Home Automation


Overview Hardware Software Applications



Humble Beginnings

My first HA system was developed in a small apartment. I always had people asking me what the point of all the automation was because if you stood in the center of the room you could touch all four walls. But they were missing the point. The automation wasn't just about being too lazy to stand up and flip a light switch [see: The HA Paradox]. It was about getting last minute weather information as you walk out the door. Or setting up the entertainment system to watch a DVD with a single button press. 


I originally tried to design the system with HomeVision at the absolute center. HV would know about everything that happened, and nothing would get done without HV doing it. This worked for a while, but my system soon became too complex and I realized that I needed to spread the functions around. HV is still basically in the center of my design but, where practical, certain functions bypass HV. 

I have a Visio diagram [still a work in progress] of my entire system that does a fairly good job of showing a high level view. It's fairly large, but sections of it are scattered around this site with their respective sub-systems. The majority of the system is centralized in a closet in the basement, but there are two important exceptions. The HA server and the Slink-e are in the living room tucked behind the entertainment center. This is partly a holdover from the setup in my old apartment and partly for practical reasons.

There are five main subsystems in my HA setup. 1) HomeVision is my main HA controller. It sits near the center and controls IR, X-10, make most logic decisions, and displays information on the televisions. 2) Slink-e is the interface between the system and the Sony components of my home theater. 3) The alarm system is responsible for standard burglar and fire alarm functions, but also tracks and reports occupancy to HV. 4) The HA computers are responsible for tying all of the separate systems together as well as providing a user interface and access to the internet. 5) And finally the network, telephone and other infrastructure components.