What is the coolest feature of your Indigo setup?

Posted on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:49 am
Matt offline
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What is the coolest feature of your Indigo setup?

[MODERATOR NOTE] We've locked this topic since we have a whole forum dedicated to these posts - it should make finding/reading them a bit easier. So feel free to post a new topic in this forum and share!!

I thought I would start a thread here that might bring to light some of the more ingenious and creative uses that people have connected to their home automation system.

I know there are some brilliant people on this web site with some very creative solutions to home automation, so this should prove interesting.

As for my own ingenious home automation solution: I installed a switch under my mattress that turns on a couple lights and increases the volume on my Mac Mini (which is also my answering machine and announces the caller ID) and turns off my SecuritySpy setup when I get out of bed and does the opposite when I get in bed.

Let 'em rip...

Posted on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:13 am
Rickk offline
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I put a motion and door switch in my lower garage where I store my wakeboarding equipment. When I come in after a day of watersports, indigo turns on a fan (for 30 minutes) that is directed at my life jackets and wet suits to dry them off.

Posted on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:54 pm
macpro offline
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My wife gets an e-mail when the dryer is finished...

How do/did I do this? Connect the dryer to Indigo/X10

"I tawt I taw a puddy tat!" Tweety

Posted on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:24 pm
snowjay offline
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Probably the coolest thing I have right now is the ability to control the lights from outside the house via my iPhone.

I have an away mode I set before I leave in the morning and sometimes I forget at 6am and would have to go back into the house to check or wait until I got to work to check the web. Now I just pull out the phone from the driveway and check/set the status.

Jason

Posted on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:30 pm
DPattee offline
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I thought the coolest thing was going to be controlling iTunes via a wall switch upstairs (the 4 middle buttons on a keypadlinc) or getting emails when things happen (like the doorbell, the phone, or a power outtage) but the most useful thing turned out to be something minor.

In my kitchen there are 6 recessed can lights that my wife tends to not turn off when she is done in there. So, after 50 minutes the lights briefly dim to 80% then back up (this takes like only a second or two) and 5 minutes after that they turn off. If after seeing the dim you go and tap the 'on' button forhte lights again it resets the timer for another 50 minutes.

(some of the other lights, like in the pantry and entryway are set up similar but with different timings)

Proud owner of an Indigo-based, Phlink, EvoCam, & custom app-supported super house!
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Posted on
Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:02 am
macpro offline
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DPattee wrote:
...So, after 50 minutes the lights briefly dim to 80% then back up (this takes like only a second or two) and 5 minutes after that they turn off...

This is really a nice "user interface". A great way to announce the something will happen. I think I'm going to use this here also.

"I tawt I taw a puddy tat!" Tweety

Posted on
Sat Sep 22, 2007 3:24 am
kendals offline
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I am not as fancy as you guys are (yet), but I have a keypadLinc that is crossed link to my kids room so I can see if they are up in the middle of the night (reading, playing on the computer), etc when they are supposed to be in bed. If they turn on their lights, my keypadlinc turns on the appropriate light.

I also have my water heater "timed" to our Geothermal unit. Whenever our Geothermal unit runs (either AC or heat), it dumps the excess heat from the Geo unit into our water heater, so whenever the Geothermal unit turns on, I have Insteon turn off that water heater and then turn it back on within a certain period of time. If the Geothermal runs again before that "time to off" expires, it resets the water heater timer. During the extreme hot and cold days when the Geothermal unit runs constantly, the water heater never turns on.

Posted on
Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:40 pm
kalan offline
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Cool things with Indigo

I've really enjoyed finding new things to do with Indigo. I've used it for about 2 years now. I was originally trying to solve 2 completely unrelated problems: how to get rid of the clutter in my living room entertainment system and how to find an easier solution to program the lawn sprinklers. It occurred to me I could just buy a Mac Mini as a home computer/entertainment computer to do both.

The Mac Mini runs Indigo 24/7. There are X10 motion sensors throughout the house and the yard to give the computer commands to turn on lights (and most have internal timers to turn off the lights for a period after X10 sensors stop sending "on" commands). There is an X10 sensor in the mail box that changes the state of a "mail_arrived" variable. When I get home and trigger the hallway motion sensor, an action group turns on the lights and if the mail variable state was changed, the computer announces the mail has arrived.

