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Brian cowie

Home Automation

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I'm looking to automate my home using an old mac mini. Functions I like is heating (base board heaters), lighting, garage door, security system.

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All this info. Were do you start with your home setup. I world like to start with lighting and heating, then adding in audio system.

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Well, I suppose not many people have done it, and so the information's out there but not many people have had experiences with it.

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I worked on a "home automation" project. what a disaster. here are some things that I learned. there are three questions that you have to ask before you start:

 

1) who else around you needs to use what you are doing (aka "the house"): wife? kids? house mates? guests? if the answer includes any of them you need to think about how much extra complexity you are adding to an already working, although dumb, system. if it's just you it's still a valid question. who else uses your abode? maid, gardener, guests.

 

2) do a survey of your skills. have you messed with 'lectricity before? does it still scare you? what about trouble shooting skills? if you fix your own car, computer, house already then you shouldn't have a problem. but if you don't have a clue about AC versus DC, how to pull a wire or patch dry wall you might want to rethink everything. not that any of these tasks are hard to do. there are tons of books on home repair that will guide you. but learning these things while you are also installing your HA will only make everything harder.

 

3) are you good with tools? some people are not. this is not a big deal as you can learn. being bad with tools generally means you just haven't used tools. if you've been a homeowner for a while you very likely have everything that you need already. but some people don't have any tools and rely on their hired help.

 

and there's one last question. and it's likely the most important. can you finish projects? if you start things only to abandon a project because it's hard, you get bore or it costs too much DO NOT start a home automation project. especially if you answered YES to question #1. why do I say this? because HA is a long project. it's certainly not a one weekend and done kind of thing. given your list I'd say you're in for a 3-4 month job and more realistically longer. remember that you are taking a system that is WORKING and you are BREAKING it with the intent of making it better.

Edited by johnfoster

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Hi John

Thx for the info. Completely rebuilt the insides of my home. Removing all the drywall and adding insulating to cut down my energy comsumsion. My hating bill went from 4900.00 a year to 1250.00. Next I would like to add some HA to help reduce comsumsion then I'm adding solar system to make myself even more independent. The heating system went from 100 amp electric furnace to 25 amps of baseboard heaters. Gained a room where the furnace was and added ceiling space by removing all the ducking.

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