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Discussion Starter #1
Hey,

I am just starting to tinker with home automation, and the first thing I want to tackle are the lights.
Now we have a couple devices we have boughten to test with.
And already we are finding some important features we need.

So I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for devices that can adhere to the following;
-Controller device that can be used preferably(but not limited to) *nix OS.
-Controller can be interfaced with via commands.
-Light switches are able to be remotely controlled via the controller.
-Light switches either call home or can be queried for status (IE can see if a light is turned on/off)

We will be eventually outfitting the house with automation for anything and everything we can. I'd like to design my own script/code base along with phone apps / web based pages that can view/control the system.

So any input would be appreciated.
 

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Any recommendations on a controller? Their site sucks for navigation and detail. They miss out all the more important points out of the quick views.
 

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Well, actually, Vyr1s, I missed the significance of the mentioned *nix OS because I was not conversant with it. I was under the impression you were seeking some home lighting automation and the consumer would ordinarily avail themselves of the readily available system under the Lutron label; however, I understand now that you wish to compile your own script/code based system, which is another animal together. Sorry I misled you but I've been using the Lutron system for the past 10-15 years, but I need to upgrade it all to the central control technology presently available. Good luck in your endeavours.
 

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There are a lot of lighting systems out there (lutron being the most familiar). There is also Vantage and a few others. I am assuming that you will be using your 120 as your lights are not home run. I am pretty sure that Vantage has a retro installation package. The down side the Vantage and most lighting Automation companies is that you can't just buy them anywhere, where lutron is well known and be purchased at your local home depot, nedco, or hardware store.

There is also Crestron that offers a retro zigbee lighting control system but again you have to find a dealer and will have to get them to install it and program it as Crestron does not allow for dealers to hand out their software to the average joe.

I do know that Vantage uses rs232 communication therefore will allow you to write your own code to control and see what rooms are on/off, but like I had said you need to find a dealer to get into most automated lighting.

Where are you located... We may be able to suggest a local dealer for you to see where that will get you

Good luck in you search

Tunksy
 

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Lutron, Vantage and others often have an interface to their lighting that is RS-232 or other. For instance, Lutron GraphicEye is a multi-zone controller that provides a proprietary interface called Lutron MUS. You can then purchase a RS-232 interface that connects to the MUX. Then your computer/controller interfaces to the RS-232. The command structure is pretty simple and is 2-way. When the lights are changed by the local buttons, the status is sent over the RS-232 to the computer/controller. You can also query the graphic eye on its current status.

Pretty much the same for most systems. But at this level it isn't inexpensive.
 

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For a DIY installation I'd have a look at Insteon switches with an ISY99 controller which is completely standalone, lower power, internet enabled and very flexible. Unless you already have a linux system running and have a particular requirement to run it from Unix I'm not sure it's worth the time and energy to 'roll your own'. There are other good retrofit technologies such as UPB or ZWave that you could also explore. I think you'll find as a do-it-yourselfer you'll get more support using these technologies compared to Lutron.
 
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