PC device control vs hand held or wall mount remote

This is a newbie question. If this group has a FAQ area on the WWW perhaps my question has been answered already. If so, direction to the FAQ would be gladly accepted.

I am building a new home and have only a couple of pretty simple automation projects that I'd like to address up front. I will be installing cat5e cabling for a hardwired home computer network.

I would like to control a few lights and motorized window shades via the PC controlling the network. Most of the home automation posts I have seen refer to X10 and other devices that seem to rely on hand held remotes or wall mounted remote controls.

What is required to control these devices directly by computer?

I'm not opposed to a hardwired solution but this does not seem to be in the mainstream of home automation.

Jon Juhlin

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Jon Juhlin
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All of the technologies offer some form of serial or USB controllers that store programmed events. See the Smarthome catalog for good descriptions.

From:Jon Juhlin j snipped-for-privacy@efn.org

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Look at Lutron's RadioRA devices. They may ones that'll do window blinds. The Lutron stuff's expensive but it WORKS. Every time. X10 is unreliable, at best. Some get it work, most have nothing but on-going problems with it. Roll the cost of the automation stuff into whatever you finance so you don't fixate on the cost.

Numerous solution abound. Two popular choice for Windows are Charmed Quark and Homeseer. Search for them.

Yeah, hardwired lighting control is great but it's not cheap and it's not usually all that 'open' to interfacing without being complex or expensive. Yes, it can be done but few chose to go that route.

There's also Control4, based on the emerging zigbee standards, but I have no idea how well it works, nor has there been any real chatter online about it. Given it's pedigree I'd venture the market's holding back.

-Bill Kearney

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Bill Kearney

If you look here

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you will find out more info than you will know what to do with. But be warned.... this home automation stuff is very dangerous. It will drain your wallet, sometimes stress your relationship and cause many late nights toying with your new found hobby. And another bit of advice there is no such thing as a "few home automation" projects. One turns into two then into three and so on it is a never ending circle.

Brian Trickey

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yeah, and then you end up building personal websites to document it b/c a text-centric blog just doesn't cut it....

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