An internet search for Home Automation brings up many results, but little in the way of useful guides. I understand that the simple concept is greatly complicated by the different technologies and numerous manufacturers. After countless pages of spam under the disguise of how-to's or guides and many home automation outlet store pages, I've come here hoping my fellow forum members can get me on the right track.
What I want to do now:
- I want to be able to control lights, including automated scenes for when I'm away.
- I want to be able to remotely control my home thermostat and program different profiles.
- I want to be able to remotely view my door lock status and lock/unlock remotely.
- I want to be able to view a couple of cameras, perhaps one in and one outside the home.
What I may want to do in the future:
- Develop a deeper home security level by adding motion sensors, a dialer, and recording video feeds.
- Expand control to other areas like irrigation.
- Learn about other things people are doing and have found beneficial.
Which Format? I'm open to suggestions, but I'm leaning towards z-wave
because of the wireless capability, number of products and manufacturers, more current than x10, and home user pricing looks to be lower than some others. If you have any thoughts on why z-wave is the way to go or why it isn't, I'd love to hear them.
Controller - I guess it all starts here, but this is where I get lost! I'm leaning towards a physical controller unit, even though I have several computers laying around. The idea of having a physical interface appeals to me for ease of use and from what I've read, any computer would have to be on 24/7 to keep the home automation network up, right? I would like to be able to interface remotely via smart phone and/or computer.
Thermostat - This looks to be the most complicated item - so many out there, talk of c-wires, Wi-Fi vs RF, compatibility and programming issues. Any advice here is greatly appreciated.
Door Locks - Schlage seems like the most popular choice here, but I've read good things about the Yale unit and my home is currently outfitted with Kwikset locks.
Lighting controllers - These look much simpler and I may combine straight up outlet replacements with wall-wart style plug ins. Any recommended brands or features I should look for?
Cameras - Another instance of so many options and manufacturers. Any recommendations on quality cameras and what to look for as far as resolution, frame rate, etc would be helpful. Zoom/Pan/Tilt might be something to consider, but they do get pricey. For now, any outdoor camera would need to be wireless and even then I have to find a way to get power to it.
Thanks for taking the time to look this over. I look forward to your feedback.