Simple home automation setup

Have a question or want to start a discussion? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View


Hi,

I'd like to set up my outdoor lights to turn on at dusk (at a variable time) and
turn off at
around 1am or so.  There are three light fixtures controlled from a wall switch.
 I'm wondering
what X10 products are recommended to do this kind of setup (and where they can
be purchased
reasonably cheaply).  Thanks in advance for any replies.  Pointers to any web
pages with helpful
info would be appreciated also - I've never had much exposure to home automation
stuff, and a
friend said that X10 products would be a good way to accomplish what I'd like to
do.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Andy Simms


Re: Simple home automation setup


Take a look at www.x10.com. You need an X10 wall switch to replace your
existing switch, an X10 timer to turn them off at 1am and an X10
Sundowner to turn them on at dusk. This is a minimum configuration. Look
at their product line and you'll see other ways that also give you more
functions. Enjoy the exploration and ask away if you have more qestions.

From:Andy Simms
sim@home.invalid

Quoted text here. Click to load it




Re: Simple home automation setup


They also make a pc interface with a free Activehome software.  It can
calulate sunrise and sunset on a daily basis.  You can write a program to
turn the lights on and off based on sunset and 1am.

--
Brett Griffin, Technology Consultant

Architechtronics, Inc.
get to know home technologyT
p. (610) 825.7018 f (215) 827.5484

*top 10 reasons to use Architechtronics for your next project
http://www.architechtronics.com/top10.html

**keep up on cutting-edge technology... join "the EDGE" for free at
http://www.architectronics.com/edge.html

-------------------------------------------


Quoted text here. Click to load it




Re: Simple home automation setup


brett@architechtronics.spamkiller.com says...
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Hi,

This is kind of what I was thinking of.  I've browsed through the X10.com
website, but it's not
that easy to figure out what components work with the software, and what items
are needed to get
things to work.  Is there a FAQ somewhere for X10 products?  Also, is X10.com
the cheapest/most
reliable source for these products, or are there resellers?  I've checked eBay,
and it seems
that there are a lot of X10 products there for much less than the X10 website.

Andy Simms


Re: Simple home automation setup


It's hard to beat X10's prices when you consider the free shipping they
offer. If all you want to do is operate the one porch light switch you
need nothing more than what I posted earlier. If you want to get into
some more advanced control, the ActiveHome controller package is a good
start. You'll still need the switch and either a Sundowner or another
light sensing unit.

From:Andy Simms
sim@home.invalid

Quoted text here. Click to load it




Re: Simple home automation setup


Be a bit careful if you try Active Home Pro (I'm not sure the original
Active Home is still available)

See http://www.x10.com/news/msgb/index.cgi?board=ahp-general

and the bug reports section.  There seems to be many folks that have had a
lot of problems with AHP

You can also checkout http://www.smarthome.com/1132cu.html
Smarthome has a similar  controller, but is said to be more reliable.

Be forewarned...  Whatever approach you choose, you may need a phase coupler
and/or noise filters too...

What the phase couple does, is (if you have 220 v power in the house) is
transfer the x10 signals between the two 110v legs.  If you have the modules
and the controller on both legs (different circuits), without a coupler, a
module might not see the X10 command.

The noise filter(s) are for devices that may reduce or obscure  the x10
signal.  I good example is a PC with a cheap power supply



Quoted text here. Click to load it




Re: Simple home automation setup


I agree.  I think this is an ideal job for a Sundowner and a mini timer.
IIRC, they both have more signal strength than CM11A-based controllers and
both are more reliable because they are simpler.

The Sundowner will track daylight (and full eclipses!) without having to
implement macros or any kind of control program.  The minitimer would shut
the lights off late at night, as the OP requested, (which the Sundowner
wouldn't) and could even turn them off within a randomized time window with
their "security mode." The stronger signal and lack of need for AHP or some
other program with this method means it's likely to be very reliable.  The
minitimers have battery backups, too.

If he wanted to expand to motion sensing, that could be easily accomplished
with Eagle Eyes and a TM751 RF transceiver.  In a house without a repeater
or coupler, CM11As are getting to be more and more problematic.

--
Bobby G.


Quoted text here. Click to load it






Re: Simple home automation setup


Quoted text here. Click to load it
time) and turn off at
Quoted text here. Click to load it
switch.

When you say "variable time" what exactly are you thinking off?  Do you want
to have them come at different times to avoid looking mechanically timed or
are you concerned with the common problem of summer lites working from a
winter time schedule and vice-versa?

If you just want "ON" times to follow dusk, then this is what you need:

http://www.x10.com/products/mt10a_sp_sd_fb19.html

Save 40% on Mini Timer Controller and Lighting Control Kit
Order Today, Get a FREE Sundowner! Save $20! - 1 day left!

Use this:

http://www.x10.com/deals/instant_coupon_lpinfo.htm

to knock some money off if you want to but additional, non-sale items like a
wall switch.

Hell, it's so cheap *I'm* going to buy the kit!

--
Bobby G.




Re: Simple home automation setup


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Both, actually.  As a follow-up, I looked into using X10 equipment, but stumbled
upon a timer at
Home Depot that suits my needs perfectly.  It's an Intermatic EJ500 wall-switch
timer
(http://www.intermatic.com/images/instruction_sheets/158ej11853.pdf ) that
automatically adjusts
for changes in sunrise/sunset and can be programmed separately for each day of
the week.  

For $30CDN, I think this was the simplest way to put the lights on a dusk-to-1am
schedule.

-Andy Simms


Re: Simple home automation setup



ROBERT_GREEN1963@YAH00.COM says...
Quoted text here. Click to load it
want
or
stumbled upon a timer at
Quoted text here. Click to load it
wall-switch timer
Quoted text here. Click to load it
automatically adjusts
day of the week.
Quoted text here. Click to load it
dusk-to-1am schedule.

I'd have to agree, particularly if you didn't have any other use for X-10
technology in the house.  Wall switch timers sure have come a long way since
the last time I looked at one!  Thanks for the follow-up lettting us know
how you solved the problem.

--
Bobby G.






Re: Simple home automation setup


Quoted text here. Click to load it

I honestly had no idea that a wall-switch timer that met my requirements even
existed - I just
happened upon it while browsing at the local Home Depot.  The timer I found not
only
automatically adjusts for changes in sunrise/sunset over the course of the year,
it also
automatically adjusts for DST and has a "random" function that shifts the on/off
times by up to
twenty minutes to avoid making the lights look 'automated'.

In any event, I'm glad to have looked into the X10 stuff, but I think it's just
too complicated
for what I was looking for.


Re: Simple home automation setup



Quoted text here. Click to load it
just too complicated
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The Intermatic really seems to be ideal for the job.  Don't ever lose the
manual, though!  Programming that sucker looks every bit as complicated as
X-10!  I'm glad to see they added a latitude adjustment.  I assume you chose
"North" - eh?

--
Bobby G.





Re: Simple home automation setup


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Actually, programming was pretty simple, actually.  It only took me about ten
minutes to enter
in the date, time, location (yes, "North"), and an adjustment for the
sunset/sunrise times.  The
default sunset/sunrise times were about an hour off, but that's to be expected.
It doesn't get
really dark here until after 10:00pm this time of year (the down side is that in
December, it's
pitch black by 5:00pm).

In any event, I highly recommend the Intermatic EJ500 for anybody wanting to
automatically turn
on their outside lights when it gets dark, and turn them off at a pre-set time.

-Andy Simms


Site Timeline