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Poll

Would you be intrested in controlling your home automation system via SMS and MSN? Feel free to say why or why not and read the thread ;) !!!

Yes
- 18 (75%)
No
- 6 (25%)

Total Members Voted: 24


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Author Topic: Text Message/SMS Control  (Read 64388 times)

ThePharaoh

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Text Message/SMS Control
« on: May 31, 2009, 01:23:16 AM »

Please post why or why not after voting!!!

Hey, i am currently working on building a system modification that allows a user to control their x10 system via a text message. For example, if you want to turn "dining room lights" on, you would text to the system's number, "dining room lights on". I decided it would be a great way to remotely access your home automation system since everyone always has their phone, and it has not been created yet. Also, i am thinking about selling this to the public, if you are intrested, type what would be a reasonable price for this addon, keep in mind it will be mostly a new hardware!!!! It will let your old system remain as is.

Thank you.
The Pharaoh
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steven r

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2009, 02:23:45 AM »

I'd be interested in hearing more about it as you develop it. I think it's a great idea.

What kind of hardware? Will the hardware be stand alone or will it work with the computer that has AHP installed?
i.e. Will it plug in to the AHP computer or run independent of it?
Will it be able to control all 256 HC/UCs or be limited to 1 HC? (My telephone controller is limited to just 10 UCs for a single HC.)

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ThePharaoh

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 10:51:52 AM »

It will be standalone. I am basically going to use a arduino, a router, and a firecracker donggle. Im basically building a new system that all its function is is to recive text message commands, and send them to the x10 modules. One firecracker dongle allows control of 16 devices, but im not sure if i can connect multiple dongles yet to the arduino. Once i have finished this project and am sure it works completely, i will start to sell it, since it appears no one currently sells such a device. I will make them custom for each person. How much do you think a device like this should be worth? Since its mostly hardware, be reasonable.

****edit****
I have acutally found a better replacement for the firecracker. This new device can send and recieve signals from the modules, i think you may be able to control more devices with this, but i am currently unsure
« Last Edit: May 31, 2009, 11:15:18 AM by ThePharaoh »
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steven r

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2009, 01:47:47 PM »

It will be standalone. I am basically going to use a arduino, a router, and a firecracker dongle..."
So it will basically plug it into an existing network router for its email and the outlet for power and X10 signals?
How user friendly/programmable will it be? e.g. If it is originally set up to map "Living Room On" to "C3 On" and I later decide to make C3 my garage door how easy will it be to change?
Any plans to secure it from unauthorized emails? Perhaps require a password to proceed each command or even better have the PW open authorization with say a 2 min timeout from the last email so you could do a series of commands in one session.
I'd be ok with the format: PW HC/UC On/Off/Dim/Brighten [Dim/Brighten%] 
e.g. if the PW was "Hal123":  Hal123 C4 On

Any thoughts of having it email back a confirmation of the command executed?

"...How much do you think a device like this should be worth? Since its mostly hardware, be reasonable..."
Hard to say as I don't have any idea as to what the hardware costs will be or how much development and assembly time is involved. I am definitely interested particularly if you can figure how to get it to control more than one HC. i.e. My interest is directly proportional to the number of addresses it can control. 16="ok, maybe interested" to 256="Wow how soon can I get one!" Bonus points if it can send dim and brighten commands.

...I have actually found a better replacement for the firecracker. This new device can send and receive signals from the modules, i think you may be able to control more devices with this, but i am currently unsure
Hmm... What kind of device have you found? I thought I had heard of just about all the products that can work in the US.


Keep me posted as you get closer to having a completed project and if you need a beta tester just holler.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2009, 01:51:11 PM by steven r »
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ThePharaoh

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2009, 10:23:19 PM »

Ok, i do not think it it will need password control. I am using twitter and something called pachube to transmit the text message's commands. Twitter lets you register your account with your phone number, and that is what phone works with it, the number is also changeable. Basically, u send a text to twitter's number and this updates your twitter feed. The feed is constantly monitored by the device, so if you send living room lights on, then it wil trigger the command. I am trying to make the different devices renameable, and i am pretty sure u can dim and brighten. I will also try to make 256 devices controllable and i will also attempt (i cannot promise) to make it possible to get the status of a certain device (ex: living room lights status)(a text replies on/off/dim/bright). I think making it standalone is a benefit, since if your main controller fails, this is a backup. Also, you wil need a dedicated twitter account for this, but this shouldnt matter since twitters free. And twitter will ensure security, also if you manually update the twitter feed via the site, it should also trigger it. Wish me luck, i will start building and testing in about a week or two when i get my parts in. this device will need to be connected to a router, or i can make it wireless for the customer by installing a programmed router inside the device, and all you will need to do is setup wireless bridging, which i can assist you in. I am also thinking about making a backup battery, i dont no, give me some thoughts, feedback, would you be intrested in buying one...etc!!! LOL
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Knightrider

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2009, 06:01:07 AM »

Not sure about needing the battery, as plc tends not to work very well in a power outage.  My CM15A's already have the battery backup at any rate.  I hate to sound like a fogey here, but I'm not a twit, or on facebook, or on myspace or yourspace, and never plan to be.  There's only so many places in the great WWW (wild wild west) that I plan on disemanating my information. (gee, that makes me sound old).

