Indigo: Home Automation on the Mac – Part 2 – RFXCOM & The Wireless Door Bell
As we mention in Part 1 of our review, the action of simply plugging in an RFXCOM RFXtrx433 to a USB port on your Indigo Mac opens up a whole new world of wireless Home Automation possibilities. The list of 433MHz RF devices supported by the Indigo plugin include LightwaveRF, RF X10 and HomeEasy.
Out of the box the unit can control a lamp or appliance plugged into it with some basic timer functionality. However once it’s connected to Indigo then things start to get more interesting.
It’s not immediately obvious how to set this up in Indigo but thanks to the help of ‘durosity’ on the forums we set the kit up in Indigo using his instructions as follows.
Start off by creating 2 new Indigo devices. For device 1, (in this case the button) set the type to ‘RFXCOM’ and the model to ‘X10 Switch’. Set the module address as the code that comes up in the indigo logs when you press the button (you need enable debug logging in the RFXCOM plugin for this to show).
On device 2 (the chime module that plugs into the mains) set the device type to ‘RFXCOM’ and the model to ‘AC Appliance (New KaKu)’. You need to give it a random house code and unit number, then save it. To then pair it with indigo you need to put it into pairing mode (press the red light on the front) then press the ‘On’ button in indigos device list.
The door chime module can pair with several different transmitters meaning you can make it sound by pressing the wireless button at your front door, plus have it triggered from an RFXCOM transmission sent from Indigo.
From there you can then setup triggers so if the button is pressed it’ll perform various actions in indigo. How about pausing whatever is currently playing on your TV and show the CCTV camera at the front door when the button is pressed. If you just pair the chime module with Indigo and not the push button door bell itself you could use some simple logic to make sure the chime doesn’t sound after a certain time at night, perhaps flashing a light or something more gentle instead – handy if you have children sleeping. Or how about using it for a wake up alarm or even a button on your phone to trigger a 21st century version of the dinner gong to call the kids for tea.
Indigo supports plenty of USB i/o boards, but more interestingly it you can use this nice 1073_0 – PhidgetSBC3 Ethernet unit that could be placed anywhere on your LAN. With this we could use the output of our driveway sensors to sound the chime inside the house for some early warning of an inbound vehicle (using two motion detectors will give you the direction of travel).
Adding an RFXCOM to your Indigo setup is a 5 minute job that opens up a whole other world of wireless possibilities for your Home Automation system.