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Newbie looking to build HA system on the cheap using iRule

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I recently started reading about the iRule software that allows you to use your iOS or Android device as a fully custom universal remote. I've pretty much got my plan for my A/V equipment figured out. (Acer Iconia A500/iPhone to a GC100-12 to my Directv, plasma, projector Denon receiver, etc.) I'd like to also be able to start adding some HA "tweaks" to my house and be able to control it all with the iRule system.

Specifically, I have several ceiling fans and lights throughout my house I'd like to control, and would also like to add HVAC controls at some point. Maybe one day some cameras would be nice, but that's way down the road. I'd like a system I can build on a little at a time - one room at a time, as I have a very tight budget. I was initially drawn to the X10 system for ease of building on to a system and, of course the price. However, I know X10 is 1) a dying system and 2) considered by some to be pretty much cheap junk. They've even discontinued their IR543 box, so that kind of kills using X10 with iRule.

So far my research has steered me towards Insteon and their SmartLinc combined with a FanLinc. $80 a pop for the FanLincs seems a little steep for a beginner. Is there something else out there that I'm missing that's a little more budget friendly? I know...I know...home automation and cheap don't go together, but I'm a newb here.
post #2 of 7
The DirecTV receivers have easy-to-use IP control that works great with iRule - works much better than IR.

Same should be true for an Insteon setup - the ISY device or perhaps there's an interface for the SmartLinc (looked, couldn't find anything documented from a quick search).

And yes, if the price of the Insteon devices is scaring you, um, yeah, you might seek another hobby... eek.gif

post #3 of 7
If you can live with on/off then just use a switchlinc relay and run your fans at a single speed.

Try to take advantage of the 20% off insteon sale tomorrow if you can.
post #4 of 7
I am in the same boat as the OP. I am building a theater on my 2nd floor currently in the framing stage. I have an adjacent game room that I want to distribute audio and video from the rack in my theater to. At some point I would like to possibly distribute audio and video throughout the house even. I only need to be able to control the lights in the theater with a tablet or iphone system like iRule. I am a complete noob when it comes to automation. The most advanced I have gotten in the past is putting all components in a cabinet with an RF Harmony remote sending the signal to an IR blaster. I am going to have all of my lights wired into one location in my theater. My question is should I just get a Grafikeye to control the lights or is there a cheaper/better solution that will still allow me to dim and do "scenes/activities"? Also, can you use various hardware with iRule or do you have to go through the company distributing the software? Lastly, how does it compare to Control4?
post #5 of 7
can you use various hardware with iRule or do you have to go through the company distributing the software

iRule doesn't make hardware; it's a software only solution, though they've partnerned with Global Cache to provide hardware for IR/Serial Control/Relay control. So, for example, you can use iRule to control your AVR (assuming it has IP control) without the need for any additional hardware. If you want to control your TV via iRule and your TV doesn't have IP control, then you'd want to get the Global Cache iTach IP2IR-P or Global Cache iTach WF2IR. Both of those take a network signal and convert it into an IR signal and can blast it at your TV. The former uses an ethernet cable to get the signal and power while the latter is wifi. You can tape them to the back of your TV so they're hidden.
how does it compare to Control4

Control4 is a more robust hardware and software solution. If something is wrong, you contact the installer/dealer/programmer, and they'll fix it. Since Control4 has its own hardware, integration is seamless. But it's also more expensive. There is very little DIY control. New hardware has to be installed by an authorized dealer and any technical issues will probably require a dealer to fix, thus costing you money.

I was originally looking at going with Control4 but have since decided to use iRule. For about $15,000, my Control4 system would have distributed audio and video to my Living Room and 3 bedrooms, with audio also in my hallway and kitchen. Using iRule, I can accomplish the same thing for about $7,000.
post #6 of 7
What are you using for lighting? Did you run a grafik eye and just control it through a global cache piece with iRule?
post #7 of 7
Try this out: http://www.smarthome.com/12237DB/ISY994i-INSTEON-Compatible-Automation-Controller-with-Dual-Band-PLM/p.aspx

Pick up that kit for $270 and then you'll be able to install and control any of the Insteon devices with iRule.

Right now, I'm not integrating my lights. To be honest, it's at the bottom of my list. Lights are easy to get up and switch on or off or dim. I'm more concerned with controlling my A/V equipment that is the A/V closet, so I focused on that first.
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