Thinking about attempting to do home automation on a 130 year old farmhouse please help! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-16-2012, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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First off I just remodeled the house and added on a den. House is about 2000sq ft I am bringing a baby into the world in sept(my first!). I am on a budge no doubt but I really want to do this basically all I want to do is control my lights and thermostat from the Internet or smartphone. I work on the road and my wife stays with her parents a lot when I am gone hence the ability to turn te lights off and on!! Need to save money to buy diapers ha. My question is how do the dimmer switches work off the Internet when they are just wired to the power of the house( I know I am missing something here) I have crawl space under house so I could run additional wire I needed. I would also love to be able to see my babys camera on my iPad in the house only of course! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

I am looking at using the irule app on my iPad and iPhone to just Control lights and thermostat. I understand how the plug in lamps work because they are connected to the Ethernet cord but I can't seem to understand the light switches? I am a 24 year old farmer/construction worker! So pleas keep that In mind when talking about tech. details.
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-16-2012, 05:06 PM
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If you're just looking to control the lights remotely as a way to save money (on electricity) when someone leaves the lights on, you're going to spend a lot more on the controllable switches and infrastructure than you'll ever save in electricity. (A single controllable dimmer/switch can be $40-100+)

Thermostat - look at the NEST product which has the Internet-access features you want in a ready-to-go package.

Jeff

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post #3 of 8 Old 06-16-2012, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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that nest termostat looks awesome i am for sure getting one of those! as for the lights i am not thinking about changing all the switches just the ones in the new den we added on as we have not yet purchased the swicthes yet, however i see you point about not paying off over a period of time. however i think it would be worth the extra money to have in a couple of rooms and outside if i only used it to turn on the lights when i was gone and she was coming home by herself.(snakes basically not worried about intruders we have excellent guard dogs but they suck at killing snakes ha). so the cost of doing switch is around 40 to 100. also is all you have to do is wire up the switch i am still confused as how it gets connected to the internet through the power lines?
thanks so much for showing me this nest product looks awesome.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-16-2012, 06:19 PM
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I use Control4 for lighting control. The dimmers are about $150 each and work off a wireless zigbee signal. This signal is sent to the control4 unit that is connected to a router. The application allows you to dim lights or turn them on and off with the application's lighting menu.
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-16-2012, 06:39 PM
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Oh, also, if the house is 130 years old, when was the electrical done or updated? If the switches are not wired with a neutral, you'll have to take that into account when selecting products...

Snakes in the yard, in the house, or on the plane??? eek.gif

There are some very inexpensive dusk-till-dawn automatic timers (Intermatic) that replace switches to "automate" lighting to keep you from coming home to a dark property. I'm using the variety that has the calendar information, so it adjusts for dusk/dawn times.

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post #6 of 8 Old 06-17-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I hear ya with the Samuel l Jackson! I am from Georgia so I guess me and Samuel got something in common. I been researching and have been looking at the instenon starter kits. I am wanting to do it for the "it" factor also. My wiring is updated and has a neutral at most locations. Basically I am wondering if I tried to do this for under say 1500 dollars(have iPad already) the lights ac and maybe a door lock so I could control them away form home and also maybe a camera or two that would show up on my iPad(baby's room when watching and possibly front gate. We own a small business that puts in fiber optic cable so I could run wires if need be. Do you all think it could be for under my budget or am I jumping on something a lot harder an more expensive than I think. I still don't understand how the systems communicate through the power lines without being connected to the Ethernet ports like the wall plugs are. My thinking is I am missing some expensive peice of equipment that connect the light switches to your modem? Thanks so much for yalls time
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-17-2012, 01:01 PM
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If you are looking to Insteon they use an Interface module that can talk to each of the Insteon devices in the house basically.
The interface itself can be programmed to operate on its own in a limited way but can also be connected to a computer for more versatile control and also as a gateway to the internet for operation from the outside.
This is a big oversimplification of course and I have only used Insteon a few times when there seemed no alternative and with just OK results.
It is definitely not like a hardwired system but has been reliable enough to think it was worth the relatively low price.
With a computer controlling the access to the system from outside it is a simple matter to then let it also control access to simple cameras that will each have an inside the system IP address and can be addressed pretty much like any other IP device in your house.

I don't know if your stated budget is realistic for this or not,some of it depends on what you might already have in computers and networking gear but I can easily see going over it if not careful.

If you get on the Smart Home website and learn as much as possible about the system first you can make better descisions later.

Ed
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-17-2012, 02:25 PM
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Gatorpit, I'm running all of my lighting from an iPad using Z-Wave dimmers. The reason I went with Z-Wave was that dimmers are available that don't require a neutral which is very helpful in those situations where one is not available in the box.

For PC control as well as my iPad, I use Elve by Codecore Technologies. It's priced at $99 right now and is pro-level robust and easy to program. Control from my iPad has been extremely stable. Because of the low cost of the Elve software, one can get started with a fairly limited budget. Elve will, of course, run not only Z-Wave, but also Insteon, UPB, X-10, etc.

Mine started simple, and I've been slowly adding things to the point I not only control all of my lighting, but my entire front projection home theater as well. Here's a link to my home theater site and if you click on Control System you can see the wiring layout I use. At the bottom of that page is an interactive copy of my iPad layout. The iPad design software is included in the $99 price, so you get everything you need software wise for one price.

http://www.deanejohnson.com/johnsonhometheater/

About the only thing Elve won't do is change baby diapers, but it will turn on the lights so that you can.smile.gif

There's other good software on the market such as CQC and Homeseer, but they are considerably more costly than Elve.

Personally, I'm opposed to proprietary systems such as Control 4 and others, and not because they aren't good. Rather because IMO, you get locked into that particular companies products. My personal preference is to have the ability to choose any piece of gear I want to integrate into my system based on it's performance history and cost. I want to be able to do it all myself without having to call an expensive installer every time I need to change something.
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