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From basic articles to Advanced Tutorials
Don't be fooled by the meagre descriptions,
these are often very detailed and directly useful.
- Basic tutorial series:
- Introduction : A very simple introduction to home automation.
Why you would want to have such a system, and a simple way of presenting the problems and joys of having a home servant as a parallel to setting up and maintaining your own home automation system.
- Two-Way ? What is one-way versus two-way communications ?
Follows on the intro, and should help you understand the difference and the benefits
of being able to monitor your home as well as control it.
- What Things ? Just how much bother is this and how much does it cost ?
Follows on the intro, with pictures and prices of the basic elements. This should show how modular this whole thing is and how easy it is to just add a few new units as you go.
- Where to Buy This is just a guide to finding X-10 parts.
- Plug-Ins How you can share systems with other users.
This is a pretty basic tutorial about the ins and outs of saving and importing XTension 'plug-ins'. Many of the following tutorials include them.
- Basic tutorial Basic elements of XTension
This won't take long and could clear some things up for you! All of the following tutorials assume that you have seen this one.
- Sensor tutorial Motion sensors, driveway lights, and a bit of security.
This one shows a simple driveway motion system along with some sensors and a garage door lock. It is the prelude to a more complex system in the next tutorials.
- Real world tutorial
How to control a simple garage door opener and use of the X-10 Universal Module.
- Driveway sensors
Here we explore gadgets like magnetic vehicle sensors and laser beam motion sensors which are much more 'reliable' than PIRs.
- Lamp Modules
A tutorial about the different types of dimmer controls and their use with XTension.
- Smarter Dimmers
A tutorial about the newer 'smart' dimmers and their use with XTension.
- About Motion Sensors
A tutorial about the basic relationship between motion sensors and XTension.
- More types of Sensors
An unfinished tutorial about different kinds of sensors.
- A simple 'remote dimmer'
Describes how to use a 'two-button' wireless remote to control lamps and some simple arithmetic with values of database units.
- Control Heating and Air Conditioners (HVAC)
- Plug in the TX15b bi-directional thermostat.
This is a great way to gain control of your HVAC, adding features that you never thought were possible.
- More advanced articles about Security:
- Use those X-10 cameras and Oculus to post pictures to the web !
Mark Johannessen offers a complete solution. Here's how to set up the software
for scheduling periodic snapshots as well as using a motion sensor to capture
that intruder at the front door.
- Add security cameras to your system.
This article discusses how to add one or more cameras, and switching them.
- Help with X-10 "Security Consoles"
This is a pretty geeky tutorial, because it uses the special "Attachments" script to interpret the "all lights on" command from the security console as an "alarm".
- Do you have multiple Macs, and a network ?
This tutorial includes a 'plug-in' with all that is necessary to set up another Mac as a 'monitor' machine, with database synchronization.
- The 'Occupied Look' at night.
This tutorial suggests how to easily make your home look like it's occupied
when you are late or on vacation.
- Is there someone in the house ?
Here is an idea for a script which will test each of your motion sensors and
let you know if any have 'triggered' in the past few minutes.
- Remote/Web control and Telephone stuff:
- Control your home from the web !
Use James Sentman's X2Web plug-in for several different web servers,
and be able to control and monitor your home XTension system even from that
PC at work !
- Add Caller ID and Paging to your system !
Use the YoYo from Big Island to add telephony. Write caller ID information
to your Log, or maybe even have your system call you when there's an intrusion !
- A serial port Caller ID solution
As an alternative to the YoYo, here's how to build a small kit which is just as effective
as the YoYo.
- Have your home call you !
Using a modem, your email account, and your digital cell phone, you can easily have XTension send messages to your phone.
- Control your home from your office or cell phone !
Simple remote control using touch tones.
- Add Weather data to your system
- Gathering weather data from the Davis devices.
This tutorial is based on the Davis Weather stations, but illustrates how to talk to a serial port using AppleScript, and perhaps how you might modify the applet to serve other purposes.
Includes a 'plug-in' which may need no modification to be useful for you.
- The Radio Shack WX200 weather station.
Like the Davis, but requires a different setup and plug-in. A 'best-buy' ?
- Watch that rain falling !
Scripts and ideas for using a common rain gauge.
- Other special devices which work with XTension
- RFID Reader !!
Mark Johannessen had done it again !
Here is a very nicely organized article that will boost you into the world of RFID with XTension.
- The AVS 8x8 Eight channel audio-video switcher
Home Automation Control Systems has developed a great product for home theater and security cameras. Mark Johannessen and Daniel Petigrand have created an XTension interface and plug-in for it. Very nice article.
- The Audrey Internet appliance may be discontinued, but it Lives with XTension.
The Audrey has been dropped, but with over 25,000 of them in circulation, and at a street price of $100, a color touch-screen remote control of XTension is very attractive. Specially when you also get a web browser, email client, and PDA functions. Put them everywhere, from the kitchen to the bathroom !
- The ZephIR and home theater control.
New for the year 2007! Integrate your home theater components into your home automation system. (USB added in 2007 !)
- Wireless X-10 !
The latest thing in X-10 devices is the MR26 all-housecode RF receiver. Just plug it in to an available serial port and you can ditch all your old
X-10 RF transceivers. Also serves the new X-10 special remotes for DVD and MP3 players.
- The Weeder Analog Board ! This is a serial device that offers Analog (like temperature) measurements. This plug-in offers an applet that manages the Weeder, and posts values to XTension.
- A proximity sensor may be better than a motion detector.
The Bik Proximity Sensor is perfect for determining whether a room or location is "empty" or "occupied"...
- Wireless speakers let your Mac talk to you anywhere.
With some simple wireless speakers, XTension can "speak" event messages wherever you are...
- Avoiding water damage from your A/C
With Spring and higher humidities, your air/heat system may bring water to your
house in places you don't need !
- Basics about switches and the Powerflash
Many simple sensors can be fashioned from 'switches' of all
types. And they can all be easily connected to the PowerFlash module,
providing all sorts of 'input' to your system.
- Nanny Cam ?
Take pics on a remote Mac from XTension scripts.
- Monitor those utilities !
A simple switch gives a lot of information. Monitor such things as your water pump, or your Air/Heat system.
- Master of Ceremonies
Control all of your home theater with the SmartLinc X-10 to InfraRed controller and XTension.
- A silent alarm
A simple child's toy becomes a very useful silent 'vibrator' type pager for your home system.
- Building the LynX Kit
The LynX is the most reliable X-10 interface, and if you can put together the kit, it will cost you only a little more than the CM11.
- Doing things that X-10 can't do.
Sampling and processing values of analog channels of the ADB I/O with XTension and AppleScript.
- What's between ON and OFF ?
A tutorial about collecting data like temperatures with the ADB I/O.
- Hacks and Tricks
- Solar power for sensors !
Chuck Coleman put together these pictures and
description of how to add a solar cell to those Hawkeyes.
- Hacks and Tricks
This is a catch-all
page which shows a lot of little hacks and tricks that haven't yet been up into tutorials yet.
Articles and true stories about home automation:
Copyright 2007, Sand Hill Engineering All rights reserved.
Last modified: August 27, 2007
Michael Ferguson, webmaster(at)shed.com