15 comments on “Tying Your Home Automation and Home Theater Together

  1. dude.. this is TOO impressive. but you didn’t live up to your promises about updating the blog and adding links and such. i’ve got way too many questions, but no answers. where do i start? ummm.. about to get a house built and from seeing the x10 products, I really don’t think i’m going to need any extra cabling done.. can you shed some light on to this please? will i be able to use the electric grid in the house for all my communication? will it be 2 way, do i need to install filters.. does this need to happen while the house is being built or should i just wait.


  2. Oh don’t you worry buddy, there’s more goodness coming up. Been on vacation for a while and these projects take time, especially when you’re writing a lot of the logic yourself.

    My next project is an intelligent door bell, that when rung, records the date/time to my computer, takes a few photos with my security camera, rings in my house and my workshop, and emails me the photos so I know who stopped by when I was out.

    The question you need answered really is should you go with x10 or should you go with a more expensive, better product. It’s all about budget versus willingness to deal with headaches. As a DIYer I knew that I would have to mess around to get x10 perfect, and it’s still ongoing. I had seriously considered better products, everyone should weigh the options.

    I recommend you check out the x10 links on the right hand side of the blog. It’s a good idea to understand what you’re getting into before buying.

    If you have low tolerance for problem solving and you have the cash to spend, invest in current gen technology. X10 dates to the 70’s, has some inherent problems that will require say filters on microwaves and computers. It’s survived this long because it’s cheap and the feature set is certainly good enough.

    X10 supports bidirectional communication for some products, but to my knowledge none of the light switches do. If you turn a light switch on from the wall, there’s no way for your computer to know. In my experience this doesn’t matter in practice but I would like to have it. Speaking of computer, a must is a cm15a computer interface. Unfortunately they’re only available used, in my opinion all other interfaces are lacking, my door bell project wouldn’t work otherwise for example.

    You don’t need to consider x10 or other common home automation products before building. They’re retrofit. The only time this should be considered is if you’re buying a top of the line HA system. My uncle for example has one that requires a computer the size of a beer fridge. His solution was probably over $40,000. Also it’s completely awesome. My solution probably has me in under $1500 at this point and that outfits my whole house.

    Thanks for the comment! and sorry for the delay.

  3. hey no worries man.. thanks a bunch for the all the info. ok.. so for starters.. what do you recommend? you mentioned that the x10 wouldn’t work for light switches yet I’m seeing many products at home depot and such that are light switches with built in X10 functionality. do you think that would take care of that? any recommendations on let’s say, a semi complete layout of a system?

    Thanks dude.. keep up the great work!

    • When you say @homedepot light switches with build in x10 functionality, do you literally mean “X10 protocol” or do you mean similar to x10? It’s very important to be specific about what protocol the home automation equipment uses, at the end of the day that dictates it’s features and justifies it’s price. I’ve heard the better protocol these days is zwave/zigbee, but they are very expensive. Can you post a link to the items at home depot you’re talking about? I’m curious about that. Thanks

      • hey man.. out of curiosity.. could i call you or you get a hold of me? I really would like to have an indepth convo. The builder JUST started building our home on Tuesday. They will be doing the foundation really soon and from that point on, it’s lightning fast. Do you mind?? 🙂

        • Hey dude. Honestly I dont recommend any advice I have for what you’re trying to do. My automation blog focuses on DIY, cheap and retrofit. If you’re building a new house and you have a budget for a solid home automation system I really have no advice for you as that isn’t my world. I’m using old x10 technology for lights, arduino for custom projects and random fukery all about. That is not they way to go for a professional, built from scratch solution. And if you happen to want a DIY/hacker solution, you probably dont have to plan ahead of building a house other than running a good cat5e/6 cabled network throughout your house. That will always come into handy down the road.

  4. I’m also not lookin to bump heads with your uncle, so a cheap affordable solution is what i’m looking for 🙂 i don’t mind if it went up to $4-5000 but not the freakin 40g’s – that’s def out of my budget

    so whatever you think!

    • Sorry forgot that I hadn’t. The issue with this is it depends on a an x10 IR receiver which are rare. I could put the code up as is, but it should really be rewritten to just use xbmc event to contact the x10 server.

  5. This is really cool! Did you end up posting a guide for how to get it to work? I’d love to try it out.

      • I actually went another way and decided to use zwave+vera for the lighting control. XBMCstate integrates XBMC with vera. Eventghost+FLIRC connects my harmony to my HTPC.

        Works pretty flawlessly but it’s a slightly more pricy system (~400$ for what I mentioned above including 4 dimmers)

        • Sounds very interesting. Would you be willing to write a little bit about the specific if you have a blog or on the xbmc forum. Maybe throw a video up on youtube? Send me the links to the software used. If you put something up i’d like to like to it from this article.

      • I don’t have anything written up as yet, but I was thinking about starting a website up soon. It may be awhile though (1-2months), since I’m very busy with work. I’m currently tinkering with some stuff from http://www.mysensors.org which is a really cool resource for DIY sensors, I’m currently working on building a blind controller.

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