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Author Topic: Automation with Alexa  (Read 22643 times)

JeffVolp

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2016, 10:24:53 AM »

The cheapest way to do this in my opinion would be with an old PC or laptop that has internet Wi-Fi capabilities and a x10 PC interface( in your case it would need to be a PLC interface)

OK, I can dedicate the old Compaq Win98 laptop that I used for the XTB-232 development to it.  It has an Ethernet connection, serial port for the XTB-232, and an old installation of ActiveHome Pro (prior to X10WTI's demise).  Our router supports WiFi.  Anything else needed?

Jeff
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2016, 10:37:30 AM »

For someone who doesn't own iAnything or even a smartphone, what is involved in adding this to our X10 installation?

You will need WiFi. I think home wifi is the standard for this stuff now. Alexa needs wifi (no cat-5 port). Much of the other stuff like the hubs also need wifi. I have/own a somewhat recent big load capable router. I chose to buy and control my own... but some people get one installed for a small monthly fee from their cable/DSL provider.

Although... I am a big advocate of the smartphones... a $40 android tablet (again wireless) would give you all you need for setup and special/additional control. The tablet can be off and stored away... it isn't required for anything other than settings.

Our X10 system is run by a totally autonomous Ocelot that is not connected to anything other than the XTB-523 plugged into the powerline.  I assume a PC with an X10 powerline interface has to be dedicated to it 24/7.

Jeff

Your equipment is top-of-the-line (but you knew that). Ocelot (and the XTB-523) have always been a little pricey for my budget. So I don't know anything about it... to speak of. What Tuice is looking at would require a 24/7 PC connection.... but not much of a PC at all. An old XP laptop, CE, or mini PC device might be plenty.

I've been wanting (dreaming) of getting away from the HA PC. Please... don't judge me... but I even removed my desk from my home office. It's now my man-cave. Although I have TWO HA PC's running 24/7 now-a-days (and have for 3+ years).

But if I get a new $142 Logitech Harmony hub-based remote for my theater.... the DOT/Alexa can talk directly with the Logitech Harmony hub. And the hub would send X10 IR....... you get the idea. This would allow me to shut down my HA PC's.
Although the limited nature of the IR543 would also limit my voice control a little bit... it wouldn't be by much. i.e. One well written macro could shut down every device at bedtime. But like you had guessed... that (macro use) would require something like a CM15A (I have that). But then again..... maybe your XTB-523 handle that... I don't know.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2016, 10:40:31 AM »

The cheapest way to do this in my opinion would be with an old PC or laptop that has internet Wi-Fi capabilities and a x10 PC interface( in your case it would need to be a PLC interface)

OK, I can dedicate the old Compaq Win98 laptop that I used for the XTB-232 development to it.  It has an Ethernet connection, serial port for the XTB-232, and an old installation of ActiveHome Pro (prior to X10WTI's demise).  Our router supports WiFi.  Anything else needed?

Jeff

I don't know. I can't recall the what IE win98 used.... but it might be difficult to setup Alexa with it.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2016, 10:49:51 AM »

I missed this you must have added it after I first read the post.

Yeah... it takes me forever to pound these posts out.  rofl

Since it is possible to send X10 signals RF and or PLC that device isn't really needed unless you just want an upgrade.
I thought you had BVC controlling your theater?  ???

You are (of course) correct. The old laptop running BVC and AHP (with a CM15A) can do it all now. Or... I could even integrate using the CE laptop running my Melloware server with a CM19A (that allows me to control X10 with my iPhone).

But if I switch to a Logitech Harmony hub.... I can do it all... and not run a PC.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2016, 10:57:18 AM »


OK, I can dedicate the old Compaq Win98 laptop that I used for the XTB-232 development to it.  It has an Ethernet connection, serial port for the XTB-232, and an old installation of ActiveHome Pro (prior to X10WTI's demise).  Our router supports WiFi.  Anything else needed?

Jeff
If you have a Wi-Fi stick the PC will recognize, that's all you'll require for setup as you need to see the amazon Wi-Fi connection during setup.
The Dot setup is realy simple as Dave also mentioned.
The HA-bridge uses Java 8.11 and is a universal OS file.
HA-Bridge doesn't load fully in IE (on my win 7 PC) so another browser like chrome may be needed.
You don't need to use the program I created (Alex10) but it makes things simpler, HA-bridge is include with it.
It is possible to use the ahcmd.exe file included in the SDK but that is flaky.




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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2016, 11:12:21 AM »

You are (of course) correct. The old laptop running BVC and AHP (with a CM15A) can do it all now. Or... I could even integrate using the CE laptop running my Melloware server with a CM19A (that allows me to control X10 with my iPhone).

But if I switch to a Logitech Harmony hub.... I can do it all... and not run a PC.
The hubs are essentially mini PCs running Linux so your not eliminating a PC.
Most of my HA is now done from a mini (low power) PC which I use for streaming and sits on the back of my TV
It isn't much bigger then a paper back novel, newer ones are about the size of the cm15.
 >!
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2016, 11:41:55 AM »

The hubs are essentially mini PCs running Linux so your not eliminating a PC.

Well.... today even the wifi crockpots and microwave ovens have more processing power than my 1st (VIC-20) PC had. I have no desire to eliminate processors.... just the PC. I know this might sound odd from an old network admin that was building PC's even before win 95... but it is my goal.

