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Thread: Where do I start?

  1. #1
    Automated Home Guru Anonymous's Avatar
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    Default Where do I start?

    Ok,

    I'm new to home automation - just been surfing so far... and I have my first few requirements. I want, sorry I need a home security system with capabilties beyond the average house alarm.. I have looked at the Vision PowerMax which has impressed me so far, are there any other similar systems out there? Also I want to be as future proof as much as possible for things like a mulitple CCTV setup with recording to PC, Sky/Tv distribution, multi-room audio/video system with mp3/xvid, phone/intercom system, heating controls and the list goes on, so you get the picture... So how do I start to build my fully integrated home automation system? Any suggestions?

    oh and I just got paid too... :wink:

    Many Thanks

    HSP

  2. #2
    Automated Home Guru Anonymous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where do I start?

    One option, unless you have major bucks to spend, is a software oriented automation product such as the one my company sells, CQC (www.charmedquark.com). It turns a general purpose PC running XP/2K into a distributed control and automation system. Even if you don't choose it, the Get Started section (link on the left of the main page) will provide you with a lot of good guidance as to what control systems can do for you.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Re: Where do I start?

    Ooops, I'm not really a guest, I just forgot to login before I posted.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Sr Member jon00's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where do I start?

    Take a look at Comfort alarms: http://www.comfort.org.uk

    Jon

  5. #5
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Feb 2004
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    Default Re: Where do I start?

    I installed a Visonic Powermax system a couple of months ago and I am very pleased with it. As a security system it is excellent and easy to install (all sensors are wireless). I also considered comfort which was somewhat more expensive and a lot more difficult to install. I guess some would say its horses for courses, no pain no gain etc.

    The Powermax has limited Home automation functionality - can handle 7 X-10 outputs. This is a good way to get started, but if you are like me, you will soon want more. I have bought Homeseer software which I have integrated with the X-10 outputs from Powermax and a number of other X-10 gizzmos, and can do alot more now with the overall system. I have also bought a video capture card for my home server PC and am starting to dabble with CCTV.

    Overall, my experience with Visonic so far is very good and Homeseer seems to do what I want too. My eventual system will no doubt evolve to include a number of different packages / sub systems. I know other products such as Comfort can handle all this, but I quite like the freedom of choice in selecting the best package for each sub-system.

    For CCTV you may also wish to consider Incontrol Quadcam which also has X-10 functionality.

    Hope all this helps.

    Crozzo 8)

  6. #6
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Jan 2004
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    Default Re: Where do I start?

    You really need three things...

    firstly you need devices to control. The universally accepted cheapest way in, and the path we all seem to have gone down, is to get some X10
    kit... applicance modules that plugin and let you control a single device, or lamp modules that do the same thing, except with dimming. they communicate over the mains, so no extra wiring is needed.

    secondly, you need an interface between that, and your control system.. you can build a system without a PC input, and just use mini-timer style controllers, or you can use a device called a CM12. This is a PC Serial port - X10 interface, and relays commands between the PC and the house applicances.

    thirdly, you need some glue to make it all happen. I'd recommend xPLHal, as a free alternative to the various controller systems out there. Have a look at www.autom8it.co.uk, www.homeseer.com and so on as well, see what options there are (and how much they cost ).

    it's easy twith these things in place to build up features as you want them...

    one thing: forget right now being future proof, even a wee bit. My own HA system has gone through so many revisions it's not funny, and I guess most of us are the same. Your initial design ideas will change as you actually use the system.

    good luck, and have fun!

    I.

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