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Home Automation
Driveway Probe with Insteon E-mail
Written by Peter   
Driveway Probe Home AutomationLooking for a way to receive notifications when a vehicle is on your driveway or nearby?  Motion-based systems regularly false alarm due to falling leaves or animals, however using a magnetic based system with an Insteon EZIO provides a flexible, reliable solution to getting an early warning - even on your mobile device.  What were the biggest challenges in this setup?  Read on to find out...

Complexity:
Moderate
Time:Approximately 1 hour
Required:

-Magnetic-sensor based system (Dakota Alert DCPA-2500 used)
-22-18 AWG Female terminal connectors (x2)
-Solid or stranded 18 AWG wire
-Insteon EZIO (a 2x4 is shown in photos, however other models will work as well)
-Precision flathead screwdriver (for EZIO and Dakota set screws)

Read more...
 
Remote Control Fireplace: A How-To using Insteon EZIO E-mail
Written by Peter   
Remote Controlled FireplaceThere's a whole world of interfacing with your house beyond your lighting and media, and that includes things like your fireplace, curtains and garage doors.  In this step-by-step guide we'll take you through the task of connecting your fireplace to your home automation network using an Insteon EZIO.  

Complexity:
Simple
Time:Approximately 15 minutes
Required:

-22-18 AWG Female terminal connectors (x2)
-Solid or stranded 18 AWG wire
-Insteon EZIO (a 2x4 is shown in photos, however other models will work as well)
-Precision flathead screwdriver (required for EZIO set screws)


Read more...
 
Insteon Switchlinc: How-to Install Without Neutral Wires E-mail
Written by Peter   

For many people, pulling off a light switch coverplate and seeing what's behind may be the most practical first step into home automation.  Determining if your house's switches contain a neutral wire or not can help direct which home automation solution will offer you the least headache down the road. 

Insteon 2-Wire Kit

In the case where the majority of switches in your home do contain a neutral wire but there are one or two that don't, Insteon is now just as capable as it's wireless peers due to the recently released 2-Wire Switchlinc.  In this step-by-step guide I'll show you how to install the module, using a recently completed installation in our living room as an example.

Complexity:
Moderate
Time:Approximately 35 minutes
Required:

-Insteon 2-Wire Kit
-7 Marrettes/Wire Nuts
-Flathead screwdriver
-Pliars to twist wires together
-Other screwdriver bits as necessary to remove fixture

 

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5 Simple Steps to Home Automation E-mail
Written by Peter   

5 Simple Home Automation Steps1. Start Simple

The biggest obstacle to home automation isn't the technology or the installation, it's the overwhelming amount of information to digest when getting started.  To avoid "analysis paralysis" and get a feel for how the technology works, begin with a starter kit.  Contained within is everything you need to form the basis for your later goals, and will give you the experience to move forward.

2.  Make a Plan

The next biggest issue that people run into is being scattered in their approach to home automation.  While some people enjoy this approach of randomly adding things, for the majority of home automators a specific vision of how you want your house to feel and act can guide you as you expand the system.  Tools like Microsoft Visio (Windows) or OmniGraffle (Mac) can aid in your design, or a good old fashioned pen and paper can work too.  Begin by writing your goals (ie. "Temperature control from anywhere in the house" or "Flash all the lights when the doorbell rings") and then decompose the goals into lists of items needed.  A list of items and categories is available halfway down the home automation review article

If you need help with the breakdown of ideas into components, discuss your goals in the comments below and other Live Automatic readers will help out.  

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How Google Will Save You Money E-mail
Written by Peter   

Kill-A-WattPC World just wrote an article about Google's upcoming PowerMeter which is currently being tested by Google employees and will soon hit the market.  The claims of average power savings of 15% through increased awareness of power usage is an interesting point, however products such as the "Kill-a-watt" have been around for a while now and haven't really saturated the market yet.  Will the Google brand name be enough to increase awareness or convince folks to monitor their power usage more carefully?

The article then discusses how Google's new device may bring home automation to the forefront of consumer's minds.  Perhaps it's just me, but the connection between a power-monitoring device and home automation (which typically has a centralized, monitor-control-respond type motif) is pretty loose.  Perhaps if the device fed the power consumption back into the network for monitoring and aggregate reporting of all household devices I could see the correlation, but currently not so much. 

Link to PC World Article