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Using Home Automation to Improve Your Home


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Home automation sounds complicated; just the name just conjures up images of complex robot arms doing the dishes and robots scuttling around all over the place. In fact home automation is a lot simpler than this and it is very easy to install and use.

Home automation appliances can enhance the operation of your home and they fall into the following main categories:

  • Lighting control.
  • Heating control.
  • Wall switch control.
  • Radio control.
  • Infrared control.
  • Home security cameras.
  • Appliance modules.

Note: There are many more module types for other types of operation

How it works

There are two main ways that home automation works

1 Using the power line wiring 2 Using radio frequency

In either case there is no need to re-wire the house.

Note: There are some professional systems (read expensive) that use dedicated wiring that you need to re-wire the whole house to use.

Home automation brands

There are different brands of home automation products such as

  • X10
  • Insteon
  • Ziggby
  • UPB
  • Zwave
  • Marmitek

(These are explained in a bit more detail on the website)

The most popular home control brand is X10 and because of this it is very affordable and is probably a good choice when starting out. It's called X10 as it was the 10th experiment that worked reliably over the power line and you can buy many different affordable modules.

Lighting control

If you have not come across home automation before then this is probably where you will start as it is easy to install and gives the most immediate results.

To use it you need an RF control module, an RF receiver module and an X10 wall switch module. The wall switch module replaces your existing wall switch (it's a drop in replacement).

You just plug in the RF receiver to a wall plug outlet and set some switches and now you can control the light on or off and as well as set the dimming level (incandescent lamps only).

Controlling all the lights in the house

It does not sound too exiting at first but remember you can add to the system as you need to and since each X10 module is individually controllable you could control all the lights in the house.

Examples of home automation

  • Ensure all lights are off in the house without having to check each one.
  • Turn on the porch light at night when you come home (so you can see the path)
  • Turn off all the lights except the lounge lights.
  • Open the garage door.
  • Turn on the attic light.
  • Set dimming level for all lights e. g. when getting up at night.
  • View an external camera on your TV.

All of these could be achieved by one button press on a remote control pad.

These examples are easy to achieve right now and use currently available technology.

John Main's website shows you how easy it is to control electronic devices within your home by using affordable home automation modules.

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