05:40PM | 05/05/02
Member Since: 05/04/02
4 lifetime posts
I have questions in two areas (for now--many to follow, I'm sure).

Overall automation. Is there a "best" source for information about design and equipment. How/what does one do to make sure future advancements are permitted without "rebuilding" the house.

Low-voltage control. I have seen--some time ago--information about low-voltage control (indoors) for lights, etc. This seemed to eliminate a lot of 110v wiring--to switches, etc. Also, there was much more flexibility with using multiple controls for lights, etc., without the expense of 3- and 4-way switches. Then, too, it seemed "simple" to have a central board to control ALL lights, etc. This also seems to want to tie to overall automation. Anyone have a source for this type wiring?



06:27AM | 06/04/02
Member Since: 06/01/02
9 lifetime posts usually has some basic wiring diagrams with most of their products so you both understand what you need and how to put it all together.

Kirk Warner

10:56PM | 04/19/03
Member Since: 04/19/03
4 lifetime posts
Also try they have a great tutorial page. You may want to look at the X10 equipment at both hometech, and smarthome. This is a good solution for a low cost.


11:33PM | 08/26/03
Member Since: 03/31/03
7 lifetime posts
news:comp.home.automation and
news:alt.home.automation are good sources.

How to future proof?
Conduit. Nobody would ahve run CAT5e or CAT6 in 1993.
Few people run fiber (heck, putting connectors on fiber is a black art and whatever you put, you'll likely need something else later.

Conduit allows you to pull new things later.

Common sense is, NOW, to run CAT5 and RG6 to opposite corners of each room. Wire is cheap, it's easier without walls so do it before walls are up.

Why two? Say you move a TV or phone or computer or whatever
from one side to another. YOu don't want to drag cables across the room.

In heavy use rooms - offices, the TV room, run more. 2 of each to each corner. My TV room wants 2 COAX. On for in (cable, etc), but another is used to SEND things like the DVD or VCR to perhaps another TV (eg. going to bed, let me just route the video down to there).

Run them all (phones might as well be CAT5) to one place. You put punch downs and patch panels there.

Living room CAT5 1a has the phone? Fine, I patch it to the phone side. 1B has my wired Laptop? Fine, I patch it into the network. CAT5e can mean I can run Gigabit. My newest laptop has GigabitE. Nobody will ever need it. Until we can't conceive of using something as slow as 100baseT. Stream an HDTV movie over 10baseT or 100baseT.

I run balanced audio from upstairs (TV room) to the office. An ex sound-guy, I run shielded pair ($30 got me 100 feet or so) and audio tranformers at each end run it BALANCED. I've run balanced audio 1KM without any real issues. It's not the RCA plug, it's the RCA into a transformer and the same things on the other end. It's virtually noise proof for reasons I won't list here.

"SECURITY systems"
I like too many things for security. Motion sensors in each room. The security system won't go off if my 2nd floor work room is triggered (rather the windows would first), but it means that my system can "see" that someone's in there. And it can turn on the lights low at 4AM so I don't kill myself.

Same for the living room. If the system is unarmed, or armed for being occupied (windows/doors only), turn on the damn light in the livingroom or hallway when there's motion.

I pondered a push button or reed switch at the end of the deadbolt. Not the same as "the door is open" but I'd love to know if the door is locked without trucking all the way down.

These things cost 24/2 security wire where there are no walls. Pocket change. And you can't really add them later.

Oh yeah, wire for a camera over the front door and motion sensor. NEver for the security system, I have motion sensor on the wall in front of my door aimed back.

It means that the system logs when someone is at the door.
I've used it to find out that the UPS lady dropped something off at 3PM when I was away and called a neighbor to snag the package.

Bonus for CAT5 in odd places. being able to sense things in a furnace room (temp, water on the ground, if the furnace or water heater is ON at all and when) via one of a billion little microcontrollers (one chip or a tiny board) which speak serial over CAT5 to the main computer is reassuring.

My thermostat has a "vacation mode" that I can set remotely (it's basically just a relay). Found one for a friend who wanted to turn up the heat on his weekend house before he got there.

With a little computer being the firewall for his Internet connection, we could put up a web page and his cell phone could browse to it, he'd authenticate and turn up the heat 40 minutes before he got there. This would also tell him the temp inside and outside any time he browsed to it.

Wires in stupid places let me see the temp in the attic (or easily run a rooftop weather station and get the data where it's not 120 degrees). It will let me use the serial port on the inverter I want for solar panels I've yet to get to.


11:26AM | 11/20/03
Member Since: 11/19/03
1 lifetime posts
I have been an X10'er for several years. You know the people that offer the home automation products, and those annoying little camera pop-up's. Well anyways, I heard they have had some bad financial news lately so I went to their website to check them out. They are indeed running deals hard to believe and I bought two more cameras. I just wanted to let people know that you should check them out while they are still around. Here is where I found my deal: , it looks like a storewide sale.

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