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New to Home Automation - seeking advice

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello All - As stated in the subject, I'm new to home automation. I'm a bit of a computer/gadget geek, so I'd like to do it myself. I've ready about all the different technologies out there, but am unsure of which one I'd be best using (or which mix of them). Here's a few initial thoughts of what I'd like in home automation:

1- I must be able to control everything from my computer - this includes creating the software myself (I'm a coder) in case I need to do anything special.

2- I'd like to be able to show video (the person at the door) on my TV when the doorbell rings

3- I'd like motion detectors for security purposes that could trigger cameras on my computer

4- I'd like to use motion detectors to turn on the lights when I enter the room (likewise, turn on heat/ac, etc.)

5- If the phone rings, pause my dvd (if possible) and show on the screen who is calling

Any tips would be welcomed. I'm not sure if I should go with x-10, z-wave, or something else with a mix. Thanks in advance! Also, are there any decent websites with tutorials talking about all these different applications and how to implement them?

RScott
post #2 of 4
I can do pretty much all that stuff. I haven't yet gotten to #5, more from a need perspective. Also for #2, I have to currently manually bring up that screen, but within a few weeks/months it'll be automatic.

The very first step in all of this is to determine what you want to do in each room of the house and what devices you'll need to accomplis that, then plan out the wiring. Once you have the wiring run, then you talk about integration (aka automation) between areas, such as using your motion sensors to handle lighting.

As far as software, you have 3 classes of options:

1) Free. I have no idea if MediaPortal (OpenSource) or xLobby can do any of this, but if you're willing to do hardcore coding i'm sure they'd appreciate the assistance
2) Partially written for you. Girder, Mainlobby have a handful of plugins done, IIRC a whole-house Girder license is ~$200. MainLobby pricing is a la carte, so I couldn't even begin to guess as to your price.
3) Mostly written for you and designed to handle the multi-server and multi-controller requirements that you'd probably have once you get it up & running. All you have to do is add your special logic and/or build your screens. Packages like CQC. However, the whole-house license is $500-$900, based on which options you choose.

Is your house built and is this a retrofit project, or are you building a new home?
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

Is your house built and is this a retrofit project, or are you building a new home?

The house is pre-existing. I guess it would have been good to mention that before as it will probably depend on the recommended technology to use. With that in mind, and the fact that I'd rather not do any wiring or as little as possible, what would be best (x-10, Z-wave, etc.)?
post #4 of 4
Once I got through some initial difficulties with zWave, I've had decent luck with it. I've heard horror stories about x10 and Insteon, great things about UPB.
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