The future of automated living

March 31, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 1

There were quite a few visions of the household of the future if we turn to the Hollywood flicks. Take for example The 5th Element or Minority Report or, well.. The Jetsons. Here’s how Microsoft et al. envision our homes in the not-so-distant future.

The Ultimate List of Home Automation Software for iPhone, Part 2

March 29, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 4

This is Part 2 of The Ultimate List of Home Automation Software for iPhone. UPDATE: This list has moved to a new place, please go there for the most up-to-date information. For your convenience the short link to this post is (as in iPhone Home Automation Software, Part 2). Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

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 […]

Going green

March 10, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 3

Just a couple of weeks ago I have enrolled in a SmartAC program offered by my local utility company – PG&E. What this program is about? It’s about saving energy. This Saturday morning I had a couple of PG&E guys at my place retrofitting my old (but still pretty decent) 4-wire Lux TX1500E thermostat to a new, 5-wire, Honeywell UtilityPRO.

New INSTEON products from Smarthome

March 5, 2009 Ruslan Ulanov 0

Smarthome has just updated their INSTEON portfolio with two new products. The first is the In-LineLinc Relay – INSTEON On / Off Module (Non-dimming) w/ Sense ($49.99). This wire-in module allows to automate existing motion-sensing floodlights or any other 120V switching sensor. Another addition is SeriaLinc – INSTEON to 2-Way RS232 Serial Converter ($149.99). This plug-in module is a protocol bridge between INSTEON network and any RS232-compatible appliance from whole-home audio to security systems to automation controllers. The products are currently on back-order and will be shipped on first-come-first-served basis.

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 […]