Home Control

Finally finished the move of my home automation software off of my PC on to it’s own server (actually an unused laptop.) For a while I had it running on one of my Raspberry Pi’s but unfortunately with all of the logic and events it really bogged things down. Not only that but not all of the different pieces I use are compatible with Linux (at least not without great effort and workarounds.) That freed up the Pi to be turned into an emulator anyway. I’ll post some pics of that later.

Currently the HA system tracks house occupancy, turns on and off lights based on motion, occupancy (including vacation), time of day, etc. I get emails and pics if there’s motion and the house is unoccupied. Eventually I’ll add streaming video into the mix so that I can check up on things.

I am able, through and Alexa skill, to control everything through the Amazon Echo that I can control through my HA software, even though it’s not one of the “listed or included” systems. I am also running a remote Alexa instance on my PC that gives me voice control from my bedroom as well. Later this week I’ll be adding an unused Kinect in my living room into the mix. The mic’s on the kinect are much better than my pc or the Echo so that will be nice. On my todo list is to write my own skill so that I can just use a local server and not worry about having to parse everything through Amazon.

Slowly but surely I am replacing all of my 15 year old X10 hardware with Z-Wave devices. I have played around with Wemo and Zigbee, along with a Wink hub, and have a few things in use but Z-Wave by far has been more reliable. One of the downfalls of Zigbee is that people (the wife and kids) have a tendency to turn off the lamps via the lamp toggle and that disables any sort of control or monitoring of the device. As I add voice control that should help. I’ll also mention that I have added control of the Hue bridge to Homeseer (my HA software) as well.

Once I have added a few more pieces I’ll post a couple of videos to youtube explaining some of what I am doing with all this junk.

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