Starting the home automation thing again

It has been 3+ years since I’ve worked with the Insteon hardware that I acquired years ago (some of which was documented here), since the last time I gave Insteon a go, we have moved to from San Carlos, CA, to Half Moon Bay, Ca, to Ballwin, MO, and now we’ve purchased a home in Wildwood, Missouri.

One of the things I have been looking forward to most with our home purchase is finally giving home automation a full go, not the 25% go I gave it in Colorado, and not the 15% go I gave it in the rental home in San Carlos. We moved into the house last week, and I went ahead and ordered the Home Monitoring and Control Kit from Costco. Mainly I wanted to try out the new INSTEON Hub, instead of the powerlinc and other devices I have (I honestly think I have at least 4 different PLM or other interfaces). Setup of the HUB was pretty easy, though I have yet to get the IP camera working properly.

I have all 3 external doors to the house wired up, and I can switch on/off 5 different lights in the house right now, and should have more wired up before the end of the week. I did run into a problem (one I’ve experienced before) when I went to wire up the light switch for my basement office. The switch for the overhead lights in the office didn’t have a neutral wire, a problem that in the past pretty much meant you couldn't use Insteon switches, you would need to use an INSTEON LED Bulb, or something else wired into the lighting device itself. This immediately made me distraught, was I going to fight this for more switches in the house?

New hardware to the rescue, I learned that Insteon has a new SwitchLinc 2-Wire Dimmer - INSTEON Remote Control Dimmer (RF), White, which only works on RF signals, instead of Powerline + RF, and is designed for a setup where there isn’t a neutral wire. Perfect! And even better, I figured out that Menard’s down the street had this switch in stock, along with 10+ other Insteon devices. I won’t plan on purchasing all my Insteon hardware from Menard’s, but it is nice to have the option to run to a local store to pick something up rather than having to order and wait for it to be shipped here.

So the next steps for me are to get the remaining supply of switches, relayed, and filters installed throughout the house. The next room I’ll install in will be the TV room and kitchen, and from there I’ll move up stairs starting with the master bedroom.

After I’ve got all the hardware working, I plan to start trying to hack the INSTEON Hub a bit. The HUB works okay for now, but it is rather annoying that I get an email every time one of the doors opens or closes. Fortunately Insteon doesn’t appear to be able to SMS me, otherwise I would be getting an email AND SMS for every one of those door actions. I want to see if I can setup a listener that will make the house smarter, keeping track of who is home, what room they are in, what temperature things are running at.

Also, forgot, I do have a Thermostat and wireless control for that as well, I need to get that hooked up and see if I can’t make this smart home, more economical by better controlling the HVAC.

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Chris Hammond is a father, husband, leader, developer and car guy. Chris has long specialized in ASP.NET and DotNetNuke development, so you will find a variety of topics here on the website. For more information check out the about me page.

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