I'm building my own house and I want to automate as much as possible to improve the living comfort. Home automation is going over IP more and more, so I was thinking to do it myself (I'm an IT guy).

Is there an open source system, to automate your home? Or should I go for a closed (but more expensive?) system?

Thank you.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Niall C. Nov 14 '14 at 15:44

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Strange, as an IT guy the absolute last thing I want is a hackable house, but suit yourself. I will suggest running lots of conduit - wires always beat wireless, and what those wires are always changes, so nice generously sized conduits are the only future-proof way to have the right wires (or fibers) in place. – Ecnerwal Nov 14 '14 at 13:53
  • Not big conduits - lots of conduits. Only allowed 9 (read: 8) conductors per conduit. There are several classes of controls and signaling lines that are not allowed to be in the same conduit with other stuff. Etc. Four is not too many. – Harper Jan 15 '16 at 8:23

There are certainly lots of systems which are basically just the controls and the hub which manages them. In some cases the hub has its own computer and software, in others (cheaper) it's just an interface that connects to a computer you supply; the programming info for those is generally available if you want to write your own software rather than using theirs.

As to which to look at -- I think that's simply too large a question and out of scope, as well as being heavily opinion-based. I've played with X10, but despite being the inventors of carrier-current control they're the lowest-quality manufacturer thereof; "cheap and cheerful", fun to play with, not (for me) a permanent solution. There are other manufacturers who have taken the X10 protocol, extended it for closed-loop control and more precise control, improved its dimmer behavior, and so on. There are also folks who are doing WiFi or similar wireless signalling, which has advantages and disadvantages compared to sending the commands over the power lines. Home automation websites/catalogs will happily point you to those suppliers and give you lots of information about what's available, what its constraints are, what controllers are available for it, and so on.


Use an Arduino and sensors/relays, or take the easy way: Z-Wave with MiCasaVerde.

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