I am totally new to HA, but somewhat experienced with computers in general...less so with programing. I want to begin a home automation system. I have a spare computer that should not be a limiting factor, but no experience or equipment for HA.
I would like to start with being able to measure, record and trend temperatures, preferably with something simple like thermocouples or RTDs. Later, next steps would include measuring rainfall (linear potentiometer?) and possibly controlling solenoid valves. I may be interested in powering relays up/down, but probably not much interest in controlling lights or other electrical outlets. I've looked briefly at the X10 and ZWave sites, but they look more geared to the things I'm less interested in (unless I just didn't look deep enough into thier web sites).
Any suggestions on how I can get started (software recomendations for what I want to do, basic computer-controller diagrams, suppliers, etc.)? I would prefer to keep cost to a minimum (I can do some assembly of parts instead of buying integrated components if that saves money), but of course 'minimum' is only relative to what it takes to get the job done. I would also like to spend the least amount of time reading, programming and tweaking...but again I understand this will be an involved effort and thus 'minimum' again is relative.
Thanks in advance for any input, Mech Engineer, HA Newbie