I keep trying to convert over to a tablet.... (I've been using laptops since 2001). And.... I do have several actual PC's as well.

I don't mind using whatever tool I need to use to accomplish what I want. Much of what I've done with X10 and BVC I'd do over again in a heartbeat. But for the last few years I've felt like I am not just using technology to control my automation. But more like I am using enough technology to beat my automation into submission.

Most of what I've done these last 4-5 years has mostly just been subtle little upgrades to stay current. I see some real progress in the products available now. 
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

dhouston

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2016, 12:03:02 PM »

I assume a PC with an X10 powerline interface has to be dedicated to it 24/7.

A $35 Raspberry Pi 3 is certain to be more than adequate although it does run Linux. It has Bluetooth, WiFi, Ethernet, a microSD slot, HDMI and four USB ports.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-3-model-b/

You can add one of these to talk with your Ocelot.
https://www.abelectronics.co.uk/kb/article/1035/raspberry-pi-3-serial-port-usage
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2016, 12:16:23 PM »

I played with tablets (just oversized smart phones in my opinion)
The idea of a touch screen I liked, having used touch screens a work I was use to them.
However with the advancement in VR even that is slow now.
I rarely have a keyboard or mouse attached to my mini PC and they are wireless anyways.

I understand your wanting to move away from a PC they were always big cumbersome boxes.
These new TV boxes which have dual OS boot options is what I'm looking at next.
This way I can keep my favorite older things and still enable newer stuff.

I've converted my Android mini TV stick to dual boot and may try to control X10 via Alexa with it as the other OS is Linux.
I just wish it was better made, it gets way to hot if left running.
I have in the past sent X10 commands to a cm19 from the Android mini TV stick so it isn't far fetched.
I'm not a fan of Linux, setups always seem to take twice as long as it does in Windows.
being a two finger typer doesn't help either!  ::) :'
 >!


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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2016, 12:27:08 PM »

I thought of doing a Pi board for HA at my off grid place.
The fact that these use so little power is very appealing, the fact they use Linux isn't. :(
Many use  the Raspberry Pi for HA and are very happy with it.
20 years ago I may have taken a closer look but then it and Alexa wasn't available.  :( ::) :'
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racerfern

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2016, 12:32:13 PM »

This is my 24/7 pc. Low power consumption, not lightning fast, but fast enough. It manages the NVR security camera recording, CM15A for X10 and I could plug a zwave stick into it. I paid $209 a few months ago. You might find some on newegg, ebay, craigslist.

http://www.woot.com/offers/hp-pavilion-mini-intel-1tb-sata-desktop-3


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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2016, 12:54:04 PM »

I played with tablets (just oversized smart phones in my opinion).......
...........I rarely have a keyboard or mouse attached to my mini PC and they are wireless anyways.

..... These new TV boxes which have dual OS boot options is what I'm looking at next.
This way I can keep my favorite older things and still enable newer stuff.

I've converted my Android mini TV stick to dual boot and may try to control X10 via Alexa with it as the other OS is Linux.

A lot of what I think about is..... how can I or how might I use the newer technologies.

I always find it very tempting to turn to the tools I know how to use. Just like welders always grab some steel and a torch, carpenters grab 2X4's and a saw, and politicians grab duct tape and dollar bills.

I try to find unexpected capabilities... and I try look outside myself and my own knowledge base for solutions. After all... this is not a job. For me... this is a hobby. Sure... maybe a bit of an addiction too. But I make a real effort to set aside my pragmatic side and force a little creative imagination to guide me.

But my imagination struggles. In my mind.... Kate(16), Siri, Alexa, and Jerri Ryan.... all look exactly alike?!?!?  ;)
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2016, 01:04:17 PM »

This is my 24/7 pc. ....... CM15A for X10 and I could plug a zwave stick into it. http://www.woot.com/offers/hp-pavilion-mini-intel-1tb-sata-desktop-3

That does look nice! And I wouldn't have to learn how to write code like I would with a Raspberry Pi device (if I even can learn to code). And... the hub thing I am thinking about would force me to completely rewrite/update my entire AHP set of macros and such.

This is good stuff! So much to think about and strategize about.
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Modern automation is much more than turning things on and off.
The use of Home Automation is limited... only by our imaginations.

dhouston

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2016, 01:10:58 PM »

And I wouldn't have to learn how to write code like I would with a Raspberry Pi device.

No code needed - just install HomeGenie.
http://www.homegenie.it/

PS: I think it's inevitable that Microsoft will release a version of Windows 10 for the Pi 3. They would be foolish to continue allowing Linux to monopolize these low cost, entry level devices.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 01:16:25 PM by dhouston »
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JeffVolp

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2016, 01:21:13 PM »

That old Compaq won't hack it.  It was my work laptop before I retired, and I don't think I ever used it to connect to the Internet.  It only has 28MB of RAM and a 4G hard drive.  I couldn't even get it to connect to our WiFi router.  I guess I'll have to pick up something newer.

Our other laptops (Win7) are in daily service, and I don't want to dedicate a spare power hungry tower system to a 24/7 application.  All our towers are normally in sleep mode except when actually being used.

Jeff
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