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Author Topic: Automation with Alexa  (Read 46488 times)

racerfern

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #105 on: January 12, 2017, 03:43:33 PM »

Quote
There are still many that fear Wi-Fi and the affects it has on ones health.

Of the minuscule percentage of people that worry about the ill effects of Wi-Fi, what percentage of those have even heard of X10. Sorry, but that sounds like an excuse looking for a failure.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #106 on: January 12, 2017, 04:19:38 PM »

PLC isn't just for X10 different protocols use PLC.
Off all those willing to dump PLC for Wi-Fi I don't know.  ::) :'
I do know more people know about X10 then any other protocol, and my statement wasn't meant to be an excuse of any kind. ;)
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dhouston

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #107 on: January 12, 2017, 04:34:07 PM »

PLC isn't just for X10 different protocols use PLC.
True.

There are companies that use PLC for control of commercial buildings. However, they use PLC voltages on the order of those used by Jeff Volp's bigger hammers so powerline noise isn't much of an issue for them.

And, it's used for broadband over the powerlines but with frequencies much much higher than 120kHz so they avoid the noise from switching power supplies.

Now, to return (somewhat) to the topic of this thread...
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seeed/respeaker-an-open-modular-voice-interface-to-hack?ref=nav_search
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 04:36:14 PM by dhouston »
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bkenobi

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #108 on: January 12, 2017, 04:48:02 PM »

I'm not sure WiFi solves all issues.  My parents house used to be completely plaster walls inside with expanded metal mesh used for support.  This proved to be a very effective Faraday cage with early WiFi.  They have since remodeled much of the house and the majority of those walls are now sheet rock.  I don't know how many people have metal in their walls, but they would have to gut the home to make them WiFi compliant potentially.

toasterking

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #109 on: January 12, 2017, 07:11:48 PM »

I personally won't consider WiFi an option because I can't control its physical medium.  It will remain a nicety, a supplement to my home LAN for convenience, and that's all.  I've had enough issues with WiFi at work and at home that I wouldn't want any part of my home automation system to depend on it.  As part of a dual-mesh solution, maybe, but not on its own.  At 2.4 GHz, all kinds of non-WiFi devices interfere with 802.11g -- microwave ovens, cordless phones, baby monitors, and any other gadgets that use RF and whose manufacturers couldn't or didn't want to go through FCC approval and licensing.  People living in apartment complexes often have trouble with this.  But even in a house at the end of a dead-end road like mine, it can be an issue.

Faraday cages aside, at one point I had trouble getting data through an access point that was 10 feet away in an open space no matter what channel I used.  I borrowed a fancy WiFi spectrum analyzer from work and mapped the signals around my property and discovered that my neighbor across the street was using a 2.4 GHz analog video sender like the ones X10 used to sell.  In that case, the bandwidth is so wide that the signal from a single video sender trounces most of the spectrum for digital signals, and WiFi transceivers spend most of their time doing the polite thing and waiting for the interference to subside, which it never does, prior to transmitting.  The neighbor wasn't willing to help despite my willingness to buy him a different device, so I had to deal with it.  I would have liked to have metal mesh walls on the front of my house at that point.  The offending residence had become a rental by that point, and thankfully, that tenant didn't last much longer.

Then there's the issue that adding more WiFi clients effectively reduces available bandwidth exponentially.

802.11ac adds more channels and makes some important changes to the protocol to deal with client density and noise more effectively in some situations, but it doesn't solve the root problem.  The move to 5 GHz only buys a little time before other device manufacturers all follow suit as the implementations get cheaper.  You can avoid microwave ovens at that frequency but not much else.  We just have to hope that the protocol changes make the noise less crippling than it was before.  I really do admit that WiFi is an amazing technical accomplishment and I'm awed that it works at all, but I'm not sold on its reliability yet.

At least with PLC, I have a lot more control over what's allowed on the shared physical medium and what's not.
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #110 on: January 12, 2017, 10:30:00 PM »

I'm not sure WiFi solves all issues.

There is no perfect single solution for anything... ever.... except for eggs. Eggs seem to be the perfect container for baby bird incubation. But other than eggs.... no one-solution-fits-all exists. :)

I don't know how many people have metal in their walls, but they would have to gut the home to make them WiFi compliant potentially.

My home was built in 1943. The walls are a combo. Some walls are blue board and metal lathe (expanded steel mesh) and plaster. And some walls are dry wall over blue board. The metal lathe does have a faraday cage effect of sorts. Radios (even cell phones) work best near the windows. But WiFi seems to function just fine.

I don't see the modern changes in home automation as solutions. I've been using voice recognition [BVC] with my X10, HA setup.... for around a decade. I didn't need a voice recognition solution. But, the cloud based Alexa works much better at voice recognition than the old Microsoft SAPI5 solution did. The microphone array is helpful too. But Alexa.... even with all the many "skills" available... isn't a complete replacement for my BVC X10 setup. Not yet at least.

Even with ihome, Alexa, the MyQ (Chamberlain) interface, and the Wink Hub......... the functionally of the CM15A with AHP macros (particularly when connected to a running PC) is top notch. X10 is the heart and soul of my HA set-up. But my setup wouldn't be half as functional without the other more modern stuff. 

