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27

You'd need to run an experiment to confirm this, but I think it would be a false economy. Even though the fridge is well insulated it will warm up by some amount. Then when it's switched on again the cooling would have to work harder/for longer to bring the temperature back down again probably using the same (if not more) energy in the process. Let the ...


14

X10 is a very cheap way to go, but it's not a very good system. The $20 switches you get are pretty low quality. More importantly though, the X10 protocol is pretty bad. It was designed in the 70's, and is very low bandwidth (I can't find a bps rating, but it takes about 3/4 of a second to send one command). If you don't use scene-capable switches (like ...


13

When you short cycle the compressor like that it's the worst thing an owner can do to shorten the lifespan of it's compressor. The refrigerator compressor uses oil to lubricate the pump. This pump runs very hot. The oil becomes dirtier and dirtier as it travels through the refrigerator tubes and clogs the refrigerant paths making it impossible for the ...


13

X10 Pros: Many manufacturers, and wide variety of products are readily-available (As of 2012, this may not be the case any more) Low-cost Cons: Old protocol (circa 1975) Most devices communicate over power lines, and design makes it susceptable to interference from noise. At worst, noise can be interpreted as commands (causing lights to turn on). Slow ...


11

I'll go ahead and answer because I think your core question is a good one. It sounds like what your company installs are fairly complex home automation systems, and you're hiring residential electricians to do the wiring. Instead, what you need for applications like this is an electrician with industrial automation experience. They do exactly the type of ...


7

The lower end stuff is crap, and will drive you mad over time. This includes X-10, Insteon, and UPB. These products will fail. It's just a question of how long before they do. Z-Wave is a technology, not a product line. If you want something complete and reliable, go for Lutron RadioRA. Version 2 of this industry-standard system was released recently, and ...


7

The basic rule: It takes a certain amount of work to move a certain amount of heat out of your fridge. You can do it now or later, but it's the same amount of work. So the first approximation says you save (or lose) nothing. Turning the motor on and off takes some energy, but it's pretty small compared to the actual cooling load. How quickly the fridge ...


6

I know that a part of many home automation controls are built in dimmer switches to control the level of lighting. You can't use a dimmer control with florescent light fixtures. The alternative is to use an appliance control instead. An appliance control is on/off only, and this will work with flourescent light fixtures.


6

I have included two images. The first identifies the wires in your current switch and the second image identifies where to put said wires. In case your wondering the "S" terminals are for slave units


5

X10 (and other power line communications) signals can travel back up to the transformer, and they can interfere with other systems which are connected to that same transformer. You can purchase a "signal blocker" to prevent the signal from making it back up the line, but these will typically need to be installed in the breaker panel (which may or may not be ...


5

They make Internet Controlled Thermostats already. I would start with one of those, and then just build an interface for your phone that will interact with the device through the web.


5

I've been very unsatisfied with X10-based automation systems. I've installed a bit of it in my home, and find them flakey. Smarthome's Insteon is a combo powerline/RF system that at least should be less flakey than X10. This is what I will probably try next myself, since it's backwards compatible with X10 and fairly inexpensive. Beyond that, there are ...


5

It seems that X10 is simplest solution if applicable, because it relies on existing electrical lines. Beside 1-Wire, protocols like RS-485, and CAN bus are also good option because they work well on large distances (tens or even hundreds of meters). Protocols like i2c or spi, are usually reserved for shorter distances (few meters) and are useful for say ...


5

It sounds like you're using keypads to control sets of lights. Two important things: Label the buttons well and Keep it simple and consistent. For example, if you're using scenes, have the buttons say the name of a scene that makes sense, depending on the location. If there's a keypad in the hallway outside the kitchen in the living room, make sure it's ...


5

Two thoughts from this peanut in the gallery: Make sure whatever timer you have is designed to handle the load being pulled by the refrigerator. I'm pretty sure this is one of the top power users in the house, behind any heating systems (dryer, oven, electric heaters) and probably behind a central AC system. Using a cheap timer designed for a lamp would ...


