[mythtv-users] Home Automation + MythTV/Linux
jason at jasonantman.com
Wed Aug 6 23:32:28 UTC 2008
I've done a bit of automation work lately, replacing the thermostat in
my apartment with a box running CentOS (http://tuxostat.jasonantman.com/).
In terms of hardware, you essentially have two ways to go - a stock
system with an interface (something like X10) or various levels of
custom hardware (from an off-the-shelf USB or serial relay board to a
custom-fabricated PCB and microcontroller). I used the Phidgets 0/0/4
4-output USB relay board
(http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?product_id=1014) for my project,
though I wouldn't recommend it, given the relatively high cost for a
unit with a pretty complex API (I would have overwhelmingly preferred
something with a simple ASCII command set). On the other hand, though,
it's one of the few easy-to-use relay boards out there. I have a few
links related to interfacing Linux boxes to stuff in the real world at:
As to serial->USB adapters, I'd definitely check the reviews. I've come
by a LOT that don't work right under Linux even though they say they're
supported, or ones that have serious issues with *real* RS232 hardware,
though they say they support it. Personally, I've found that adapters
based on the Prolific 2303 (pl2303 driver) chipset work well.
If you want to go the X10 route, I believe the best interface under
Linux is the "firecracker". You'd have a little less customizability and
fewer options than custom hardware (I don't know if X10 has the ability
to actually check output state like a relay board would, as opposed to
having to store state locally) but for simple logistics (using plug-in
modules as opposed to having to run a bunch of wires around the room)
X10 probably wins out.
PS - I've given this a lot of thought, and will probably implement a
good automation system around this time next year when I move into a new
apartment. My plans are to use some sort of embedded computer as the
master controller for the non-home theater stuff (i.e. anything not
controlled over IR - the lights, etc.) that will communicate with the
MythTV box via TCP/IP (probably remote SSH commands). For the physical
control, my ideal idea is to use modules that plug in between the
appliances/lights and wall outlet, which contain a latching relay
switched via a low-voltage solid state relay, which will be in turn
driven by some simple one-cable bus system, perhaps something like
Dallas Semi/Maxim 1-Wire. The basic idea is to be able to run 2
4-conductor phone cables - one around each side of the room - and have
little "dongles" or boxes hook in-line with the cable and provide
switched power. Essentially wired X10, but with everything hooked up to
one cable, and with opto-isolators to check the actual output of the relay.
Mitch Gore wrote:
>>> How I Integrated some X10 Home Automation into MythBuntu
>> I have looked at LinuxMCE but i hate the entire idea of using a out of the box solution and reformate my server. Plus I dont want or need all that extra crap put into that. I just want some simple scripts i can run to do stuff.
>> Gerry, that looks very promising.
> I dont have a Serial port on my Asus board unless i buy a Serial
> bracket to connect to the board header. According to the HEYU FAQ you
> can use a USB->serial adapter which i can get for 3 bucks on ebay:
> Q: My computer doesn't have RS232 serial ports, only USB ports. Can
> I use a USB-Serial adapter?
> A: Yes, provided that your OS has kernel drivers for the specific adapter.
> So, I assume CentOS/Fedora (Going to move to cent on my next system
> built will work right?
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