Jan 26, 2014 Home Automations
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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Apr 29, 2013 ELV Systems
As a “Main St.” integrator you can increase profitability by taking advantage of many free services available from Home Controls.
One savvy move is utilizing pre-designed systems. By cutting costly design time, you gain flexibility in your business model. Increase profit, or make home automation even more affordable for your clients.
Set yourself up for ready-made repeat customers by providing a single system, such as distributed audio, to fit their immediate need. Then let them know you can add additional systems to increasingly tech-out their home as their budget allows.
This may sound scary, but it’s really simple if you’re using fully integrated pre-designed systems. Without the time consuming task of laying out every single system, you know all products and systems will work together.
It’s all there in the design…fool proof.
Source: Home Controls
Apr 27, 2013 ELV Systems
Join me in breaking the lid off our industry’s secret recipe for success! While maintaining gratitude for the fruit it bears, the luxury market is only one piece of the home automation pie.
Where’s the rest of the pie? On Main St., folks! That’s where opportunity abounds for integrators seeking an ideal niche.
Few people know how many options are available at prices nearly any homeowner could afford. With so many wireless options in home automation, even unsettled renters, apartment dwellers and twenty-something wanderers can take technology along when they move!
If the goal is to make integrated whole home systems mainstream, though, we need to shift our mindset as an industry. Too many of us actually believe objectors who say the technology is too expensive or too complicated…
Wait a sec, aren’t you and I the experts?! From now on let’s join together and correct anyone who says home automation is too anything.
Truth is, technology is easy for the masses when they have an integrator like you on their team. And home automation is currently available at every price point.
It’s critical that we unify our message and spread the news: home automation is in fact available to the average person, today!
I’m talking about everyone from the neighbor we borrow sugar from, the old high school friend we meet for drinks, our barbers and favorite grocery store clerks.
How on earth will home automation become mainstream if we in the industry run around perpetuating the false belief that our technology is unattainable to the “mainstream?”
Here’s a quick example. What happens when you tell people what you do for a living? In my case, I say “I’m a marketing consultant for the home automation industry.” The two most frequent responses are:
1. What’s home automation?
2. Wow, isn’t that stuff expensive?
Sound familiar? Commonly, the response to “What’s home automation?” is technical & causes eyes to glaze over. Or when asked “Is it expensive?” we say “Yes, it is.”
Clearly we’re working against ourselves here.
Instead, let’s work together to excite the masses and empower them to dream about home automation. Let’s tell everyone who asks that residential technology is fully within their reach!
The original post: Home Controls
Oct 23, 2012 Home Improvement
Constantly improving technology impacts every part of lives these days. High tech improvements are changing everything from the cars we drive to our very own health and well-being. Naturally, it should come as no surprise that technology is also helping us improve our homes too. Here are 13 notable up and coming home improvement technology trends sure to impact the home improvement industry…
1. New Construction
More and more new construction is occurring off-site as construction methods and technology morph towards the next generation. Now we’re not talking about traditional manufactured or modular housing; rather, we’re talking about fully custom, luxurious homes being factory built in pieces to be assembled at the job site. Thanks to today’s advanced tooling and a controlled construction environment, a whole new level of precision is now available for new construction that has never before existed. The benefits include notable cost savings, reduced construction times, and better quality finished results. Off-site constructions is really catching on-check out this project from a recent season of This Old House for a perfect example of what the future holds.
When it comes to new technology in home improvement, it’s impossible to overlook one of the home’s most complex systems-the heating and air conditioning system. Innovation is always at the forefront here, and one of the most visible new growing trends is the use of smart thermostats to control the HVAC system precisely. Sure, programmable thermostats have been standard issue for quite awhile. The latest advances are thermostats that are able to sense the weather outdoors and even tap into the internet to make smart changes to the home’s interior climate based on the most up-to-date local weather forecast.
As the cost of copper continues to rise, new home construction and large-scale home remodels are depending more on alternative solutions and technology to not only make plumbing more affordable, but also to improve upon its standard functionality. One popular example is the manifold and tubing water supply system that eliminates costly copper placement by enabling water supply lines to be run seamlessly through the walls just like electric wiring. More and more local codes are being updated to permit new plumbing technologies like this.
Kitchen innovation is absolutely exploding right now. Technology is making today’s home kitchens more functional and efficient at the exact same time. For example, just consider the most recent kitchen appliances-they use only a fraction of the electricity that their predecessors did-and, they perform much better at the same time. Also up and coming in the kitchen is green technology. Simply put, the kitchen is probably the most technologically advanced room in the house!