In fact, the computer voice turns out to be one of the more useful features of Indigo. A variable is set when I leave the house every day and if someone enters without turning changing the variable by remote control, the computer announces over the home entertainment loudspeaker "Security Alert. Security Alert. An intruder has been detected. System altering the police." This repeats in an endless loop. It does not actually call the police, but I'm sure an intruder would be scared to death.

I wanted the voice to sound more like an English Butler, so I bought the Larwence voice from Cepstral: http://www.cepstral.com/downloads/ This is among the most convincing of the voices I've heard. If you use an external software applet like Sound Player, you can make Indigo play real voice tracks. This is one feature I'd like to see integrated into the next version.

A similar motion sensor triggers a series of events when I get up in the morning, such as turing on lights and making coffee. The computer voice announces days that are holidays, reminders to take out the garbage and days that my Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner is schedule to run while I'm at work -- to remind me to remove obstacles for it.

During the summer an X10 temperature module turns on household fans at a certain temperature.

Of course, Indigo also solved the problem of programming the sprinklers and I like the fact they can bet set to run for a shorter time, several times a day. For a while, the frequency of watering was controlled in part by NOAA weather data the computer received from its wireless internet connection. But they frequently change the format of the data so I gave up trying to keep this feature up-to-date.

The computer's ability to turn on outdoor light's at different times of the year (accounting for the variable time it gets dark) is terrific.

I also have all of routines set up on wireless remotes, such as when I go to bed at night, one routine turns everything off. I'm sure Indigo has paid for itself in the electricity savings.

I've been curious about doing a voice-activated response, but since I usually have some kind of radio or TV sound going all the time, it's a bit impractical.

Most of the house has been re-wired with Insteon light switches and X10 duplex outlets. I would have preferred Insteon outlets, but they aren't available as a hard wire option. The Insteon Icon version wall switches work perfectly with the computer but they have been a disaster as manual switches. I have about eight of them and they all fail about 90% of the time to function manually. Fortunately I have remotes to turn them on and off through the computer, but when the computer is down, I can't control the lights. So, I'd recommend the higher priced SwitchLincs which also have a better warranty if they fail.

The only real disappointment has been I haven't been able to find a way to control my wireless fan/lights. It is also a radio frequency interface, not too far off frequency from the motion detectors and remotes, but no one seems to make an X10 compatible controller. It's really amazing what a primitive hobby home automation still is, at least on the hardware side.

I'm hoping iRobot will come out with a Roomba that communicates over WiFi so that it can be controlled by Indigo. Indeed, the main shortcoming of Roomba is that it lacks the processor power to map the house and vacuum efficiently. It has to rely on going over the same ground dozens of times over a long period of time. It does the job but is inefficient. But this kind of mapping could easily be done by any PC with a 2-way exchange of information between the robot and the home computer for changes in the terrain. iRobot is also working on a home sentry robot that uses WiFi and this would be very interesting to interface with Indigo.

Many people think of home automation in terms of a humanoid robot like Rosie on the Jetsons. We'll never have all-purpose, maid-like robots. In fact, if you really look at the robots in the Jetson's cartoons, the work was done by single-purpose robots: A Roomba-like robot vacuumed the floor, a mopping robot (iRobot's Scooba) washed the floor. Windshield wipers with sprayers washed the windows. All that remains is for someone to invent the hardware that interfaces with a standard protocol like X10, Insteon or even WiFi and Indigo can control it. Most home appliances have a microprocessor in it: microwave ovens, toasters, coffee makers. And why not a self-cleaning toilet with a thermal seat that Indigo could pre-heat on those cold winter mornings? :-D

Cheers.

Posted on
Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:55 pm
bobeast offline
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Re: Cool things with Indigo

kalan wrote:
The only real disappointment has been I haven't been able to find a way to control my wireless fan/lights. It is also a radio frequency interface, not too far off frequency from the motion detectors and remotes, but no one seems to make an X10 compatible controller. It's really amazing what a primitive hobby home automation still is, at least on the hardware side.


