I became interested in home automation after I installed an alarm system in my home. The system had some X10 features, which enabled the control of lights in my house. Soon I discovered that communication over the power line network had it’s limitations and that the commercial available units were expensive and had serious shortcomings in terms of reliable operation. Minimum loads were required, dimming did not go smooth and the position of the units in a network determined if the unit was able to receive commands or not.
I decided to see if I could build a unit myself!
My first X10 unit
Browsing the web, I found (only) 1 publication of a home designed and build X10 unit. I have used this design as a guideline. To be able to program the Microchip PIC processor (16F84), I first had to build a programmer. I found the "JVM programmer" and the "IC-Prog program". Non of these sites are active anymore. To be able to change the PIC program, I downloaded the MPLAB software from Microchip.
One of the first things I wanted to automate were the vertical blinds. During absence (holidays) I wanted the blinds to open and close automatically. Here is a picture of the X10 Blind Controller.
Home Control software
During the years that followed, I designed complete new X10 hardware. Using PIC controllers I created all kinds of functions: bright/dim units, relay on/off units, sensors, button input controller etc. Most of them are still operational in my house. On the X10 project pages, you can find detailed information.
Though it has nothing to do with my Home Automation projects, I have added a page about Holborn Computers.