5. Hot Water
The green movement and rising energy costs are driving technologies to change when it comes to a home’s hot water producing capabilities. And when the hot water heater is the second most energy-consuming appliance in the average home, it only makes sense that innovative progress will be a focus here. As we move forward, expect the old-fashioned (and very energy wasteful) tank style water heaters to become a thing of the past. On demand tankless water heaters produce just the amount of hot water needed, saving a great deal of energy. And perhaps even more promising, solar water heaters harness the free power of the sun’s energy to make water hot.
Flooring technology these days is largely based on the latest design trends homeowners demand and the increasingly-popular desire to install sustainable, low-VOC (volatile organic compound) flooring material. Innovation is taking us to sustainable hardwood alternatives, such as bamboo, which basically grows wild as a weed. Even more interesting is the direction the latest carpets are taking. Believe it or not, carpets made from recycled plastic bottles and those made from corn are becoming exceedingly popular. The best part is that you’d never even be able to tell them apart from traditional carpets other than the fact that they’re made with post-consumer and sustainable materials.
Ah, yes…What modern home would be complete without a state of the art entertainment system? Well, according to recent trends in new homes and home improvements, it’s pretty obvious that the answer would be not very many at all. The combination of innovative technology and increasingly affordable pricing is making whole-house entertainment systems more common than ever. Controlled by a computer or a “central nerve system” tucked away in a closet somewhere, these multi-zone systems are designed to enable several streams of multimedia to flow effortlessly to the exact location of the house where it’s desired.
8. Low Maintenance
Modern technology is forcing serious improvements when it comes to basic home maintenance and the way general home chores are done. For example, better performing gutter guards ensure that a homeowner will never again have to climb a shaky ladder to clean out the gutters; better paints mean less frequent painting will be required; and materials such as composite decking eliminate another high maintenance area of the home. Automated sprinklers and watering systems cut back the need for another time-consuming task. Basically, innovation in the home is being deployed to make life easier!
9. Whole House Automation
We’ve seen home automation demonstrations in countless “homes of the future” for years and years now. And while automation has always seemed like a thing of the future, the truth of the matter is that it’s here now and it’s here to stay. The general idea of home automation is that multiple components (and appliances) in the home are installed and programmed to work together. Sensors can tell if someone is present in a room or not and make adjustments such as dimming the lights or changing the temperature accordingly. There is a lot of promise in home automation technology over the next several years.
Lighting technology is evolving rapidly too. The once standard incandescent light bulb has already all but been replaced by energy-sipping compact fluorescent lighting (CFL). What’s next? Well, continuously improving LED technology aims to take things even a few steps further when it comes to combining high performance lighting with fractional energy usage when compared to today’s already-efficient lighting. Indeed, it’s a brave new world in lighting!
One of the most-improved materials used in home improvement, today’s low and zero volatile organic compound (VOC) paints are entirely new formulas when compared to popular paints from just a few years ago. While technology has been used to enable maximum painting performance, the advanced “green” paints growing in use recently really stand out when it comes to the clean, healthy indoor air they promote.
In the bathroom, technology is significantly altering the features that were only recently taken for granted. Starting with highly effective water-saving plumbing fixtures, efficiency is the name of the game in many of the innovations. As another example, dual flush toilets are quickly becoming the new standard in new homes. So what’s next? Expect to see luxurious features like steam showers and electronically controlled water thermostats transform ordinary bathrooms into high-end spas as improved technology makes it all more and more affordable to the average homeowner.
Yes, there is still lots of room for improvement when it comes to windows. Recent improvements have already helped immensely with window energy efficiency and even by creating low maintenance exterior options. We now have highly efficient gas-filled, multi-pane windows. Low-E and similar energy saving coatings are also commonplace. But this is really just the start-expect upcoming window technology to take things to whole new level of efficiency and affordability.
Yes, we’re serious…while it sounds like it’s something right out of a sci-fi movie, the notion of sending waves of electricity harmlessly through the air is already a fairly stable technology, believe it or not! Applying the technology in the home will have countless benefits. For example, imagine the fact that all of those electronic gizmos will now be able to automatically and cordlessly charge themselves. And the extension cord for the lamp? Yep…it’ll be a thing of the past very soon also.
Innovative technology really is home improvement’s best friend!
Post written by: Home Improvement Advisors