Here’s an overview of some components that I use. There are 2 components that allow me to tie everything together

Homeseer
The software that handles all events, devices, scripts, etc. This application is
highly customizable and is a pleasure to work with. There’s an extremely active
development community.
RFXCOM
This company has developed some priceless devices that allow you to integrate
a lot of wireless devices and protocols. These integrate seamlessly into the
Homeseer software.

 

PC Connections

Sensors

Lights and Switches

  • LW11 (dimmable lightswitch)
  • S10 (dimmable lightswitch)
  • LM15 (screw-in X10 switch)
  • LM12 (dimmable lightswitch)
  • Klik-aan-klik-uit (KAKU)
  • Z-wave

Software

PC Interfaces

RFXCOM receiver

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe RFXCOM receiver is a small box, that has 3 major components:

SENDING/RECEIVING of the following RF signals (depending on the hardware configuration):

  • X10 (lightning control)
  • Oregon Scientific (weather and environmental sensors)
  • Visonic (security)
  • Klik-aan-Klik-uit
  • RFXCOM meter & sensors
  • and a lot more (see RFXCOM website for details)

CONNECTIVITY to your application:

  • LAN
  • WLAN
  • USB

INFO

SOFTWARE: Plugin or application to process the incoming data or to send out data. An example could be a computer running HomeSeer with the RFXCOM plugin. You could also write your own software.


Xanura CTX-35 PC-interfacectx35

The Xanura CTX-35 PC interface is a small box that has 2 connections:

SERIAL to your PC
This connects the Xanura to your PC. It allows (for example) HomeSeer to send and receive X10 commands
POWERLINE 220v
incoming X10 commands (either through the serial port or powerline) will be send to the ‘other’ side (powerline or serial port). So if you press a Marmitek LW11 lightswitch the X10 signal is send through the powerline, the Xanura will receive it and pass it on to the serial port.

SOFTWARE
A plugin is available for HomeSeer (Use the ACT TI103 plugin) to send/receive commands to/from the Xanura. You could also write your own software.

PRICE:  about € 150. That’s more than twice the price of the Marmitek interfaces

ALTERNATIVE: Marmitek CM11a or CM15. The CM11 is unreliable and I have used 3 in the past 4 years. I don’t know about the CM15, but I guess this is not a lot better.

Sensors

RFX Meter

rfxcom_meter_0RFXPowerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The RFXMeter is a device that has an RF transmitter and a microcontroller to count pulses from up to 3 metering modules. These metering modules are available:

Electricity
The RFXPwr module measures the real used electricity power in steps of 1 Watt per Hour. To calculate the used power the line voltage and the current is measured. The total measured value is transmitted at predefined intervals

Optical (Gas / Water)
The RFXPulse module measures pulses from a Relay contact, Photo sensor or Reflective-Optical sensor.

Some good information about gas/electricity/water meter can be found on the bwired website


RFX Sensors


There’s multiple RFXCOM sensors available to monitor your house.

Temperature / Humidity

Note that the temperature sensors are more expensive than Oregon modules, and require 9v batteries that run out relatively fast.


Oregon Scientific sensors

image_THN122

Oregon scientific has a broad range of weather related measuring & monitoring equipment.

In my setup I use the:

  • THGR-122: temp/humidity, display, approx € 30, (NL)
  • THN-122N: temp, no display, approx € 10
    There are many other sensors and weather stations that you can use to measure: wind, rain, sunlight, etc.
  • RFXCOM tip: supported Oregon devices

I actually found a sensor somewhere outside that is not mine :-). The battery is almost dead but I don’t know who to notify :-)

Another Oregon sensor device that I have deployed is the BWR-102 body weight scale. When you step on the scale it sends out a signal that is picked up by the RFXCOM receiver. This product is also used in the Water Monitoring project.
NOTE: It looks like the Oregon BWR-102 is discontinued. The Oregon GR-101 is supported by RFXCOM (see “supported Oregon devices link above).

Oregon Scientific Weight scales

The Oregon Scientific weight scales send out a wireless signal to their ‘base-station’. That wireless signal can be received and processed by the RFXCOM LAN and Plugin ;-)

image_BWR102

  • Oregon Scientific BWR-102: more info (price: approx € 60)
  • Oregon Scientific GR-101: more info (price: approx € 89)
  • Manuals: here

When I step on the scale the signal is received and processed in HomeSeer. Based on the weight the correct device is updated. Example: 10-20kg -> “Bob”, 40-60kg -> “Susan”, 70-90kg -> “John”.

