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Thread: New to Home Automation

  1. #1
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    Default New to Home Automation

    I'm new to this, I would say that I'm a very technical person so should pickup home automations quite easy! I have worked in IT and infrastructure for over 15 years and have a good knowledge of network technologies and protocols.

    I have been considering automating my flat, after lots of reading and research I stumbled across this site and forum.

    Looking to automate the following:

    Living Room
    Lights & Lamps
    Blinds

    Home Cinema

    TV
    Amp
    HDX1000 Media Server (soon to be replaced by a Mac Mini
    Projector
    Electric Screen

    Kitchen
    Lights

    Bedrooms
    Lights
    TV
    Blinds

    Other
    Heating
    Alarm

    I want to control this with an iPad, iPhone and possibly a touch screen in-wall display, using something like a Global Cache iTach to control IR devices and Z-Wave for the rest.

    My question, what is the best way to control all this? I though the best solution would be something like the HomeSeer Pro100, but it seems like old technology, its be around for quite a while. Is their a better controller, is it possible to use a MAC?

    I want reliability and something thats not going to consume loads of electricity, but I also want flexibility and the option to upgrade/update as new technology becomes available.

    Is Z-Wave even the right solution?

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default

    Before I start recommending anything on the automation side. Do you have the opportunity to run cat5 cable through out your flat.
    For the home theatre system have a look at XBMC, they now do a version for the MAC if you want. But you can build a system and either use the Live version or install Ubuntu, then XMBC. That's what I did. I have a server in the garage with the films and music on.
    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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    I have CAT5 throughout the flat, currently used for PS3, and HDX1000 (popcorn hour) for movies, I was planning on replacing the HDX for a Mac Mini and Plex in the near future. Everything it attached to my Sony AMP which is hidden away in a cupboard then to the TV. I'm currently using a Logitech Harmony 1100 to control my AV setup but find it a little cumbersome.

    I want to run a single application on my iPad and iPhone to control everything from the Channel i'm watching to the volume, iTunes, and lights, even the temperature. I also want the ability to have scene lighting, the system must be simple to maintain and flexible for future upgrades.

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Have a look at Idratek. This should be able to take care of most of the automation side of things.
    XBMC has quite a few iPhone/iPad etc apps for it.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by marshalp View Post
    I want to control this with an iPad, iPhone and possibly a touch screen in-wall display, using something like a Global Cache iTach to control IR devices and Z-Wave for the rest.

    My question, what is the best way to control all this? I though the best solution would be something like the HomeSeer Pro100, but it seems like old technology, its be around for quite a while. Is their a better controller, is it possible to use a MAC?

    I want reliability and something thats not going to consume loads of electricity, but I also want flexibility and the option to upgrade/update as new technology becomes available.

    Is Z-Wave even the right solution?
    Z-wave in my opinion is the next best thing.. it is more inter-operable and flexible than any other alternative out there.. and it has 2-way communication which not every other technology has. There also also lots of cool software built on z-wave that make the technology so feature rich.. check out mcontrol, homeseer, micasaverde as options.. i recommend mcontrol it is the best but you will need to be involved to unlock its full potential.

    With regards to media center. I highly recommend a windows home server to store all you multimedia.. then just purchase 200-300$ media centers and connect them to Tvs all over the house.. why centralize your content on a windows home server? So you can access your content not only on your TV through the media center.. but also on ur laptops, ipods, ipads, even remotely when you are not at home.. As for the media center.. just go for Windows Media Center .. its just incredibly easy to use (you dont want to be too involved as if you are part of an open source project) and you need something that your family and guests can easily use .

    good luck!
    HadiEsper
    http://www.ShifraSmartHomes.com - First Z-wave Smart Home Automation Solution Provider in the Middle East

  6. #6
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hadiesper View Post
    With regards to media center. I highly recommend a windows home server to store all you multimedia.. then just purchase 200-300$ media centers and connect them to Tvs all over the house.. why centralize your content on a windows home server? So you can access your content not only on your TV through the media center.. but also on ur laptops, ipods, ipads, even remotely when you are not at home.. As for the media center.. just go for Windows Media Center .. its just incredibly easy to use (you dont want to be too involved as if you are part of an open source project) and you need something that your family and guests can easily use .
    good luck!
    XMBC is way better than any Windows Media Center.
    Even my 7 year old can operate and my 4 year old can just about do it with a bit of prompting.
    My NAS was built from an old PC, I recently upgraded it with a PC a client was going to throw out. The XBMC can be built for about 250 pounds using a Zotac MAG HD-ND-01 Nettop. And you can have more than one if you want.
    XBMC may be open source, but is very good. You can get involved if you want or not the choice is yours.
    XBMC is easy to install, compared to any windows install. I went the Ubuntu route then installed XBMC on top. Ubuntu took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and XBMC took less than 10 minutes. The last time I installed a windows based OS it took just over an hour.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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