How to Get More from Your Home’s Lights

Posted in DIY Projects,Home Automation by Ruslan Ulanov on the June 23rd, 2009

Lights are a staple in every home, but that doesn’t mean your switches should be like everyone else’s. With a few simple tweaks, the fixtures can do more simply illuminate your home as a bit of lighting control. They can curb your energy use, evoke ambiance, and protect your home, for example. Here are 10 simple ways to realize your lights’ full potential.

Read the rest of the article by Lisa Montgomery on Electronic House magazine’s web site.

DIY Project: Automating porch lights

Posted in DIY Projects,Home Automation by Ruslan Ulanov on the April 7th, 2009

Most of us, homeowners, are accustomed to a routine of turning the outdoor lights on for the night and turning them back off in the morning. Now remember how many times did you forget to turn those lights off in the morning while rushing off to work? Not so green, huh?

How could we fix it? Here are two easy DIY solutions for you… (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Unconventional uses of home automation

Posted in DIY Projects,Home Automation by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 26th, 2009

Recently I discovered an unusual application for X10/Insteon-enabled lights. It turns out they could help your little kids eat better and faster. Now, let me explain.

We have a two-year-old and I would think all parents know that feeding your kid at this age could be quite a challenging activity. So we have to invent ways to distract (or rather entertain) kids while they eat, be it books, toys or songs.

Here’s what happened a few days ago… (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Wii would like to.. control your home

Posted in DIY Projects,Home Automation by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 18th, 2009

Don’t get me wrong, the Wii is lots of fun! But if you will ever get tired of doing Pilates or playing a fake guitar on your Wii console, you can find a new and exciting application for it by following this DIY automation project from Wii Hacks blog.

All you’ll need is a few INSTEON-enabled lights in your home, and a ControlLinc connected to a LAMPbox. For a more advanced set-up you can throw in a Proliphix thermostat, a few AXIS IP cameras and a control system from Aurora Multimedia to drive your TV, DVR, DVD, etc.

See the demo video of this project after the jump.

(continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

DIY Project: Automating staircase lighting

Posted in DIY Projects,Home Automation by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 4th, 2009

The Idea/Problem:

Use motion sensors to turn lights on when someone approaches the staircase, therefore making it safer and more convenient to use at night. Use existing light fixture instead of mounting step lights to save on wiring and hardware costs.

The Components:

Here is what we will need:

  • Motion sensor(s): Two X10 ActiveEye (MS16A) or EagleEye(MS14A) sensors. If you want to go all-Insteon the Wireless INSTEON Motion/Occupancy Sensor (#2420M) will do.
  • Light switches: Smarthome.com sells a pre-configured SwitchLinc 3-Way Dimmer Kit (#2494M3). If your light fixture cannot be dimmed consider using two SwitchLinc Relay (#2476S) switches.
  • Wireless bridges: To translate wireless signals from motion sensors to X10/Insteon power-line signals that wall switches can receive you’d need an appropriate communication bridge. If using X10 motion sensors you’ll need X10 Powerline Transceiver Module (TM751). If using Wireless INSTEON motion sensors at least two Access Points (#2443P – this is the set of two) are required.
  • Tools: Slotted and Philips screwdrivers.

The Solution:

It is a relatively simple and straight forward project. Usually when it comes to the staircases there could be several light switches involved. There will be at least one at the top and one at the bottom of the staircase. This configuration of light switches (two switches controlling one light fixture) is called 3-way switch. That is the case I’m going to explain here (though more switches and/or light fixtures could be incorporated into this solution without any problem). (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)