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A Little Home Automation

January 3, 2008

When we remodeled our house about two years ago, we have a variety of new X-10 outlets and switched installed wherever we had new outlets or switched. The incremental cost for between 20 and 30 of these nodes was less than $2,000, which seemed like a bargain in the context of the entire cost of the work.

Only recently have I begun to set up some of the automation that this made possible. We run HomeSeer on Small Business Server 2003 connected to a fairly simple PowerLinc USB controller.

This evening I expanded lighting control to four lamps in our grandiosely titled Media Room and five lamps and two picture lights in our living room. These rooms not only had no X-10 controls, but they had no switches on which a control could be installed. My solution was to use a keyfob remote and bunch of appliance control modules that are both Insteon and X-10 compatible.

4003 System with 6 button Keychain Remote Control

Each set of on/off buttons on the keyfob would control the lights for one of the rooms. The keyfob only controls two X-10 addresses, so Homeseer would have to respond to action at one of those addresses by turning on or off all the other modules in the room. I also easily added HomeSeer instructions to turn on the picture lights automatically at dusk and off again late at night.

Once I figured our how to program the remote and set the addresses of the switching modules installation and programming time was a little over an hour. Total incremental project cost: about $300. Not a bad cost to be able to control the lights in two rooms by remote control.

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