DIY Project: How to cut your kid’s TV-time without saying a word, the geek-way.

August 12, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

A never-ending fight for TV-time. How to cut your kid’s TV-time without saying a word, the geek-way. My kid is three and a half years old now and I got to tell you, he is smart! He keeps my home automation system on its toes. Here’s my story… As most parents, we have a never-ending fight with our kid, trying to limit his TV-time. I had brains to install TV and a DVD player in his bedroom, and now I have to find ways to tame his TV-appetite. At first, my kid just couldn’t reach the power button on a […]

My new home automation project – KitchenTouch

August 6, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 2

It has been a little quiet in my blog lately. But it’s not because I was lazy (well, maybe just a little). I’ve been busy celebrating many many birthdays in July (including my own) and also I spent a lot of my time learning new technologies (namely HTML5, CSS3 and C# languages) and coding my own home automation project called KitchenTouch. That last thing is what I want to tell you about.

DIY Project: Custom made touch panel

February 19, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

It’s no secret that professionally installed home automation touch panels are very expensive. Could we make a panel that will be useful, easily customizable and relatively cheap? You bet we can! Check for example this New Zealander’s home project that, with a little more polished GUI, could rival the better professional models. With the total cost of roughly $1200 US dollars (though it could be easily downgraded to $500-600) this project will allow you to control your home automation set-up, listen to locally stored music and Internet radio, play photo slide-shows, surf the web, watch online video and even automate creation […]

How to Install a Panasonic Network Camera

January 15, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

I’ve been using Panasonic network cameras for quite some time now, and they are great! Though some configuration settings are rather murky and sometimes it takes a lot of “trial and error” to get it right. But thanks to a brilliant tutorial from now you can do it right the first time. The 4-part tutorial provides plenty of screenshots, so you might see what you are getting yourself into even before actually buying a camera – how cool it that! I wish I’d found that article earlier! The tutorial focuses on the BB-HCM511A Network Camera with Two-Way Audio installation, but most of the […]

An Introduction To Home Automation

June 23, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 1

Tom’s Hardware reader John Knutson just recently published An Introduction To Home Automation. It walks you through the installation of INSTEON-based home automation system, including replacement of basic light switches with SwitchLinks, installation of motion sensors and SmartLinc controller, etc. In conclusion John came to the following verdict: My entire house has become a toy for me to play with and tweak. Great to show off your house to friends, neighbors, and family. Laziness (convenience) is taken to a whole new level. Did I leave the light on in the living room when I’ve already crawled into bed? Hit the off button and […]

How to Get More from Your Home’s Lights

June 23, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 0

Lights are a staple in every home, but that doesn’t mean your switches should be like everyone else’s. With a few simple tweaks, the fixtures can do more simply illuminate your home as a bit of lighting control. They can curb your energy use, evoke ambiance, and protect your home, for example. Here are 10 simple ways to realize your lights’ full potential. Read the rest of the article by Lisa Montgomery on Electronic House magazine’s web site.

DIY Project: Automating porch lights

April 7, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 7

Most of us, homeowners, are accustomed to a routine of turning the outdoor lights on for the night and turning them back off in the morning. Now remember how many times did you forget to turn those lights off in the morning while rushing off to work? Not so green, huh? How could we fix it? Here are two easy DIY solutions for you…

Unconventional uses of home automation

March 26, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 1

Recently I discovered an unusual application for X10/Insteon-enabled lights. It turns out they could help your little kids eat better and faster. Now, let me explain. We have a two-year-old and I would think all parents know that feeding your kid at this age could be quite a challenging activity. So we have to invent ways to distract (or rather entertain) kids while they eat, be it books, toys or songs. Here’s what happened a few days ago…

Wii would like to.. control your home

March 18, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 0

Don’t get me wrong, the Wii is lots of fun! But if you will ever get tired of doing Pilates or playing a fake guitar on your Wii console, you can find a new and exciting application for it by following this DIY automation project from Wii Hacks blog. All you’ll need is a few INSTEON-enabled lights in your home, and a ControlLinc connected to a LAMPbox. For a more advanced set-up you can throw in a Proliphix thermostat, a few AXIS IP cameras and a control system from Aurora Multimedia to drive your TV, DVR, DVD, etc. See the demo video of this project after […]

DIY Project: Automating staircase lighting

March 4, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 1

The Idea/Problem: Use motion sensors to turn lights on when someone approaches the staircase, therefore making it safer and more convenient to use at night. Use existing light fixture instead of mounting step lights to save on wiring and hardware costs. The Components: Here is what we will need: Motion sensor(s): Two X10 ActiveEye (MS16A) or EagleEye(MS14A) sensors. If you want to go all-Insteon the Wireless INSTEON Motion/Occupancy Sensor (#2420M) will do. Light switches: sells a pre-configured SwitchLinc 3-Way Dimmer Kit (#2494M3). If your light fixture cannot be dimmed consider using two SwitchLinc Relay (#2476S) switches. Wireless bridges: To translate wireless signals from motion sensors […]

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