SwitchLinc 2 Way

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.

Programmable Logic Controllers - Timing Function

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.

Added Graphics in Apr 99

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.

Home API : Innovations in Home Automation Integration

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.

Home Cabling Part III

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.

Lets Focus on the User Interface

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.

Simplifying A/V controls with the 'Smart Housekeeper'

Take Control Remote

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).

Top Home Automation Products & Services Recognized

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

Universal SL9000 Remote

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.

Unix Home Automation

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.

CES '99 in Las Vegas

Many large corporations including Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Philips, Panasonic etc. have entered the fray. Some have seen that the future of the PC is limited unless it expands into the home networking environment. Others note that each home in America now has 2 TV's and one PC (soon to be 2 PC's) as well as umpteen other electronic devices. Why not capitalize on this fact and network all this stuff together. CES99 demonstrated to me that these players and many others are serious about Home Networking.

CES '99 in Las Vegas

Many large corporations including Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Philips, Panasonic etc. have entered the fray. Some have seen that the future of the PC is limited unless it expands into the home networking environment. Others note that each home in America now has 2 TV's and one PC (soon to be 2 PC's) as well as umpteen other electronic devices. Why not capitalize on this fact and network all this stuff together. CES99 demonstrated to me that these players and many others are serious about Home Networking.

HA in China

The following are excerpts of progress reports on the Qingdao Technology Center Home Automation Project as reported by Max E. Greene. Thanks to Max we can get an idea of some of the challenges and rewards of working on an overseas project of this nature.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

GreenPeak’s GP565 – ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

GreenPeak's GP565 - ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

The GP565 Smart Home RF chip for remote controls supports voice control, motion sensing and the new ZRC 2.0 protocol. The GP565 is optimized for advanced & low cost ZigBee RF4CE remote controls. • 120k or 248k Flash (8k or 16k RAM) memory • 40-pin footprint to support a keyboard scanner interface or other IO interfaces required for remote controls. • Reduced current consumption and improved receiver sensitivity and output power • Patented Antenna Diversity technology enables superior range and WiFi/Bluetooth interference rejection