5

Install a lock on the panel, or main shutoff. Then only give keys/combination, to those family members that pay their share. Check with your local government before installing the lock, as it may not be legal in some jurisdictions. Search for a circuit breaker lockout. A lockout is a device that easily attaches to a breaker, and prevents the breaker from ...


5

If you can run wiring to the rooms easily, I'd recommend going with the centralized stack-of-amplifiers approach. It's very cheap, easy to set up, probably has the best sound quality, and is the most reliable. IR repeaters Start by placing all the stereo receivers in a centralized location (I picked the laundry room). Then, install an IR receiver ...


4

Asking which bus to use is the wrong question here. What you should be telling us is what you want to do, and then the technology to do that will follow. One problem I've found is that to get the best stuff, you have to mix and match technology. For example, Insteon, Z-Wave, and UBP are all leading for lighting/power control, but if you insist your security ...


4

See my answer here: Scalable, affordable home automation for a comparison of different consumer products. You're probably going to have to do a mix of things to get your first goal. LED lighting is relatively new and immature -- the controllers for it vary from being IR remotes, to physical dials, and so it will be harder to interface with, let alone ...


4

Note: this answer is for pressurized plumbing of two hot water tanks. Rereading the question I'm pretty sure it's an incorrect assumption so I'm only leaving it here in case it helps someone with this problem. The typical way to do this is to run the two tanks in serial instead of parallel. You would connect the output of one tank to the input of the ...


4

There are many ways to do what you want.. but none of them seem very easy as networking remains quite a complex thing to use, wired or wireless. Obviously you want to just plug in the power and forget about it. Using the Rasberry PI is most probably a very good idea, Its cheaper version (Model A) about £20, it can run Linux, you can use a WiFi dongle with ...


3

There's no definitive resource on the topic or at least I could not find one (and I spent couple of months heavily involved in HA during one of my projects). Get started with the Wikipedia article on HA. This gives you overview of what is what and gives you a good starting point. Then proceed to familiarise yourself with technology out there like X10, UPB, ...


3

Points (1) and (2) seem to be difficult to reconcile with your final point: wife and future owners. If you want to start hacking on the cheap, as suggested, look into X10. If you want the wife to find it easy-to-use, and to potentially increase resale value, you might need to up your costs a bit (say $200-$300-ish initial outlay, rather than $100 (but I'm ...


3

In my experience with X10, the number 1 problem is the reliability of signal. Yes, there's the complexity of setup, etc. But most of these don't impact people very much. You set it up once; it's fine for a very long time. But it's the randomness of behavior that causes the real frustration with home automation. Sometimes things just don't work, or they work ...


3

I'm not sure what products you have been looking at, but I've had good luck with SmartHome's Insteon product line. For non-dimmable florescent lights, you want the relay switches. They allow you to turn lights on and off, but not dim them.


3

One option is using Arduino based microcontroller. I recommend JeeNode for integrated wireless. For basic one "server" plus one remote sensor you need two JeeNodes, USB adapter, temperature sensor and battery, all for around 55 €. You need to know how to solder electronic components and program in C. Each additional sensor would cost about 20 €. Here is ...


3

So far all the arduino/home automations I have seen are custom built. We are planning on using Domotic Home in our hacker group.


3

If other family members are living in the house, why are you responsible for the utilities. Give them fair warning to put the power in their name by X date and issue a shut down order to the company for that date. If they want power, they can pay for it.


3

Basically, what you want is a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply); it's a combination surge protector and battery backup. These are usually spec'ed for computer systems (server rooms, uptime-critical workstations like for call centers, etc) but as long as you keep the actual unit inside some weatherproof area like a garage, it should be just fine for powering ...


3

If the picture included with your question is what your current setup looks like, you don't have the neutral (white) wire that the installation instructions are expecting. Wire your new switch so that your real black wire (the hot to your light) is connected to the "load" terminal of the switch. Connect your "coded black" wire to the line/hot terminal of ...



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