Home Automation, Where do I start?

How would I control my front porch light using my computer? Are there x10 devices with certain software or is there something I can plug into my computer to do this? I don't want just a timer or a "Clapper" that I plug into the wall. I want to be able to start a program from my computer and click a button and see my porch light come on or go off.
Thanks Shane
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gore wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X10_(industry_standard)
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John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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Take a look at: http://www.smarthome.com
Note: they are not the final word, but they will give you and idea of the low to middle range of equipment. They don't have much of the really good and expensive stuff.
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Joseph Meehan

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Silly tricks don't come without a price. At the very least it requires removing a perfectly good durable toggle switch and replacing it wit a POS line carrier, then more cheezy technology to interface that with your PC. Now instead of getting up and flipping a switch, you can fire up the Dell, wait three minutes for it to load, conjure up the program to wirelessly tell the switch to turn on the light... maybe

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That's an exaggeration. X10 switches have local control, or at least can be operated by a plug-in switch. No need to start a computer for such a simple thing.
X10 can work well or have a lot of problems, requiring a lot of attention to keep it working.
BTW, you probably want to avoid X10 motion sensors. They tend to cause a lot of collisions, leading to weird behavior (X10 has very little error checking).

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Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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He wants to run this via computer program

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If this light is important, it would be a mistake to have no other controller.
[snip]
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Mark Lloyd
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Try: comp.home.automation for an automation news group
Stores:
smarthome.com worthingdistribution.com automatedoutlet.com
and of course:
X10.com (Most annoying website ever)
There is computer software to control your lights, but you're better off with a programmable controller so you can leave your computer off after the controller is programmed. I use HomeSeer software and an Ocelot controller, but for a newbie I'd try something like this until you're certain you like it. There's also Insteon, which is supposed to be more relaiable, but many more $s for a beginner.
http://www.activehomepro.com/activehome-pro-starter.html
It doesn't come with a light switch though, but maybe you'll be happy with the screw-in socket in the package. You can also buy the individual parts on eBay if you know what you want.
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wrote:

The Ocelot works well, although programming is strange. I found Homeseer to be a big source of aggravation.

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Mark Lloyd
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RemoteCentral.com

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Hi,
You may like to look at the Z-wave product line from Leviton. This is kind of neat in that it uses short range wireless technology to transmit messages. Each switch, plug, controller forms a node on this network. A command is bounced around the network untill it's destination is found.
The advantages are that it can be retrofited and is reliable, no X-10 issues with noise on the power lines, or getting from one Phase to the other via bridges etc. You can start small and build up to more and more. So you do not need huge buckets of cash to get going.
The downside is that it is expensive when compared to "Vanilla" switches, and requires a hot and neutral at each switch instalation point.
You can hook up to a computer via a RS-232 line.
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?item=173512&section=15188
using a RZC0P-1LW.
best, Mike.
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I will try again. If this appears as a duplicate to you, please let me know, I am not seeing many of my replies at this time.
Take a look at: http://www.smarthome.com
Note: they are not the final word, but they will give you and idea of the low to middle range of equipment. They don't have much of the really good and expensive stuff.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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see also: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.home.automation?hl=en
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