TouchLinc from SmartLinc is one of the more affordable pads on the market for controlling a home automation system and I found it quite easy to set up. If your X-10 controller is capable of IR and Hardwired control etc. then the TouchLinc should be able to control A/V systems as well as most of the other equipment in your home.
In more complex installations, a capacitor across the two legs will both help and hurt.
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
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