My Love Affair with X10
I just got the first leg of my project cranking and I'm a lot more enthused about the possibilities than I have been so far. One of the biggest obstacles I saw originally was that I am a very dangerous person when it comes to fix'er up type project. I can change the oil in a car and stick Ram in a computer - after that my projects usually end up in disaster. My step father is just the opposite. He's a mechanical engineer and can take apart and rebuild just about anything. He's gotten me over my initial fears of wiring.
I used two books to help me, one on X10 projects and one on wiring:
Got the wiring book at Lowe's for $12.95 , got the Home Hacking one at Books-A-Million for $19.95. Next I used a new little mouse (when I say little, I mean it, it's shorter than my pinkie finger and since you can wear it, it's a perfect candidate for this sort of stuff, although it ISN'T Wireless [it's USB] which does post some annoying limitations.) I really need one of these but for the time being it will work.
So here's Sonny the Coding Cuckoo using the wireless mouse playing at my computer.
I highlighted two of the components I got from Radio Shack. Warning on this. First I was told that there's no such thing as just "X10" because the radio shack guy never heard of it. then he told me you couldn't use it for your house. Then he told me they'd have to order it (each answer came successively after he learned his previous one wasn't correct). They actually had a bunch of stuff there, it was just in the back. The wiring guys at Lowe's were much more informed about everything. I don't have the two components there hooked up yet, but the monitor is:
The mouse is the killer app of all this since it's tiny and you can use it like a trigger. It really rocks. I also picked up a full X10 remote and it will hit any of the X10 adapters I have around:
Sonny was busting my b4lls a little bit throughout the project so I decided to use this stuff for a more practical purpose - annooy the cuckoo. See, the little bastards have a bad habit of taking my credit cards, buying a few bottles of Johnny Walker Blue, grabbing my CD's and XBOX and hiding out in their clocks where I can't get to them. Well one of the clocks has a switch on the back that you can use to sync the number of times they come out with the correct hour (for instance, to have 'fun' with Kim, I often set it so they come out 13 times at 1:00 am, 14 times at 2:00 am etc). So you just turn it on and off and it bumps up another notch. Since all you have to do is turn the one switch off and on- it's pretty easy to control from the mouse now:
If you're interested, it's very easy to get started. For the code you need, Brian Vallelunga provided this excellent port. The components I used were all gotten at either Office Depot (the mouse), Radio Shack (The thermostat and the switches), Books a Million and Lowe's (the books). You'll have to find your own Coding Cuckooz.