Home Automation

Ryan Wright

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
1,875
In http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum2/HTML/005744.html[*]Exterior sprinklers are controlled by the system and announcements are made when they're activated. Eventually I'm going to put a small weather station on the roof so I can monitor wind speed, rainfall, etc. That way, if it's too windy to water or it has recently rained, the system can automatically postpone watering until a later time. There are others who have scripts (I haven't done this yet, but really want to!) that download the forecast off the net every morning before deciding whether to water. If it calls for rain, the sprinklers don't water that day. A weather station can then measure rainfall in conjunction with this, so if it rained for x amount of time, but not enough to really soak the lawn, the sprinklers could go ahead and run for a shorter amount of time.[*]Most of my houseplants are watered automatically by the system.

I'm guessing that hearing their exact location announced would have any would-be home invaders crapping in their pants well before you showed up with the shotgun!

Max: I'm thinking they wouldn't even enter the house. As soon as the window or door was opened (or broken), the lights would be on in the entire house. It's about a quarter of a second delay; you wouldn't even get the window open more than a couple of inches before they came on. And just approaching the house turns on not only the exterior floodlights, but also the regular exterior lights. That, and my dog (who knows what the doorbell means and runs to the bay window to bark at everyone) are enough to keep most criminals away.


------------------
-Ryan (http://www.ryanwright.com )
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.
 

Bill Catherall

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 1, 1997
Messages
1,560
How do you deal with a power failure affecting your security? Wouldn't an intruder just have to cut your power and he's in?
------------------
Bill

 

Craig Chatterton

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 18, 1999
Messages
148
Wow Ryan, that's an impressive setup! I want to get something similar when I finally get a house of my own. But I'm more interested in the Music-in-every-room and automated lights aspect. Although if adding security is as easy as you make it sound, then I may do that too.
How long did it take you to set all this up? And is this an ongoing hobby (like HT) or are you considering it finished? And one more; how much has it cost you so far?
------------------
Virgo: All Virgo's are extremely friendly and intelligent, except for you. Expect a big surprise today, when you wind up with your head impaled upon a stick.
 

BrianW

Effects Supervisor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 30, 1999
Messages
2,563
Real Name
Brian
How do you deal with a power failure affecting your security?
That’s a good question. For me, I’ve put my Ocelot controller, computer, and intercom system (hey, it was in the house when we moved in, and I just incorporated it) on a UPS. I also have lights that come on in the event of a power failure (for convenience, actually – not for security). It doesn’t light up as brightly, but it still makes plenty of noise during a security breach.
I’m also using my Ocelot to save the states of IR controlled equipment (i.e., home theater) so that my universal remote truly is universal. For instance, selecting “Mom’s TiVo” on the Pronto will send a command to the Ocelot. If the equipment is off (alas, no discrete codes on my stuff, so I use Ocelot flags), then the Ocelot will turn it on, and if already on, then the Ocelot will leave it on. It will then select the appropriate video input.
But the cool thing is that when “Mom” picks up her own TiVo remote and presses the power button, it does the same thing! If the equipment is off, the Ocelot turns it on and selects the correct video input. If the equipment is on, and if the correct video input is not selected, then the Ocelot will leave the equipment on and select the correct video input. If the equipment is on, and the correct video input is already selected, then the Ocelot will turn the equipment off. This allows us to simply pick up our respective TiVo remotes and use them exclusively, regardless of the current equipment settings, without having to use the Pronto to turn on/off and configure the equipment beforehand. And, let’s face it, the Pronto, wonderful as it is, is not all that great for TiVo control.
But I digress…
Oh, and your assessment is correct: This is never finished.
 

Bill Catherall

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 1, 1997
Messages
1,560
Ryan? You out there? Did somebody cut your power and get to ya?
Or are you afraid to answer my question for fear that someone will exploit the security hole I found?

------------------
Bill

 

MickeS

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2000
Messages
5,058
Ryan, that's a really sweet system you got there.
We have a simple pre-installed alarm system with armed doors and windows, and a horn going off if someone breaks in (with the option of hooking it up to a security comapny and their central alarm response unit). Not as refined, but works for us. I wonder if I could add some of the things you have to our system? I noticed that the sensors we have seem to be the same that you have, and your equipment seems reasonably inexpensive. Seems like a fun little project. You've inspired me.

Of course, in your neighborhood, where crazy people seem to be roaming the streets constantly, you'll probably need a system like yours.
(kidding)
/Mike
[Edited last by MickeS on November 02, 2001 at 11:33 AM]
 

Ryan Wright

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
1,875
Power: I currently do not have my setup on a battery backup. My servers are on a medium sized APC SmartUPS, however the automation equipment is not. It does not lose it's programming during a power outage, though, and executes a script upon power recovery that re-sets the devices in my house. For instance, if the fish tank light was supposed to turn on at 9:00am, and the power was out from 8:00 to 10:00, as soon as power is restored the system will turn that light on.
This is not a full fledged, monitored security system. Heck, it's not even a "security system". It's a home automation system that has security features programmed into it designed to discourage most would-be intruders and protect us through advance notice. The idea is that I'll never wake up to find someone standing at the foot of my bed who shouldn't be there. If someone decides to cut the power to my house before breaking in, I'll wake up immediately. We have a carbon monoxide detector that emits a loud chirp when the power goes out, and the UPS on my servers is fairly loud as well.
If I wanted to, I could plug my amps and automation equipment into my UPS, then sound an alarm and send an announcement if the power goes out. Eventually, I'm going to buy some of http://www.smarthome.com/7460.html
quote: Not as refined, but works for us. I wonder if I could add some of the things you have to our system?[/quote]
Well, with a full fledged security system, you're more likely going to be creating an automation system from scratch and then linking the two together. Most security systems do not have the capability to send X-10 signals, and those that do are very limited in their abilities.
------------------
-Ryan ( http://www.ryanwright.com )
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

[Edited last by Ryan Wright on November 02, 2001 at 12:02 PM]
 

Ryan Wright

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
1,875
Bill: You're correct that in it's current form, a power outage would deactivate the security aspects. I could fix that with ease but don't really have a desire to. As I said, I'm mainly concerned with having a warning should someone break in while I'm sleeping, and if they cut the power I'll wake up immediately and go out to investigate.
If someone breaks in while I'm away from home, the system will flash a few lights at them and tell them to leave, which should scare them away. Unless they come in through my front door, in which case it will welcome them home and turn on some lights for them.
It's really not designed to discourage any professional thief. Mostly, it's there for convenience, and the security aspects protect my family while we're home. If I was really paranoid I'd buy a real security system and integrate the two. Eventually I'll do that.

Also, some advice for anyone who is thinking of getting into this: Look into the JDS Stargate. It's a $1000 controller but is one of the best in the X-10 category. I would have bought this one, but it wasn't available when I purchased my Timecommander. Eventually I'll upgrade; my expansion modules will work with the Stargate as they're made by the same company.
These touchscreens also make sweet tabletop or wall-mounted controllers, and I'm going to buy a few one of these days...
------------------
-Ryan (http://www.ryanwright.com )
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
344,183
Messages
4,702,555
Members
141,189
Latest member
2ephecks