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This chapter is from the book

Just Do It!

The following pages provide examples of some simple home automation projects you want to try. For each project, I provide a checklist of materials and chapter references for more information.

Controlling Seasonal Lighting

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Halloween! Happy ________! Whatever holidays your family celebrates, X10 can make controlling the lights you use to celebrate easier for you.

Interior Lights (Christmas Tree, Window Decorations) for Remote Control

  • An X10 lamp module (see Figure 3.6) for each separate display. If you have lights in two rooms, you need a module for each display.

  • An X10 plug-in controller (see Figure 3.6) or a wireless controller with remote.

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.6 An X10 plug-in controller (left) and an X10 lamp module (right).

Use the wireless remote or plug-in controller to trigger the lights. If you want to trigger all lights at the same time, use the same X10 house/unit code on all modules. To enable you to turn on some lights independent of others, configure the lamp modules with different unit codes and the same house code (use a different house code than other lights in the house). Set a Maxi Controller to that house code and use the All Lights On button to turn on all the seasonal lights at once.

For more information, see Chapters 4 and 6.

Exterior Lights (Porch, Landscaping) for Dusk-to-Dawn Automatic Holiday Lighting

  • An X10 outlet with a weatherproof cover (see Figure 3.7).

  • An X10 photocell sensor (see Figure 3.8 later in this chapter).

Figure 3.7

Figure 3.7 A waterproof outlet cover enables you to install an X10 outlet outside for control of holiday lighting.

Set the photocell sensor to send signals to the X10 house/unit code used by the outlet.

For more information, see Chapter 8, "Using X10 to Control Exterior Landscaping."

Turning On Porch Lights at Night

It’s wonderful to drive up to your home and see the porch lights are on. It gives your home a feeling of "come in, we’ve been waiting for you." Automating porch lights also makes your home look lived in while you’re away. X10 makes it easy to make your home a more welcoming (and safer!) place after dark.

Dusk-to-Dawn Automatic Lighting

  • X10 light switch for each porch light. You can also use an inline module or a screw-in module if the fixture permits it.

  • X10 photocell sensor (see Figure 3.8).

Figure 3.8

Figure 3.8 Front (left) and rear (right) views of a typical X10 photocell sensor.

To trigger all exterior lights at the same time, set them to use the same X10 house/unit code and set the photocell sensor to send signals to the same X10 house/unit code.

If one porch or outside area gets darker earlier than another, use a separate photocell sensor and a different house and unit code for the switch or module. This enables each porch light to come on independently. You can also purchase floodlights with integrated photocell sensors, such as X10’s PR511 Motion Monitor.

For more information, see Chapters 4, 8, and 9, "Using X10 to Provide Security."

Timer-Based Automatic Lighting

  • X10 light switch for each porch light. You can also use an inline module or a screw-in module if the fixture permits it.

  • X10 timer (see Figure 3.9).

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9 A typical X10 Mini Timer.

Program the timer to turn on porch lights and turn them off at specified times. To trigger all porch lights at the same time, use the same house/unit codes in each module or switch.

For more information, see Chapters 4 and 6.

Creating a Lived-In Look When You’re Away

An empty house can be an open door to thieves and vandals—if they know it’s empty. Keep the bad guys guessing by using X10 to control lighting and appliances.

Randomized Lighting Control

  • X10 plug-in, light switch, or screw-in module for each light that you want to control.

  • X10 timer (refer to Figure 3.9).

Set each module or switch to a different unit code. Configure the X10 timer to control the house and unit codes. Set the timer to run in Security mode, which uses random times to turn lighting on and off.

For more information, see Chapters 4 and 6.

Randomized Lighting and Appliance Control

  • X10 plug-in, light switch, or screw-in module for each light that you want to control.

  • X10 appliance module for each TV, radio, or other appliance that you want to control.

  • X10 timer.

Set each module to a different unit code. Configure the X10 timer to control the house and unit codes. Set the timer to run in Security mode, which uses random times to turn lighting and modules on and off.

For more information, see Chapters 4, 5, and 6.

Keeping an Eye on Your Home

Whether you’re in your home office, just a few miles away from home at work, or hundreds of miles from home on vacation, you can use X10 to keep an eye on what’s happening.

X10 Home Security Warning of Break-In

  • One or more X10 security sensors (see Figure 3.10).

  • X10 telephone interface.

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10 A typical X10 motion detector.

Place an X10 sensor in each sensitive area of your home. You can use a motion sensor, a door or window sensor, or a breaking glass sensor, depending on the exact location you want to protect. Set the X10 telephone interface to call your office or vacation location if the sensor is triggered.

For more information, see Chapter 9 and Chapter 10, "Accessing X10 Home Control via Telephone."

X10 Security Camera

  • X10 security sensor (motion, door, window).

  • X10 wireless camera (see Figure 3.11).

  • X10 lamp module or other module.

Figure 3.11

Figure 3.11 A typical X10 wireless video camera (left) and receiver (right).

Place the X10 security sensor and wireless camera in a sensitive area of your home. Use the appropriate lamp module to control the lighting in that area. Set the X10 motion sensor to trigger the lamp and wireless camera (use the same unit code, if necessary) to light up the scene and start broadcasting to your TV or VCR.

For more information, see Chapters 4 and 9.

Now that you know how to plan your first (or next) X10 automation project and you have some ideas, let’s keep going! Jump directly to the chapters listed, or move on to Chapter 4 to learn more about X10 lighting control.

The Absolute Minimum

  • To build a realistic strategy for your home automation project, you should decide what you want to automate, how much you want to spend, the best ways to control it, what features you need, and determine how much time you need to finish the job.

  • Automating a particular task (such as lighting or security) is a more cost-effective approach than automating on a room-by-room basis.

  • You can purchase a basic X10 starter kit for less than $50, but you can spend much more, depending on what you want to automate and what features you need or want.

  • More powerful remote controls enable you to do more with your X10 system, even if you use entry-level modules.

  • Select lamp and appliance modules, switches, and outlets based on the actual features you need.

  • Add versatility to your X10 installation by specifying modules with pass-through connectors and grounded plugs.

  • Projects involving plug-in modules take very little time, but if you need to program modules or replace electrical outlets or switches, you need more time for those projects.

  • You can use a computer to control your X10 installation, and you can try most X10 computer programs before you buy.

  • If you want to use X10 to control your entire house or HVAC system, consider using an experienced X10 installer.

  • By using different types of controllers and triggers, you can use standard X10 lamp and appliance modules to help provide automatic dusk-to-dawn lighting, security, and other automation projects.

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