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post #1 of 8 Old 03-13-2006, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I'm looking to install a small amount of automation in my theater, i've been searching, and searching, and reading, and reading and all I have to show for it is a headache.... :( So I was wondering if someone could help me out, or point me in the right direction? I'm a complete newb when it comes to automation.....

Here's what I want to do:
1:have the lights dim in my theater
2: the screen roll down
Then the opposite happen when the movie is finished.
...That's it, Just in the theater not in the whole house or anything, maybe someday but not right now.

So what will I need? I'm looking to do it inexpensively as it is more of a learning experience/project to keep me busy. :D

Any Ideas??
Thanks in advance,
Tristan
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-13-2006, 11:59 PM
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How does your screen work now? Is it in a manual roll?

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post #3 of 8 Old 03-14-2006, 05:37 AM
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The lights are easy assuming a single circuit. Lutron makes a remote-controlled dimmer switch called the Maestro IR that is reasonably priced. Just wire it in place of the existing switch and use the provided remote or program your universal remote to control it. If you have more than one light circuit to control, look at the Lutron Spacer or GrafikEye.
The screen control solution can be simple or next to impossible, but we need to know what you have in terms of brand, model, and existing control.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-14-2006, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys!

I have an electric draper Targa screen(I'm in bad need of a new screen, but this works for now....and for the forseeable future) i'm using the standard switch with it, so there's no IR sensor or remote with it, although I doubt that would be overly difficult to change. I do only have on light circuit that i'm wanting to control so that seems easy enough!

Is there anyway that I can make this PC based? I have an older PC that I would be willing to devote to just these tasks, is there anyway to do this??

Thanks in advance,
Tristan
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-14-2006, 09:16 AM
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I'll check that screen out, but the first thing that comes to mind is wondering whether it's a simple contact closure [i.e., flip the switch, close the circuit, and the screen comes down. flip the switch again, open the circuit, and the screen comes up].

In that case, it would be pretty trivial to use a contact closure via RS232 to control. see http://electronickits.com/kit/complete/elec/ck1610.htm

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post #6 of 8 Old 03-14-2006, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
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IVB,

Here's what I have right now:

Pentium 3
pronto tsu1000

Here's what I was thinking of buying to get me started.
http://www.aartech.ca/product_info.p...ada/2442P.htmlfor the screen.
http://www.aartech.ca/product_info.p...da/2876DB.html
http://www.aartech.ca/product_info.p...ada/2414S.html
And then some kind of pc based program to control it all, cqc looks good, but a little on the pricey side...actually all of them are now that I think of it, are they worth it in the end???


Am I on the right track? Anything else I should be getting into? Is insteon the way to go, or is x10? I've read that x-10 has a few reliability problems, but otherwise isn't too bad, on the other hand I haven't really read anything about insteon, is there another company?

Flurry of questioning complete.....for now ;)

Tristan
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-14-2006, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
is there another company?
This is a GREAT thread on the various lighting protocols and their strengths & weaknesses.. Net net: I'd check out UPB too. I'm personally waiting for the next round of zWave products, due out within a few weeks.

Quote:
are they worth it in the end??
My take on PC control programs is this: You will pay one way or another. Either in terms of reliability/stability/extensibility, or sweat equity. Choose which way works for you.

For my personal purposes, I honestly just wanted a way to simplify life after centralizing all my equipment. I was constantly getting up to check the receiver status to see why the sound wasn't on. I got CQC for displaying receiver status, and closing the drapes on our cathedral ceiling windows. However, now I find myself actually improving life via minor HT/HA here & there. I'm taking my darn sweet time as I'm not in a rush, and am looking to slowly grow. It'll take 18 months to do it all, but that's fine b/c like you, this is a learning exercise for me.

Here's what I said in another thread. If you find yourself wanting to do more than one of these things, and if reliability/stability mean anything to you, then I don't think $200-$300 is much to spend knowing that the wife won't call you with the "honey, why doesn't <XXX> work"?

Quote:
- Whole House Audio/Video distribution, mzone/msource with HDTV in each area
- HVAC control
- drape control
- tablet PC/PDA controllable
- irrigation
- security
- lighting
- cameras [nannycam & front-door & external]
- Doorbell ring detector, so we can pause any audio/video and pull up a live video of the front-door when it rings
- Caller id [so we can pause any audio/video and flash the info on screen, or perhaps even do it based on the specific person calling in, or perhaps even announce the caller over the speakers]
- Motion sensors, so we can do the above 2 based on what room we're in. [i.e., only announce caller ID on the rooms that are in use]
- RFID & electric door strikes, so that we can press a button as we approach house and door unlocks.
- SMS integration, so we can page the house as we're getting close to turn up the heat/turn on exterior lights/...

Then we can move into the really cool stuff, like tying multiple events above together so that when we leave the house, we just punch in a code on the $250 touchpanel, it turns off all the audio/video, turns down heat, turns on exterior lights, yada yada, and we just exit.

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-03-2006, 09:39 AM
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Have you considered Lutron RadioRa, I sell it and have it in my home it can control everything you are mentioning, has IR, RS232, and wireless network communication options, is easy to install/program and can easily control a screen with a switch(es) / relay combination...

It might cost a bit more than any of the X10, Insteon, Z-Wave etc.. but you won't have any reliability issues as they have their own RF band.

Paul W.
'Lutron Grafik Eye & Radio Ra Specialist - or anything Lutron'
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