I also use this scale to measure shower water usageh.
NOTE: I found that these 2 models are difficult to buy! If you have a good (Dutch or European) supplier, please let me know.


Marmitek MS13A motion sensor

marmitek_ms13

The Marmitek MS13 motion sensor can be configured so send out an RF X10 signal when movement is detected (you can configure this to happen only if it’s dark or always). After a configurable amount of minutes it will send out an OFF command.

  • Good: It’s cheap: about € 28
  • It is not waterproof. You could make it waterproof, but that probably means you won’t be able to open it anymore to replace the batteries ;-)
  • More info here NL or EN
  • Comparison Marmitek motion sensors: link

Visonic Security Sensors

MCT-425Visonic_MCT425 Smoke sensor

  • Easy to mount, long battery life (9v Lithium)
  • Monitoring status: smoke detection, tampering, battery
  • Price: around € 69
  • More info here (EN)

MCT-302 Door SensorVisonic MCT302

  • Easy to mount, long battery life (9v Lithium)
  • Monitoring status: open, closed, tampering, battery
  • Price: around € 45
  • More info here (EN)

MCT-100 Universal SensorVisonic MCT100

  • Easy to mount, long battery life (9v Lithium)
  • Monitoring: open, closed, tampering, battery
  • Can be used with magnetic sensorsExample: Use this to monitor toilet flushes, refrigerator door opening, etc. You can connect 2 sensors to this device.
  • Price: around € 49
  • More info here (EN)

Also check out the RFXCOM Visonic Receiver capabilities

Lights & Switches

There’s multiple options to control your lights, especially if you have an RFXCOM transmitter/receiver.

Systems:

  • X10
  • Marmitek modules
    + Marmitek modules are cheap but not the best (technically). The wallswitches are ok but the design is not that great. You might be able to replace these with better looking switches. The wall switches (except 2-wire) do provide status feedback. (is the light ON or OFF)
  • Xanura modules
    + QUALITY and many options are standard on the Xanura module. Drawback: $$$$. These modules are expensive (on average €70-100 per switch). These modules also report status feedback. Xanura module sensitivity is higher than Marmitek which leads to less failures.
  • S10 modules
    + CHEAP but not the best. One of the biggest disadvantages of these modules is that they do not provide status feedback. When you manually switch on a light, HomeSeer is unaware of this device status change. Advantage: they have many modules that work in 2-wire environments. S10 module sensitivity is higher than Marmitek which leads to less failures, but less than Xanura.
  • Klik-aan-klik-uit
    Recently I ordered a bunch of KAKU devices. I never liked KAKU but after a bunch of tests I really like it. Why?
  • If your homeseer server fails you can still control the lights
  • CHEAP! (both modules and remotes)
  • Works fine and can be controlled with the RFXCOM device (part of the basic X10 receiver and sender). Check out the RFXCOM website to see which exact modules are supported.

Other switches that I haven’t tested

Z-wave switches Have not tested any Z-wave switches. This is on the ‘roadmap’.

Software

HomeSeer 2.0 Domotica software

To control and monitor my house I use HomeSeer 2.0 with several plugins. HomeSeer consists of a few major components

  • Devices (Lights, sensors, security devices, network devices etc)
  • Events (time based, device-status based etc)
  • Web Interface (to PDA’s, phone, iPod/iPhone, PC etc)

Plugins

  • RFXCOM plugin
    — plugin options: here
    — Version info & history: here
  • Diskspace plugin
  • Network monitoring plugin

HomeSeer offers you the web interface to customize your home-control. It allows you to integrate your own code, create advanced scripts and events and it has a great Database integration.

Plugins like the RFXCOM plugin will use .MDB databases to store data from any sensor. TIP: buy the application on the US website for $199 instead of any European website where you pay €199.


PlugWise Switching & Energy monitoring

In December 2008 I ordered a Plugwise Home Basic kit, which contains:

  • 1x USB Stick
  • 1x Circle+
  • 8x Circle
  • 1x Source (software)

For the HomeSeer plugin for Plugwise go HERE

Stick : talks to the PC (Source software) and the Circle+
Circle+ : talks to the USB stick
Circle : talk to other circles and eventually to the Circle+

More details: Plugwise, Youtube


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