Isn't there a way to do this via a pop3 email account?
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ThePharaoh

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 06:30:56 AM »

I have figured out on how to do it via twitter, you will not need to release any information. You do not need to have any friends or anything, the account will be solely dedicated to your automation system. It makes it simple to use, and ensures security. I actually plan on setting up everything, including the twitter and pachube accounts for the customer, so all they have to do is use the text message right away. I will look into pop3 email, but i doubt it will be as effective as twitter, because twitter has a faster update time. Thanks for your intrest!!!!

***edit***
you can also make ur twitter private!!!, and its secure....and quick updating...and simple for anyone to use
« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 06:34:02 AM by ThePharaoh »
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HA Dave

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2009, 07:32:04 AM »

I hate to sound like a fogey here,........ There's only so many places in the great WWW (wild wild west) that I plan on disemanating my information. (gee, that makes me sound old).

Hey nothing wrong with sounding your age Knightrider.... most of us can learn from you old guys.

I have figured out on how to do it via twitter

Well... old guys like Knightrider might ask... what happens when Twitter goes the way of anglefire (or soon geocities)?

Has ANY free Internet service discovered a profit making business plan yet? I am even older than Knightrider and have seen more than a few Internet services come-and-go.

Future cap-and-trade plans doesn't bode well for server farms... as rolling black and/or brown outs will be mandated nationwide. Large scale "services" that operate marginally will most likely suffer the most [or the soonest].

X10 has servers for remote viewing and control... yet even diehard X10 fans (like myself) look for direct IP solutions.

If Twitter goes belly-up tomorrow.... then what?
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Tuicemen

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2009, 08:57:24 AM »

With word of twitter starting to charge for some services It makes me wonder ???
A secondary connection like  POP 3 is a good idea to look at and probably would be used by more users.

 >!
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ThePharaoh

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2009, 04:33:27 PM »

A secondary connection like  POP 3 is a good idea to look at and probably would be used by more users.

I promise to lookin to pop3 and other methods as soon as my final exams are over (in about a week), but the major problem i think with POP 3 is that i believe there will be a major delay. First their is a delay till the email recieves (about 3 seconds) and then theres the delay of reading from the email, twitter is almost instant, and less complicated, i believe for both me and the user, but i promise to look into pop3 and alternate methods.... Also, i wish to no how many people would be willing to buy this device, and about how much they would spend, so i can attempt to buy things in bulk and minimize the costs for the purchaser, i will give them a month to return the device if they do not like it.

Thank you for your intrest, i really appreciate your comments and input!!!
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steven r

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2009, 06:20:13 PM »

...Also, i wish to no how many people would be willing to buy this device, and about how much they would spend, so i can attempt to buy things in bulk...
Your target audience is a select number of the small percent of the public that uses X10 products.
At this point in the game I'd only recommend starting with a few. I wouldn't build more than say 2-5 for test purposes.
That said, I'll restate that I'm possibly interested even if I mostly only use it to show off to friends and family. 
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ThePharaoh

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2009, 07:46:57 PM »

I have noticed that most not very many are intrested, since they can use the myhome or myhouse internet controller off their phone's web browser. I have been warned about this but i realized that not everyone has internet on their phone, and i believe the not all phones' web browsers are capable of using myhome. I also guessed more people have text messaging than internet on their phones, and i overall believe text messaging is simpler, also you are capable of using twitter to update as well. I also think that since it is standalone, it would be more beneficial since its like a backup system, and can function on its own. Anyway, i have decided to make the machines custom for each customer, and also, i am intrested if theres any other features you guys wish for.

Thank you
« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 07:49:10 PM by ThePharaoh »
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ThePharaoh

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2009, 09:31:00 PM »

If Twitter goes belly-up tomorrow.... then what?

The chances of twitter going belly-up are just like that of hotmail, yahoo, aim, facebook, myspace, etc....
I could say what are the chances of hotmail going belly-flop tommorow? And in case that happens, all my customers will have long warranties and technical support.....especially the first to purchase.

***Note****
i talked with customer support for x10, and found that the new controller thingy that i plan to replace the firecracker with allows control of up to 256 devices!!!!!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 09:34:01 PM by ThePharaoh »
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HA Dave

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2009, 10:47:40 PM »

....The chances of twitter going belly-up are just like that of hotmail, yahoo, aim, facebook, myspace, etc....
I could say what are the chances of hotmail going belly-flop tommorow?

Well Yahoo has sent out their notice of termination of FREE services... apparently you missed that. AIM... has JUST been freed (fired) from roadrunner (Time-Warner). HOTMAIL is actually the property of Microsoft... UNLIKE other no-profit services. It's just plain silly to compare Twitter to Microsoft.

You may be just a little young to realize that many businesses come... and go. And the Internet is far from an exception.
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Jsnlong

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Re: Text Message/SMS Control
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2009, 11:54:16 PM »

What device are you going to use other then the firecracker?

I don't think it matters if one company goes under cause there is always a new one that comes to replace it. Myself I don't see a need to control things via text message. Besides its a cool factor. There is already stuff to control X10 via internet and instant messaging.  But I'm also one of the people that cant figure out why we invented cell phones that we can instantly talk with people all people want to do is text message.  rofl

Yahoo as terminated their free website hosting. Yahoo IM and AOL IM has always been free and around for many years now.  Now for myspace,facebook and Twitter they are phases.. Myspace was cool until facebook came around and facebook was cool until twitter came and in a few months something else will be the "new cool" I'm not saying they will go under or disappear but the free sites are funded by adds so when a new thing comes the Adds people move on to it.
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