of these Two-Way Modules) THEORY OF OPERATION OF TWO-WAY LAMP AND APPLIANCE MODULES
The SL9000 is a great unit for button freaks. It will control every device including X10 home automation and surround sound home theater systems. It has a backlight so you can see the buttons at night. At a price of $139 this unit may be all you ever need to control your entertainment system and the lighting therein.
There needs to be further software written and easier to use front ends so that people like my wife, who don't want to learn complicated commands and setups, can basically point and click. Unix has all the tools needed to perform all of this and still keep the command line there for those who want more power. After the front ends have been added the next thing to work on will be redundancy. This is an area where most Home Automation systems are lacking.
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
The M1 Gold Security & Automation Control combines security, fire, energy management, lighting, and access control to provide total control of the home. Easily integrating with products of industry partner manufacturers, M1 controls offer a truly customized solution. With remote access capabilities and simple, user-friendly interfaces, M1 keeps homeowners informed and in control, anytime, anywhere! ELK's Two-Way Wireless family of products for the M1 offers a truly secure and reliable wireless solution with cutting edge techniques such as frequency hopping and UL approved jamming detection to defend against interference, hacking, and jamming. Advanced features ensure reliability, extend battery life, and provide innovative security enhancements including wirelessly interconnected smoke detectors, motion detectors with built-in security/convenience lights, and key fobs with a system status inquiry button, allowing users to see if an alarm has been activated before entering the home.