Microchip X10 Technical Specs PIC16F877A

X-10 is a communication protocol designed for sending signals over 120 VAC wiring. X-10 uses 120 kHz bursts timed with the power line zero-crossings to represent digital information. Plug-in modules available from various vendors enable users to create home automation systems by using the AC wiring already installed within a home.

Readers who would like an overview of the X-10 signal format may refer to Appendix A. PICmicro® microcontrollers can easily be used in conjunction with X-10 technology to create home automation applications.

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Microchip X10 Technical Specs PIC16F877A

The specific PICmicro microcontroller (MCU) used should be selected based on RAM, ROM, operating frequency, peripheral, and cost requirements of the particular application. The PIC16F877A was selected for this application because of its versatility as a general purpose microcontroller, its FLASH program memory (for ease of development), data EEPROM, and ample I/O.

This application note discusses the implementation of X-10 on a PICmicro MCU to create a home controller that can both send and receive X-10 signals. The reader may implement the home controller as is, or adapt the circuits and firmware to other applications.

A library of X-10 functions is provided to facilitate development of other X-10 applications using PICmicro MCUs (see Appendix E). Operating instructions for the home controller are included in Appendix B.

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Are Trunkslammers Stronger Than Ever?

Dealers have been telling Jason Knott, Editor of CE Pro magazine, the recession is taking its toll on mid-sized integration companies, not the bottom-feeders. He writes:

Everyone knows 2009 was a lousy year. CE Pro lost about 10 percent of its subscribers. That means electricians, IT VARs, security dealers, and home automation and A/V integrators who all work in low-voltage integration went out of business.

In the long run, that dropoff is good for the industry. Presumably, those were the weaker companies. You know who I am talking about. The guys who are working without proper insurance or licenses, who don’t belong to an association or who don’t maintain general business integrity.

I am not including companies that work from home because there are plenty of high-integrity CE pros who operate from a home office. Also, I am not including one-man shops. There are many solo acts who run their business with integrity.

But many CE pros in the past months have told me the companies that folded in their area were not the “trunkslammers,” but but were mid-sized integrators operating with a handful of employees and trying to make a go of it.

Guys who carry worker’s comp, have competitive installation rates, offer warranty service, etc. Integrators with leases on an office, trucks, paying employees, not just using subs.

Why? It’s because the trunkslammers are more nimble to react have no overhead. I was told they are “stronger than ever” in certain local markets. If that’s true, heaven help us.

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One of my Favorite Things

I have to admit that after 5 years of selling and recommending automation solutions, lighting controls, security et al., I have compiled a list of a few products (out of the thousands that Home Controls distribute) that offer unique solutions or features. Many of these are products that “fly under the radar” and until the need arises may never be noticed or get the attention they deserve. The following is just one of those unique products… What is it?

It’s the Dual Channel Lamp Module Dimmer (PCLM28) by Powerline Control Systems (PCS/PulseWorx). What makes this rather unique is the dual channel control feature.

The PCLM28 Dual Channel Lamp Module is a high quality plug-in home automation lamp dimmer that is capable of transmitting and receiving digital commands and status over the existing powerlines using UPS technology.

The LM2 is perfect for master bedrooms and living rooms where two lamps need to be remotely controlled. Simply plug the LM2 into any standard wall outlet and plug the lamp(s) into the LM2’s two bottom controlled outlets.

The LM2 is designed for controlling incandescent, fluorescent, or magnetic low voltage loads. It can provide as much as 800W of power at any one time split between the two channels. The dimmer function can also be disabled, turning the outlets into a switch, to allow the LM2 to turn on and off non-dimmable loads such as fans or radios.

For more details just click the link to the Home Controls webpage: PCLM28

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ZigBee Wireless Sensor and Control Network

The First Practical Guide to Advanced Wireless Development with ZigBee Technologies

Supported by more than a hundred companies, the new ZigBee standard enables powerful new wireless applications for safety, security, and control, ranging from smart energy to home automation and medical care to advanced remote control. ZigBee Wireless Sensor and Control Network brings together all the knowledge professionals need to start building effective ZigBee solutions.

The only simple, concise guide to ZigBee architecture, concepts, networking, and applications, this book thoroughly explains the entire ZigBee protocol stack and covers issues ranging from routing to security. It also presents detailed, practical coverage of ZigBee features for home automation, smart energy networking, and consumer electronics.

Topics include

•  Fundamental wireless concepts: OSI Model, error detection, the ISM Band, modulation, WLAN, FHSS, DSSS, Wireless MANs, Bluetooth, and more

•  ZigBee essentials: applications, characteristics, device types, topologies, protocol architecture, and expanded ZigBee PRO features

•  Physical layer: includes frequency bands, data rate, channels, data/management services, transmitter power, and receiver sensitivity

•  MAC layer: data/management services, MAC layer information base, access methods, and frames

•  Network layer: data entities, NIB, device configuration, starting network, addressing, discovery, channel scanning, and more

•  Application support sublayer and application layer: includes profiles, cluster format, attributes, device discovery, and binding

•  ZigBee network security: includes encryption, trust center, security modes, and security management primitives

•  Address assignment and routing techniques

•  Alternative technologies: 6lowpan, WirelessHART, and Z-wave

ZigBee Wireless Sensor and Control Network