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Thread: Ceiling Light Control

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Ceiling Light Control

    I have a number of old-fashioned spotlights on rails that I wish to replace with Home Automation system controlled recessed downlighters.

    I am using Indigo on a Mac. My questions are

    - Is X10 my only/best option? I was thinking about the X10 inline dimmer modules that are normally used behind the switch panel.

    - Can X10 modules be easily controlled on the dedicated lighting circuit (i.e. these are ceiling lights which have their own dedicated circuit from the consumer panel not switched on from the main ring circuit)?

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    X10 is certainly the cheapest option. But do fit a whole house filter as this will block potential stray X10 signals leaving or entering the house and also help cut down on noise on the power lines.
    X10 will work on your set up. There are special considerations if you have 3 phase power coming into the house, but these are easily solvable.
    The only thing to watch out for is to make sure that the X10 module has a sufficient load rating for the number of spots you wish to control.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  3. #3
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    Thanks Toscal.

    The thing that I'm not so sure about is - if I fit the X10 inline dimmers onto the ceiling light circuit will the CM12U (I presume this is what I need for Mac/Indigo X10 control?) be able to control them if it is plugged into the separate mains socket circuit?

  4. #4
    Automated Home Sr Member Quinten's Avatar
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    Have you considered/seen Bye Bye Standby? http://www.byebyestandby.com/products.php

    I've upgraded all my lights with ceiling dimmers and all the switches with their wall switches and it works very well without any computers messing things up. However, if you do decide to add a computer to the mixture, they have something called the Online Controller which is able to send commands to the receivers and is able to listen for commands send by the transmitters.

    A lot more reliable than the X10 stuff it replaced

  5. #5
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    Thanks Quinten - that stuff looks surprisingly good. I hadn't considered it before. I must say I am not really super fired up about X10 - it seems like it was all designed sometime in the '80s by a blind american! It also doesn't seem to be that reliable.

    If the ByeBye Standby stuff is reliable it also looks to be better priced. My only remaining inclination to persuade me to go X10 is that is seems very easy to control with Indigo. Do you know if it is possible to software control the ByeBye Standby dimmers via software?

  6. #6
    Automated Home Sr Member Quinten's Avatar
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    When you buy the Online Controller, you get free access to the Bye Bye Standby website, which allows you to control any receivers (ie, ceiling dimmers, etc), like switching on and off. You can also get a subscription which allows you to schedule events, but I've got no experience of that (hate paying subs ). Finally, you can get a piece of Windows software called Harmony (http://www.domialifestyle.com/Harmony2.asp). Again, I have no experience of this, I run Linux for my server, and OS X for my desktop.

    Personally I use small perl scripts to send commands to the Online Controller to do what I want it to do.

    Oh, and I almost forgot, there is an app in the Apple Appstore for controlling the Online Controller which works fantastically well (http://www.northwestcode.com/iphone/...ye-bye-standby)

    I feel a bit like a salesperson, but I assure you, I have no interest in BBSB, other than that I am convinced they are a better investment than X10.

  7. #7
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    Quinten - this looks like the way to go. I hate paying subs also! I like the look of the iPhone app but would prefer to use Indigo as my HA program.

    I believe that I can run Perl scripts from OS X so I can most probably have Indigo run that Perl script when the appropriate trigger event happens.

    Can you tell me what the complete Perl script would be e.g to dim a light?

    Is this the same as the UDP control I've come across in my research?

  8. #8
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    The X10 controller can be plugged in anywhere. As long as the circuit has its own breaker in the same consumer unit as the lighting, then it shouldn't be a problem. The nearer you can plug the controller to the consumer unit the better. So a socket near to the consumer unit is the best place, but it can be plugged in to any socket you like.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  9. #9
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    Thanks Toscal - that's good to know.

    I'm considering going the BBSB/Domia route rather than X10 as the prices for the dimmers look to be about a third of the X10 equivalents...

  10. #10
    Automated Home Sr Member Quinten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rarem View Post
    Quinten - this looks like the way to go. I hate paying subs also! I like the look of the iPhone app but would prefer to use Indigo as my HA program.

    I believe that I can run Perl scripts from OS X so I can most probably have Indigo run that Perl script when the appropriate trigger event happens.

    Can you tell me what the complete Perl script would be e.g to dim a light?

    Is this the same as the UDP control I've come across in my research?
    I've posted a copy here: http://www.byebyestandby.com/forum/v....php?f=6&t=383

    They are indeed just UDP commands that can be send to the controller. The thread contains both the listener (to find out when a transmitter has send a command) and a sender (to tell the online controller to transmit a command for you).

    This thread: http://www.byebyestandby.com/forum/v...c.php?f=6&t=57 contains the UDP command syntax

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