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Started out with irrigation, then security...now the works

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Firstly -I am new to home automation. I have a strong will to learn though. Just a quick question -where would you recommend I start? Books/sites?

I am in the process of installing a complete irrigation system to my home and began researching controllers. As I learned that there isn't currently anything on the market for irrigation integration (control4 has something pending though). In addition to this we purchased this home that has a Brinks security system wiring -glass breakage / door and window sensors. I believe the keypads are locked down. I began to research replacing the keypads and this has led me to investigate whole home automation as I am installing LowVoltage lighting along with the irrigation system.


I have a THX home theater system also -another back burner project that I have wanted to get started again is a LinuxMCE system and a whole house media server to begin the digitization of a library. Is is possible that a PC can perform the whole house automation eventually? Instead of a particular panel, perhaps a software solution and a specific kinds of remote devices that will perform functions? ie... turn on lights, lock doors, report openings... etc... (?)

In short I need to know where to start! There are a few technologies out there... Looked at the vede vera stuff and it seems to simplistic... I would like something perhaps a little more robust and future proof? I do not mind the idea of installing Cat 6 cable throughout... in fact the home is partially wired with Cat 6 cable.

Thank you in advance for information on where to begin to learn more about current trends.
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftpawdog View Post

As I learned that there isn't currently anything on the market for irrigation integration

What exactly do you mean? There are a number of irrigation control systems that can connect to a home automation system.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftpawdog View Post


I have a THX home theater system also -another back burner project that I have wanted to get started again is a LinuxMCE system and a whole house media server to begin the digitization of a library. Is is possible that a PC can perform the whole house automation eventually? Instead of a particular panel, perhaps a software solution and a specific kinds of remote devices that will perform functions? ie... turn on lights, lock doors, report openings... etc... (?)

In short I need to know where to start! There are a few technologies out there... Looked at the vede vera stuff and it seems to simplistic... I would like something perhaps a little more robust and future proof? I do not mind the idea of installing Cat 6 cable throughout... in fact the home is partially wired with Cat 6 cable.

Thank you in advance for information on where to begin to learn more about current trends.

Cocoontech is a good site for more info on DIY Home Automation. Lots of people are using a PC for the Home Automation controller with either Elk M1g or HAI for security.
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

What exactly do you mean? There are a number of irrigation control systems that can connect to a home automation system.

I'm looking for a controller that will hook up to my network and be accessible via a webpage or an iOS app. Googling around, I didn't see a lot of options.

My irrigation contractor gave me some info for a device that is from the late 90s (lists Win95 as supported!). The general feeling I get is that these irrigation companies are definitely not cutting edge.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtmtnbiker View Post

I'm looking for a controller that will hook up to my network and be accessible via a webpage or an iOS app. Googling around, I didn't see a lot of options.

You are going to need two parts to do this, the irrigation control hardware (Rain8) and one of the automation systems that support the Rain8 hardware.

You have many options regards the automation system.

http://www.wgldesigns.com/rain8pc.html

Not listed is the Elan g! home automation system which supports Rain8 and Hunter irrigation controllers.

Several of these automation systems will support remote access over the internet and from iPod-iPad-iPhone-Android devices.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is a huge undertaking. I am learning though at breakneck speed though.

Currently in the process of installing my irrigation system and I have an orbit 12 zone controller still in the box from Home Depot. I believe I may be taking it back! I will use the zone valves manually until I get this baby set up with automation... it is just too cool to pass up. Besides the rain8 system mentioned seems easy enough and about $20 more than the controller that I have. Additionally I need exactly 8 zones!

I will look into the Elk M1g and HAI stuff again. Was just researching the ISY994i/ir pro on smarthome and it seems pretty straightforward, with the additional ability for programming in the future-via linux box with mr house or other.

Very cool stuff. I want to get started... just have to decide on the direction.

Oh and I am pretty sure the ISY994i supports Rain8... very cool indeed.

Sorry about my initial post - I guess I was reading older websites.
post #7 of 11
I think I've read of some Elk M1 owners using relays controlled directly from the m1 controller, and avoiding the cost the Rain8 unit.

You'll have to research that one, though, over at cocoontech.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
I saw that as well. A simple relay board cost about 20 bucks... or simply build one... but then time becomes a factor.

I am possibly interested in the Insteon route... the ELK can then be integrated with it later as security isn't too much of a concern at the moment.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by leftpawdog View Post

I saw that as well. A simple relay board cost about 20 bucks... or simply build one... but then time becomes a factor.

I am possibly interested in the Insteon route... the ELK can then be integrated with it later as security isn't too much of a concern at the moment.

Save yourself the time and trouble of a DIY solution - just get the Rain8 unit - its more then just a bunch of relays.

Given the amount of money that home automation can cost you the Rain8 is (no pun intended) a drop in the bucket.

With Insteon dimmers starting at $40-$50 (?) they will quickly become a significant cost compared to the Rain8

Home Automation, in general, is not for folks with limited resources, it can expand into a very costly undertaking - great fun but can be pricey.
post #10 of 11
One of our customers is using a Koyo Click PLC for an irrigation controller. Lots of them use the Rain 8 as well, but this is one that hadn't been mentioned. It's not a dedicated irrigation controller, but it's a small PLC that can interface to the automation system, so it's sort of halfway I guess between a completely DIY solution and something out of the box, with other possible uses down the road as well.

http://www.charmedquark.com/vb_forum...ad.php?t=10010

The last page is where the customer posted about his application in irrigation.
post #11 of 11
Check out the Irrigation caddy.
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