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Sensing and Control for hobbyists and schools: Connecting using X-10
Before I start: Forget about those infuriating pop-ups advertising "X-10" surveillance cameras. I'm afraid they do seem to be part of THIS X-10. After their ad campaign I want nothing to do with them, but I have to tell you that there IS a GOOD X-10, which I will now introduce...
Years ago, someone began a family of products that is now mature, and available in the US and UK.
In my home, I have a little box like a TV remote control. It has 8 buttons. Various electrical appliances around the house are plugged into their wall sockets via an unobtrusive little box. If I press button "A", the photocopier is switched on. It is upstairs. I turn it on before I leave my desk downstairs. By the time I'm at the machine, it has warmed up. If I press button "B" several lamps around the living room are turned on. I can then adjust their brightness via a rocker on the remote control.
To my personal knowledge, X-10 is great for actuators. They can be of the "on/ off" type (photocopier), or, for incandescent lamps, you can have different brightnesses.
I believe, but haven't used personally, that you can integrate sensor devices into an X-10 system. You can have other controllers than the remote I described above. You can have a PC control the devices on the X-10 network. For software, I am happy with "ActiveHome" from www.x10.com, even now, after checking this link, I suspect they were the people behind the dreadful ads. I'm no expert on X-10 software, though, and I have not explored the field.
A word about connections: The great thing about the
The plug in devices to go between your, say, lamp and the wall socket are not the only option. If you are competent, you can fit devices to a standard electrical panel. PLEASE REMEMBER MY WARNING: Don't mess with household electricity unless you are SURE you know what you are doing.
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Electronics for hobbyists and schools
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