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This is a section devoted to my tools, gadgets and toys...

I have always been known as a "tinkerer". Back in junior high school I used to try to impress girls with turning the lights in my room on and off by remote control. I lived across the street from the Public Library and could sit in the window at the library and watch my room lights go off and on. I then discovered that it didn't impress the girls much (except for my wife) but it sure gave us nerdy guys something to talk about.

I briefly experimented with a pneumatic door closer (in reverse) in combination with a home-made air compressor to open our screen door by remote control. It worked rather well -- too well actually, it just about ripped the door off the hinges. It took a long time to be able to admit that one to my father.

Fast forward to January of 1994 we had a intense blizzard moving in and I was looking for a project to occupy myself. I proceeded to replace ALL the light switches in the house with X-10 switches and control them via a dedicated X-10 controller called a Time Commander Plus from JDS. The controller (a special-purpose computer)  could be programmed by my desktop computer through a serial port using a program called Event Manager. It gives me not only scheduled events like "Outdoor lights on at dusk, off at dawn" but also sequences like my favorite that turns on a series of lights from the family room to the master bedroom in succession as you walk, turning them off as you pass.

I also use the system to control my outdoor lighting, fountains and pool lighting. There is a battery operated remote  that controls all the outdoor equipment from poolside.

I recently added a 900Mhz Wireless Speaker system from Advent. The transmitter plugs into the sound card of my PC (standard 1/8" mini-jack) and transmits whatever passes through the sound card. I use it to play CDs and to listen to Internet Radio all through the house and beyond, the range and clarity is quite good. A surprise benefit is that I also hear my mail notification sound while in the shower -- the pinnacle of geek-dom.

My Setup Copy of jt_tech1.gif (2908 bytes)

bulletJDS Time Commander Plus with Event Manager v1.08 software
bullet25 Remote Dimmer Switches WS-467
bullet7 Plug-In remote dimmer modules
bullet3 Plug-in remote appliance modules
bullet2 Passive Infrared (PIR) with twin floodlights
bullet4 desk/table mini-controllers (scene controls)
bullet2 One-for-All 8 remote controls (TV/VCR/Theatre/Lights)


bullet2 88-watt 12 volt landscape light transformers - perimeter, pool & pathway lights
bullet1 120-watt 12 volt landscape light transformers - patio & gardens, wall-washers & accent lights
bullet1 50-watt 12 volt in-pool halogen lamp


SmartHome Pro
The Number One Source for the Home Automation Professional
Home Automation - X10, Remote Security, Video Controls, Wireless Systems
Electronic House
Electronic House Online Magazine

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