House Automation

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Asgar
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House Automation

Postby Asgar » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:10 am UTC

Hi everyone,

I'm getting an ALIX as a router (WLAN and wired) and plan to use it as printer server, dhcp, and file server. I also want to try implementing some home automation, like controlling lights, blinds and maybe some other gadgets later. I read a few things here and there, but I am not sure about what to get. My first priority is budget, sadly.

I read a lot about the X10 system, but I'm note sure if its still state-of-the-art. If someone has experience with this kind of tech, I'd be very grateful if they share it.

Greetings from Germany

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socynicalsohip
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Re: House Automation

Postby socynicalsohip » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:23 pm UTC

Was reading this and came accross the below paragraph...

http://www.kevinboone.com/x10.html
Above URL wrote:Control keypads
There are many plug-in control keypads, ranging from single-channel devices that can control only one device (or multiple devices on the same unit code), to enormous desktop multi-channel units. The largest that I have seen (SC502) has sixteen on/off switches. Smaller devices usually have slider or rotary controls to allow a smaller number of switches to control a large number of devices. The popular `mini-controller' (MC640) is about the size of a wall-mounted light switch (although slightly thicker) and has four on/off switches, bright/dim, all on, and all off. A slider allows the on-off switches to be allocated to either unit codes 1-4 or 5-8. Thus this controller can manage eight appliances or lamps.
Plug-in controllers normally have a three-pin plug and are intended to be plugged into a standard mains outlet. For a permanent installation you can connect the device to a fused spur unit, but note that these devices always require a neutral. In other words, you probably won't be able to fit one in place of a standard lightswitch, because the connections won't include a neutral. There are controllers that are designed to fit into a lightswitch mounting (e.g., LV6400), but these won't be useful in most houses because of the lack of a neutral connection in lightswitch wiring.

[emboldened for emphasis]

Does this mean that 'merkin lighting circuits run to earth? Sounds a little cowboy to me!

And to answer you're question no I've got no experience in "Automation" but a little in electrical installations and a grounding on alarm systems. I'll read a little further and see what I find.
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'; DROP DATABASE;--
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Re: House Automation

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:14 am UTC

The easiest way to do this sort of thing is to hack extension cords and/or light fixture wiring. Wire a relay switch into the circuit and connect the control side to your parallel port; obviously you'll need to check what voltage the port is and get a relay that will work with it. If you want to use pulse-width modulation to dim the lights, you'll need a solid-state relay, or you can just buy photo-control light controllers, tape LEDs to them, and blink the LEDs.

The downside to this is you only get 8 control lines. I don't know of an easy way around that limitation.
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socynicalsohip
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Re: House Automation

Postby socynicalsohip » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:00 am UTC

I wouldn't use relays will cause alot of broadband RF interferance if used to switch mains voltage, essentially you will be creating a spark gap whenever it opens or closes. The correct DIY solution would probably be by using Thyristors and other high powered semiconductors to build latching circuits. Not really my area of expertise though I'm afraid.
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niko7865
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Re: House Automation

Postby niko7865 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:46 pm UTC

I would go with the X10, except the push button light switches that I had to get with it suck and will break very fast. If they have better switches now I don't see a reason not to use it, the automation/remote control of lights and sockets always worked well.
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pseudoidiot
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Re: House Automation

Postby pseudoidiot » Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:58 pm UTC

I actually programmed this sort of thing in my last job. But we almost exclusively used Creston products. They're pricey, but they also have a lot of great stuff. We focused primarily on distributed audio, distributed video, lighting, security, and HVAC. I think to get your hands on it as a private individual may entail some training and some sort of certification, though.
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Endless Mike
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Re: House Automation

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:19 pm UTC

I thought this said house automaton. I was going to warn you to make sure you never turn your back to it, no matter how well it obeys Asimov.


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