11/05/05 - This page is a little old...  Well in the last couple years we have added some really major systems so read on:

I also have updated some pages on Mary's configuration backups, log management, where we get the weather for irrigation, and updates some pictures.

Here is a list of pages that have recent changes:

11/12/01 - Finally took the time to make some updates.  Here is the lowdown on today's changes:  Added a page to talk about the changes in bathroom motion/life detection and light control.  Added a link from the closets page that points to the bathroom page.  Highlighted a section on SECU-16 motion detection on the motion page.  Made some notes on the PC Maintenance page to show the differences in how we used to reboot vs. how we now purge logs with an external UNIX based PC.  Added a new Sunrise/Sunset page with a link to the old page.  Added a note talking about the light sensor in the master bedroom on the Sunrise Simulation page.

Perhaps someday soon we will take the time to document the theater (if it ever stops changing...)

10/30/01 - Found out today the Mark Gilmore no longer wants to support ECS (actually he said he doesn't have time).  Looks like we will stop promoting ECS on this site very soon.  Doesn't make any sense to support him when he won't support the users of his software...  Anyway, there is a notice on the front page talking about it that will remain until something changes...

10/11/01 - Well it has been about forever...  I have been having troubles with updating this site which were recently overcome by getting a static IP (go figure).  Anyway the reason for this post is to announce a new page for ECS users to be able to share their work.  The new page can be found at http://www.can-be-scanned.com/ECS/.  You must be a registered user in order to access the page so if you don't already have a user name and password go this page to register: http://www.can-be-scanned.com/ecs_self_registration.htm.  

That is all for now.  Since updates are possible again (and there has been many changes) we will be updating this page to reflect what is actually going on...

07/18/01 - Long time no news.  I guess not a lot of changes until recently (last two weeks).  Biggest addition recently is the outside speakers.  This is just more of the same audio that is transmitted throughout the house with the biggest difference being the amp for the outside speakers is in the distribution room since we can't really keep it outside.  Speaker wires are run up to the attic and out through the eaves to some very basic speakers.  Even the amp is quite basic since we don't want to blow out the neighbors.  The speakers are controlled by a couple of relays on the SECU-16 with some very strict rules about the times of day they are allowed to operate.  

We now are monitoring the outside doors (points duplicated from the alarm system).  One of the doors that has something special is the door that leads from the house out to the garage.  Something useful here was to turn on the lights on both sides of the door when the door is opened (one side or the other will probably already be on).  This is the main entry door for us so when entering at night, it is important to be able to see to walk across the floor where the first motion detector usually takes its time turning on the lights.  Now the lights are on before we can even get the door closed.  Then when the door closes, the timers for both rooms are set to 60 seconds so if the person has just left that room, the lights will turn off within a reasonable amount of time while the room they entered will continue to be lit as the timer is incremented by the motion detector in that room.

Figured out a way to monitor light without any special circuitry.  A photocell (the varying resistance type) from Radio Shack along with a 10K multi-turn potentiometer in parallel with it provides just enough resistance to keep a SECU-16(I) point happy.  The only trouble I ran into was at the time of day the sensor starts to trip, the point would start to toggle back and forth.  The solution was fairly simple since analog points are only read every 60 seconds by ECS.  I converted the point to analog and built a hysteresis into the code so there is a 'dead' zone between light and dark.  Now the point reacts properly to light and dark (adjustable both in hardware and in software).

All of this will eventually be documented but for now, just these notes to remind me to get some work done on this site.

One more interesting note.  I received an email from the editor in chief of a home automation magazine that is interested in writing an article on my house.  I don't think I had this in mind when this project started but the recognition is cool.  I am hoping to be able to advertise the article here but that will depend upon the deal the editor makes with me for allowing my home to be in their magazine. 

05/12/01 - In order to give the house a little more of a 'controlled' look we are changing out all the cheaper X10 light switches in favor of the Leviton 6381 soft start dimmer switch.  Another recent change is the addition of magnetic door switches for all the bathrooms to insure the lights stay on while the door is closed regardless of motion.  This makes sure the lights won't turn off when someone is taking a bath or shower.  It also allows the timers in the bathroom to be set very low (90 seconds).  Recently installed a new SECU-16I as we ran out of inputs on the SECU-16.  Eventually, this will allow us to be able to monitor the status of all the outside doors (that aren't currently monitored) which will lead to shutting down the furnace if any of the outside doors are left open for any length of time.

04/24/01 - Added a link to be able to rate this site that shows on all pages in the bottom frame (ratings can be found on homeautomation.com).  Started on a "Features" page that will double as a site map.  As each item is finished, a link will be added on the Features page to that Feature.

04/22/01 - Started working a little more on the theater although none of this is posted just yet.  When it is, it will be found somewhere below the Theater link.  Some changes were made on the Home page after my wife helped me by proof reading it (always glad to have a little help!)  The main addition today was explaining the SoundSys Selector.  While working this time, I found another site (The Home Automation Forum) that seems to be well put together so I will plug it in here in case you use HomeSeer and don't find anything that helps on this site.

04/13/01 - Added some Pictures.  Also started some basic work in the Theater so there is some new information there.  The Theater will be done in little bits and pieces since it is such a large job so watch here for more updates!

02/24/01 - Finished the Outside Lights page.  This is all the light control for now.  The next (really big) project will be to document how Mary controls the Home Theater.  This is a very large project so please be patient...

02/11/01 - Added a couple of closet door sensors to detect the state of the door and turn the closet light on or off depending upon the door position.  See details for Closets here.  Also added some information regarding PC maintenance which includes rebooting the PC every night to keep up the reliability of the system.  See details for PC Maintenance here.

02/01/01 - Made a breakthrough last weekend on motion detectors.  The existing alarm system has several wired motion detectors and we are getting tired of the problems associated with too many wireless X10 detectors.  Replaced 5 wireless detectors with 4 wired detectors by getting the alarm to 'share' the detectors with the SECU-16.  See details for Motion here.

01/15/01 - This page (News) was started in an attempt to keep everyone up to date...  More updates coming soon...

12/15/00 - The Home Automation site is born.  So far we have finished pages that talk about Mary, and her history, Light controls for all the inside lights, the garage door controls, the simulated sunrise, and the alarm clock.  We have several items left to edit:  Outside lights, and the Theater to mention just a couple.  (This new item was written after much work was completed on this site.  Expect more soon...)