Here's an article on controlling a ceiling fan with X10. You should be able to adapt the techniques therein to use Insteon instead.

http://www.smarthome.com/solution29.html

And here is a commercial product designed specifically to control a fan with X10;

http://www.worthingtonsolutions.com/act ... 13&catId=5

I should also mention that there are now Insteon controlled Wall receptacles now. If Norm doesn't have them in stock yet, I'm sure he will soon. Norm....r u listening?

Choose to chance the rapids.
Dare to dance the tide.

Posted on
Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:10 pm
bobeast offline
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Re: What is the coolest feature of your Indigo setup?

Matt wrote:
I thought I would start a thread here that might bring to light some of the more ingenious and creative uses that people have connected to their home automation system.


I was just discussing this in another thread. One of the cool things we have is control over our gas fireplace in the master bedroom. What we have is a switchlinc embedded in the canopy over the bed. Thereon are buttons marked FP 15, FP 30, FP and FP Fan. The 15 and 30 buttons turn on the fireplace for 15 and 30 minutes respectively. The FP keeps it on, and of course FP Fan...well... duh. The big challenge was getting the *&^%&* LEDs in the switchlinc to appear dim enough to allow actual sleep, but bright enough to allow us to find the buttons in the dark.

Indigo takes care of the timeouts and the synchronization of the fan and flame. We can turn them on individually, but when the flame goes off, the fan does so as well.

The flame is controlled by a 120v relay. The coil is wired to a plain old power cord. The normally open contacts are wired to the fireplace's flame terminals. Then the relay cord just plugs into an Icon Appliance module. Sort of an Insteon Universal Module on the cheap.

Choose to chance the rapids.
Dare to dance the tide.

Posted on
Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:21 pm
nsosnicki offline
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Location: Boston, MA, US

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Ability to control thermostat via X10 remote and have results display in squeezebox[/i]

Posted on
Tue Nov 13, 2007 10:41 pm
bobeast offline
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macpro wrote:
My wife gets an e-mail when the dryer is finished...

How do/did I do this? Connect the dryer to Indigo/X10


Thats really a cool idea. I can think of lots of things to do with an "LED" detector. As for detecting 'ON' status of an appliance, Smarthome now sells a cool power strip that turns some of its outlets on based on whether the "controlling" device is drawing current from its own outlet. My wife uses it to turn on the dust collector when she starts up the table saw. I bet we could figure out a way to use that to detect washer or dyer cycles.

I'm just wondering if there is a way to rig an Insteon module to tell Indigo when it loses or regains power?

Choose to chance the rapids.
Dare to dance the tide.

Posted on
Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:36 am
yroca23 offline
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Joined: Jan 10, 2006

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DPattee wrote:
I thought the coolest thing was going to be controlling iTunes via a wall switch upstairs (the 4 middle buttons on a keypadlinc) or getting emails when things happen (like the doorbell, the phone, or a power outtage) but the most useful thing turned out to be something minor.

In my kitchen there are 6 recessed can lights that my wife tends to not turn off when she is done in there. So, after 50 minutes the lights briefly dim to 80% then back up (this takes like only a second or two) and 5 minutes after that they turn off. If after seeing the dim you go and tap the 'on' button forhte lights again it resets the timer for another 50 minutes.

(some of the other lights, like in the pantry and entryway are set up similar but with different timings)


DPatee - how do you pull this off. I have a similar problem with us leaving lights on and so I have auto-off on the ones we tend to do so, but it is frustrating when it goes from 100% to off. How did you achieve this "warning" behavior? Thanks.

Posted on
Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:24 pm
bjojade offline
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Location: Wausau, WI

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Motion sensor in the mailbox!!! You may have solved my problem!

What is the range of the little X10 motion sensors? My mailbox is across the street, about 100' away. If that would work, life would be wonderful.

Although, you would need to reset it each time you went and checked the mail, it's a move in the right direction.

Posted on
Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:51 am
skibby offline
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bjojade wrote:
Motion sensor in the mailbox!!! You may have solved my problem!

What is the range of the little X10 motion sensors? My mailbox is across the street, about 100' away. If that would work, life would be wonderful.

Although, you would need to reset it each time you went and checked the mail, it's a move in the right direction.


If by "reset it" you mean to reset the variable that's changed, you can probably just set a time/date action to do it. Since the mailman is only going to come once a day you could change it back to the "mail not arrived" state somewhere near midnight, or earlier if you really want if you're sure he'll not be coming after that...9pm or something.

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