X10 releases new SecuriLINK Security System

February 28, 2011 Ruslan Ulanov 0

To tell the truth, it’s been a long while since X10’s low-cost security system seen any updates. Having owned the original system as well as its more refined RadioShack-branded counterpart I can say that it works pretty reliable. Since it’s a wireless system I know that for most users battery-powered motion and door sensors are cause for concern — batteries require periodic replacement, signal strength degrades over time. But from using X10 security system over the years I can tell that batteries easily last for over a year before needing replacement (provided that you use fresh and good quality stuff […]

Smarthome introduces a line of power consumption monitoring devices

December 23, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

iMeter Solo (Item# 2423A1) is the first native INSTEON plug-in module that will allow you to measure power consumption of a single appliance or a lamp. Simply plug an appliance (up to 15Amps) into iMeter and plug the iMeter into an outlet. You can then retrieve the data in the iMeter Solo from any compatible INSTEON computer controller such as HouseLinc 2 or ISY-99i. The data is stored as a .csv (comma-separated values) file format on your computer allowing you to open and create graphs to track energy consumption in programs such as Excel, Apple Numbers, OpenOffice, Google Docs and more. Unfortunately, as […]

Crestron Adds Hard Buttons to iPad

September 16, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

Wow, it has finally happened! Now, let’s start from the beginning… iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads are great multi-purpose devices. They are also great for remotely controlling almost anything in your home – televisions, lights, HVAC, and much much more (see our extensive apps list). But all these great (and rather expensive) devices are missing a very basic feature that any regular (even the cheapest) IR remote has – hard buttons that you can push without glancing at the screen. Crestron fixes that problem with it’s iPanel – which snaps over iPad’s screen and adds a total of 13(!) hardware buttons: […]

How to automate your… balcony

June 28, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

Now, this is an original concept! Actually, this is no longer a concept, this product is already in production (in The Netherlands only, for now). I’m talking here about a ‘balcony-on-demand’ from Dutch company called Bloomframe. This product transforms your window frame into a full-sized balcony, capable of holding a whole bunch of grown-up dudes (see photos below).

People Power brings Skynet one step closer

May 14, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

People Power, a green-tech start-up based in the heart of the Silicon Valley, recently introduced a kit it calls SuRF, for Sensor Ultra-Radio Frequency. SuRF helps connect household appliances and gadgets to a wireless network in your house. “What that means is that you could monitor your microwave, Playstation and coffee machine in real time, check their levels of energy consumption, and make apps to control how they behave. Ultimately, that could lead to substantial savings of energy and money” writes Wired. Or it could lead to a self-aware network of gadgets that will try to take you (the owner) out […]

New product: USB2 Insteon USB Controller

May 3, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 1

Smarthome’s product portfolio is so extensive that it’s easy to overlook a nice new product when it comes around. Therefore I would like to share with you this simple but nevertheless interesting new product I’ve recently discovered. It’s called USB2 Insteon USB Controller by Minotaur Engineering (who are these guys anyway?) You wonder what this new device could do for you? Let’s see what the user’s manual has to say… The INSTEON USB Controller provides a way to automatically send Insteon “On” and “Off” signals to other enabled devices whenever a computer is turned on or hard re-booted. It contains […]

TouchLinc controller reincarnated

March 23, 2010 Ruslan Ulanov 0

Remember that touchscreen from a decade ago, called TouchLinc? It was one of the few affordable X10 touchscreen controllers at the time. It had black and white screen and three hardwired connections: power, PC Serial port (for programming) and 4-conductor telephone cable to your powerline interface. Guess what? Smarthome is releasing an updated wireless version pretty soon (expected in stock 5/18/2010). Yes, of course it will support INSTEON, and to accomplish that you will have to have a SmartLinc (aka 2412N) controller in your set-up. So, what’s new?

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 HandymanHowTo.com 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 […]

Innovative light switches from Basalte

December 22, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 0

Being a home automation enthusiast I’ve seen a lot of different light switches, keypads and even LCD touch screens. And to tell you the truth majority of them are either pretty boring or too complex. And then there are light switches from Belguim-based Basalte, that has a very sleek website, but also some pretty innovative switches, that were rightfully awarded with numerous prestigious design awards such as Red Dot and iF product design.

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