Home Automation...

I'm a big home automation fan. Gobs of energy savings and just plain old "neat stuff" can be done with home automation. unfortunately there is very VERY little in power user home automation gear that does not cost as much as a new gold plated H2 with leather from vergin baby cows.

I currently use the system from adicon called the leopard and secu series of modules. it's ok but really REALLY dated. the processor is very slow and honestly a touchscreen is of limited use to home automation.. an Information screen with some activity buttons would be very useful.

Anyways, the adicon system can not do ethernet communication, it's a really slow and underpowered and because the manufacturer refuses to open up the software (they make money on the hardware, they give away the software) so people could do some really neat things with it I'm looking at new solutions. dont get me wrong, some parts of the adicon system are neat, the modules are a great design and the modular design has lots of cool possibilities, it just is not open enough.

So after shopping around and getting discouraged at limitations, disgusted at prices that are insane (AMX do you hear me? your stuff is horribly overpriced) I have settled on making my own designs.

Ok, you are thinking... "nuts" or "crazy" or "good luck buddy." and I was at that point until I came across several discoveries..

#1 - the slave modules can be PIC based and programmed easily with picbasic. I designed my first IO module in 20 minutes, and I'll have the first working prototype by the end of the wekend... WOW, this stuff is great! only a basic background in digital electronics and I created a module exactly like the SECU-16 from adicon in minutes and for 1/5th the cost of their product sells for.

#2 - the controller. PC-104 boards are cheap now. I can get a Pentium class board with ram and a CF card slot for the OS and ethernet,usb,rs232 and rs485 for $200.00... this is also dirt cheap.

I plan on documenting the stages of design and release my designs and code for all to use (non commercial only... commercial with my permission) to help make a home automation system that most anyone can build and certianly expand.

more details here later, but I'm really GEEKED about how this has become a reality and can be turned into a working system by next spring.


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