Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Top 10 home automation projects

1. Garage lights

It is very convenient to switch the garage lights on and off from both your home and the garage itself. You’ll have to run a 3 wire cable between the two buildings and put some two-way switches at both ends. You can use an X10 lamp module in your garage and 2 X10 switches: one in the garage and one inside the house.

2. Outdoor Christmas lights

Most people prefer to put all outdoor lights in one single outlet for convenient switching. While this is fine with modest installation and small homes, it may become a problem with bigger homes due to cord management issues. You can ease your life by using a couple of X10 appliance modules set on the same house and unit code. With a single button click on any X10 controller you can turn the lights on and off very easily.

3. Christmas tree lights

Year after year I had to crawl under Christmas tree at least twice a day to plug or unplug the lights. This will change this year because I’m planning to plug the lights in an X10 lamp module. With this module in place I can very easily program my X10 mini-timer to switch on the Christmas tree lights at dusk and turn them off at down. Since the tree will be in the living room I’m also planning to play with the dimmer during movie time.

4. All lights on

X10 offers the ability (out of the box) to turn on all lights in a home. A more interesting application is to turn on all lights in a single room. My living and dining room are actually one big room. I always wanted to switch on and off the lights in the living room and dinging room simultaneous without rewiring. Using couple of X10 modules set on the same house and unit code I was able to switch, at the same time, the lights from both rooms.

5. Convenience switching

I don’t know exactly for what reason (maybe to save money) some constructors choose to use pull-chain type switches with the lights from attics or basements. To get light in any of these rooms you have to go in the middle of the room, in complete darkness looking for the switch. With X10 lamp modules or screw-in modules you can control these lights from basically anywhere.

6. Security lights

Using a wireless motion sensor detector, an X10 transceiver and a couple of floodlights you can build a classic security system. Each time the sensor detects motion the lights will turn on.

7. Watering the lawn

If you don’t like spending time adjusting your sprinkler’s timer, then let X10 control the watering for you. As a controller you can use an X10 mini-timer or even your PC computer with an adequate interface.

8. Opening and closing the window shades

Using X10 you can implement a basic system that will gradually open your bedroom shades in the morning according to your schedule (eg. each day at 8:00AM, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00AM).

9. Have fresh toast in the morning

In the past they used to use X10 to automate the coffee machine. With modern coffee machines, X10 is not longer needed. It was replaced by the machine internal timer. Since the common toaster was not that affected by the technology progress, why not enhance it’s capabilities by plug-in it in an X10 appliance, and have fresh toast at 8:20AM?

10. Automate your home from the Internet

Geeks may find interesting to control the entire house from the web. Turning on and off lights and appliances from everywhere in the world is very easy with X10. Just purchase a computer interface and a software (or build your own home automation software) and you are ready to go. Please note that since X10 commands are not acknowledged is very unsafely to control a house remotely. You should look to more modern home automation technologies (I’ll write more about them in a future post) if you plan to do this.

See my previous post for an introduction to X10. If you plan to start any of these projects, drop me a comment and I’ll give you more information.

No comments: