New types of devices have helped to change the thinking of home networking experts. Six years ago they said to put bedroom phone outlets by the bed and TV outlets across the room. But they didn't anticipate interactive program guides or NetTV devices that require both a phone and TV outlet. So today they put a phone outlet by every TV outlet. Still, no one can fully anticipate future wiring needs, and that's the message of this article.
Installation was a snap. Run the install software ... plug in the device when asked ... test and see that it worked ... which in my case it did. The remote itself is very small (fits into a shirt pocket) and it's buttons are pretty straight forward.
X-10 is by its nature modular and incremental. However, changing a controller is usually more involved than simply adding more modules to the system. Often, the software must be replaced, and the controlling commands rewritten or revised for the new features. There's usually a different interface with new idiosyncrasies and learning curve. Therefore, for 'general-purpose' home automation, my suggestion is to avoid the under-achievers. Looking at what seems basic today for home-automation, a controller must be able to do two-way X-10.
Adding temperature sensors to your home automation system is fun and the first step toward automating and taking control of your HVAC system. The techniques presented here can also be used with good effect for virtually any analog input. It is very unusual for a sensor to produce an optimal output without any conditioning at all.
From the announcements that came from Forum'99, it is evident that the excitement is only just beginning to build. Technical advances are only one part of the key to unlocking the vast potential this market holds, however. The overreaching message proclaimed by most speakers - and attendees - is a better understanding of the needs and desires of the 21st century consumer.
So, now we've got a house full of cables, a nice wiring closet, and neat and impressive outlets. At this point you may be thinking 'what do I do with all these wires'? We should probably go over some of the things you can do with your new high-tech wiring system, and how to go about having all these technologies co-exist nicely.
The next time you have an opportunity to observe a group of individuals demonstrating precision and harmony, be it on a sports field or on stage in an orchestra or play, remember that it takes both talent, teamwork and many hours of practice to achieve this level of performance. Remember to expect that same level of performance from the products you use to populate your home network.
Marantz's RC5000 has a very different look than other remotes ... it's gold for one thing and looks more like a palm pad than a remote. It's not designed for 1 hand operation but fits nicely in the palm of one hand while the other navigates and pushes the buttons. The touchscreen is very responsive and clear (with easy contrast adjustment and backlighting).
An A2D board does exactly what its name implies. It converts an analog voltage to a digital value that a computer can read. Anything that produces a varying voltage can supply the input: a temperature or pressure sensor, a potentiometer, a stress gauge, or the output of a photo-resister.
Home networks as you are getting to know them must change and evolve to include appliances, light switches, audio and video products, security systems, you name it. I see no reason that a home network can not include these capabilities. Let's have a little imagination here.
X10 has changed a lot over the years and I've grown with it. I was 23 years old when I joined Pico and that was 25 years ago. I've spent more than Â˝ my life with X10! It's been a fun 25 years and I'm looking forward to what the future brings.
By enabling the home control network to extend beyond the home and allowing service providers to offer value-add services to leverage the in-home network, many new things become possible. First, the cost of the in-home network will begin to be insignificant, as it has happened to cellular phones and cable TV set-top boxes.
I started to investigate the best way to interface X-10 to the outside world and have found the micro controller chip to be the best solution, since not only the X-10 connectivity could be addressed by the micro controller, but also the logic of the project itself, resulting in a device with very few parts.
The software development must first begin by deciding how to implement the CEBus/Home Plug & PlayTM protocol stack. Two options exist here: the developer can either write the stack themselves, which is a long and arduous process taking several man-years, or purchase a tool that integrates the protocol stack with their code.
Paul Motz is a businessman and former newspaper publisher from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He has been using X-10 technology for over 15 years and is an avid Macintosh user. He currently uses a B&W G3 and a Powerbook 2400 with a G3 upgrade.
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