Home automation project, part III

Although I'm not 100% done with the lamp topic from Part II, I think it's in a good enough state that I can move on to something else for now. The next topic is controlling window blinds, also known as an exercise in masochism. Existing solutions are obscenely expensive, starting around the $130 mark and going way past $500. I refuse to pay that much for automated window coverings. Luckily, there is an alternative.

While I was researching this matter, I came across instructions on DIY window blind control for as little as $15. Needless to say, I was intrigued. The procedure, however, is neither quick, nor does it address Z-Wave specifically. It probably wouldn't be hard to connect a Z-Wave relay to this setup. However, considering the fact that I'm not an electrical/electronics engineer and that these instructions themselves are not trivial to follow, I think it would be best if I just don't bother with automating window blinds at this time. That should save me quite a bit of sanity.

Next on the list is sensing open doors and windows. I would want to do this with my front door, garage door, as well as fridge and freezer doors. Maybe I would monitor downstairs windows as well, but maybe not. For all of this, I can use the HRDS1 or the HM-DW001. Once again, the devices aren't cheap, but they serve a good purpose. I could actually build my own security system using these, coupled with motion sensors and cameras. Speaking of motion sensing, that's next on the list. The HSM100 appears to be an excellent device to get for motion sensing, temperature sensing, and light level sensing. Alternatively, I can use the ZIR000 or the HRMD1 just to sense movement.

I'll skip sound sensing since I haven't found any pre-made devices that do it, and it's not important enough (at this time) to warrant further DIY research. Next is multi-room temperature sensing. The same HSM100 can be used for this purpose, or I could use the more specialized HM-TS001, which has temperature as well as humidity sensing. It would be great to place a couple of these downstairs as well as upstairs so that I could see the temperature difference, and if it's too great, I can open or close some vents to equalize the temperature. And no, I have absolutely no intention of automating the opening or closing of vents.

The next item on the list is home theater control. This is already mostly taken care of, as I recently purchased the Logitech Harmony 890. I don't think I'll need to control my home theater setup remotely, so this solution should suffice. The last item on the list is door locks and garage control. Schlage is, as far as I know, the only company that's currently making Z-Wave door locks. However, they are rather expensive, and they require a monthly subscription to the Schlage Link online service (although Mi Casa Verde and HomeSeer both have solutions that bypass this requirement). As for garage door control, Wayne-Dalton has a few products that let the garage door remote access Z-Wave scenes, but I haven't found anything that lets me open the garage door using Z-Wave. It would have to be as secure as the Schlage locks - using AES. However, the locks and garage door control are not very important to me at the moment, so I'll wait until there is more support for these products, and more products to choose from.

That's the end of the list. The only thing left to discuss is the biggest challenge in this entire project - centralized control of all the Z-Wave devices. That will likely require multiple weblog posts, so I'll start on those later.

comments powered by Disqus