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Author Topic: Advice on a project...  (Read 3324 times)

InfernusDoleo

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Advice on a project...
« on: August 13, 2010, 08:48:40 PM »

The background: I used to have/work with some X-10 stuff a few years ago. An unfinished project... had X-10 hooked up to my computer, had dimmers on recessed lighting, remote control etc... was going to do a home theatre system where I could use the remote to dim the lights/etc. I'm a programmer/tinkerer. And I LOVE Halloween.

So, this year I want to set up something great in my front yard. And I was thinking of all the cool things I could do, and how I could do it, then it dawned on me... X-10!

So I'm back here with some details of what I was thinking, looking to see if anyone has any ideas...

So here's what my setup is I'm thinking of...

Linux PC, hooked up to a CM19A, using either HeyYu, or just sending commands to the /dev device. Saw some details in another thread here, it seems do-able.

One of the battery operated wireless outdoor motion sensors (or more). This will be placed to sense when people approach. When it goes off, the CM19A gets the signal, and a script monitoring it fires off. Also a wireless transceiver to read the motion sensor signals.

The script then activates or deactivates various things like a strobe light, animated zombies, lights, etc via standard lamp modules (or appliance modules if I have something with a larger draw). Activate a fog machine via a UM506 universal module... and the script controls the on/off, the timing, etc...

I was thinking of maybe adding another motion sensor for either backup (so something small doesnt set it off, both need to go off for it to work) or to activate other things, like when someone reaches the porch.

Does this sound feasable? How well do the motion sensors work? I'm concerned about range and battery life considering they run on 2 AAA's... What about interference? How far away must these be? I know some motion sensors are infrared, and can be blinded by light... are these? Whats better for this? The MS14A or 16A? Whats the difference?

Anyone have any input? Thoughts? I'm am experenced programmer/scripter so that part will be easy. I just need to make sure what I'm buying will work. I already have SOME parts from my time messing with it years ago... I have a motion sensor (dont know if its 14a or 16a - gotta find it), transceiver... I have a firecracker too but my current linux box has no serial port, so I figure the USB upgrade is the best bet.

So... whatcha think?
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Knightrider

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Re: Advice on a project...
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 08:52:50 PM »

can the lamp module idea. you need all appliance modules.  I'll be glad to help any way I can.

Here's what I did with x10 for halloween.

http://thisautomatedhouse.com/Halloween.html
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Remote control is cool,

but automation rules!

InfernusDoleo

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Re: Advice on a project...
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 08:54:43 PM »

Strobe lights, animated zombies etc will draw more than 300watts? Really? Wow. I figured I'd check the draw on what I have and will be purchasing...

I havent checked your link yet, but does my idea sound, well, sound?
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InfernusDoleo

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Re: Advice on a project...
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 09:13:40 PM »

I saw in another post two things that concern me... first, that the appliance modules "click" when they activate. How loud is it?

Second, that the appliance modules always output a LITTLE current even when off... which can be a real problem with items that have motors, depending on how little that current is...

Anyone know?
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Knightrider

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Re: Advice on a project...
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 09:15:32 PM »

it's not the current draw, but the dimming state of the lamp module.  long story short, lamp modules on anything other than incandescent lamps can result in fire.  this includes the circuitry that drives the strobes, and any solenoids or motors on the zombies.

Again, not the wattage, but the output current on the lamp modules as the problem.
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Remote control is cool,

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Knightrider

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Re: Advice on a project...
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 09:19:13 PM »

the lamp modules also leak a little current when off.  The clicks aren't really that loud.  Imagine dropping a 1/4 x 2 1/4 bolt on concrete from about 38" minus the metallic ping, or one clacking a metal baby jar lid amplitude wise.
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Remote control is cool,

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Brian H

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Re: Advice on a project...
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2010, 06:24:22 AM »

Motion sensors chart:
http://kbase.x10.com/wiki/Comparison_of_All_Motion_Sensors
Also remember they have a dusk dawn feature and send an On and Off at dusk and dawn. One unit code higher than the motion address.

New lamp module have soft start and ramp on and off at about a two second rate. Which is one more reason a Lamp Module should only be used on incandescent bulbs.

Yes the modules have a small amount of current on their outputs when off. Older ones had Local Control and a my status {On or Off}
Newer ones the status current. Both versions can keep a real low current device like a small LED bulb on dimly all the time.
Old Lamp Module: 1.56 ma AC; 0.16 ma DC
New Lamp Module: 0.36ma AC
Old Appliance Module 2.37 ma AC; 1.69 ma DC
New CFL friendly appliance module: 0.33 ma AC
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 06:47:58 AM by Brian H »
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InfernusDoleo

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Re: Advice on a project...
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2010, 09:38:31 AM »

Ok so I just made a purchase. The 'name your own price' thing on the site is worth using, just saved nearly $100 just by asking and not just paying the listed price.

Bought 2 MS16A's, 4 appliance modules, 1 universal to work the fog machine, and a CM19A to tie it all together. Already have a transceiver...

Once it arrives I'll try setting it all up and see what happens. Anyone here have any advice or ideas on cool things I can do? Maybe something I'm not thinking of?

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