Simple home automation device

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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nixter
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Postby nixter » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:47 pm

Thought I'd share this as I've been waiting for someone to make this for ages! Turn your espresso machine on remotely from your smartphone? yes please!

http://www.belkin.com/wemo/

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Postby zin1953 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:32 am

. . . but only on a 15A circuit! :twisted:
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Postby Aaron » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:20 pm

But does it put the pitcher away when it's done steaming milk? If only it worked on 3G too then it would be great!
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Postby keepitsimple » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:02 pm

nixter wrote:Thought I'd share this as I've been waiting for someone to make this for ages! Turn your espresso machine on remotely from your smartphone? yes please!

http://www.belkin.com/wemo/


They're a bit late - you've been able to do this (and much more besides) for years very cheaply (and you don't need a smartphone).

Do a search for "x10" devices.

Most of my home lighting and a few other things are controlled using that system. 8)

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Postby DavidMLewis » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:02 pm

I'd want to find out how they deal with security. The X10 protocol, which was used for early home automation and is still available, had none at all. It transmitted information on the power lines, which they all do, but it leaked into adjacent houses and was completely unencrypted. Fine when it's just a hobbyist turning lights on and off, not so fine when it's unlocking your front door from anywhere on the Net. Belkin is a reputable company, but it's still something that's way too easy to get wrong, especially if you don't design it in from the ground up.

Best,
David

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Postby keepitsimple » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:07 pm

Don't you have blockers to stop x10 signals "leaking" in the US ?

Do you use X10 yourself ?

Never been a problem to me. Has always been extremely reliable. Perhaps the power system differences play a part in some way - e.g. except for commercial buildings, domestic properties here will all run on the same phase (OK, castles and palaces might not...) From what I remember, that may not be the case in the US.

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Postby mitch236 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:54 pm

The basic problem with x-10 is that it's one way communication and because of that, it's error prone. With newer two way technology, a more reliable network is easily possible. Also, x-10 doesn't have security. Anyone can send x-10 signals to your devices easily by just plugging a control unit into an outdoor outlet. With newer technology, devices must be registered to the control device in order to communicate with it. No home automation network is immune to security issues but newer technology is much better.

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Postby keepitsimple » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:19 pm

What problems have you had with it ?

In my fairly long experience of using it, it's cheap and effective if you configure it and test it properly.

Now, would I rely on it to control a mission-critical application ? No. Would I rely on it to unlock my outer doors ? No (and not on any other protocol either). Would I rely on it to control my lights and switch on a coffee machine ? You bet.

I think that's what the original poster exemplified.

The main advantage of X10 is that it's simple, versatile and inexpensive dead easy to extend and needs no additional control cabling to be retrofitted. The downside is mainly the cheap quality of the components unless you get the professional ones.

I would agree, that to do a proper 100% reliable automation system you need to implement something like C-bus, although that requires independent control cabling (as opposed to its near namesake cebus, which is power line carrier based). Both are considerably more expensive of course. I've looked into Z-wave too, but that also gets pricey and as far as I know, has fewer applications available. Rako is even more expensive. If I were building a new house, C-bus would be the way to go, but even its distance remote access isn't as secure as you may like, and I doubt that many implementations adopt it.

Which of the newer protocols would you adopt personally ?

BTW - if you want to prevent individual power outlets from controlling X10 devices, you insert a filter which removes the control signals.

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Postby nixter » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:56 pm

Just got an email that my WEMO has shipped! Very excited. I'll report back when I have it hooked up. I had checked out some of the x10 devices previously but I like the design, simplicity, iPhone control capability, and overall slickness of the WEMO.

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nixter
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Postby nixter » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:21 pm

So I set this up a few weeks ago and it's been great. VERY simple setup using only your smartphone. Allows me power control over my Giotto Evo from anywhere. I use the scheduling feature to start and stop the machine in the AM on weekdays. It's also programmed to stay on constantly during the weekends. If I decide that I might want an espresso when I get home from work on a weekday I simply turn on the machine from work using my phone and it's ready to brew by the time I get home!

Couldn't be happier with this device.