The new skills offered up with Alexa is one giant leap forward in Home Automation. And that... is just this week. Alexa will have many more skills available next week... and the week after that... and the week after that.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 10:35:42 PM by HA Dave »
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toasterking

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #111 on: January 13, 2017, 06:21:47 AM »

There is no perfect single solution for anything... ever.... except for eggs. Eggs seem to be the perfect container for baby bird incubation. But other than eggs.... no one-solution-fits-all exists. :)
LOL!  rofl  Not so fast, though. Eggs are probably the best solution available, but they're not perfect. They are vulnerable to predation, they often require external heat... I see room for improvement.  ;)
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bkenobi

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #112 on: January 13, 2017, 11:18:02 AM »

I don't know, they seem to do a pretty good job of storing my breakfast until I'm ready for it.  I'd definitely consider it a workable solution.   >!

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #113 on: January 13, 2017, 11:45:10 AM »

...... I'd definitely consider it a workable solution.

... I see room for improvement.  ;)

Yep! I agree with you BOTH.

And so goes it with Home Automation (and EGGS). There is nothing wrong with being totally satisfied with the product (and setup) you have. Actually I hope everyone gets the setup they want. But the setup that thrills one person... may not be what some one else wants.

I know my desires for HA may be more aspirational than practical (today). But this stuff is great fun.... and also helpful to have as part of our home too. And I can envision Alexa, Siri, (my X10/BVC) Kate, and whoever-she-is... that talks to me in my car combining and speaking to me with a single voice.... wherever I am. Anticipating my needs, predicting problems... and offering solutions.

I already have BVC reminding us of regular home based events... like running the trash to the curb on trash night. And appointments... told to Alexa... appear on my phone and pc calendar where I can be reminded with an alarm. Next years Ford's will have Alexa available (or so I've read).

There are TONS of new stuff coming down the pike. 
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 11:47:16 AM by HA Dave »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #114 on: January 13, 2017, 12:42:17 PM »

There is talk of Alexa getting push notifications.
Once that happens it will open up lots more options and possibilities.
Like you Dave I have my PC reminding me of things and speaking alerts but via PCC.
It is possible to get your BVC, PCC or any PC announcements and Alexa's voice coming threw the Dot. ;)
Using a Bluetooth dongle plugged into the PC and paired with the Dot all sound from the PC will come threw the dot.
You want a good quality dongle the little mini dongles don't work well for this.
So until Alexa gets push possibilities this works for me. ;)
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #115 on: January 13, 2017, 09:15:07 PM »

There is talk of Alexa getting push notifications.....

Whether we stay with Alexa, switch to Google.... or some cloud device not yet known. We are at the very beginning of this technology. 

It is possible to get your BVC, PCC or any PC announcements and Alexa's voice coming threw the Dot. ;)
Using a Bluetooth dongle plugged into the PC and paired with the Dot all sound from the PC will come threw the dot.
You want a good quality dongle the little mini dongles don't work well for this.

I did NOT know this. Nice to know. THANKS, for sharing! I have a Vista laptop I am thinking of trying some "new stuff" on. I love having HA projects again.
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JeffVolp

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #116 on: January 14, 2017, 09:19:02 AM »

There is nothing wrong with being totally satisfied with the product (and setup) you have.

So show you how reliable X10 can be, we had a table lamp switch on unexpectedly about a week ago.  I knew my wife had changed the light bulb (incandescent 3-way), so I just told told her she didn't screw it in tight enough.  Sure enough, that was the problem.

Jeff
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X-10 automation since the BSR days

HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #117 on: January 14, 2017, 01:23:11 PM »

So show you how reliable X10 can be........

I've never had any reliability issues with X10 either. Of course... there are some issues with more modern lights like some LEDs or even the (now old) CFL. But my wife and I don't fully use our home like we would if we were a family with kids. So I still have plenty of incandescent flood/ceiling lights. I don't use those lights enough to ever recuperate the cost of a conversion to LED.

I expect my X10 setup to continue to perform for years to come.

But X10.... won't tell me when the ice storm is scheduled to arrive here today. Or report todays headline news, read a book to me that I recently downloaded to my phone, update me on the recent game score, inform me of what day my doctors appointment is, or tell me when the next Oak Island show will air on TV.

I've never had any qualms about mixing HA flavors (protocols). I even own a clapper! How much I will integrate the technologies.... is another question... I don't know the answer to yet.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #118 on: January 14, 2017, 01:42:38 PM »

Quote
I've never had any qualms about mixing HA flavors (protocols).
Anyone who limits themselves to one protocol is limiting the growth potential of their HA setup.
My HA setup still remains about 90-99% X10 but I do have several Wi-Fi based devices (Wemo, iTead) as well as Zwave and Bluetooth.
It is nice when everything works together with Alexa which is becoming a more universal controller then anything else out there. ;)
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HA Dave

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Re: Automation with Alexa
« Reply #119 on: January 14, 2017, 07:24:47 PM »

Anyone who limits themselves to one protocol is limiting the growth potential of their HA setup.

In 2001 I replaced the light switch in the garage with a motion sensor switch. A regular wire-in sensor-switch from home depot or the local hardware. If someone is in the garage....coming or going... the light is on. That is the single handiest bit of automation I have. It works so well I also put one in the laundry room.
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