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  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Default Advice required please

    I am looking at installing automation in my home and would like some advice/comments if possible please - apologies in advance for all the questions, just have spent so long looking into this and am still unsure of route to go and don't want to waste money buying the wrong things

    Firstly I am in the UK - as this I suspect will affect some of the answers

    This is what I would like to achieve and where I am so far:-

    Hardware/Software - thinking about homeseer or hometroller - may go for the hometroller but also considering building my own little mini PC for homeseer to run on

    Lighting - want to control some lights in my house, can I just replace switches with z-wave or x-10 light switches? if so what are best ones

    Sound - want to have sound in at least two rooms controllable from same place as all other automation items - so was thinking perhaps either Sonos or fitting myself ceiling speakers with an amp connected to hometroller (or PC running homeseer) - want to be able to play mp3's from itunes and also send sound from PS3 when watching blueray movies or playing
    games - thoughts? better solutions?

    Cameras - want outside and inside cameras again controllable from one place - was thinking IP cameras probably wireless for this?

    Security - may also add movement (PIR) sensors to be used to trigger cameras recording and also perhaps to turn lights on/off - if this is possible?

    Heating - want to be able to control my oil fired central heating and monitor temperatures inside and out- bit confused as to how I do this, can I somehow link something to my existing heating controls (Honeywell ST6400C) such as a z-wave thermostat - if so how is it done and recommendations on what to buy

    Would like to be able to speak commands and also for it to be able to speak back to announce things etc

    Finally would like to control it all from PC and iPad - so was thinking HSTouch with plugins etc to work with all above items

    Want to try and acheive this without spending a fortune - it is only a small two bedroom bungalow

    Comments/Advice please.......

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Homeseer is very good. I have beta tested their software in the past.
    I would go the build your own pc route. And only use it for Homeseer. I did find that a pc running Homeseer and media server software (I used to have a pinnacle showcenter ) wasn't a good idea.
    As regards to sound Sonos is excellent. Very flexible.
    If you are going to use a Sonos based system then you may want to store your media on a NAS type device.
    What do you want to do with the lighting. Just turn it on or have the ability to dim it or have set scenes, presence detection, give your house that lived in look when you are away.
    Voice control is very hit and miss and you will need quite a powerful machine to do it well. Also in my experience if the command isn't said exactly the same way and with the same level of background noise you start to run into problems. so you will really run into problems when the TV is on. It is getting better, but still has a long way to go.
    If you are on a limited budget then I would do it bit by bit rather than all in one hit.
    You mentioned X10 and Z-wave. X10 is OK but it can be a bit problematic, and requires a bit more hands on testing and sorting out. Z-wave don't really know too much about it. Also take a look at PLC bus this is like X10 but much better, there is now a plugin for Homeseer for it. There is also this software for the PLC bus system.
    Wouldn't use wireless IP cameras, cabled IP cameras are better. Remember the more wireless stuff you have on a certain frequency the more your bandwidth get reduced, (the slower your network becomes).
    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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    Hi Toscal, thanks for your reply

    Yes that was what I was thinking, perhaps build or buy something like an eee-box to run it on, but would like to try and have all my music on same device if possible

    Yes quite like idea of Sonos for music, but been thinking other routes too as want to do sound from playstation 3 movies and games, so would like to take advantage of the surround sound, so perhaps thinking some sort of home cinema speakers to do this and then stream music through same speakers from PC for audio - perhaps using itunes or wmp plugin for homeseer

    Lighting - want to be able to turn on/off, don't need to dim, but yes would like to respond to events i.e. motion detection and also to simulate someone home when on holiday etc

    Will look more into PLC Bus

    Good point re cameras, will consider cabling them all in which shouldn't be an issue anyway

  4. #4
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
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    With your requirements of lighting, heating, security (incl cameras) on the automation side I would suggest taking a look at Idratek.com. For sound I don't know about Sonos but I run the Idratek Cortex controller s/w on a PC with the SlimServer/SqueezeCenter software without problems. The media is on an external drive.

    Idratek doesn't currently have an App for it, but is does have a basic web interface and there has been work to produce a Flash interface via XAP.

    The sound for movies & games with surround sound ... there are others with more experience in this area!
    2p
    JonS

  5. #5
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    Thanks JonS

    Looks good but appears to be a dealer only installation, where I am more interested in the DIY route if possible

  6. #6
    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    Nope - you speak to them and they tell you what what you need and then you order off them and fit it yourself.

  7. #7
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    @Geps

    Oh right, sounds good - will look in more detail!

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