Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'd like to control some of my home's electricity sockets via my PC. I was thinking about WiFi sockets (couldn't find any product for that), or sockets which are controlled by the electric network (like x10 - though I need for 220v). Can you think of something to help me?

share|improve this question
1  
X10 is available for 220V mains, for example. x10europe.com –  Niall C. Apr 27 '11 at 14:31
    
Thanks, that was very helpful! –  shlomiw Apr 27 '11 at 16:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

X10 works, but is a pretty bad protocol. It is very slow and limited, and is susceptible to noise and interference (often mistaking noise for actual commands, causing lights to turn on/off on their own).

Z-Wave provides similar capabilites, but is much newer and uses RF signals to communicate. There are a huge variety of products and lots of stuff for UK (some stores I found on Google -- no endorsement: Z-wave products UK, UK Automation)

UPB is another technology, though it doesn't appear to be available in Europe.

Insteon is a fairly popular one in North America, and although they've been talking for a few years about introducing it to Europe, it doesn't appear they have yet.

All of these (including X10) have ways to communicate with them from a PC, and from there you're limited only by your imagination and programming abilities. I have an Insteon setup in my basement home theater, which is controlled by a PC (and via the PC, can also be controlled from a simple iPod interface, my Aastra VoIP phones, or infrared remotes). Next house I will probably do UPB though (specifically, Simply Automated products), simply because the switches are a lot more powerful, and their software is miles ahead of Insteon, albeit also harder to use**.

** Insteon is dumbed-down a bit to make it easier, but of course sacrifices some flexibility by doing so. My biggest gripe is you can't set up a scene that turns some things on, and others off (such as my "movie" scene does); the best workaround is to dim to 1%, which keeps my halogen pot lights still very dimly lit, and wasting power.

share|improve this answer
    
I would vote +1 for you but I don't have enough reputation. Great detailed answer, I'll check out all the technologies you mentioned. Thank you very much! –  shlomiw Apr 28 '11 at 8:00
    
Got my reputation by now and voted for you + marked as answer ;-) –  shlomiw Apr 30 '11 at 8:02

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.