Alright I know what I want, where do I go from here?


Old 12-08-08, 11:02 AM
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Alright I know what I want, where do I go from here?

This is a list of the things I would like a home computer to be able to do for me.

Based on what I was looking to do, I was hoping I could get some suggestions as to where I could go from here.

I don't have a huge budget, but I understand I'll have to get a good deal of components in order for this to work.

As far as the size of the project, I'll be dealing with 48 outlets, 25 lights, 30 light switches, and 4 tv's.
  1. Interface with my home heating/cooling system
  2. Turn all lights on or off at once, or individually
  3. Allow for schedules to be set for lights and outlets
  4. Turn lights on when I enter the room, and off after I leave
  5. Interface with my alarm system, so it can have different programming when armed
  6. Allow for online access so I can view cameras and other stats from my laptop at work
  7. Record, playback, and activate motion alarms for 6 cameras
  8. Record tv, like tivo
  9. View the cameras on any of the 4 tv's
  10. Control surround sound speakers in 7 rooms
  11. Play music/videos to different rooms simultaneously

I'm considering a standalone DVR, but they sure are pricey.

I plan on upgrading my desktop with the parts I may need. I was also looking for suggestions as to how much RAM, what video card, and how much hard drive space ya'd recommend for a project like this.

Well thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 12-08-08, 11:09 AM
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You better start saving up.
Old 12-08-08, 11:42 AM
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Heh, yeah. I've already got most of the equipment for it, and whatever I have to buy, will be at dealer's cost or better
Old 12-08-08, 03:21 PM
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My first question to you would be, "Why?" I think that after you lived with such a system for a relatively short period of time you would find it to be more novelty than anything.

In my previous house I had relay-controlled lighting. I could turn off every single fixed light inside and outside my home from a single location. I found the only time I used it was when I went to bed and it was just as easy to turn off the lights when I wasn't using them and/or turn them off on my way to bed.

I had a telephone interface on my heating system that allowed me to call from work to turn up the thermostat. I almost never used it.

I have never lived my life to any "schedule" beyond what was necessary to go to work on time. Now that I am retired my schedule is best described as no schedule. If any of my lighting or HVAC was controlled to a clock time I would likely find it more of an irritation than any kind of asset.

While it initially seems like a neato idea motion sensor controlled lighting is really a pain when it requires you to keep moving or to flail your arms around periodically to keep the lights on. Imagine sitting in a chair reading a book. Do you really want to wave your arm every couple of minutes just to keep the light from turning off? Or when you are watching the TV and get up to get a snack do you want the kitchen lights to all go on just to get a drink from the refrigerator?

And the rest of your "wish list" is more (in my opinion) "gee whiz, ain't this neat" junk to impress others (women?) with how cool you are and how much money you have to spend.

When I moved to my present house I thought of doing the "home automation" thing and the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was an ego thing, that it made no economic sense and very little practical sense. By not doing the whole integrated house thing I was able to spend my money on discrete video recorders and many other more practical things.

You, of course, must do as you desire but I strongly advise anyone that is thinking the home automation idea to seriously consider the cost vs. benefit before going whole hog.
Old 12-08-08, 11:02 PM
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Thanks for the response.

To answer your question of "Why?", why does anybody have a hobby?

I guess I have to make it clear that I'm still brainstorming right now. I assumed my list of what I wanted would change a few times before I got what I really wanted, but figured I needed a place to start looking.

I work with burglar/fire systems, cctv, and access controls, but nothing really related to home automation products.

See I was hoping to get an idea of what products handle what I was looking for, then I planned on looking them up, and determining if I could justify the cost for what I was getting, or if something else would work better.

Anyway thanks again
Old 12-09-08, 04:03 AM
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Crestron is probably your best bet. Their products control the devices, and a web/IP interface can control the controllers.

You can start with a basic system and go from there. Programming has gotten a lot easier, but there is a substantial learning curve. If you understand LV system programming you're already one step ahead of the game.

If the cost of Crestron is out of the question, check out Calypso. There's a lot less power in the controllers than Crestron and more peripherals needed to get things to work, but it is a less costly solution.
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